Opinion: From Gun Control to Guantanamo, the Issues 2012 Ignored

Monday, November 05, 2012 - 09:12 AM

A Guantanamo detainee's feet are shackled to the floor as he attends a 'Life Skills' class. (Michelle Shepard/Getty)

Here is a partial list of the issues on which, in my view, the candidates have failed to offer constructive proposals: 

1. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It is offensive that both parties (and the media) now routinely refer to these programs as “entitlements,” and that they employ the euphemism “entitlement reform” to mask their intentions to reduce benefits. Late in the campaign, both parties tried to present themselves as the protectors of these programs, which was harder for the Republicans after they chose budget hawk Paul Ryan as Romney’s running mate. And yet, it was Obama and his party that proudly cut the payroll tax, the only tax that supports the Social Security fund.

2. Gun control. Stricter regulation, particularly of handguns, is a critical need that the major parties have agreed not to debate, much less address with new legislation. The carnage continues throughout the United States, which also continues to manufacture huge quantities of handguns for sale here and abroad.

3. The war on drugs. It was declared by Richard Nixon forty years ago, and it has been lost. I’m not advocating legalization, but certainly new strategies for dealing with both drug abuse and drug crime are sorely needed. Plenty of ideas are out there in the universities, think tanks and government agencies, but neither major party seems willing to discuss them.

4. Capital punishment. The death penalty has been proven ineffective, and state after state has virtually abandoned it, yet both major parties continue to condone the practice. I have spoken to Democrats who were not even aware that their president supports capital punishment.

5. Guantanamo Bay. This shameful prison camp is still open, still detaining people indefinitely without charges, still staging military tribunals rather than trials in courts of law. When was the last time you heard this seriously debated?

6. The Federal Reserve. Officials at the central bank have indicated they will keep interest rates near zero until the end of 2015. So, the banks can continue to borrow money from the government (i.e. taxpayers) virtually interest-free, they can then loan it out at a profit, and they can continue to refuse to pay reasonable interest to customers for savings accounts or CDs. This is apparently fine with both candidates.

7. Taxes. This is one of the few big issues Obama and Romney have debated, although there has been precious little clarity from either. Romney is opposed to any new taxes and vows to cut existing taxes for everybody. Obama says he will raise taxes for the wealthy and cut them for everybody else. Neither candidate has described a comprehensive tax reform plan that would result in a more fair system. The Simpson-Bowles panel came up with a proposal, but neither party has supported its efforts. The Republican argument that the federal government does not need to raise more revenue is ridiculous. The Democratic Party’s belief that raising taxes for 1 percent of the population is somehow going to alleviate the nation’s fiscal challenges is equally absurd.

8. Climate change. Obama talked a lot about global warming and the need to develop renewable energy sources four years ago, but this year he has chosen to advocate more drilling for oil and natural gas. Climate change was essentially missing from the campaign until Hurricane Sandy brought it back into our public discourse. The Republicans are still in denial about this issue. The Democrats have given us little reason to believe the environment will be a priority in a second Obama administration, but if that changes, we’ll have Sandy to thank.


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Comments [5]

The Second Amendment isn’t nor was it ever about deer, duck or turkey hunting! The hallmark of the Second Amendment is liberty. The superiority of a firearm makes it one of the best tools against crime and tyranny. Proponents of gun-control understand it but will never admit it. If it wasn’t true the police and military would both be armed with knives, hammers and rocks. Odd too that civil liberty and gun-control crusaders show more confidence, faith, and trust with firearms in the hands of rogue cops, the standing army and those “victims” on death-row. One could be tempted to think that when you listen closely to them. How strange they think so little of innocent, law-abiding, peace loving and armed citizen. At the same time they think so highly of armed bureaucrats, rogue cops, and murders! Criminals, the media, politicians and the anti-gun crusaders fear a vigilant, armed and defensive citizenry. The media, politicians and anti-gun crusaders want a government heavily armed with defenseless and submissive chattel slaves. I’ve stated before the motives of the fourth and fifth estates are clear. They understand the stakes in the gun-control game. No longer content to lead as elected to do they’re maneuvering to rule, and rule unimpeded! That is the eight-hundred pound gorilla in the room. That should be in the conversation too! But any reasonable conversation must be derailed with sophistry.

Sure I’m emotional about this subject. That doesn’t alter the logic. I’d finally had enough. For years I’ve watched celebrities and politicians, listened to countless anti-gun moral crusaders, talking heads and read all their agenda driven “news” articles. Clueless cunning people with a public platform I’ll never have. They all express the same mindless pap this article did. Big deal! Go right ahead, explain the logic of this ideology to my mother, and shout it real loud. The dead don’t hear well!

Nov. 06 2012 11:20 PM

Murder victims never receive a jury trial; they have no rights to appeal. They’re only required to die. Often a painful brutal death! That morning my mom just thought she was going to work. She was in fact going to die! I don't get to see her again, ever! She knows no visits from friends and family as her murderer probably received. And I just visit a stone in a graveyard and wonder what might have been if only... At that time we also learned we couldn’t be informed about his trial or his fate. It seems that too was against the law! And it took the advent of the internet to finally learn a few meager details, most notably, six years and out. Betty was a (nobody), but as “Momma” she was a (somebody) to me!

So an average of six years in prison is the price most murderers pay. A few years confinement on the taxpayer dime for all of those wasted innocent lives. Now a high profile victim a (somebody) or a (large group) a killer may serve a little more time, maybe life. Maybe, don’t bet on it! Occasionally some do get the needle or as it is being called nowadays by clueless moral crusaders “cruel an unusual punishment”. This of course as opposed to the charity they show their victims I suppose.

Murderer uses the best weapon available to them. Guns, hammers, knives nor rocks simply don’t jump up and kill by themselves. They are all inanimate objects, tools. There are no calls to ban deadly knives, hammers and rocks. Just guns! Any tool used to kill is irrelevant. Dead is dead! So why do the crusaders only advocate gun-control or bans? Is it merely because of the efficiency of a firearm? I’d doubt it, besides as a tool what good is an inferior firearm? ‘We the people’ wish to live free or die trying. Gun-control proponents claim not to too understand or accept these facts.

Nov. 06 2012 11:19 PM

(Reader’s Digest Version)

I ought to be a poster boy for more gun-control laws. My mother was a forty-four year old a (nobody) when she was shot to death Wednesday morning September 9, 1981, in Houston, Texas. She was waiting to clock into work with co-workers that morning. She was gunned down right in front of them. There was nothing anyone could have done to save her. Her attacker was the only one present who was armed. He emptied all six shots from his revolver into her body. After she was shot and down on the ground he used his empty pistol like a rock and started to pistol-whip her. Neither mercy nor quarter was given. After his gun was empty and the pistol-whipping was going on her co-workers finally restrained the attacker and held him for the police. She died about an hour later in the Ben Taub hospital E.R. Pardon the details but I have had over thirty one years to live with this fact-of-life no one should have to live with. Being graphic may give a better understanding about what I have come to believe.

Murders exercise real “cruel an unusual punishment” anytime on anyone they please. They’ve no qualms with capital punishment “except” their own. It’s open season on us all. We of course only hear of the bloodshed when they target a high profile (somebody) or (groups) especially if children are involved. For the fourth and fifth estates the higher profile, the larger the group and especially with children all the better. Emotions rule the day logic be-damned!

I find the cost a typical murderer pays is small compared to their crime. Freedom from “cruel an unusual punishment” is only a right reserved for the guilty. Their victims just get to die! It wasn't until many years later I learned my mother’s executioner had murdered before! Just so it is understood too a number of major laws were broken that that morning. Here was a violent convicted felon, a convicted felon under a restraining order; a convicted felon with a gun and a convicted felon committing murder again! Any one with half a brain knows these things are all against the law! Simply put neither laws nor the police protect anyone, but more on that latter. Is it just me or is a pattern taking shape here? It sure as hell isn’t a gun. continued

Nov. 06 2012 11:17 PM

Is "denial" of climate change like denial that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are going bankrupt along with the economic decline of the United States if nothing serious is done?
Which is truly more disastrous for the world in the 21st Century?

"Budget hawks" like Ryan may be derided but at least they know how to use simple math to predict the economic future that determines how much money is left to pay the generous salaries and benefits of government regulators and experts who have the ingenious gift to predict the weather and spend money to save the planet after they get their cut of the action.

Nov. 05 2012 09:36 PM

With respect to gun control, you're flat wrong, probably because you've bought into the wildly inflated figures cited by pro gun control groups. They usually quote a figure of around 30,000 gun deaths per year.

In fact, looking at 2010, the last year for which there are solid figures, the FBI's Uniform Crime Report reveals there were 8323 homicides committed with firearms; this excludes justifiable killings by police and civilians.

Also, we all know that African Americans are disproportionately involved in homicides, both as perpetrators and victims. If you subtract all of the firearms homicides for 2010 committed by African Americans, you are left with only 3903. In 2010 we were a nation of 312,000,000 that experienced 2,465,936 deaths from all causes.

It's time for the progressive left to quit beating this dead horse. We've had the national debate, starting in the 1960s, and the gun rights advocates won it. It has been won in the court of public opinion according to recent polls - it has been won in state legislatures: over 40 states now issue permits for citizens to carry concealed pistols - finally, it has been won in the US Supreme Court: look up the Heller decision.

Nov. 05 2012 11:12 AM

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