Friday, February 16, 2018

Last Call for How To Get Gun Safety Laws In America Overnight

Kari Holloway at Alternet gives us a very simple solution to motivate the GOP into passing background checks, closing gun show loopholes, and a host of other gun safety legislative steps virtually overnight.

Martin Luther King, who received endless death threats and was the target of a house bombing in 1956, applied for an open carry permit, but was denied by Montgomery, Alabama’s racist police force. When the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, in accordance with California law, began openly carrying weapons to patrol Oakland’s neighborhoods, the state legislature quickly crafted, and Gov. Ronald Reagan quickly signed, the 1967 Mulford Act ending public carry. On the heels of race riots, Congress Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, followed by the Gun Control Act of 1968, which Georgetown historian Adam Winkler notes included a provision to restrict “‘Saturday Night Specials’—the cheap, easily available guns often used by [black] youth.” The legislation was the first federal gun law in nearly three decades, and proved lawmakers would rather institute widespread gun control measures than potentially have a widely armed black populace. 
More recently, the understanding that the Second Amendment serves only to protect America’s white citizens was reified with the 2014 police murder of John Crawford III, who was holding an airgun in a Walmart located in Ohio, an open carry state. The same is true of Philando Castile, a licensed gun owner who had just informed cops he was carrying when Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez unloaded five fatal shots into his body. (The NRA was conspicuously mum on the issue.) The Christian Science Monitor cites research from Jennifer Carlson, author of “Citizen-Protectors: The Everyday Politics of Guns in an Age of Decline,” who noted discrepancies in the Michigan licensing practices that stood until 2015.

She found differences in how gun boards operated in Michigan's majority-black Wayne County and majority-white Oakland County. Black concealed-carry applicants in Wayne were routinely lectured and quizzed in public forums – what she calls “degradation ceremonies.” White gun owners in Oakland, meanwhile, were addressed without lectures in hearings where they could plead their case in a semi-private room. (Michigan has since done away with the gun boards.) 
White folks' deep-seated fears of black folks will always ensure pushback on arms in black hands. These attitudes, it will surprise zero black people, are yet more pronounced among white gun advocates. That is, the intensity of gun fervor in white Americans often correlates directly with racist attitudes, and by extension, fears and stereotypes about black criminality, thus creating a perceived need for more guns. Researchers note that “for each 1 point increase in symbolic racism there was a 50 percent increase in the odds of having a gun at home.” Similarly, Jason McDaniel and Sean McElwee analyzed data comparing white racial resentment and gun attitudes and emerged with the near-obvious conclusion, “Opposition to gun control—like opposition to immigration, Sharia law, and ‘political correctness’—has become linked to things that racially resentful whites fear." It seems pretty likely that, were the media face of gun ownership to become black, calls to institute legislative controls would suddenly fill the halls of Congress. 
By the most recent tally, just 19 percent of African-Americans have a gun in their household, compared with 41 percent of whites. But new fears about rising racist violence, an increase in the number of hate groups and the everyday transparent bigotry of the Trump administration are reportedly helping drive up the number of African-American gun buyers. The official numbers aren’t yet in, but if the needle on black gun ownership noticeably moves, it will be taken as cause for alarm and time to politically act. And once again, black folks will have saved America from itself.

Imagine this scenario, guys.

Imagine if there were a large open carry rally in a red state like Oklahoma or Texas or better yet, Alabama or Florida, with ten or fifteen thousand black folks with AR-15s.

Imagine the kind of coverage that would get on FOX News.  Imagine the coverage that just the promise of organized future rallies of that type would get.  Imagine organizers on TV calmly telling the press that black America was planning on fully engaging in "Second Amendment remedies" to solve the problems of black inequality in the same way white supremacist groups and sovereign citizens groups and militia groups advocate today for in 2018.

Imagine how Sean Hannity, Alex Jones, Tomi Lahren, Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh and Breitbart would cover something like that.

Now imagine what they would call for in response.  50 years ago we had the Mulford Act.  We'd have it again, only then some.

You would have the entire Sandy Hook package of legislation that Democrats wanted to pass years ago plus everything since get 400 House votes and 80 Senate votes and on Trump's desk within 90 days, and more like 30.

I guarantee you this.

If black citizens of this country ever started taking advantage of the Second Amendment that exists in the fantasies of the NRA lobby, you would have gun control laws, bans on certain weapon types, magazine bans, ammunition bans, smart locks, waiting periods, background checks, federal firearms databases, hell you'd even have the bans on the CDC researching firearms as a health hazard all lifted, and all of this legislation would happen within the space of months, if not weeks.

It would happen with a blinding swiftness, a near-epic celerity that would cement common sense laws for generations in America.


Then have these same black open carry rally leaders say "We respect these new laws, but plan to keep our existing firearms and ammunition for defense of our homes and neighborhoods."

And watch what happens with the idea that guns could never be confiscated in America.

You want to get the bulk of well over a hundred million plus firearms in this country off the streets within a year?

You do that.

Like lightning in a bottle, guys.

I know it's a fantasy, but it's a damn effective one.  And failing that, well, there's always voting out the NRA lobby in 2018 and 2020.

Let's aim for that too.

It's DEFINITELY Mueller Time, Con't

We got our Friday Mueller News Dump a bit early today, and boy it is ever a fantastic one.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential election, charging them with conspiracy to defraud the United States, the Department of Justice has announced. 
In addition, three defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft. 
Mueller has been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election as well as any connections between Russia and Trump campaign associates. 
Beginning as early as 2014, the Russian organization Internet Research Agency began operations to interfere with the US political system, including the 2016 elections, according to the indictment, which was released by Mueller's office Friday. 
The defendants allegedly posed as US persons, created false US personas, and operated social media pages and groups designed to attract US audiences, the indictment reads. 
The Internet Research Agency had a "strategic goal to sow discord in the US political system" including the election, according to the indictment. 
Russians posted "derogatory information about a number of candidates," and by mid-2016 they supported Trump and disparaged Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. They bought ads and communicated with "unwitting" people tied to Trump campaign and others to coordinate political activities.

And please note the indictment itself makes it very clear that this vast Russian information operation conspiracy supported Donald Trump in 2016.

This is massive, guys.  For months we've been told that there's "no evidence of Russian interference" and that this was all a hoax.  It's not.

After all, in order to establish that the Russians colluded to help Trump win, we have to establish the Russians were involved in election interference.   This 37-page indictment does just that.

Now things get very, very real.  Chuck Pierce sums it up:

Oh, they’re smart fellers, they are. The indictments were rolled out perfectly. It is now absolutely impossible for the president* to fire either Rosenstein or Mueller without the worst possible political consequences. By basing the indictments on federal election law, Mueller has framed the case so as also to include anyone who accepted this criminal help.

When the other shoe drops on this, as in we find out precisely "who accepted this criminal help" here, it's going to be roughly the size of a small moon (with roughly the same level of kinetic impact) when it lands squarely on Donald Trump's pea-brained head.

Stay tuned.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

Despite the insanity going on this week, the Mueller probe steadily continues on as major players are cutting deals to turn state's evidence against the Tangerine Tyrant.  First up, Paul Manafort's partner in crime, Rick Gates, is definitely looking for a plea bargain deal with Mueller's team.

Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is finalizing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller's office, indicating he's poised to cooperate in the investigation, according to sources familiar with the case. 
Gates has already spoken to Mueller's team about his case and has been in plea negotiations for about a month. He's had what criminal lawyers call a "Queen for a Day" interview, in which a defendant answers any questions from the prosecutors' team, including about his own case and other potential criminal activity he witnessed. 
Gates' cooperation could be another building block for Mueller in a possible case against President Donald Trump or key members of his team. 
Once a plea deal is in place, Gates would become the third known cooperator in Mueller's sprawling probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. It would also increase the pressure to cooperate on Gates' co-defendant Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, who has pleaded not guilty to Mueller's indictment and is preparing for a trial on alleged financial crimes unrelated to the campaign. Gates pleaded not guilty on October 30 alongside Manafort. 
"Nobody (who's charged) goes in to provide incriminating information to the government unless it's part of plea negotiations," said a criminal defense attorney who represents a witness in the case. In a Queen for a Day interview, a defendant can typically admit to crimes with little additional consequences, unless he or she lies. 

Sure, Gates could be lying, but I bet Mueller's team has enough corroborating evidence to know precisely what they are looking for, and what Gates can really offer them.  If Gates is flipping on Paul Manafort, who ran Trump's entire campaign and was neck deep in Russian collusion, then the goal is clearly to pressure Manafort into singing on The Donald.

Meanwhile, former Trump dirty deeds done dirt cheap man Steve Bannon continued to belt out his own hit parade to Mueller and his team this week.

Steve Bannon, who served as President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller over multiple days this week, NBC News has learned from two sources familiar with the proceedings.

Bannon spent a total of some 20 hours in conversations with the team led by Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia as well as other issues that have arisen around the probe.

Bannon left his job as a senior White House adviser in August and returned to a leadership role at Breitbart, the right-wing news site based out of Washington. But he fell out of favor with the site’s financial backers, the Mercer family, after criticizing the president and his family in "Fire and Fury,”a book about the Trump administration published earlier this year by author Michael Wolff.

You don't spend 20 hours meeting with someone to talk about nothing with federal prosecutors.  He's singing like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, guys. Oh, and we also know Bannon is finally talking to the House Intelligence Committee, too.

After a more than four-week stalemate, Bannon also returned to Capitol Hill Thursday to resume his interview with the House Intelligence Committee, which was halted when he earlier refused to answer key questions in the Russia probe.

He left today after four hours, answering little more than the two dozen questions that the White House had negotiated with the House’s lead counsel.

The committee had issued a subpoena in their initial Jan. 16 interview when Bannon would not address issues that arose during his time on the Trump transition team, in the White House and after he left his top position there. The subpoena deadline was postponed three times as House lawyers negotiated with the White House over what Bannon would be willing to discuss without the White House invoking executive privilege to bar the testimony.

Lawmakers indicated Thursday that his continued non-cooperation might require the committee to take the next step and consider beginning the process of holding Bannon in contempt of Congress.

Guess Bannon is playing ball now after being thrown under the bus twice by Trump, huh?

Events in the last few weeks have pushed the Mueller probe out of the spotlight in February, to the point where it's given Trump a little bit of breathing room in the polls (he's actually above 40% approval for once.)  But Mueller and his team are still very much on the case.

And Trump knows it.


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