ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
“But my instinct was that if someone is shooting at you, it is generally better to shoot back than to cower and pray.”
This is the hidden argument for guns as America’s primary peacekeepers — that the debate comes down to gun ownership vs. helplessness.
Jeffrey Goldberg’s 7,000-word essay, “The Case for More Guns (and More Gun Control),” which ran in the December issue of The Atlantic — just prior to the Newtown killings — came down, for me, to the above sentence.
He made a number of quasi-reasonable points, the main one being that there are 300 million guns in America right now and it’s simply too late for gun control to be effective: “. . . only the naive think that legislation will prevent more than a modest number of the criminally minded, and the mentally deranged, from acquiring a gun in a country absolutely inundated with weapons.”
HARVEY WASSERMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Two stricken California reactors may soon redefine a global movement aimed at eradicating nuclear power.
They sit in a seismic zone vulnerable to tsunamis. Faulty steam generators have forced them shut for nearly a year.
A powerful "No Nukes" movement wants them to stay that way. If they win, the shutdown of America's 104 licensed reactors will seriously accelerate.
The story of San Onofre Units 2 & 3 is one of atomic idiocy. Perched on an ocean cliff between Los Angeles and San Diego, the reactors' owners cut unconscionable corners in replacing their multi-million-dollar steam generators. According to Russell Hoffman, one of California's leading experts on San Onofre, inferior metals and major design failures turned what was meant to be an upgrade into an utter fiasco.
ERIC ZUESSE FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
In order to understand the “Cliff” deal, one must know its background in the broader Republican effort to gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid:
Barack Obama had earlier driven Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to fits with his back-door efforts to gut such “entitlements,” as when he had appointed the conservative Democrat Erskine Bowles to serve opposite the extremely conservative Republican Alan Simpson as being the two co-chairs on the White House’s “bi-partisan” federal debt commission concerning entitlement “reform.” (The Commission produced recommendations that congressional Democrats roundly repudiated for slashing entitlements, and that Republicans condemned for increasing taxes.) Obama had set this Commission up to deal with the soaring federal deficits that had been caused by Bush’s 2008 economic collapse, by their using those federal deficits as an excuse to slash entitlements and thus produce even more suffering for the poor, at the same time as Wall Street was being bailed out. (Bowles was supported by the very Wall Street banks that were being bailed out by taxpayers. Simpson was a born conservative who followed in his father’s footsteps as Wyoming’s Republican U.S. Senator. His father had been quite extreme: “one of six Republican senators who voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”) So, that was a wolf-in-charge-of-chicken-coop type of operation, which congressional Democrats opposed. Republicans opposed it because it would have meant increasing taxes – it wasn’t conservative enough for them. Thus, on the very same day, 28 March 2012, when Bowles-Simpson was finally dashed in the House, the House passed instead the Paul Ryan budget, which Mitt Romney ran on, against Obama. The 2012 “election” had been between two conservatives, one of whom pretended not to be.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
And so the nail is driven in. This is isolation; this is the coffin. And there are so many ways of saying it.
The social context of being human has been shattered for far too many people, and one manifestation of this is the eerie rise in mass murders — seemingly senseless, impersonal rampages — over the last four or five decades. Since the 1960s, they have increased fourteenfold in the United States, far exceeding the rise in population, according to sociologist Peter Turchin, whose four-part essay, “Canariesin a Coal Mine,” ran at Social Evolution Forum shortly after the Newtown killings.
“The reason we should be worried about rampages,” he writes, “is because they are surface indicators of highly troubling negative trends working their way through deep levels of our society.”
STEVEN JONAS MD, MPH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
“Washington Doesn’t’ Work,” or “Washington Just Doesn’t Work,” or “Washington: the Gridlock has to be Broken,” or some such. One hears it on the media all the time, both reactionary and liberal: Fox”News”Channel, Joe Scarborough, Ed Schultz, and certainly on CNN. “We’ve got to fix ‘Washington.’ ” But is it really true that “Washington doesn’t work” and that it “Has to be fixed?” Well, it all depends. It all depends who you are and what your interests are. There surely is gridlock in the Congress and between the Congress and the President, most of the time, as demonstrated by what will have happened, or not happened, by the time this column, written at around 6:00PM EST on Jan. 1 makes its way onto the internet. But that doesn’t mean “it doesn’t work.” It works just fine for a variety of interested parties, taken here in no particular order.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
For a man who has so much to say about media, movies, television, sexuality, and homosexuality, why does Ted Baehr stand silent about America’s obsession with guns and gun violence? Baehr is a conservative Christian movie critic and media pundit who will never be mistaken for Roger Ebert, the Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers, or The New York Times’ A.O. Scott. Nevertheless, he has found his niche by cranking out movie reviews and media/cultural commentary for the faithful -- conservative evangelical Christians.
Baehr has lots to say about violence in the movies, violent video games, and the secularization of our culture, but he is virtually silent on America’s obsession with guns and gun control.
WALTER BRASCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Talk show hosts and other bloviators have spent hours giving their versions of the fiscal cliff.
In fewer than 750 words, I’ll explain the truth.
Taxes and the deficit are intertwined. If Congress can’t come up with a plan to solve those problems, the U.S. will jump into the abyss of a deeper recession than existed under the latter years of the Bush–Cheney administration.
PETER MICHAELSON FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The murderous instincts of rampage shooters originate from profound inner weakness and emotional conflict in their psyche. Their aggression, in part, is based on their reaction to their overflowing negative emotions and their resulting lack of self-regulation.
We all have emotional weakness to some degree. Yet even people with considerable deposits of bitterness, cynicism, and rage do not become killers. So what pushes some people to become evil monsters?
These individuals are often quite intelligent, yet through acute self-centeredness they are likely to be socially awkward or inept. They crave notice and fame to compensate for how deeply they dismiss their own value and feel like nobodies. They also lack empathy and have little or no affect, a condition that relates to the indifference or disdain they have for their own existence.
ERIC ZUESSE FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The cover story in the 23 July 2012 Newsweek was bannered “18-35? You Are Generation Screwed!” and, online at The Daily Beast, on July 16th, it was headlined “Are Millennials the Screwed Generation?”
This featured news report, by Joel Kotkin, opened by clearly stating its central theme: “Today’s youth, both here and abroad, have been screwed by their parents,” specifically by their parents’ supposed “fiscal profligacy and economic mismanagement.” That’s what had caused the 2008 crash, and the exploding federal debt from Bush’s wars and his tax cuts and his-and-Obama’s bailout of Wall Street.
Really? Was this true?
STEVEN JONAS MD, MPH
The term “Creationism” describes one theist position on the history of Earth. It holds that Earth is about 6000 (maybe 8000) years old, and that the “God” of the Judeo-Christian Bible created it out of nothingness, exactly as that series of events is described in the Book of Genesis. In this regard there are folks, for example, who regard as factual the presentations at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY, where, to quote from their website, “Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden, children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden’s Rivers [and t]he serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” To account for certain of the findings of what others regard as the science of paleontology, at the museum it is, for example, postulated that early men rode around on dinosaurs.
Why no bridles have shown up with Tyrannosaur or velociraptor fossils is apparently a question that has neither been raised not answered. Maybe early man just guided these small-brained reptile predators with their hands. But that’s the kind of question a scientist might ask. Forgetting about science or science-not, that there are in other cultures around the world many other creation stories involving one or another forms of the “divine,” with no indication about which, if any, might be the accurate one (if indeed any of them are accurate and how one would prove that in any case) is a matter that does not seem to concern Christian creationists.