American Rhetoric: No Fly, No Buy…Bye Bye For Now

No Fly No Buy

No Fly, No Buy

TLDR ADVISORY: This article exceeds 1,000 words, and may be lengthy for some readers…but it’s still a good read!

(At the outset of the House Democrats’ recent sit-in protest on the House floor over firearms reform, I was all for the concept of “No Fly, No Buy.” Then, however, I began to do my own digging. The more I researched, the more I discovered that this might not be such a good thing. What follows here are my personal observations regarding this piece of legislation.)

     There exist within the darkest back halls and deepest data repositories of the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ “Terrorist Screening Center”, secret lists that are not made available or accessible to the American public. These “watch lists” and “no-fly” lists cannot be readily viewed, and getting off of one is highly problematic at best. These are the lists at the heart of the Democratic push for “No Fly, No Buy.” Simply put, if you’re on the “no-fly” list, then the House Dems feel that you should not be able to legally purchase a firearm in this country.

     There’s only one…well, there are a lot of problems with this. First and foremost, many hundreds of people who are otherwise law abiding citizens, have found themselves on these lists. It’s not hard to make the list. In fact, until 2005, the TSA had been using people’s credit scores as a determining factor for placing people on the list! In other words, if your credit was in the toilet for some reason before 2005 / 2006, you might very well find yourself on the “no-fly” list.

     Oh, but that’s not the only way that you might end up being denied air travel! The Huffington Post’s Nick Wing outlined several additional ways that people have ended up on the list in a July, 2014 piece.(1)

      So, let’s just say for the sake of argument, that you’re an all-around good guy, who, like myself, has been pretty critical of the Transportation Security Administration, and its long, dismal record of mistreatment of air passengers. So, like I have, you post some highly incendiary things on social media about those jokers, including comments aimed specifically at John Pistole, the former TSA Administrator. Something to the effect of him being a mentally-deficient twat waffle, who deserves to languish forever in one of his own endless airport security lines. This could land you on the list, folks!

     Now that you’re on the list, let’s also say that the House Democrats have their way, and their “No Fly, No Buy” becomes law. Now, not only can you not take that Southwest Airlines round-trip flight to visit grandma Hazel in Duluth, now you can’t exercise your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms either, should you so choose, all because you got righteously pissed off at the ridiculousness that is the TSA at one time or another!

     On its face, “No Fly, No Buy” seems like a good idea. If someone’s been deemed too dangerous to get on board an airplane in this country, then they’re definitely too dangerous to be allowed to buy a gun, right? Isn’t this a “no-brainer”? Not necessarily, if the list that we’re basing all of this on is flawed, which it is! Even the decidedly liberal American Civil Liberties Union, knows that these “watch lists” are a major Mongolian fuster-cluck.(2)

     In my own, not-so-humble opinion, (when have I ever been humble in the course of opining here!?) we need to first, fix the “No-Fly” list situation, because it is a fu**ered up situation. Hence the Republican gripe about, “trading second and fourteenth amendment rights for secret lists.” So…

     Open it up. No more Orwellian, “secret list” bovine scatology.

     I’m sure that the federal government can get a few MIT graduates to create a secure website, that citizens can log on to, like they log in to their online banking. (Hell, they’re messing with Quantum Computing, I’m sure they can write some HTML!) There, they can check the list to see if their name is on it. If it is, the website should also have a link to both an online form and a printable PDF form, for redress and removal of their name from the list. The arbitration process should take no more than 30 days. One month, for the government to either make its case for depriving you of both your Second Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights, or get your name off of the list, and let you go along your merry way as a free American citizen, with all rights and privileges thereof.

     Listen. I get what my congressman, along with the other Democrats in the House of Representatives, are trying to do. They’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. People are dying every single day from gun violence in this country, more than in any other developed country in the western world. We have a dismal (yes, that’s the second time I’ve used that adjective, so sue me!) record of gun violence and deaths, compared to the rest of our peer nations. We need to do something, however I’m not at all confident that “No Fly, No Buy” is the answer, especially when the list itself is screwed to such a high degree. I suspect that to the Republicans, and maybe even some of the more enlightened Democrats, it appeared as if House Dems were, as my wife just phrased it, “trying to make the shit smell good before shoveling it.”

      The overarching idea behind the sit-in, though, is that Paul (Lucifer) Ryan and the House Republicans weren’t even allowing debate on this issue, which is not conducive to solving these problems, and is simply a nipple-headed, right-wing elitist thing to do.

     Allow the debate.

     Allow the vote.

     Sure, the bill is going to go down in flaming death on the House floor, but at least we’re having the debate. At least we’re sussing out the problems, and trying to come up with productive solutions…and that, as one congressman said during yesterday’s sit-in, “ a good Goddamned start!”


War on Terror: The End of Anwar al-Aw, NOT So Lucky?

U.S. Rep Ron Paul (R. TX)

     I can’t quite explain it, but here lately our batting average for taking out al Quaeda figureheads has gone way up. A few months back, members of our U.S. Navy SEAL teams managed to corner and kill “El Chingon” himself, Usama bin Laden.(1) Yesterday, we managed to kill another one of AQ’s “talking heads,” American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, along with two other operatives in an unmanned drone attack in Yemen.(2)

     With this victory in the War on Terrorism, we also get to scratch another GOP candidate from the Cybersattva list for serious consideration: U.S. Rep. Ron Paul. (R. TX) It seems that the distinguished gentleman from the state of Texas has a problem with us having taken out al-Awlaki. According to Ron Paul and some civil liberties organizations, al-Awlaki should have been given his “due process” rights as an American citizen.(3) Mr. Paul also stated that there was “no proof of anything” regarding al-Awlaki’s involvement with al Quaeda during a Fox News interview:

“No one likes these kind of people, but I also like the rule of law and I like our Constitution, that you don’t just target people, assassinate them, someone who has not been charged and you have no proof of anything,” Paul told Fox News. “So if we want to protect American citizens from that type of justice, we have to be more cautious.”

     There are a number of things with Ron Paul’s position that I find problematic. First, the assertion that we have “no proof of anything.” How about Anwar al-Awlaki’s own words? Has Mr. Paul already forgotten about last year’s video, posted to jihadist websites and calling for the killing of Americans?(4) We all know that Ron Paul is getting up there in years, having just turned 76 in August. Maybe he’s starting to suffer from early stage Alzheimer’s. (Ooh! If that’s true then should his wife divorce him, as fellow Baptist Pat Robertson suggests?)

Radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

     Second, just how are we supposed to take this guy into custody, in Yemen nonetheless? If the Usama bin-Laden end-game was any indication, any effort to apprehend al-Awlaki would have resulted in deaths. What Ron Paul and the civil liberties folks keep forgetting, is that these radical Muslims don’t fear death. They’ve prepared themselves and are ready to die for Allah and Islam. Hell who wouldn’t be, especially when they’ve been promised seventy-two virgins when they get to the other side!? (Come to think of it, they never did specify the gender of those virgins, did they? Even worse, what if it was a typo, and al-Awlaki was met by seventy-two Virginians!? Sucks to be him…)

     Third and finally, why are these people even considering al-Awlaki to be an American citizen? Yes, I understand that he was born here, in New Mexico. Yes, I understand that he was a natural-born U.S. citizen, however once he left the U.S., ensconced himself in Yemen and started calling for the indiscriminate murder of Americans, he gave up the right to be called an American. At that point, he spat on everything that the name “American” embodies. He might as well have taken Old Glory, folded it up and used it to clean his backside. No, when that drone took Anwar al-Awlaki out, he was no longer a citizen of this nation, and had no expectation of due process rights. He gave those up long ago.

     If Ron Paul is trying to do that whole “kinder, gentler president” thing, there’s no need. We already had that used on us with Bush 41.