Archive for background checks

Universal background check supporters boycott Hallmark

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hallmark life is a special occasion

Dear Hallmark: Universal background checks for gun sales could have prevented mass killings. Massacres can also be cut short when a shooter runs out of bullets and has to reload. That's why there's a call for a ban on large capacity magazines in favor of those that hold fewer bullets. Of course, for some unfathomable reason, there is resistance to forcing shooters to stop and reload more often. However, most Americans do agree on mandatory background checks. They can weed out potential gun owners who have a history of violence and mental instability, criminal pasts, or a history of domestic violence. People with obviously severe problems like those should not be able to acquire a gun.

You would think "pro-lifers" would be in favor of saving lives, now wouldn't you? You'd think anyone would. Background checks would be the simplest way to achieve that. In fact, 90% of the American public favors them.

Via DigitalJournal.com:

"But, incredibly, Hallmark does not support Universal Background Checks-- or any background checks-- for gun sales. That is why a complete Hallmark boycott is being called for by the National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC) and the Newtown Victims and Clergy for Corporate Responsibility (NVCCR)," said Elliot Fineman, CEO of (NGVAC). [...]

"Until Hallmark gets off the sideline and supports Universal Background Checks (which NGVAC studies show will minimally save 2,000 lives per year) and commits to work for their passage our boycott will continue," said Fineman.

If protecting the Stay family and America's families is not reason enough for Hallmark to act, then it is reason enough for the over 90% of Americans that want Universal Background Checks to not buy any Hallmark products or to support any of the Hallmark Channel sponsors.

Here's what Hallmark's Chairman Donald Hall, Jr. said in response: "We do not get involved in divisive issues."

Psst! Mr. Hall, Jr... mowing down groups of people, murdering children, slaughtering teachers and theater-goers, destroying families, that's pretty divisive, don'tcha think? Death divides family members. Preventing death, maiming, and more devastation should be our goal.

Sadly, death also bring people together, but for the wrong reason. Just ask America, post-Sandy Hook:

More at the link.

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Saturday, Dec 14th Will Be A Moment of Silence -- After A Year of NRA Imposed Congressional Silence

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Newtown moment of silence

This coming Saturday, there will be a national moment of silence for those victims of  the Newtown shootings. It will be a year to the day. And in that time of tragedy and immediately afterwards, the brave families and friends of the Connecticut shootings pushed, pressed and pleaded with Congress to do something so this tragedy would never be repeated. Children and teachers would be safe in schools.

All sorts of ideas were floated about and most commonly agreed upon by the public was the need to install some stronger background checks on the new purchasers of guns and rifles. Polls showed a whopping 90% or more of the public approved this measure.

But it fell on deaf ears. Those ears of our elected officials who are in the pocket of the Second Amendment/NRA extremists and alarmists. Those are the frauds who don't understand what representation means. It's not stuffing their pockets with graft and corruption money, it's doing our bidding. How can you go wrong as a representative doing your job and representing your district's overwhelming wishes? You can't. But the 113th Congress has. Ninety percent approval by the national public and this wasn't good enough for the cowards in Congress to  move. The only sound they seem to recognize is "ca-ching" -- the lobbyist money coming into their coffers.

Maybe a friendly reminder -- this video below -- will get you and our elected officials off their asses and let justice and prevention shine. We didn't pull the trigger at Sandy Hook, but we are contributing to the risks in all future mass murders. Background checks are simple and they can save lives. Are you prepared to take a stand? Let your Congressperson know with a call, an email and your vote.

Here's the commercial from the group: Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America. 

Don't forget to pay your respects on December 14th. Email your Congressperson and demand they join you and then vow to take a stand for gun purchase background checks. It's easy to do. Just click here.

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Lax Background Checks On Law Enforcement Contribute To Innocent Shooting

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cop with gun

Is this just a tragic coincidence or a pattern of poor judgement? Either way, it's something that the public should be made aware of and perhaps demand an accounting of practices and procedures by law enforcement.

Yesterday there was this, according to MailOnline.

'Oh you're gonna shoot me?' The sarcastic last words of straight-A student shot dead by college cop after being stopped for speeding

University student Cameron Redus, 23, was shot and killed by a campus police officer
According to police, the officer tried to pull Redus over for driving erratically and speeding
The two pulled into the parking lot of Redus' apartment block
Minutes later, Redus was shot 'four to six times' by Carter
Redus was a straight-A student set to graduate in May
Alamo Heights police and Texas Rangers are investigating the shooting
Carter is on administrative leave during the investigation

Now what is disturbing is how the Campus Officer was qualified to work for the school to start with, let alone carry a gun. Here's a bit of his background. See if you find any red flags here:

University officials describe him as having 'extensive law enforcement background.'

According to records viewed by My San Antonio, Carter has had nine jobs at eight different agencies over his eight-year law enforcement career.

He rarely stayed in any job for more than a year and the two years and seven months as a campus officer for UIW was the longest stint in his career.

The sketchy details in this story also include that this traffic stop happened off campus, on private property and the confrontation was verbal. Saying 'Oh, you gonna shoot me?' is not an invitation to actually shoot the honor student. Maybe the officer failed his class in Sarcasm 101. And to unload your gun into the unarmed student? Six bullets, four which hit their target at point blank range? Let's not even start with how trained he was in handling a firearm.

This might be a stand alone one-off incident. Something that happened in a small town but couple it with this LA TIMES article from last week:

police polygraph

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department hired dozens of officers even though background investigators found they had committed serious misconduct on or off duty, sheriff's files show.

The department made the hires in 2010 after taking over patrols of parks and government buildings from a little-known L.A. County police force. Officers from that agency were given first shot at new jobs with the Sheriff's Department. Investigators gave them lie detector tests and delved into their employment records and personal lives.

Serious misconduct found in these background check in a big city? A city that has thousands of applications every year? It's bound to happen. But here's one example that could be endemic to police thinking:

David McDonald was hired despite admitting to sheriff's investigators he had a relationship with a 14-year-old girl whom he  kissed and groped. He was 28 at the time.

McDonald had been fired from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department amid allegations he used excessive force on prisoners. A fellow deputy told a supervisor that he didn't want to work with McDonald because he harassed inmates.

So committing sexual assault on a minor with an age difference of 14 years (there's three major felony crimes there alone) wasn't enough to get him disqualified?

This is where the problems are cultivating. The police must do a better job of policing their own. They must be like Hebrew National Hot Dogs -- "We report to a higher authority."

When they turn their back on major crimes within the ranks and let those people patrol us, aren't they contributing toward the further abuse for which this officer was finally dismissed?

Ultimately, about 280 county officers were given jobs, including applicants who had accidentally fired their weapons,  had sex at work and solicited prostitutes, the records show.

These candidates weren't weeded out? Safety on the streets means safety from those who provide it as well. Or so you'd think.

For nearly 100 hires, investigators discovered evidence of dishonesty, such as making untrue statements or falsifying police records. At least 15 were caught cheating on the department's own polygraph exams.

Twenty-nine of those given jobs had previously had been fired or pressured to resign from other law enforcement agencies over concerns about misconduct or workplace performance problems. Nearly 200 had been rejected from other agencies because of past misdeeds, failed entrance exams or other issues.

Now Sheriff Baca here in LA has a tough job, and I think he's done a pretty good one under the circumstances. He's lasted a long time, so he's either good or he knows where the bodies are buried -- literally. Yet with my high respect for him and his staff, you really have to wonder about putting people with dubious backgrounds in certain jobs -- especially when personal safety and carrying a gun is involved.

Anyone and everyone has made mistakes. And they shouldn't result lifetime sentences. I believe in second chances. But caution must be paid. Seemingly the ultimate price was paid in Texas for giving an 8th chance. Let's hope we learn from it and it ripples across the law enforcement community nationwide. Our safety is in your hands. Use good judgment. You'll be respected more and we'll be more greatly served.

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A video anthology of #GOPcruelty and obstruction

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GOP obstruction 4 charts

The above charts are from the Rachel Maddow segment below. They illustrate the GOP obstruction of major pieces of legislation that are wildly popular among all parties. And here are a few examples of GOP cruelty:

  • Education cuts
  • Government shutdown
  • Food stamps cuts
  • Women's health services cuts
  • Sequestration, austerity
  • Forty-plus attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act
  • Anti-immigration, anti-DREAMers
  • Voter suppression
  • Anti-gay rights

Please take the time to watch the three videos below all the way through.

Please realize what we're up against.

Please make others aware of the infantile, self-serving, appallingly inexplicable behavior, policies, and politics of the Republican party. They may not be able to win national elections, but they've managed to redistrict in enough states to win locally, in state legislatures, and congressional races, resulting in bad laws and very conservative courts that make decisions that support those bad laws.

If this upsets you as much as it does me, then you know what to do: Vote. And in 2014, get out the vote and help people get to the polls. Until then, educate everyone you can, assist as many people as possible with registration, and above all, never EVER keep your mouths shut. Be clear. Be loud. Be heard.

This is becoming all out political war, and we-- and democracy as we know/knew it-- can't afford to lose:

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Chris Hayes did a segment on what Republicans are giddily calling "Obama's Katrina" and he called them out on several things, including their shameful gloating:

I find myself pissed off at just about everyone... But most of all, I'm quite simply appalled as I watch a Republican party and conservative movement not even pretend to hide their glee and schadenfreude over problems with the law they have done everything in their power to to sabotage, destroy, and discredit...

What the hell is wrong with you?

The only path left is to [go] forward. No retreat, no surrender, no. Going. Back. The only way out is through.

In one clip, Jon Stewart summed it up perfectly:

The crazy part is, it's conservatives and Republicans that are in the biggest rush to make the comparisons: "Remember that terrible thing that Bush did, that we fought for eight years to convince you wasn't bad, but actually good? Well now we use those very incidents as the low water mark for your guy!"

Rachel Maddow takes it from there:

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The other day I posted, John "I See No Need for ENDA" Boehner welcomes anti- #LGBT group to Capitol Hill.

Rachel covered that in more detail and expanded the discussion into an overview of how infuriatingly destructive and obstructive the GOP is:

... [ENDA] never will become law, as long as John Boehner will not allow it to be voted on in the House, and he says that that is his decision. If that bill did come up for a vote in the House, it would most certainly pass. It is a really popular thing. ...

It's favored by a huge proportion of Democrats and a huge proportion of Independents and also by a really big proportion of Republicans. 60% of Republican voters support this. A big, bright, clear majority of Republican voters wants our country to have a law like this. But Republicans in Congress won't let it happen.

And it turns out that that exact dynamic holds on a bunch of things right now in Washington.

John Boehner again this week insists he would also not allow a vote on immigration reform. And just like the nondiscrimination bill, immigration reform is super, super, super popular...

The only people who do not want it are John Boehner and presumably some other House Republicans. But they're against everybody else in the country. They're completely against public opinion on this issue, including the public opinion of Republicans.

They're also completely against public opinion on the issue of the minimum wage....

On background checks for guns, right? Background checks for guns are supported by 81% of Americans, broadly speaking. Background checks had huge support among Democrats, among Independents, and look, among Republicans. Expanded background checks for gun purchases are supported by gun owners. Expanded background checks are supported by NRA members. But these guys in Congress, the Republicans in congress, say no....

Remember the Buffett Rule that said billionaires shouldn't pay lower tax rates than their secretaries? Democrats support that, Independents support that, Republicans support that. It's just the Republicans in Congress who say no, even though their own voters like the idea.... Republicans in Congress will not allow an issue like that to even be voted on, even though their own voters want it...

This is what is called a pattern. In representative democracy, if you are in an elected office and if you pursue policies that are very unpopular, and you block policies that are very popular, something is supposed to happen to you.

It's like the elephant in the elephant's room. Republican policy ideas, both in terms of what they like, but especially what they don't like, Republican policy ideas are very, very, very, very strongly at odds with the views of the American people, with even most Republican voters.

They believe they have one winning issue on health reform, where their opposition to the president's health reform law is closer to public opinion on that issue, which is still in flux. They think it's closer on that issue than it is every other major policy issue in the country right now where they stand against the rule of the public and even the rule of their own voters.

Why don't they pay a higher cost for that? And why haven't Democrats figured out a way to make them pay a higher cost for that?

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Rachel also did a segment on Wisconsin Republicans, which again illustrates the nasty, condescending, discriminatory, dangerous attitudes, plans, and heavy-handedness of the party now that they control that state:

This is so strange, I don't even know how to explain it...

... In the legislature, at least, since the Republicans and Governor Scott Walker took over in Wisconsin, it seems more and more like Wisconsin is losing its mind...

Whatever used to be the normal expectations for normal, middle of the road Midwestern governance, those days really are gone. In Wisconsin anyway, those days seem gone.

Shake off any apathy or feeling frozen into inaction due to frustration that you may have and start using your voice. This kind of conduct by the right is no longer an option, and it's up to us to make some very necessary, very urgent changes.

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Ann Coulter: A Bigot For All Reasons

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anncoulter

Well, there's something about an equal opportunity offender. They're crazy whenever they speak.

Her latest rage focuses on, what else, Obamacare. In her recent column To Speak To A Nigerian Prince About Your Health Care, Press 1 she attacks the Obama administration for allowing the federal government to hire health care “navigators” without requiring them to pass a criminal background check. These navigators are charged with taking down applicants’ personal information when they apply for health care.

I'm sure every recently released convict is flocking to get a gig on Healthcare.gov. Yeah, I see a huge risk here. Just think of all of the personal identity theft that must be getting planned. And by whom? Why the people with foreign sounding surnames who have been involved in healthcare scams before. She's done her homework. She's singled a few out a few key examples:

Mehran Javidan, owner of Acure, a home health care company in Oak Park, Mich., was paid more than $2.2 million from Medicare based on fraudulent physical therapy files he submitted between December 2008 and November 2010.

Eliza Lozano Lumbreras, San Juanita Gallegos Lozano, Manuel Anthony Puig and Romelia Puig used their operation of the Mission Clinic and La Hacienda Family Clinic to submit false claims to Medicare and Medicaid, stealing approximately half a million dollars from the taxpayers between 2001 and 2006.

Karen Kallen-Zury, Daisy Miller and Christian Coloma were convicted for receiving approximately $40 million from Medicare for patients not eligible for psychiatric treatment because they were not severely mentally ill.

Jose Rojo, Antonio Macli, Jorge Macli and Sandra Huarte in Miami paid patient recruiters to refer ineligible Medicare beneficiaries to their clinic for services that were never provided. They were paid more than $11 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare.

Godwin Umotong, Leslie Omagbemi, Munda Massaquoi, Comfort Gates, Ovsanna Agopian and Boghos Babadjanian were convicted of fraudulently billing Medicare of millions of dollars for office visits and diagnostic tests that were never performed, more than $1.3 million of which Medicare paid.

The problem is, none of those people are working as healthcare navigators. And none of their crimes had anything to do with identity theft. Hmm. Whatcha say to that, Annie?

She paints with a broad brush -- of ignorance. She ignores surnames don't change over the years that people have been legally here. So you may be a fourth generation American Gonzalez or Chan, but  to Sweet Annie, if you've got a foreign sounding last name, you're not one of us. (whoever us is)

Here's a few things that the Xenophobic Miss Coulter has missed while spewing her brand of hate.

Crime rates are lower among immigrants than the native born, according to a study cited by Pew last month.

A.C.  has continually raised alarms about the possibility of reform including a pathway to citizenship, saying it would create a primarily Latino underclass of welfare recipients that deplete government resources. In fact, Latinos use less than their fair share of government benefits according to a study released last year by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, there were about 11.1 million undocumented immigrants in the country as of 2011, not the 20 million that Coulter claims.

Miss Annie says Latinos are lazy. But in fact, the Hispanic community is highly entrepreneurial. Latinos opened twice as many businesses as the national average in the 2000s, according to U.S. Census data cited by Businessweek.

"Undocumented workers are here to collect public assistance and government benefits." Well, if she took the time to look she'd know that The vast majority of undocumented immigrants are not legally eligible for most government assistance.

Then there's Blondie's argument that Hispanics are becoming poorer over time. Really? That's based on what? Here's the facts, Ma'am: Each generation of Latinos tends to do better economically than the generation that preceded it, according a 2011 study by the Migration Policy Institute.

Finally, not really, but this post is getting long with all of the lies Coulter has been spreading-- Latinos are more dependent on government benefits than Whites. Truth: Hispanics use less than their fair share of government benefits, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Latinos make up 16 percent of the population, but receive 12 percent of benefits. Non-Hispanics whites, by contrast, account for 64 percent of the population, but receive 69 percent of entitlement benefits.

I guess this bigot who roared can't handle the truth. Then where would she be? Maybe among the 64 percent of the white population who are receiving government benefits.

I got it-- she could become a healthcare navigator -- that is if she has a clean record.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: @Linzack

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VIDEO: "NRA leadership are the ONLY ones against gun background checks. Which means -- they win?"

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question o the day smaller

guns chart backround checks universal support

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Yesterday I posted "Contrary to rhetoric, gun-free zones are not the problem." Oh, and gun retailers support background checks.

Looks like Rachel Maddow read the same data that I did, and then did her Rachel thing and posed all the right questions:

What we knew before this survey is that the idea of expanding background checks for buying guns is something that is supported by Democrats, by very large margin.

It's also supported by independents by a big margin.

Expanding background checks also supported by Republicans by a large margin.

Self-described tea partiers also support expanded background checks.

Expanded background checks are supported by members of the NRA. People who pay to belong to the National Rifle Association want expanded background checks.

Gun owners broadly also support expanded background checks by a big margin.

And now, we can add the data from this brand new stuff that's just being published by the researchers from UC Davis. It also turns out that gun dealers support expanded background checks.

The people who are actually conceivably burdened by this the most! Democrats are in favor, independents are in favor. Republicans are in favor. Tea partiers, NRA members, gun owners and now we know gun dealers all in favor.

And on the other side, not in favor: the leadership of the NRA. Not even the members of the NRA, just the leadership. They're the only ones against. Which means -- they win?

Nothing could ever outweigh them? They get whatever they want, no matter if everyone in the country including their own constituency disagrees with them? How long does this last for?

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If media could quickly uncover information about #NavyYard shooter, an in-depth background check would have also

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Stop Handgun Violence sign Massachusetts gun shows background checks

Today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Gun laws for mentally ill not so easy," Sept. 22

The instant background check on Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis is no replacement for an in-depth universal background check. If the media were able so quickly to uncover information about Alexis' troubled history, an in-depth background check would have also.

Gun advocates use the fact that the shooter purchased his gun legally with a background check to show that additional laws would be ineffective. In fact, the instant, inadequate background check that Alexis passed is a result of the gun lobby's efforts to limit gun restrictions.

William J. Chartier

Los Angeles

***

Guns make us safe. I feel safe here in America. I feel sorry for the Europeans, who live on a continent overrun by hordes of unarmed people.

The proper use of guns keeps the death rate from disease down. Guns should be part of every nation's health plan.

Guns are good.

Barry Carlton

El Cajon

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