The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘NRA’

THE BEST POLITICAL AD OF THE 2014 CAMPAIGN

It’s only my opinion – but that’s something which I hold jealously.  My view is that the following ad is without question one of the most positive and truthful of the 2014 election campaign.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

 

 

Let’s bring back America – the way it used to be.

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“ANNIE GET YOUR GUN”

It was the first movie that I ever saw.  Mom, grandma and I were in Carmel, NY and dad was on the road.  It was summer and we had rented a little cabin for a week’s getaway from the city.  There was one theater in the town with one screen and the movie that was playing that week was the classic, “Annie Get Your Gun.”  The film, loosely based on the life of sharpshooter Annie Oakley, starred Betty Hutton and then film idol Howard Keel.  I was too young to remember the film but I’ve seen it several times since and find it a charming, musical bit of fluff.

Sadly, today there probably would be little market for a film of this type.  To begin with no one was killed in the movie.  Worse yet, no cars exploded – because of course there weren’t any in those days – but they might, at the least have detonated a couple of horses.  They didn’t.  And worst of all was that our heroine was a gun toting sharpshooter who was able to get the best of her male counterparts.  Shock.  A woman being the champion rather than the victim.  That simply doesn’t fit the current narrative.

 

 

“I worked out of desperation. I used to hit fast and run in hopes that people wouldn’t realize that I really couldn’t do anything.” – Betty Hutton

If I didn’t know the source of that quote I would have thought that it came out of President Obama’s autobiography.

Under the heading of “Never let a good non-issue die” we have former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg now engaged in yet another assault on gun ownership – purportedly to the tune of about $50 MM.  That makes the Koch brothers look like small time pikers.  Apparently His Eminence is going to direct these funds from his personal treasury to developing anti-NRA ads.  This might prove to be yet another instance where in the interest of “doing good” the mayor might prove to benefit those whom he views as the source of all violence in America – legitimate gun owners.

There are a number of our incumbent Democrat senators who ware running against the gale force wind that Obamacare is blowing through the nation and who happen to represent either purple or red states where the electorate has long ago decided that legitimate gun ownership is a fundamental right, guaranteed by the Constitution.  The mayor’s efforts to coalesce anti-gun voter sentiment might very well backfire in Louisiana, Alaska and Arkansas, to name a few states.  So Bloomberg may be doing the GOP a great favor.

One of the (phony) arguments about guns is that their presence in a home significantly increases the likelihood that domestic violence is more likely to become fatal than if a gun were absent from the premises.  But what we have seen over the last twenty years is a significant reduction in the number of fatalities due to firearms at a time when gun ownership has increased dramatically.  Notwithstanding the less than riveting revelations that have been forthcoming from the Oscar Pistorius trial, there seems to be little to give credence to that argument.

Are women at risk in our society?  Well, I hate to inform the uninformed, but life is a risk and we all drink from the same punchbowl – male and female.  I cannot give you an exact figure, but of the women I know, probably at least half of them carry pepper spray in their purses.  If they felt secure would there be any reason for them to buy what is clearly a self-defense weapon?  Would they be more or less safe if instead of a spray they were armed with a small caliber weapon which they were trained to use, should the need arise?

It’s nice to believe that we can depend on our paid police forces to keep us safe from harm.  That is if you don’t live in Detroit where the average response time for an emergency call (when their 911 service even picks up) is currently over an hour and a half.  By that time your body has already begun to cool and the murderer is long gone.  But Detroit is not an isolated instance where the police are so overwhelmed that they can’t act in an expeditious manner.

Las Vegas’ Metropolitan Police Department recently announced that due to the volume of calls, officers will not be dispatched to the scene of a traffic accident unless there are people who suffer bodily injury.  If the police are currently so occupied with more serious issues than car wrecks, what level of safety might the ordinary citizen expect if something really serious, say a power outage, were to occur?  In that event were I a store owner, I’d want to have some protection in my shop from the mobs which might seek to take advantage of the situation.

It would be excellent if we could rely on our law enforcement agencies to keep us safe from evildoers – and for the most part they do their best to fulfill their responsibilities and protect us.  But in the event of something catastrophic, former Mayor Bloomberg (who has a paid, armed security detail attached to his person) might realize that – “Anything they can do, we the people might do better.”

WHO’S GOT THE POWER? (PART ONE)

Those of us who had the benefit of learning grammar as part of our elementary school curriculum may remember that words which modify nouns are known as adjectives.  An example would be “Fearless Leader” – as it was used by Jay Ward in “Rocky and Bullwinkle” – perhaps the most creative cartoon series of all time.

Recently, I’ve noticed a trend in journalism.  I’m not sure if this is an intentional attempt to introduce yet another classification into our grammar, but it seems that certain nouns almost always are preceded by the same adjective – as though the two are inseparable.  I refer to this new entry into the English language as an adje-noun.  The most apparent example to me is the “POWERFUL NRA”.

Being powerful means that someone or something has a great deal of inherent strength and exerts that power to achieve its ends.  In the world of politics, at least in the United States, that usually takes the form of lobbying our elected representatives to influence them to vote for those laws which will benefit a company or an association.  A great deal of money is spent by respective organizations to accomplish that mission.

As I have heard so much since the Newtown tragedy about the Powerful NRA’s gun lobby, I thought I would take a look at how powerful that organization actually is, how much they spend on their lobbying efforts and to compare that to other industries and groups which also engage in lobbying activities.

What follows is a list of lobbyists by industry for the calendar year 2012, compiled by OpenSecrets.org:

Opensecretsindustry groups

The original link to this chart may be found at https://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/top.php?showYear=2012&indexType=i

If you go to the source and want to review this information, clicking on each industry brings up the companies and organizations which are included in the compilation.  Incidentally, this data is available going back to 1998 and although there is some slight variation on who spends the most money on a year to year basis, the same industries consistently appear at the top of the list.

If you spend a few minutes with this chart, perhaps you will see the same thing that I noticed.  There are four industries, Pharmaceuticals/Health Products; Hospitals/Nursing Homes; Health Professionals; and Health Services/HMO’s which aggregately spent $359 Million in 2012 to advance their agendas.

In addition, if you look at the detail under Insurance, the top two lobbyists in that category were Blue Cross/Blue Shield and America’s Health Insurance Plans which paid an additional $17 Million to lobbyists.  That comes to a total of $376 Million spent in one year by businesses and professionals in the Health Care Industry.

I returned to the OpenSecrets.org website to try to put the powerful NRA’s lobbying efforts in perspective.  Here is the link to that information:

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000000082

By comparison, the powerful NRA spent only $2.2 Million last year in their lobbying efforts.  That’s five percent of what the defense and aerospace industry spent and five percent of what the auto industry spent; that’s four percent of what unions representing government workers spent; that’s three percent of what unions and others involved in education spent; that’s two and one half percent the amount that the entertainment industry spent; and that’s just over one half percent the amount that people involved in healthcare paid their lobbyists.

I have yet to hear the argument that gun owners are the cause of our anemic economy, our spiraling deficits, our unacceptable rates of unemployment or the out of control costs associated with healthcare, although it is not hard for me to believe that those in Washington who are, apparently oblivious to the facts, might try to advance that case.

Despite the recent comment by President Obama that “we do not have a spending problem,” most people with the smallest grip on reality realize that statement is exactly the reason that we have many of our problems – and at the heart of it is our healthcare system.

Is it mere co-incidence that the industry which is most greatly benefited by our excesses is the largest single contributor to lobbying efforts to maintain their place at the top of the food chain?

Is one of the causes for the murders we commit the fact that more and more Americans are feeling helpless and bereft of hope and turn to irrational, violent acts out of despair?  Or is it the intransigent Powerful NRA which is at fault?

So in America, who’s got the power?  I think the numbers speak for themselves.

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