Tag Archives: NRA

Please Go Right Ahead Mr. Laxalt, Clutch The Trumpian Phantom Coat-tails?

From the “Please Proceed” Department — Nevada gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt still clings to the Tangerine Tantrum Tosser in the White House. [NVIndy]  Meanwhile, the Tantrum Tosser is now openly calling for the end of the Mueller Investigation.  [WaPo] Now, why might this be?

The walls are closing in?  The first round of indictments hit the periphery of the conspiracy to defraud the US to manipulate the election.  Russians, many Russians, as in 12 members of the Russian intelligence services in the cross hairs of the Mueller probe.  As in the next round may very well include people like Roger Stone, or like people who worked with Roger Stone — say, Donald Trump, Jr.  This would help explain the increasingly shrill tone of unpresidential tweets emanating from Pennsylvania Avenue.  We might be getting up into the top part of the human hearing range, approaching, if not hitting, 28 kHz.   That low rumble, 20 Hz, could be the sound of the Mueller team(s) assembling the paper-work for the next round of indictments?

The walls have already begun to slide inward? Speculation appears to center on two points (1) Mueller is much further along than what appears in published accounts; and, (2) the Trump defense team is privy to information concerning that investigation which is also ahead of the publication curve.  If (and this is a major IF) we adopt both of these statements as possibly true, then the unpresidential tweet tantrums may be indicative of a felt need to “get ahead of the story,” i.e. to attempt to shape a public narrative prior to any action on the Special Counsel’s part.  I’ve enjoyed the various iterations of Trumpian apologetics in regard to the subtopic of collusion.  There was NO collusion.  Okay, there might have been some collusion, but it was done by people who barely related to the campaign.  Well, yeah, there were some campaign connected souls who indulged in some collusion, but collusion isn’t a crime.  I am waiting for the “collusion is a crime, but it isn’t a really serious crime” insertion, to be followed by “a crime isn’t a crime if the President does it.” [See Nixon interview May 1977]

There’s another wall coming in on them?  At the risk of redundancy, conspiracy and obstruction of justice aren’t the only two arrows in the Mueller quiver.  The money questions are bubbling to the surface.  There’s $$$ and the Russian + National Rifle Association element.  There’s $$$ and the Russian connections to former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort. There’s $$$ and the connections from Oligarchs to the Trumps.  There’s $$$ and Russian connections to Trump business operations.  There’s some $$$ washing around in dubious shell corporations, off shore accounts, and small specialty accounts such as those used to pay off porn stars and Playboy models.  There’s $$$ to be made by Russian aluminum and real estate tycoons, et. alia if sanctions are left unenforced or are rescinded. There’s $$$ to be made if tariffs are applied such that Russian commodities can be traded in international markets in the absence of American and other allied producers.  Follow The Money.

The Numbers aren’t adding up.  At no point thus far in 2018 has GOP identification registered above 28% [Gallup] and as of July 2018 the number stands at 26%, with Democrats at 30% and Independents at 41%.   Republicans give Trump an 87% approval rating; Democrats a dismal 5% rating; and, Independents at 38%.  The only term for this is “under water.”  Just for reference, as of July 26, 2002 George W. Bush had a 69% approval rating; Trump’s July 22, 2018 rating was 41%.   We might stick a pin in Richard M. Nixon’s approval rating as of June 25, 1973 when he was pulling a positive 44%. [Gallup]

Here’s the point at which DB recites the familiar mantra:  When you have an increasing share of a declining market your business plan is in serious trouble.

The troubling prospect is that those “campaign style rallies” will become increasingly strident, increasingly petulant, increasingly vitriolic, and increasingly threatening to members of the press.  While it might be superficially pleasurable to watch the continuing meltdown, the fact that five journalists in Annapolis, MD have already succumbed to the pent up hatred of a delusional gunman should give us all pause.

Unsolicited advice for candidate Laxalt:  Be careful who you wish for (as a pillar of support) because some pillars will turn you into yet another pillar of  NaCl.

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Filed under Nevada news, Nevada politics, Politics

The Tapestry of Our Lives

The thunder and lightning have passed, and it’s time to get back to the blog.  Not that the thunder and lightning in the country have abated in any significant way.  Senator Dean Heller seems to have attracted one strike:

The National Rifle Association has endorsed Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller and three other Republican candidates for Congress ahead of the June 12 primary elections.  Heller received an “A” rating from the NRA, which is given to pro-gun candidates who support the organization’s positions on key votes or who have a record of supporting Second Amendment.  The gun-rights group also endorsed Republican Rep. Rep. Mark Amodei who is seeking re-election in Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District. [NVIndy/News4]

May 18, 2018 10 people were killed and 13 injured in a mass shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.  Another month, another mass shooting in a school.  Once more the NRA wants to talk about anything except the guns.  It’s violent video games. It’s mental health. It’s Ritalin. It’s anything anything anything except the easy access to guns.  Sometimes we tend to express regret for the loss of talent as the tally of gun violence victims increases, but we might be missing an important point.  It’s the details that matter.  Perhaps there were or were not individuals who would have gone on to do great and notable things, that’s debatable. However, we do know that there were losses represented by the victim counts.

We may have lost an electrician?  A barber? A receptionist.  Someone who would have gotten up every morning to put in a days work, and come home every evening to be incorporated into the life of their family.

April 22, 2018, 4 people died and 3 others injured in a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee.  We lost a musician, we lost college students, we lost more threads in the fabric of our lives. We found a hero, an unarmed young man who stopped the shooter at great peril to his own life, and then went on to donate donations to his social media account to the families of victims.  We didn’t find a fantasy hero “good guy with a gun,” rather we found a good guy with courage, compassion, and the ultimate in civic responsibility.  We found James Shaw Jr.

April 18, 2018 a mother and her children died in a hail of gun fire from an ex-boyfriend in Asheville, North Carolina. The children loved to run track and to dance. We’ll never know if we lost a future Olympic medalist that day, we do know that we lost a family.  We lost a mother who was so scrupulous about housekeeping friends and family said, “You could eat off her floors.”  A mother who took her children to church every Sunday.  [ATC] We lost a family.

February 14, 2018, we lost 17 lives, with another 17 injured at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. They’ve Marched for their Lives. They’ve organized voter registration drives, they’ve appealed to the better angels of our nature.  They’ve warned politicians like Heller and Amodei that NRA endorsements aren’t what they used to be. We’ve lost and shattered too many families.

Every day the death toll mounts from mass and individual shootings, from suicides and accidents, we continue to lose plumbers, secretaries, mechanics, cooks, and soldiers.

February 10, 2018 a family of four was massacred in a murder-suicide in Johnson County, Kentucky. [lex18]  We continue to lose parents and grandparents.

Each time more victims are added to the lists we’ve lost more firefighters, carpenters, solar panel installers, roofers, landscapers, bookkeepers, and bus drivers.

November 5, 2017 27 people died, another 20 were injured in a church in Sunderland Springs, Texas.  Each time we add victims to the list we lose more truck drivers, reporters, day care providers, steelworkers, pilots, housekeepers, and file clerks.

October 1, 2017, a mass killing cost us 58 victims and 441 injured at a music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Each time we add victims to the list we extinguish the lives of more people who matter. We lost a man shielding his wife on their wedding anniversary.  We lost a health care management major, a commercial fisherman, a kindergarten teacher, a police department records technician, a registered nurse, a member of the US Navy, a waitress, a soldier, a teacher, a secretary, a family law attorney, a contractor, an office manager, a financial adviser, a home contractor, a librarian, a make up artist, a corrections officer, … girlfriends, wives, mothers, grandmothers, boyfriends, husbands, fathers, grandfathers…

Our economic fabric is in the details.  We are a composite of the electrician, barber, receptionist, plumbers, secretaries, mechanics, cooks, soldiers, firefighters, carpenters, solar panel installers, roofers, landscapers, bookkeepers, bus drivers,  truck drivers, reporters, day care providers, steelworkers, pilots, housekeepers,  file clerks,  health care management personnel, commercial fisherman,  kindergarten teacher,  police department records technician,  registered nurse,  member of the US Navy,  waitress,  soldier,  teacher,  secretary,  family law attorney,  contractor,  office manager,  financial adviser,  home contractor,  librarian,  make up artist,  corrections officer…

Reduce the numbers of the people who make our economy run, eliminate the waitress at the small diner who brings that first cup of coffee with a smile to start the day, make the auto mechanic who figures out why there’s a persistent problem with the fuel injection system vanish, and we are all reduced as the power in our multiplicity of economic gears is reduced by one.

Our social fabric is in the details, in the relationships between boy friends and girl friends, wives and husbands, mothers and fathers, children, grandparents, grandchildren, neighbors, friends, and co-workers.  Eliminate any of these relationships in our communities, and we are all reduced by the unraveling of all those tiny threads which combined together form the incredibly complex and beautiful tapestry of our social lives in this nation.

No “endorsement,” no pandering for a few votes, is worth the grains of sand in our economic gears as grain by grain we add problems by reducing our numbers.  No “endorsement,” no pandering for a few votes is worth the unraveling of the tapestry of our lives, the loss of each loved one pulling at loose threads until we fray from the edges.

Politicians Heller and Amodei may take pleasure in their A ratings from the NRA, I am only sorry they cannot take as much pleasure in the defense of the lives of our children, our boyfriends and girl friends, our wives and husbands, our parents and grandparents; in the wonderfully interwoven tapestry of American life.

 

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Filed under Amodei, Gun Issues, Heller, Nevada politics, Politics

FYI: Retirement funds, pensions, and educational savings plans invested in gun manufacturing?

First, please read the June 2016 article from Mother Jones which describes the ownership of the gun manufacturers who, in turn, direct the agenda of the National Rifle Association.   And now for some financial information:

Sturm Ruger and CompanyNASDAQ reports the company is 88.79% owned by institutional investors. The top five institutional investors are Black Rock (2,948,467 shares), Vanguard (1,659,697 shares), Capital World Investors (1,490,248), London Company of Virginia (1,355,076 shares), Voya Investment Management (777,224 shares)

Blackrock offers college savings plans, retirement investment plans, factor investing, and ironically “sustainable” investment programs.  Vanguard advertises its IRA accounts, retirement savings accounts, and pension plans.  Capital World Investors manages equity and mutual funds for its investors.  The London Company of Virginia is reported as “The London Company of Virginia, LLC is an employee owned investment manager. The firm primarily provides its services to individuals. It also provide its services high net worth individuals, investment companies, pension and profit sharing plans, charitable organizations, foundations, State or municipal government entities, and corporations.”  Voya Investment Management advertises its mutual funds for its investors.  The firm primarily serves insurance companies. [Bloomberg]

American Outdoor Brands (formerly Smith and Wesson) includes Smith & Wesson, Gemtech Suppressors, Crimson Trace, and accessories. It is 74.96% institutionally owned. The top institutional investors are Blackrock (6,012,767), Invesco Ltd (4,858,400), Vanguard (4,508,410), LSV Management (2,148,948), Dimensional Fund Advisors (1,774,780), Voya Investment Management (1,655,896) as of December 31, 2017. [NASDAQ]  LSV Management provides investment services to corporate pension and profit sharing plans. [Bloomberg] Dimensional Fund Advisors offers a variety of funds for its investors, most recently noticed for increasing its position in Chevron. [LG]

Remington Outdoor Company is owned by Cerberus Capital Management.  Cerberus advertises its $30 billion under management. [Cerb]   The firm recently drew the attention of Bloomberg News in an article by Joe Nocera, “Cerberus, Guns, and the Legacy of Newtown.” [BN 3/14/18] (Highly recommended reading)

“What Cerberus did right, again in a business sense, was market guns, especially the AR-15. Feinberg helped popularize assault weapons, making them a must-have purchase for a certain kind of gun owner.

The first gun company to make an AR-15 was Armalite in the early 1960s, but it took over three decades for the gun to become a major factor in the business. Only when the culture of hunting began to be eclipsed by a more militaristic gun culture did the AR-15 become popular. At least part of this was due to gun advertising, which stressed both militarization and masculinity.

And no company took this advertising as far as Remington Outdoor. In 2010, it began an ad campaign that showed a picture of a Bushmaster XM-15 in a shooting position. The headline read: “Consider Your Man Card Reissued.” Another ad had the headline, “Forces of Opposition, Bow Down,” with a picture of an AR-15. Remington called one of its guns the Remington ACR — for Adaptive Combat Rifle.”

SIG Sauer is a privately held German firm, with SIG Sauer, Inc as its American branch. It’s been most recently in the news for securing a nearly $600 contract with the US Department of Defense to replace the M9 handguns.

Conclusions?  It’s a bit unsettling to consider that the pension plan into which a person might be investing in order to avoid being a burden on one’s children, is the same plan investing in the weapons used to lethal effect on those children?  Or, that the college savings plan might be tragically unnecessary should a child be killed by one of the products manufactured by the gun industry, supported by mutual fund investment companies?

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Filed under Gun Issues, Politics

Caveat Emptor

Once upon a time there was a POTUS* who said he was bound and determined to enact tax breaks for the middle class,  the result was a tax bill in which 80% of the breaks went to corporations and income earners in the top 1%.  Then he said he wanted a solution to the DACA problem, a problem he created, he wanted a bill with “heart.” He said he’d sign a bipartisan bill, but when the bill arrived he pulled a “Lucy with the football” moment and the notion that he would take the heat evaporated.

He said he would never cut Social Security and Medicare, but then supported a tax scheme and budget which both require cuts in order to mitigate the horrific debts incurred by those proposals.

So now he wants to “do something” to make schools safer. However, what he wants are hardened targets and more guns in schools, the same old stale NRA litany.

There’s an interesting point coming from the assault weapon apologists. They can’t really rely on the constitutionality of AR 15, Justice Scalia was clear on that in the Heller decision. So now the NRA has moved to the “defend the 2nd Amendment” in general.  From whom or what?

Today it was from those evil Socialists. The rhetoric was redolent of those good old days when the Red Ruskies were the Cold War bete noir.    From the incompetence of the FBI. That would be the same FBI the counter terrorism section of which told the POTUS* the real Russians had interfered in the 2016 election.  From the incompetence of the local police, whether or not the local law enforcement agencies had statutory authorization to detain persons under the pertinent conditions.  From the mental health authorities, under staffed and underfunded as they are. Mental health is always a reliable pivot from the question of how the 3% of those mentally ill individuals who are inclined to violence are able to easily obtain weapons of war.

What the NRA and the putative POTUS* seem not to pronounce no matter how long their speeches is the word g-u-n, Gun. Guns. Gun. From the old Scandinavian word gunnhildr, becoming the Middle English word gunne.  Seriously ill people can acquire guns, one did at Virginia Tech,.  The disengaged can get them, witness Columbine. The white supremacist can get them, witness Charleston.  From Sandy Hook elementary to Aurora, to Pulse, to the Las Vegas concert, to the latest atrocity in Parkland it’s the gun that does the damage.

While the NRA plays it’s culture war games, the young people of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have a message, reminiscent of Elie Weisel’s call “Never Again.”

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Rule: It is never productive to argue with idiots.

When teenagers — a subset of American humanity often associated with pleas for automobiles, electronic toys, and strange clothing — are making 100% more sense than adults in the wake of the tragedy in Parkland, FL, then it’s time to remind myself that it is never productive to argue with morons — especially adult morons.

There is no reasoning with adults who say things like: “Gun controllers have the wrong end of the stick…you can murder people with a pencil.”  Granted. Now, when it becomes technically possible to murder 58 people at a music concert, or 17 students and teachers in a school, in the space of a few minutes, with a pencil you can bet your next paycheck I’ll post an impassioned plea for pencil control.  There’s no reasoning with whack jobs who express this kind of idiocy.

I apologize to morons and idiots everywhere because there has to be a lower level of intelligence to explain someone saying, “I have a Constitutional Right to my firearms.” Yes, but there are no unlimited rights.  That is what grownups would call “license.”  Question: Would you, oh absolutist advocate for the 2nd Amendment, like for me to post flyers around your neighborhood falsely accusing you of child molestation? Because it’s my 1st Amendment right to “express myself?”  Would you have a problem if I captured your spouse, hauled the victim to the top of a pyramid and performed a human sacrifice in the name of Freedom of Religion?  For heaven’s sake why do we even listen to these people?

Forgive me if I smirk when someone argues that the 2nd Amendment underpins all the others.  Smirking is what I might do instead of outright breaking into uncontrollable giggles at your fundamental misinterpretation of some relatively simple language.  What prevents governments by grown ups from engaging in nefarious practices isn’t the 2nd Amendment, it’s the 1st.  It’s the freedom of speech which gives voice to opposition views; it’s the freedom of the press which amplifies those ideas.  No one needed a gun to find out that 13 Russians and 3 Russian corporations interfered in the US election season in 2016.  We have a perfectly good squad of investigators and an equally competent group of journalists to tell us what’s going on. No rifles required. ;

If you feel you need an AR-15 to guard your property you must have a heck of a lot more property than Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, and the Sultan of Brunei combined.  Many families make do with a dog. ($32 to bail one out of the county pound) Other families purchase home security systems.  More expensive than a dog, but also perfectly serviceable.  If you must have a gun — why not a good old fashioned 10 or 12 gauge shotgun? They are just as effective and don’t usually require you replace a wall in your home after use.  Only a resolute fool would replace a dog, a home security system, or a shot gun with a semi-automatic weapon of war.

So, I’m just going to leave this here.  I’ll talk with people who ask questions like: How can we best mitigate the lethality of shooting in public spaces?  I’ll listen to people who ask how we can preserve responsible hunting practices and activities while regulating the proliferation of weapons of war.  I’m happy to discuss common sense gun regulation with those who enjoy target and trap shooting, and who also want their children to be safe at school, at a music concert, or in a church.  However, I will not waste my time — and I certainly will NOT waste my vote — on fools who make idiots and morons sound like Einstein.

Finis.

 

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Filed under Gun Issues, Politics

Enough Again and Again

I’ve heard all the excuses, repeated endlessly, by people doing the bidding of the Merchants of Death.

We can’t have universal background checks because that would be a violation of our liberty.

17 more people are dead in Parkland, Florida because someone used an assault style rifle.

We can’t enact a ban on bump stocks and other modifying elements to make rifles more lethal because we can’t exactly specify what modification meet the technical definitions (written by industry lobbyists and captured agencies.)

17 more people are dead in Parkland, Florida because someone used an assault style rifle.

We can’t prevent individuals on the terrorist watch list from obtaining firearms because the list isn’t perfect and some person might not be able to purchase a gun immediately.

17 more people are dead in Parkland, Florida because someone used an assault style rifle.

We can’t ban assault style rifles because they are a very popular gun, and banning them will only make them more desirable.

17 more people are dead in Parkland, Florida because someone used an assault style rifle.

We can’t enact more stringent laws about preventing those convicted of domestic violence from procuring firearms because that would endanger our liberties.

17 more people are dead in Parkland, Florida because someone used an assault style rifle.

We can’t enact gun regulations to meet the current epidemic of gun violence because no law will prevent all the kinds of violent incidents.

17 more people are dead in Parkland, Florida because someone used an assault style rifle.

We can’t prevent gun violence because the main cause is mental illness, and we should address that issue. (Albeit without funding, without CDC research, and without noticing that other countries have disaffected people with emotional and psychological issues and they don’t have the miserable statistics we do.)

17 more people are dead in Parkland, Florida because someone used an assault style rifle.

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Filed under Gun Issues, Politics

A Simple Message

I put this on Twitter yesterday, but just for reference I’ll repeat it here in a slightly longer form:

Dear Candidate,

I intend to vote in the 2018 elections.  Please know that if you accept money from the NRA, the Shooting Sports Foundation, Safari Club, Gun Owners of America, etc. I will vote for your opponent, even if you are running against a Muppet.

Me

 

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