Class Warfare Blog

July 3, 2017

NRA Changing Spots?

Filed under: Culture,Morality — Steve Ruis @ 8:01 am
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In a recent and controversial ad, the National Rifle Association’s spokesman, Dana Loesch accuses “their” ex-president of endorsing “the resistance,” a movement of demonstrators who “smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports — bully and terrorize the law-abiding.”

I never thought the NRA would turn against the Bundys (Cliven, et. al.) like that. Is there no steadfastness in that organization?

September 19, 2016

NRA Identifies New Challenges

Wayne LaPierre, the spokesman for the National Rifle Association, in a blistering speech yesterday took on one of the most dangerous challenges to freedom in the USA. Mr. LaPierre noted that gun ownership had expanded substantially over the last twenty years and finally there is now in circulation more than one gun per adult in this country. “Make no mistake about it,” said LaPierre, “this is a major milestone on the path to freedom.

“But,” he continued, “Americans aren’t free yet, because it seems that 130,000,000 of the 265,000,000 million guns in the U.S. are in the hands of just 3% of the populace.

“We must be vigilant in our efforts to ensure freedom in America, he said, and we will overcome this new threat, the threat of gun hoarders.

“If these people weren’t so selfish and weren’t stockpiling so many of our guns, we would have that state in which each law-abiding American, and yes, each criminal would have their own gun and disputes would get settled right where they happen. We would need far fewer police, fewer judges, and prisons if this were to come about, so the NRA is putting up $2,000,00 to study the problem of gun hoarding in the hopes to find a solution and hopes that every red-blooded American will support that effort.”

July 11, 2016

The NRA Between a Rock and a Hard Place Shows Its True Spinelessness

Filed under: Morality — Steve Ruis @ 8:43 am
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Imagine a white man pulled over for a traffic violation who was in possession of a gun, legally. The officer, seeing the gun, instead of asking for license and registration shouts “Gun, gun!” and blazes away killing the driver. What would the NRA say?

Or imagine a white man pulled over for a traffic violation and the cop did ask for license and registration, but the driver—with his hands on the wheel—tells the cop that he has a permitted firearm before reaching for his wallet and the cop shouts “Gun, gun!” and blazes away killing the driver. What would the NRA say?

We now know what the NRA said in the cases in which legal possessors of firearms were killed because of that possession … in the cases in which the drivers were Black.

Nothing.

The letters N-R-A stand for No Reason at All.

The NRA is not about gun rights. It is about making money for the gun and ammo manufacturers and sucking up to the mostly conservative gun buyers in this country.

April 25, 2014

Amend the Second Amendment?

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has come up with a new book, containing six ideas of how to amend the U.S. Constitution. The one that drew my attention most was he wanted to change the Second Amendment (I guess you can you amend an amendment) to read thus (the new words in italics):

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the militia shall not be infringed.

And as the Justice points out, up until very recently the Second Amendment of the Constitution was interpreted by the Supreme Court as a collective right and not an individual right. When the Court changed its tune is when we got into our current “gun nuts in charge” phase.

I have no doubt that the learned Justice knows more about the law than do I but I find this puzzling. First it would throw gun control basically back onto the states or it would allow the federal government to regulate the heck out of the use of firearms by individuals.

Having the states more in charge of gun control would result in a huge variety of regulations from state to state. We have some of that now; for example, consider Georgia’s new law that makes it okay to take concealed guns into bars, and airports, and churches, and public buildings so you can defend yourself and your property. Step across the state line, though, and you may just get arrested for the same behavior. So, it might be better to have consistent laws by having the federal government create the laws, the federal government being an arm of the people of all of the states.

I see only one problem with Justice Stevens’ idea. He offers no definition of “militia.” As soon as this amendment were enacted, the number of militias would skyrocket as gun nuts from all over would be seeking immunity from federal gun control laws by joining one. I am sure that the NRA would become the sponsor of a militia in each of the fifty states in a hot minute.

I think the end result is better served through a political process. Currently the radical NRA policies carry political clout not because of the many rabid members of the NRA who vote, but because of the amount of money the NRA gathers from the shooting sports industry to shill (aka lobby) for them. In this manner, only the NRA has “dirty hands” and not the gun and ammunition manufacturers. Ex-NY Governor Bloomberg is forming an organization to counter the NRA’s political money. If enough people donate, Mr. Bloomberg is donating $50 million as seed money, it may offset much of the power the NRA currently wields.

In addition, if the radical conservative majority on the Supreme Court can be broken, we may get the court to reverse its radical shifts in judgments back to what they were before they went collectively insane (corporations are people, campaign finance limitations restrict free speech, the second amendment is an individual right, etc.)

So, politics may be a better way out than trying to amend the Constitution in a way that will be ineffectual and hence convince people that the status quo can’t be changed.

February 26, 2014

NRA: “Mission Accomplished!”

This is the title and first paragraph of a recent NRA press release:
U.S. Firearm Production Sets Record in 2012: AR-15 Production Up Over 100%
“The number of firearms manufactured in the U.S. for sale to American customers hit an all-time high in 2012, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (BATFE) new Firearms Manufacturers and Export Report. American firearm manufacturers produced roughly 8.3 million firearms for sale in the U.S., a new record, up 33 percent from the 6.2 million produced for American customers in 2011.”

Wikipedia says this about the AR-15:
“The AR-15 is a lightweight, 5.56 mm/.223-caliber, magazine-fed, air cooled rifle with a rotating-lock bolt, actuated by direct impingement gas operation or long/short stroke piston operation. It has been produced in many different versions, including numerous semi-automatic and selective fire variants. It is manufactured with extensive use of aluminum alloys and synthetic materials.
“The AR-15 was first built by ArmaLite as a small arms rifle for the United States armed forces. Because of financial problems, ArmaLite sold the AR-15 design to Colt. After modifications (most notably the relocation of the charging handle from under the carrying handle like the AR-10 to the rear of the receiver), the new redesigned rifle was subsequently adopted as the M16 rifle. Colt then started selling the semi-automatic version of the M16 rifle as the Colt AR-15 for civilian sales in 1963 and the term has been used to refer to semiautomatic-only versions of the rifle since then. Although the name “AR-15” remains a Colt registered trademark, variants of the firearm are independently made, modified and sold under various names by multiple manufacturers.”

The phrase “adopted as the M16 rifle” means adopted by the U.S. Military. In other words, this is not a hunting weapon or a self-defense weapon, this is a weapon designed to kill a great many people as fast as possible, a military weapon. The rate of fire of the fully-automatic AR-15 was 800 rounds/min. The rate of fire of the semi-automatic version, the only version legal in the U.S., is indeterminant because it depends on how fast you can pull the trigger. Some say it is as low as 12-15 rounds per minute and that if you go faster, the barrel will overheat and the gun will jam. This seems a preposterous claim for a weapon designed to shoot 800 rounds/min. Also, a technique called “bump firing,” was devised that, while inaccurate, allows the trigger to be pulled at a very fast rate.

To make matters worse, while the interior parts of the commercial AR-15 have been redesigned so that the fully automatic parts from a military AR-15 cannot be just dropped in, consider this comment from January 2013 (Source: This Simple, Legal Add-On Lets an AR-15 Rifle Fire 900 Rounds Per Minute, Slate.com, 1-7-13):
“. . . a company called Slide Fire Solutions introduced a replacement rifle stock called the SSAR-15 that, for $369, allows you to bump fire your AR-15-style rifle from your shoulder while still retaining accuracy and control. The stock, in the simplest terms, is the part of the rifle you hold and brace against your shoulder. According to the Slide Fire website, “unlike traditional bump firing, the Slidestock allows the shooter to properly hold the firearm and maintain complete control at all times. As a result of the forward movement required to discharge each round, the shooter naturally corrects their point-of-aim for each shot and prevents recoil from pushing the firearm’s muzzle upward in an unsafe direction.” Or, as the subhed more concisely puts it, the SSAR-15 lets a shooter “unleash 100 rounds, in 7 seconds.” A product review at a site called Guns America notes that the SSAR-15 “installs in one minute with no special skills.”

Ah, that’s more like it. The NRA is crowing about record sales of a rifle that for a fraction of its original purchase price can be converted in just a few minutes to a fully automatic weapon capable of killing hundreds of people in just seconds.

Why would anyone think this was a good idea?

Ah, according to the Christian Science Monitor, “The estimated economic impact of the US firearms industry in 2012 was $31.8 billion, according to data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. That’s up from $27.8 billion in 2009.” You can always determine the “whys” of American politics by following the money.

The NRA is a shill for the U.S. firearm manufacturers. When they make money, the NRA makes money. The next time you hear of a mass murder, remember it was not a crime of passion, but of greed.

Postscript Many people claim being able to fire automatic rifles is great fun. I agree. I have done so myself. This can be enjoyed by one and all at licensed establishments designed for such pleasures. There is no need for individuals to own such weapons.

February 19, 2014

“Legally” Killing Americans Willy-Nilly

We are told the President and his staff are debating killing another American citizen overseas using missile-equipped drones. To such has the “due process” promised by the Constitution been reduced. And this is only possible because the “War on Terror” has a defined battlefield of the entire effing planet. Back when wars had limited scope, someone plotting to do harm to the U.S. might be convicted of conspiracy, but they certainly would get a trial of some kind and all that that implies (counsel, rule of law, jury or judge). Only by taking action upon a battlefield could they be killed outright. Hell, this country broke with precedent and tradition to actually try all of the Nazi leaders after WWII in Nuremburg. So far we have fallen. And our President is a Constitutional Law professor, apparently not a very good one. Maybe the NRA has convinced the White House to take a shoot first and ask questions later approach. Think about it: Global Stand Your Ground (Oooh, they threaten us, kill, kill!)

If you are one of those who think all bad guys need to be punished, I suggest you could find targets for your drones much closer, say on Wall Street.

January 5, 2014

Gun Nuts and “Conservatives” United!

Filed under: History,Politics,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 11:43 am
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I have posted before that much of the current conservative ideology is driven by racism. The GOP’s support for the NRA has always been characterized as a political necessity for fear of the backlash of that organization but . . . check this out.

www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/07/24/the-history-of-the-nra-is-really-interesting/

It may well be that the movement conservatives with their neocon brothers and the NRA wing nuts are “fellow travelers.”

May 8, 2013

Irresponsible Right-Wing Media

A recent survey of Republicans showed that 44% of those surveyed believed that sometime soon it will be necessary for citizens to take up arms to oppose the tyranny of our government. Most of you just yawned and moved on to the next gob smacking tidbit thrown out of the 24-hour news mills, but let’s stop a second and look at this.

I have previously commented that even the thought of such an insurrection is ludicrous and was only barely possible 150 years ago. Think about it: on one side are armed citizens with small caliber rifles and pistols, scads of ammunition, and some vehicles and on the other side is the United States Government which has, well, everything else. Go ahead and take up arms, but I hope you are going to be wearing your running shoes because you are going to need them. Prior to the Civil War when the federal government had no standing army, such a thing was possible, but still, it was  a slim possibility at best. Consider “The War of Northern Aggression,” known to the rest of us as the Civil War. The South had , prior to secession, commissioners running around the southern states preaching secession. They also had many of the army’s officers in its pocket, so much so, that many of the government’s arms caches were transferred to Southern armories just before the war started. (A coincidence you think?) Then all of the southern politicians pulled out of Washington and South Carolina decided it would be fun to shell Fort Sumter. Four years later, the South was in bloody tatters and the federal government intact. If the South couldn’t pull it off, does anyone realistically think a bunch of armed Republicans can?

But, back to the topic, which is why do such a large number of Republicans think this way? After all, the Republicans are supposed to be the party of the conservatives. And what do conservatives want to conserve, boys and girls?

That’s right, conservatives want to preserve the social order.

Conservatives support social institutions that make for an orderly society: the police, the churches, the military, business leaders (not, ugh, unions), and . . . wait for it . . . the government. It wasn’t that long ago that the battle cry of Republicans was “My Country, Right or Wrong.” Today’s R’s seem to have edited this down to “My County . . . Wrong!” And now, we have almost half of the most conservative version of the Republican Party ever constituted saying they want to be personally prepared to go to war with the government. WTF?

What happened?

I’ll tell you. What happened was the conservative plan called the “Powell Memo” which laid out plans for conservative political dominance. Part of that plan was to create a more conservative media and under Ronald Reagan it began with the repeal of the “Fairness Doctrine.” (Remember that? It was because of the Fairness Doctrine we got minority party responses to State of the Union speeches. They are no longer required but no one wants to be the one to suggest we do away with them.) Another part of the effort was the meme of “the liberal media.” There never was a “liberal media” which, of course, is all’s fair in politics,” but without the Fairness Doctrine, approximately 85% of talk radio is now conservative talk radio, e.g. Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Mike Huckabee, etc. We now have a media structure that is heavily biased toward conservatives. And, of course, we have Fox (sic) News “Fair and Balanced” coverage. (They are not allowed in Canada as they still have a fairness doctrine of some sort. You can always trust the Canadians to do the right thing . . . eventually.)

Except that Fox (sic) News and these radio icons are more “strange and unbalanced” than anything else. Rush Limbaugh refers to himself as an “entertainer,” but he talks nothing but politics. Who considers politics entertaining? And because it is all about ratings now, the more outlandish the statements made, the more curious lookie-lou listeners there are.

So, the corporatization of our news media, putting news reporting on a profit basis rather than on a public service basis, combined with the deliberate removal of almost all content restraints, has resulted in a vast right-wing irresponsible media that is constant fanning the flames of “you can’t trust the government,” “Second Amendment solutions,” and “next time we will bring our guns (if we don’t get our  way).”

The NRA is one casualty. An organization initially created to promote shooting sports and gun safety has become a corporate political shill for the gun manufacturers. Their recent convention had a speaker’s list indistinguishable from that of the Conservative Political Action Conference. And, none of the speakers seemed to be there to talk about guns. Instead we heard their stump speeches of fear and loathing. And the NRA is a “non-partisan” organization . . . which now, I suppose, is a euphemism for “fair and balanced.”

Hey, Republicans, what about being, you know, conservatives. You don’t look all that good as radical insurrectionists (and you won’t poll well either).

April 23, 2013

The Right to Bear Arms, not Guns

The Second Amendment whackos seem to think that the Bill of Rights gives them unfettered access to modern firearms. The strict interpreters of the Constitution know that this is not so. The right that is not to be infringed is to bear arms.

So, if you are one of those who beats a Constitutional drum for “original intent” or are a strict constructionist, then you are defending the right to bear: spears, halberds, polearms, bows and arrows, axes, crossbows, billhooks, pikes, lances, and, of course, knives and swords, and slings, and shields, etc. Oh, and catapults and trebuchets, and all those kinds of siege weapons.

Now this may sound ridiculous, it was meant to, but the Second Amendment does protect your right to bear these weapons.

I am sure the whackos would chime in at this point and say that during the Revolutionary period there were firearms (muskets, rifles, pistols, cannon, mortars, etc.) and these would have been included.

To be sure, s’truth, but does the Second Amendment allow you to own and fire cannon and mortars? What caliber? How much payload? What, you need a permit to own a cannon? You do not have unfettered access to tanks and recoilless rifles and Vulcan cannons? Government tyranny!

Strictly speaking all of those muskets, rifles, pistols, cannon, mortars, and so on were single shot weapons, meaning they had to be reloaded after firing a single shot. So, the original intent of the framers was that we have access to single shot firearms. Only somebody trying to re-interpret the original intent of the framers would think otherwise.

And the NRA still hasn’t addressed the issues regarding the recently defeated “gun bill,” specifically why it is legal and appropriate that federally licensed gun dealers be required to do a background check on each and every sale, but tyrannical to require ole’ Bubba selling guns over at the swap meet at the VFW do so.

Are you listening NRA? (I didn’t think so, listening isn’t their strong suit.)

April 20, 2013

NRA Touts “Victory” While Avoiding Issues

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 7:36 am
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A careful read of the NRA’s “victory” email blast (see below) shows two things: they have wrapped themselves in the flag while declaring that they are on the side of “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” (along with Superman I guess). The second thing is they don’t address how it is that preventing criminals and the mentally defective from buying guns, or preventing gun trafficking for criminals is Un-American. They don’t address the issues at all. They credit their grass roots for their letter-writing campaign as the cause of their success, not their leadership, not their lobbyists, not their bribes paid for by the gun industry, which is fascinating since a large majority of NRA members were for enhanced background checks. Shouldn’t they have been shouting “Hooray, Criminals Still Can Buy Guns at Gun Shows” and “Wow, Psychopaths Unrestricted in Ability to Buy Guns; An Amazing Victory” instead?

*  *  *

Chris W. Cox’s Message to Gun Owners on Their Victory in the Senate
April 20, 2013

While both sides in the gun control debate regroup after our victory in the Senate earlier this week, I want to give credit where credit is due. The credit for Wednesday’s defeat of gun control goes to the countless gun owners and other Americans who drew a line in the sand—who sent emails and letters and made phone calls to their U.S. senators, urging them to protect private firearm transfers, semi-automatic firearms, and the magazines that millions of Americans own for self-defense.

 There is no question that you shocked the enemies of liberty two days ago. Going into Wednesday’s votes, they thought victory was within reach. Many in the media had pushed the idea that resistance to the gun control agenda was futile, and some of our more aggressive adversaries may have started to believe their own propaganda. I’m sure some had convinced themselves that the intensity of their anger toward gun owners was all that was necessary to assure victory.

 But you and your fellow gun owners proved them wrong. As you know, the best Americans do what they have to do, not for personal praise, but because it’s the right thing to do. They do what has to be done not only for themselves, but for their fellow Americans today and for generations of Americans to come. Nevertheless, on behalf of all of us at NRA headquarters, I want to thank you for answering the call.

 As you know, however, we can take only measured comfort from this week’s success. In his bitter response to the Senate’s votes, President Obama said that this fight is far from over, and that’s the one thing that he is right about.

 Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), sponsor of the gun control bill debated this week, has promised to bring his bill up at a more opportune moment. Obama’s “Organizing for America,” billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against Illegal Gun Guns,” and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ “Americans for Responsible Solutions” will focus their efforts on defeating pro-Second Amendment senators in 2014.

 I say to those groups and their leaders, that pro-Second Amendment senators stood with us and we will stand with them, as we have with other elected representatives who have supported the Second Amendment before them.

 Over the last generation, gun owners have had tremendous success advancing our cause. The refusal of the Obama administration and anti-gun radicals in Congress to attack us during Obama’s first term is a testament to our strength. They became emboldened by Obama’s reelection and over the last four months, we have weathered an anti-gun public relations campaign as severe as any we have experienced. And we have won the first legislative battle at the national level.

 Our adversaries are well-funded, though, and as determined as any we have seen before. The fight ahead will be as difficult as this organization and the gun owning community has ever faced. Prepare for what’s ahead. Every gun owner will be needed on the team. Elected officials who support the Second Amendment will be subjected to a well-financed, cleverly conceived campaign designed to convince them that they are on the wrong side of history. Our job and yours will be to expose that claim for the fraud that it is. Please find strength in the knowledge that the victories best savored are those that are hardest fought, and encourage our friends in Congress to do the same.

 Thank you for all you did to win this fight, and for your readiness to win the fights that will come.

 

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