Writings and observations

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

“After Hurricane Sandy, we saw the hellish world gun prohibitionists see as their utopia. Looters ran wild in South Brooklyn…if you wanted to walk several miles to get supplies, you better get back before dark or you might not get home at all…nobody knows if or when the fiscal collapse will come, but if the country is broke, there likely won’t be enough money to pay for police protection…hurricanes, tornadoes, riots, terrorist gangs, lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face – not just maybe. It’s not paranoia to buy a gun. It’s survival…responsible behavior … and it’s time we encourage law abiding citizens to do just that.”

That is a portion of the latest alarmist, racist and baseless rant from the NRA’s LaPierre. Filled with lies and race baiting, the nation’s ranking gun nut made these fact-free charges – and more – meant to inflame. To incite. Add these bloody words to the previous pile of verbal excrement from this false prophet.

Yet, nearly nobody in the United States Congress has stepped into the light of publicity to call this bastard what he is. Few condemned the groundless garbage for what it is. Oh, we heard of some who – off the record – said the NRA was going too far. We heard of some who – off the record – wished he would shut up and disappear. But only a handful put it on the record. And there were even some who said they agreed. But not “on camera.”

LaPierre is close to becoming a domestic terrorist in my view. His continued portrayal of a nation unable to enforce its own laws unless every citizen carries a gun is alarmism of high order. Rather than position himself and the NRA as defenders of law and order, he constantly invokes conditions of disorder and violence – of the need of every American to be armed. He warns one race of possible future violence to be committed by other races. He promotes visions of breakdowns in government and law enforcement – their coming inability to enforce our laws. He forecasts vigilantism to maintain personal protection. Rather than support the professionals who assure our safety under the law, LaPierre undermines their effectiveness by continually warning of their coming failure.

So, in this space – and in future spaces – we will posit the view that any member of Congress who does not publicly denounce LaPierre, his lies and racist garbage in the strongest of terms – on the record – will be considered to be his supporter. The lust for NRA PAC money and fear the NRA will end employment at the public trough can no longer be shelter for those we elect. None.

LaPierre has taken the issue of gun ownership to dangerous extremes. Extremes the NRA never claimed in its previously honorable existence. He’s become a villain obsessed with his own power. His conduct and his words are outside the bounds of reasonable discourse on issues of gun safety and citizen protection.

Member of Congress need to publically disown him. And the rest of us need to ignore him.

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Rainey

news

LEGALIZING HEMP Stronger language than the norm – amidst introducing, yet again, a bill to legalize farming of industrial hemp – for Oregon Senator Ron Wyden: “there are some dumb regulations that are hurting economic growth and job creation …” But fitting. This has nothing to do with the legalizing pot proposals, since hemp, though related on the plant family tree, had no mind-altering effect. But it is highly useful for many things, with the perverse result that although hemp is widely used in this country, and usage has actually tripled in the last decade, it’s still illegal to produce it here – we have to import it – though it can grow well. No immediate prediction, however, that sanity will prevail this time.

TROUBLE FOR REARDON Snohomish County’s executive, Aaron Reardon, has some serious trouble brewing now, whether he seems to register it or not. His staff (apparently office staff, not campaign staff, which would not have been a problem) made a series of public records requests under made-up names aimed at his political opposition. Reardon seems to be defending the key staffer involved, which says something for loyalty but could be serious trouble down the road.

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First Take

peterson MARTIN
PETERSON
 

There is no greater issue facing this country than that of bringing the federal budget under control. It is a bigger issue than dealing with international terrorism, drugs, global warming and, yes, even second amendment issues.

The federal budget and the need to eliminate the deficit is something that impacts virtually every American. Changes in federal tax laws, reductions in federal discretionary spending, including defense spending, changes in Medicare, Social Security and other entitlement program, are just a few of the issues facing Congress, the President and the entire nation.

The only thing certain about dealing with these issues is that no single person is likely to be pleased with the final solutions. But it is also important that the public is knowledgeable of the
extent of the problem and the reasons for solving it. And, perhaps most importantly, why the solutions to the problem, however unpopular, will probably be far better for the country as a whole than simply ignoring it.

Much of the time during the past few months I have been working with the McClure Center for Public Policy Research at the University of Idaho putting together a project to help educate Idahoans on issues relating to the federal budget. The end result is a symposium that will be held in Boise the evening of February 19 and televised statewide on Idaho Public Television’s World Channel.

The symposium brings together some of the nation’s leading experts and participants in seeking solutions to issues such a deficit reduction.

Senator Mike Crapo is a member of three major committees involved with these issues. The Senate committees on Finance, Budget and Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. He is also a member of the National Commission on Fiscal Reform, more commonly known as the Simpson-Bowles Commission.

Congressman Mike Simpson of Idaho second congressional district is a member of both the House Appropriations Committee and the House Budget Committee.

Senator Alan Simpson from Wyoming has retired from the Senate but has remained active as the co-chairman of the Simpson-Bowles Commission which was appointed by the president to seek solutions to reducing the deficit. He is well known for his candor and wit, as well as for his knowledge of issues relating to deficit reduction.

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia has been a leading player on the Democratic side of the aisle. He serves on both the Budget and Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committees.

Maya MacGuineas is president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bipartisan, non-profit national organization committed to educating the public about issues that have significant fiscal policy impact. The Committee is made up of some of the nation’s leading budget experts including many of the past chairs and directors of the Budget Committees, the Congressional Budget Office, the Office of Management and Budget, the Government Accountability Office, and the Federal Reserve Board.

It is a reflection on the significant leadership roles that Senator Crapo and Congressman Simpson are playing in dealing with the wide range of federal fiscal issues that these other panel members will be coming to Idaho to join them in this symposium. It is also an indication of the level of respect they each have among their colleagues from both parties.

This is an all-star cast. They will be convening in the auditorium of Idaho capitol building at 7:00 pm Pacific Time on February 19 for a two-hour discussion of federal fiscal issues and opportunities to respond to questions from a wide range of individuals from across the state.

You can participate by tuning in to Idaho Public Television’s World Channel and watching the symposium live. It will also be streamed live on their website. Later in the week, on Friday, February 22, following the weekly broadcast of Idaho Reports, Idaho Public Television will broadcast an abbreviated one-hour edition of the symposium.

Marty Peterson grew up in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley. He is retired and lives in Boise.

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Peterson