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  • Jul 24, 2015 01:57 PM
    Last: 3yr
    12k
    Dutch Wrote:
    S.B and Schmidt; I think Friedman did not read all my mails; I said several times a total ban on CIVILIAN gun ownership should be the only solution as they do in other "civilized" countries. I also said THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN HERE. I also said the "2nd Amendment" is wrongly interpreted, it only applies to the period in which it was written. As I said also THE DAMAGE IS DONE and can't be reversed. Furthermore no new regulations will work either "guns" can be traded anywhere even within family and friends; I doubt if there is "money" to do strict control anyway. Background checks are a farce; this shooting shows it clearly. The guy was mentally impared, even got thrown out of the Army, but still could buy/obtain 17 guns legally. How many thousands of the same people like him are running around in this country.? How about a lot of soldiers coming home nuts? Who have only "hero" backgrounds? Don't let me laugh about this country. The only change that will happen is that more and more guns hit the market; nothing else. I guarantee another shooting with even more victims is waiting to happen. In Ft. Myers there is least a shooting just about every day.

    I appreciate the clarification. And I did go back and read some of your earlier postings. You are correct. But you are still saying that anything short of complete illegality of guns in this country is a joke and won't work. And I just wanted to underscore how unrealistic I think that solution is.

    So if the idea everyone else here ultimately seems to be saying (Schmidt and Jared included, which I agree with and appreciated your comments to my posting as well) is that we should have sensible gun laws, reasonable regulations and smarter weaponry, etc.. I don't think anyone here is disagreeing. Not anyone.

    A few of you went after Clay for some of his comments because he is a gun owner, in part because he sees the value in gun ownership for self protection. And even Clay said the same thing, we need stricter classes for training, and overall stricter and better gun ownership regulation.

    So if that's the answer, it seems that everyone here in this forum completely agrees, but maybe just vary in degree.

    I agree it's not an either/or question. Of course. That would be silly. The answer is in the middle, like usual. And I did watch the Oliver video on mental illness. ..While I agree that the GOP uses that as an excuse so that they don't ever have to consider stricter gun laws, I find it hard not to focus on the fact that many shootings happen by shooters with some kind of mental affliction.

    Not all, of course. But I wonder... do we have solid evidence of numbers that show the % of 'healthy' shooters vs mentally afflicted? I know Oliver cited some very quick #s in the beginning of his reporting. But I do wonder about that 5%. Anyone know where it came from? And how someone that doubts such a low number like myself can better educate myself on that fact? Because it seems incredibly low to me. Maybe I have bought into the mental illness gun violence narrative a bit much. But I feel it has to be well over 5% of the time. Also seems a hard statistic to outright prove too.

  • Jul 24, 2015 01:57 PM
    Last: 3yr
    12k
    Dutch Wrote: The only thing is to join the civilized world and ban all private held guns. Amen. I'm getting a bit sick of this mentality; but time will tell, keep counting the dead and crippled. Common sense is optional in this country. Why have a gun if you can't use it?

    Just reading through all the comments on this thread.. So, for the detractors against gun ownership, is this the ultimate solution? Just ban all guns? Every single gun in this country? Is this anywhere close to being realistic?

    So lets just shut down all gun business in the country, make every firearm completely illegal, and then what, confiscate every single firearm any private citizen owns? Send armed people to gun owner's houses (that are registered and on the books of course) and take all their weapons? What if they say no? We do so by force? By threat of imprisonment or fines or, what? And then what of the unregistered firearms floating around (by the thousands to millions)? We crack down even harder, hire even more police officers solely tasked with rooting out and forever chasing down all those weapons for untold years/decades as well?

    How do you see this playing out in the real world? Not the world where your opinion is that you find guns distasteful, but in the actual world where guns likely outnumber the 350 million citizens we have in this country.

    Then what do we do with all the guns and bullets (I suppose those become illegal as well, punishable by what, again jail time or?) Do we lock them away forever? Give them to our military? Destroy them?

    Does this include BB guns and pellet rifles too? How about slingshots or blow/dart guns? They 'shoot' projectiles... Where does that line get drawn?

    I have a zillion questions about how in the world that is actually a feasible and realistic goal for our country that has the momentum of gun ownership that it currently does. To me, it's akin to Trump saying we should deport all illegal immigrants and put up a giant wall. Sounds great to a few zealots. Sounds ridiculous and impossible, and wildly unfair and massively expensive for a variety of reasons, to most sane people that think beyond the surface of the issue. The nuanced thinkers.

    What about 3d printers? They have already been able to make guns, unregistered. And that tech is only going to get better and more readily available.. Do we ban that technology going forward because of its capability? And it's not like we can just track the material that one can use to 3d print a working gun, because they can use silicon/plastic/metal/etc. Can't ban/track all that material.. What in the world do you realistically propose to do about that capability??

    Then we would also have to ban any import from other countries that obviously sell weapons in whole. Which brings up yet another hurdle.. what about people selling random parts that could in theory be assembled into a weapon? How in the world would you be able to stay on top of policing all of that manufacturing and distribution? Talk about billions and billions of man hours and resources, brand new govt departments that would need to 24/7 be on the ball with all that.

    This also reminds me of the drug war. Treating citizens as if they are children, completely inept at the possibility of something that could be dangerous. Everyone's answer for drugs for a while has been zero policy. And now look where that idea has got us in this country? The War on Drugs has been a complete and utter disaster, in every single sense of the word. Can you seriously not see the parallels?

    I am for sensible gun regulation, tougher training classes, and anything that would make a random, average gun owner most accountable and safe by owning a dangerous weapon. But even if I was for your proposal of just shutting down all gun ownership in this country for everyone, even if I was, I don't for one second think it's a realistic or feasible possibility.

    Please explain to me why I am wrong. Please tell me how in the world we could ever seriously pull this off? And then explain to me why responsible citizens that have never harmed a person in their lives, and just like guns because they are fun, explain to me why that person should now have their property taken away from them? Reminds me of the way you treat children in a classroom, one child does something wrong, and the easiest solution for the teacher in charge is to just take that privilege away from everyone. Is that honestly fair?

  • Sep 15, 2015 03:57 PM
    Last: 7yr
    1.5k

    HuffPost Pollster's aggregate has Donald Trump leading with 33.8%. Ben Carson at 18.8%. Then everyone else with single digits. Basically its Trump, and then everyone else. This worries me.

    Carson has zero chance. I agree with you Jared. Just zero. So then it becomes Trump against 9 others all trying desperately to separate themselves from the rest. And the measuring stick in which to do so is out Trumping Trump. But that's not what worries me.

    I agree that it's a good thing for the DNC to have all the candidates jumping further into crazyland to push past Trump. And if one of them lands the win over Trump, they will suffer because that strategy.

    What actually worries me is that Trump might actually win. I had thought that impossible, until a few days ago when I for the first time gave it serious consideration: what if Trump actually DID win the primary?!? I mean he is still leading in every poll. He is serious about running. And no one really seems to be pushing him to the side just yet.. it actually could happen.

    It was a scary thought for the same reason reality TV stardom scares me: people might very well vote Trump into the White House in the general election, just to mix things up, to have a celebrity that isn't "establishment politics".

    If Hilary gets the DNC nom, and Trump wins, you will have a huge cross-section of at least 3 different kinds of voters going against her - folks for Trump (relatively small group), then folks against Hilary (much larger group), then finally folks willing to vote for the non-politician to mix things up (could be a big section as well).

    That's what scares me. That Hilary wins the DNC nod and Trump wins his. That is a matchup I do not want to see for the general election. Of all the Democratic nominees going right now, I think Trump has the best chance to bet Hilary. And Hilary is the DNC frontrunner...

    Please, please tell me I'm crazy to think Trump could realistically win the whole damned election. That would be lunacy.

  • Jun 27, 2015 02:27 PM
    Last: 7yr
    1.4k

    Ultimately stunts like this don't really change anything. But it was still very cool to see:

    As Nikki Haley and the SC lawmakers continue to drag their feet on taking down the confederate flag that is still hanging up at the State Capitol building today (even after the shooting), a few activists decided to take matters into their own hands.

    One guy pretended to be a construction worker, while another, a woman, scaled the pole and took down the flag herself. She was promptly meet by security, and arrested in a peaceful manner as soon as her feet re-met the pavement.

    I wonder if this will help expedite the process in any way?

  • Apr 30, 2015 05:57 PM
    Last: 7yr
    2k
    Thanks for posting. I had fallen off watching The Daily Show over the last few months, having pretty much fully switched to Last Week Tonight for that kind of infotainment. But I have watched Jon Stewart for about 10 years now, and seen a majority of his episodes. So, that's hundreds of interviews I've seen.

    And I gotta say that was a top 10 interview, in regards to how Jon handled himself, and how he didn't allow for his guest to politely avoid any uncomfortable questions. I thought it was a great interview, and one that I hope sticks with Ms. Miller for a very long time to come. I think the best part was what Jon said at the end:

    These discussions always make me incredibly sad because I feel like they point to institutional failure at the highest levels, and NO ONE will take responsibility for them. They pass the buck to every individual, other than themselves. And it's sad.
  • Apr 26, 2015 01:26 PM
    Last: 7yr
    1.4k
    Best jab in my opinion was him going after Cheney:

    "Dick Cheney said I was the worst president of his lifetime, which is interesting because I think Dick Cheney is the worst president of my lifetime."


    Great line, maybe the best of the whole evening. Lots of uncomfortable truth to it.
  • Apr 23, 2015 02:11 AM
    Last: 7yr
    7k
    Schmidt Wrote: Wikipedia: Office of the United States Trade Representative

    Wikipedia: Michael Froman

    The U.S. Senate confirmed Froman as US Trade Representative in a 93-4 vote on June 19, 2013. One of the four dissenting senators was Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren, who faulted Froman for "refusing to commit to [...] standards of transparency in trade talks set by the George W. Bush Administration.

    Trans-Pacific Partnership: Summary of US Objectives
    Good deal. Thanks Schmidt! I appreciate the links. I'll read up and better educate myself on all this.
  • Apr 23, 2015 02:11 AM
    Last: 7yr
    7k
    Schmidt Wrote: Yes I might agree on an ideological basis. But putting on my "pragmatist" hat, I note that in looking at how previous agreements have been negotiated, most all of the them are called "Fast Track" which is not a sinister, secret intentional means of ramming through the agreement, but rather the outcome when the debate and changes are limited to the expert delegates of their respective countries. Can you imagine how long this process would drag out if each and every country had to take each draft back to their respective countries for public debate. The leaked WikiLeaks draft demonstrates, in part, what happens. Are there parallel debates going on now in the other eleven countries, with each special interest group looking at it from the standpoint of "what's in it for me"?

    In everyone of these agreements there are winners and losers, not only within a country and special interest groups, but between countries. It is an impossibility to have everyone a winner. To make progress one has to compromise...give up a little on one issue to protect another issue.
    Do we know who is on the list of expert delegates, representing the US in this negotiation? (not a rhetorical question. I don't know myself) The rhetorical part though is that if it's compromised of mainly corporate reps, I find it near impossible to just give them blind trust that they would be negotiating this TPP with solely the American economy's best interest in mind.

    That brings us back to what makes the TPP's fast track process different from other fast tracked agreements in the past. Not to belabor the point, but I'll again quote the Moyers article on this, just so I don't paraphrase incorrectly:
    Even for trade agreements, this use of the fast track process for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would be unusual. Usually fast track is set up by Congress before a trade agreement is negotiated. This way Congress can at least say who to negotiate with and lay out a set of objectives they are directing the administration to achieve.

    But the TPP agreement that this fast track process will apply to is already nearly completed! So for TPP only, fast track’s special procedures to bypass the usual process – short time period, limited debate, no amendments – are only for pushing the agreement through, without the pre-designation of trade partners, objectives, and other matters that some say justifies doing so.

    So maybe that's at least the middle ground of contention on this, between not wanting much of ANY oversight on the process for hopes of actually getting anything passed, and having too much input and getting no where fast. Something like macro v micro management, right?

    Problem is, can we trust these TPP drafters, at least on our side? I think that gets down to the crux of the main concern here, don't you? If the drafters CAN be reasonably trusted to fight best for United States' interest, I think a fast track process of sorts can be argued reasonably enough. (Problem is, as far as I understand, the American public nor the congress that we elected to represent us didn't appoint these reps, or did they? I'm still unclear on that...) But, if we can't or don't know who these guys and gals are that get to input what goes into the agreement, how can we reasonably ever be okay with the final product and trust that it doesn't screw us over?
  • Apr 23, 2015 02:11 AM
    Last: 7yr
    7k
    Schmidt Wrote: The Wiki Leaks document is from progress and drafts as of August 2013. Based on those leaks, Forbes noted at the time that the talks had reached a stalemate:

    Forbes, December 10, 2013: US Fails To Close TPP Deal As Wikileaks Exposes Discord

    Are we arguing points that we don't know what the current terms are? Did the United States capitulate on every point of contention that existed in 2013? I don't know that.
    It's interesting to consider something I brought up in a previous posting here.. yes. This document was dated as being drafted some time ago. But what if Wiki had never released this drafted chapter at all, or not until the deal was already fast tracked and passed?

    It's an interesting question because most of the argument against leaking secret documents has to do with safeguarding the institutional powers of national security divisions; making sure no one gets hurt or compromised in the process of transparency. Some secrets being too delicate for the American public and the world to know, etc.

    Well, in this case, it seems exceedingly difficult to argue that any national security protections or operations were compromised with this leak at all. Quite the opposite. Even though this could be dated info, it is a clear window into what this TPP agreement, in part, is aiming to do. Perhaps this chapter has been amended greatly. But perhaps not at all. That's just as likely.

    It's very unfair to think that a massive agreement like the TPP can fast track through Congress without serious debate on something like this that's so controversial. For an agreement so large and several years in the making (was it 5-7 years, correct?).. something that was drafted up as a completed chapter less than 2 years ago (dated November 19-24, 2013) really 1.5 years ago, that is quite near the end of the drafting.

    To think that a chapter draft, just one of many chapters to be included, that was leaked with a complete version some 60-80% through the entire process (1.5 years into a 5-7 year process).. that it is safe to hope and assume that any major changes were made to ensure this tribunal court system does not have the powers that the leaked document shows is unfortunately wishful thinking. I think it's much safer to assume that only small changes will be made to this chapter, if any at all.

    That is, until you consider the importance of the Wiki leak. Perhaps zero changes would have been made to this version of the draft, if we didn't have ANY prior knowledge of it's contents. I think that's most likely. With the leak though, it's out in the open. Made into national and worldwide debate. And just as Elizabeth Warren quoted someone as saying, the people do not like what they see.

    Maybe the leak had everyone seriously redraft that chapter. I hope so. And I also think it's an important service that WikiLeaks provided here. Do you agree?
  • Apr 23, 2015 02:11 AM
    Last: 7yr
    7k
    Schmidt Wrote:
    Fast track is not a new concept. It is the way just about every foreign trade agreement has been negotiated and approved in the past. If you don't trust our president to do the final negotiations, then fast track can be withdrawn...or qualified by Congress.

    This reminded me of something else I read. While that is true enough, TPP is still unusual and this exert explains why:
    Fast Track Sets Aside Normal Procedure

    Congress does not set aside normal procedure, debate, the ability to fix problems that turn up and agree to vote within 90 days except for trade agreements – even though trade agreements have now proven to have such a tremendous and often detrimental effect on our economy, jobs, wages and inequality. Where did the idea to do this come from? According to Public Citizen, this unusual procedure was “initially created by President Richard Nixon to get around public debate and congressional oversight.”

    Even for trade agreements, this use of the fast track process for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would be unusual. Usually fast track is set up by Congress before a trade agreement is negotiated. This way Congress can at least say who to negotiate with and lay out a set of objectives they are directing the administration to achieve.

    But the TPP agreement that this fast track process will apply to is already nearly completed! So for TPP only, fast track’s special procedures to bypass the usual process – short time period, limited debate, no amendments – are only for pushing the agreement through, without the pre-designation of trade partners, objectives, and other matters that some say justifies doing so.

    In essence, this fast track bill, if it passes, pre-approves TPP before anyone even knows what is in it and without Congress saying in advance what should be in it.