Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Last Call

As widely expected, Sen. Dianne Feinstein's assault weapons ban legislation is officially toast.  Majority leader Harry Reid is taking it out of the Dems' gun violence package and will be putting it forward as an amendment, where it will meet an ignominious demise.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said on Monday that a controversial assault weapons ban will not be part of a Democratic gun bill that was expected to reach the Senate floor next month.

After a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday, a frustrated Feinstein said she learned that the bill she sponsored — which bans 157 different models of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines — wouldn’t be part of a Democratic gun bill to be offered on the Senate floor. Instead, it can be offered as an amendment. But its exclusion from the package makes what was already an uphill battle an almost certain defeat.

The smarter folks long predicted this, as I pointed out in January.  But with the assault weapons ban gone, Dems can now get to the real meat of the bill:  firearms trafficking penalties and universal background checks.

There are two likely paths: Reid could advance a gun trafficking bill with a school safety provision; some form of background checks and the assault weapons ban would then be offered as amendments. In the other scenario, Reid might offer a background checks bill that includes the gun trafficking and school safety provisions, with assault weapons again offered as an amendment.

The Judiciary panel also approved a bipartisan gun trafficking bill backed by Leahy, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), among others, that dramatically boosts penalties for “straw purchases”of weapons, in which a person buys firearms on behalf of an individual barred by law from possessing them. Thanks to its support from Republicans, Reid and Leahy want to see this bill as a foundation for the Democratic gun package on the floor.

But Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) are continuing to seek conservative GOP partners for their universal background checks bill. The two Democrats negotiated with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on the issue for weeks, but in the end that deal fell apart. Schumer and Manchin are meeting with other Republicans to seek their backing, yet they have not been able to find a partner. Kirk, a moderate, is likely to be part of whatever legislation Schumer and Manchin introduce. 

All this vote wrangling is nice.  Nothing will pass the House.  It would cost Boehner his job as Speaker.  It probably won't get a vote, or worse, we'll have the House pass some crackpot NRA bill and then nothing happens.  Here's the sad part:  an assault weapons ban has no chance because our Congress is bought and paid for by the NRA, and there's not a gorram thing you can do about it. We had an assault weapons ban.  It died.

Just like the tens of thousands killed in firearms violence by these weapons.

We're still paying for 2010, folks.  It's a big, big bill.  But not as big as the butcher's bill for firearm violence in America.

Rand Paul's Path To Oblivion

And Rand Paul's reign as the "true conservative" GOP 2016 hopeful ends today, apparently.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is endorsing a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants.

In a speech to be delivered Tuesday morning to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the potential 2016 presidential candidate declares, “If you wish to live and work in America, then we will find a place for you.” A copy of the speech was obtained in advance by The Associated Press.

Paul’s path to citizenship would come with conditions that could make it long and difficult for illegal immigrants. Chief among these, Congress would have to agree first that progress was being made on border security.

Nonetheless, Paul’s endorsement of allowing illegal immigrants an eventual way to become citizens puts him in line with a growing number of Republicans who are embracing action on immigration as a way to broaden the GOP’s appeal to Latinos. On Monday, a Republican National Committee report called on the GOP to support comprehensive reform, though without specifying whether it should include a pathway to citizenship, which is decried by some conservatives as amnesty.

If you've been keeping track, that actually puts Jeb Bush on the far right, Paul in the middle, and Rubio on the left on this issue as the guy actually working with Democrats.  It will be interesting to see if the SHAMNESTY crew turns on Paul now....

...oh but wait.  The Rand Paul crew is now completely denying the report.

Rand Paul’s advisers claim the Associated Press report is false, and the senator does not back a path to citizenship. His office said in a statement, “He does not mention ‘path to citizenship’ in his speech at all.” An adviser told the Washington Post, “What his plan is extending to them is a quicker path to normalization, not citizenship, and being able to stay, work and pay taxes legally.” The headline has been updated.

So which is it?  Well, we're not sure.  Actually taking a position is deadly if you're a Republican.

Both Sides Are To Blame, Right?

So if you're still wondering after the Steubenville trial "Well why don't more teenage girls report rape and sexual assault" and take the cases all the way to court, it's because FOX News will "accidentally" out you for retribution.

During correspondent Mike Tobin’s report about the guilty verdicts in the Steubenville rape case on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, the girl’s first name was broadcast without being censored.

“We have not known, really, how the victim is doing, Mike,” host Martha MacCallum told Tobin. “Is there any information on that today?”

“Well, a relative tells me that she spends a lot of time in her room,” Tobin explained. “She has been back out playing sports, and through it all — you’ll be surprised to learn — she made the honor roll one more time.”

“A family representative says the remorse coming from the football players came too late,” the correspondent added. “We saw their reaction yesterday.”

At that point, the report cut to footage of one of the rapists, 17-year-old Trent Mays, apologizing to the victim in court on Sunday.

“I would truly like to apologize to [redacted], her family, my family and the community,” Mays said. “No picture [of the rape] should have been sent around, let alone even taken.”

Raw Story has redacted the victim’s first name from this report and the video below, but Fox News did not.

A Fox News editor’s note added to an Associated Press report published on Sunday insisted that the conservative network would not name the minors charged in the case.

“Editors’ Note: The Associated Press named the minors charged due to the fact they have been identified in other news coverage and their names were used in open court,” the note said. “FoxNews.com will not name the defendants.”

So hey, plausible deniability from the crew at FOX.  Because shaming the victim is really what it's all about.  "Oops, it would be awful if we accidentally let your name slip on national TV like that if you went to trial, dear."

Ahh, but FOX News isn't alone.  Not by far, you see, both CNN and MSNBC were guilty of the same awful act as well.

All three cable news networks aired a clip of one of the defendants, Trent Mays, apologizing to the victim in the courtroom. Mays had addressed the victim by name, which was not censored during CNN and MSNBC's broadcasts on Sunday and Fox News' broadcast on Monday. Local CBS affiliate WTRF also aired the clip without editing the victim's name out.  

Gosh, MSBNC AND CNN did it first.  Before FOX.

That's a hell of a message to send, yes?

Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said two 16 year old girls are facing charges after allegedly making threats against the rape victim in Steubenville.

Abdalla said one teen turned herself in and the other one was arrested.

They are being held in the Jefferson County Juvenile Detention Center and will appear before Judge  Samuel Kerr Tuesday.

Death threats.  From other girls.

This is where we are in America.  Feel the pride.


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