The Watering Hole, Thursday, January 17th, 2013: The NRA

Today’s thread provides a look at some recent activity from the NRA’s website, along with some background and statistical information from the ATF’s website, plus a few other odds and ends.

From the NRA’s website:

January 16, 2013
NRA RESPONSE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA’S GUN CONTROL PROPOSALS
Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership. Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority.

The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America’s most valuable asset — our children.

Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.

["inevitability?]
- and -

January 10, 2013
STATEMENT FROM THE NRA
The National Rifle Association of America is made up of over 4 million moms and dads, daughters and sons, who are involved in the national conversation about how to prevent a tragedy like Newtown from ever happening again. We attended today’s White House meeting to discuss how to keep our children safe and were prepared to have a meaningful conversation about school safety, mental health issues, the marketing of violence to our kids and the collapse of federal prosecutions of violent criminals.

We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment. While claiming that no policy proposals would be “prejudged,” this Task Force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners — honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans. It is unfortunate that this Administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems. We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen. Instead, we will now take our commitment and meaningful contributions to members of congress of both parties who are interested in having an honest conversation about what works — and what does not.

Back in December, the NRA-ILA (Institute for Legislative Action) – self-described as “The Lobbying Arm of the NRA” – commented on Senator Diane Feinstein’s draft for proposed new gun legislation. And on January 4th, the NRA-ILA began to gin up fear over proposed House gun control bills.

From the ATF (which the NRA refers to as the BATFE, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), here’s a brief history of the National Firearms Act. The ATF website also includes information regarding Firearms Trace data (“state-by-state reports utilizing trace data which is intended to provide the public with insight into firearms recoveries”) as well as graphs and links for “Number of NFA Firearms Processed by Fiscal Year” Take a look at the jump in the numbers of “firearms processed” in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012, when the NRA, in the person of Wayne LaPierre, was strongly pushing the “Obama’s going to take your guns away” meme. The website also provides a list (including photos and descriptions) of firearms which are covered under the National Firearms Act and subsequent additional gun control legislation.

Let’s go back to the NRA again. Here’s a brief introductory excerpt from a fascinating Alternet article by Steven Rosenfeld entitled “The Surprising Unknown History of the NRA”:

“For nearly a century after, its founding in 1871, the National Rifle Association was among America’s foremost pro-gun control organizations. It was not until 1977 when the NRA that Americans know today emerged, after libertarians who equated owning a gun with the epitome of freedom and fomented widespread distrust against government—if not armed insurrection—emerged after staging a hostile leadership coup.

In the years since, an NRA that once encouraged better markmanship and reasonable gun control laws gave way to an advocacy organization and political force that saw more guns as the answer to society’s worst violence, whether arming commercial airline pilots after 9/11 or teachers after the Newtown, while opposing new restrictions on gun usage.

It is hard to believe that the NRA was committed to gun-control laws for most of the 20th century—helping to write most of the federal laws restricting gun use until the 1980s.”

The NRA claims to have over four million members, a number disputed in this article from motherjones.com. There have also been claims made by the NRA that, since the Newtown tragedy, the NRA is gaining 8000 new members a day, supposedly over 100,000 total. However, when I tried to find more information to back up these claims, all I found were links to Fox News, Breitbart, and to some site called “The Daily News Report” (no relation to the NY Daily News.) And since this Daily News Report article contains the sentence “Unlike many who are using the school shooting as a political club, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has been staying quiet out of respect for the Newtown victims“, I think we can safely dismiss this ‘report.’ BTW, tomorrow night, FoxNews will be presenting “Hannity Special: Inside the Gun Debate, featuring Wayne LaPierre.” I wonder if they’ll have any of the parents from Newtown on for this “fair and balanced” Hannity “Special.”

And lastly, also from motherjones.com, here’s Frank Smyth’s article “Unmasking the NRA’s Inner Circle”, as discussed last night on Lawrence O’Donnell’s Last Word.

This is our open thread…better put your reading glasses on!

The Republican 2-Step..

What the Republicans want you to believe, and what they don’t want you to know about the Bush ‘Tax Cuts’ for the rich that by law are set to expire this year..

Last night Lawrence O’Donnell sat in for Keith Olbermann on Countdown (MSNBC). This particular segment was on the Bush Tax Cuts that by law are set to expire the end of 2010. The out and out lying (and utter hypocrisy) of the GOP has hit a new level. Watching the clips with “Meet The Press” host David Gregory trying to get Mitch McConnell to answer the simple question of how the Republicans plan to pay for the Bush tax cuts if they would be extended was priceless. To give Gregory credit, he continued to push for an honest straightforward answer.

Mitch McConnell continued to dance the 2-step and lie his ass off. At one point McConnell, in response, used the words “What we’re talking about here is raising taxes in the middle of what most Americans think is a recession..“. (Funny choice of words don’t you think?..)

This was in response to the question David Gregory continued to press him with:

“The extension of the tax cuts would cost 3.2 TRILLION dollars. That is borrowed money that adds to the deficit. Do you have a plan to pay for that extension?”

McConnell’s response?:

“You’re talking about current tax policy. Why did it all of a sudden become something that need [garbled] quote “paid for”..?”

Following this clip, Lawrence O’Donnell says this:

Of course the tax hike already scheduled for next year was written into law ten years ago by Republicans when they deliberately limited the cuts to ten years, which they had to do, because Senate Rules required them to pay for them if they lasted MORE than ten years. And in fact, Senator McConnell has suggested how he WOULD pay for tax cuts for the rich.

He voted early this month for a bill that would “decrease spending as appropriate to offset such permanent [tax-cat] extension.”

How? By cutting from Finance Committee spending, which MEANS cutting Social Security and Medicare, the only things in Finance Committee jurisdiction that COULD be cut to pay for the tax cuts.

A tax cut that would make the rich richer, and could actually make it HARDER for small businesses to hire because increasing the deficit could, as it has in the past, raise interest rates making it tougher for small businesses to borrow.”

Watch these videos.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Aside from O’Donnell’s clear explanation of what is ‘real’ (and what isn’t) about the Bush Tax cuts, I believe there is even more to this. I believe the GOP will push the notion that if the Bush Tax Cuts are allowed to expire, they will call this a huge tax hike in a time of Recession, and then gleefully run in 2012 against those pesky “Tax and Spend Democrats”.. If Congress makes the tax cuts permanent, or tries to extend them somehow without paying for them (as Bush did..), then they will point the finger again and say how the Democrats created this huge deficit and put our economy at great risk for a major Depression by running up the deficit. Then, while licking their chops, they will try to insist that they must be paid for (even though McConnell tries to insist that they don’t have to be paid for because they are already tax law) by going after Medicare and Social Security. This country’s safety net. By going after the most vulnerable and in need in this country. That is what they have wanted all along.

The Democrats have got to get real AND aggressive about this. They have to get in front of cameras and talk about how Bush gave the tax cuts to the very rich AND didn’t pay for them—not 1 cent—and how he started two wars at the same time—on a credit card. The GOP credit card mentality, the same GOP who is wailing about fiscal responsibility now. Bush deregulated everything he could, including the banks. He unleashed this enormous environment of monumental greed and corruption that imploded our economy and threatened to destroy our country. All you have to do is look at the charts. Putting it in perspective, the line for this particular recession in comparison to past recessions, the lines goes straight down.

Once President Obama got to office he faced a nightmare of epic proportions. And now that he hasn’t been able to put Humpty Dumpty together again fast enough, it is now all HIS fault, HIS recession, at least according to the Republicans…

This seems a no-win situation. What I do know is that the Republicans are lying their asses off about these tax cuts, and that these cuts MUST be allowed to expire. It is time for this shift of wealth upward to stop. The free lunch for the richest 2 percent of this country is over.

Torture Apologist David Rivkin Gets Owned By Lawrence O’Donnell

Larry was fearless in this video.  He went after David Rivkin with a vengeance over his claim that the procedures that were used were not considered torture. My hero! He made Rivkin look like a sadist when he read from the memo the experiences one of the detainees suffered and he challenged Rivkin, “Have you ever lived like that and how many days have you spent like that?  Tell me.” Basically saying, how many days had Rivkin lived like an animal, been stripped, hosed down in the December air and couldn’t speak because he was suffering hypothermia. But, that isn’t torture under Rivkin’s definition.

Every time Rivkin tried to defend the methods used or say “that is not the point,” Larry thundered back at him stating, “Did you not hear that description of pain and suffering that was being described?”

Rivkin in this segment brought up the SERE program and that 40,000 Americans have gone through it. What he failed to mention is the fact that IT IS VOLUNTARY, no one is forced to go through the program. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you can quit at any time. A detainee can not say “well guys I’ve had enough today, time to go home.” BIG DIFFERENCE….You cannot compare the two situations and use that analogy as an argument. In the SERE program we never waterboarded one of our own men 183 times!!

I personally like Ed, but I think Larry O’Donnell is so much better.

Lawrence O’Donnell Smacks Down Liz Cheney

Liz Cheney was allowed to spew lies on MSNBC with Norah O’Donnell. That video is everywhere. What doesn’t show up here is right after that segment Lawrence O’Donnell was visibly angry that he wasn’t on to refute Ms. Cheney’s claims. He pointed out that just like her father, Dick Cheney, Liz would never appear in a segment where somebody could point out her lies.

Lawrence O’Donnell steeps tea baggers on Countdown

Lawrence O’Donnell talks with David Shuster on Countdown about the tea parties planned for April 15th, tax day (today).

The taxation rates that everyone is protesting today are those of the George Bush administration. So, does that mean that all these protesters across the country today will be raging against George Bush? Do they even KNOW what they are protesting?


Pat Buchanan Gets Schooled on Religion

Tonight on Hardball, Lawrence O’Donnell pwns Pat Buchanan over the debate about Obama speaking at Notre Dame.  First, O’Donnell corrects Buchanan on the Pope’s view on the death penalty, then he shows Buchanan’s hypocrisy on hs approval of Bush speaking at Notre Dame because of Bush’s views and use of the death penalty.

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O’Donnell to Buchanan: GOP Embraces Ignorance

From Race to the White House Nov. 7, 2008 while discussing Sarah Palin’s future, Lawrence O’Donnell slams Pat Buchanan for the GOP embracing ignorance and asks him if he believes in evolution and Buchanan’s retorts back that if O’Donnell believes he’s descended from a monkey he would understand it. When you’re losing an argument, resort to insulting the other guy. Class act there Pat.