Friday, January 08, 2016

Here's A Bizarre Mix Of Hyper-Partisan Gun Nonsense From Alabama, Mississippi And The Part-Time Governor Of New Jersey


Outside of Mississippi, not many people know who GOP backbencher Steven Palazzo is. He beat the odious Blue Dog Gene Taylor in southeast Mississippi's deep red district (R+21) and then faded away, except for one ugly incident. His district-- which includes Biloxi, Pascagoula and Gulfport, his hometown-- was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Over 200 people died and dozens are still listed as missing. Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties looked like war zones and the economic consequences are still barely calculable, tens of billions of dollars just in Palazzo's district. And the federal government stepped up with billions in recovery aid. That's the way it should be. People in New York and California and Illinois pitched in through the federal government to help our brothers and sisters in Mississippi. A year after Palazzo took office Hurricane Sandy hit. It caused over $70 billion in damage and over 70 deaths. New York and New Jersey were hit particularly hard. Palazzo was one of the small handful of radical right hateful confederates to tell the northerns to go screw off. He voted against aid for Sandy victims.

Yesterday Palazzo was back in the news-- this time offering a resolution to censure president Obama for his executive order on guns. Palazzo, who has taken $12,051 from gun groups in his short time in Congress and boasts an "A" from the NRA. "His actions this week to take away the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens is just the latest, if not most egregious, violation of the separation of powers found in the United States Constitution." Perhaps Palazzo never read the Second Amendment but there's nothing President Obama ordered that has anything to do with the Second Amendment. Although Congress attempted to censure Nixon and Clinton, I'm pretty sure the only president ever censured was Andrew Jackson.

Above is a piece of an interview Chris Hayes did with a somewhat more extremist colleague of Palazzo's, Alabama's Mo Brooks who works very hard trying to sound like a moron but is no dummy. A crackpot? Yes, but he graduated from Duke in 3 years with a double major and later earned a law degree from the University of Alabama. Sure, Mo's a hate-filled racist throw-back and a Know Nothing xenophobe and he's always saying nutty things-- like Obama is waging a war on whites-- but he's always been an articulate defender of the Second Amendment. The NRA graded him a 93% and the more extremist Gun Owners of America gave him a 100% rating. Conversely, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence named him an NRA lap dog and gave him a ZERO rating. He speaks with some authority about Second Amendment issues. And, while Palazzo worked as a bookkeeper or accountant, Brooks is an actual attorney... with a degree from an accredited law school.

Assuming Hayes didn't get him high in the MSNBC green room before the interview, he made some news Wednesday night when he responded to Hayes' simple question about whether or not he'd favor allowing guns in his work place (which happens to be the U.S. House of Represenatives). Now, recall, that when former Congressman and Gambino crime family thug Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm-- now serving prison time-- proposed the congressmembers be allowed to pack heat on the House floor, John Boehner instructed his staff to make sure he was never left alone with Grimm again under any circumstances. Early in 2011, Grimm told a district newspaper that if congressmen "feel comfortable with that responsibility, then I support them. It could put you in a situation where you can protect yourself... If somebody pulls out a knife to attack you and you draw a gun, they’re likely going to drop it. But you have to be prepared to kill; it’s not for everyone."

It was definitely for him though. He loved playing Mr. Macho man and waving his gun around in crowded places screaming and threatening people. What a guy! What a Republicano! Mo Brooks, who has a concealed carry permit, has a different attitude though. Hayes asked him "Should citizens and Members of Congress be allowed to carry [guns] inside the U.S. Capitol?" Mo, said no. "I do not want citizens coming onto Capitol grounds inside the United States Capitol, into the gallery of the United States Capitol with guns, given the risks that are associated with that..." Watch for yourself up top.

Now Brooks isn't-- and likely never will-- run for president, at least not of this country. But, Chris Christie is. With a campaign weeks away from disintegrating-- the latest CBS poll of Iowa Republicans shows him tied for 9th place with 1% and that same CBS poll has him behind Trumpf (32%), Cruz (14%) and Rubio (13%) for 4th place in New Hampshire, the basket all his eggs are in. If he loses there in a month, it's back to New Jersey, where his approval rating is an astounding 31%. One of the reasons New Jersey independents and even some confused Democrats liked him is because he seemed independent enough to buck the GOP and back an assault weapons ban in 1995, going so far as to point out that the Republicans opposing the ban were "dangerous," "crazy" and "radical." He campaigned against a concealed carry law in 2009. Now that he's trying to win votes in a GOP national primary, he wants to be included in that list of the dangerous, crazy and radical. Christie was on Fox with Sean Hannity Wednesday to say he's changed his mind, claiming he was just a child-- a 460 pound, 32 year old child.

Obama didn't propose anything remotely confiscatory. The right-wing Chicago Tribune noted this week that Obama was unable to get Congress to pass background checks-- despite 91% approval from the public.
If you can't get Congress to change the laws, you can do nothing-- or you can look for how to apply those laws in ways that are more sensible but within the letter and spirit of their text. Obama has elected to do the latter.

...Federal law requires a dealer's license for anyone "who devotes time, attention and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms." The idea behind that language was to exempt individuals who make only occasional sales, as many ordinary gun owners do.

But some people use the exclusion to evade the clear intent of the law. A study by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that "high-volume sellers posted 29 percent of the gun ads listed by private sellers." On one popular online site, it found, 1 out of every 30 potential purchasers had criminal records.

...The change would fall short of the universal requirement Obama urged Congress to enact, but it would expand the number of sales triggering background checks, creating a new hurdle for felons seeking guns. It would also curb a clear abuse of the law by unscrupulous or careless sellers.

Republican presidential candidates accuse the president of overstepping his legal authority. "This is going to be another illegal executive action, which I'm sure will be rejected by the courts," said Chris Christie. Jeb Bush said Obama would be using "executive powers that he doesn't have."

But the charge doesn't stick. This step appears to be a reasonable adjustment of regulations in order to fulfill the purpose of an existing statute. In November, a group of 23 law professors signed a letter saying, "Executive action to ensure robust enforcement of the law-- including issuing clarifying guidance and directing comprehensive enforcement of federal gun laws-- is entirely compatible with the will of Congress and the president's constitutional authority."

It's not a cure-all-- just a rational attempt to make it harder for people who are barred from owning guns to buy guns. And it's long overdue.
But that isn't how hyper-partisan sociopaths like Steve Palazzo see it. He and his confederates just want to tear the nation apart and could care less how many families are devastated in the process. The NRA was too scared to go on prime time TV with the president for a discussion about his actions. Instead they're busy raising money by lying to the fools who take them seriously that Obama is grabbing their guns. Sick people, with a lot of blood on their hands-- and in Paul Ryan's case, a lot of blood money in his bank account. Ryan has taken more money from the NRA and other gun groups than anyone else currently in the House of Representatives.

You probably already read President Obama's OpEd in last night's NY Times. There was a paragraph that especially piqued my interest:

Even as I continue to take every action possible as president, I will also take every action I can as a citizen. I will not campaign for, vote for or support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common-sense gun reform. And if the 90 percent of Americans who do support common-sense gun reforms join me, we will elect the leadership we deserve.
President Obama has raised an awful lot of money for the DCCC, which continues spending it to recruit and elect NRA-loving candidates. Last cycle, for example, Minnesota Blue Dog Collin Peterson would have been a goner for sure had not his buddy Steve Israel wasted $4,000,000 in DCCC money to reelect someone who votes with the GOP on nearly everything-- this week Peterson was the only Democrat to vote to repeal Obamacare and to defund Planned Parenthood-- and is a 100% NRA fanatic and opposes exactly what President Obama is arguing for. Now that Israel is heading towards the trash heap of history, will the DCCC finally stop wasting money on Peterson and others like him, incumbents who play footsie with the NRA like Henry Cuellar, and recruits who still back the NRA or who have suddenly "converted" after years of NRA fealty, like Darren Soto in Florida, John Oceguera in Nevada and Ted "NRA A+" Strickland, who wants to retire as a U.S. Senator from Ohio. Strickland's opponent is Cincinnati City Councilman PG Sittenfeld, who has been hammering both Strickland and the incumbent Republican, Rob Portman, another NRA shill, about the same themes Obama is talking about. If President Obama wants to send a message he's serious about this stuff, he can drop a couple of grand into P.G.'s Blue America account. I'll let you know if he does.

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