Friday, December 04, 2015

Did The NRA Order Paul Ryan To Grow His New Beard?


Ryan's beard is different from Lindsey Graham's beard or Patrick McHenry's beard

The New Republic has commented on the fact Ryan hasn't shaved in a few days and has a scruffy look. They didn't mention that he has blood on his hands for facilitating the NRA's murderous agenda but wondered if "Ryan’s beard is a result of his relentless, sleep-in-the-office work ethic, or if it’s just an effort to reach out to younger voters with a newer, hipper image. If it’s the former, that’s bleak but respectable. If it’s the latter, perhaps Ryan should next consider adding some gingham and a man-bun to really reach the young set where they live." Meanwhile, as you probably know if you're a fashionista, GQ likes the beards-- but worries Ryan is just making "an obvious media play. It's the eye-roll-inducing style move equivalent to your father showing up to dinner on a skateboard. If two weeks from now Ryan's rocking a full frontier-level beard, then we'll talk." But let's talk about Ryan's devotion not just to last year's style but about his slavish devotion to the gun manufacturers' lobbyists.

The NRA hasn't allowed any legislation about guns to come to the floor of the House since February of 2011. They have enough power over the Republicans to bury in committee every attempt the Democrats make to pass gun legislation. Last June, when Nita Lowey offered an amendment to end the ban on just studying the relationship between mental health and gun violence, it failed 19-32. Remember, "it's a mental health issue" is the Republicans' default position on gun-related mass murder. (The most paid-off current member of the House by the NRA and other pro-gun organizations, Paul Ryan, was yammering away about it right after the slaughter in San Bernardino.) Anyway, as you can see from this document, every single Republican on the House Appropriations Committee plus the Blue Dog NRA-whore Henry Cuellar (TX) voted down Lowey's bill. The House Republicans have adamantly refused-- as recently as Tuesday, the day before the mass murder in San Bernardino-- to even allow a debate and vote on keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists!

Yesterday, though, Harry Reid forced a vote in the Senate unjust that-- an amendment by Dianne Feinstein "to increase public safety by permitting the Attorney General to deny the transfer of firearms or the issuance of firearms and explosives licenses to known or suspected dangerous terrorists." Who would vote against that? Well, it failed 45-54, every Republican but vulnerable Illinois Republican Mark Kirk, voted against it, crossing the aisle in the other direction from the one extreme right-wing Democrat, Heidi Heitkamp (ND), who voted with the NRA, the terrorists and the Republicans. Even NRA-friendly Joe Manchin (D-WV) voted for this amendment!

After the vote, Bernie Sanders (I-VT) put out a statement to his supporters:
Here is the very sad truth: it is very difficult for the American people to keep up with the mass shootings we seem to see every day in the news. Yesterday, San Bernardino. Last week, Colorado Springs. Last month, Colorado Springs again. Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, Isla Vista, Virginia Tech, Navy Yard, Roseburg, and far too many others.

The crisis of gun violence has reached epidemic levels in this country to the point that we are averaging more than one mass shooting per day. Now, I am going to tell you something that most candidates wouldn’t say: I am not sure there is a magical answer to how we end gun violence in America. But I do know that while thoughts and prayers are important, they are insufficient and it is long past time for action.

That’s why I want to talk to you today about a few concrete actions we should take as a country that will save lives.
1. We can expand background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. This is an idea that over 80% of Americans agree with, even a majority of gun owners.

2. & 3. We can renew the assault weapons ban and end the sale of high capacity magazines-- military-style tools created for the purpose of killing people as efficiently as possible.

4. Since 2004, over 2,000 people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list have legally purchased guns in the United States. Let’s close the “terror gap” and make sure known foreign and domestic terrorists are included on prohibited purchaser lists.

5. We can close loopholes in our laws that allow perpetrators of stalking and dating violence to buy guns. In the United States, the intended targets of a majority of our mass shootings are intimate partners or family members, and over 60% of victims are women and children. Indeed, a woman is five times more likely to die in a domestic violence incident when a gun is present.

6. We should close the loophole that allows prohibited purchasers to buy a gun without a completed background check after a three-day waiting period expires. Earlier this year, Dylann Roof shot and killed nine of our fellow Americans while they prayed in a historic church, simply because of the color of their skin. This act of terror was possible because of loopholes in our background check laws. Congress should act to ensure the standard for ALL gun purchases is a completed background check. No check-- no sale.

7. It’s time to pass federal gun trafficking laws. I support Kirsten Gillibrand’s Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking & Crime Prevention Act of 2015, which would “make gun trafficking a federal crime and provide tools to law enforcement to get illegal guns off the streets and away from criminal networks and street gangs.”

8. It’s time to strengthen penalties for straw purchasers who buy guns from licensed dealers on behalf of a prohibited purchaser.

9. We must authorize resources for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study and research the causes and effects of gun violence in the United States of America.

10. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 21,000 firearm suicides every year in the United States. It’s time we expand and improve our mental health capabilities in this country so that people who need care can get care when they need it, regardless of their level of income.
Earlier today, the U.S. Senate voted against non-binding legislation to expand background checks, close the “terror gap,” and improve our mental health systems. I voted for all three, although each of them came up short.

They failed for the same reason the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey legislation failed in 2013, just months after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School: because of the financial political power of a gun lobby that has bought candidates and elections for the better part of the last several decades.

In 2014 alone, the gun lobby spent over $30 million on political advertising and lobbying to influence legislators in Congress and state capitals across the country. And just last month, it was reported that the Koch brothers made a $5 million contribution to the NRA.

Americans of all political stripes agree. It's time to address the all too common scene of our neighbors being killed. It's time to pass a common sense package of gun safety legislation.

With your help, that's what we’ll do when I’m president.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

Are you in solidarity? You can help Bernie's grassroots campaign here. Any Bernie is hardly the only Blue America-endorsed candidate fed up with refusal of the Republicans and their conservaDem allies to deal with the orgy of gun mayhem in our country. I'd say Illinois state Senator Mike Noland, running for the seat west of Chicago that Tammy Duckworth is giving up, is speaking for all of our congressional candidates when he explained why Members of Congress saying they're praying for the victims just isn't enough. "I do offer my prayers and thoughts for the victims and their families," he told his supporters. "However, we must do more than pray and think, we as a society must come together to act. I am running for Congress because I have lead and I am ready to lead further on this issue. In our world it is all too common to turn on the news to see coverage of another mass shooting while hearing about another tragic gun related homicide of a teenager in Chicago, or the accidental death of a toddler who discovered her parent's gun. And this just breaks my heart. For the past 20 years I've been advocating for common sense gun safety reforms, there is no excuse for Congress to continue to be afraid to stand up to the NRA. When I go to Congress I pledge to: 
Support stricter laws to address gun trafficking. One of the major issues we see with gun violence involves illegal guns that come from states with less stringent laws.
Fight for increased funding to help those affected by mental illnesses and to teach anger management in our schools. This funding will help ensure that those who need help can receive it and will help keep them and their loved ones safe.
Advocate for a national background check program which will keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.
"I am tired of hearing about school lock downs, mass shootings, and children dying in the streets," he concluded. "Nothing will change until Congress has new leaders ready to fight the NRA."

UPDATE: NY Times Against Gun Massacres

For the first time since 1920, the NY Times has run an editorial on the front page: End The Gun Epidemic In America. You should read the whole thing. Here's my favorite part, though:
It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.

...[P]oliticians abet would-be killers by creating gun markets for them, and voters allow those politicians to keep their jobs. It is past time to stop talking about halting the spread of firearms, and instead to reduce their number drastically-- eliminating some large categories of weapons and ammunition.

It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.

Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens.

What better time than during a presidential election to show, at long last, that our nation has retained its sense of decency?

Labels: , , , , ,


At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

New York Times no longer has any credibility with the voters for siding all too often with Wall St abuses of the Middle Class. This editorial will thus have no beneficial effect, and will be used by the mentally-ill membership of the NRA as proof someone wants to take away their steel penises.


Post a Comment

<< Home