Impeaching President Obama?!

Every time I think that the Republican party has reached the apex of craziness something else happens.  Have the Republican’s who have called for President Obama’s impeachment over his 23 Executive Orders to promote gun safety and curb gun violence actually read them?  I know anyone who wants to impeach him will not read this blog, but here is the complete list as posted on the Wonkblog:

The White House also announced 23 executive orders on guns and gun violence that Obama would sign immediately:

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.

11. Nominate an ATF director.

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.

22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.

23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.

I think the NRA wanted more cops at schools.  That is #18.  A cop at a school is a resource officer who is especially trained to be around kids and knows what to do in a school setting.  See also #19.  They also wanted more emphasis on mental health issues.  Look at #17, #20, #21, and #22.

Here are the pictures of those who, as of today, are supporting impeachment I guess because they got some of what they wanted.   Remember impeachment begins in the House.  These were posted by Think Progress.

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX)

Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)

Former Attorney General Edwin Meese (R)

And I’m sure there will be more to add.  Like Senator Rand Paul.

Like I said, it just gets crazier.

Let’s talk about gun safety

This morning Nate Silver published two charts I found very interesting.

If the news coverage is any guide, there has been a change of tone in recent years in the public conversation about guns. The two-word phrase “gun control” is being used considerably less often than it was 10 or 20 years ago. But the phrase “gun rights” is being used more often. And the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is being invoked more frequently in the discussion.

In the chart below, I’ve tracked the number of news articles that used the terms “gun control,” “gun rights,” “gun violence” and “Second Amendment” in American newspapers, according to the database NewsLibrary.com. (Because the number of articles in the database changes over time, the figures are normalized to reflect the overall volume of database coverage in any given year, with the numbers representing how often the gun-related phrases were used per 1,000 articles on any subject.)

The usage of all four phrases, but particularly the term “gun control,” has been subject to sharp but temporary shifts based on news events.

The second showed five year averages.

As we can see, discussion of gun control has dropped off sharply.  Silver points out

The change in rhetoric may reflect the increasing polarization in the debate over gun policy. “Gun control,” a relatively neutral term, has been used less and less often. But more politically charged phrases, like “gun violence” and “gun rights,” have become more common. Those who advocate greater restrictions on gun ownership may have determined that their most persuasive argument is to talk about the consequences of increased access to guns — as opposed to the weedy debate about what rights the Second Amendment may or may not convey to gun owners. For opponents of stricter gun laws, the debate has increasingly become one about Constitutional protections. Certainly, many opponents of gun control measures also argue that efforts to restrict gun ownership could backfire in various ways or will otherwise fail to reduce violence. But broadly speaking, they would prefer that the debate be about what they see as Constitutional rights, rather than the utilitarian consequences of gun control measures.

Their strategy may have been working. The polling evidence suggests that the public has gone from tending to back stricter gun control policies to a more ambiguous position in recent years. There may be some voters who think that the Constitution provides broad latitude to own and carry guns – even if the consequences can sometimes be tragic.

But this morning I heard Representative Carolyn McCarthy say something very interesting when she was talking to Chris Hayes on MSNBC.  She wants to call for changes that lead to gun safety not gun control.  She wants to add a new term that is less politically loaded to the conversation.  She pointed out that the word “control” has negative connotations.

This morning in the Boston Globe, Adrian Walker wrote

By now the sites of tragedies practically roll off our tongues. Columbine. ­Aurora. Tucson. And now tiny Newtown can be added to this roster of unthinkable, preventable tragedy.

Yes, I said preventable. Every single one of these might have been prevented if getting hold of a gun in this country was as difficult as, say, getting a driver’s ­license.

Don’t talk to me about the right to bear arms. There is no right to open fire on defense­less children or a congresswoman meeting her constituents or a theater full of moviegoers. Don’t bother trying to tell me that the Founding Fathers intended access to guns as a “right” with almost no limits. That insipid argument is an insult to history, even if a majority of our highest court seems persuaded by it.

Those of us who do not believe that everyone has a right to own and carry a weapon because of the myth of “self-protection” need to step up.  To push our congressmen and women, to push our Senators and to push President Obama.  We know the statistics:  We are up there in gun ownership with Yemen.  Should be proud of that?  We know that guns kept in cars and homes are often used to kill family members, commit suicide, or in a mistaken effort at self-defense.

I remember seeing an interview after Congresswoman Giffords was shot.  The young man said he had been getting coffee and heard shots.  He rushed out to find a man on the ground who was being held by another.  He had a gun and thought about using it.  If he had done so, he would have shot, not the gunman, but the person trying to disarm the shooter.

Let’s work to make owning a gun as difficult as getting a driver’s license.  Let’s talk about gun safety the same way we talk about traffic safety or driver safety.

Carolyn McCarthy ran for office after her husband died and her son was injured by a gunman on the Long Island Railroad.