Fighting tyranny

From Hecatedemeter, some common sense:

When those men wrote the Second Amendment to our Constitution, America didn’t have a standing Army, Navy, Air Force (they could never have imagined!), Marines, National Guard, and Coast Guard. We didn’t have a police force in every town equipped with tasers, drones, heat sensors, electronic spies, and the ability to nab your cell phone and entrap your friends. We can argue, as an esoteric exercise, about whether or not all of those abilities are good things, but they are, right now, facts. We, the people, have turned over to the government, our need for a “well-regulated militia.”


Here’s what I do know.


I do know that no matter how many guns any one person or group may purchase, if the United States government decides to take you out, they are going to take you out. They will, literally, out-gun you. Until you can, Dune-like, employ the family atomics, (not to mention the family chemical weapons, the family heat sensors, and the family ability to cut off water) and, really, even then, you are not going to hold off the firepower of the United States government, which spends more money on weapons than any other country on the face of the globe. Maybe that’s good; maybe it’s bad. But it’s a fact.


I know that letting every nutjob in America load up on automatic weapons is inimical to the “security of a free state.” People can’t be free if they are constantly at the mercy of an armed nut. Ironically, the reaction to the tragedy in Aurora isn’t to limit the ability of crazies to purchase arms. Instead, theaters are going to limit the freedom of patrons to wear costumes. Let’s be clear: costumes. Costumes don’t kill people. Guns kill people. But we apparently can’t limit the ability of nutjobs to buy guns, so we’re going to limit the ability of free people in a “free state” to wear costumes. Some underpaid usher at a movie theatre is going to decide whether or not your pentacle, or your Goth make-up, or maybe just your beard renders you unable to see a movie. Because we can’t tell nutjobs that they can’t buy automatic weapons. And you can now surrender your bodily freedom and allow, again, some underpaid usher at a movie theatre to grope you in order to allow you into the theatre.


I know that letting every nutjob in America load up on automatic weapons is inimical to “a well-regulated militia.” Ask any police force in America what they think about reasonable gun control and they’ll tell you that they are all for it. There’s nothing “well regulated” about letting every nutjob out there buy all the automatic weapons s/he can buy.

Bucks County action alert

Minimum Wage Workers Call on Rep. Fitzpatrick to Catch Up to 1968

What: Raise the Wage! Minimum Wage Walking Tour

When: Tuesday, July 24 at 1:00 pm

Where: Levittown Town Center, Route 13 & Levittown Parkway, Levittown, PA 19054

*The tour will begin in front of the Wal-Mart SuperCenter. 

LEVITTOWN– As controversy heats up over Mitt Romney’s tax returns and outsourcing, the national conversation has again turned to the growing gap between the rich and the poor. On Tuesday, July 24 at 1pm, community members and minimum wage workers will gather at the Levittown Town Center to continue that conversation and call for Congress to raise the federal minimum wage. The group will gather for a “Raise the Wage” Minimum Wage Walking Tour to call on Rep. MikeFitzpatrick to support The Catching up to 1968 Act of 2012 which would raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour.

Through visiting several low wage-paying businesses like Wal-Mart and Taco Bell, the tour will highlight the struggle of minimum wage workers who are getting by on a wage that has not been raised since 1968, when adjusted for inflation. The group will also highlight the economic benefit for local communities when the working poor have more purchasing power.  Thousands of people, many of whom earn the minimum wage, are expected to participate in more than 30 events across the country on July 24 as part of a national day of action.

Sanctioned

Swift, severe punishment from the NCAA for Penn State:

Penn State was socked with a four-year postseason ban, the loss of 40 scholarships over four years and a $60 million fine stemming from its actions in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.


In addition, all victories from 1998-2011 have been vacated, a huge blow to the coaching legacy of Joe Paterno, now formerly the leader in Division I college football victories.


NCAA President Mark Emmert announced the penalties, saying that “one of the dangers in our love of sports is that sports themselves can become too big to fail, too big to challenge.”

Horrors

I am oh so shocked that there could be anything crooked about the tangled web of for-profit education and political connections. Who could have known?

Without warning, Delaware Valley High School – a for-profit education firm whose records were recently subpoenaed by a federal grand jury – has laid off all 50 teaching and administrative employees at the four alternative schools it operates in the region.


Staffers said lawyer David T. Shulick, whose company operates the schools, owes them each thousands of dollars for work during the 2011-12 academic year. They had been expecting back pay last week but got furlough notices instead.


In late February, the FBI raided Shulick’s Logan Square law office, searching for documents related to Delaware Valley’s relationship with Chaka “Chip” Fattah Jr., 29, whose father is U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, a Philadelphia Democrat. They also interviewed Shulick.

Delaware Valley had paid 10 percent of its $4.5 million contract with the Philadelphia School District for the 2010-2011 school year to 259 Strategies L.L.C., a minority firm owned by Fattah Jr., who had an office in Shulick’s law firm. After firing Fattah Jr. last summer, Shulick rehired him in December but did not renew his subcontract.

Never enough

No matter how much they get, they want even more:

Over a four years period from 2008 to 2011, Corning Inc. was one of 26 companies that managed to avoid paying any American income taxes, even though it earned nearly $3 billion during that time. In fact, according to Citizens For Tax Justice, the company received a $4 million refund from 2008 to 2010. That didn’t stop Susan Ford, a senior executive at the company, from telling the House Ways and Means Committee this week that America’s high corporate tax rate was putting her company at a disadvantage:

American manufacturers are at a distinct disadvantage to competitors headquartered in other countries. Specifically, foreign manufacturers uniformly face a lower corporate tax rate than U.S. manufacturers, and virtually all operate under territorial systems which encourage investment both abroad and at home.

Ford told the committee that Corning paid an effective tax rate of 36 percent in 2011, but as CTJ notes, she is counting taxes on profits earned overseas that haven’t yet been paid and won’t be unless the company decides to bring the money back to the United States. Corning’s actual tax rate in 2011, according to CTJ’s analysis, was actually negative 0.2 percent.

The territorial system Ford testified in favor of would actually encourage the offshoring of profits earned by American companies, thereby reducing the amount they pay in taxes even more. And rather than helping remove a disadvantage that prevents companies from creating jobs, an economic analysis of such a tax system found that it could actually cost the United States as many as 800,000 jobs.

Blame the liberal media

I knew it was only a matter of time before some good fear-mongering evangelicals would connect the imaginary dots between a massacre at a Batman movie and people’s stubborn refusal to accept the world as these religious “leaders” would have us see it:

On the conservative Christian radio show AFA Today, evangelical spokesperson Jerry Newcombe blamed the tragedy of the Aurora shooting on the nation’s loss of fear of God and hell. Discussing the victims, Newcombe argued that the non-Christians were going to Hell:

If a Christian dies early, if a Christian dies young, it seems tragic, but really it is not tragic because they are going to a wonderful place.. on the other hand, if a person doesn’t know Jesus Christ.. if they knowingly rejected Jesus Christ, then, basically, they are going to a terrible place.

Newcombe is a spokesperson for Truth in Action Ministries, which has two nationally syndicated television programs and a combined audience of over half a million on television, radio, and the Internet. In a column in One News Now, Newcombe wrote that the shooting was evidence that “we’re reaping what we’ve been sowing as a society,” explaining, “Lawsuit after lawsuit, often by misguided ‘civil libertarians,’ have chased away any fear of God in the land.”

On the same radio segment, Fred Jackson, the host and director of the American Family Association, similarly blamed Hollywood, liberal media and churches for contributing to mass shootings:

I have to think that all of this, whether it’s the Hollywood movies, whether it’s what we see on the internets, whether it’s liberal bias in the media, whether it’s our politicians changing public policy, I think all of those somehow have fit together—and I have to say also churches who are leaving the authority of Scripture and losing their fear of God—all of those things have seem to have come together to give us these kinds of incidents.

Jackson’s American Family Association is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center – and I have to say, he sounds pretty hateful to me.

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