Hundreds of photos have been posted to web sites, blogs and social media sites of this awful flooding in my area. You can see more here and here. Its' reaches were wide and left a swath of damage that will cost millions of dollars to repair. The photos on the right and below are from the Knife River along the North Shore of Lake Superior. It jumped its' banks and carried trees and logs with it across the road and embedding them in the railings of a bridge. Powerful stuff.
And this video, posted on YouTube shows the sheer force of one of the rivers running through the city taking rocks and other objects with it.
Flood water is insidious. It doesn't know where to stop and causes havoc in its' path. So, too, is the NRA and its' agenda. The dark version of America espoused by the NRA has led to the censure of the Attorney General of the United States. The forcing of this insidious investigation of a program begun by Republican President Bush has resulted in a committee vote to hold Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. From this article:
It is quite obvious that the far right, represented by Congressman Darrell Issa ( who I wrote about in a recent post as a less than stellar citizen) and the NRA don't like him much. Holder has roundly criticized the much heralded and now enacted Voter ID laws in many states, the result of which is to disenfranchise voters. If you get in the way of this agenda, you will be swept away in the flood of accusations, lies, innuendo and hyperbole. Senseless and insidious.Just what is being covered up is not so apparent, at least to objective observers. But less-than-objective right-wing conspiracy theorists have a ready answer: Operation Fast and Furious was part of an elaborate plot to undermine the 2nd Amendment and take away citizens’ guns.Michael Vanderboegh, a blogger with militia ties and a long history of talking up armed resistance to the government, asserts that the ATF purposely let the guns go to the bad guys in Mexico so that, after the ensuing bloodbath, the feds could justify a crackdown on assault weapons and gun shows.Now, to rational human beings, that may sound totally ludicrous, but not to the folks at Fox News. They have made Vanderboegh a prime source for their coverage of this dispute, being elastic enough in their measure of qualifications to identify him as an “online journalist.” It’s not just Fox News, though. Vanderboegh’s curious theory has been picked up and repeated by Republican members of Congress, including Iowa’s previously sane Sen. Charles E. Grassley who, in a TV interview, echoed the idea that Obama and Holder could be using the Phoenix fiasco to build a case against gun rights.This fits in with the broader conspiracy theory of Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Assn. The NRA boss has insisted that the reason Obama has done nothing to harm the 2nd Amendment in his first term is so he can win another four years in office, at which point his administration will start confiscating guns with no fear of retribution from voters. According to LaPierre, Obama is not taking your guns now so he can take them later.And what do the paranoid delusions of firearms devotees have to do with Darrell Issa’s investigation? Well, Issa and other Republican members of his committee are also claiming the administration concocted this mess so they could mess with guns. “Very clearly,” Issa told Fox News, “they made a crisis and they’re using this crisis to somehow take away or limit people’s 2nd Amendment rights.”Can a smart guy like Issa honestly believe this? And if not, what is he really up to?
Here is a video from The Rachel Maddow show about the recent vote to accuse Attorney General Eric Holder of Contempt of Congress over the ATF's Fast and Furious program.
So let's talk more about what has happened as a result of the far right's real concerns. They are not really concerned about this program, begun during the Bush administration. If they were, they would ask questions about the fact that Michael Mukasey, President Bush's Attorney General in 2007, actually knew about the gun walking program. But they don't care about this important piece of the investigation because they have an extreme agenda to take down President Obama and his Attorney General.
As always, Stephen Colbert lends humor to the nonsense put forth by the far right. Let's look at it here:
Colbert wonders why Representative Darrell Issa's oversight committee did not find that most Americans already hold Congress in contempt. He is right. When Republican Congress members are so beholden to the extreme NRA that they are willing to lie about the reasons for the Fast and Furious investigation, we have a country in trouble. It is widely admitted that the program, begun by the ATF under the Bush administration, was a terrible plan. Eric Holder stopped it when he found out about it. Now the NRA and the Republicans are asserting that the program was "created" under ( and even by Eric Holder) to gain traction for gun control laws in the U.S. Never mind that thousands of lives have been lost in Mexico because of our loose gun laws that do actually provide many of the guns used by the Mexican drug cartel. That does not get mentioned by the NRA or Darrell Issa. The ATF recognized the problem of these U.S. guns used in Mexican crime activity. That is why they concocted this bad plan to trace guns coming from our own country. The plan did not work and has been stopped. But we still have the same problem with which we are not dealing, thanks to the NRA. If you call stopping the sale of assault rifles, .50 caliber sniper rifles and other high powered guns to the Mexican drug cartel a bad idea, raise your hand. That is the real problem here. That is a vote that should be scored by the American public. The program was NOT started by the Obama administration to carry out a gun control measure in the U.S. But if we don't think we should do something to stop senseless loss of life for which our country is in part responsible, who are we as a country? The Obama administration knows it cannot do anything about gun control in this country because of the fierce opposition to even reasonable measures by the NRA and its' bought and paid for politicians. The NRA's own Wayne LaPierre rants about President Obama and trumps up fear and paranoia:
“But it’s a big fat stinking lie!” the NRA leader exclaimed. “It’s all part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and destroy the Second Amendment in our country.”
“Obama himself is no fool. So when he got elected, they concocted a scheme to stay away from the gun issue, lull gun owners to sleep and play us for fools in 2012. Well, gun owners are not fools and we are not fooled,” La Pierre declared.
The only conspiracy here is that created by the NRA to bring down the nation's first Black President. We are not fools either. The further the extremists reach, the more sunlight is shed on the real agenda here. The more their agenda jumps the banks of sanity, the more damage is done. It is insidious and has flooded the country with hate and vitriol about which I wrote in a previous post. That is the real problem here.
Even some Republicans see this as a stupid and dangerous fool's errand:
Off track indeed. The NRA is in large part responsible for pushing this issue. They want to bring down a President they don't like by going after his Attorney General. This is insidious and ludicrous. And now, of course, the NRA will score the vote. The NRA's intention is to intimidate Congress members by scoring their votes. Congress members will be the better for this if they don't care what the NRA says and vote their conscience. Many of them understand that this vote on holding Eric Holder in contempt of Congress is a bad idea. It is pandering to the extreme base that is now rising up and flooding the country with an extreme agenda. It is not an agenda that cares about honesty, integrity, public safety or victims. It is a selfish agenda. It is dangerous and stupid. Common sense should tell us that there are more things to be concerned about in our country than going on a Witch Hunt.
Michael Steele thinks Rep. Darrell Issa's attacks on Attorney General Eric Holder are bad politics which have taken the GOP "off track."
"The optics are not good for the GOP, in my estimation," the MSNBC analyst and former Republican Party chair said on NOW with Alex Wagner Wednesday. "They play, actually, quite well into Obama's rant against the House and against the do-nothing Congress."Steele spoke in the midst of a House Oversight Committee hearing over whether to charge Holder with contempt of Congress. Issa, a California Republican who chairs the committee, has waged an aggressive campaign against the Attorney General over what some Republicans see as Holder's effort to stonewall a congressional investigation of the Justice Department's now-defunct Fast and Furious program.Steele argued that the contempt hearing was a distraction from the real issues that the Republican Party should be focused on."To have this sort of devolve into the political realm and become this sort of hyper-extended conversation that leads to—what?" Steele said. "It just seems to me off track."
It's hard to know where the deluge will end. In Duluth, it will end after months and years of repairs and rebuilding. Things will begin to look better with a lot of hard work. I wish I felt the same about the extreme agenda now on such graphic display by the far right and exemplified by the NRA's dark version of America where the end justifies the means. At the end of the day, we must do the right thing to protect our citizens from harm both from floods and natural disasters and help fix things after the events. We also have to protect Americans and even Mexican citizens from harm from every day senseless shootings. This is no conspiracy to take away guns or gun rights from anyone. This is about common sense and public safety. If we can't even have a civil conversation about matters of such importance, we have serious problems as a country. We are not addressing issues of grave importance in this country because of a vitriolic agenda by the NRA and the far right that has opened the floodgates of cynicism and hatred. How will we fix this mess? Just like in the photo below, rainbows come out after the floods and the rains. They can appear when you least expect them. A natural disaster puts a lot of things in perspective. What we value is all around us and when it is taken away or threatened, it is valued even more. Where are the values of a political party that puts its' own agenda ahead of what's best for the country? The question needs to be asked and answered.