Friday, June 24, 2022

Get The Damn Vote Out for Dems In 2022 Or Suffer Forever

So of course the week I decided I need a break from blogging was also the week this nation's ultraconservative Supreme Court decided to drop all the bombs on America.

In one ruling, the Far Right-dominated Court decided to gut Separation of Church And State by making it legal for religious private schools to take public funds without restriction.

In another ruling, the Far Right-dominated Court decided to gut our Miranda Rights, making it easier for cops to refuse to tell people they're dragging in for interrogation that they have rights to remain silent and have their lawyer present, and making it more likely the cops will force people to endure unwarranted interrogations until they confess to shit they didn't do.

In another ruling, the Far Right-dominated Court decided to overrule a New York firearm concealed-carry law, by arguing that the individual right to carry weapons is guaranteed in the Second Amendment (the overriding "Shall Not Be Infringed" phrase) and Fourteenth Amendment (which other legal experts are saying is a misreading of what the 14th stands for).

And of course, what we've all dreaded since someone leaked the first draft of Alito's Dobbs ruling, the Far Right-dominated Court today nuked abortion rights by overturning the Casey and Roe decisions.

It should be noted that a majority of Americans support Separation of Church And State, they support Miranda Rights against an aggressive police force, they support gun safety laws, and they support a woman's right to decide her own health and well-being in case they need an abortion.

Of course, with all of these decisions going AGAINST what a majority of Americans support, the public opinion against the Supreme Court is at an all-time low (dropping to 25 percent and looking to crater from there). 

But the Far Right Minority basically running our country doesn't give a fuck, does it? All they care about is their Culture War, their religious fervor to rule or ruin, and the willingness of an emboldened Far Right judiciary to dig even deeper into madness by going after our rights to marry, our rights to birth control, our rights to privacy, our rights to even vote...

I warned about the sins of Minority Party Rule years ago, before Senators like Mitch McConnell and Susan Collins and before demagogues like trump kicked our nation into the pits of Hell.

...When you look at the current leadership in DC, you'll see a Republican Party led by the likes of (then Speaker) Ryan, McConnell and trump who all know they do NOT need to answer to the majority - they need to placate their minority base - and so they govern as they please, even in the face of polling numbers that mark them as some of the most unpopular life forms in modern memory. All they have to do is stoke their base to turnout for the midterms, all they have to do is keep their deep-pocket funders rolling in their tax-free profits, and let gerrymandering and voter suppression do the rest.

The only thing holding a Minority Rule Party like that accountable is The Reality-Based World. Bad governance leads to mistakes, which leads to disasters, which leads to outrage and angry majority voters who finally get sick of it all and try their best to flip the bad actors out of power...

It would be pretty to think that all of those millions of American citizens (around 100 million last we checked) able to vote but had refused for some reason or another - apathy worse above all - will now realize what the hell is at stake here and turn up to register to vote now, and better yet show up in November in the midterms to vote heavily in favor of Democrats to throw every lying unethical crooked Republican out of power.

Right now, voter turnout is the only realistic plausible way to end Minority Party Rule, to end the death grip Republicans have on our nation's well-being, to counter every wingnut legal decision that this skewed Supreme Court is going to hit us with for the next 10-20 years until we can clear that bench and replace with jurists who recognize what our rights - our right to choose our health, our right to be free of religious domination by zealots, our right to be safe from a violent police state, our right to assemble freely in public without fear of gun nuts, our right to live - truly are.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, AMERICA, STOP VOTING REPUBLICAN. Save our nation, save our legal system, save each other.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Personal Matters as of June 2022

My moods are getting the better of me. I'm losing focus and unable to complete some tasks I need to finish.

I gotta unplug for awhile. I don't know when I'll be back to blog. Maybe when I get some of my projects finished.


Friday, June 17, 2022

History of a Third-Rate Burglary

On June 17, 1972 at 2:30 in the morning, a third-rate burglary took place.

Well, it didn't get very far. The team of burglars did a sloppy job of breaking into the offices they targeted, the guy with the walkie-talkie had turned down the volume so he couldn't hear the lookout warn them of any cops arriving, and when the cops caught them in the act the burglars had a lot of incriminating evidence on them pointing to other people being involved with the attempt.

It turned out the burglars had broken into those offices a month prior, and had gone back in to take more photos of sensitive documents and replant illegal listening devices (aka "bugs") they felt weren't working properly.

With all that, the cops took the burglars to jail, charged them on whatever crimes related to their break-in, and brought them before a judge for arraignment and bail.

That's when one of the burglars informed the judge he had worked for the CIA, one of the major spy/intelligence agencies in the United States government.

And that's when the third-rate burglary into the Democratic National Committee's offices at the Watergate complex started to turn into a big story, one that the federal government couldn't silence, growing until it engulfed a Presidency and scarred the public trust for fifty years.

Today, Watergate is viewed as the greatest political scandal in American history. All the others that came before - Andrew Jackson's Spoils system, the graft of U.S. Grant's administration, Tammany Hall, Warren Harding's collective scandals topped by Teapot Dome - and after - Ronald Reagan's Iran-Contra scandal, Bill Clinton's Whitewater - none of them can match the hubris, reach, and tragedy of Richard Nixon's self-inflicted political downfall. Any other scandal that comes along, one of the first things the media does is add the suffix -Gate to it. Even other nations picked up on it.

I've tried analyzing scandals throughout my years of blogging, wondering about how to measure out what was a legitimate scandal and what was a nothingburger. Over time, anything the Far Right screamed about turned into nothingburgers, while any scandals involving them - especially after con artist trump moved into the Oval Office - were ranking right up there between Watergate and Teapot Dome in terms of corruption, abuse of office, open acts of insurrection, and straight-up graft.

On the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Watergate scandal, we're neck-deep into investigating the scandals brought about by trump's rage, idiocy, and greed. 

As I've said before: history is repeating, first as tragedy and second as farce.

I wonder if I'll be around in fifty years to honor the anniversary of Trumpgate.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Congress Catching Crooked trump Cashing Out his Own Base

The Select House Committee investigating trump's Insurrection is ongoing, but we need to take a moment to note how they revealed trump's con artist habits.

Basically, trump used the Big Lie of a "stolen election" to rip off his supporters for about $250 million. Via Amanda Marcotte at

During the entire two and a half months between Election Day and Jan. 6, Trump was shaking down his gullible supporters for cash that he claimed would help fight "election fraud." Those funds, however, largely appeared to go into the pockets of Trump and his allies. 

"The big lie was also a big ripoff," declared Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., during her opening remarks on Monday. She argued that the campaign used "false claims of election fraud to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from supporters who were told their donations were for the legal fight in the courts." In reality, however, most the money — which is estimated to be a cool $250 million — went into a super PAC. From there, it was redirected into the coffers of Trump himself and towards various friends and family members...

I've noted before that trump's entire political career was part of his ongoing criminal business empire, designed to line his own pockets to inflate his worth while leaving bankruptcies and damage in his wake. Given opportunities to rake in millions of campaign funds - even money he himself never raised, but took from the Republican coffers meant for other campaigns - trump would think only for himself, not for whatever cause he claimed it was for.

Thing is, what trump and his lackeys did that post-election cycle - solicit funds from people under false pretenses - opens him up to criminal charges for wire fraud. Via Lachlan Markay at

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Amanda Wick, the committee's chief investigative counsel, zeroed in on what the Trump campaign's fundraising emails described as its "Official Election Defense Fund."

Those emails were central to a Trump fundraising operation that brought in about $250 million after the 2020 election, in part by promising the money would fund legal challenges and other efforts to overturn the election.

In reality, the committee alleged, millions of dollars were funneled to vehicles like Save America — a leadership PAC set up by Trump after the election — and other political and advocacy groups with ties to top Trump aides...

"The select committee discovered no such fund existed," Wick revealed in a pre-recorded video, citing taped depositions with two Trump campaign staffers.

"Not only was there the 'Big Lie,' there was the Big Ripoff,'" Lofgren said.

"It's clear that [Trump] intentionally misled his donors, asked them to donate to a fund that didn't exist and used the money raised for something other than what he said," she added in comments after the hearing...

Legal experts say this line of inquiry is a clear effort to show that the Trump campaign and its allies may have used fraudulent tactics to raise money in the months after the 2020 election, when many top officials privately knew their claims of voter fraud were false.

"This is an allegation of textbook wire fraud," Randall Eliason, a former federal prosecutor and white-collar crime professor at George Washington University, said of Lofgren's comments...

As Lawrence Tribe, professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard, notes on his Twitter feed:

The Big Lie of a stolen election becomes the motive behind millions of stolen dollars. Real crimes are taking place here.

Attorney General Garland better follow through on this, and charge trump for his crimes.

Justice must prevail.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Crazy Busy Week Ahead

Monday is going to be the start of one crazy week:

The House Committee investigating trump's Insurrection is going to present Day Two of their indictment, following up on a surprisingly strong opening night that pretty much accused trump of setting and staging the riot. Day Two is reportedly going to delve into how trump knew he lost the 2020 election but decided to undermine the electoral process and stage a coup. The television ratings by the way - 19 million viewers - put the audience around Sunday Night NFL numbers, which are pretty strong (Tucker Carlson's prime time show on Fox Not-News by comparison draws around 3 million)

Twitter is aflutter that this is the week the Supreme Court officially issues its rulings on abortion - specifically the case involving Mississippi's ban - that can effectively mean the end of Roe and abortion rights. Madness will surely follow.

Congress reportedly reached a "bipartisan" deal on gun regulations / safety laws that is supposedly Cloture-proof so it can pass the Senate and then arguably the House for ratification. It won't address the more serious needs - an assault weapons ban, universal background checks, et al - but it will address age requirements for purchases, more funding for mental health (no guarantee THAT will go where needed), and restrictions on domestic abusers having firearms in an attempt to reduce domestic gun deaths. It will be the first major gun safety legislation passed in 30 years (!) and while it won't be enough it will be interesting to see if the more positive elements - especially that domestic abuser restriction - can show success in saving lives.

Ukraine remains a war zone but there's signs that Russian attempts to secure the Donbas aren't working and that Ukrainians are mounting decent counterattacks. Granted, the experts were thinking Russian forces wouldn't last past May, but all of the momentum and global support remains with Ukraine. Russia is reportedly falling back on weapon supplies and equipment from the 1960s (!) which doesn't bode well for their long-term ability to wage war.

Oh, and the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team - yes, there's been ice hockey in Florida since 1992, people! - are going to their third straight (after winning back-to-back) Stanley Cup Finals (facing Colorado) looking to be the first NHL team since the 1980s New York Islanders to have three straight championships. It's a dynastic possibility, which would put this Bolts team atop the list of Greatest Hockey Teams of ALL TIME. And to Michael Wilbon who derisively mocks Tampa as "not real hockey town" and "SEC" - while ignoring A) the attendance records the Lightning set in the 1990s playing in a half-filled baseball dome, proving there's a fanbase for a Hockey Town and B) the SEC (Southeastern Conference) is a college conference that revels in national championships every year - all I gotta say is SUCK IT WILBON.

I may not even find time to blog about all of it. We're busy at the library with our Summer Reading programs. /sigh

Work is work.

Thursday, June 09, 2022

Today: Going Public on Insurrection

After about a year of relatively cloistered investigation, aside from charging a number of Republicans refusing to testify with Obstruction - Hi, Peter Navarro! - The House Investigation Into donald trump's "Proud Boys Capitol Conniption Carnage" of January 6 2021 is going to air public presentations on what they've uncovered starting tonight after Jeopardy! finishes up.

So how should the average American tuning in to this program view it all? Let's steal entire content, uh link to Ben Jacobs at Vox for more:

The legal and political impacts the public hearings will have are uncertain. Even with all the attention they are sure to get, few expect findings will massively shake up public opinion or shift the political winds for Democrats, who currently face dismal poll numbers for midterms elections. There is no scenario in which the work of the select committee leads to Donald Trump being frog-marched out of Mar-a-Lago, or even with top Republicans publicly denouncing him in the same way they did in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

Instead, the test for many on the Hill is whether the hearings can, at the very least, produce sufficient momentum to ensure passage of reforms they hope would prevent efforts like the one taken after the 2020 election from happening again...

Well, I don't care what Jacobs says about the unlikelihood that trump will get arrested at the end of all this: The real hope out here is that the congressional hearings will provide enough spark to get Attorney General Merrick Garland OFF HIS TIMID ASS AND ARREST EVERY TRUMPIAN ASSHOLE - trump INCLUDED - WHO RIOTED IN OUR NATION'S CAPITOL! LINE 'EM UP AGAINST THE WALL MOTHERF--- Ahem, back to Jacobs:

Thursday’s primetime hearing will be the first installment in a series of hearings throughout this month and perhaps into the summer. It will begin at 8 pm ET and be carried live by the major broadcast networks, most cable networks and online (but not on Fox News)...

That's because Fox Not-News pundits have been warned by their legal counsel that anything they say in televised rebuttal can be used against them in a court of law. But I digress.

The committee’s goal over the course of the summer is to lay out the effort to overturn the 2020 election in detail, not just its culmination in the attack on the Capitol but the step-by-step effort by Trump to reverse his loss, including efforts to pressure local officials and plotting with figures like lawyer John Eastman and Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark to provide some sort of legal justification for his actions.

Democrat Elaine Luria of Virginia, a member of the committee, told Vox that the hearings will provide an “opportunity for people to have a comprehensive, chronological and thorough” accounting of the events leading up to January 6...

The real test is simply what revelations come from the hearings. The past 18 months have seen an endless trickle of news out about the events leading up into the attack on the Capitol. This hasn’t just happened in court documents filed by the committee or in leaks about its proceedings. There have been best-selling books on the topic that have broken new ground.

The question is whether what emerges from the hearing, either as a new discovery or as a viral moment of some kind, can break through. And, of course, even if it does, it’s unclear what impact it will have on public opinion...

In truth, the Far Right MAGA cultists won't believe any revelations will be criminal for them, because they genuinely believe they're the good guys in all this.

But this should help Democratic voters - and the Independent voters who are still rely on coherent thought - remind themselves of what's at stake in the upcoming midterms and the importance of turning up to vote to ensure the Republican wailing about "fake votes" is too overwhelming for them to lie about.

For myself, I'm hoping there's enough evidence already to indict trump's inner circle who ran the riot war rooms, and that by the end of the month we'll have handcuffs on not just Navarro but also Bannon, Stone, Eastman, and the rest of that clown car of chaos.

Get to it, Garland! ARREST THOSE MOFOS (rage rage rage)

(why YES, I am biased just a little against goddamned rioting seditionists)

Monday, June 06, 2022

It's D-Day 2022

Time to celebrate D-Day!



wait, back up a minute...


Sunday, June 05, 2022

The Aftermath of trumpian Scandals, Still Acted Out

One of the sadder thoughts I carry with me is how - looking back on it now - I had so much hope that the Mueller Report - into Russia's involvement in the 2016 Elections cycle and their involvement in trump's attacks on the American electoral process - would expose all of trump's sins and hold him accountable.


Even with all that Mueller did find regarding the Russian end of the scandal - which produced real results, numerous arrests/plea deals/convictions, and exposed the facts of how foreign influence in our elections is an ongoing problem - the investigation closed - thanks to incoming Attorney General William Barr who rewrote and redacted the final report - before any direct links between trump's 2016 campaign and Russian operatives could be proved. At best, Mueller found evidence that trump obstructed the investigation, but he couldn't pursue an arrest and tried to get Congress to file impeachment (which they failed to do. The Democratic House decided to impeach over trump's misdeeds with Ukrainian military aid). 

That should have been, for better and worse, the end of that.

Except for trump's misbegotten narcissism, which casts himself as both Hero and Victim with every action taken against him.

Just as the Mueller investigation wound down, trump kept pushing the narrative that the FBI shouldn't have been investigating him for his ties to Russia in the first place. he insisted on a conspiracy theory that the "evidence" that started the Mueller probe was tainted: That it came from a hastily written and half-proved Steele Report that was started by Republican operatives trying to stop trump during the 2016 Primaries, instead of the FBI getting bits and pieces from other criminal investigations and clues well before the Steele Report was even started. trump argued, and kept screaming ever after, that he was the victim of an illegal spying campaign by both Obama and then Hillary Clinton using their ties to the FBI to embarrass the "ever-innocent donald trump."

So as Barr entered the scene to shut down Mueller's probe, Barr also fished around for a special prosecutor to follow up trump's claims of victimhood, and found one in US Attorney John Durham in Connecticut to handle that investigation.

Tasked with finding any malfeasance among the FBI investigators, and with any persons in Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaigns that may have done any illegal misdeeds, Durham has spent the last three years following any accusation that trump and his handlers insisted were real.

To summarize what Durham found during his witch hunt investigation into the FBI and Hillary's campaign: Not a lot.

If I can refer to Margaret Carlson at Washington Monthly about the uselessness of Durham's efforts:

Durham’s mission was impossible. Robert Mueller successfully convicted every bad actor he’d charged—more than three dozen—and stopped short of Trump because of a Justice Department memo saying a sitting president couldn’t be indicted. Mueller’s investigation was investigated and found to be predicated on sufficient, credible evidence by Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee agreed. They had to, there’s so much out there...

Barr set the tone for the inquiry by taking Durham on a James Bond–like three-star hotel, four-star eating tour of Rome to interview a peculiar professor we would never hear about again. From there, the probe dragged on. In 2021, Durham eked out a guilty plea from the former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith that he altered an email, with information he believed was true, to quickly fill out a surveillance warrant on Page, who frequented Moscow. Durham wanted Clinesmith, the first in his family to go to college and with a wife expecting their first child, to be incarcerated for six months for behavior that showed “his strong political views and/or personal dislike of [Trump].” Manna to Trump, if he were paying attention. The judge gave Clinesmith one year of probation (Editor's note: not even much of a slap on the wrist)...

If you recall Mueller's work - and several other special counsel probes throughout the decades - one of the key tools is getting lower-rung persons involved in shenanigans to plead out and then flip the higher-ups they can prove were committing other illegal acts. You can see Durham was trying to get several people he caught in relatively minor lies into flipping. And yet, none did.

Because no matter how much trump - and trump's cultists - yell and scream about it, the most likely scenario about how the FBI did its job investigation trump and the Russians is that, well, the FBI did its job. The people in Hillary's and Obama's orbits had no reason to flip for Durham because there was nothing really there in the first place.

Leading up to Durham's biggest failure yet to turn a gaslit lie into fact (back to Carlson):

The question is urgent after a Washington, D.C., jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty in Durham’s biggest case to date, charging the lawyer Michael Sussman with making a false statement. It followed on a meeting Sussman had with the FBI general counsel, James Baker, to inform him about information he had been given about curious activity between the computer servers of Donald Trump’s campaign and the Alfa Bank of Russia. Baker told Durham that Sussman hadn’t revealed his firm’s connections to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, although he admitted that his memory on the point had evolved. 

That gave Durham a premise for charging Sussman with a false statement by omission. It gives the rest of us a premise for thinking Durham is a Justice Department careerist out of gas. After the (Not Guilty) verdict, the jury foreperson said that the government’s time “could have been spent more wisely” than on a “possible lie to the FBI.”

Whatever Sussman did (which is so meager an omission and so minor an issue), to the jury it didn't rise to the level of guilt that Durham (and trump) needed. The truth about Sussman's warning to Baker didn't even seem to be at issue. Durham just wanted to catch someone close to Hillary in a lie. No one else bought it.

Without that guilty verdict, Durham's next court trial - going after Russian Igor Danchenko, accused of lying to the FBI about the contents of the Steele Dossier - is looking more like a show trial beating a dead trumpian horse.

I'm not the person you need to read on all of the miscues and screwups of Durham's flawed probe. Emptywheel is a far more dedicated and informed resource, and this is just one of many things she found wrong in Durham's work:

This entire three year process was launched with no evidence that a crime was committed, and it seems likely that only the Kevin Clinesmith prosecution, which DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz handed Durham months after he was appointed as a fait accompli and which could easily have been prosecuted by the DC US Attorney’s Office, provided an excuse to convene a grand jury to start digging in the coffers of Fusion GPS and Perkins Coie.

There was no crime. Durham was never investigating a suspected crime and then, as statutes of limitation started expiring, he hung a conspiracy theory on a claimed false statement for which he had no solid proof. Eight months into Durham repeating those conspiracy theories at every turn — conspiracy theories that Durham admitted would not amount to a crime in any case! — a jury told Durham he had inadequate proof a crime was committed and that the entire thing had been a waste of time and resources...

Compare that to the Russian investigation, which was started to figure out which Trump associate had advance knowledge of Russia’s criminal hack-and-leak operation and whether they had any criminal exposure in it...

The answer, by the way, was that at least two Trump associates had advance knowledge, George Papadopoulos and Roger Stone, and Stone shared his advance knowledge with Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, Steve Bannon, and Donald Trump, among others. By all appearances, DOJ was still investigating whether Stone had criminal exposure tied to his advance knowledge when Barr interfered in that investigation in February 2020, a fact that Barr hid until the day before the 2020 election.

With the Russian investigation, there was a crime: a hack by a hostile nation-state of a Presidential candidate, along with evidence that her opponent at least knew about the related leak campaign in advance. With the Durham investigation, there were only Fox News conspiracy theories and the certainty that Donald Trump shouldn’t be held accountable for encouraging Russia to hack his opponent...

There should be some sense of relief from those of us on the sidelines watching this theater of the absurd play out to a diminished whimper. It would be nice if it did.

But trump will not let go of his fear and his rage and his victimhood. He kept screaming after the decision that the "legal system is CORRUPT" and isn't letting this damage to his ego go away.

For trump, the grievance is the only way he can convince everyone else he wasn't in cahoots with Putin to fuck up our elections. And he wants to clear a path to redo those dirty tricks when 2024 rolls around.

Gods help us. This train wreck isn't over yet.

Saturday, June 04, 2022

Tiananmen Anniversary 2022

Another June 4th, another round of China squelching protestors out of fear (via AP News by way of NPR).

Heavy police force patrolled Hong Kong's Victoria Park on Saturday after authorities for a third consecutive year banned public commemoration of the anniversary of the deadly Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989, with vigils overseas the only place marking the event.

For decades, Hong Kong and nearby Macao were the only places in China allowed to commemorate the violent suppression by army troops of student protesters demanding greater democracy in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. Hundreds, if not thousands, were killed.

The ban is seen as part of a move to snuff out political dissent and a sign that Hong Kong is losing its freedoms as Beijing tightens its grip over the semi-autonomous Chinese city...

And it's not just been the Tiananmen freedom protests that China's government has cracked down on.  Eduardo Baptista at Reuters documented how the quarantine lockdown earlier this year drove up anger and protests across Shanghai and other provinces (paywalled so I can't provide any quotes).

Also a reminder that China is conducting an ongoing genocide of the Uyghurs population (via Zoya Wazir at US News & World Report): 

Multiple reports from human rights and civil society organizations have found that Uyghurs have been detained in prisons and internment camps since at least 2017, with other abuses starting even earlier.

While the Chinese government argues that these re-education camps are meant to provide Uyghurs with vocational training to combat poverty, separatism and Islamic extremism, Jewher Ilham – a Uyghur rights advocate with the Coalition to End Forced Labor in the Uyghur Region whose father, prominent Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti, has been detained in Chinese prison since 2014 – says that the Chinese government’s definition of extremism is intentionally broad to allow for mass detentions...

Today, 1 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Muslims are estimated to be in internment camps in Xinjiang, according to the Associated Press.

(Kelley Currie, the former U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues and the U.S. representative at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women) adds that the Chinese government’s persecution of Uyghurs hinges on ethnic discrimination and a discomfort with their assertion of their distinct ethnic identity...

Foreign policy experts keep telling us that China is one step removed from being a true global superpower. They keep forgetting China can't unleash its full might because it's tied down suppressing their own citizenry.

One day, China will be free. Their leadership's own corruption will consume itself sooner rather than later, and all we can hope for is that a lot of innocent people both in China and across the globe won't suffer from that selfl-immolation.

Thursday, June 02, 2022

Blood On the Streets of Tulsa (w/ Updates)

(Update: Thanks again to Batocchio for linking me to Crooks&Liars' Mike's Blog Round-Up!)

Because the National Rifle Body Count Association wants its blood money (via Rina Torchinsky with NPR): 

Police in Tulsa, Okla., say the shooter's doctor was among those killed Wednesday during a mass shooting at a medical building. The shooter had complained multiple times about pain following back surgery and sought additional treatment in the days prior to the attack, police said.

The shooting on the campus of Saint Francis Health System left five people dead, including the gunman, according to police. Two doctors, Preston Phillips — who had treated the gunman — and Stephanie Husen, were killed as was Amanda Glenn, an employee, and William Love, a patient, according to The Associated Press...

The gunman apparently felt ongoing back pain that the treatment didn't correct, and became angry at the doctor and the office that treated him. Driven by that anger, the gunman did this:

At 2 p.m. Wednesday — hours before the shooting — the gunman purchased an AR-15-style rifle from a local gun shop, Franklin said. The shooter also purchased a semiautomatic handgun on May 29 from a pawn shop.

Do you understand? As soon as the angry guy got his AR-15 murderstick (it's not so funny how THAT weapon is the preferred assault rifle for these mass shootings), he went on his shooting spree killing "everyone who got in his way" on his path of vengeance. No sign of a background check done, no waiting period, no cool-down, no training period, no mental health check, nothing.

He got his assault rifle and immediately became a murderer. Killing doctors, killing a staffer, killing a patient who had nothing to do with his treatment. And then killing himself knowing he was fucked forever.

One of the frustrating realizations about all of these mass shootings criss-crossing our nation is the repeating patterns to them all. It's like there's a script to this:

Step One: A guy - and it's usually a guy, often White but sometimes Black/Latino/Asian/Arab - gets pissed off about a personal injustice or perceived slight. It may involve his job, it may involve a legal dispute, but nine times out of ten it'll involve women.

Step Two: The guy comes to believe he has no legal recourse to respond to the slight, or else believes the legal system is already conspiring against him. He also refuses to seek mental help support, because he's been raised to think that's for pussies.

Step Three: The guy, getting angrier, buys a gun or twelve. If he's REALLY angry or his anger is focusing on a large group of people, he will buy an ArmaLite Rifle aka the AR-15 (the Murderstick of CHAMPIONS). This is a major problem: Nearly every firearm used in the mass shootings we keep witnessing were purchased legally or acquired legally by an ally/friend/family member, oft-times within days of the shooting events.

Step Four: A moment will trigger the angry guy into picking up his weapons - and all the ammo clips he can carry - and heading out to a place that is either the source of his woes or a place where his preferred target "audience" can be found.

Step Five: Mass shooting gets reported on the major networks. More money for the NRA!

These ongoing acts of gun violence keep involving the same three things: The number of angry guys walking among us; The relative ease to purchase and employ firearms powerful enough to kill tens of people in mere seconds; And our nation's inability to push legal reforms or public aid to solve those first two problems.

If we're going to resolve the ongoing gun violence crisis in the United States, we're going to have to come to terms with this fact: Either we get rid of the Angry Guys threatening acts of violence against us, or we get rid of the Assault Rifles that make it too damned easy for them to kill.

It's honestly impossible to get rid of Angry Guys. That would involve passing laws mandating every hot-tempered person out there check in with a psychologist or health care worker to talk them down from their rage, and that would go against a lot of privacy laws (you'll definitely get a lot of lawsuits from guys angrily disbelieving they have anger issues in the first place).

Also, to you people who would argue "Oh let CHRIST'S LOVE into your hearts" as a cure for Angry Guy Syndrome, that's a load of shit. Half these mass shooters claim to be loving Christians already when they pick up their murder weapons to kill those they deem unworthy of God's grace (just look at the so-called Christians shooting up synagogues and grocery stores). Mandatory Religion is not the solution you want it to be.

And thanks to the Second Amendment and a Supreme Court skewing to an extreme Far Right agenda, it's gotten harder to get rid of the assault weapons. Even though we've had a history of banning the AR-15s and their copycats for ten years rather effectively until 2004.

The United States is a toxic brew of fear, hate, rage, and easy access to military-grade firepower.

The shootings will continue until morale improves, or until there's no one left as target practice for the NRA to profit from.

P.S. As I type this, there's reports of a mass shooting in Racine, Wisconsin. It's at a funeral service for a Black man who was shot and killed by cops. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME.

P.S.S. Following the Racine shooting, there was a shooting at a church in Ames, IA. The killer turned out to be an Angry Guy ex-boyfriend of one of the two killed college women. For the LOVE OF ACTUAL GOD, PEOPLE...