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"News from the Can #6" video blog by R. Crosby Lyles. For April 28th, 2013.

My name is R. Crosby Lyles. It’s Friday April 26th 2013 and this is “News from the Can.”

Have you ever seen one of these? [Image of bat (stage directions in brackets)]
This instrument has often been referred to by it’s best known manufacturer.
in fact, the Louisville slugger has been been used as a weapon since the dawn of baseball, especially by those of small stature who need a combat equalizer.

The Louisville slugger is also a wonderful metaphor. “He really knocked that one out of the park” refers to the intellectual “Home run” scored in a debate. Which reminds me of my favorite TV news commentator. Rachel Maddow is a true thoroughbred. She is incredibly gifted with an uncanny ability to take disparate pieces of an arcane puzzle and put them together so that anyone can see the picture. She makes what she does look so easy that for a moment you might think, aw heck, anybody can do that. If you think it’s easy, try it sometime. All of which is to say that when it comes to debate, Rachel Maddow, a Rhodes Scholar with a PhD from Oxford, is a heavy hitter. [flash the Louisville slugger.] When she is swinging that intellectual Louisville slugger, she is not the timid Mrs. Torrance, keeping someone at bay. [Image of Shelley Duvall swinging bat at Jack Nicholoson in "The Shining"]

Here recently, Mz Maddow has turned her attention to gun reform. Gun reform has fairly played like a broken record on her show since well before the day of the Sandy Hook massacre. Here’s a question. Who in the world really . . . really . . . cares about guns? What demographic comes to mind when you picture someone with a gun besides the military? I don’t know about you, but I picture a redneck. I mean who could possibly care more about guns than a redneck? Right? Bare in mind that I am a social liberal while I remind you now that Dr. Maddow is a self-proclaimed lesbian. As a matter of fact, my own association with lgbt people has put me in touch with the experience of some being persecuted, bullied, or otherwise proselytize . . . by rednecks. These experiences have left deep mental and sometimes physical scars on friends of mine, So I don’t really blame them for being resentful . . . anymore than I blame black people for resenting institutional racism.

Now, technically, I probably qualify as a redneck. My father was the son of a fruit picker from Frostproof Fla. and my mother picked cotton in Alabama growing up. So let me emphasize that some, not all, rednecks have historically been really ugly in their
dealings with alternative lifestyle people. It’s a mistake to try to use the term “redneck” as an ad hominem attack because it is obviously used as a term of endearment in many parts of the country. The word Redneck to some people is synonymous with hard worker, or salt of the earth. When I talk about rednecks I am talking about a demographic that reaches beyond a particular region and speaks to an ideology of intolerance for which I unfortunately don’t have a more convenient term that is as widely understood.

So let me ask you. How do you suppose, generally speaking, that hyper religions, gun loving rednecks and lesbians get along? Is it possible that Rachel Maddow might have a resentment against rednecks? If so, do you suppose that she might pass up an opportunity to beat up some rednecks with an issue that strikes deep into the fabric of their very soul. An issue like say, gun control?

Up to now, gun control has been a wedge issue. Wedge issues were originally designed to divide and conquer people in this country who have similar economic interests. That would be the Democrats. In order to destroy such a proven, successful, and stable system such as New Deal liberalism with its social safety net and its bank regulations the Republicans had to find a way to avoid the empirically verifiable fact that New Deal tax and spend liberalism works. Enter the crazy conspiracy theories.

Gun control has turned out to be a fantastic wedge issue. Why? Because gun enthusiasts are really, really, really crazy about their guns. This is something that I realized recently on Facebook. One of my southern white boy friends, who also happens to be a soldier in the Army, really loves his guns and the things he posts on Facebook are either conspiracy theories about how the terrorist attacks are really designed to take your guns, or outrage against police brutality(which has bearing on feelings of empowerment against the state-guns again-), or snippets from our founding fathers about the 2nd Amendment,… Or strangely about how the oligarchs are enslaving us. You see he, like most Americans, when you peal the onion down to the core, whether they are republican or libertarian or whatever, they are all really New Deal/Great Society liberals. To prove this, ask anyone you know which program they would like to cut: Social Security? Unemployment compensation? Medicare? The minimum wage? Overtime pay?

Meanwhile, I realized from my interactions with my friend, that gun lovers ultimately don’t care about anything but their guns. Ideally, they would like to see things like less income disparity, better health care, better education, debt reduction, even keeping crazies from getting guns. But if you say anything that can even be remotely construed as a threat to their guns, they become completely intransigent almost resembling hardcore right wingers. In other words, they are Democrats until you say the word “gun” and then they turn into Republicans.

Murder is tragic in the most profound sense of the word. Without question some common sense gun control measures should be passed. But also know that the murder rate in general is at an historic low in this country. The reason that we spend more money on anti-terror than on controlling guns is because of the enormous potential loss of life from a terrorist attack. But, how much more devastating would the effects be of not being able to enact a sensible tax structure and balance our budget because we can’t all get together on it? So, I ask with all do respect to Rachael Maddow, how can we advance the desperate cause of saving this great nation of ours from economic and physical destruction at the hands of right wing ideologues if we waste our energy on person grievance?

One day the long awaited tipping point will come for gun control to happen. But until then, we must unite all who agree on the basic principals that are the foundation of freedom. That foundation is made first and foremost of economic liberty which is made possible by New Deal liberalism.

Well that’s about it for today, Friday April 26th, 2013. My name is R. Crosby Lyles and has been “News from the can” See Ya.

Note: Somewhere there is a typo--I meant we need to raise taxes on the rich--not raze.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Registering Guns (17+ / 0-)

    The US should require that all guns be registered and licensed just like cars are today.  If a owner does that, they can be assured that they can keep their guns.  If, however, they do not register and license their guns they are assured to have them confiscated and be assessed a fine.  Simple as that.  
    A National data base is appropriate for a deadly weapon.  All of this is in keeping with the Second Amendment's "well regulated Militia" part.
    I have no issues with registration, licensing, fingerprinting, ballistics testing, paying of annual fees, or other requirement that helps clearly identify me as the lawful owner of guns in my possession.

    •  It's always been strange to me (9+ / 0-)

      that many of us register cars (I dont' know how widespread and in what states their is not, if there is not, car registration) and there is No Problem.

      My understanding is that we register cars and liscence the drivers because it is something that can kill people, even though that is not the primary use.

      Hmmm...guns kill people too and killing IS one primary use...

      •  Considering all the "investigation" we have to go (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ichibon, Another Grizzle, Kimbeaux

        thru to vote in Indiana, you would think Constitutional Republicans would be screaming "Foul", but that part of our Constitutional rights is being ignored while insane kooks walk the streets carrying weapons that can wipe out half the city population.

    •  Sounds good to me. (0+ / 0-)

      And, most Americans agree with you.  Why can't we get it done? Because politics is a game.

      If politics were chess, and issues were our pieces, revenue would be our king. Our king is in check, and the clock is ticking. One wrong move and it's check mate. That means austerity for you and me and your children forever.  


      Peace, Love, and Prosperity.

      by Rich Lyles on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 09:52:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So... (5+ / 0-)

    give up on gun control because some people don't like it? Really? And it's really all about perspective. A kid living in a poor urban area has far more to fear from a massive lack of gun control than the possibility of a terrorist attack. Violence might be down, historically, nationwide, but it's still pretty bad in certain areas.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:15:53 PM PDT

    •  No, don't give up. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      isabelle hayes

      It's all about timing. If we get our fiscal house in order first, then we can settle everything else. If we allow ourselves to be wedged away from getting these revenue issues done, we will lose our window of opportunity.  And then, it won't matter what your politics are. we will all be screwed.

      To fight and win, we must be disciplined.  

      Bare in mind that the population is diminishing. That means the clock is ticking.  

      Peace, Love, and Prosperity.

      by Rich Lyles on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 08:46:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Tell that to the parents of dead kids killed by guns. They should just totally wait because people like you think fiscal matters are more important.

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 01:28:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Senate has already done the unthinkable. (0+ / 0-)

          Who would have thought in any other era that our esteemed governing bodies would be so completely impotent in the face of twenty needlessly killed children.

          I agree. It boggles the mind!

          The gun fringe must have some kind of wicked power over our political processes. For the good of the nation we should probably figure out how to diffuse that power. That's what this piece is about.

          This crazy, baffling, power they seem to have should not be underestimated.

          Peace, Love, and Prosperity.

          by Rich Lyles on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 07:52:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Rachel's so hot. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnnetteK, Gemina13, drmah, roberb7

    Flame me if you must but, damn.

    •  Loved Conan's remark at WH correspondents dinner (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      re: Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper on a blind date.

    •  Don't get it twisted. (0+ / 0-)

      I love Rachel Maddow as much as everyone else. This piece is about political technique. Being right is not enough. Thieves will fight you to the death to steal from you. You must be willing to fight to the death to keep what you have.  You can either fight smart or fight hard.

      Rhetoric is a weapon that must be used with skill to be effective. That means there is a time to repeat a refrain again and again and there is a time to shut up, if only momentarily.

      Peace, Love, and Prosperity.

      by Rich Lyles on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 08:03:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So, stop messing with guns (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries

    and get back to promoting austerity. Talk about your cognitive dissonance . . .

    •  This whole piece pays homage to FDR and LBJ. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Another Grizzle, isabelle hayes

      I don't promote austerity. I think we should raise taxes on rich folks to a level that will allow us to pay our bills, keep our promises,  repair the infrastructure, and grow the economy. Once this is done we can argue about what ever. But if we don't get it done, it won't matter what your politics are.

      Peace, Love, and Prosperity.

      by Rich Lyles on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 09:40:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe I'm too dumb to get it, but it seems (5+ / 0-)

    The whole argument here is 'Rachel Maddow is a lesbian, so obviously she's against guns as her way to get revenge on rednecks'.

    I'm sorry if that's wrong, but that's how it came across to me. Which is pretty much an insane argument. So that CAN'T be right, right?

    "We are not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the American people." - future President Paul Ryan.

    by Fordmandalay on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 06:11:22 PM PDT

  •  Well, I listened to the whole thing, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenotron, Another Grizzle

    and I do have one or two questions (actually, several hundred, but I have to sleep sometime).

    What are "the basic principles that are the foundation of freedom"? What do you mean by "uniting all who agree" on them? What about the people who disagree with you that they're totally economic? What does Rachel Maddow have to do with any of this? Is equal justice for all one of those principles, and if so, does "all" actually include everybody?

    Does this mean you're for equal pay for women? And equal status in the marketplace? Does this include the right to not have kids if they don't want to, to be able to compete better with men, if they choose to do so? (Hint: this is another wedge issue that tends to push the same buttons on the same people that guns do)

    You may not have intended it, but it sure sounds as though you're saying we should drop all the issues people disagree on until we've made the rest of the issues work. I've yet to see any issue that actually drops below that cutoff line. There is nothing so basic, or so trivial, or so entrenched in this culture, that doesn't have a vocal minority disagreeing with it. At what point is the minority too small to count? Anytime they're not gun owners?

    Or, at what point is the majority too large? 90% support for background checks wasn't enough to let it pass our Congress, because it wasn't the "right" 90%. It didn't include dedicated gun owners, and it didn't include gun manufacturers, or the NRA.

    Are you sure you're on the right website?

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 07:28:31 PM PDT

    •  I'm a life long Democrat. (3+ / 0-)

      I am for all of the socially liberal ideas. Gay marriage, unmitigated reproductive rights, gun control( limit magazine size, background checks, you name it), equal pay for women, ect. ect. I am a liberal.

      But our big problem right now is that we can't seen to get together on appropriate taxes for rich folks. Without razing that high marginal tax rate we won't be able to pay our bills and grow the economy.  And, if we don't solve this fiscal problem soon, we will run out of time. If we get this issue done first, we will have plenty of time to argue about the rest. If we don't solve this issue, it won't matter what your politics are.

      Peace, Love, and Prosperity.

      by Rich Lyles on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 09:21:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Now that is a perfectly reasonable statement. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Another Grizzle

        Which, as far as I was concerned, got totally lost in between Maddow, rednecks, guns, and assorted other ideas that got thrown into the video.

        On the other hand, we've got to get the House back in order to break the stranglehold against tax changes, and the issues you want us to drop seem to be useful in doing that, in light of some of the feedback against the recent vote against background checks.

        So, even though it would be nice to be able to do a full-on attack on taxes from the get go, sneaking around the edges looks more likely to give results.

        At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

        by serendipityisabitch on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 10:00:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I read the whole thing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        isabelle hayes

        and it made me positive that "razing" high marginal tax rate is a typo, and you meant raising.
        It certainly didn't do any damage to my will to live, I thought it was thoughtful and interesting. It didn't convince me, but it did make me think a bit more about this aspect and I will keep it in mind as one part of the conversation.
        Do you have a guess as to how many of the Democrats you know are likely to vote Republican bacause of gun regulation, what percentage of the Democrats around you that is?
        I think the Rachel Maddow angle is sort of a red herring. I hang out with wonky, smart lesbians and it seems really unlikely to me that feelings about rednecks have anything to do with her support for gun regulation.
        This is the first piece of yours I've seen. I went back and read some of the others before I commented. I hope you keep posting. (I haven't written any diaries yet. I'm a very very slow writer.)

        •  Yes raising is the word. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Another Grizzle

          Yes, there are a lot of voters who swing right over guns. Why else would it be such a stubborn issue?

          The fact that the senate did not get the job done on guns after Sandy Hook should be taken as a warning that a little more finesse may be required to get the essentials done.
          We must win at all costs in 2014. That is essential. As serendipityisabitch commented above, we need to win back the house. Win back the house first, then get the guns, and all of the other stuff.

          But if we are to loud about guns before 2014, we will polarize ourselves right out of the game.

          Peace, Love, and Prosperity.

          by Rich Lyles on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 08:20:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    isabelle hayes, Kimbeaux

    We have in fact reached the tipping point I believe.  We MUST keep this issue fresh and relevant every day, up and until super tuesday for the 2014 mid terms.

    I often think of TR and FDR, and the abrupt and desperately needed change he brought to this country at such a crucial time.  How did one man amass and draw from such a deep well of political capital?

    And why can't we have this spirit again in American politics today?

    My avatar- a penciled sketch of the grieving Iraqi son, of murder victim Saeed Chmagh. Shot to death by an American apache helicopter on July 12th, 2007 while working for Reuters new service.

    by Boberto on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 09:34:11 PM PDT

  •  Are litmus test voters common? (0+ / 0-)

    I don't believe that there are as many gun Republicans as the diarist seems to think. People vote against their own best interests and they don't need guns to sway them. I also don't agree with the diarist's own apparent litmus test. Revenue is welcome, but not my #1 priority.

    Gun control is impossible because our elected representatives are bought and paid for. It's not the gun nuts; it's the gun lobbyists. The solution is getting the money out of politics. The only way I see that happening is a miracle in Congress or revolution. I might give a slim chance to a constitutional amendment via state legislatures voting en masse for a constitutional convention.

    I'm a realist. I'll take anything positive out of DC that I can get. If that is background checks for a higher percentage of gun sales than we have today then I'm all for it.

    As for the Rachel Maddow angle? My only response to that is:  


  •  wedge issues (0+ / 0-)

    the way the owners keep their takeover peaceful is by dividing the masses

    i'm against the unregulated sale of guns, and appreciate this effort at raising consciousness

    imagine if the american people were to stay focused on the need to make the changes for the good of all

  •  Gun loving rednecks have drunk GOP Kool-Aid (0+ / 0-)

    They may be more supportive of progressive policies, but they still honestly believe GOP is on their side re Jobs.  They're the kind of ppl that hold up signs that say that Obamacare should keep its hands off their Medicare. They are also more likely to be misogynist, racist and homophobic.  Even if Maddow backed off on the gun issue, she and Democrats would still lose Rednecks on gay rights, women's rights, immigration and other issues of equality.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 07:22:04 AM PDT

    •  To hear some people tell it (0+ / 0-)

      The change is already in the wind. So maybe there is nothing to worry about. My personal experience, however, is with gun loving Democrats. Their fatigue with the gun issue is troublesome to me. Will they swing if pushed by the gun issue, or is fatigue with Republican intransigence enough to keep them loyal?

      The bottom line is that most people in this country are New Deal / Great Society Liberals, whether they know it or not. They are this way because these principles work.

      Peace, Love, and Prosperity.

      by Rich Lyles on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 12:15:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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