Apr 17, 2013

Mere near

Sometimes I empathize with reporters trying to do a good job. Take Alan Fram of the AP for example.  He was assigned the overnighter on today's scheduled votes on  S.649 -- the Big Gun Control Bill. As is known from here to Planet Zangaro, the key to this thing is the Manchin/Toomey amendment to dink around with Feinstein's original language on background checks.

Like everyone else in the media, Fram probably began by buying the Obama adjective  "universal,"  then switched to "enhanced" and "expanded" when even the anti-rights left quietly abandoned  -- as untenable -- their lie that the checks would be within a dozen parsecs of universality. And that led the poor ink-stained wretch to:

"Just over half the public — 52 percent — expressed disapproval in the new survey of how President Barack Obama has handled gun laws. Weeks after the Newtown slayings, Obama made a call for near universal background checks the heart of his gun control plan."

"Near universal" is a valiant effort, but an impossibility in a context of reason, as in the emo mother's wail that dear sweet Snooki is nearly a virgin but, unforunately, also nearly pregnant.

Even competent journalists must work in a linguistic setting controlled by the loudest liars on every side of a hot issue. That's not because they necessarily want to, but because their sound-bite-conditioned audiences expect it, a general readership that, in fact, would be lost without buzz words.

And reporters themselves become similarly conditioned.  They shouldn't, but they do. That's one reason you never read a mass-media report that the term "        (adjective)  background check" is, all by itself, a lie.

It does not examine your "background." It scans records compiled by bureaucrats and associated -- correctly or otherwise -- with your name. The same sorts of records kept by the same sorts of data entry drones that screw up your bank balance, credit record, IRS standing, medical history, and even from time to time, criminal history.

Even with 100 per cent accuracy, the Inner Party's database has a probability of being irrelevant to "who you are."  Take mine. I have a 23-year rap sheet consisting of guilty pleas to two nefarious failures to heed a snow-removal ordinance plus a speeding bust. This proves irresponsibility -- the very quality Sen. Feinstein believes prima facie evidence of unfitness to bear arms. Think that's a silly argument? Please recall a New York effort a few years ago to deny gun permits to folks who failed to pay parking tickets on time.


Back to you, Alan of the AP: Take no offense. That piece is a good summary of what we face in the Senate today. Besides, I'll bet that in a world less saturated with meaning-free gobbledygook, you wouldn't even think of typing "near universal." 


For  meticulous followers of the Senate sausage mill, the Manchin/Toomey amendment is S.Amdt 714 to Feinstein's main bill which is S.649.  The media reports that eight votes will be taken today, and if you have the stomach to follow closely, the bill itself and all amendments are detailed here.

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