Category Archives: Guns & More Guns

David Corn on the Origins of the Trump Disorder

NBC News, Sept. 18, 2022 – The GOP’s American psychosis didn’t start with Trump. It won’t end with him, either.

A line runs from the 1964 Republican National Convention to Trump’s Jan. 6 riot. It has zigged and zagged over the years. But there is a path.

By David Corn, Washington, D.C., bureau chief for Mother Jones
This piece has been adapted from “American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy,” by David Corn:

Nelson Rockefeller stared into a sea of hate.

Standing at the podium of the Republican National Convention of 1964, the 56-year-old patrician politician who symbolized dynastic American power and wealth was enveloped by waves of anger emanating from the party faithful. Delegates and activists assembled in the Cow Palace on the outskirts of San Francisco hurled boos and catcalls at the New York governor.

David Corn

He was the enemy. His crime: representing the liberal Republican establishment that, to the horror of many in the audience, had committed two unpardonable sins. First, in the aftermath of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, these turncoat, weak-kneed Republicans had dared to acknowledge the need for big government programs to address the problems and challenges of an industrialized and urbanized United States. Second, they had accepted the reality that the Cold War of the new nuclear age demanded a nuanced national security policy predicated on a carefully measured combination of confrontation and negotiation.

Rockefeller’s crime: representing the liberal Republican establishment that, to the horror of many in the audience, had committed two unpardonable sins.

Worse, Rockefeller had tried to thwart the hero of the moment: Barry Goldwater, the archconservative senator from Arizona, the libertarian decrier of government, the tough-talking scolder of America’s moral rot, and the hawkish proponent of military might who had advocated the limited use of nuclear arms. Continue reading David Corn on the Origins of the Trump Disorder

California Billboards Stoke CA-Texas Rivalry

SFGATE: California billboards seen in LA and SF warn against moving to Texas by invoking mass shooting

Andrew Chamings — Aug. 24, 2022
A billboard located at the intersection of Folsom and 7th St. in San Francisco appears to warn Bay Area residents from moving to Texas, in light of the Uvalde shooting.

A mysterious and controversial billboard warning people against moving from California to Texas looms over passersby in LA and San Francisco this week.

“The Texas miracle died in Uvalde. Don’t move to Texas,” the billboard reads, alongside the sinister image of a hooded figure and a crossed-out “Don’t mess with Texas” slogan. The San Francisco billboard, leased to advertisers by FoxPoint Media, is currently up near the corner of Folsom and 7th Street.

“The Texas miracle” references a term championed by then-Governor Rick Perry in 2011 to highlight the Lone Star State’s resilient economy that managed to escape the Great Recession relatively unscathed. “Don’t mess with Texas” has long become the definitive call of swagger and pride from the state, though it started as an anti-littering campaign in the 1980s.

Images of the billboards have been posted across LA, San Francisco and Texas subreddits over the last week, causing some anger and debate.

The biggest question? Who is behind the ad, and what is their intent. The billboards show no party affiliation or sponsor. One theory states that the ad may have come from right-leaning Texans eager to keep liberal Californians away from their voting booths. Others thought that the message may have come from Californians in an attempt to slow an “exodus” to Texas.

Census data shows that over recent years there has indeed been an increase in residents leaving California for Texas. In 2018 and 2019, the net migration was between 45,000 and 50,000 people per year, roughly double that of previous years. Several large tech companies also relocated their headquarters to Texas in recent years, including Tesla, Oracle and HP Enterprise.

Others redditors were angered by the tastelessness of using a tragedy which took 22 lives, including 19 children, to message an interstate rivalry. One user described it as “the most disgusting use of political propaganda” on the Los Angeles subreddit. Another called it “pretty f—king evil.”

The rivalry and culture wars between the two states has rarely been so fierce, with California Governor Gavin Newsom and Texas Governor Greg Abbott battling in the media over guns and abortion, among other issues.

SFGATE reached out to FoxPoint Media to gain information on who bought the ad, and what content restrictions they may have, but did not hear back at time of publication.

Quote of The Day: A teacher Who Dreads Carrying A Gun to Class

By 

Ms. Fennelly, the former poet laureate of Mississippi, teaches at the University of Mississippi:

Last year, one of my students turned 21, and her friends tied two giant Mylar balloons, a “2” and a “1,” to her chair to celebrate. Later, deep in our discussion of John Donne, we heard what sounded like a gun shot. Everyone jumped. A few screamed. One student — I can see him still — hit the floor.

When we realized, all of us, that our active shooter was none other than an exploding Mylar “2,” there was a painful pause. Then we laughed a shaky laugh, and I slowly resumed the discussion.

I wish I hadn’t. I wish I’d given them the rest of class to share how difficult it is to learn when one is always listening for a bullet.

From “I Love My Students, but I Won’t Use a Gun to Protect Them,” New York Times

AR-15s In All Schools? A Carolina County Says Yes

AR-15s put in all Madison County NC  schools to enhance security in case of active shooter
Johnny Casey — Asheville Citizen Times — August 5, 2022

MARSHALL, North Carolina – In response to the Texas school shooting that left 19 children dead May 24, the (Madison County] school system and Sheriff’s Office are rolling out some beefed up security measures in 2022-23, including putting AR-15 rifles in every school.

Madison County Schools and Madison County Sheriff’s Office are collaborating to enhance security in the schools for the upcoming school year after the Uvalde, Texas, tragedy revealed systemic failures and poor decision-making, with responding police disregarding active-shooter trainings, according to a report from the Texas state house.

“Those officers were in that building for so long, and that suspect was able to infiltrate that building and injure and kill so many kids,” Madison County] Sheriff Buddy Harwood said. “I just want to make sure my deputies are prepared in the event that happens.”
[Wikipedia: “Madison County is located deep in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, and much of the county’s terrain is rugged, heavily forested, and sparsely populated. The county’s northern border is with the State of Tennessee.” The county’s 2021 estimated population was 21000+, 90% white, less than 1% Black, 3-5% Hispanic.]

Continue reading AR-15s In All Schools? A Carolina County Says Yes

Quotes for Tuesday: supreme hypocrisy, hanging on too long, Gas & (as usual) Guns . . .

New York Times: In its joint dissent [from the supreme court decision to overthrow Roe] in Dobbs, the court’s three-member liberal wing wrote, “Either the mass of the majority’s opinion is hypocrisy, or additional constitutional rights are under threat. It is one or the other.”
Actually, it’s worse than that. It’s both.

— Harry Litman, Harry Litman, UCLA law professor, former U.S. attorney and deputy assistant attorney general

Michelle Goldberg: As a recent New York Times/Siena College poll found, 64 percent of Democrats want a different presidential nominee in 2024. Those Democrats cite Biden’s age more than any other factor, though job performance is close behind. Their concern isn’t surprising. . . .
There’s a problem here that goes beyond a shortage of presidential speeches and media appearances, or even Biden himself. We are ruled by a gerontocracy. Biden is 79. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is 82. The House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, is 83. The Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, is 71. Often, it’s not clear if they grasp how broken this country is.

They built their careers in institutions that worked, more or less, and they seem to expect them to start working again. They give every impression of seeing this moment, when the gears of government have seized and one party openly schemes against democracy, as an interregnum rather than a tipping point. . . .

If there’s one consolation in Biden’s age, it’s that he can step aside without conceding failure. There’s no shame in not running for president in your 80s. He emerged from semiretirement to save the country from a second Trump term, and for that we all owe him a great debt. But now we need someone who can stand up to the still-roiling forces of Trumpism.

There are plenty of possibilities: . . . Biden said, during the 2020 campaign, that he wanted to be a “bridge” to a new generation of Democrats. Soon it will be time to cross it.
—- Michelle Goldberg, New York Times

Bloomberg: A year into Russia manipulating European gas supplies, the market is finally convinced that Moscow will continue to do so, and perhaps with greater intensity.

The first test comes in the next two weeks. The Nord Stream 1 pipeline, the most important gas link between Russia and the European Union, undergoes annual maintenance from July 11 to July 21. Berlin fears that Moscow will find an excuse to keep it closed for good, cutting gas supplies to Germany completely. After all that Moscow has done, the German government is right to be concerned.

Yet, Russia may want to keep some gas flowing to preserve its long-term leverage. From a game-theory point of view, that makes sense. Once Russia stops shipments completely, it can no longer apply pressure. Tactically, Moscow is likely to keep some gas moving, retaining the option of cutting or slowing flows whenever it chooses.

The Guardian: The US president was delivering a speech on the South Lawn on Monday when he was interrupted by Manuel Oliver, whose 17-year-old son, Joaquin, was among 14 students and three staff members killed at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in 2018.

“We have to do more than that!” Oliver shouted, among other remarks, while standing up and wearing dark sunglasses, grey beard and purple jacket.

At first Biden told him, “Sit down, you’ll hear what I have to say,” but then the president relented and said, “Let him talk, let him talk, OK?”

By then, however, security had already stepped in to take Oliver away.

Earlier on Monday, Oliver had made clear that he objected to the event being billed as a celebration in the aftermath of a mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on 24 May.

He wrote on Twitter: “The word CELEBRATION has no space in a society that saw 19 kids massacred just a month ago.”

The confrontation underlined simmering frustration with Biden, accused of failing to meet the moment not only on guns but abortion, climate and other issues. . . .

The White House gave Biden an opportunity to respond to the critics by showcasing the first major federal gun safety bill in three decades, which he signed into law last month. He was joined in bright summer sunshine by survivors and family members of those slain during mass shootings at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Tucson, Sandy Hook, Parkland, Santa Fe, Uvalde, Buffalo, Highland Park and others. . . .

man in sunglasses points finger
Manuel Oliver interrupts Biden on the White House’s South Lawn. Photograph: Shawn Thew/UPI/Rex/Shutterstock

But the scale of the challenge was laid bare when, just 16 days after the law took effect, a gunman in Highland Park, Illinois, killed seven people and wounded more than 30 others at an Independence Day parade, fueling the discontent of Oliver and other activists who want to see Biden move faster and further.

Biden hailed the law as “real progress” and said “lives will be saved today and tomorrow because of this” but acknowledged that “more has to be done”. He said: “It matters, it matters, but it’s not enough and we all know that.”. . . .

“We are living in a country awash in weapons of war,” Biden said with palpable anger. “Guns are the number one killer of children in the United States, more than car accidents, more than cancer.”

He earned applause as he insisted that the second amendment to the federal constitution, which protects the right to bear arms, should not supersede others.

Among the hundreds of guests on the south lawn were a bipartisan group of senators who crafted and supported the legislation, as well as local-level officials including the Illinois governor, JB Pritzker, and Highland Park mayor, Nancy Rotering.

But the director of the campaign group Guns Down America, Igor Volsky, wasn’t wholly impressed by the White House’s framing of the gathering.

Volsky told the Associated Press news agency: “There’s simply not much to celebrate here. It’s historic, but it’s also the very bare minimum of what Congress should do.

“And as we were reminded by the shooting on July fourth, and there’s so many other gun deaths that have occurred since then. The crisis of gun violence is just far more urgent.”

“Christian” Nationalists Planning Next Anti-Abortion Moves

NYTimes: Christian Nationalists Are Excited About What Comes Next

By Katherine Stewart — July 5, 2022

Ms. Stewart has reported on the religious right for more than a decade. She is the author of “The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism.”

The shape of the Christian nationalist movement in the post-Roe future is coming into view, and it should terrify anyone concerned for the future of constitutional democracy.

The Supreme Court’s decision to rescind the reproductive rights that American women have enjoyed over the past half-century will not lead America’s homegrown religious authoritarians to retire from the culture wars and enjoy a sweet moment of triumph.

On the contrary, movement leaders are already preparing for a new and more brutal phase of their assault on individual rights and democratic self-governance. Breaking American democracy isn’t an unintended side effect of Christian nationalism. It is the point of the project.

A good place to gauge the spirit and intentions of the movement that brought us the radical majority on the Supreme Court is the annual Road to Majority Policy Conference. At this year’s event, which took place last month in Nashville, three clear trends were in evidence. First, the rhetoric of violence among movement leaders appeared to have increased significantly from the already alarming levels I had observed in previous years.

Second, the theology of dominionism — that is, the belief that “right-thinking” Christians have a biblically derived mandate to take control of all aspects of government and society — is now explicitly embraced. And third, the movement’s key strategists were giddy about the legal arsenal that the Supreme Court had laid at their feet as they anticipated the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Continue reading “Christian” Nationalists Planning Next Anti-Abortion Moves

Another Holiday Story: Playing the Lottery

Playing the Lottery

Winter 1969, Boston. I was driving a cab at night, while attending Harvard Divinity School. I had run through some scholarship and loan money, and needed cash. But I also thought it would be a good experience for a wannabe writer.

When I turned my cab onto St. James Street downtown and saw the kid in front of the Greyhound Bus depot signaling for a taxi, I knew my time had come.

It was nighttime in Boston, the winter of 1969. Cold. Icy. I was a Harvard graduate student with a pregnant wife. We needed money, and the cab companies always needed drivers. The cabs were junk heaps, the pay was lousy, the darkened city was a jungle. But the jobs were there, and so was I. And so, at that moment, was the kid, turning up the collar of a thin jacket against the bitter wind.

It was only about two-thirds of a block from the corner to the bus station, but in the few seconds it took to drive that distance, I went through a whole internal dialogue, something like this:

Go ahead, pick him up.

I don’t want to. Continue reading Another Holiday Story: Playing the Lottery

They Proved Me Wrong

The one newspaper headline I wrote that I don’t have a copy of (but wish I did) hit the streets of Boston in midsummer of 1972, just after the Democratic National Convention. It read:

“Why McGovern Can’t Lose.”

[For those not of a certain age, Senator George McGovern had just been nominated for president. He would go on to lose 49 states in the 1972 election, winning only Massachusetts (and the District of Columbia).]

If I still had it, that headline would be in a frame, placed in a spot where I would see it often. But just the memory is still a useful reminder, of something I repeated here on June 12:

I don’t know the future.

Specifically, I didn‘t know if Congress would pass the proposed gun reform package.

But I was doubtful; very doubtful. To quote:

I’m also a Quaker, and we aren’t supposed to gamble. But if I was going to break that rule, I wouldn’t bet the ranch on any of that “outline/framework/unbaked loaf.”

For that matter, I wouldn’t even bet the ranch dressing.
Go ahead, Congress, prove me wrong.
“I’m keeping it.”

Today, June 24, Congress passed it. They proved me wrong.

It feels good to be wrong about that.

I still don’t think the package amounts to much. But luckily I didn’t bet, so I’m keeping the ranch dressing.

And I still wish I had a copy of that 1972 headline.

Gun Reform Bill Wobbles, Misses Deadline. Surprised?

AP News: GOP, Dem Senate bargainers divided over gun deal details

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic and Republican senators were at odds Thursday over how to keep firearms from dangerous people as bargainers struggled to finalize details of a gun violence compromise in time for their selfimposed deadline of holding votes in Congress next week.

Lawmakers said they remained divided over how to define abusive dating partners who would be legally barred from purchasing firearms. Disagreements were also unresolved over proposals to send money to states that have “red flag laws that let authorities temporarily confiscate guns from people deemed dangerous by courts, and to other states for their own violence prevention programs.

The electionyear talks have seemed headed toward agreement, with both parties fearing punishment by voters if Congress doesnt react to the carnage of last month’s mass shootings. A total of 31 people were slain at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. An outline of a deal has been endorsed by President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, RKy., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, DCalif.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a lead GOP bargainer, seemed visibly unhappy as he left Thursdays closeddoor session after nearly two hours, saying he was flying home.

“This is the hardest part because at some point, you just got to make a decision. And when people don’t want to make a decision, you can’t accomplish the result. And that’s kind of where we are right now, Cornyn said.

“Im not frustrated, Im done, he added, though he said he was open to continued discussions.

Lawmakers have said a deal must be completed and written into legislative language by weeks end if Congress is to vote by next week. It begins a July 4 recess after that. Leaders want votes by then because Washington has a long record of talking about reacting to mass shootings, only to see lawmakers and voters interest fade quickly over time.

[NOTE: The Washington Post said on Friday: “The lack of firm agreement could foil leaders’ hopes of holding a Senate vote on a bill next week, and raised the prospect that a framework agreement released Sunday might not be able to be translated into a bill.
Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.), the top Republican negotiator, told reporters that he was “frustrated” about the lack of progress and tempered expectations that a deal could come together.]

AP: Other bargainers seemed more optimistic, saying much of the overall package has been agreed to and aides were drafting bill language.

“A deal like this is difficult, Sen. Chris Murphy, DConn., said when the meeting ended. “It comes with a lot of emotions, it comes with political risk to both sides. But we’re close enough that we should be able to get there.

The measure would impose just smallscale curbs on firearms. It lacks proposals by Biden and Democrats to prohibit assaultstyle weapons and highcapacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in Buffalo and Uvalde, or to raise the legal age for purchasing assault rifles from 18 to 21.

Even so, it would be Congress’ most robust move against gun violence since 1993. A ban lawmakers enacted that year on assault weapons took effect in 1994 and expired after a decade. Scores of highprofile mass shootings since have yielded little from Washington but partisan deadlock, chiefly due to Republicans blocking virtually any new restrictions.

Federal law bars people convicted of domestic violence against a spouse from acquiring guns, but leaves a loophole for other romantic relationships. Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates firearms curbs, says 31 states bar convicted domestic abusers from buying firearms, including 19 that cover violent dating partners.

Senators have disagreed over how to define such relationships, with Republicans working against a broad provision. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, the other lead GOP negotiator, said bargainers would use some state statutes as their guide, though their laws vary.

“You need to make sure that you’re capturing everyone that actually beat up their girlfriends, said Murphy, a Democrat.

In addition, 19 states and the District of Columbia have “red flag” laws. Cornyn and the other lead bargainer, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, DAriz., represent states that do not, and it is unclear how money in the bill would be divided among them.

Senators have not said what the measures overall price tag will be, though people following the talks have said they expect it to range around $15 billion or $20 billion. Lawmakers are looking for budget cuts to pay for those costs.

Twenty senators, 10 from each party, agreed to the outlines of a compromise measure last weekend. Top bargainers have labored ever since to translate it into details.

The framework includes access to the juvenile records of gun buyers age 18 to 20. Both shooters in Buffalo and Uvalde were 18, and both used AR15 style automatic rifles, which can load highcapacity magazines.

The plan also includes added spending for mental health and school safety programs, tougher penalties for gun trafficking and requirements that slightly more gun dealers obtain federal firearms licenses