Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: May 2022


The Durbin Report: A message from Senator Richard J. Durbin
Fellow Illinoisan,

It was another weekend of bloodshed and loss in America. 

In Chicago, five people were shot dead—including a 16-year-old boy who was killed near “The Bean” in Millennium Park. One of the most popular attractions in our city.  Then in California on Sunday, a gunman walked into a church and opened fire—killing one person and critically wounding four others. That same afternoon, another gunman opened fire on a flea market in Houston—killing two people and injuring three others.

These shootings all took place less than 24 hours after a white supremacist massacred innocent shoppers and employees at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. The shooter wore tactical gear and carried an AR-15 assault rifle—a weapon designed to kill people en-masse. He shot 13 people, 11 of whom were Black, in an act of racist violence. Ten of the victims died. My prayers are with each of them and their families. 

Hate crimes don’t happen in a vacuum. And it’s no mystery that influential figures on the right, from Tucker Carlson to the third-ranking House Republican, have been fanning the flames of hate. They have allowed the very same “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory that inspired the Buffalo shooter to make its way to the heart of the conservative movement in America. And all the while, senior law enforcement and intelligence officials have continued to warn us that the biggest domestic terrorism threat today stems from white supremacists and violent militia extremists. A coincidence, it is not. 

So, what do we do? How can we convince the Republican Party to finally condemn this hate? And what will it take for Congress to join together to root out white supremacist violence? As Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will soon hold a hearing on domestic terrorism and the ideologies, like the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, that inspire these acts of hate.  

We will also examine a piece of legislation that I first introduced in 2017: The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act , which would strengthen federal efforts to prevent and address white supremacist violence and other forms of domestic terrorism. 

This legislation is an opportunity for the members of this Senate to stand united against hate. By passing it, along with common sense gun safety measures, we can finally address the scourge of hate and violence that has claimed far too many American lives. I hope my Republican colleagues will finally open their eyes and join Democrats in this effort. Our country cannot afford another Buffalo—or Pittsburgh, or El Paso, or Charlottesville, or Charleston. Enough is enough. 

Sincerely, 

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)

oip-paypalPlease Donate

pundit68@gmail.com


Public Citizen

@Public_Citizen

Senators bankrolled by the NRA: Mitt Romney: $13,648,000 Richard Burr: $6,987,000 Roy Blunt: $4,556,000 Thom Tillis: $4,421,000 Marco Rubio: $3,303,000 Joni Ernst: $3,125,000 Josh Hawley: $1,392,000 Mitch McConnell: $1,267,000 Ted Cruz: $176,000 An absolute disgrace.

10:03 AM · May 25, 2022·Sprout Social

oip-paypal


This may or may not have had any effect on the recent Uvalde tragedy but the sense of freedom to commit such an act is certainly influenced by a lax law on firearm ownership and use. MA

By Devan Cole, CNN

Updated 7:18 PM ET, Wed June 16, 2021

Washington (CNN)Texans will soon be able to carry handguns in public without obtaining licenses or training after the state’s Republican governor on Wednesday signed a permitless carry gun bill into law.

The measure approved by Gov. Greg Abbott allows individuals 21 and older who can legally possess firearms in the state to carry handguns in public places without permits. The legislation is set to go into effect in September.

In signing HB 1927 into law, Texas joins a handful of other conservative-led states that have passed measures this year allowing some form of permitless carry and expanded gun rights at the state level. Democrats and some law enforcement officials in the state say the bill eliminates mandatory firearms training that helps protect the public and also makes it more difficult to determine who is unlawfully carrying a weapon.

CNN has reached out to the governor’s office for comment on the legislation.

Abbott had indicated earlier this year that he would sign the bill, telling WBAP in April: “I support it and I believe it should reach my desk and we should have ‘constitutional carry’ in Texas.”

Republican supporters of the permitless carry bill, who often refer to it as “constitutional carry,” argue that by removing the licensing requirement, they are removing an artificial barrier to residents’ right to bear arms and ensuring more Texans have access to personal protection in public.

Texas already allows citizens to carry rifles openly without licenses. Under current Texas law, residents must have licenses to carry open or concealed handguns. As part of the licensing process, residents must submit a fingerprint, undergo a background check, participate in a training course and pass a shooting proficiency test.

CNN previously reported that five other states — Iowa, Tennessee, Montana, Utah and Wyoming — have passed legislation allowing some form of permitless carry this year.

CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi and Sara Murray contributed to this report.

  •  

Donation

Coffee Money

$1.00


shootings

Bryan Metzger 

19 hours ago

Senate Republican leaders speaking at their weekly press conference on May 10, 2022.

Senate Republican leaders speaking at their weekly press conference on May 10, 2022. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

  • The Senate just failed to begin debate on a bill to combat domestic terrorism and white supremacy.
  • Democrats pushed the bill in the wake of the Buffalo shooting, and to address gun violence broadly.
  • Republicans argued that the bill is unnecessary and claimed it would be used to target conservatives.

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

The US Senate failed to begin debate on a bill aimed at combating domestic terrorism and white supremacy on Thursday, despite a similar version of the legislation passing the House by voice vote in 2020.

The final vote tally was 47-47, with every present Democrat voting in favor and and every present Republican voting against beginning debate on the measure, thus falling short of the 60-vote filibuster threshold. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer switched his vote from yes to no at the conclusion of the vote in order to allow the Senate to possibly reconsider the bill at a later date.

“We’ve got plenty of laws on the books to deal with domestic terrorism,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Insider at the Capitol on Tuesday. “So I won’t be supporting it.”

The “Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act” would have authorized new offices focused on domestic terrorism at the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation while requiring joint biannual reports from those agencies on domestic terrorism threats, including assessments of threat posed by white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

Furthermore, the bill would’ve required accounting for “white supremacist and neo-Nazi infiltration of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.”

“This is a modest bill with a simple goal: ensuring that the federal government devotes existing resources and authorities to what’s been identified by the FBI as the most significant domestic terrorism threats,” said Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate sponsor of the bill, in a floor speech on Thursday.

But Republican senators largely argued that the bill was unnecessary, while some — most prominently Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri — claimed that the bill would be used to target conservatives.

“I’m completely opposed to this idea that we would be giving the federal government and federal law enforcement power and authority to surveil Americans, to engage in any kind of monitoring of speech that is directed toward censorship,” Hawley told the Hill, adding that he finds the legislation “extremely frightening.”

Schumer said on Thursday that the bill, originally put forward in response to a white supremacist killing in Buffalo, could serve as a vehicle to discuss gun violence prevention more broadly in the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

“There is an additional benefit to moving forward today,” he said on the Senate floor. “It’s a chance to have a larger debate and consider amendments for gun safety legislation in general, not just for those motivated by racism, as vital as it is to do that.”

The bill passed the House on a largely party-line vote last week. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois was the only Republican to support the measure. That’s despite the fact that the bill was originally co-sponsored by three Republicans: Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Don Bacon of Nebraska, and Fred Upton of Michigan. 

Fitzpatrick, explaining his vote against a bill that he had co-sponsored, said in a statement that he was uncomfortable with changes to the bill that were made in response to progressive lawmakers’ objections to the original bill, saying the bill would “give DOJ too much leeway in picking and choosing what it considers to constitute domestic terrorism.”

Donate

$1.00


Heather Cox RichardsonMay 27

One of the key things that drove the rise of the current Republican Party was the celebration of a certain model of an ideal man, patterned on the image of the American cowboy. Republicans claimed to be defending individual men who could protect their families if only the federal government would stop interfering with them. Beginning in the 1950s, those opposed to government regulation and civil rights decisions pushed the imagery of the cowboy, who ran cattle on the Great Plains from 1866 to about 1886 and who, in legend, was a white man who worked hard, fought hard against Indigenous Americans, and wanted only for the government to leave him alone. 

That image was not true to the real cowboys, at least a third of whom were Black or men of color, or to the reality of government intervention in the Great Plains, which was more extensive there than in any other region of the country. It was a reaction to federal laws after the Civil War defending Black rights in the post–Civil War South, laws white racists said were federal overreach that could only lead to what they insisted was “socialism.” 

In the 1950s, the idea of an individual hardworking man taking care of his family and beholden to no one was an attractive image to those who disliked government protection of civil rights, and politicians who wanted to dissolve business regulation pulled them into the Republican Party by playing to the mythology of movie heroes like John Wayne. Part of that mythology, of course, was the idea that men with guns could defend their families, religion, and freedom against a government trying to crush them. By the 1980s, the National Rifle Association had abandoned its traditional stance promoting gun safety and was defending “gun rights” and the Republican Party; in the 1990s, talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh fed the militia movement with inflammatory warnings that the government was coming for a man’s guns, destroying his ability to protect his family. 

That cowboy image has stoked an obsession with guns and with military hardware and war training in police departments. It feeds a conviction that true men dominate situations, both at home and abroad, with violence. That dominance, in turn, is supposed to protect society’s vulnerable women and children. 

In 2008, in the District of Columbia v. Heller decision, the Supreme Court said that individuals have a right to own firearms outside of membership in a militia or for traditional purposes such as hunting or self-defense, and dramatically limited federal regulation of them. Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the majority decision, was a leading “originalist” on the court, eager to erase the decisions of the post-WWII courts that upheld business regulation and civil rights. 

In 2004, a ten-year federal ban on assault weapons expired, and since then. mass shootings have tripled. Zusha Elinson, who is writing a history of the bestselling AR-15 military style weapon used in many mass shootings, notes that there were about 400,000 AR-15 style rifles in America before the assault weapons ban went into effect in 1994. Today, there are 20 million.

For years now, Republicans have stood firmly against measures to guard Americans against gun violence, even as a majority of Americans support commonsense measures like  background checks. Notably, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012, when a gunman murdered 20 six- and seven-year-old students and 6 staff members, Republicans in the Senate filibustered a bipartisan bill sponsored by Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) that would have expanded background checks, killing it despite the 55 votes in favor of it.

Since Sandy Hook, the nation has suffered more than 3500 mass shootings, and Republicans have excused them by claiming they didn’t actually happen, or by insisting we need more guns so there will be “a good guy with a gun” to take out a shooter, or that we need to “harden targets,” or that we need more police in the schools (which has simply led to more student arrests), or as Senator Ted Cruz said today, to limit the number of doors in schools, or, as a guest on Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity’s show said, to put “mantraps” and trip wires in the schools.

The initial story of what happened on Tuesday in Uvalde fit the Republican myth. Police spokespeople told reporters that a school district police officer confronted the shooter outside the building before he barricaded himself in a classroom, killing 19 and wounding 22 others in his rampage. 

But as more details are emerging today, they are undermining the myth itself. 

Robb Elementary School, where the murders took place, had already been “hardened” with the town investing more than $650,000 in security enhancements, but the shooter apparently entered through an unlocked door. The Uvalde police department consumes 40% of the town’s budget and has its own Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit. And yet, the stories that are emerging from Uvalde suggest that the shooter fired shots outside the school for 12 minutes before entering it and that he was not, in fact, confronted outside. Police officers arrived at the same time he entered the school, but they did not go in until after he had been in the building for four minutes. Seven officers then entered, but the lone gunman apparently drove them out with gunfire, and they stayed outside, holding back frantic parents, until Border Patrol tactical officers arrived a full hour later. 

Parents tried to get the police to go in but instead found themselves under attack for interfering with an investigation. One man was thrown to the ground and pepper sprayed. U.S. Marshals arrested and handcuffed Angeli Rose Gomez, whose children were in the school and who had had time to drive 40 miles to get to them, for interfering as she demanded they do something. Gomez got local officers she knew to talk the Marshals into releasing her. Then she jumped the school fence, ran in, grabbed her two kids, and ran out. 

A Texas Department of Safety official told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer tonight that the law enforcement officers at the school were reluctant to engage the gunman because “they could’ve been shot, they could’ve been killed.”

There are still many, many questions about what happened in Uvalde, but it seems clear that the heroes protecting the children were not the guys with guns, but the moms and the dads and the two female teachers who died trying to protect their students: Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia. News reports today say that Garcia’s husband, Joseph, died this morning of a heart attack, leaving four children. 

Last week, in the aftermath of the deadly attack on a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, Democrats in the House of Representatives quickly passed a a domestic terrorism bill. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tried to get the Senate to take it up today. It would have sparked a debate on gun safety. Republicans blocked it. In the aftermath of Tuesday’s massacre, only five Republicans have said they are willing to consider background checks for gun purchases. That is not enough to break a filibuster. 

Last night, Texas candidate for governor Beto O’Rourke confronted Texas governor Greg Abbott at a press conference. Last year, Abbott signed at least seven new laws to make it easier to obtain guns, and after the Uvalde murders, he said tougher gun laws are not “a real solution.” O’Rourke offered a different vision for defending our children than stocking up on guns. “The time to stop the next shooting is right now, and you are doing nothing,” O’Rourke said, standing in front of a dais at which Abbott sat. “You said this is not predictable…. This is totally predictable…. This is on you, until you choose to do something different…. This will continue to happen. Somebody needs to stand up for the children of this state or they will continue to be killed, just like they were killed in Uvalde yesterday.”

Uvalde mayor Don McLaughlin shouted profanities at O’Rourke; Texas Republican lieutenant governorDan Patrick told the former congressman, “You’re out of line and an embarrassment”; and Senator Ted Cruz told him, “Sit down.” 

But this evening the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays announced they would use their social media channels not to cover tonight’s game but to share facts about gun violence. “The devastating events that have taken place in Uvalde, Buffalo and countless other communities across our nation are tragedies that are intolerable.” 

Notes:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReportThe Yankees and Rays are using their social media channels to offer facts about the impacts of gun violence following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas May 26th 2022445 Retweets3,638 Likes

https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/may/25/joe-biden/joe-biden-said-mass-shootings-tripled-when-assault/

Bianna Golodryga @biannagolodryga“Before the assault weapons ban went into effect in 1994, there were about 400,000 AR-15 style rifles in America. Today, there are 20 million.” Jaw dropping figure from @ZushaElinson, who is writing a book on the country’s best selling rifle.May 26th 20221,868 Retweets3,716 Likes

https://www.bradyunited.org/program/democracy/end-the-filibuster

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/05/22/guns-biden-democrats-buffalo/

https://apnews.com/article/uvalde-school-shooting-politics-texas-shootings-56a4d01fb1cda19947db89fcb6bd85fd

https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/09/03/there-are-now-more-police-officers-floridas-schools-than-nurses-student-arrests-are-rising/

https://www.mediamatters.org/sean-hannity/fox-news-guest-calls-man-traps-and-trip-wires-instead-gun-control-stop-mass-shootings

https://www.wsj.com/articles/uvalde-residents-voice-frustration-over-shooting-response-11653588161

Qasim Rashid, Esq. @QasimRashidDo people realize Robb Elementary doubled its spend on school security since 2017? They had a fence. They had surveillance. They had officers on duty. They had shooter drill trainings. ALL OF IT FAILED. The problem is easy access to guns. It’s always been guns. ADDRESS THE GUNSMay 26th 202213,060 Retweets55,180 Likes

https://abc7.com/texas-school-shooting-victims-uvalde-elementary-eva-mireles-victim/11892870

https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/26/us/irma-garcia-robb-elementary-teacher-shooting-victim-husband-death/index.html/

https://apnews.com/article/shootings-new-york-voting-buffalo-gun-politics-f30b5f51f239fa776726efe077be008d

Texas Police Lieutenant Says Cops Were Reluctant to Engage Gunman Because ‘They Could’ve Been Shot’

https://docs.google.com/document/d/15Ef2l6enBd5lr9V5pp5_lAhwp5x4Eg81r-l456kRgcQ/edit

https://apnews.com/article/uvalde-school-shooting-senate-republicans-938382083f82e187531d

https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/26/us/uvalde-texas-elementary-school-shooting-thursday/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/25/politics/beto-orourke-uvalde-greg-abbott/index.html

Donate

Research

$1.00


Heather Cox RichardsonMay 26
Letter From an American

All day, I have been coming back to this: How have we arrived at a place where 90% of Americans want to protect our children from gun violence, and yet those who are supposed to represent us in government are unable, or unwilling, to do so?

This is a central problem not just for the issue of gun control, but for our democracy itself. 

It seems that during the Cold War, American leaders came to treat democracy and capitalism as if they were interchangeable. So long as the United States embraced capitalism, by which they meant an economic system in which individuals, rather than the state, owned the means of production, liberal democracy would automatically follow.

That theory seemed justified by the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The crumbling of that communist system convinced democratic nations that they had won, they had defeated communism, their system of government would dominate the future. Famously, in 1992, political philosopher Francis Fukuyama wrote that humanity had reached “the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” In the 1990s, America’s leaders believed that the spread of capitalism would turn the world democratic as it delivered to them global dominance, but they talked a lot less about democracy than they did about so-called free markets.

In fact, the apparent success of capitalism actually undercut democracy in the U.S. The end of the Cold War was a gift to those determined to destroy the popular liberal state that had regulated business, provided a basic social safety net, and invested in infrastructure since the New Deal. They turned their animosity from the Soviet Union to the majority at home, those they claimed were bringing communism to America. “​​For 40 years conservatives fought a two-front battle against statism, against the Soviet empire abroad and the American left at home,” right-wing operative Grover Norquist said in 1994. “Now the Soviet Union is gone and conservatives can redeploy. And this time, the other team doesn’t have nuclear weapons.”

Republicans cracked down on Democrats trying to preserve the active government that had been in place since the 1930s. Aided by talk radio hosts, they increasingly demonized their domestic political opponents. In the 1990 midterm elections, a political action committee associated with House Republican whip Newt Gingrich gave to Republican candidates a document called “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control.” It urged candidates to label Democrats with words like “decay,” “failure,” “crisis,” “pathetic,” “liberal,” “radical,” “corrupt,” and “taxes,” while defining Republicans with words like “opportunity,” “moral,” “courage,” “flag,” “children,” “common sense,” “hard work,” and “freedom.” Gingrich later told the New York Times his goal was “reshaping the entire nation through the news media.” 

Their focus on capitalism undermined American democracy. They objected when the Democrats in 1993 made it easier to register to vote by passing the so-called Motor-Voter Act, permitting voters to register at certain state offices. The next year, losing Republican candidates argued that Democrats had won their elections with “voter fraud.” In 1996, House and Senate Republicans each launched yearlong investigations into what they insisted were problematic elections, one in Louisiana and one in California. Ultimately, they turned up nothing, but keeping the cases in front of the media for a year helped to convince Americans that voter fraud was a serious issue and that Democrats were winning elections thanks to illegal, usually immigrant, voters. 

In 2010 the Supreme Court green-lit the flood of corporate money into our political system with the Citizens’ United decision; in 2013 it gutted the provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act requiring the Department of Justice to sign off on changes to election laws in some states, prompting a slew of discriminatory voter ID laws. In 2010, REDMAP (Redistricting Majority Project) enabled Republicans to take over state legislatures and gerrymander the states dramatically in their own favor. 

At the same time, the rise of a market-based economy in the former Soviet republics made it clear that capitalism and democracy were not interchangeable. An oligarchy rose from the ashes of the USSR, and U.S. leaders embraced the leaders of that new system as allies. That allyship has gone so far that this week, the Conservative Political Action Conference held a conference in Hungary, where leader Viktor Orbán, who was a keynote speaker at the event, has openly rejected democracy. At the conference, he called for the right in the U.S. to join forces with those like him; yesterday, he declared martial law in his country. 

At home, where our focus on free markets has stacked our political system in favor of the Republicans, the vast majority of Americans want reasonable gun laws, reproductive rights, action on climate change, equality before the law, infrastructure funding, and so on, and their representatives are unable to get those things. 

Capitalism, it seems, is also trumping democracy at home.

Note:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-24/hungary-s-orban-declares-state-of-emergency-over-war-economy

Share

Donation

Information Research

$1.00


 

These are the folks who want control of Congress, the high court and the Presidency. MA

Matt Novak – 9h ago

Amass shooter killed 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday. And Republican politicians took to Twitter in the wake of this tragedy to express their condolences. But if you look closely, you’ll notice something odd. Many of the messages were identical, as though they’re all just copying and pasting the same tweets from the last mass shooting.

There seems to be a formula for how right-wing politicians are now responding to mass shootings on social media that goes something like this: I am [HORRIFIED, HEARTBROKEN, ETC] at the senseless tragedy in [LOCATION] today. We are [LIFTING THEM UP IN PRAYER, PRAYING FOR THEM] and thank the heroic efforts of [POLICE, FIRST RESPONDERS, ETC] on the scene.

That’s it. No promise that laws will be passed to help stop these mass shootings from happening again; no recognition that the U.S. is the only wealthy country in the world where mass shootings happen frequently; no acknowledgement that children in other countries don’t have to participate in active shooter drills. The only thing politicians can muster is “thoughts and prayers” and “thank God for our cops.”

Take a look at some of the tweets from yesterday, with an emphasis in the text from Gizmodo to show just how identical these statements really are.

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky:

Horrified and heartbroken by reports of the disgusting violence directed at innocent schoolkids in Uvalde, Texas. The entire country is praying for the children, families, teachers, and staff and the first responders on the scene.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee:

Horrified and heartbroken to learn of the significant loss of life in the shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Please join me in lifting their loved ones up in prayer. Thank you to the local first responders working on the scene.

Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona:

This is heartbreaking and soul wrenching. Our prayers are with the parents, families, students and staff of Robb Elementary in Uvalde, TX at this unimaginable time. Thankful for the heroic efforts of medical pros, law enforcement and community members who responded so quickly.

Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota:

We’re horrified by the news out of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX today. Mikey and I are heartbroken for the families and loved ones of the victims & grateful for the first responders and law enforcement who worked to save lives.

Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia:

Marty, the girls, and I are heartbroken over news from Uvalde, Tx. For children and innocent adults, including the school teacher, to be taken from this world in such a depraved, violent way, it is incomprehensible. We are lifting up the families of these victims, the first responders on the scene, and the entire community in prayer.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas:

Heidi & I are fervently lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Uvalde. We are in close contact with local officials, but the precise details are still unfolding. Thank you to heroic law enforcement & first responders for acting so swiftly.

Cruz’s statement was identical to a statement he made back in October 2021 after another school shooting in Texas:

The list goes on and on. And they all use the same formula.

But oddly, it wasn’t just Republicans who used a similar mash-up of platitudes on Tuesday. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona, used language identical to the Republicans:

We are horrified and heartbroken by the senseless tragedy unfolding at Robb Elementary School in Texas and grateful to the first responders for acting swiftly. No families should ever have to fear violence in their children’s schools.

Perhaps all of these horrified and heartbroken politicians could do something about this national tragedy that just keeps repeating itself. Or maybe they can keep those tweets copied on their smartphones and ready to paste because this horror will no doubt happen again sometime very soon.

Donation

Donation

$1.00


 It is unfortunate that we have allowed ourselves to be polarized by folks who have a platform that is widely read and distributed, their dis and mis information has cost LIVES, jobs and increased the suffering of the neediest of Americans. While all of this is occurring, the Right including the GOP is still pursuing their agenda where big business is more important than the consumers and voters. The current assault on Women’s health and abortion which is just small part of the anti-abortion issue. The right aka GOP and Trumpists abetted by FAUX news in the persons of _ ucker Carlson and S. Hannity et all. Have one goal in mind and that is power and using the strength of the extreme right, the Trump followers who are no more than the same type of folks who revel in the actions viewed on the “Jerry Springer Show” (Mr. Springer has stated that his show is staged). These followers are unfortunately aware of their duplicity in the problem by following and exhorting the misinformation the belies the facts. It might be well to point out that these promoters of the misinformation are out to enhance their lives and not ours. It is our (the voters) duty to look closely at the folks who are providing information and look behind the curtain of outright lies and understand that this is not what we want. We (the voters) must have a firm grasp on reality and the underlying reasons for our elected official’s reluctance to do the work we elected them to do and what they promised to do for us. If we (the voters) take a bit of time and read some history we will find that save a few, our elected folks have taken care of themselves and continually promised us that they would take care of us. As an example, why do we have high court judges who lied under oath about “settled” law? There is a method of relieving high court judged only if we the people push for it rather than hope or suppose our lack luster representatives will do their job. Our politics is about power and money, pure and simple. If you have money, you have power and using both to get what you want rather than being magnanimous in your actions. Simply put: why are millions spent to gain an office that pays Thousands? WE have had many “wake up” calls but we have failed to wash the sleep out of our eyes. Our only recourse is the vote and that requires us to avoid the “rhetoric” of politics and look at the facts. One fact that is apparent: “All politicians Lie!!”

Donation

Information

$1.00


Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Stefan Stevenson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram – Yesterday 9:56 PM

This is indicative of how broken our politics are, people die in mass shootings, yet Congress refuses to do anything about it due to the funding from Gun lobbyists and the big money allowed by the “Citizen’s United” decision by the “Subprime Court”. MA

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is taking heat to his response to the shooting in Uvalde.

The death toll as of Tuesday night rose to 19 children and two adults. Police say an 18-year-old gunman acted alone and is also dead.

Uvalde is a town of 15,000 about 80 miles west of San Antonio.

“Heidi & I are fervently lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Uvalde,” Cruz said in a post on Twitter. “We are in close contact with local officials, but the precise details are still unfolding. Thank you to heroic law enforcement & first responders for acting so swiftly.”

Cruz’s sentiments, however, were quickly rebutted by many accusing him of hypocrisy. Cruz received more than $300,000 in campaign donations from gun lobbyists during his last senatorial campaign in 2018, more than $80,000 more than the second closest candidate.

Cruz released a statement that expanded on his social media message.

“Today is a dark day. We’re all completely sickened and heartbroken,” Cruz said. “As of now, 15 innocent people are dead. 14 were children. Others are still in critical condition or otherwise injured, and we are all praying for each of them.”

“We’ve seen too many of these shootings,” Cruz added. “No parent should have to bear the pain of burying their child. We need to come together, as one nation, and support Uvalde as they try to heal from this devastating loss.”

Cruz, fellow Sen. John Cornyn and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott are scheduled to speak Friday at the National Rifle Association’s 2022 annual meeting in Houston.

©2022 Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Visit star-telegram.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Donate

Donate

$1.00


Heather Cox RichardsonMay 25

Today, a gunman murdered at least 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. 

For years now, after one massacre or another, I have written some version of the same article, explaining that the nation’s current gun free-for-all is not traditional but, rather, is a symptom of the takeover of our nation by a radical extremist minority. The idea that massacres are “the price of freedom,” as right-wing personality Bill O’Reilly said in 2017 after the Mandalay Bay massacre in Las Vegas, in which a gunman killed 60 people and wounded 411 others, is new, and it is about politics, not our history.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution, on which modern-day arguments for widespread gun ownership rest, is one simple sentence: “A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” There’s not a lot to go on about what the Framers meant, although in their day, to “bear arms” meant to be part of an organized militia.

As the Tennessee Supreme Court wrote in 1840, “A man in the pursuit of deer, elk, and buffaloes might carry his rifle every day for forty years, and yet it would never be said of him that he had borne arms; much less could it be said that a private citizen bears arms because he has a dirk or pistol concealed under his clothes, or a spear in a cane.”

Today’s insistence that the Second Amendment gives individuals a broad right to own guns comes from two places.

One is the establishment of the National Rifle Association in New York in 1871, in part to improve the marksmanship skills of American citizens who might be called on to fight in another war, and in part to promote in America the British sport of elite shooting, complete with hefty cash prizes in newly organized tournaments. Just a decade after the Civil War, veterans jumped at the chance to hone their former skills. Rifle clubs sprang up across the nation.

By the 1920s, rifle shooting was a popular American sport. “Riflemen” competed in the Olympics, in colleges, and in local, state, and national tournaments organized by the NRA. Being a good marksman was a source of pride, mentioned in public biographies, like being a good golfer. In 1925, when the secretary of the NRA apparently took money from ammunition and arms manufacturers, the organization tossed him out and sued him.

NRA officers insisted on the right of citizens to own rifles and handguns but worked hard to distinguish between law-abiding citizens who should have access to guns for hunting and target shooting and protection, and criminals and mentally ill people, who should not. In 1931, amid fears of bootlegger gangs, the NRA backed federal legislation to limit concealed weapons; prevent possession by criminals, the mentally ill and children; to require all dealers to be licensed; and to require background checks before delivery. It backed the 1934 National Firearms Act, and parts of the 1968 Gun Control Act, designed to stop what seemed to be America’s hurtle toward violence in that turbulent decade.

But in the mid-1970s, a faction in the NRA forced the organization away from sports and toward opposing “gun control.” It formed a political action committee (PAC) in 1975, and two years later it elected an organization president who abandoned sporting culture and focused instead on “gun rights.”

This was the second thing that led us to where we are today: leaders of the NRA embraced the politics of Movement Conservatism, the political movement that rose to combat the business regulations and social welfare programs that both Democrats and Republicans embraced after World War II. Movement Conservatives embraced the myth of the American cowboy as a white man standing against the “socialism” of the federal government as it sought to level the economic playing field between Black Americans and their white neighbors. Leaders like Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater personified the American cowboy, with his cowboy hat and opposition to government regulation, while television Westerns showed good guys putting down bad guys without the interference of the government.

In 1972, the Republican platform had called for gun control to restrict the sale of “cheap handguns,” but in 1975, as he geared up to challenge President Gerald R. Ford for the 1976 presidential nomination, Movement Conservative hero Ronald Reagan took a stand against gun control. In 1980, the Republican platform opposed the federal registration of firearms, and the NRA endorsed a presidential candidate—Reagan—for the first time.

When President Reagan took office, a new American era, dominated by Movement Conservatives, began. And the power of the NRA over American politics grew.

In 1981 a gunman trying to kill Reagan shot and paralyzed his press secretary, James Brady, and wounded Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy and police officer Thomas Delahanty. After the shooting, then-representative Charles Schumer (D-NY) introduced legislation that became known as the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, or the Brady Bill, to require background checks before gun purchases. Reagan, who was a member of the NRA, endorsed the bill, but the NRA spent millions of dollars to defeat it.

After the Brady Bill passed in 1993, the NRA paid for lawsuits in nine states to strike it down. Until 1959, every single legal article on the Second Amendment concluded that it was not intended to guarantee individuals the right to own a gun. But in the 1970s, legal scholars funded by the NRA had begun to argue that the Second Amendment did exactly that.

In 1997, when the Brady Bill cases came before the Supreme Court as Printz v. United States, the Supreme Court declared parts of the measure unconstitutional.

Now a player in national politics, the NRA was awash in money from gun and ammunition manufacturers. By 2000 it was one of the three most powerful lobbies in Washington. It spent more than $40 million on the 2008 election. In that year, the landmark Supreme Court decision of District of Columbia v. Heller struck down gun regulations and declared that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.

Increasingly, NRA money backed Republican candidates. In 2012 the NRA spent $9 million in the presidential election, and in 2014 it spent $13 million. Then, in 2016, it spent over $50 million on Republican candidates, including more than $30 million on Trump’s effort to win the White House. This money was vital to Trump, since many other Republican super PACs refused to back him. The NRA spent more money on Trump than any other outside group, including the leading Trump super PAC, which spent $20.3 million.

The unfettered right to own and carry weapons has come to symbolize the Republican Party’s ideology of individual liberty. Lawmakers and activists have not been able to overcome Republican insistence on gun rights despite the mass shootings that have risen since their new emphasis on guns. Even though 90% of Americans—including nearly 74% of NRA members—support background checks, Republicans have killed such legislation by filibustering it.  

The NRA will hold its 2022 annual meeting this Friday in Houston. Former president Trump will speak, along with Texas governor Greg Abbott, senator Ted Cruz, and representative Dan Crenshaw; North Carolina lieutenant governor Mark Robinson; and South Dakota governor Kristi Noem—all Republicans. NRA executive vice president and chief executive officer Wayne LaPierre expressed his enthusiasm for the lineup by saying: “President Trump delivered on his promises by appointing judges who respect and value the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and in doing so helped ensure the freedom of generations of Americans.”

Tonight, President Joe Biden spoke to the nation: “Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen?… It’s time to turn this pain into action. For every parent, for every citizen in this country, we have to make it clear to every elected official in this country, it’s time to act.” In the Senate, Chris Murphy (D-CT) said, “I am here on this floor, to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues….find a way to pass laws that make this less likely.”

But it was Steve Kerr, the coach of the Golden State Warriors basketball team, whose father was murdered by gunmen in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1984, who best expressed the outrage of the nation. At a press conference tonight, shaking, he said, “I’m not going to talk about basketball…. Any basketball questions don’t matter…. Fourteen children were killed 400 miles from here, and a teacher, and in the last ten days we’ve had elderly Black people killed in a supermarket in Buffalo, we’ve had Asian churchgoers killed in Southern California, and now we have children murdered at school. WHEN ARE WE GONNA DO SOMETHING? I’m tired, I’m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families…. I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough. There’s 50 senators…who refuse to vote on HR 8, which is a background check rule that the House passed a couple years ago…. [N]inety percent of Americans, regardless of political party, want…universal background checks…. We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to a vote despite what we the American people want…because they want to hold onto their own power. It’s pathetic,” he said, walking out of the press conference. 

“I’ve had enough.”

Notes:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/no-mass-shootings-are-not-the-price-of-freedom/2017/10/05/d268dc8c-a928-11e7-850e-2bdd1236be5d_story.html

https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/how-nra-rewrote-second-amendment

https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2017/oct/03/chris-abele/do-90-americans-support-background-checks-all-gun-/

https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2016/11/the-nra-placed-big-bets-on-the-2016-election-and-won-almost-all-of-them/

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/06/the-nra-spent-dollar30-million-to-elect-trump-was-it-russian-money

https://www.nraila.org/articles/20220512/president-trump-to-speak-at-2022-nra-annual-meeting

President Biden @POTUSFor every parent, for every citizen, we have to make it clear to every elected official: It’s time for action. We can do more. We must do more. May 25th 20221,771 Retweets10,028 Likes

MSNBC @MSNBC“Why are we here?” Sen. Murphy presses fellow senators in emotional speech after Texas elementary school shooting. “I am here on this floor, to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues … find a way to pass laws that make this less likely.” May 24th 202222,376 Retweets70,192 Likes

Golden State Warriors @warriorsSteve Kerr on today’s tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas. May 24th 2022170,712 Retweets504,584 Likes

donation

Donation

$1.00

%d bloggers like this: