Tag Archive: gun control

Barack Obama, the anti-lame duck president

President Obama at the COP 21 climate conference in France

President Obama at the COP 21 climate conference in France

President Barack Obama this week signaled that he would have a robust final year in office as he announced executive actions on the registration of gun purchases, especially narrowing the “gun show loophole.” Obama also held a town hall meeting aired by CNN on Thursday to talk about his anti-gun violence actions. Moreover, just a week ago, President Obama appeared on an epic, hilarious episode of Jerry Seinfeld‘s web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” Obama was not only very funny and relaxed, he also managed to plug his Affordable Care Act, which has covered an estimated 17.6 million more people in the past two years, causing the percentage of Americans without health insurance to drop to the lowest level ever measured. In short, President Obama is exploding the stereotype of the lame duck president.

Winning the gun violence argument

America's intersection of children and guns

America’s intersection of children and guns

After yet another mass shooting in America, this time in San Bernardino, California, the debate over what to do about gun violence has been rekindled. However, when both sides simply fall back into their standard arguments, there’s no reason to believe that a different result will occur. To achieve a different outcome, we need some new thinking and new language. Here’s how the majority of Americans can win the argument to reduce gun violence:

The nihilism election

Vote Nihilism

Vote Nihilism

Ve believe in nossing, Lebowski. Nossing. And tomorrow ve come back and ve cut off your chonson.
–The Big Lebowski, 1998

What to make of last night’s mid-term election? Democrats never articulated a positive unifying theme. Most of the Democrats’ endless fundraising appeals tried to scare supporters about the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove pouring millions of dollars into Republican campaigns. Republicans ran a national campaign on a unifying theme, but that theme — “President Obama is bad” — was also wholly negative. Most voters didn’t vote for anything.

Republicans are the party of “EXCEPT”

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Republicans “support the troops” EXCEPT Bowe Bergdahl.

Republicans are “pro-life” EXCEPT once a baby is born, then he’s on his own.

Republicans believe in “law and order” EXCEPT when it comes to keeping guns away from violent criminals, terrorists and the mentally ill.

Republicans believe in the “sanctity of marriage” EXCEPT between gay couples.

Republicans believe in “family values” EXCEPT when GOP officials are caught cheating on their spouses or frequenting prostitutes.

Republicans believe in “smaller government” and “lower spending” EXCEPT when a Republican is in the White House.

Republicans are “pro-business” EXCEPT when it comes to helping business by repairing America’s crumbling roads and bridges.

Republicans “believe in the Constitution” EXCEPT when federal law requires grazing fees on federal land.

Republicans are “tough on crime” EXCEPT when it comes to white-collar crime by bankers.

Republicans “fight terrorism” EXCEPT when it’s right-wing domestic terrorism.

Republicans believe in “free speech” EXCEPT when it comes to revealing genetically-modified foods, donors to right-wing dark money groups, or information women need when they’re pregnant.

Photo by Pargon, used under Creative Commons license. http://is.gd/G4VJ4w

The media frenzy over the UCSB shooting frenzy

Gun play

Gun play

The University of California Santa Barbara killings by Elliot Rodger should have unleashed a unified national outcry to break the mental illness/gun accessibility chain, as exhibited by Richard Martinez, father of one of Elliot’s victims, Chris Martinez. Instead, some feminist writers have gone off on a tangent that has led to a separate media frenzy. From slamming so-called “pickup artists” to blaming the shootings on Seth Rogen/Judd Apatow movies, these articles appear to glom existing feminist theories onto a tragedy, or worse, as Judd Apatow tweeted about Ann Hornaday‘s Washington Post article, “She uses tragedy to promote herself with idiotic thoughts.” In this case, such theories are woefully off base, and threaten to drive a wedge between men and women on an issue on which we all should agree.

Messaging Maxim #7: You get the legislation or you get the issue

Thor's hammer, San Diego Comic-Con 2011

Thor’s hammer, San Diego Comic-Con 2011

Once again, Republicans in Congress have shot down a good proposal from the Democrats, this time a federal minimum wage hike. Instead of being dejected or just complaining about the “party of ‘no,'” Democrats should recognize that they have an important weapon, and it’s the hammer of having an issue on which to run.

Pushing a progressive agenda

Messaging Matters2

If you’re a progressive and you follow the mainstream media, you might think that all you’re supposed to do lately is play weak defense against the attacks on implementation of the Affordable Care Act. That’s exactly what Republicans want — for progressives and Democrats to cower under the Republican agenda (which includes destroying the ACA), like a boxer pinned in the corner. But Messaging Maxim #1 is Go On Offense. That means to come out of the corner swinging, by pushing the progressive agenda. Here are some items on the progressive agenda, in case you’ve been following mainstream media “news” and have forgotten:

The Democrats’ three-word slogan for 2014

Messaging Matters2

The run-up to the 2014 Congressional elections is in full swing. You can be sure that Republicans are sharpening their talking points for the upcoming campaigns. We’ll likely be hearing all about a supposed lackluster economy, tepid employment picture, and that demonic “Obamacare.” Now is the time, therefore, for Democrats and progressives to hone their arguments and talking points to counter those of the Republicans and, better yet, to drive the conversation from the get-go. Here are the three words to use against the Republicans:

Taking “freedom” back

Messaging Matters2

The hottest Republican buzzword today is “freedom.” It shows up in NRA talking points, names of groups like FreedomWorks, names of bills like South Carolina’s Firearms Freedom Act, which would exempt guns manufactured and used in South Carolina from federal gun safety laws, and elsewhere. That’s because, like motherhood and apple pie, everyone favors “freedom.” Moreover, the word is designed to root into voters’ subconscious to make the talking points, organizations and bills more appealing. It’s brainwashing. If you doubt that, check out how the right-wing National Taxpayers Union counted the number of times the word “freedom” appeared in the Democrats’ 2009 health care bill. But Democrats are the true defenders of freedom, if only they would go on offense and say so. Here’s how:

President Obama playing 3-D chess

Between the 2012 elections, President Barack Obama‘s inauguration speech last month, and last Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, the President seems to have checked, or even checkmated, the Republican Party. In addition to Obama’s handy disposal of Willard Mitt Romney on Election Day, consider the following: