Thursday, April 18, 2013

Nuggets-- Mostly Gun Control


Good news: Ken is out of the hospital and his operation was a complete success. Hopefully, he'll be back in this slot soon. Meanwhile: bit and pieces I missed the last couple of days

Arkansas ConservaDem Mike Ross Is Back

Corrupt Blue Dog Mike Ross is throwing his hat into the ring in Arkansas' gubernatorial race. The Republican in the race is right-wing fanatic Asa Hutchinson and the Democrat running is former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. Ross hopes to position himself in between, just like his entire sordid career in Congress was, where he had the distinction of voting more frequently with the GOP than with the Democrats-- and doing that more often than almost any other Democrat in history. Why doesn't he run as an independent?

Bipartisan Background Checks Defeated

Maybe if 92% of Americans supported the bill, instead of a mere 91%, it would have passed. But the NRA triumphed over the American people in the Senate yesterday. Democrats Mark Begich AK), Mark Pryor (AR), Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Max Baucus (MT) joined the NRA voters and abandoned their own constituents. Voters in Arkansas, Alaska and Montana will have a chance to react in 2014. The amendment, which needed 60 to get through the GOP filibuster, only wound up with 54 votes (55 if you include Reid). I might add, that in 2008 Blue America endorsed Mark Begich and helped him raise money. Blue America won't be endorsing him for reelection and will leave him to the corporations and right wing interest groups he's been sucking up to to help him raise money. We'll look closely at any Democrat who decides to primary him (and Pryor and Baucus). The Blue America-backed Senate candidates for 2014 all favor serious gun control.

And Speaking Of Obstructionist Filibusters...

This was 2009 gem dug up by Ed Kilgore a couple days ago: "My personal feeling is that supporting a filibuster against your own party and your own party’s president should be treated as a serious and rare measure on major issues of conscience where the sacrifice of some of the prerogatives of seniority are a small price to pay. So maybe that price really should be paid. But at a minimum, the practice of thinking of cloture votes as identical to substantive votes, and tolerating defections on the former as just the same as the latter, needs to come to an end. There is no sixty-Senate-vote requirement for the enactment of regular legislation in the Constitution or in the Senate rules. We don’t need lockstep Democratic unity on policy initiatives. We just need unity on the simple matter of allowing the Senate to vote." Will there be any consequences? From Senate Majority Leader Reid? From the DSCC? From Obama? No, no, no. But from voters? We'll see, won't we?

DCCC Perfidy... Again

Moments after the 4 Democrats voted with most of the Republicans to kill background checks, the DCCC tweeted "GOP just blocked background checks. Disgusting. We can't let this stand. Stand with us now." They are hoping to make money on the vote-- money they will use to help reelect devoted NRA allies and gun control opponents on their Front Line list, particularly Blue Dogs Jim Matheson and Mike McIntyre, each of whom is expecting $2 million from the DCCC this cycle. If you contribute a dollar to the DCCC most of it will be skimmed off the top for the corrupt hacks who run it the operation from year to year. Most of the rest will go to support Democrats who voted with the GOP on issues like gun control, women's Choice, marriage equality, war, and economic justice.

Last Words On Senate Gun Votes

Gabby Giffords wrote a powerful OpEd for the NY Times immediately after the vote yesterday. She started like this:
Senators say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets. The fear that those children who survived the massacre must feel every time they remember their teachers stacking them into closets and bathrooms, whispering that they loved them, so that love would be the last thing the students heard if the gunman found them.

On Wednesday, a minority of senators gave into fear and blocked common-sense legislation that would have made it harder for criminals and people with dangerous mental illnesses to get hold of deadly firearms-- a bill that could prevent future tragedies like those in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., Blacksburg, Va., and too many communities to count.

Some of the senators who voted against the background-check amendments have met with grieving parents whose children were murdered at Sandy Hook, in Newtown. Some of the senators who voted no have also looked into my eyes as I talked about my experience being shot in the head at point-blank range in suburban Tucson two years ago, and expressed sympathy for the 18 other people shot besides me, 6 of whom died. These senators have heard from their constituents-- who polls show overwhelmingly favored expanding background checks. And still these senators decided to do nothing. Shame on them.
And she ends ominously: "Mark my words: if we cannot make our communities safer with the Congress we have now, we will use every means available to make sure we have a different Congress, one that puts communities’ interests ahead of the gun lobby’s. To do nothing while others are in danger is not the American way."

The most serious bill was Dianne Feinstein's amendment to get military-style assault weapons off the streets. It failed 40-60; the GOP didn't even have to filibuster that one because the NRA controls enough Democrats so it had no chance. Every Republican except Mark Kirk (IL) opposed it; the Democrats who crossed the aisle into NRA-land on that one:
Max Baucus (MT)
Mark Begich (AK)
Michael Bennet (CO)
Joe Donnelly (IN)
Kay Hagan (NC)
Martin Heinrich (NM)
Heidi Heitkamp (ND)
Tim Johnson (SD)
Angus King (I-ME)
Mary Landrieu (LA)
Joe Manchin (WV)
Mark Pryor (AR)
John Tester (MT)
Mark Udall (CO)
Tom Udall (NM)
Mark Warner (VA)
Kind of takes your breath away, huh? The anti-democratic, anachronistic Senate should be abolished or turned into an advisory body like the House of Lords. Members should wear powdered wigs.

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