Archive for Cliff Notes

Cliff Notes: 9-year-old kills instructor by mistake; NRA pisses off wrong nerd genius

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cliff schecter on Today show 9-year-old girl shoots instructor

My dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter, has a new post up; Cliff has given me permission to share his work with you, so I’ll give you the latest edition of what I call Cliff Notes. Below are a few excerpts from his latest, with permission. Please read the whole thing, because he has way more than I’ve included here.

Kudos are in order; Cliff's been showing up all over MSNBC and NBC these days, because they know how good he is at what he does. The above clip is from the Today show, and below is last night's appearance on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. The videos and excerpts focus on the horrific accidental killing of a shooting range instructor by a 9-year-old girl, as well as Bill Gates' million dollar donation for universal background checks:

Here is Cliff pointing out the impact that Bill Gates could have with his support of popular, common sense gun laws. Please link over for the entire post:  

Gates has the ability to grab headlines and make an issue go viral with the constant media coverage he receives, and the financial ability, if he wins, to fund similar efforts around the country. His involvement could be the answer to the public health crisis that makes American children 93 percent of those murdered in the 26 high-income countries around the world.

Meanwhile, the NRA has…Chuck Norris, doing its “Trigger The Vote” Campaign. [...]

Who knows, with that kind of dough, maybe even measures that “only” enjoy 56 percent support like bans on assault weapons and/or high-capacity magazines could pass via direct voting by uncorrupted American citizens. Or perhaps state legislators and members of Congress who bend easily to the will of these Lords of War could be swapped out for those who live in a closer neighborhood to the best interests of the American populace.

Likely the NRA will try to do to Gates what it has attempted to do to Bloomberg for a few years now, and seek to make this fight about him and not its right-wing radicalism in the service of avarice. He’s a billionaire trying to influence our political process, after all, unlike Manhattan resident David Koch, who along with his brother Charles has polluted our political process to no end, including funding the NRA.

Sure, in an ideal world big money wouldn’t play such an outsize role in our elections, such as this hugely important ballot initiative in Washington state. But that’s not what the NRA wants. It just wants its big money still to be all that decides the outcome, and it isn’t. Which is why Wayne LaPierre’s having a bad day.

Please read the entire post at The Daily Beast, here.

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Cliff Notes: "NRA only worried about the civil rights of white people." #Ferguson

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civil rights movement smaller

My dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter, has a new post up; Cliff has given me permission to share his work with you, so I’ll give you the latest edition of what I call Cliff Notes.

He skewers better than a chef at Smokey Joe’s BBQ. He’s sharper than the point on Sarah Palin’s pin head.

Here are a few excerpts from his latest, with permission. Please read the whole thing, because he has way more than I’ve included here. Kudos are in order; MSNBC's Alex Wagner gave Cliff and this article a shout out and some well-deserved attention. It's about the hypocrisy of the NRA and their apparent disdain for the civil rights of Ferguson residents. Well, some of them, anyway.

Here are a few bits and pieces, bu please link over for the entire post:

The National Rifle Association has been warning us about the threat of a heavily-armed and dangerous government crushing dissent for decades.  [...]

Their dystopian nightmare sounds exactly like what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri.

Yet somehow, the NRA seems to have missed the whole thing with the SWAT teams and the tank-like vehicles and the snipers and the LRAD sound cannon and the tear gas and the rubber bullets being trained on unarmed Americans. [...]

If I were suspicious of their motives--and I am--I might point out that when I visited their 9 acres of militarized gun-fun also known as their convention in Indianapolis, I saw fewer black faces than in your average episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. I'd also point out that LaPierre blows just about every tune he knows on his dog whistle, when warning his membership of the horrors confronting them during this period when violent crime has fallen to its lowest level in a generation [...]

The National Rifle Association often claims it is "America's longest standing civil rights organization" but apparently these minor issues were more important than the murder of an unarmed teen by a policeman, and the subsequent attacks by a militarized force on unarmed Americans in a U.S. city. It is the exact nightmare the NRA has been predicting. And yet, the NRA professes no kinship for those being crushed beneath the jackboots. It seems the NRA is only worried about the civil rights of white people.

Please read the entire post at The Daily Beast, here.

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Cliff Notes: "This is a disease, one that the NRA’s leadership is helping to spread"

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gun nut disease

My dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter, has a new post up; Cliff has given me permission to share his work with you, so I’ll give you the latest edition of what I call Cliff Notes. Here are a few excerpts from his latest at The Daily Beast, with permission. Please read the whole thing, because he has way more than I’ve included here. It's about the utter insanity and carnage attributed to the NRA and their gun-fondling devotees who are blissfully spreading a deadly Gun Disease all over America.

These bits and pieces don't do it justice. Please, link over for the entire post titled "From Las Vegas to Georgia, the NRA Has Created a Monster":

It’s been quite a month for the National Rifle Association: Massacres at universities, in restaurants, and at retail stores from South Carolina to Las Vegas. Gun nuts porting assault weapons to dinner from Chili’s to Chipotle. The leaders of the take-no-prisoners gun-rights organization have been witness to the logical outgrowth of its policies and rhetoric. Much as the GOP helped create the lunatic-fringe Tea Party within its midst, the NRA chieftains have helped birth a beast whose black heart now beats strongly among its most radical adherents. [...]

The result: They’ve watched impotently as this witch’s brew of mental illness, far-right politics, propaganda, and heavy weaponry has led to one shocking—yet wholly predictable—massacre after another, with the most recent targets including the execution-style murders of two lunching police officers in Las Vegas. [Laffy Note: See Sher's White Supremacy and the Bundy Tea Party Terrorize the Vegas Strip] [...]

Just over the past few weeks, we’ve seen mass murders in Isla Vista, Seattle, Myrtle Beach, and Las Vegas. A catastrophe was barely averted at a courthouse in Georgia—you know, the place that in its infinite wisdom chose to pass its “guns anywhere” bill, because clearly if there was something daycare centers and airports were lacking, it was guns.

Somehow this didn’t stop this self-styled “sovereign citizen.”  [...]

But this is America, the NRA leadership’s version, where a man in this mental state was a gun seller and trader (remember how Timothy McVeigh was a gun seller at gun shows?), who got mad because he had—what else?—outstanding firearms charges against him. So yeah, why not kill the authorities and everyone else you can in a blaze of glory? We make it so easy, after all. [...]

In Las Vegas, two shooters, a man and a woman... left a swastika and “Don’t Tread on Me” flag on one of the murdered cops’ bodies... Did I mention the man had lived on Cliven Bundy’s ranch for a bit (and was kicked off… one wonders what it took for that to happen)? [...]

This is a disease, one that the NRA’s leadership is helping to spread. [...]

Put simply, the NRA’s leaders have demonized anyone whose job it is to enforce our laws and protect the United States in its pamphlets, emails, speeches, TV ads, Web shows, radio programming, and anywhere else they can unleash this cancer on the American public. So is it then shocking when their more unstable allies and adherents use the same language when planning or executing the mass killing of policemen, judges or other government officials?

If Wayne LaPierre were instead named Wayne Mohammed, do you think we’d still be hearing from him? Or would he be in a black site in Romania somewhere? [...]

If we want to change things, it starts with not sugar-coating or ignoring the treasonous and murderous role played by the leaders of the NRA, but by acknowledging it and taking them on every day.

Cliff Schecter is a bestselling author, syndicated columnist, and political strategist. He consults for the gun-safety group the National Gun Victims Action Council. 

Follow him on Twitter: @CliffSchecter

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"Joe the Plumber": "Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights."

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Joe the Plumber guns Santa Barbara shootings

joe the plumber idiot

"Joe the Plumber" (Sam Wurzelbacher, the not-plumber), wrote the following in response to the grieving parents of the kids slaughtered in Santa Barbara by a gun-toting, knife-wielding murderer who took his own life:

By Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher

I’m not talking here about the three tragic murders Rodger committed by stabbing before his driving and shooting spree; I speak now only to the families of the gunshot victims in Santa Barbara:

It’s a tragedy.

I am sorry you lost your child. I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through, is what you are going through now. But:

As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.

Well, there is that weird thing about my right not to get shot trumping your right to abuse the right to own a murder weapon. Some of us kinda cherish the right to live and breathe without intimidation by gun fondlers. As someone in Nicole Sandler's chat room noted today while I was on air with her:

"We can move protestors to free speech zone. But, we can't remove those who show up with guns?"

And as another chatter observed, "The Plumber's crack is in his head." I think he's onto something. More from Joe the Cracked:

We still have the Right to Bear Arms and I intend to continue to speak out for that right, and against those who would restrict it – even in the face of this horrible incident by this sad and insane individual. I almost said “Obama Voter” but I’m waiting for it to be official.

But let's not politicize it, right "Joe"? Crossing lines is apparently his real profession.

Which brings me to today's Cliff Notes, a shortened version of a post by my dear friend Cliff Schecter, who has given me permission to share. The title of his article is How the Gun Nuts Try to Excuse Away the Santa Barbara Slaughter—and Why They’re All Wrong.  Apparently it got the Breitbartians so angry that they're going after him, so you know it must be good:

[T]he firearms fetishists have been up to their usual tricks trying to excuse away yet another gun massacre in America.

They have their talking points at the ready for these, and they immediately got started: If we ban guns, they warned, then we have to ban knives and cars, because he used those to kill and injure people, too. California has liberal gun laws, and this proves they don’t work, they insisted. There is nothing we can do to stop gun violence, they recited; guns don't kill people, people do.

As usual, the gun nuts are wrong, and not one of these stands up to the slightest scrutiny. [...]

[T]he fact that the shooter possessed only 10-bullet magazines and no assault weapon—or what he could legally buy—clearly did help. As terrible as this was, it could have been much worse if the gun fetishists had their way, and any manner of weapon or magazine was for sale.

Additionally, and I know this is a tough concept to understand, but we have these territories separated only by an imaginary boundary known as states. They border one another. People can drive across them at will, as they often do from Arizona—where gun laws are among the most lenient in the U.S.—to California. It is also quite easy to drive from California to Nevada, which also has lax gun laws.

This might be why when John Patrick Bedell, another angry and troubled man with a hatred for his own government, decided to try to  assassinate public servants at the Pentagon, he went next door to Nevada to get his guns no questions asked, once he couldn’t pass a background check in California. Wow, that was hard! [...]

And for those of you about to point out that cities like Chicago have both strict gun laws and horrifying gun violence, well, you might want to do some reading about how many of those guns came from Indiana, which has much less strict gun laws, or other parts of Illinois, where laws don’t come close to matching those in the city of Chicago. Use The Google, my friends. It's free.

If lax guns laws and more guns overall made people safer, the United States would be the safest place in the world. [...]

But, if like foaming NRA mouthpiece Wayne LaPierre, you still are a believer in the almighty assault weapon and like your guns plentiful and unregulated, I have a fantastic vacation destination for you! It’s called Iraq. Every household with a male in it is allowed to have an assault weapon, no questions asked.[...]

However, If you do truly fear that “the government is going to use any information to come get my guns,” then I have a real three-letter organization, not part of the government, that you may want to fear. It’s called the NRA, and they’re collecting your private information as we speak. Good luck convincing the money-grubbing charlatans among their leadership not to sell what has been called a “massive secret database” of member information to any advertiser looking to make a buck. [...]

I know, your mind is spinning right now. Don’t bother. You are wrong on this one, as you are on everything else. Your reaction to shootings is to think first of your guns, which is shameful. The rest of us prioritize our children’s lives first. As my friend, the brilliant host of The Zero Hour--the #1 most downloaded podcast when it debuted earlier this month—RJ Eskow says, we’re not anti-gun. We’re pro-kindergartner.

I urge you to read his entire piece at the Daily Beast, here.

And while you're at it, check out this proposal (please read the entire thing) from an L.A. Times op-ed by Renée Binder, a professor of psychiatry and director of the psychiatry and law program at UC San Francisco. She is president-elect of the American Psychiatric Assn. It's titled, California needs a Gun Violence Restraining Order:

A Gun Violence Restraining Order would allow a judge to temporarily stop an individual from buying or possessing a firearm. The judge would examine the situation and consider all the factors suggesting that the individual was a risk to himself and others. If granted by the judge, the restraining order would have to be reassessed after a short period to restore the individual's firearm rights if he or she is no longer at serious risk of harming himself, herself or others.

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Cliff Notes: NRA's "9 acres of weaponry that could wipe out a continent. Prepare to get scared."

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killings, shootings since Obama took office 2009 guns NRA animated GIF Mass Shooting/Killing incidents since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009 through the time The Atlantic published it on Sept 16, 2013.

My dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter, has a new post up; Cliff has given me permission to share his work with you, so I’ll give you the latest edition of what I call Cliff Notes.

He skewers better than a chef at Smokey Joe’s BBQ. He has comedic insights that rival those of our mutual friend, the hilarious Lizz Winstead. He’s sharper than the point on Sarah Palin’s pin head.

Here are a few excerpts from his latest, with permission. Please read the whole thing, because he has way more than I’ve included here. It's about the NRA convention, "nine acres of weaponry that could wipe out a continent."  Cliff calls this one of the most important pieces he's ever written.

These bits and pieces don't do it justice. Please, link over for the entire post titled "Preparing for War in Indianapolis: Inside the NRA Plot to Terrify America":

In a cavernous exhibition hall, as far as the eye can see is all the assault weaponry you’ll need should Red Dawn hit your town. Welcome to the NRA convention—and prepare to get scared.

Church is an important part of the routine, for many. And at the Indianapolis Convention Center on this particular Sunday, an entirely different kind of shrine, where one could purchase such family reading as “Cutting Edge Bullets: Lethal by Design, Proven by Performance.” Or pick up a GSG 110 round rotary magazine—similar to the one used by the movie theater mass murderer in Aurora, Colorado. Or even attend a book signing by admitted serial statutory rapist Ted Nugent.

I’m referring, of course, to the 2014 National Rifle Association Convention. [...]

The NRA had a banner outside the convention center describing it as “9 Acres of Guns & Gear,” and for once it wasn’t exaggerating. [...]

Military-style weaponry of every kind occupied almost every inch of the terrain to my left and right as I began the long trek down each aisle. Not your father’s hunting rifle, for the most part—although there were a few of those here and there—but the kind of arms you use to start a war. Fifty-caliber rifles, which can take down small aircraft. Assault rifles—rebranded “sporting rifles,” in case your sport might be decimating a small village in under a minute. High-capacity magazines of the variety used in so many recent massacres at malls, schools, and universities. [...]

It has embraced this new mission to militarize the streets of America with zeal, scaring the bejesus out of its most faithful adherents with ghost stories about preparing for the breakdown of civilization, to destroy any faith they might have in our democracy or our first responders. You’re all alone, in their telling. Just you and the one thing that’s always faithful: your gun. [...]

LaPierre, Young, and their allies give those in the far-right bubble a completely false sense of our world, when in reality crime rates are steadily falling and the threat of terrorism has receded at least somewhat. That’s with the exception of the easy access any would-be terrorist like the most recent Fort Hood shooter has to military firepower at events such as the NRA convention and stores such as Guns Galore …because of the handiwork of LaPierre and his NRA.

In addition, my dear friend and radio host Nicole Sandler covered this today: Travel Advisory: The United States Is Not Safe:

This article was written and originally posted on Sept 18, 2013. It’s re-posted and slightly updated today, and includes my interview with former Australian Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer, who helped enact gun laws in Australia after a 1996 massacre in which 35 people were slaughtered, and who warned Australians not to travel to the US following last summer’s shooting death of Australian baseball player/college student Christopher Lane.

I strongly urge you to link over and read the post as well as listen to her podcast of her conversation with Fischer, available on the same page.

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Cliff Notes: "Gun insanity, my friends, this is where Florida really and truly excels."

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gun insanity defend myself cartoon

My dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter, has a new post up; Cliff has given me permission to share his work with you, so I’ll give you the latest edition of what I call Cliff Notes.

He skewers better than a chef at Smokey Joe’s BBQ. He has comedic insights that rival those of our mutual friend, the hilarious Lizz Winstead. He’s sharper than the point on Sarah Palin’s pin head.

Here are a few excerpts from his latest, with permission. Please read the whole thing, because he has way more than I’ve included here. It's about Florida and its Zombie Apocalypse gun insanity bill. 'Nuff said.

Here are bits and pieces that don't do it justice. Please, link over for the entire post:

Florida is what you might call a special place. There’s a reason why when you type “Why is Florida…” into the Google Machine, among the first options that pop up are “crazy” and “so crazy.”[...]

But gun insanity, my friends, this is where Florida really and truly excels. Whether it’s their pioneering effort in passing racist Stand Your Ground laws (Thanks to former Gov. Jeb Bush—The Smart One!—and pint-sized troll-cum-gun lobbyist Marion Hammer) or applying them to non-whites possessing the audacity to get their groove on while gassing or munching too loud on rainbow candy treats.

Their can-do spirit comes in the form of the disgruntled marching into a school-board meeting in Panama City and firing on the assembled members in an attempt to get his wife’s job back. Shooting a man for texting his babysitter from a movie theater. And returning a Glock pistol and assault rifle to a gentleman named Wayne Rogers, after he shot his “drinking buddy.” And killed him. Did I mention Rogers is blind?

For these reasons and many other infamous ones, you could call Florida the Grand Ole Opry of gun nuttery. [...]

Presently, the gun monster’s reared its ugly head in the form of an NRA-backed bill in the statehouse—HB 209—that seeks to allow anyone lacking a concealed carry permit to go ahead and ignore that whole permit thing during “riots” and other emergencies.... And just what constitutes an emergency that would put this law into effect? Nobody knows, least of all the sponsor of the bill , State Rep. Heather Fitzhagen (R-Fort Myers). [...]

The result is that those with actual experience dealing with criminals, such as Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, respond like this: “To allow people to go into a riot while concealing a gun without a permit is the definition of insanity… The bill is crazy. It’s absurd.”[...]

[A]s we understood for most of our history in this country and Texas’ governor explained in 1893, the “mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law-abiding man.”

Please read the entire post at The Daily Beast, here.

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Senator Mitch McConnell A Chippendale Dancer

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males dancer club

Okay, I didn't say that. It was the reply by Kentucky Democratic senate candidate, Alison Lundergan Grimes. She's pissed, and she should be.

Her opponent, and everyone's least favorite senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell has been trying to link Grimes to being a cheerleading puppet of President Obama.  To that, Grimes was quoted: “Well, I am as much a cheerleader for President Obama as Sen. McConnell is a Chippendale dancer.”

Sorry Mitch, I work too hard for my dollar bills to go stuffing them into your G-(for government) string, not that I'd want to. Not interested in your junk. Seen enough of it on the floor of the senate when you were doing your obstruction dance.

Sexism is no stranger to Republican politics. And when you're dusting off the oldies and goldies, you can't veer from the GOP when it comes to insulting women. And Kentucky's senior senator has it down pat.

Desperation calls for contemptuous acts, or so reads the GOP playbook. When it was announced recently that Grimes has actually taken the lead in the Kentucky polls over the prune-faced McConnell, he took to the airwaves via Brad Dayspring, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. In his attack he called Grimes “an empty dress” in an interview with The Hill, published Wednesday.

Well, what's a sexist remark when you're such a macho guy like Senator Mitch, the Magic Mike of the upper house? It's to be expected, right? Someone who exudes manliness like he does is bound to be unjustly accused of sexism.

“Alison Lundergan Grimes seems incapable of articulating her own thoughts, and faced with questions, either directly parrots the talking points handed to her by [Sen.] Chuck Schumer or she babbles incoherently and stares blankly into the camera as though she’s a freshman in high school struggling to remember the CliffsNotes after forgetting to read her homework assignment,” Dayspring told The Hill.

cliff notes

I think Mitch and his mouthpiece Dayspring must have been shocked when that "high school girl" Lundergan shot back instead of going off and crying to the teacher that she's being picked on or bullied.

HUFFPO:

Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton told The Huffington Post. "It shows his team's true feelings towards women and continues his disgraceful pattern of not standing up for the women of Kentucky. From misleading Kentuckians on his votes against the Violence Against Women Act, to voting against equal pay for equal work, Senator McConnell has failed to lead on issues important to women and their families."

Mitch, you voted against women on all those issues? What kind of thinking is that? Women make up 58% of Kentucky voters. Surely the Democrats must have your record wrong.

"The only surprising part of all this is the GOP’s continued unwillingness to understand that other women –- including Kentucky women -– can hear them when they say this stuff. It’s why women turned out in historic numbers for Democratic candidates last election, and it’s why we’ll see a repeat next November," said Jess McIntosh, communications director at EMILY's List, which endorsed Grimes.

Mitch, it's now that you tap the mic and ask, "Oh, is this thing on?"

old stripper

You've been caught once again with your pants down, Mr. Senate Minority leader. I guess it proves the old adage, "once a stripper, always a stripper." Go get 'em, "Muy Macho Mitch." That is what they call you at Chippendales, isn't it?

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