Saturday, February 20, 2016

More twists from the NRA

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Before you get another word into this blog, I MUST lay out a disclaimer---I AM A LIFETIME MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION.  I have been since 1990 when I paid the first $25 payment on my lifetime installment.

Today I feel I must rant on a topic that has been largely shoved down the throats of all Americans—possession of guns.  Whether it be the “right” to own a semi-automatic rifle capable of firing 30 or more rounds a minute and has the potential to empty TWO 100 round clips in less than 3 minutes; or owning a handgun that might also have the capacity to hold 15, even 20 rounds, Americans have been manipulated to accept guns as part of everyday life.
Again, in the interest of transparency, I do own several guns.  And if truth be told, I would own more if circumstances allowed.

Then last month, I see one of the cover stories on my NRA magazine is about suppressors (December 2015).  Then I read an article in my local Detroit paper (January 31, 2016), also about suppressors.
So I am extremely curious as to why silencers, aka suppressors, are suddenly so beneficial.
Since both are so similar, I will use Jeff Johnston’s article dated December 15, 2015 as my primary reference and identify Lydia Lohrer’s article dated January 31, 2016 when I refer to her article.
Both articles put up a straw-man argument that in parts of Europe, silencers are readily available over the counter for the asking and require no special licensing—paper work—tax—or wait period.  Just set your money down, pick a silencer and in less time than it takes to shoot 30 children in an elementary school—you can have a silencer to call your own.  Those liberal loving Norwegians sure know how to run small government while looking out for their citizens’ rights to be armed.  BUT WAIT…while it seems t be so easy to get a silencer, buying a GUN is an entirely different story in most of Europe--

Both the NRA article (5 Reasons to Consider a Suppressor) and the Detroit Free Press article (On Suppressors, Lend Me Your Ears) note that in Norway, all one has to do in walk into a gun store and buy silencer—no paper work, no wait period, no bureaucratic red-tape.  But what they do not tell us is that it is NEARLY impossible to buy a gun in Norway—

The purchase, possession, and use of firearms are tightly controlled in Norway, whose laws and regulations were made more stringent with amendments to the Firearms Act in 2009 and the adoption of new Firearms Regulations in that year.  Permission to acquire a firearm must be obtained from the local police chief and is limited to persons of “sober habits” who have reasonable grounds for having a weapon.  Fully automatic weapons, some semiautomatic weapons, and firearms disguised as other objects are banned under the law. Certain types of weapons not covered by the Firearms Act’s definition of firearms, such as stun guns, are also generally banned.  In addition, the National Police Directorate may issue regulations prohibiting the acquisition, ownership, or possession of firearms deemed through their design or operation to be especially dangerous or inappropriate for use.
There are also legal provisions, among others, on the licensing of firearms dealers and exporter/importers, the maintenance of a central firearms register, and the mandatory safe storage of firearmsThe police have the authority to conduct inspections of privately stored firearms, after notifying the owner.
Nearly 10% of Norway’s populace own firearms, which are used chiefly for hunting purposes.  The gun laws were apparently not extensively amended in the aftermath of the 2011 massacre in Oslo and on a nearby island in which seventy-seven people were killed, chiefly through the use of firearms; however, the country’s Mental Health Act has been revised to include a new chapter on enhanced security in institutions that accommodate the severely mentally ill or persons at risk for serious violent behavior.

SO, one does not simply walk into a gun store, pick out a military assault style weapon—because these weapons are NOT SOLD in Norway.  There is also something called the CENTRAL REGISTRY of GUNS—and local law enforcement can INSPECT gun owner homes to assure the weapons are safe and secure.

So while the NRA grasps at straws to make a PROGRESSIVE and extremely LIBERAL country like NORWAY appear gun crazy and so much more advanced in their weapons of mass destruction mentality—giving the appearance that America is backwards and has a draconian view of guns, the reality is that European Countries RESTRICT access to weapons – have an extensive background check for those who want a gun – have a CENTRAL REGISTRY for ALL GUNS --  and has safe guards in place to prevent those with mental illness and the proclivity to commit violence from getting guns in the first place.

So let’s all tell the NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION, that if they support the over the counter purchase of silencers and they believe countries like NORWAY are doing the right thing---then we MUST sign into law similar GUN LAWS IMMEDIATELY—then we can get on with the business of selling silencers.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Governor Rick Snyder's circus

Are you a reader of the Detroit News?  If you are, then you are probably familiar with its editorial slant of being PRO-BIG GOVERNMENT while giving that same government immunity for any and all wrongs it commits in the name of Industrial Corporate Oppression.
If you are not a reader of the Detroit News, you may not be aware of the previous statement, nor would you be aware that the biggest proponent for Industrial Corporate Oppression immunity policy is Nolan Finley.
He typically targets the working class and labels us as responsible, unappreciative or otherwise slandering the elite governing class who are typically INNOCENT victims and recipients of the working class’ venom and persecution.
One recent example can be found in the Detroit News Sunday February 14, 2016 edition.  Apparently, Mr. Finley feels the citizens of Michigan just refuse to understand Governor Rick Snyder’s “style.”
Seems Rick Snyder isn’t a political as he needs to be?  As a politician holding an elected office, one would think that makes him political by default?  Finley wants us to believe that Snyder is the type of leader who does what is right by the numbers, and that data is always right.  Because of this, Snyder lacks the political insight to understand the system?  Also, Finley would tell us that Snyder’s image as a leader suffers because the Governor refuses or refused, to surround himself with Lansing insiders, and instead went with people the Governor felt were reliable—not necessarily politically savoy—but capable of providing the data the Governor requires to Govern by.
Finley wants us to believe that this data driven method has worked 90% of the time for the Governor.  After all it was the perception of not doing politics that Finley claims made Snyder such an attractive candidate for Governor and lead to his re-election in 2014.  And that it was the cold hard facts that were what FAILED the Governor when responding to the Flint Water Crisis, when what Snyder really needed was “political instincts.”
Finely then points out that these cold hard facts have also led to the problems that the public schools in Detroit are experiencing.  Though Finley ignores the epic failure of the EAA, he does point out the faults of the Emergency Manager.  Not that Darnell Earley is remotely faultless; Finley wants us to believe (again) that is the Governor’s lack of political instincts that allowed the schools to become a money pit, not the fact that Snyder just placed a person in charge with a losing track record as an emergency manager.  Earley previously served as EM in Flint, Saginaw Schools and Muskegon Heights Schools.
Finley continues with the kudos and admiration of the Governor by sharing with us the idea that “He’s (Snyder) the rare elected official who is not always looking for the camera.”  Perhaps that is because the Governor is more comfortable legislating from behind CLOSED-DOORS and during the MID-NIGHT hours when the public is excluded from the discussion?

So, Mr. Finley, Governor Rick Snyder is not a VICTIM of the peoples, misunderstanding of who he is. Rather he is a conniving, greedy extremist, hell-bent on PROFITS over PEOPLE and callous towards the most basics of human rights.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Eradication of Public Education in Michigan



We all know about that dreaded 7-Year inch. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, defines the seven-year itch”as a psychological term that suggests that happiness in a relationship declines after around year seven of a marriage”. 

The phrase was first used to describe an inclination to become unfaithful after seven years of marriage in the playThe Seven Year Itchby George Axelrod, and gained popularity following the 1955 film adaptation starringMarilyn Monroe andTom Ewell.

The phrase has since expanded to indicate cycles of dissatisfaction not only in interpersonal relationships, but also in any situation such as working a full-time job or buying a house, where a decrease in happiness and satisfaction is often seen over long periods of time.

Beginning 2009, former GovernorJennifer Granholm appointed Robert Bobb to oversee the financial `issues of Detroit Public School until she left office the end of 2010. Current Governor Rick Snyder then appointed Roy Roberts in 2011 and Roy remained in that position until 2015.

It was during Roy Roberts tenure as financial manager that Snyder announced the formation of the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) to restore the former glory of Detroit Public Schools.

By March 2012, Governor Snyder holds a high profile conference, introducing John Covington (most recently of Kansas Public School disaster) as chancellor and Roy Roberts as the EAA chair.

In June 2012, Roy Roberts (also the emergency manager appointed by Snyder) is touting the need for “accountability” as the last of Covington’s “Pancakes and Politics” conferences comes to a close.

This accountability will become Robert’s mantra as he seeks to restore financial control and accountability.  Something Roberts has been working on during the previous year before joining the EAA.

The keys to Detroit Public Schools, at least 15 schools, are handed over to John Covington who is only answerable to an 11-member board appointed by Snyder to oversee the turnaround of 98 Michigan schools deemed to be failing, a total of 38 that are in Detroit.

Three years after John Covington took the helm and four years since Roy Roberts assumed financial control of DPS, the district was

By June 2014, Johns Covington resigns as EAA chancellor and Governor Snyder is quoted as saying:

"Dr. Covington embraced the tremendous challenge of building such a school district. His student-centered approach, with individualized learning plans, longer school days and longer school years allowed children to make great strides. With passion, he built a solid foundation for the work of the EAA to continue and thrive, helping thousands of our young people now and into the future."

John Covington was paid a $175,000 signing bonus and a $225,000 salary his first year as leader of the new Education Achievement Authority.

His base salary grew to $325,000 in the second year. And if he meets yet-to-be-determined goals, he could make more than $425,000 in each of the last two years of the contract.

The better students within the system perform, the more money he makes. All told, he had the opportunity to earn up to $1.5 million over four years.

All this just to oversee HALF the public school in Detroit.

Meanwhile, the remaining schools of Detroit Public Schools are under the direction of another of Governor Snyder’s appointees.

Darnell Earley, who was appointed March 2014 as the Emergency Manager for the other HALF of Detroit schools is currently earning $210,000.00.  Earnley previously was paid $110,000.00 as EM of Saginaw and $180,000.00 as EM in Flint—the increase in his salary seems to be non-reflective of the progress that has NOT been made in either previous endeavor.