Lack of Transparency

Monday, April 1, 2013
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In recent opinion pieces, the president of the NRA, David Keene, gets on his high horse to lecture President Obama about “the crucial importance of transparency in government …” regarding the authority to use drones to kill American citizens and others without trial or charges. The nerve of that hypocrite!

The NRA has used its toadies in Congress to block statistical data about criminal gun use in the files of federal agencies from being released to the public. The Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agency has been severely restricted in gathering gun data and in investigating gun dealers and gun sales and is prohibited by the Todd Tiahrt gun amendment from releasing any data on gun use to the public. The Centers for Disease Control has also been prohibited from gathering much significant data on gun use and violence or of disclosing any such information to the public.

We should all be outraged by this deliberate campaign to prevent any meaningful studies on gun use and violence. It has keep the public largely ignorant regarding gun use that killed over 30,000 Americans last year.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

I see nothing wrong with demanding transparency in a government that you pay for. Would you rather a government that is non-transparent? Oh wait, you already have that - well congrats to ya.

I further see nothing hypocritical in being against drones of war being used to spy track, and may be even kill Americans (who paid for the drone in the first place).

For what ever issues you have with the NRA, they do not kill people, any more than guns do. Guns are an inanimate object - a hunk of metal. I can in no way be violent as it is not human - any more than it can pick it's self up and shoot someone all by it's little lonesome self.

Governments and criminals on the other hand are different.
They can and do kill people - on your dime.

You might think it silly to wear a tee-shirt that say:

"I'll give you a dollar if you shoot me dead".

And yet Americans do it everyday.
If you check your tax return, I bet it cost you a whole lot more than a dollar.

I find it odd that a govt that has just purchased billions of hallow point bullets, police war tanks for domestic use against Americans, want to take an "inalienable right" away.

The 2nd amendment was not granted by government, but by the people to the people.
Not for hunting, but to kill tyrant. That was the purpose.

The more peaceful option, would be to de-fund the tyrany.
Do not give government the money to buy billions of hallow-point bullets whose target is you.

The one government study you won't see is the truth government kills thousands more than the common criminal beind the gun's trigger, or the honest person trying to defend his life.

Whether it's because of that new cancer drug you will not get because of the FDA regulation, this or that, the fact is more Americans die at the hands of government.

But then again, I doubt you will see a study commissioned by the Fox in the ill effects of Foxes in the chicken coop either.

Sly one that Fox.

nobody123 (anonymous profile)
April 1, 2013 at 4:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Remember: Drones don't kill American citizens without due process, Obama does.

Drone strikes are up 5000% (50x) vs. Bush administration and where are all the protesters and outrage and Code Pink rallies? Where are they?

Oh, they must be busy writing lame comparisons to the NRA and federal agency data disclosures.

Why is gun crime down *since* the federal assault weapons ban expired? Why is crime down 80% in Kennesaw Georgia since they passed a REQUIREMENT that heads of households keep guns? Why was a just-retired Sherriff deputy shot by gangs in West Hollywood recently? Answer: the gang bangers said they knew that West Hollywood had a handgun ban so that was the place to go.

The writer of this letter is likely among a population of Americans that are "Statists" - believers in giving ever-growing power and control to a minority group of elitist technocrats who "know better than you and I" what to do about everything and everyone. Only they should have guns.

willy88 (anonymous profile)
April 4, 2013 at 5:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree Willy88, where are these people?
I could name several local politicos who, with my support quite vocal against the Bush wars but are strangely silent over Obama's.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 4, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

While disagreeing as usual with almost everything you write, Willy, you are correct about Obama and aerial drone assassinations, whether of a US citizen (Awl-Awlaki) or of 4000 others (and counting, and incl. over 176 children). I have certainly ranted, and in print, about this excess; and yes, if Bush had done it at this rate we'd be out in the streets protesting.
It's hilarious that you write about those supposed "believers in giving ever-growing power and control to a minority group of elitist technocrats" when 'an ever-shrinking minority (1%) of hyper-wealthy and trustee-babies have their wealth and power continuing to grow'. Top level bankers, e.g. at Goldman Sachs, have seen their bonuses and pay rise over 50% since the 2008 debacle they and Wall St. brought upon us. I'd be a lot more worried about that, cowboy.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 4, 2013 at 9:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Now Obama has signed a bill giving corporations political rights that override governmental regulations.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 4, 2013 at 9:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm 51 years old, and I remember that six-shooters were very easily available when I was a kid and I never heard about people walking in and shooting up lots of people. (And I'm basing this on the assumption that there was no high-power guns that are being used now)

Rewind to the frontier days when just about everyone had a gun and is it recorded that people went around and shot up schoolkids and other assembled groups of people? If so, was this because A: One lunatic would have been stopped quickly because other armed people would have had a fighting chance against him/her?...or B: We lived in a less violent society?

Answers please.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 5, 2013 at 1:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

B. less violent society.
As everything becomes commodified including human beings themselves, the less value is placed on our common humanity.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 5, 2013 at 2:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Whether it's drones or people that are used to kill or people, I see no difference. Whether we used seal team 6 to take out OBL vs. using a drone is not material. It's not the tool that is used that should be up for debate, it's the policy.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 5, 2013 at 5:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Only a wooden heart could think there is no difference between using people versus drones in a combat operation. See if you can stand-your-ground if you assert that shallow thought to a combat veteran or his widow.

Speaking of standing-your-ground, the so-called ‘stand-your-ground’ reason for having guns was debunked in a recent study (from Texas no less). That study reported that the 20 states that have implemented those laws have found that “… the laws do not deter burglary, robbery, or aggravated assault. In contrast, they lead to a statistically significant 8 percent net increase in the number of reported murders and non-negligent manslaughters.”

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
April 5, 2013 at 12:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You completely misunderstood my point. Actually, from a risk/casualty perspective, drones are much preferable. My point was directed at the policy of targeted assassinations such as the operation to kill OBL. My point was that those that have moral objections to the use of drones for that purpose should see no difference between the use of combat personnel and the use of drones. It's the principal of targeted assassination that most have a moral objection to, not the tool used to accomplish that task.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 5, 2013 at 1:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with Botany on this one. I personally would have preferred ObL stood trial for his crimes. Death is instantaneous, the US justice system is forever.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 5, 2013 at 1:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@Botany: I can only read your words, not your mind. I work with soldiers and feel for the hard and unforgiving positions, and harsh outcomes, their orders often lead them to. Thanks for clarifying that you were speaking to policy only. Are you referring to the policy of the ‘traditional’ targeted assassinations of enemies like OBL, or against the neo policy allowing US citizens to join the group in our cross hairs (which I think KV is referring to)?

@KV: Are you suggesting that Obama is guilty of a crime because he targeted OBL, or a US citizen, or both? And do you think his trial should come before or after W. Bush and Cheney’s? FIFO or LIFO?

@BC: I think your question about whether we are more violent today than in the past is a good one. I don’t have an answer but found two interesting sites that might partially inform (I haven’t verified either):

Another question that has often been asked here and elsewhere, so far without a useful answer, is should there be any limits on firearms that citizens can possess? If so what is the limit, how is it defined?

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
April 5, 2013 at 2:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

While I personally believe ObL was guilty, I firmly believe in trial by jury- the old fashioned American way. I'm less interested in revenge and more in solutions .

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 5, 2013 at 2:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I understood your point Botany. It did not require clairvoyance, only 6th grade level comprehension.
Hodgmo-Stop equating and convoluting Obama's hideous ignoring of the Constitution and due process with the moronic 8 years that Bush was in office. Bush destabilized the entire world over a phony threat and we all know that and abhor him for it.
Obama has been here for almost 5 years, he owns his own stupidity, and he has a clear agenda and record that is demonstrably not transparent nor in line with the Constitution.
KV-While I am thrilled that we blasted OBL and would be thrilled if we did it again, my opinion does not make it right. He should have been tried in a military court outside of the U.S. Let's also not forget that Obama invaded a sovereign country without permission to murder OBL; imagine the screaming by the left if Bush had done the same.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
April 6, 2013 at 10:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Botany your reasong about drone usage beginning with blather about "a risk/casualty perspective" demonstrate your wooden heart.
The best case vs. Obama and drones is of course our aerial murdering of Awl-Awlak in Yemen last year. He was a native-born US citizen.
Italiansurg, when we agree Bush 43 made horrible wars IN OUR NAMES based on phony threats you just conclude that "we all know that and abhor him for it. " No, the guilt and moral weight hang on all of us, but especially if we voted for this moron. Some of us support Bush and Cheney being tried at the International War Crimes tribunal (the ones who tried Milosevic), how do you feel about that?

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 6, 2013 at 1:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@Italiansurg: The Botany post I referred to was ambiguous; he subsequently clarified it. There’s a difference between inference and comprehension – check it out. Then please apply the 6th grade reading comprehension you imply having and show me where my post equated or convoluted Obama’s action wrt the constitution with W’s actions. I didn’t and I don’t. I do agree that the buck stops with the Commander in Chief. Can you name any presidents since Ike that didn’t have “a clear agenda and record that is demonstrably not transparent nor in line with the Constitution”? I suspect the list is very short.

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
April 6, 2013 at 1:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@DrDan: I pretty much agree with your last post except for your labeling Bush a “moron.” Bush and Cheney appear to be amoral, but I don’t think they were or are morons. I suspect they accomplished at least some of their major goals. For example, the wars directly contributed to the significant growth of their and their cronies’ wealth. Similar motives appear to fuel the NRA.

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
April 6, 2013 at 1:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Libertarian Party may not be perfect, but at least they don't support imperialism. Same can be said for the Green Party. I haven't voted mainstream in presidential elections since 1988. I like being able to know that I can look in the eyes of family members of an Iraqi/Afghan/any other innocent civilian the U.S. has killed and say that I did my part to prevent the maiming/bombing/killing of their loved ones/villages.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 6, 2013 at 7:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I respect that, BC, but I'm pleased I voted for Obama in both elections 'cause he has obeyed the general will of our people by (too slowly!) drawing our forces down in Iraq and now (even more slowly) from Afghanistan...this ultimately leads to less death. Obama has resisted Republican urges to be more militarily aggressive in Syria (a huge tragedy), in Iran (stops Netanyahu from nuking or at least bombing Iran and Natanz etc.)...but he has been very aggressive with the drones (illegal aerial assassinations), and unusually assertive with N. Korea (at urgings of S. Korea and Japan). If your NOT voting for a mainstream candidate in 2012 and Romney had gotten in: we would have a huge new surge into Afghanistan and we'd be on the ground in Syria killing and dying....

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 7, 2013 at 7:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Cheney is no moron. To the contrary he is brilliant and evil.
Obama is no moron. His intelligence appears to be above average while not brilliant, and while not evil he is clearly unethical.

The past two Presidents appear to have usurped the Constitution more than their predecessors. Obama is apparently quite comfortable ruling through unconstitutional executive order.
I found Bill Clinton, while a misogynist scum bag, to be a very good President that did not appear dead set on usurping the Constitution.

I do not favor trying Bush under international law any more than I favor trying Obama for his clear breaking of international law by going into Pakistan and murdering OBL and for continuing to support the wars that the previous administration started. What about dear Hilary? She had access to all of the crappy intelligence that was misconstrued to screw up the planet and she supported the wars.
If you want to go after Bush then you HAVE TO throw Obama in as well.

The international courts are so political, so selective, and so loaded against the U.S. that I will stick with our own Constitution and relegate none of our sovereignty to the International War Crimes Court.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
April 8, 2013 at 12:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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