"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Is Anyone Surprized?

People were actually crowing about the Senate Republicans agreeing to hold a vote on gun control measures after the Democrats staged a fifteen-hour filibuster. Guess what happened:

The US Senate failed to advance new restrictions aimed at curtailing gun violence on Monday, as lawmakers voted down four separate measures just one week after a terrorist attack in Orlando marked the deadliest mass shooting in the nation’s history.

Democrats and Republicans had put forth competing amendments to both strengthen background checks and prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms. But all four bills fell short of the 60 votes needed to clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate, in a near replica of a vote held in December when a pair of shooters killed 14 people and wounded 22 more in San Bernardino, California.

The series of votes on Monday evening came in the aftermath of 12 June massacre at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which left 49 people dead and another 53 injured. Senate Democrats had secured the votes following a 15-hour filibuster last week demanding action against gun violence, a politically vexing issue that has yet to produce any major legislative breakthroughs in more than two decades.

It's "politically vexing" because the NRA owns enough senators and congressmen to make it that way.

(And a sidebar: Republican control of Congress has been a disaster for this country. Sixty votes to do anything in the Senate? And you wonder why nothing gets done?)

And from the "I'm not interested in staying in the Senate" Senate candidate from Florida:

Nelson’s Florida colleague, Marco Rubio, voted for the Republican amendments while opposing those offered by Democrats. Rubio issued a lengthy statement explaining his vote, in which the former Republican presidential candidate emphasized the need to refocus on the threat posed by homegrown extremism and the broader war on terror after the Orlando attack.

“We can’t say for sure if anything in our laws would have stopped this maniac from carrying out some form of attack, but I know that the proposals I supported today would specifically fill gaps that are evident after this attack and protect people who may one day find themselves needing firearms to protect themselves,” Rubio said.

Bullpucky. Hey, Marco, why don't you offer prayers for the victims -- that would be just as effective. And of course, it's all about terrorism, because the shooter (whose name is not to be mentioned) was Muslim. That's the standard Republican/NRA dodge: it's not about guns, it's about radical Islam. No, it's really about how much bullshit you can shovel down people's throats before they start choking on it.

A couple of points: this was quite obviously a hate crime: those targeted were at a gay club on Latino night.

The Orlando killing is uniquely at the intersection of gun violence, anti-gay violence and anti-immigrant violence (it was Latin night at the club, and 90% of the victims were Hispanic).

Hate crimes are, by definition, a form of terrorism: they are intended not to target an individual, but a group.

And as the FBI releases more information, it's apparent that the shooter was not affiliated with ISIS and received no support from them. Yes, of course they claimed credit. They always do. That's how they make themselves seem powerful. This was one really mixed-up man who had a lot of issues, a history of violence, and was basically a walking time bomb.

It starts to look more and more as though the only way to get this country back on track is to boot the teabaggers and their fellow-travelers out of office, across the board. That's going to take a while, since they have so many voters convinced that getting screwed is good for them.

Gaius Publius, at Hullabaloo, links to this piece by Joe Sudbay that deserves a read:

So, as we consider what to do moving forward in the wake of the worst shooting in American history, here’s a key thing to know: Al Gore didn’t lose because of the NRA. He lost because he ran from the gun issue instead of owning his record. The NRA capitalized on that thinking and for that past 15 years has run amok. That group and the politicians who kneel as the gun lobby’s altar give us a nation where 49 people can be mowed down. But, we all have a part in it for letting our politicians be controlled by them.

Most people in this country -- even gun owners -- favor regulation of guns, especially assault weapons. But then, it's been a while since Congress listened to the people.

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