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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

In January, Stevie Wonder considered buying a gun to illustrate the inanity of America’s gun reform debate.

“Imagine me with a gun,” the blind musician said at the time. “It’s crazy.”

Apparently, it’s not too crazy for Iowa. The Hawkeye State has been granting permits to acquire or carry guns in public to people who are legally or completely blind, the Des Moines Register reports.

“It seems a little strange, but the way the law reads, we can’t deny them (a permit) just based on that one thing,” Sgt. Jana Abens, a spokeswoman for the Polk County sheriff’s office, told the Register. Polk County officials added that they’ve issued weapons permits to “at least three people who can’t legally drive and were unable to read the application forms or had difficulty doing so becaue of visual impairments.”

Under Iowa state law, sheriffs cannot deny an individual the right to carry a gun based on physical disability; additionally, preventing the blind from obtaining weapons permits could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. Still, allowing someone with a visual impairment to carry a weapon in public creates an obvious public health concern.

“I’m not an expert in vision,” Delaware County Sheriff John LeClere told the Register. “At what point do vision problems have a detrimental effect to fire a firearm? If you see nothing but a blurry mass in front of you, then I would say you probably shouldn’t be shooting something.”

That argument is not persuasive to Cedar County Sheriff Warren Wethington, who told the paper that trying to limit gun rights for the blind was a waste of time.

“If sheriffs spent more time trying to keep guns out of criminals’ hands and not people with disabilities, their time would be more productive,” he said.

The debate over arming the blind illustrates just how little progress gun reform efforts have made since Congress killed the Manchin-Toomey amendment in April. Iowa has gone from arguing over expanding gun sale background checks — a proposal which is supported by 75 percent of Iowans, according to a recent poll — to arguing about whether those whose vision is too impaired to drive a car should be allowed to carry a gun. If there really is a massive liberal conspiracy to eradicate Americans’ Second Amendment rights, it clearly isn’t very effective.

Photo: JimmyWayne via Flickr.com

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)