More guns no defense for self-defense: The FBI says: “Guns are rarely used for self-defense in US.” According to the FBI, “personal firearms are rarely used for self-defense in the US. Americans are far more likely to hurt themselves or others when handling lethal weapons. 259 ‘justifiable homicides’ in 2012 involved a private citizen, compared to 8,342 criminal homicides committed with a gun. In addition, ‘tens of thousands’ suicides and unintentional shootings were committed with a gun. Therefore, the National Rifle Association mantra “guns are necessary for self-defense” is nonsense and nothing but pimp talk for 300 million firearms owned by Americans. The NRA website says firearms were successfully used in self-defense–against an intruder crawling through a doggie door, or a “rabid fox,” but provides no documentary proof that guns save lives. In fact, it’s striking that in the world’s most gun-toting, most gun-violent nation that so few guns are actually used in self-defense. But, gun propagandists don’t care about preventing crime and public danger. If common sense is not enough, the FBI is telling you guns are a danger to your family and children.
In addition the CDC says strong state gun control laws reduce gun violence deaths. Those states with the lowest overall gun death rates have lower rates of gun ownership and the strongest state gun violence prevention laws. Five states with highest per capita gun deaths rates are Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, Wyoming and Montana. Each has extremely lax state gun violence prevention laws and higher rate of gun ownership. States with the lowest gun deaths are Rhode Island, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey. Each has strong gun state violence prevention laws and lower gun ownership. “The weaker the state’s gun violence prevention laws and the easier the access to guns results in the highest gun death rates far above the national average. Weak gun control is endangering the safety of families and communities.” Weak gun violence protection laws are defined as adding little to existing federal laws, permissive laws governing the open or concealed carrying of firearms in public, and minimum safety standards for firearms and/or requirements for gun purchases and permits. The rate of gun violence deaths in Louisiana is 18.91 compared to 3.14 in Rhode Island. Nationwide U.S. gun violence is unacceptably high at 10.38 per 100K and far exceeds the gun death rate of Western industrialized nations. Great Britain is 0.23 per 100K and Australia 0.86. diogenes of california
Richard Dorsey, Hacienda Heights, CA.
Republicans openly “anti-elderly party:” Republican presidential candidates are pushing cuts to Social Security and an end to Medicare: Gov. Scott Walker wants benefit reforms applied to anybody born later than 1967. (Reform = cuts) Sen. Ted Cruz: “Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme,” wants increased retirement age, benefit cuts and privatization. Mario Rubio: Raise the retirement age, impose cuts; young must accept Social Security; our Medicare is will be less than our parent’s.” Jeb Bush: Push the retirement age back to 69. Chris Christie wants a minimum retirement age of 64, reduced Social Security benefits for seniors making more than $80K/yr, and eliminate them for over $200K. • Eliminating Social Security benefits would barely affect millionaires’ let alone billionaires’ income. GOP reform is a slight-of-hand reform––meant to distract from better alternatives––which asks the wealthy to pay the same percentage as everyone in payroll taxes, but the wealthy earn most money off dividends not payroll. The Republican House has repeatedly passed budgets that cut Medicare, replacing losses with vouchers for private insurance that impose a severe financial hardship on the average enrollee. • GOP’s benefit reform is being used to detract from a simpler and fairer approach where all interests would profit: Wall Street would have more retirement income to manage (costly fee), and health insurers would receive a flood of new customers. Benefit reductions cost retirees dearly, at a time when they can least afford it. Half of households age 55 and older have no retirement savings and older households without retirement savings have few other resources, such as a defined benefit plan or non-retirement savings, to draw on in retirement. • Congress could resolve Social Security long term solvency simply by lifting the current cap on the payroll tax which funds Social Security, which now exempts all annual income above $118,500––including that of millionaires and billionaires. Congress could also resolve healthcare costs by reducing the perverse profit motive incentives allowing Medicare to negotiate prices with Big Pharma. Instead, Republicans ignore the best solutions, spinning cuts or lifting the retirement age as a lesser evil and creating more crises for the elderly. • The retirement crisis comes from decades of wealth shifting from the middle class to the wealthy. Wage stagnation has Americans living from paycheck to paycheck, unable to save. Large employers have cut back on traditional pension plans. Social Security provides most of the income for about half of households age 65 and older. Social Security compares poorly to similar programs in most developed countries, but Republicans want to protect high earners and help corporations at the expense of ordinary retired people. That’s the GOP anti-elderly, pro-wealth agenda of today’s Republican Party.
Republicans against infrastructure spending: Republican party is dominated by Southern states. Heavy infrastructure costs) are located in the Northeast. Republicans refuse to spend on states that don’t vote Republican. Federal disaster relief is uniformly passed to all states, but only 70 House Republicans voted for federal emergency hurricane Sandy. Republican political policy regarding funding is to “Starve the Beast.” Republican power comes not from investing in the country, but seizing any vulnerability to “drown the government in a bathtub.” Republicans refuse to raise revenue and hold hostage all “unfavored” spending. Billions of unmet infrastructure spending represents a massive, annual golden opportunity to extort draconian cuts to social, regulatory, non-defense spending. Republicans reject deficit-financing even at low interest rates or private-public infrastructure bank. Republican power comes from privatizing infrastructure and monetizing public assets. Republican mega-bank/private equity patrons deeply want public resources turned into privately profit centers. Private Activity Bonds allow local governments to privatize public assets offering private equity investors tax-free investment profits on their investment. Tax-free means taxpayer subsidized with no public benefit. Republicans refuse infrastructure spending in order to kill labor and environmental laws on that restrict construction projects. Republicans care less about commuter deaths due to bridge collapse than not paying prevailing wages on public contracts. Republican Senator’s like Mike Lee want the public to believe unions crowd out low-skilled workers, create windfall labor profits, and waste taxpayer dollars, when in reality it is non-union contractors paying below living wages that crowd out American workers, reap record-making corporate profits and bleed the taxpayer with unnecessary costs. Richard Dorsey, Hacienda Heights, CA.
America’s black concentration camp culture: There are neighborhoods in Baltimore where life expectancy is 19 years less than other neighborhoods in the same city, lower than 229 other nations, exceeded only by Yemen, and lower than North Korea. Racist attitudes are said to cause up to 30K early black deaths every year. This is not the racism of Jim Crow, the KKK, and lynchings. This is racism embedded in our justice system; whites who fear blacks, cops who kill, and prosecutors who ensure blacks receive longer prison terms than whites. Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner, are only today’s tip of the black iceberg. Silent killers like job hopelessness and gauntlet crime neighborhoods develop chronic hypertension and medical conditions that invite blacks to the grave far earlier than whites. Just because of skin color, blacks are pre-destined by culture to high-crime neighborhoods, red-lined from regular insurance and lending rates, limited access to healthy food, restricted outdoor recreation, and decent health care. Discrimination in education, housing, employment, and in everyday white dominated social conditions lead to low self esteem, low educational prospects, low job opportunities, and low wages that making living life competing like a white person an impossibility. Blacks are hired less, promoted less, paid less and given increases less. Being born, growing up, and trying to survive in a world dominated by racial discrimination engages blacks in stress-induced negative response to life itself. Driving while black, running while black, and even walking while black in a white neighborhood brings police response unheard of to whites. The experience of racial discrimination from every direction is accompanied by a sense of powerlessness, anxiety, and anger. Listen! if you find yourself sick of hearing about racism, imagine how exhausting it must be living it every day. America’s local institutionalized racism in education, society, housing, and employment creates a concentration camp culture of social isolation. Instead of looking for users of the N-word, we need to find, focus and fix the cultural toxins of human relationships that lead to deep-seated racism. Richard Dorsey, Hacienda Heights, CA.
Democrats are Best Party for US Economy: For the past century, the American economy has only grown under Democratic presidents. Every recession and market crash has come under a Republican president. National Debt, Income Inequality, and Job Loss records have all pushed the economy down under Republican presidents. Stock Market, GDP, and New Jobs records have all lifted the economy all under Democrats. Republican conservatives claim they are the party of success, but only spout negative messages: “Makers versus takers,” “47% moochers,” “Poor need spur of poverty, people abuse free,” and “Government’s the problem, business, the solution.” GW Bush owns the worst eight-year economic performance in a modern American presidency. The last two Republican Congresses have the lowest achievement in American history. Trickle-down economics is a total failure. Republicans in Congress have spent their time for the past twenty years selling austerity rather than an opportunistic economy. No matter how often big money––which owns conservative media––tries to sell you Republican economics, the facts don’t lie. Only the wealthy are making money. We the suckers, who listen to Republican shuck and jive are paying for their profits. Richard Dorsey, Hacienda Heights, CA.
Bigotry is part of our nation: The fifteen-year domination of the National Spelling Bee by Indian-American spellers created ugly racial outbursts on conservative media. Longtime Bee director Paige Kimble was asked whether any “Americans” made it to the finals. “They’re all Americans,” Kimble replied. The champions were Vanya Shivashankar, 13, Olathe, Kansas and Gokul Venkatachalam, 14, Chesterfield, Missouri. This distinction, however, is lost on home grown bigots who don’t accept of the idea children of Indian, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean heritage outperforming their own. Homegrown bigots ignore the effort of these children’s parents, and instead focus their vitriol on preconceived beliefs of racial inferiority. Richard Dorsey, Hacienda Heights, CA.
Why don’t poor people just get jobs? They already did. 63% of poor people, who can work, do work. Of the 37% of poor people not working, 3.3 million are workers who have been let go due to the Republican recession, untrained or uneducated for specialized work, unemployed by circumstances beyond their control, and those currently seeking a job. The Republican Myth of contrasting hardworking Americans to the shiftless, lazy, poor people is a favorite of Republican conservative media. Republicans repeat this false mantra as they cut out-of-work safety net programs like food stamps or housing assistance. The Republican idea is people who don’t work should starve. If any money is provided it should go to poor people food and housing. Meanwhile, Republicans blithely ignore, getting and holding a job takes things poor people don’t have; transportation, money to pay for transportation, affordable rent housing near employment and not requiring hours of long distance travel, access to childcare, money to pay for child care, medical care due to low wage jobs that don’t include medicine, necessary savings or money to cover emergencies, neighborhoods that lend themselves to the prospect of finding any sort of job stock full of neighbors who themselves are not working steadily. Richard Dorsey, Hacienda Heights, CA.