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Thursday, February 22, 2018

How About Those Republican Leaders, eh?


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Gov. Eric Greitens of Missouri Indicted 

on Invasion of Privacy Charge



How Low Republicans--and Gun Nuts--Have Gotten Already After This Parkland Shooting


This is how low, just how very low Republicans have gotten about protecting guns and the NRA instead of protecting children, innocent children in our nation. (warning: some expletives)


It doesn't stop there, either.

Marco Rubio tells survivor of Parkland massacre he will continue to accept NRA Money

They know what pays, anyway, huh?


Not done there, stupid had to come out of the White House, too.


It hurts.

Now, it's gotten the worst it can get and still just be verbal.


This, above here, is why I used the term "gun nuts" in the title of this post.

We, all of us, need to put humans and human life and American lives above weapons as a priority.

You wouldn't think that would be a debatable topic.


How the Rest of the World Sees Our Nation and Our Guns


"Sunday with Lubach, which is sort of like the Dutch version of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, looked at guns — specifically, the US’s love of firearms."

From the article:

This European comedy sketch explains how the world sees America's

 gun problem





And the Children Shall Lead Them...


Image result for parkland students

I saw this post today, this morning, on Facebook. The parent of one of the children, one of the students in Parkland, Florida posted this letter.

Lenny Kaufman
February 20 at 7:54pm ·

As many of you know, my daughter Sari is a sophomore at Stoneman Douglas in Parkland. She wrote the letter below and has sent it to many government officials. She has asked me to share her message with as many people as possibe. Please feel free to re-post and share on your own timeline.

Hello, my name is Sari Kaufman and I attend Stoneman Douglas. I am a sophomore and I am a survivor of the 2/14 attack. 

The morning of the attack seemed like a normal day. The weather was very nice and I was excited to receive carnations for Valentines Day. Sadly, this all changed at the sound of a routine fire drill. 

I remember leaving my classroom at 2:22 pm. This was the second fire drill of the day so it seemed abnormal. Once I went outside I heard five consistent noises that sounded like gunshots but my mind did not let me accept the fact that it were sounds that caused 17 lives to be lost. My memory from this day is a little vague but I remember my teacher saying this is not a drill. 

We ran behind a fence and made sure we did not fall in a canal while we were running for our lives. There was so much confusion and we did not know what was going on. The only clear thing I remember which made me feel at ease was when a police officer protected us and helped us to safety. I was able to run to a nearby restaurant and watch the unthinkable news story develop in my 5th period classroom. 

Unfortunately, some of my friends are not able to share their story today. 

My city and school will be forever changed and even some of my closest friends are forever changed due to this traumatizing event that has affected them, not just physically, but also mentally/emotionally. I have had to go to funerals and watch parents bury their 14 year old sons and daughters. 

Following the attack, I wanted to talk to the news right away, but at the same time, I first wanted to understand the gun control debate a little more in-depth. Now, after a few days and after this traumatizing event is not feeling like a dream anymore and the fact that we lost 17 people including coaches, teachers, administrators, and classmates, I want to make a change. 

In November, I researched about the NICS (the gun database background check system) and about universal gun background checks for the November Public Forum debate topic. I remember finding many flaws in our system. For example, according to “The Trace” in 2015, the NICS Improvement Amendment Act was introduced in the wake of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. The legislation gave more than a billion dollars in grants to states and territories to improve record keeping systems and reportings to NICS. This seemed like a very common sense and great way to fix a robust system. 

However, since the bill became law, Congress has given out only 11.5 percent of that money for spending. Former Congressman James Moran explains the reason behind this. He says that the NRA worked with allies in Congress to cut off funding for these grants when the committee put each year’s budget together (July 27th, 2015). 

Unfortunately, this was a very common theme and each article I read had a recurring conclusion. It is either that the proposed bill never passes Congress due to backlash from other funding parties, or in some cases, a bill passes but Congress does not put the money where it is supposed to go due to influential organizations like the NRA.

Therefore, do I think that my friends and I protesting for a change is going to change your mind? No. But maybe real facts, research, and uniting politicians together to save lives at school will lead to a change. 

I am only 15 years old but I understand that politics are extremely complicated. However, I believe that we can fix these issues in our systems so other kids do not have to go through the same trauma I have gone through. I hope that the next time that you (government leaders) make a deal or receive money which hinders your judgment, just remember kids having their blood spilled out on classroom floors.

Also, remember that your community might be next. 

Please do not wait and just be sad for a couple of days that 17 people died and please do not think American lives are disposable. Let this shooting be the last school shooting. Do not wait until it is too late, until it happens in your community, to your daughter or son, or your friends. 

Act now. 

There is so much we can accomplish in this revolution, even if it will take several small steps. For example, after Sandy Hook, Connecticut required information on mental health records available to federal and state agencies while performing background checks. According to Giffords Law Center, federal law cannot require states to make information identifying these people available to the federal or state agencies that perform background checks, and many states fail to voluntarily report the necessary records to the FBI’s NICS. So instead of just letting Connecticut be alone and do this because they were affected, let's motivate every single state to do this on a federal level. 

I want to be optimistic about these political changes but the sad fact is that in only my 15 years of existence there have been more school shootings than someone who lived from 1910 to 1980. There is a repetitive pattern that has a very similar dialogue: Another shooting, let's improve our system, let's unite and worry about the people on each side of the political aisle. 

Children's lives are more important than our political differences. 

Let’s do something about our flawed system. Following this, very little is ever accomplished. Words are very different than actions. I want to be optimistic but the truth is I am very pessimistic about new political changes. How is this generation going to have faith in our system if time and time again it fails to protect our lives? Every day in school we learn how great the United States is, yet we are one of the only countries in the world to have classmates die in the very place we learn. There could have been so much to prevent this horrible tragedy. I am just asking for a change no matter what it is. I just want our system to improve to save lives. I hope we unite across political parties to protect my friends and future generations to be safe in school.

Best,

Sari Kaufman
Age 15


Monday, February 19, 2018

March For Our Lives Kansas City!



In keeping with the national movement and marches on this day, Saturday, March 24, we'll be having our own "March For Our Lives" here in Kansas City. It will start at 1 pm at Mill Creek Park on the Country Club Plaza.

If we can't be in Washington, DC, we'll do the next best thing and still have our voices heard.

See you there!

Links:



Join us on Facebook:   

March for Our LIves Kansas City
Mar 24, 1 PM · Mill Creek Park · Kansas City, MO


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Gun Nuts, Overrun by Facts


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The pesky Second Amendment, NRA set keep going back to the same, tired arguments, it seems, even now, on the heels of yet another slaughter of innocents here in the US. The "thoughts and prayers" crowd. The "It's too soon to talk about it" and "Don't politicize this event", ad infinitum.

What gets me about this is their complete, total denial of facts, of the facts on these matters.

Here's the first one:


In Wake of Florida Massacre, 

Gun Control Advocates Look to Connecticut


And of the entire article, I'll break it down to just this one simple fact, this paragraph, from the beginning of it:

Analyses by the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence show that, with few exceptions, states with the strictest gun-control measures, including California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, have the lowest rates of gun deaths, while those with the most lax laws like Alabama, Alaska and Louisiana, have the highest.

That one alone will make them choke but there they are. Facts. All those pesky facts and statistics and hard data.

Here's another.


And that's just the school shootings. There have been far, far more of other shootings and killings. This is only our unprotected children in our schools.

How can we do nothing?

The fact is, we can't. And with this shooting, this killing, this massacre of still more children, the following makes me think we may have, finally, finally turned a corner. 


Maybe we really will do something this time.

Here's hoping. Let's do this, America. It's long, long overdue.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

An Old But Terrific Article About Our Senator Blunt and the NRA from The Star


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I love it when the truth, the facts come out, especially on politicians who take money from organizations and who then put that organization and its preferences ahead of the American public, ahead of the nation.

Nowhere is this any more true than with our own Senator Roy Blunt and the money--the big money--he takes from the NRA, the National Rifle Association. Here's that article. It ran June 14, 2016:

Who's the top recipient of NRA donations 

anywhere in the country


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also ran it, same day:


Another one just ran two days ago in Fortune Magazine:


Unfortunately for Senator Blunt, he is no longer the top recipient of funds and funding--money--from the NRA. This article in the New York Times, showing the latest of who takes in the most from them came out October 4 last year, after the Las Vegas slaughter:


Don't get me wrong here. You needn't feel sorry for the good Senator Blunt, however. According to that same article, he did take in more than four and one half million dollars from the NRA alone. In all, he got a cool, whopping $4,551,146 just from the NRA.  Poor kid, he's fallen back to the number 3 position on how much he raked in from that greedy, selfish, self-serving organization. 

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Links:





What Kills Me About Republicans, This President and His Supporters


Think about this. I know I have and for a long time. I saw this as a Facebook post today then found it's original source as a tweet from one Dan Pfeiffer, a former Obama staffer in the White House.

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It is worth noting that the Russians believed that the best way to damage America was help elect Donald Trump.


I only wish Republicans and all Trump supporters could and would wrap their minds around this. How proud and happy can a person be if the Russians, of all people, wanted to make sure YOUR CANDIDATE wins the election?

From The New York Times:

"The indictment presented in astonishing detail a carefully planned, 3-year Russian scheme to incite political discord in the U.S., damage Hillary Clinton's campaign and promote Donald J. Trump.:

And the Washington Post:

Trump's Russia 'hoax' turns out to be real


"Trump’s own Justice Department has concluded otherwise. A 37-page federal indictment released Friday afternoon spells out in exhaustive detail a three-year Russian plot to disrupt America’s democracy and boost Trump’s campaign, dealing a fatal blow to one of the president’s favorite talking points."

You can find Dan Pfeiffer at Pod Save America and Crooked Media:



Additional link:



Friday, February 16, 2018

What We Need to do About and With Guns in America


Herewith, a short but necessary and intelligent list of just what we need to do about guns in our nation.



Ban the AR-15


It's not a coincidence.



And while we're at it, bring back the Assault Weapons Ban.

For starters.

Link:

The NRA Is Killing Us And Their Weapon Is The 2nd Amendment


Defend Gun Control With Facts


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It's gotten so tiresome over the years, trying to discuss weapons in our nation and the damage they do to us all. The Right Wing and Republican Party and NRA and all their supporters insist nothing will work, nothing will help and, gosh, we have to support our Constitution and the oh so precious Second Amendment.

The fact is, the facts are, the facts need to be looked at and accepted.

So herewith, some of those facts.

America's unique gun violence problem, 

explained in 17 maps


--America has six times as many firearm homicides as Canada, and nearly 16 times as many as Germany

--America has 4.4 percent of the world’s population, but almost half of the civilian-owned guns around the world

--On average, there is more than one mass shooting for each day in America

--There have been more than 1,500 mass shootings since Sandy Hook

--States with more guns have more gun deaths

--It’s not just the US: Developed countries with more guns also have more gun deaths

--States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths

--Where there are more guns there is more homicide

--Across high-income nations, more guns = more homicide

--Across states, more guns = more homicide

--More guns = more homicides of police

More:


We have to get over the emotionalism and empty opinions with facts.

Links, sources:

Harvard Injury Control Research Center 



Thursday, February 15, 2018

Senator Blunt Rightly Takes a Well-Earned and Very Deserved Beating In the Media With This Latest Florida Slaughter of Innocents


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So yet 17 more Americans, innocent Americans were, once again, slaughtered here in America.

Having what they thought was a normal, peaceful even, likely, beautiful day when a fellow American got and took an AR-15 automatic weapon---because they could---and gunned these people down.

It's beyond disgusting.

Now, rightfully, our own Missouri Senator Roy Blunt is taking a beating in media for his bought and paid for complicity in one more of these massacres in our country.

A writer for JImmy Kimmel, Bess Kalb, posted this yesterday on Twitter.

This is not a political issue. This is not a Constitutional debate. This is a pandemic that's killing children. And it's perpetrated by hypocrites who preach a doctrine of "life" but take money from a profit-driven gun lobby.

The New York Times showed, last year, how our Senator was the third highest paid Republican Party Senator by and from the NRA. The New York Times published this article last October.

The Congress Members Receiving 

the Most N.R.A. Funding 


In it, one can read how Senator Blunt took in more than 4 million five hundred fifty one dollars from the NRA last year.

Imagine that.

Our Senator took in $4,551,146 from the NRA, from just one, single source.

What would be, what is, really, a person's or even a family's fortune, this one government representative took in from one organization.

It's obscene. 

I've said it probably a thousand times. It's why I created this group on Facebook.




It made it into media clear across "the pond" to the UK. This came from the BBC.

Florida shooting: Senators singled out 

over gun lobby funds


This is where we are presently, as a nation.

We have to finally, at last, get things done about weapons in America. I propose the following, at minimum:

1)  Require background checks for ALL weapons purchases, coast to coast, for criminal history

2)  Require background checks for ALL weapons purchases, coast to coast, for mental stability and finally

3) Ban the purchase of all automatic weapons, including and especially the AR-15 and all like it, again, nationwide. 

These are not difficult things but they are important. If they save even one life, let alone more, they will have achieved their goals and what we so desperately need in our country. We need to bring back the Assault Weapons Ban.

The time for "thoughts and prayers" and inaction is over.

You hear that, Senator Blunt?

The days of putting money and the NRA before the people, before we Americans, needs to be over and soon as possible. 

As with our health care, we must put people and American lives ahead of profit and profits.

Links:




This we cannot allow:



American Exceptionalism

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We are the only Western, industrialized nation where there are this many mass shootings and these numbers of innocent civilians killed.

We are the only Western, industrialized nation that ties health care to profit.

We are the only Western, industrialized nation that has not just some but lots of people declaring bankruptcy due to medical expenses. Medical expenses are, in fact, the number one cause of bankruptcies in the United States.

Both, profit over people. 

We put profit and profits before people.

Links:






Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Entertainment Overnight -- Valentine


With Sting and Chris Botti




Entertainment Overnight -- Valentine II





The Hard Reality of Transportation


The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, there are far, far too many people on this planet for us all, humankind, to keep driving our own, individual cars to and from our destinations.

We need public transportation.

And we need it all over our cities and states and nations. We need it across the world.

We have to stop pretending it's--what?--the 1940's? and there aren't that many of us and we can continue this expensive, very polluting insanity.

As just one example, look at traffic in Los Angeles.

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Image result for crowded la freeways

Keep in mind, too, this is daily. Sure, it's Los Angeles but it's not just them, not just that one city and again, it's not just a one day occurrence. It's repeated all through the year and in far too many cities across the globe.

It's getting worse, too.

It's Not Your Imagination, 

Los Angeles County is Getting More Crowded


Not only is it Los Angeles, but it's only growing worldwide. With more and more people in our cities, states and nations, across the globe, this only becomes more apparent and real and necessary.


This is crazy. This is no way to live.

Think about it. Los Angeles. San Diego. San Francisco. Houston, Dallas, Austin. Heck, traffic is so bad on the other side of the country, we just give up and call it the "Northeast corridor."

As usual, Germany and Europe are far ahead of us here in the US on this, too.

German cities to trial free public transport 

to cut pollution 


Not only is this a good idea, we need to take it steps further.

We will need to actually further tax cars so we can accomplish three big goals:

--Cut down on all that traffic
--Reduce the pollution and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
--And, yes, increase those of us on public transportation

Public transportation can no longer be only for the less affluent or even thought to be only for them.

We have to realize all the benefits we'd reap from this, too. We can't only think of it as what we would lose. Herewith, just some of those benefits.

--Again, less pollution
--Repeating, less traffic
--Cleaner air
--Less irritated asthma and respiratory ailments for hundreds of millions across the planet
--Less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere so...
--Less increased global warming and
--Slower human-caused climate change
--Less time wasted sitting in traffic
--Maintaining public transportation is far less expensive than having to maintain all the more singular roads required to keep all this traffic going

We have to learn to live together, we have to learn to work together and yes, we all, all of us, need to learn to travel together. Lots of people across the world have done this.

Now, we all need to.

Links: