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A pro-gun Democrat could win in Trump country. Where does that leave gun control activism?

If you want an illustration of the current Democratic dilemma on guns, look no further than the special congressional election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, which will be decided on Tuesday.

Recent polls show Democrat Conor Lamb running neck and neck with his Republican opponent Rick Saccone. Democrats are looking at an improbable prospect: Lamb could win a deeply red district that Democrats were never even supposed to be competitive in. And part of the reason he might be doing so well is his pro-gun messaging.

Lamb’s first campaign ad featured footage of him shooting an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle at a gun range, with the narrator voiceover saying the candidate “still loves to shoot.”

Republicans have been trying furiously to attack Lamb on the gun issue, painting him as someone who will pursue aggressive gun control policies if elected to Congress. But he’s not giving them a lot of ammunition to work with. A US Marine Corps veteran, Lamb is on the record as not supporting additional gun control measures.


Tucker Carlson is INCENSED that Morning Joe Leaked About Kellyanne's Off-Air Disgust at The Don

He's also pissed that so many psychiatrists are coming out, commenting on Trump's state of mind.

Pope suggests it's better to be an atheist than a greedy Christian

(CNN) Christians who exploit people, lead a double life and get involved in "dirty business," scandalize the church, Pope Francis said in a sermon Thursday in Rome. In fact, it might be better just to be an atheist.

"And so many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others. How many times have we heard -- all of us, around the neighborhood and elsewhere -- 'but to be a Catholic like that, it's better to be an atheist.' It is that, scandal. You destroy. You beat down," Francis said, according to Vatican Radio.

Examples of such scandals abound, the Pope said, adding that they erode the church and the guilty Christian from within, by causing others to sin and lose faith.

Francis' sermon, as is customary, was an extended riff on Thursday's Mass readings, which include a passage from the Gospel on Mark in which Jesus says it is better to be drowned than to cause others to sin.


I'm not sure if I'm to take that as an insult, or as a compliment.

But just in case: "Thank you, Your Holiness."

Eww... Trump's Cabinet -- "Attorney General Chris Christie"

WASHINGTON ― Frustrated at the lack of enthusiasm for his vice presidential pick Mike Pence, Donald Trump is now telling those close to him that he wants a do-over of sorts, which he aims to get by rolling out the names of potential cabinet members, a source who spoke to Trump told The Huffington Post.

Trump was disappointed with the rollout of Pence, and the reaction to him, on several levels. He was first piqued that the news leaked before he’d gotten around to telling the runners-up, Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie, about his choice. He then had second thoughts, postponed the announcement and spent Thursday night trying to find a way to back out of his choice, according to multiple news reports and the source close to Trump.

Trump sees Pence as a politically safe but unexciting choice, the source said. When non-politicians fantasize about running for president, they delight in imagining the unorthodox, thrilling running mate they might choose. For Trump to have ended up paired with such a standard pol, after a year of violating every campaign norm in the book, must be a major letdown.

Multiple sources say that Trump wants to name Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, as his attorney general, although knowing Trump, he could change his mind at any moment. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law who plays a major role in the campaign, fought against Christie as a VP pick, as reported this week by HuffPost blogger Laura Goldman and later corroborated elsewhere.

Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, whom Trump at one point floated as a potential VP, will surely be on the short list for defense secretary, unless of course Kid Rock makes himself available.


You know, I've steered clear of all the Orlando threads this weekend...

As much as I've been tempted to wade in, either to engage some of the apologists of religious extremism, or those trying to blame everything on inanimate objects while minimizing motive, those giving excuses to the visceral hate against LGBT people in this country (coming from all quarters) that fueled that perp's thinking and rationale, even if it does turn out he's really just mentally ill and only used the "I pledge allegiance to ISIS" line during his frantic 911 call as a cover for his psychosis...

After all, it's no mystery how these events inevitably unfold... people are naturally angry. And outraged. And understandably so. They want answers. They want solutions. The perp is dead, so we can't hold him accountable, so by God, we need to blame something, burn SOMETHING in effigy. Ban shit, censor shit, boost security, restrict rights and freedoms, you name it. Something must be done.

Everyone goes crazy for a few days or few weeks following, until the threat passes and things slowly start simmering back down and everyone goes back to business as usual. Until the next time it happens. Rinse and repeat.

I really wish breaking the cycle were as simple as merely passing a few more "feel good" laws. If, say, banning certain weapons or tools would somehow prevent people with ill intentions from not just resorting to other means to commit similar atrocities. Sure, "assault rifles" may be the weapon of choice right now because they are so easy and available, and perhaps heavily restricting them would reduce at least the violence from guns... but you're never going to stop these acts of mass violence from occurring without addressing motive. Not so long as people can just resort to chaining shut doors to crowded buildings and use a $5 can of gasoline to burn the whole place down.

I wish I knew what the solution was. I wish there were just a surefire way to absolutely, 100% prevent all future massacres from occurring. I think there are things we can do to address motive, to try to tamp down the overall level of hate that permeates this society, but we'll never prevent all lone nuts from raging and lashing out at society. All we can do is try to detect them earlier, get them the help they need sooner, and if necessary keep them confined in a secure institution if indeed a credible threat is realized, someone intent on doing actionable harm.

It's Official: The Christian Right Has Lost Control of the Republican Party

With Lyin' Ted Cruz crashing and burning, the writing is on the wall... regular, frequently-attending church-going Christians overwhelmingly preferred Cruz as their candidate. Yet for the first time in a generation, they weren't able to deliver the GOP nomination.

It's Official: The Fascist Wing of the "Grand" Old Party has now taken over.

(At least Carnival Cruz has Carly at his side to help with laying off all those staffers... )

A Brief History of the Candidacy of Donald J. Trump

Late Spring 2015

Bill Clinton has a private telephone conversation with The Donald at the same time the billionaire investor and reality-television star was nearing a decision to run for the White House, according to associates for both men. Clinton encouraged Trump's efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party and offered his own views of the political landscape.

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/bill-clinton-called-donald-trump-ahead-of-republicans-2016-launch/2015/08/05/e2b30bb8-3ae3-11e5-b3ac-8a79bc44e5e2_story.html

June 16, 2015 - Donald Trump Enters the Race

The Donald: "We're being invaded by Mexican immigrants -- drug dealers and rapists -- we need to seal the border, build a wall, and make Mexico pay for it!"

(Donald seizes an early lead in the GOP polls.)

Next up: Carly Fiorina begins to rise in the polls...

The Donald: "She's an ugly bitch -- just look at that face -- can you imagine that as the face of our next president?!"

Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/donald-trump-insults-carly-fiorinas-appearance/

(Carly slips in the polls, as Donald continues to rise...)

Next up: Jeb Bush begins to gain traction...

The Donald: "His brother didn't keep us safe! We were attacked under his watch! He LET those terrorists in, he allowed 9-11 to happen!!"

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/19/politics/donald-trump-jeb-george-w-bush-9-11-jeb-bush/

(Jeb Bush plummets to single digits in the polls and never recovers...)

Next up: Ben Carson begins to rise in the polls...

The Donald: "He's pathological like a child molester! There's no cure for that!"

Source: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/donald-trump-ben-carson-pathological-child-molester

(Ben Carson collapses in the polls, Donald rises further...)

Next up: Ted Cruz climbs in the polls...

The Donald: "He's a Canadian! A foreigner! He's illegimate just like Obama born in Kenya!"

Source: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-01-14/donald-trump-attacks-ted-cruz-over-his-canada-birth

(Ted Cruz's momentum halts, begins to slip slightly in the polls...)

Next up: Big Dawg calls back up The Donald, asking for a status report.

The Donald: "Takin' them down one by one, tearing up the Republican field."

Bill Clinton: "You're the man, Donald. Please proceed."

NYT: Some Inconvenient Gun Facts for Liberals

FOR those of us who argue in favor of gun safety laws, there are a few inconvenient facts.

We liberals are sometimes glib about equating guns and danger. In fact, it’s complicated: The number of guns in America has increased by more than 50 percent since 1993, and in that same period the gun homicide rate in the United States has dropped by half.

Then there are the policies that liberals fought for, starting with the assault weapons ban. A 113-page study found no clear indication that it reduced shooting deaths for the 10 years it was in effect. That’s because the ban was poorly drafted, and because even before the ban, assault weapons accounted for only 2 percent of guns used in crimes.

Move on to open-carry and conceal-carry laws: With some 13 million Americans now licensed to pack a concealed gun, many liberals expected gun battles to be erupting all around us. In fact, the most rigorous analysis suggests that all these gun permits caused neither a drop in crime (as conservatives had predicted) nor a spike in killings (as liberals had expected). Liberals were closer to the truth, for the increase in carrying loaded guns does appear to have led to more aggravated assaults with guns, but the fears were overblown.

One of the puzzles of American politics is that most voters want gun regulation, but Congress resists. One poll found that 74 percent even of N.R.A. members favor universal background checks to acquire a gun. Likewise, the latest New York Times poll found that 62 percent of Americans approved of President Obama’s executive actions on guns this month.

So why does nothing get done? One reason is that liberals often inadvertently antagonize gun owners and empower the National Rifle Association by coming across as supercilious, condescending and spectacularly uninformed about the guns they propose to regulate. A classic of gun ignorance: New York passed a law three years ago banning gun magazines holding more than seven bullets — without realizing that for most guns there is no such thing as a magazine for seven bullets or less.


Pretty spot-on article... the author goes on to point out that more than 10 percent of murders in the United States, for example, are by intimate partners. Most risky is right after a violent breakup when a woman has won a restraining order against her ex. One "common sense" solution that both Democrats and Republicans might be able to agree on is temporarily prohibiting the subjects of these restraining orders from possessing a gun, which has been found to reduce these murders by 10 percent.

Other approaches that could win bipartisan support deal with working more with gangs to support high-risk children and reduce delinquency and adult crime. "If the left can drop the sanctimony, and the right can drop the obstructionism, if instead of wrestling with each other we can grapple with the evidence, we can save thousands of lives a year."

I would agree.

Trump again won’t rule out a third-party run

Donald Trump is not ruling out a run for president as an independent if things go south for the front-runner in the Republican race.

"I'm going to have to see what happens," he told George Stephanopoulos in an interview that aired Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "I will see what happens. I have to be treated fairly."

Trump was responding to a Wall Street Journal report that Republican operatives are considering banding together donors from the other GOP campaigns in a bid to knock Trump off the top spot.
If Republican operatives succeed in knocking Trump off his perch, their plan could backfire if he then runs as an independent.

A July Washington Post-ABC News poll found that in a hypothetical general election matchup between Bush and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, Clinton led 50 percent to 44 percent. But throw a third-party Trump run into the mix, and the poll found that he would tear support away Bush and give Clinton a 16-point lead.


PJ Media: I Compared My Obamacare Options to My Current Plan, and Surprise, Surprise

So I saw this nasty piece of conservative propaganda trending on Yahoo! News just now:

It happens that I started a new day job as a principal engineer a couple of weeks ago. It's for a Very Large Company, VLC. It has a health insurance plan that is, if not the absolute best one I've ever had, a nicely adequate one. It's what's called a "high deductible" plan, but that means a $1500 deductible, with both a health savings account to which the company contributes, and a flexible spending account. Looked good to me. With my contributions to max out both the HSA and the FSA, my net deduction from my pay is around $600 a month -- but remember, that's almost entirely pre-tax money going into accounts I can use to pay for health care of various sorts.

Because of the ACA, however, they were required to notify me I could opt out of their plans, and choose instead a plan from the health insurance exchanges.

Okay, so just to reassure everyone I haven't completely lost my mind, when this option was offered, I immediately said "you mean I can opt to buy my own expensive and inadequate coverage instead of going with the company's plan they pay for?" And, reassuringly, the HR person explaining these plans answered, "Yes, that's about it."

I did get curious, though: what would that option be?

So I went to Connect for Health Colorado, the Colorado exchange website and ... well, tried to sign up. After filling in a long page of personal information, I tried to submit it, and got an error


So I thought I'd do a little quick investigating to see if he was telling the truth.

So I went to Colorado's exchange site:


Clicked on the blue "Sign-In/Shop" button on the top-right, then chose "Individuals & Families" from the drop-down list.

Then scrolled down to the lower-middle: "Browse Plans" (you don't even have to sign up and make an account and enter anything to see prices and plans, like that guy was claiming)

I just entered a Denver zip code (80123) and a date-of-birth making my fake persona age 50 like I presume is around the age of the author of that piece is, based on his profile picture, then left "Start Coverage" date to 01-01-2016 and ticked the "Health" coverage type leaving "Dental" blank.

Well lo and behold... I did find some cheaper shitty Bronze and Silver plans like he was saying that had high deductibles, but if you scroll down further I was able to find a decent Gold EPO plan (Cigna Vantage Flex Gold 1400) that cost less ($589.41/month) than what he is paying now through his private employer and has a slightly lower deductible.

In short, he's a bald-faced liar! Claiming that none of the Obamacare plans are any good in comparison.

I suppose that's just par for course for right-wing media, but I found it quite funny how I could debunk this guy's story in less than 5 minutes just by visiting the Colorado exchange site that he claimed "stumped" him, trying to sign up.

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