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MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

When is rising consumer demand bad for America?

When it comes in the form of guys buying guns used in killings as blood-sport collectors' trophies.

That's what happened in Arizona after the Tucson massacre, when the sales of the Glock handgun used by the killer soared:

Greg Wolff, the owner of two Arizona gun shops, told his manager to get ready for a stampede of new customers after a Glock-wielding gunman killed six people at a Tucson shopping center on Jan. 8.

Wolff was right. Instead of hurting sales, the massacre had the $499 semi-automatic pistols - popular with police, sport shooters and gangsters - flying out the doors of his Glockmeister stores in Mesa and Phoenix.

"We're at double our volume over what we usually do," Wolff said two days after the shooting spree that also left 14 wounded, including Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

In fact, the specific model - the Glock 19 - with which Jared Lee Loughner caused so much bloodshed, was in particular demand.

Gun fans aren't buying the Glock in such surging numbers

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

 

Bullets can kill dreamers, but they cannot kill dreams.

The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 should teach us that. It should inspire us through the mourning and shock over the shootings in Tucson, and the virulent, violent rhetoric of those Americans filled with hate.

In Dr. King's most remembered moment, his "I Have a Dream" speech, he pronounced a clarion call for equality:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

This is not just an equality of voting rights and freedom from discrimination: It is a call for economic justice and the freedom from being victimized by violence.

King implored us:

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

"Glenn Beck called me and told me to shoot Congressman Giffords, Federal Judge Roll, and gave me a list of other names of people to kill and maim," confessed Jared L. Loughner to the police.

Is this statement true? Was it actually made? Of course not.

But despite all the incendiary rhetoric of violent, right-wing media shills and politicians, despite Loughner's hatred of government that is entirely consistent with the Republican echo chamber line of agitating popular anger and violent recourse by denouncing the government as evil, the mainstream media still falls into dishonest "frames" of reporting on the Tuscon massacre.

It's almost as if they would require Beck's fingerprints on Loughner's Glock to connect the dots. As Media Matters has reported over and over again, Beck can be directly connected to inciting shooters in the past year, including the Oakland gunman who was on his way to kill staff at the Tides Foundation. The Tides Foundation has been a regular target of Beck's conspiratorial tirades, and portrayed as a sinister financial backer of the "evil" liberals. It's not the kind of target

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

Can you be rabidly anti-government and not be political?

Apparently the answer is yes, according to the mainstream media, and even some of the progressive press.

It is a bit shocking to read news analysis variations on the Tucson shooter that are phrased along the lines of "Jared L. Loughner was not considered political, although he did express anti-government feelings."

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

It might be a good day, as we mourn the shooting victims of Saturday's rampage, to rededicate ourselves to exposing the public policy issues that are creating the underlying fissures in our democracy.

One of them, of course, is our financial decline as a nation.

Of all the books written about Wall Street, no one conveys informed outrage about the pillaging of America by financial gamblers better than Matt Taibbi. A writer for Rolling Stone, Taibbi writes with the abandonment of Hunter Thompson and the roiling indignation of Norman Mailer.

In "Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America," Taibbi puts the blame squarely on America's economic and political elite for turning the nation's financial destiny into a gambling casino.

As the fabric of American society unravels, nothing causes more social friction than a deteriorating economy. Taibbi doesn't attempt to maintain a "reasoned" analytical tone. He's furious at the highway robbery that took place

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

While the mainstream corporate media, for the most part, continues its exercise in false equivalencies about violence coming from the right and the left, anybody with an ounce of common sense knows that this is nonsense.

First of all, as just one of thousands of examples, if a high school student running for student council circulated a map of opponents who he or she was targeting with a rifle sight, that student would be summarily suspended or expelled from school. But Sarah Palin keeps on tweeting away, while she sends out an aide to say that she really didn't mean to imply than anyone was aiming a gun at her "enemies," which included Gabrielle Giffords.

Palin, who wants people to see her as the common person, is anything but common. She would be considered a dangerous demagogue in any nation but America, where she is a politician "too big to fail." (Although, one should note that at this particular moment she is tanking in the polls.)

I won't even get into the media shills who pour the gasoline, light the match and declare their innocence when someone grabs the match from their hand and sets the government on fire.

But here's one simple truth; the right has guns - millions and millions of them - but the left uses words as its political force of persuasion, not bullets. And the right-wing media shills, and the right-wing politicians

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

It's not about gun control; it's about the devastating impact of our gun culture.

As an advocate of gun control, I believe in the strong regulation of lethal weapons. It's just common sense.

But until we start changing the gun worship of far too many American males, we are going to have a difficult time stopping the ravaging of our society by bullets.

More than 10,000 Americans die in gun homicides each year, a figure that far surpasses any Western nation.

In Arizona, obtaining a gun is about as easy as getting a drink from a water fountain. Arizona gun laws are so lax that firearms stores in the state

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

Bill Daley is a vivid metaphor of the Democratic Party abandonment of the working class.

Back in the day, when I was a full-time advocate for handgun control, I got to know Richard M. Daley (the outgoing mayor of Chicago) and his brother Bill a bit. In fact, I first met both of them when Richard M. was still Cook County State's Attorney and the "mayor in waiting," and Bill - the younger of the two - was known as the brains of the family.

They were both completely down-to-earth people - and I suppose they still are. They had no airs, smugness or arrogance about them. That was when the Daley family base was still the South Side neighborhood of Bridgeport - near the hallowed grounds of their beloved White Sox - a working-class enclave of bungalows.

But over the last ten years, I haven't seen much of them. My passion moved into journalism, Richard M. has served as mayor for more than 20 years (likely to be succeeded by corporatist Rahm Emanuel next year), and Bill Daley moved from being a lawyer to heading a union bank (Amalgamated) and then solidly into the Wall Street private sector, while still advising his brother and the Democratic Party (he was co-chair of Al Gore's presidential campaign).

While Richard M. Daley was literally moving from Bridgeport to a home in a new neighborhood nearer downtown, he was also steering Chicago into a corporatized future. The mayor was planning to privatize everything

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

Under the Bush administration, there was a creeping evangelical influence over the armed forces - much of it officially sanctioned.

One of the key public flashpoints of efforts to turn the military into a Christian crusade came through the statements of Lieutenant General William G. Boykin, who also served as deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence under Bush. Boykin was open in asserting that the "war on terror" was a battle against infidels, even declaring - in swaggering fundamentalist style - that his God was "bigger" than the Islamic God.

It was clear throughout the Bush administration that religious freedom was under siege in the armed forces.

According to Truthout's Jason Leopold, a religious influence remains in the military under Obama. One of the places it can be found - and this element is far from the only remnant of the Bush-era military religious outreach - is in an expensive GI "Comprehensive Soldier Fitness" (CSF) testing program that includes a "spiritual" component.

The problem is that it is a challenge to separate the spiritual from the religious in psychological evaluation questioning, so a GI who is not a cheerleader for Go

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

I support the Constitution, don't you? But I don't support the fundamentalist, "literalist" Sharia version that the GOP touts.

I think that the Constitution is a remarkable document in the development of governments that empowered individuals against oppressive rule and institutions.

It overthrew the privileged reign of royal lineage and put the direction of America in the hands of the population at large. You could argue that the Constitution is the ultimate populist charter for a nation. But on Thursday, the GOP is putting on a political theater performance in the House by reading the Constitution out loud, even though the new red tide of right-wingers don't support large chunks of it, such as the 14th Amendment, the 17th Amendment, and much, much more.

Here is the preamble to the Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Since when did the GOP promote the general welfare of the nation?

Instead, we get a GOP Sharia "strict constructionist," authoritarian interpretation of the Constitution that is akin to Osama bin Laden's "literal" interpretation of the Koran.

John Boenher, we don't want a fundamentalist, corporate-financed corruption

Published in EditorBlog
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