The Rhetoric of The Redirect

"Hey, I asked you once already, silence your cellphone, please."
“Hey, I asked you once already, silence your cellphone, please.” -President Barack Obama

During a press conference on Sunday, President Barack Obama was questioned if he had ever, in fact, shot a gun before. Obama claimed that “We go shooting all the time,” stating that he and I would only assume White House Mouthpiece Jay Carney shoot clay pigeons at Camp David.

A good number of Right Wing outfits fell into a collective laughing fit at the idea of Obama holding a gun (not to mention the terror from the extreme Right Wingers). And they should: I think Barack Obama might be embellishing to reach out to the bitter clingers and no one is falling for it. But kudos for lying. I mean trying. I just thought lying, right?

But what these career overreactors are missing out on the defining part of his comments that followed up the clay pigeon comment. Which was the whole point.

“And I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations.”

That was Obama’s followup to his claim that he is Johnny Sixshooter on the weekend. It’s not malicious by any means, but it’s false. No one questioned his respect of hunting or related traditions, and that’s not what the laws would be abridging. The NRA, and the 51% of Americans who support the NRA, aren’t just thinking about hunting. Shooting clay pigeons, or real ones, is not what this issue is about. This is a bald-faced endeavor to redirect the nature of the issue.

Let’s take a step back and talk about the real issue. For whom is the 2nd Amendment written? If you answer militiamen or hunters, you’re right. And also, it’s for you. Yes you, humble reader, your entitled to own a firearm, which is not a universal right.

"Defending individual Liberties... LIKE A BOSS." James Madison's Autobiography
“Defending individual Liberties… LIKE A BOSS.” James Madison’s Autobiography

The founders, despite what Professor Louie Seidman tells you, had a good deal of foresight. They said that no government has the right to infringe upon the Freedom of Speech, the Freedom of Religion, the Freedom of the Press, and the Freedom of Assembly. Do you really think that coincidentally, the very next amendment James Madison decided randomly to honor the ‘tradition of hunters?’ Or do you think that, after making the most radical declaration of the rights of the individual against the powers of government, Madison thought it prudent to mention exactly how they would back that claim up?

President Obama is not maliciously lying; in fact he’s doing quite the opposite. He’s doing his best Bill Clinton (I feel your pain). He’s trying to relate, all the while admitting he understands why people own guns. The hunting, right? Because in this administration’s point of view, there are three groups that own guns: hunters, crazy radical right wing extremist homeland terrorists, and the government. Obama’s admitting that there is room enough for two of those three, at least.

Let me make a HisGrossness grand proclamation: if you think America is a safe place to live in, if you think that whenever something goes wrong, you can just call the police, if you think that there can never ever ever be another World War, or Civil War, or Revolutionary War, then you haven’t popped the hood and taken a close look yet. Part of being an adult is being prepared to take care of yourself, and unfortunately, in the world we live in, responsible gun ownership is sometimes a necessary part of that. And if you don’t believe that, or refuse to take that personal responsibility, the least you can do is not impede other people’s right to protect themselves.

Brian Gross is an irresponsibility opinion-owner, and he knows how to use it. Take a look at some of his other articles and spread them around!

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Let’s Talk about Guns, Baby (Pt1 of 2)

After the Sandy Hook shooting, I took a hiatus from the blog. My thought was simple: after such a fresh wound, for such a grievous tragedy, in such a landmine field of important issues, this wasn’t the venue to talk about the problems underlying the massacre. Plainly, I’ve always put humor first in deciding what to write about, and there is nothing funny here.

However, I seem to be alone in having tact, because the issue became politicized before the bodies had been removed. And while the shooting is in no way funny, the reactions from all sides, totting this tragedy as a banner for a new world order, there are a few chuckles in that. In one of those “Oh no, there goes the Republic” kind of ways.

Ha.

My reaction to the Sandy Hook shooting was like that of the attacks of 9/11. I needed to turn off the 24/7 news cycle, avoid the tweets, for the love of God not see another Facebook Chain letter, and actually process the gravity of it. For that reason alone I chastise most voices in the national debate: they haven’t stopped squawking since the attack, fueled up with the increased coverage of smaller gun related stories, and have only dug themselves deeper into one-point solutions.

In my reflections, I’ve become convinced of these things:

Like 9/11, we need to start the dialogue admitting we live in a Post-Sandy Hook era. There is a new level of super evil, a new terrifying threat that could happen literally anywhere at any time. We need to react to avoid such travesty again, but we also need to reorientate ourselves and admit that it did happen and might not be a fluke. Adam Lanza might have been a one in a million situation, but we’re a country of 300 million. Statistically, at least, we can round down and say it never happened.

So here is the His Grossness approved 5-point plan addressing the problems while focusing on the misteps so far.

1. Stop thinking the Constitution is a zero-sum game.

"I'm telling you, if you give them Freedom of Speech, they're just gonna sh*t on it." James Madison, Constitutional Convention
“I’m telling you, if you give them Freedom of Speech, they’re just gonna sh*t on it.” -James Madison, Constitutional Convention

We don’t need to pick between the 1st and 2nd Amendment and sacrifice the other to the gods, blindly praying for this to never happen again. America needs to keep in mind that the Bill of Rights as it is, is the bedrock of our Constitution and needs to be kept inviable. You can not void the 2nd amendment without bringing into question the strength of the others. Simply put, the Constitution stands intact or doesn’t at all.

We need regulations, I assure you, and to expound on Framer’s intentions through insightful understanding of the Constitution (Finally, we’re creating jobs for English majors!).

But the current attitude is that, between violence in the media and the right to bear arms, we need to sacrifice one to pull ourselves off the brink. And if you think restricting access to firearms to law-abiding citizens will help, consider this: we’re dealing with super crazies now. Even if they don’t have a gun, we still have some super crazies out there. There isn’t going to be an easy answer (besides to read this blog, of course).

2. Stop listening to Piers Morgan.

"Once we have all their guns, finally these rebellious colonists will be helpless."
“Once we have all their guns, finally these rebellious colonists will be helpless.” -Piers Morgan on a hot mic.

Who is Piers Morgan, you ask? Well, good for you, because you’ve avoided the blathering idiocracy of CNN’s own british replacement for Larry King Live (who is still alive, strangely enough). But for the rest of us, who tried our hardest to remove our ears with our own hands before we had to hear Piers call for sweeping gun regulations and refer to the Constitution as “Your little book” while bringing on Super Crazies like Alex Jones (see future cult leader) to play up the role of the Far Right American Gun nut. For whatever reason, Piers has taken point in the extremist reaction to disarm America in a manner similar to England. And by whatever reason, I mean that disarming England was what he started sharpening his crooked teeth on, as an editor for the Daily Mirror rallying against Handguns.

The problem here is that we’re giving extremists playtime. Why do you really think CNN, who I would actually say is generally a respectable news outlet, lets Piers run his ground war against Americans’ right to own firearms? Because, unfortunately, he is involved in news making, not news reporting, and Piers Morgan’s crusade is bringing some viewers to watch the spectacle, bolstering the network’s hurting numbers.

Make a calculated effort to have a realistic conversation with a member of the other side tomorrow about the role of guns, media, and restrictions, and go from there. Congratulations, you’ve just demonstrated that you are more of a functioning adult than most news outlets right now.

Pt. 2 soon to follow, in which I will include the real solutions (for the low, low price of the Republic!). Until then, I guess we can all take some comfort in the fact that President Obama’s hinting at sweeping gun reform has invigorated gun sales. He may have saved the economy after all…

Brian Gross has been accused of concealing a high round assault rifle in his pants AND being happy to see you. Happy New Year!

2nd Congressional District of Illinois Open, Apply Today!

Not Pictured: Jackson imagining what your brains taste like.
Not Pictured: Jackson imagining what your brains taste like.

Due to the mounting pressure from this outlet , Representative Jesse Jackson has stepped out of his shiny 2nd  Congressional Seat. Jackson’s recently purchased won seat will be filled by a Special election in April 2013. Which is perfect timing, because between now (or more like 6 months ago) and that election, Illinois’ 2nd District won’t be represented by an out-of-touch wackjob. After the election, well, I hate to say it, but it seems like competency is frowned about in Illinois politics.

Special elections have an interesting effect in the Illinois. The island of misfit politicians clears out, all the Democrats who, somehow, couldn’t find a seat in what could only be describe as a massacre of Republicans, start clamoring and salivating at the opportunity to run in what I can only imagine will be humor gold.

Why do they want this District so badly? (An opportunity to fairly and impartially represent those fine Illinoisans? Gotcha) Because it is gerrymandered so severely that it took the lion’s share of Cook county, Chicago’s district. Jesse Jackson Jr. won with 63% of the vote while experiencing a scandal in which no one could find him. He did not campaign (most advisors would suggest not to talk, anyways), he was not in Illinois. He won. In a landslide. Which he rode for a few days before stepping down, costing the taxpayers millions for the special election.

Here’s the thing. I truly believe that, if he ran in the special election, he’d win. After trying to buy a Senatorship. He’d win. In a landslide. It’s that Blue of a district. So yeah, it’s a nice place for an incompetent Democrat to park themselves for the next thirty years.

One of the goon squad tripping over themselves at the prince’s throne is Mel Reynolds, the candidate Congressman Jackson won the seat from in a 1995 special election. That’s right folks, you read that correctly, a man who stepped down in disgrace (such disgrace that Jesse Jackson Jr. was a better choice), is now offering to take back his old seat. (The benefit? You know exactly what you’re voting for). Cook County Jail apparently has a revolving door.

"And I said to her 'This long.' And I guess that's when things got weird."
“And I said to her ‘This long.’ And I guess that’s when things got weird.”

Why’d Mel step down in the first place? Oh, just mortgage fraud. And campaign funds fraud (sounds familar). And sleeping with a 16 year old female staffer. Because those things are apparently no longer career enders. (The scandals, not the staffers).

Mel, whose campaign slogans involve such classics as “Redemption” and “So He Can Finish the Work,” which very well might be code, (Watch out, staffers!), says that he was not convicted to a life sentence. Which is to say “I got over that time when I sexually assaulted a minor. Why can’t you?”

Another such gooner is Debbie Halverson, who hasn’t seen an election she didn’t like (and lose handily). Debbie was notoriously ousted after the brutal 2010 election against Adam Kinzinger. Halverson’s attempt to take the momentum in the election?

You saw it right, folks, a comical rabble of protestors comparing Kinzinger, a veteran of both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, to a Nazi alongside Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. But to compound the ineptitude, the faux-protestors walked directly back to Halverson’s campaign headquarters, inexplicably in a building with a glass wall, not checking for those guys who were just a minute ago video-taping them. It’s not the crime which is offensive in Illinois, it’s the laziness.

Bringing up the pack is Donne Trotter (who?), Illinois State Senator. How does he get the honorable mention? Well, knowing that he is being outgunned (this is a pun. Just wait, it comes up later) by his already disgraced opponents, he decided to play it safe and get himself in a scandal early by bringing a loaded firearm (Puntastic) into O’Hare Airport on Wednesday, Dec 5th. Donne may have realized that a prison sentence is the reward for a career in the 2nd and that he just couldn’t wait.

The scary thought is that one of these people, or others from the score of grossly unqualified candidates who have stepped forward, will be invested with real power. The funny thought is that we get to watch them duke it out until then.

Brian Gross considers him just grossly unqualified enough to be your humor writer (and don’t worry, staffers, he’s not packing heat). Help him out by passing this article along to someone who likes laughing at tragedies like Illinois Politics.

In Case You Missed It: Representative Jesse Jackson So Cray-Cray

First off, forgive my absence. With Paul Ryan’s busy schedule in the campaign, I was recruited to stand in for the quarterly Vast Right Wing Conspiracy meeting. I had to propose our new tactics for the War on Women (outlawing pantsuits) and talk Richard Nixon’s ghost out of destroying our puny mortal constructs… for now. And the continental breakfasts were exquisite.

Once our nefarious network signed its peace treaty with the Legion of Doom, I hopped on the first Antartica to Indy direct flight and opened my digital newspaper for the first time in weeks. So you can imagine my entire cup of coffee spit-take from reading that Illinois Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. is still in the race for Illinois’ Second Congressional District.

As a representation of the character of the man, when you Google Jesse Jackson Jr., the list of related people includes Rod Blagojevich (who is currently trying to sell an open Shower stall to the highest bidder) and Debbie Halverson (who, after being connected to a fake rally calling American Hero and all-round Swell Guy Adam Kinzinger a Nazi, has become as close as Political Aids as you can get). You also get Sandi Jackson, who I think was the only other talented one of the Jackson 5 (wait, what?).

Why is this such a big deal as to spit out an entire cup of coffee (don’t worry, 5 more still on the pot), you ask? Foremost, Jesse Jackson Jr. (or Triple J, when he professionally wrestles) has been officially absent from his position as Illinois Representative since June 10th on Medical Leave.

Voter, you’re the boss, they are the civil servant. Are you ever unsure if your employee should keep his job? I think a good rule of thumb is if, in the exact same position, the employee has been absent from his job for over 5 months, then no. They don’t sound capable of doing it.

But Jackson is still in it, his wife and father claim. Js on Js on Js’ medical leave has been revealed to be related to Bipolar Depression. Real mental illness is absolutely no laughing matter, and the stigma of mental illness has long lasting and deep effects. At the same time, however, I’ll be putting on my scrubs for a segment I’d like to call Grossness, M.D.

Grossness, M.D. is professional doctor of political ailments and has absolutely no regard for patient confidentiality. 

Let’s first look at what brought on the symptoms.

1. JJJ is under investigation for his connection to the whole trying to sell a Senatorship thing by Blago. Medical tip: if your name is often said in the same sentence as Rod Blagojevich, you’re probably guilty of something, even if it is just keeping terrible company. And with Rod sitting in lock-up and probably talking to the Feds, I would doubt they are barking up a useless tree.

2. At the same time, a Federal Probe has been launched into JJJ’s possible abuse of campaign money. Specifically on spending it on himself, which I hear is frowned upon.

3. His wife, Sandi Jackson, faces scrutiny under charges that she doesn’t actually live in Chicago. Not living in Chicago wouldn’t be a problem (more like a sign of some common sense) except that she is an Alderman of the city, and kinda has to live there. Reports allege that she lives in their D.C. suburb home and commutes via plane, often attending meetings with the suitcases in hand.

4. All this is compounded by the number of media outlets rescinding their earlier endorsements of the Congressman who has spent 17 years in the House. When Chicagoans smell blood in the water and start backing off en masse, its like a pack of rats scurrying for holes: there’s a reason for it (Political Aids).

Who can blame the Congressman for being depressed then, when facing at best an end to his political career and at worst an end to his not-being-in-jail career? Though I have limited sympathy units, and generally try to reserve them for people not afflicted by their own doing: Jackson’s bipolar depression sounds a lot like a guilty conscience. Not the type where you feel guilty for what you did, mind you, but when you’re just afraid you got caught.

Dr. Grossness’s prescription? A long break from Chicago politics, and definitely don’t go out drinking in D.C. with strange women… Wait, never mind that. But at least, when you claim that you are attending treatment twice a day from the Mayo Clinic and go to a bar on Tuesday and Wednesday, represent your god-damned district and at least go to Chicago bar.

HisGrossness, M.D., has been diagnosing and treating Political Aids for months now, and is happy to be back at it. I’ve gotten tons of love these last few weeks from fans and it means a lot to me. So you keep reading and I’ll keep giving politics the business. 

Chicago Mayor Tries New Approach To Combat Crime: Scold Crime

One more murder, Chicago, and you’re going to bed with no dinner.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made headlines Tuesday in an interview with CBS Evening saying that the murder problem in Chicago “is about values.” Shortly after, he reprimanded the Sun for being so hot, reportedly saying “come on, man, this isn’t who you are.”

Only one of those is true, while both make me laugh. But the flippancy is well-intended: is this the point we have reached? Is Chicago so doomed that we are relying the mayor’s wag of his finger? If I knew that this was the plan, I’d sooner have voted for a Jewish mother, who at least has the training to deal with the situation. (You’re still a gang banger? You know, your cousin is a lawyer and he’s very successful.)

Glibness aside, it’s a scary result of an even scarier situation. I’ll have to check my numbers on this, but my understanding is that the mortality rate in Chicago is so high that it is more dangerous to be in the city than to be in Iraq. It is only slightly less dangerous than being in outerspace with no suit. I believe we’re at 275 murders this year, but I think the guy who counts the murders just got murdered so I could be off a few.

Emanuel evidently believes he can turn them from the Dark Side, claiming “Don’t I don’t buy this case where people say they don’t have values. They do have values. They are the wrong values.” Unless “Being a Gangster” is a new value I did not hear about, then I do not see any evidence to support Emanuel’s theory. Selling drugs, robbing, killing, raping, encouraging young children to drop out of school to work for them, when did I miss the Vice-Lords having a church bake sale? When the Gangster Disciples hosted that 5k? What, in the history of Chicago gang-warfare, made Rahm think that all they needed was a stern talking to?

Here’s the truth of the situation: gang members have no values. Gangs crop up in areas with a large number of poor, disaffected youths who were never given any attention, let alone values. And all it takes is a successful, savy young gang member who, mirabile dictu, actually survived this poverty and has a way out for you, too. And with parents who love you for the welfare check, and with teachers willing to strike for a 30% payraise in a bankrupt city, this little attention is more than enough to win over a child into a gang that promises a better chance of success than anything else. And when that kid finally gets into his gang, his only real loyalty, with what he’s done to get there and has to do to stay, there no longer has the moral resonance that those of us inside society feel.

Emanuel is wasting his breath preaching values to a valueless section out of society. America has enough difficulty getting its law-abiding citizens to live with any values. We now express more surprise when celebrities can stay together than when they cheat on each other. Even Rahm “never let a serious crisis go to waste” Emanuel has the moral compass of Machiavelli.

If the mayor wants to talk about values, talk to the community. Every gang member has a mother and a father, a reverend, a teacher who at some point was commissioned with the task of integrating these people into society. At some point, they screwed that up, but it is not his job to fix. He was elected mayor, after all, not daddy.

To push his point, the Mayor asks the gang members rhetorically “Who raised you? How were you raised?” I do not think he really wants the answer, so here it is. These gang members were raised on the public dole, in a school system that graduates less than 50% of their students, and less than 30% at grade level. A school system that now supplies breakfast, lunch, and dinner because their parents will not feed them otherwise. They were raised on a welfare and food stamp program rivaled only by New York and L.A., so what’s the difference between taking a handout and taking from others? When did they learn, when did they ever have a chance to learn, to take care of themselves in a law-abiding manner?

“How were you raised?” In short, Rahm, by Chicago.