Sunday, March 18, 2018

Republicans On The Wrong Side Of History... On The NRA And On Putin-Gate


Teachers with Guns by Nancy Ohanian

On the extreme right, the Freedom Caucus has decided they can replace Ryan with neo-fascist Mark Meadows (R-NC) as Speaker and they are doing everything they can to undermine Ryan and bolster Meadows. Mainstream conservatives have their own problems with the incompetent and ineffectual Ryan and are also eager for him to announce his retirement and move on. (Ryan is widely rumored to be waiting 'til after Easter to announce he isn't running, saving himself the career-tarnishing embarrassment of being beaten-- possibly heavily beaten-- by a construction worker in November.)

On Friday Elaina Plott, reporting for The Atlantic, noted that growing numbers of congressional Republicans are pressing for action on guns... pressing on Ryan. Needless to say, Meadows and the Freedom caucus aren't among them. And she noted that it's a month since the Parkland NRA/GOP massacre and a month since Señor Trumpanzee "told lawmakers he didn’t want to wait 'two weeks, three weeks, four weeks' to address gun violence in America, when 'people sort of forget and we go on.'...[S]students have helped keep the issue alive. And as Trump has backtracked on proposals he supported one month ago, including universal background checks and some kind of assault-weapons ban, reporters are continuing to ask questions."
As many Americans call for tighter gun laws after a mass shooting, Republicans are usually silent. According to the Republican lawmakers I spoke to for this story, there are several reasons why this is the case, from fears of primary challengers to the gun lobby. But, in the wake of the Parkland shooting, an increasing number of Republicans appear ready to abandon these concerns in favor of a more proactive response to gun violence. Now, they’re eager for their leadership to do the same, meaning an issue that has long united the party could suddenly expose even more rifts in an already fractured conference.

“There is a genuine lack of serious discussion on these issues,” Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who chairs the Second Amendment Caucus, told me. “Our leadership seems like the sheriff deputies at the Florida shooting: They don’t want to go in and take fire, and instead just hope the issue will burn itself out.”
Since 1990, the NRA and other so-called "gun rights" groups have given members of Congress and candidates for Congress $37,225,077 of which $32,287,496 went to Republicans and $4,257,394 went to Democrats, almost exclusively to Blue Dogs from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. (Note: the DCCC is still actively-- very actively-- recruiting NRA-backed candidates for Congress, examples this cycle being Anthony Brindisi in New York, Ann Kirkpatrick in Arizona, Elaine Luria in Virginia and, perhaps worst of all, Jeff Van Drew in New Jersey.) Below are the dozen worst House members in terms of how much blood money they've taken-- but not including the millions of dollars the NRA spends helping their favorite candidates with independent expenditures-- from the NRA and other gun groups (since 1990).

So far this cycle the dozen biggest bribe takers from the gun groups are listed here... but remember, the really big spending will come in the next seven and a half months, as we close in on the midterm elections, when the NRA will be fighting to defend their top congressional allies-- at least in part with illegal Russian money.

As the progressive winner of the TX-23 primary Rick Trevino is in the late May runoff to determine which Democrat will go up against Republican gun-extremist Will Hurd. This morning he told us that "Since I've been running for US Congress 3 of the top 10 worst mass shootings in US history have taken place. As long as we have NRA backed candidates like Will Hurd in the House and Senate, nothing will change. If the American people want gun reform they need to look at who takes money from the NRA and vote them out. Also, this is not just a GOP problem. In my home town of Laredo, Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX-28) has an A+ rating from the NRA. Any NRA backed candidate is garbage and needs to go and Democrats have to call out not just the GOP but NRA Dems within their ranks." That's why we love Rick-- outspoken and courageous. Please support his campaign here.

Brent Welder is running in an even redder district, and against an NRA favorite, Kevin Yoder in Kansas. "It is shameful," he told us, "that Rep. Kevin Yoder has decided that kowtowing to the corporate gun lobby and the NRA is more important than the lives of our children. We need leaders now more than ever on this issue and I will lead the efforts of reform and call out all gun lobby bootlickers like Rep. Kevin Yoder."

Levi Tillemann, the newest candidate Blue America is supporting, is running for the suburban Denver seat NRA ally Mike Coffman occupies. "It is becoming more and more evident," he told us, "that Republicans like Mike Coffman really have no empathy or real concern for the victims of gun violence.  The only thing that matters to GOP members is the continuing flow of green cash from the NRA spigot.  I call on Mike Coffman to return every penny he has accepted from the NRA and to stand up to the NRA and protect our children by passing safe gun laws."

On Friday, the editorial board of the Washington Post declared flatly that History Won't Be Kind, Republicans. The Republicans who care enough to have bothered to read it would have found out the board is furious at them for enabling Trump, Nunes and Putin. They blame the same guy who is getting all the pushback on a dysfunctional gun policy: Paul Ryan. "The nation's intelligence community," they wrote, "concluded long ago that the Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential election in an effort to hurt the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help the Republican nominee, Donald Trump. In the face of this unprecedented attack on U.S. democracy, House Republicans have produced a report that casts doubt on the work of U.S. intelligence professionals whose conclusions were politically damaging to the White House. This was a new low for the Republican majority and their leader, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WI)."
On Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee Republicans officially stopped pretending to investigate Russian election meddling, handing over a draft report to their Democratic colleagues. They did not deny what is plainly impossible to refute, that the Russians aggressively interfered in the race to sow discord and undermine U.S. political institutions. But they disputed the intelligence community’s finding that the Russians engaged in these activities to help Mr. Trump. In fact, House Republicans are trying to draw connections between the Kremlin’s influence campaign and Ms. Clinton, always a convenient GOP punching bag, deflecting awkward questions about Russia’s clear affinity for Mr. Trump in 2016.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (CA), the Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat, and former intelligence officials decried the attempt to cast doubt on Russian intentions. “The four intelligence chiefs all agreed with the assessment, which was based on highly classified intelligence,” former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. told CNN. “This is a case of people living in their own reality bubbles when we can’t agree on basic facts.” Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III recently indicted 13 Russians for, among other things, “supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump... and disparaging Hillary Clinton.” It is already on the record that the Russians selectively released damaging information on Democrats but not Republicans.

Perhaps sensing that their position was untenable, Republican Intelligence Committee members admitted to reporters later on Tuesday that the Russians had, indeed, attempted to harm Ms. Clinton, if not to help Mr. Trump, as though doing the former does not imply the latter.

If they’re unclear about Russian intentions, leaders won’t draw the right lessons, or even ask the right questions. Why did the Kremlin dislike Ms. Clinton and favor Mr. Trump? What kinds of candidates will the Russians attack, or help? How should voters assess the president’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin?

House Intelligence Committee Republicans also insisted that they found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, just evidence of “bad judgment” in a few circumstances. It’s easy not to find evidence when you don’t look. Many potentially relevant witnesses went un-interviewed, and witnesses who refused to answer questions were let off the hook. Fortunately, while House lawmakers have decided that their work is done, the Senate Intelligence Committee continues investigating, as does Mr. Mueller. History will not judge kindly these legislators who abased themselves and their institution.
Anyone think it's just a coincidence that Putin laundered many millions of dollars into the Trump campaign through the NRA? And Paul Ryan... and the Republican Party-- on the wrong side of history? Yes, on everything.

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At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wazzat mean, exactly.. "wrong side of history"? And who writes the history?

To paraphrase Nixon, "when the money does it, it's NEVER illegal!!!". (emphasis mine, but apropos)

That's been the norm in the united shitholes of America for just under 4 decades now. Nothing currently in the offing, including whateverthefuck DWT is advocating, threatens to change this even one atomic bit.

The exception is, occasionally, when the money does something that pisses off a political party (for instance, the cheney admin; obamanation admin; trump admin) because it's seen as NOT bipartisan.

There is never consideration for what us law actually says unless a political party sees an opportunity to buffalo their rube voters.

At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

We are so compromised.

What does "conservative Republicans" mean, anyway?

At 2:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the "democratic" Party had honest and capable leaders, I'd be encouraged by this post. But after last year's lying and cheating, why would I wan't GOP-lite when I can have the real thing? (SPOILER: I want other choices, not either of these sets of vile corruption.)


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