Thursday, April 11, 2013

Concerning Issues: Gun Control, Social Security.

Two important issues are in the air now: gun control and Social Security - modification of the latter being a part of President Obama's budget proposals.

The President's original gun control proposals have already been diluted to eliminate any ban on sale of assault weapons. Now the concentration is on background checks. Even that proposal is causing consternation among certain strains of gun owners. Having read around to discover why, I found that the main objection is that they suspect that the registration of gun ownership, the holding of, and access to such registers by government would be unacceptable. It is surmised that, if ever a tyrannical government were to take over the nation, first thing they'd do would be to use any register of gun owners to rapidly confiscate all weapons. I'll try not to scoff, which was my immediate reaction. It could happen, though.... I guess. One day. Maybe. Couldn't it? The objection I see to the current proposal is that background checks are already part of the law - and that law is not being properly adhered to by all, including the authorities. Why would we expect that an encore would be treated any differently?

Is this really the best that can be done: the least we can do? If the NRA and its members are blocking every avenue, why not take an alternative route for now, consider that violence in general is being fueled by more than just the easy availability of guns? How about some restraints on depiction of violence in movies and video games? I know the arguments against this, but the fact remains that in this technological age more people do have far greater access to depictions of violence in fantasy situations than they've ever had before. Even when not seeking it we can all stumble upon heavy doses of violence in movies and TV drama. It draws the crowds, gets attention, encourages retailers to buy advertising time. Violence and sex, twin ensnarers of the human psyche, twin cash cows. Sex - well, okay that's a bit different, but treating violence as entertainment has to be wrong, measured by any yardstick.

Re: Social Security, and that peculiarly named "chained CPI" - sounds like something bikers might pin to their leather jackets. The President is allegedly trying to get Republicans to agree to fairly mild tax increases on the wealthy by offering up benefit reductions on incomes of senior citizens who, by the way, have contributed to their retirement benefit throughout their working lives. Nice, eh? If the Republicans go for it, which isn't at all certain (thank goodness) the measures won't affect seniors much immediately, but over time they would reduce Social Security retirement benefits by a significant sum, no longer linked as they'd be to cost of living increases (Consumer Price Index - CPI). It's the fact that Social Security should be "on the table" at all that's most concerning, and placed there by a "Democratic" President too! FDR must be rolling. If this measure is voted in, it'll be opening the door for further and deeper incursions in future years.


James Higham said...

Obama's gun control thinking can be seen in Fast and Furious.

Twilight said...

James Higham ~ You mean the "trail of breadcrumbs" method? Don't know whether he's thinking far enough ahead, in this case, for such a ploy. I doubt he'll care much what goes on once he's out of office in 2017, doing the lecture tours, roping in huge fees, planning his Presidential Library etc. Powers behind the scenes might have "breadcrumbs" in mind though, I guess, ready for the day when the masses finally, finally wake up.

LB said...

Hey Twilight - According to The Washington Post, "His (meaning the President's) proposed changes, once phased in, would mean a cut in Social Security benefits of nearly $1,000 a year for an average 85-year-old, smaller cuts for younger retirees." This is just one example; if these cuts go through, the elderly, poor and disabled will suffer more than they already do.

This isn't a matter of Democrats versus Republicans. We also need to be concerned about *Democrats* standing firm in their opposition to ANY of the President's proposed cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and to take notice of anyone who isn't willing to go the distance on this and other important issues (gun control is another). As of today, I believe *only* 39(?) Democrats have signed the Grayson-Takano letter promising to vote NO to any and all cuts to these valuable social programs.

Former Speaker of the House and current House Minority Leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi, at one time said she was against such cuts but now is open to them - she hasn't signed the letter and isn't likely to, considering her relationship with the President. Just last week, during one of the President's big-money fundraising events in Northern California, he commented how he'd "get a whole lot more done if Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House."

Politics is such a sad business.

Tuesday's Huffington Post featured a great article written by Robert Naiman of Just Foreign Policy. He offered some alternative ways to cut spending:

LB said...

I just ran across another interesting article:

Apparently only 38 (not 39?) Democrats signed the letter vowing to vote NO on the cuts - According to the article, "Pelosi and roughly 162 others are thus far still missing from the list of House Democrat signers."

It's worth noting 2.3 million Americans signed a petition opposing the President's proposed cuts. It was delivered to the White House on Tuesday.

Twilight said...

LB ~~ Hi! It certainly is a sad business. We the People no longer have genuine representatives in Washington.....well, maybe a scant few of them are on our side, but not nearly enough to make a difference.

I wish that the scant few would make a clean break with the Dems, join with a coalition of some third parties we saw emerging last year, as well as with the Green Party. What could be termed "the Left" is too fragmented now to be of any use at all.

The only whisper of positivity I can dredge up is that if this proposal goes through, as is, it might wake up more and more people to the fact that the Democrats are NOT - or are no longer - the party of the people.

Thanks for the links. I had seen the second one. Common Dreams commenters enjoy pointing out that most of the supposedly left-leaning writers of pieces pretending amazement at this current proposal are by those who urged us to vote for Obama in 2012, yet it was fairly clear which way his sails were set long before the November election.

We shouldn't be surprised at what's on the agenda now - just thoroughly sickened, I guess.

Anonymous said...

I saw Barry for what and who he was back in 2007 and what crooked bastards the Democratic party was becoming. First they knife Hillary in the back then party operatives (Yes you, Donna Brazille) say that the party no longer needs the Hillary faction; the party is "younger, more urban,more hip" or something along those lines. These starry eyed idiots called anyone who disagreed with Barry a racist. No, he didn't and doesn't have the chops to be an Alderman in Chicago, let alone President. Barry and the madame of his are grifters who couldn't care less about this country or its' citizens. They are seeking retrobution for perceived slights that were incurred to them.

LB said...

"The only whisper of positivity I can dredge up is that if this proposal goes through, as is, it might wake up more and more people to the fact that the Democrats are NOT - or are no longer - the party of the people."

I wish more people realized this now. It's hard to imagine how much more it will take to finally break through the layers of denial . . . but we can always hope.

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Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~ Thanks - more education never goes to waste.