Sunday, December 16, 2012


Watching this brought me to tears this morning.  Now is the time to stop the madness of our country's gun culture.  Now is the time to let the large majority of the American public speak and have their will be done.  Only a small minority of radical gun advocates have been the ones that have controlled the debate for almost 30 years.  These radicals exist to support the gun manufacturers.  It's nothing less than the sanction of mass murder and mayhem.


Let's start with the five types of gun control that a majority of NRA members and the general public support:
1. Requiring criminal background checks on gun owners and gun shop employees. 87 percent of non-NRA gun-owners and 74 percent of NRA gun owners support the former, and 80 percent and 79 percent, respectively, endorse the latter.
2. Prohibiting terrorist watch list members from acquiring guns. Support ranges from 80 percent among non-NRA gun-owners to 71 percent among NRA members.
3. Mandating that gun-owners tell the police when their gun is stolen. 71 percent non-NRA gun-owners support this measure, as do 64 percent of NRA members.
4. Concealed carry permits should only be restricted to individuals who have completed a safety training course and are 21 and older. 84 percent of non-NRA and 74 percent of NRA member gun-owners support the safety training restriction, and the numbers are 74 percent and 63 percent for the age restriction.
5.Concealed carry permits shouldn’t be given to perpetrators of violent misdemeanors or individuals arrested for domestic violence. The NRA/non-NRA gun-owner split on these issues is 81 percent and 75 percent in favor of the violent misdemeanors provision and 78 percent/68 percent in favor of the domestic violence restriction.
 After that, lets call out all those who say:
– “Gun control supporters have the blood of little children on their hands. Federal and state laws combined to insure that no teacher, no administrator, no adult had a gun at the Newtown school where the children were murdered.” [Larry Pratt, Gun Owners Of America]
– “Had Connecticut not had the no guns in school laws….Had the principal, the maintenance man, a teacher, been allowed to keep a gun in their office, maybe just maybe, this would have come out differently.” [Bob Irwin, The Gun Store]
– “I only wish the kindergarten teacher and principal in Connecticut had been armed.” [Dr. Keith Ablow, Fox News]
– “[S]o looking at this tragedy that happened with K-12, we might have to have an armed employee at the schools, that’s a measure, that’s a measure.” [Michele Fiore, Nevada Assemblywoman]
– “Look at what has happened, all these attacks this year have occurred where guns are banned.” [John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime]
– “Well, I believe those of us who are licensed to carry, are responsible people, shouldn’t be prohibited from carrying in schools or other places.” [Steve Dulan, Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners]
 Let's call them out as advocates of violence, mass murder, and vigilantism.  There is no instance in the past 30 years where even one of the scenarios listed above has made a difference.  Of the 62 documented mass shootings since 1982, not one has been stopped by an armed civilian.

Instead, lets support these folks who are finally speaking out on the national stage against the carnage of gun violence:
1. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY): “If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don’t know when is. How many more Columbines and Newtowns must we live through? I am challenging President Obama, the Congress, and the American public to act on our outrage and, finally, do something about this.” 2. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY): “We cannot tolerate mass shootings as a mere inconvenience or a normal part of our everyday lives. Easy availability of the deadliest weapons to the most dangerous people has cost countless lives and caused immeasurable suffering, never more so than today. Our expressions of sympathy must be matched with concrete actions to stop gun violence.”
3. Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA): “As a nation, we are again confronted with an act of terrifying mass gun violence. While the coming days should be reserved for grieving, as a legislative body, and as a people, we must consider what can be done to improve our laws to prevent the continuation of this horrific trend.”
4. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA): “Tragedy in CT school. Unspeakable carnage. Every parent’s nightmare. Pray for the families. Congress must act now.”
5. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ): “Americans are sick and tired of these attacks on our children and neighbors and they are sick and tired of nothing being done in Washington to stop the bloodshed. If we do not take action to address gun violence, shooting tragedies like this will continue. As President Obama said, we must act now ‘regardless of the politics.’”
6. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA): “This touches us all so deeply, and it is long past time that we enacted sensible gun laws and school safety legislation.”
  • Mark Kelly, husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) — herself a shooting survivor — and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) joined in these calls aggressive action on gun control legislation.
  • Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D) and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), co-chairs of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, also demanded immediate action. Among their proposals are requiring background checks for all gun purchases and increased enforcement of existing gun laws. Others have also proposed re-regulating military-style assault rifles.
  • And, conservative columnist David Frum noted, “A permissive gun regime is not the only reason that the United States suffers so many atrocities like the one in Connecticut. An inadequate mental health system is surely at least as important a part of the answer.”
If any concerned responsible gun owner questions your motivation, simply ask them this question, "What will you do to stop the mass murder of children?"


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Right To Work - The Other Side of the Story

I got an email from my representative in Congress yesterday.  I've quoted the main points in order to offer an opposing point of view.  The full letter can be read here.
This means individual employees can join unions voluntarily, but unions cannot force membership or force the payment of dues across entire worksites.
ALL union membership is and has been voluntary.  The freedom to join or not join is enshrined in federal law. This is actually a victory for management against the freedom and benefits for workers. Indiana and Michigan are the first states in 22 years to move to "right to work" for less.  Most of the 24 states that currently have this regressive policy in place have not seen any improvement in their employment, have seen worker incomes lowered, and benefits decreased.  The corporate profits, however, have soared.
Folks should have the freedom to decide whether or not they will join a union. This freedom creates healthier unions that are constantly seeking to provide better services to members and prospective members. Eliminating this freedom limits the individual freedom of workers, results in fewer jobs, and makes our nation less competitive versus our foreign competitors.
...full union membership cannot lawfully be required. In Pattern Makers v. NLRB, 473 U.S. 95 (1985), the United States Supreme Court held that union members have the right to resign their union membership at any time. 
Most employers do not tell their employees this important bit of information. What can be required are union fees to offset the cost of the the union's bargaining on behalf of both union and non-union employees. Yet there are regulations in place for workers to challenge these fees if they feel it is necessary.

It is silly to call this an "individual freedom" issue.  It's much more about power.  Management doesn't need collective bargaining.  It holds a powerful hand by definition. Workers can only negotiate via collective action.  The real freedom issue here is the right to work for a living wage, proper working conditions, and health benefits that encourage and strengthen the work force.  
As our country struggles to find ways to stay competitive, create more jobs and grow our national economy, states must be looking for commonsense ways to ensure their prosperity. A recent study indicates that there is faster growth in employment and income in states with right to work laws in place.
Indeed, Mr. Goodlatte is talking about global competition.  No longer is America an exceptional nation with regards to the standard of living of its working class.  Competition is simply code for lower wages, fewer benefits and lowering the quality of life for what is left of America's middle class.

Many more studies have found that wages and benefits are lower for both union workers AND non-union workers in RTW  states. These studies actually measure the effects of RTW policies implemented in the laborotories of the states.  There is one study published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy that suggests an economic benefit from RTW as should be expected from this market-based, conservative think tank seeking to justify its emphasis on corporate power and conservative ideology.
I am also a strong supporter of the National Right to Work Act, which preserves and protects the free choice of individual employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities. This legislation is simple and reasonable. The bill deletes provisions in federal law that authorizes contracts forcing workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
This is a solution in search of a problem. Workers currently freedom to choose their level of union participation. This is federal law.  The NRWA doesn't have anything to do with workers rights join a union or not, pay fees, or dues, or choose in anyway to participate in union activities.  This legislation simply seeks to consolidate the power of management to impose wages, benefits, and workplace conditions to maximize it's competitiveness and profitability. 
... our real competitors are Japan, Mexico, China, and Europe--not Ohio, New York, and California. So by making our nation more competitive as a whole, we also help Virginia’s workers and businesses.
Check the working conditions and wages in these countries.  You will find that the lifestyle of the working class advocated here is quite a bit different than anything associated with the American Dream.  Perhaps it is only the "makers" that are entitled to the American way of life?  Are Real Americans simply the Rich Americans?
By passing right to work legislation in statehouses or in Congress we can restore the freedom of America's workers to choose the form of workplace representation that best suits their needs or to choose not to participate. Most importantly, we help improve the standard of living of all American workers, support job creation and help keep the jobs we already have right here in the United States. These are the kind of pro-growth, pro-jobs policies we need to help fuel our economic recovery.
This couldn't be a clearer statement of pro-management, anti-worker policy. Freedom to work for less?  Power to the "makers?" Creation of a new lower class of workers who are hungrier, sicker, and poorer in order to compete with other countries?  I believe that the economic recovery referred to here is simply a continuation of the powerful push towards Plutocratic Autocracy, fueled by they huge corporate windfall enjoyed by the financial elites during the past recession.  Workers and citizens are not represented here.

Mr. Goodlatte, who do you serve?

More work to do....