Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

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Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays

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Pope’s Attack On Marriage Equality Will Backfire

From Truth Wins Out:  http://www.truthwinsout.org/opinion/2012/12/32556/

December 24, 2012

Instead of using his annual Christmas address to call for unity and peace on earth, Pope Benedict squandered his big moment to declare war on the gay community. In a mean-spirited and hyperbolic speech, the Pontiff tried to whip up fear about the unfounded threat caused by marriage equality. He demanded that the world’s major religions join forces – like a twisted version of the old Super Friends cartoon – to defeat gay marriage initiatives worldwide.

According to the Reuters report:

“The Vatican has gone on the offensive in response to gains for gay marriage in the United States and Europe, using every possible opportunity to denounce it through papal speeches or editorials in its newspaper or on its radio station…In some countries, the Catholic Church has already joined forces with Jews, Muslims and members of other religions to oppose the legalization of gay marriage.”

While the ranting from Rome sounds scary, this campaign offers more pitfalls than positive outcomes for the Vatican. The 2012 elections in America were the equivalent of winning the Kentucky Derby for the LGBT community, yet this most unsympathetic and unpopular Pope thinks he can put the champion racehorse back in the barn. The Vatican is a bit late to the track, it seems, and if Benedict thinks this miracle is going to happen, his handlers should stop him from inhaling more incense.

Urging American Catholics to vote against marriage equality is a losing strategy already tested this year by Derek McCoy, Executive Director for the Maryland Marriage Alliance. At the Values Voter Summit, which took place in Washington in September, McCoy warned:

Continue reading at:  http://www.truthwinsout.org/opinion/2012/12/32556/

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When Prophecy Fails

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/24/opinion/krugman-when-prophecy-fails.html?_r=0

Published: December 23, 2012

Back in the 1950s three social psychologists joined a cult that was predicting the imminent end of the world. Their purpose was to observe the cultists’ response when the world did not, in fact, end on schedule. What they discovered, and described in their classic book, “When Prophecy Fails,” is that the irrefutable failure of a prophecy does not cause true believers — people who have committed themselves to a belief both emotionally and by their life choices — to reconsider. On the contrary, they become even more fervent, and proselytize even harder.

This insight seems highly relevant as 2012 draws to a close. After all, a lot of people came to believe that we were on the brink of catastrophe — and these views were given extraordinary reach by the mass media. As it turned out, of course, the predicted catastrophe failed to materialize. But we can be sure that the cultists won’t admit to having been wrong. No, the people who told us that a fiscal crisis was imminent will just keep at it, more convinced than ever.

Oh, wait a second — did you think I was talking about the Mayan calendar thing?

Seriously, at every stage of our ongoing economic crisis — and in particular, every time anyone has suggested actually trying to do something about mass unemployment — a chorus of voices has warned that unless we bring down budget deficits now now now, financial markets will turn on America, driving interest rates sky-high. And these prophecies of doom have had a powerful effect on our economic discourse.

Thus, back in May 2009 the Wall Street Journal editorial page seized on an uptick in long-term interest rates to declare that the “bond vigilantes,” the “disciplinarians of U.S. policy makers,” had arrived, and would push rates inexorably higher if big budget deficits continued. As it happened, rates soon went back down. But that didn’t stop The Journal’s news section from rolling out the same story the next time rates rose: “Debt fears send rates up,” blared a headline in March 2010; the debt continued to grow, but the rates went down again.

At this point the yield on the benchmark 10-year bond is less than half what it was when that 2009 editorial was published. But don’t expect any rethinking on The Journal’s part.

Now, you could say that The Journal’s editors didn’t give a specific date for the fiscal apocalypse, although I doubt that any of their readers imagined that they were talking about an event at least three years and seven months in the future.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/24/opinion/krugman-when-prophecy-fails.html?_r=0

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David Gregory Shocked By NRA’s LaPierre: You Fly In The Face Of Common Sense

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/12/23/1374631/david-gregory-shocked-by-nras-lapierre-you-fly-in-the-face-of-common-sense/

By Adam Peck
on Dec 23, 2012

During Sunday’s Meet the Press, the National Rifle Association’s Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre sat down with host David Gregory and defended his organization’s universally panned call for armed guards to be stationed at every school in the country.

The NRA’s tone-deaf press conference on Friday has been widely criticized by all corners of the political arena, and several commentators were quick to point out that armed guards stationed at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech and Fort Hood in Texas were all unable to prevent mass shootings. But LaPierre dismissed those cases on Sunday, and said that lawmakers should be willing to try anything that might work. Anything, noted David Gregory, so long as it doesn’t involve guns and ammunition:

GREGORY:This is a matter of logic, Mr. LaPierre, because anybody watching this is going to say ‘hey wait a minute. I just heard Mr. LaPierre say that the standard is we should try anything that might reduce the violence. And you’re telling me that it’s not a matter of common sense that if you don’t have an ability to shoot off 30 rounds without reloading, that just possibly you could reduce the loss of life? Would Adam Lanza have been able to shoot as many kids if he didn’t have as much ammunition?’

LAPIERRE: I don’t buy your argument for a minute.

Complete article at:  http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/12/23/1374631/david-gregory-shocked-by-nras-lapierre-you-fly-in-the-face-of-common-sense/

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Celebrating the Prince of Peace in the Land of Guns

From Michael Moore:    http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/celebrating-prince-peace-land-guns

By Michael Moore
December 24th, 2012

After watching the deranged, delusional National Rifle Association press conference on Friday, it was clear that the Mayan prophecy had come true. Except the only world that was ending was the NRA’s. Their bullying power to set gun policy in this country is over. The nation is repulsed by the massacre in Connecticut, and the signs are everywhere: a basketball coach at a post-game press conference; the Republican Joe Scarborough; a pawn shop owner in Florida; a gun buy-back program in New Jersey; a singing contest show on TV, and the conservative gun-owning judge who sentenced Jared Loughner.

So here’s my little bit of holiday cheer for you:

These gun massacres aren’t going to end any time soon.

I’m sorry to say this. But deep down we both know it’s true. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep pushing forward – after all, the momentum is on our side. I know all of us – including me – would love to see the president and Congress enact stronger gun laws. We need a ban on automatic AND semiautomatic weapons and magazine clips that hold more than 7 bullets. We need better background checks and more mental health services. We need to regulate the ammo, too.

But, friends, I would like to propose that while all of the above will certainly reduce gun deaths (ask Mayor Bloomberg – it is virtually impossible to buy a handgun in New York City and the result is the number of murders per year has gone from 2,200 to under 400), it won’t really bring about an end to these mass slayings and it will not address the core problem we have. Connecticut had one of the strongest gun laws in the country. That did nothing to prevent the murders of 20 small children on December 14th.

In fact, let’s be clear about Newtown: the killer had no criminal record so he would never have shown up on a background check. All of the guns he used were legally purchased. None fit the legal description of an “assault” weapon. The killer seemed to have mental problems and his mother had him seek help, but that was worthless. As for security measures, the Sandy Hook school was locked down and buttoned up BEFORE the killer showed up that morning. Drills had been held for just such an incident. A lot of good that did.

And here’s the dirty little fact none of us liberals want to discuss: The killer only ceased his slaughter when he saw that cops were swarming onto the school grounds – i.e, the men with the guns. When he saw the guns a-coming, he stopped the bloodshed and killed himself. Guns on police officers prevented another 20 or 40 or 100 deaths from happening. Guns sometimes work. (Then again, there was an armed deputy sheriff at Columbine High School the day of that massacre and he couldn’t/didn’t stop it.)

Continue reading at:  http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/celebrating-prince-peace-land-guns

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Do Armed Civilians Stop Mass Shooters? Actually, No.

From Mother Jones:   http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/armed-civilians-do-not-stop-mass-shootings

Five cases commonly cited as a rationale for arming Americans don’t stand up to scrutiny.

Wed Dec. 19, 2012

In the wake of the unthinkable massacre in Connecticut, pro-gun ideologues are once again calling for ordinary citizens to arm themselves as a solution to mass shootings. If only the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School had possessed a M-4 assault rifle she could’ve stopped the killer, they say. This latest twist on a long-running argument isn’t just absurd on its face; there is no evidence to support it. As I reported recently in our in-depth investigation, not one of the 62 mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years has been stopped this way. More broadly, attempts by armed civilians to intervene in shooting rampages are rare—and are successful even more rarely. (Two people who tried it in recent years were gravely wounded or killed.) And law enforcement overwhelmingly hates the idea.

Those pesky facts haven’t stopped the “arm America more!” crowd from pressing the argument with alleged examples of successful armed interventions. The problem is, the few examples they keep using—in which they depict plain old folks acting heroically and with definitive results—fall apart under scrutiny. Here are five of them and why they don’t work:

Appalachian School of Law shooting in Grundy, Virginia
Gun rights die-hards frequently credit the end of a rampage at the law school in 2002 to armed “students” who intervened. They conveniently ignore that those students also happened to be current and former law enforcement officers, and that the killer, according to police investigators, was out of ammunition by the time they got to him.

Middle school dance shooting in Edinboro, Pennsylvania
An ambiguous case from 1998, in which the shooter may well have already been done shooting: After killing a teacher and wounding three others, the 14-year-old perpetrator left the dance venue. The owner of the venue followed him outside with a shotgun, confronting and subduing him in a nearby field until police arrived. The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg, who himself recently argued for more guns as an answer to gun violence, told me this week that one police source he talked to about this case said that it was “not clear at all” whether the kid had intended to do any further shooting after he’d left the building.

Continue reading at:  http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/armed-civilians-do-not-stop-mass-shootings

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