Sunday, February 7, 2016

Clickbait Obama

We know what clickbait is.  It's the hyperbole-style of writing that makes a reader want to click on a story.  The style is so compelling, resistance is often futile. 

25 stars who've aged horribly - you won't believe #17 

Ok, admit it.  You're mad at me because you clicked the headline and didn't go anywheres.  Of course, if I had linked it and you got to seventeen, you'd think, "Umm, yeah, I can believe it.  She's ninety-six-years-old and she actually aged pretty well, considering."

You swear you won't fall for that nonsensical type headline again, then along comes President Obama and we all listen intently.

His eyebrows aged better than the
rest of him.  How could that be?
We listen to his whole speech on gun control expecting to hear inspiring and persuasive statements and profound solutions.  Instead, we come to the equivalent of #17 and think, "Umm, is everything coming out of DC a running advertisement played out as a reality show?  What happened to our true statesmen of yesteryear?"

Whenever one turns to hyperbole (clickbait) and appeals to listeners' emotions (it's for the children), the speaker has conceded he/she lost the debate before the debate began.  Let's explore how President Obama lost the gun control debate.

"The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage, but they can't hold America hostage."

Hostages are never willing participants.  The NRA might be waving big checks around the halls of Congress, but if our congressmen and senators are grabbing those checks, they do so willingly.  Pharmaceutical companies, environmental groups, consumer safety groups, and just about every other special interest group wave big checks around the halls of Congress.  Our congressmen and senators willingly grab those checks along with the NRA's checks.  These words spoken by President Obama are better suited in a speech calling for lobbying reform.

"We can't accept this carnage in our communities."

Seriously?  Let's talk about a more serious carnage.  Drugs.  Not the illegal kinds, but the prescription kind Obamacare pays for. 

From the CDC, about 26,000 deaths per year can be attributed to accidental overdoses of prescription medications.  That's more deaths than caused by heroin and cocaine combined and nearly as many deaths as caused by firearms.

But wait! 

That 26,000 is attributable to accidental overdoses only.  Let's add in deaths caused by prescription medicines taken as directed, but result in adverse reactions.  That will be another 128,000 deaths per year.  That's over four times as many deaths by drugs as by guns.

Stop and think about this for a moment.  We get teary eyed over about 30,000 gun deaths per year, don't even think about the few hundred more killed on our highways every year, yet no one dares speaks of over 150,000 people who die from prescription drugs. 

Want to talk carnage?  Let's talk medicine. 

"If a child can’t open a bottle of aspirin, we should make sure that they can’t pull a trigger on a gun"

I never did like those child safety caps.  As I get older, I like them less.  When a six-year-old can teach me how to use my smart phone, somehow, I don't think child safety caps do all that much protecting. 

Child safety caps are the least of our worries.  We're drugging our kids with antidepressants and getting them hooked on all sorts of things from cholesterol lowering medications to opioid pain killers - you know, that heroin-like stuff, only legal because it's sold by the dealers who drugged our Congress first.  Despite the child safety caps, some 70,000 children end up in the emergency room every year because of accidental medication exposures and poisonings.  Many die.

"...we accept that you can’t yell “fire” in a theater. We understand there are some constraints on our freedom in order to protect innocent people."

I've never taught constitutional law as President Obama claims he did.  Heck, I'm not even a lawyer because I never did master the art of speaking out of both sides of my mouth while simultaneously adding a ventriloquist act out of the other end of my body.   I'm pretty sure, however, you can yell, "Fire!" in a theater - especially if there really is one.  Like everything in life, there may be consequences for exercising your free speech rights. 

You may be held civilly responsible for the theater's loss of income because your speech vacated the theater.  If your speech caused mayhem and people were injured or killed getting out of the theater, you may be held civilly responsible to them.  Most likely, you will be held criminally responsible for anything from sounding a false alarm to disturbing the peace to criminal negligence to involuntary manslaughter.  But you will never be arrested for yelling, "Fire!" in a theater.

Ok, so President Obama misspoke.  Problem is he misspoke in the context of his speech where he claimed that constraints are needed on our freedoms to protect others.  If we accept the premise that it's ok to make yelling, "Fire!" in a theater illegal - an infringement on our free speech rights - it makes it easier down the road to criminalize other speech or control the speech that is allowed.

Terrorists use the Internet to radicalize new recruits.  President Obama is setting the stage to authorize government control of the Internet.

That kid in South Carolina (I refuse to recognize him by name) who killed nine people out of racist motives regularly browsed and socialized on known racist websites.  President Obama is setting the stage to land people on a watch list and maybe even leading those who make the watch list to being charged with terroristic threatening if they so much as utter a racial slur in public.

Then there's the murky domain of hate speech.  Today, Donald Trump rallies thousands in cheering support; tomorrow, he could be charged with hate speech crimes and taken off the public stage in disgrace as he's arrested for hate speech crimes. 

If you are inclined to laugh at the thought of our free speech rights being shackled like a common criminal, ask yourself why our government, under President Obama's watch, has justified the mass monitoring and collection of Internet and cell phone data exchanges.  The constraints on our freedoms in order to protect innocent people know no bounds.

"We cherish our right to privacy, but we accept that you have to go through metal detectors...that’s part of the price of living in a civilized society."

Yes, President Obama, we cherish our rights to privacy, which is why we don't accept walking through metal detectors - or X-ray machines - nor do we accept subjecting ourselves to random drug tests, having our Internet and cell phone chatter monitored, scanning our driver's licenses when we purchase alcohol or tobacco products, monitoring our driving habits with plate recognition software...and I won't bore my readers with another thirty thousand words of examples. 

Suffice it to say we need a leader who will protect our rights, not find justifications to further erode them.

"A recent study found that about one in 30 people looking to buy guns on one website had criminal records — one out of 30 had a criminal record. We’re talking about individuals convicted of serious crimes — aggravated assault, domestic violence, robbery, illegal gun possession. People with lengthy criminal histories buying deadly weapons all too easily."

Please allow me to point out the obvious - these thirty people were looking, not buying.  It is not illegal for a felon to look.

Thank you, though, President Obama, for providing us with a glimpse of the Internet data gathering capabilities of researchers and, most likely, corporations as well as your government.  In order for you to know these thirty people and their criminal histories, that means for a month the web site was monitored, all the personal information of every visitor is now stored in a database somewhere.  When you earlier said, "We cherish our right to privacy...," were those empty words or are you planning on issuing executive orders tightening how personal information is gathered, identified, and stored to ensure our concept of "right to privacy" doesn't become a faded memory our great-grandchildren will read about in fairytales?

"After Connecticut passed a law requiring background checks and gun safety courses, gun deaths decreased by 40 percent..."

And your hometown of Chicago, Mr. Obama,  has some of the toughest gun control laws yet ranks among the highest in gun violence in the country.  Go figure....

"It’s also why we’re going to ensure that federal mental health records are submitted to the background check system, and remove barriers that prevent states from reporting relevant information."

Do tell, President Obama, what sort of "mental health" issues would qualify as a reason to deny someone a right to own a gun? 

Suicidal?  Somehow I don't think a suicidal person goes out and buys a gun.  There's other, handier ways to kill oneself, like overdosing on prescription drugs - you know, all that medicine your Affordable Care Act has made available to millions of people who may have otherwise been denied healthcare and prescription medicines.

What other mental illness may preclude one's right to own a gun?  From your own government website on mental health:
The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else.
Either your website is factual, which means people with mental health issues needn't be singled out and denied their second amendment rights, or you are setting a stage for a gun free America much like Surgeon General Koop set the stage for a smoke free America some thirty years ago.  We've seen how the campaign against smoking has gone and we can deduce how the campaign to disarm America will go.

"And if you have any doubt as to why you should feel that 'fierce urgency of now....'"

No one doubts the "fierce urgency of now."  Problem is the folks in DC define it quite differently than we, the people. 

Those in the government - whether we're talking about the President, senators, representatives, or a government employee in general - have long since forgotten what the words, "public servant" mean.  We need true public servants - statesmen and stateswomen - to bring us back to our Constitutional values based on the underlying principle that our government is not only of the people, for the people, and by the people, but also our government is there to serve the people, not rule them.  Instead of seeking ways to curb and limit our rights, they should be seeking ways to protect and expand them.

Unfortunately, I don't see any true statesmen or stateswomen on the horizon.

TL;DR Folks
Our president told us we need to give up more of our rights for the safety of innocents, this time - again - our second amendment rights.  While he doesn't care about the 70,000 children injured or killed every year by prescription drugs, drugs made more affordable by his Affordable Care Act, he is particularly emotional over a few hundred children injured or killed by firearms. 

For your listening pleasure:

Posted by Five Drunk Rednecks

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