Mayors Against Illegal Guns today announced a new television ad holding Senator Jeff Flake accountable for not keeping his word to Arizonans Caren and Tom Teves, whose son Alex was killed in the Aurora theatre shooting while shielding his fiancée. The Teves, who voted for Senator Flake in 2012, sent a letter to their Senator asking him to vote for background check legislation and he responded that, "strengthening background checks is something we agree on." Just one month later, Senator Flake voted against bipartisan legislation proposed by NRA A-rated Senators Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin -- and supported by Senator John McCain -- that would have closed loopholes that make it easy for dangerous people to get guns.
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- 2nd amendment
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- Bureau of Alcohol
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- Caren and Tom Teves
- Cooper Union
- Governor Chris Christie
- Gun Control
- Heritage Foundation
- Lawrence O'Donnell
- Mayors Against Illegal Guns
- Michael Premo
- Mike Luckovich
- National Rifle Association
- Obama Administration
- Obama's daughters
- Occupy Colleges
- Occupy Radio
- Occupy Wall Street
- Occupy in the UK
- Open Thread
- Paul Krugman
- Sandy Hook Elementary School
- Second Amendment
- Senator Jeff Flake
- Supreme Court
- Tar Sands Week of Action
- The Heritage Foundation
- Tobacco and Firearms
- US Attorney General Eric Holder
- Unorganized Workers Assembly
- Wall Street
- Wayne LaPierre
- assault rifles
- assault weapons ban
- background checks
- charges dropped
- federal ban
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- federal license
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- fees hike
- gun industry
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- gun safety
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- gun violence
- mass murderers
- mass shooting
- medical debt
- press conference
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- special edition
- strike debt
- task force
- the last word
This is a fun, quick read from Paul Krugman: "Wheee! The Heritage Foundation is engaged in frantic damage control."
Don't forget it's Mother's Day tomorrow, and your morning open thread begins below.
Crazy Wayne LaPierre returned to the spotlight with a rabblerousing speech at the National Rifle Association's convention in Houston, Texas, on Saturday. “We will never surrender our guns, never,” LaPierre told a cheering audience. The NRA executive vice president argued that tragedies like Newtown and Aurora are being used "to blame us, to shame us, to compromise our freedom for their agenda." He also noted the recent defeat of a background check bill in the Senate, saying it would have done nothing to prevent mass shootings.
“Our feet are planted firmly in the foundation of freedom, unswayed by the winds of political and media insanity,” LaPierre said. “To the political and media elites who scorn us, we say let them be damned.”
Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, co-sponsored the background check bill. Toomey has said the bill failed to pass because members of the GOP did not want to hand the White House a policy victory.
LaPierre also referenced the Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent manhunt as an argument for putting guns in the hands of more Americans.
“How many Bostonians wished they had a gun two weeks ago?” LaPierre said. “Boston proves it. When brave law enforcement officers did their jobs in that city so courageously, good guys with guns stopped terrorists with guns.”
With the mass confusion in media coverage during the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, I shudder to think what would've happened if all of Boston had been running around with guns loaded and ready to blast. How many different people were identified as the Boston bomber(s) before that horrible night ended?
Let Wayne LaPierre be damned, and anyone else who puts anything before the importance of protecting our children; our true national treasure.
By Lois Beckett, ProPublica
In mid-April, Kansas passed a law asserting that federal gun regulations do not apply to guns made and owned in Kansas. Under the law, Kansans could manufacture and sell semi-automatic weapons in-state without a federal license or any federal oversight.
Kansas' "Second Amendment Protection Act" backs up its states' rights claims with a penalty aimed at federal agents: when dealing with "Made in Kansas" guns, any attempt to enforce federal law is now a felony. Bills similar to Kansas' law have been introduced in at least 37 other states. An even broader bill is on the desk of Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell. That bill would exempt any gun owned by an Alaskan from federal regulation. In Missouri, a bill declaring federal gun laws "null and void" passed by an overwhelming majority in the state house, and is headed for debate in the senate.
Mobilizing the pre-Civil-War doctrine of "nullification," these bills assert that Congress has overstepped its ability to regulate guns — and that states, not the Supreme Court, have the ultimate authority to decide whether a law is constitutional or not.
The head of the Kansas's State Rifle Association, an affiliate of the National Rifle Association, says she put the bill together and found it a sponsor. While the NRA regularly lauds passages of states' gun-rights laws, it stayed silent on Kansas' law, and, so far, has kept a low profile on nullification. (The group did not respond to our requests for comment.)
A few months ago, Occupy Wall Street offshoot Strike Debt made international headlines through its Rolling Jubilee initiative that raised more than $500,000 to purchase and abolish debt.
Strike Debt will soon be making a big announcement about a large amount of medical debt they have abolished, and is calling for a week of education and organizing culminating in a day of action in New York City on March 23.
The attention this buy will generate can be utilized to highlight the profound inhumanity and inequality of our medical payment system and create a vision of a world where healthcare is truly treated as a right.
Strike Debt is demanding the cancellation of all medical debts and a radically transformed healthcare system based on everybody's need for wellness and not the 1%'s desire for wealth.
Save the date, and stay tuned for updates about #M23.
-- from the 'Your Inbox: Occupied' team
Occupy in the News
Michael Premo, OWS activist, was found innocent of all charges stemming from the Duarte Square protest at which he was said to have resisted arrest. A Democracy Now cameraman caught the whole thing on tape and Premo was exonerated. As Premo's lawyer said: "the case highlight[s] the significance of having the press, livestreamers and professional video journalists present during demonstrations." So keep your cameras rolling!
For insight into Occupy in the U.K. and internationally read Tim Gee's post at the Guardian blog. This insightful post takes stock of the difficulties facing the movement as it goes up against the rapacity of global capitalism, gives credit to the development of Strike Debt, and offers some suggestions of tactics for moving forward.
Food for thought:
At occupywallstreet.net, Toby Cumberbatch of the Electrical Engineering Department at Cooper Union challenges the school to rethink its mission and to reclaim the ideals of its founder, Peter Cooper, with a series of radical proposals. This fight goes "beyond the boundaries of Astor Place and NYC." As he puts it, "the concept of education that is as free as air and water is critically important for the survival of humankind."
"OWS Radio," which has been airing weeknights at 6:30 PM EST on WBAI 99.5 FM New York since October 2011, is a show by and for the Occupy movement, covering Occupy news, Occupy theory, and Occupy tactics.
Regrettably, WBAI is facing a struggle for their survival in the wake of the impact from Superstorm Sandy, so please consider a donation to support this Pacifica station which was both the birthplace of "Democracy Now!" as well as one of the earliest major media outlets to give voice to Occupy Wall Street!
Occupy These Actions & Events
Sunday, March 10th, 2pm
Unorganized Workers Assembly
Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South
Join the Occupy Your Workplace group for a discussion of strategy and tactics of workplace organizing. We'll have several folks present who have experience as workplace "salts" - workers who get jobs with the aim of organizing. Workers who are curious about organizing, experienced organizers and activists, union members, and all other workers and non workers welcome. RSVP for the event on Facebook.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Defend Education Day
SDS/Occupy Colleges is hosting a National Day of Action against Tuition and Fee Hikes. Join to get updates on flyers, coordination calls and other distribution materials. Message Occupy Colleges and we will help promote your campus/ organizations demonstration.
Tuesday, March 19th, 5:30pm
Screening of "Earthlings" and Occupy for All Species: Social Justice in the Age of Climate Change (a talk by Mickey Z.)
Hunter College 695 Park Avenue
"Earthlings" is a movie that intends to free us from a dark cave, into seeing what is hidden from most of us...the shadows of happy circus elephants by whom we are "entertained"; the "fashionable" clothes we wear; the cosmetics we wear in search of "aesthetics", or the happy farm animals we see on children's books. Oscar Award winner Joaquin Phoenix narrates.
Come view "Earthlings" at Hunter College on March 13 and then follow-up with discussion there, less than a week later.
Tar Sands Week of Action
Our grassroots movement to stop the tar sands is growing! For TransCanada "business as usual" means death and destruction for our communities. Together we can stop this multinational corporate bully and their toxic profiteers. Sign up to host an action/event in your community as part of the Week of Action to Stop Tar Sands Profiteers, March 16-23. Show up at their offices, public events, and extraction sites to demonstrate that we won't stop until they do. Find a TransCanada or investor's office in your community: http://www.tarsandsblockade.org/local_action firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, March 18th, 12pm
Occupy the NRA's Hedge Fund Divestment Campaign Event
Owl Creek Asset Management 640 5th Ave #20
Occupy the NRA (ONRA) is launching a long term social action campaign to hold Wall Street firms accountable for their investments in gun manufacturers. We will push these firms to divest their stocks in these bloodsoaked companies, hitting them where it hurts most, namely, their bottom line. On March 18th, 2013, we will use direct actions in the Occupy tradition against Blackstone, Cerberus & Owl Creek Asset Management (OCAM). We chose these firms because they either own millions of dollars of holdings in gun manufacturers' stock or bought stock as a direct result of the Sandy Hook massacre.
Organizing New York March 22-24
United Federation of Teachers building, 52 Broadway
Join hundreds of leaders, organizers, techies and activists to share our wisdom, skills, and talents. We will have workshops, discussions, consulting and networking opportunities, visionary speakers and a provocative debate around strategy and practices.
Over three days right by Wall Street, we will bring together a thousand people to learn from each other, share stories and strategies and build our skills, organizations and movements.
This is an event that occupy organizers will be participating in to build and share their skills. It will assuredly build upon the success of last year's OWS unconference that was held in collaboration with Organizing 2.0.
This from MoveOn.org: Think you know who and what the NRA is? Watch this video and find out the truth about the gun industry money behind the NRA's fight against common sense gun safety legislation in the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown.
At a press conference on Thursday, Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey blasted the National Rifle Association for airing a commercial about President Barack Obama’s daughters.
“To talk about the president’s children or any public official’s children who have, not by their own choice, but by requirement, to have protection, and to use that somehow to try to make a political point I think is reprehensible,” he said.
The controversial ad said Obama was a “elitist hypocrite” because the Secret Service guards his daughters at school. The President recently said he was skeptical of the NRA’s proposal to stop mass shootings by placing armed guards in every school.
“You know, the President doesn’t have a choice and his children don’t have a choice of whether they’re going to be protected or not,” Christie said.
Christie said the public relations ploy made him "cringe" and that the association was demeaning itself and undermining its reputation.
Christie held the press conference to announce the creation of a task force to study ways to reduce gun violence in New Jersey. The task force, reports NJ.com, will in the next 60 days study and make recommendations in five key areas: gun control, drug and alcohol addiction, mental illness, violence in society and school safety and security.
The report was critical of Christie for side-stepping questions about his opinions on a federal assault weapons ban, which seemed petty when you consider that New Jersey -- which has the second-toughest laws in the nation -- has its own ban on assault weapons and ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.
Lawrence O'Donnell condemned NRA president Wayne LaPierre on Friday for his press conference about the Newtown massacre in a special edition of his MSNBC show, "The Last Word."
O'Donnell doesn't usually work on Fridays, but he made a special exception for LaPierre. The gun lobbyist called for armed police officers in every school. To say his comments were widely criticized would be an understatement.
O'Donnell called LaPierre a "lobbyist for mass murderers," and blasted him for trying to score cheap points with NRA members during his press conference by making a point to note that the media had gotten a fact wrong about the power of the gun shooter Adam Lanza used.
“Is there really something to quibble about in how powerful a bullet is when it is heading toward a six-year-old at the speed of 3200 feet per second," asks O'Donnell. "What kind of desperate, cornered rat would dare to mention that the Sandy Hook shooter could have used a more powerful bullet? Could have what? Done more damage? Made the bodies of six-year-olds even more difficult to identify?"
All of O'Donnell's comments were spot on, and I'm just going to give you the full text of the rest of his remarks, and I give him extra kudos for getting through his commentary without a single word that needed bleeped!
"So today, the NRA announced that it has a solution. Complete solution to gun violence in America, mass murders in America. Their solution is the national school shield program, a police officer with a gun in every school.
Now, he didn`t announce a national movie theater shield program with a police officer in every movie theater in America. Wayne LaPierre has in fact never spoken one word about 6-year-old Veronica Moser Sullivan, who was murdered in that movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, along with 11 other people, and 58 wounded, 58.
All of that, death and savagery was delivered from an ammunition delivery system so big it isn`t called a magazine. It`s called a drum. It holds 100 rounds.
Wayne LaPierre is the lobbyist who made it possible for the mass murderer in the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater to be able to shoot and kill and wound so many people without reloading even once.
View more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.
Hundreds of demonstrators swarmed the Capitol Hill office of the National Rifle Association on Monday to denounce the powerful lobby and push for new gun controls in response to Friday’s killing of 27 people, including 20 elementary school children, in Newtown, Connecticut.
Chanting “Shame on the NRA,” the protesters marched from Spirit of Justice Park to the NRA offices on First Street near the Capitol. After observing a moment of silence, the protesters read off the names of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims. They then read model responses from an NRA questionnaire given to politicians in order to grade them on their adherence to the NRA’s policies.
"We're here today because the NRA has blood on its hands," said Josh Nelson, who helped organize the protest for CREDO Action, a liberal activist group.
“I'm protesting the NRA’s lobbying efforts to keep assault rifles in the hands of the American public and also for their campaigning against any common sense gun control measures,” said Jason Gooljar, of Arlington, Va.
He said he was among about 10 people who protested in front of the building after the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., over the summer.
“I'm glad more people have shown up,” he said. “Unfortunately it takes an incident like this to get more people mobilized.”
“The National Rifle Association is a powerful lobby that purports to represent gun owners,” Becky Bond, political director of CREDO, said in a written statement. “But in reality, it represents the deadly interests of arms dealers and gun manufacturers. It’s time for the NRA’s top lobbyists to stand down and stop trying to prevent Congress from enacting sensible gun control laws that could save lives.”
President Obama announced on Wednesday that Vice President Biden would be leading the push for stricter gun laws. In a speech at the White House that coincided with some of the funerals for the victims of the Newtown school shooting, President Obama insisted that these attacks are “violence that we cannot accept as routine.” Obama said he would “urge Congress” to take on gun-control legislation no later than January, especially a return to the assault-weapons ban, which expired in 2004.