Monday, March 5, 2018

Stoneman Douglas Students Make Big Impression On HBO's Real Time

David Hogg, left, and Cameron Kasky, take Bill Maher's questions on 'Real Time' Friday night.

"The students of Parkland are like veterans coming home from the bloody front of the N.R.A.’s de facto war on children. They’ve seen their friends, teachers and coaches gunned down in the halls. To them, powerful Washington lobbyists and United States senators suddenly look like what they are: cheesy TV spokesmodels for murder weapons. It has been inspiring and thrilling to watch furious, cleareyed teenagers shame and vilify gutless politicians and soul-dead lobbyists for their complicity in the murders of their friends. Last week Wayne LaPierre was reduced to gibbering like Gen. Jack D. Ripper in “Dr. Strangelove” about a “socialist” takeover and “hardening” our schools. You could see the whites all around his irises. That look is fear."  - Tim Kreider in NY Times Op-Ed (March 2)

Bill Maher's Real Time, Friday night, was the setting for the appearance of two Marjory Stoneman Douglas students, David Hogg and Cameron Kasky. Even as the Right's trolls continued to cast aspersions on them as  "crisis actors" (too dumb to actually check the school's rolls), the pair again displayed their media savvy in the opening interview with host Bill Maher.

Maher, after the first few responses, was so impressed that he told Hogg and classmate Cameron Kasky:

“I honestly thought kids were a lot stupider.  You’ve really given me faith that the kids today are actually very bright, way brighter than we were.”

Oh yeah, and way brighter than the Right's naysayers will ever be, because that lot can't fancy anyone brighter than themselves at that age.   Kasky himself also lambasted critics who dismiss the students because of their youth.

We’ve seen our friends text their parents goodbye. We are the experts.”

Regarding the conspiracy slander claiming the Parkland students are actors, well true, but not in the way the wingnuts believe.  In other words some of the students are part of the school's Drama Club and enjoy putting on plays. As Kasky told Maher:

I’m in Spring Awakening at Parkland Performing Arts Center. Great show.”

And  Maher's praise  was before Hogg revealed that he hung up on the White House last week, angered that Trump refused to attend CNN’s town hall meeting with survivors of the February 14 mass shooting that left 17 students dead at their high school.

Said Hogg of his White House phone call (they called him, as he emphasized to Maher):

I ended on this message: 'We don’t need to listen to President Trump, Present Trump needs to listen to the screams of the children and screams of this nation.”

Wow! You have to give this kid credit for cojones as well as composure and media savvy (though the Right wingers never will, preferring to slam these kids for "not respecting their elders". )

Maher then told the students about their impact on the nation’s gun reform debate, averring:

We have never seen change like this,”

The Parkland FL students – co-founders of the student advocacy group Never Again MSD – are among the organizers of nationwide marches and the March for Our Lives rally outside the White House on March 24. What many may not know is that the event has drawn considerable support from Hollywood, with George and Amal Clooney, Eli Broad, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw and Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg each pledging donations of at least $500,000.

Asked by Maher about the goal of the rally, Kasky said:

 “We want Americans to stop being afraid of demanding our politicians to take action. They work for us, we don’t work for them and the march is us coming out and saying to our employees ‘You guys suck at your job.’

Interestingly,  neither Hogg nor Kasky would condemn the Second Amendment, even at Maher’s urging- but then they shouldn't have had to. It's not the Second Amendment that needs  condemnation but rather juvenile, ignorant interpretations  of it, i.e. which claim that one is entitled to own an AR-15 or any similar military type assault rifles under that banner. I had previously taken this balderdash down in my citation of the case District of Columbia vs. Heller, where Antonin Scalia delivered the majority opinion, e.g.

Reinforcing this limited 2nd amendment take was a recent NY Post essay by a former army infantryman, Ralph Peters, who wrote:

"I believe on moral, practical and constitutional grounds that no private citizen should own an automatic weapon or semiautomatic weapon that can be easily modified for automatic effects. These are military weapons. Their purpose is to kill human beings. They're not used for hunting unless you want to destroy the animal's meat. They're also lousy for target shooting. But they're excellent tools for mass murder. No one has the right to a personal arsenal of weapons designed for mass murder."

This view was, of course, that invoked by Antonin Scalia who wrote the majority opinion in the Heller case. It was also cited by WSJ columnist Peggy Noonan in her own piece (Mar. 3-4, p. A13) where she asserted:

"We have an estimated 300 million guns in America. An estimated 50 million of our households keep them. For now that is enough, even for whatever terrible day comes. Stop selling military weapons in America.. Just stop.  Revisit the issne in five years. See what happens."

What she is proposing is a moratorium- style experiment in national gun policy. In other words, cease all purchases of such weapons for a time and see what the effects are.  But first make sure the  N.R.A.-backed Dickey Amendment, -  which was passed in 1996 - is neutralized so the CDC can investigate gun death stats objectively  over the 5 years.  Then, if there is a true statistically significant reduction in killings from military style weapons, we can ban them..

What Noonan got wrong was her expectation Dumpster Donnie was a serious actor when he met with a bipartisan group about gun control and promised things would change, e.g.

"He treated the mass shooting like a crisis, not a tragedy."

But as we've seen, he went running for a change in diapers after NRA honcho Chris Cox talked him down - or rather - back under the NRA's thumb.  Yeppers, this disgusting drooling turd - who couldn't even stand up to an NRA blood money purveyor and who had earlier bragged he'd have faced the AR-15 shooter at Stoneman Douglas  "even without a weapon".  In a pig's eye.,  especially if he couldn't even handle an unarmed NRA flack
But even Noonan half expected Doturd would change his stance when she wrote:

"His presentation were undisciplined, scatty....And as always the question is whether he meant any of it. His opinions rest on impulses. He likes to say words. You never know which you can believe."

Actually, you can pretty well assume 100 percent of what he says is wrong, outright lies or bonkers and be secure.  To fix ideas, if he said a North Korean attack was coming tomorrow I wouldn't believe it. Not one word! As   NY Times writer Charles Blow ('The Chaos President', March 3) put it:

"Believing anything Trump says is a recipe for a headache and heartache."

Adding  this explanation of why all his "ideas"   come a cropper:

"I believe that this chaos is the perpetual result of the absolute incompetence and idiocy of a preening philistine who has faked his way through life pretending that he knows more than he does and is tougher than he is.....He wants so desperately to be right that he says whatever his audience — whether that be a small group or a filled arena, whether that be members of Congress or fans at a rally — want to hear and will respond to..  This is how you can get wildly vacillating positions and bold, empty promises in bipartisan meetings with the man — whether those meetings are about addressing DACA and immigration or about addressing gun control after the school shooting in Florida.."

And all this occurs as this degenerate stirs up even more chaos with his twitter threats of trade war and steel tariffs. Now aimed at Canada and Mexico, as if he is pointing a gun to those nations' heads re: a new NAFTA deal.  Be advised, our northern and southern neighbors, we have a psychotic at the helm - now clearly trying to deflect attention as the Mueller noose tightens around his orange neck.

As for the Parkland students, their main job right now is to: 1) understand they are going to have to play the "long game" in changing gun laws in this regressive nation, and 2) learn much more on the limits of second amendment rights especially as they pertain to military style rifles (whether one uses the controversial term "assault" or not).  They can start with the 2008 Supreme Court case of District of Columbia vs. Heller in which Justice Antonin Scalia clearly set the limits on rights to own AR-15 and similar weapons.

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