Archive for Cliff Schecter

The American Tealiban

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The woman on the left is Holly "Hobby Lobby" Fisher, a misguided, under-educated dolt who believes that she's holding her "First and Second Amendment rights" in her hands in the picture above.

The woman on the right is Sherafiyah Lewthwaite, an international terrorist known as the White Widow who is part of the Al-Shabaab Islamic militant group, a religious zealot who takes her marching orders from her misreading and misunderstanding of the Quran.

Unfortunately, Ms. Fisher doesn't see the similarity in the two pictures or get that she is the American Tealiban In fact, she went on "Fox & Friends" to try to explain her stupidity.

Although the segment begins with some disgusting tweets aimed at her, allegedly from sick individuals she calls "liberals"(and for which there is no excuse), it quickly moved on to Ms. Fisher's own inane thoughts.

HOLLY 'HOBBY LOBBY': “It’s shocking for me that people would compare someone who is standing in front of our flag that represents our freedom on Independence Day. I’m holding my First and Second Amendment rights in my hand and it all represents freedom, and they want to compare me to a woman who is quite the opposite. She despises everything about this country and hates this country and would kill all of us if given an opportunity. I don’t understand where the logic comes from.”
...
“I expected less backlash with this than I did the first one because the picture is, like, America’s founding principles. That’s all that’s in the picture. And I really didn’t think it would cause the uproar that it has.”

I spoke about this story with both of today's guests: Susie Madrak of Crooks & Liars, and PR Maven, pundit and media mogul Cliff Schecter.

We also discussed the disconnect between the religious right (aka the Holier than Thou crowd) and the teachings of their savior Jesus Christ. As an atheist Jew, I'm more "Christian" than any of those hateful pricks who want to deport innocent children just because they weren't born here.

It's Opposite World...

I'm preparing for my trip to LA for the AFT convention, and then Detroit for Netroots Nation. So I'll cut this blog entry short. But I'll be back tomorrow with Amy Simon and some fabulous female facts, Stephen Goldstein with the No More Bullshit Minute, and whatever else the day brings. See you then, radio or not...

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"Gun advocates think they know how any scenario involving guns will play out. They don't."

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cliff schecter on last word guns gun advocates

In one of the following letters, the author refers to "gun advocates." I prefer the terms gun fondlers, gun zealots, and gun fetishists, but what do I know, right? She makes a great point, as do the others in today's Los Angles Times letters to the editor.

Take a look at these and at the video below, because our voices matter:

Near the end of your article on the Las Vegas shootings, you mention Joseph Robert Wilcox, who pulled out a concealed weapon and confronted Jerad Miller at the Wal-Mart.

As I read this part of the article, I wondered what gun advocates who promote the fallacy that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun would say about that. Wilcox may have believed this idea and might have wanted to be a hero, but now he is dead after having been shot by a bad guy.

Gun advocates think they know how any scenario involving guns will play out. They don't.

Unfortunately, this part of the story will not even be part of the conversation. It is to our country's detriment that it won't be.

Nancy Zaman, Los Angeles

***

The politicians' angry cries against the release of five Guantanamo Bay detainees are loud. What of the American terrorists who routinely slaughter children, police officers and innocent civilians?

Those politicians refuse to defy their sponsor, the National Rifle Assn., and show little care for American lives.

Ruth Palanker, Los Angeles

***

Isn't it about time that we just stand up to the defenders of an amendment written more than 200 years ago and say it just doesn't apply anymore? Isn't it time for the cowards in Washington to quit protecting the NRA and start protecting the rest of us?

It's time we closed the gun shops and the gun shows and started restricting and shutting down the manufacturers of these weapons.

And yes, it is a mental health issue. It's about the absolute insanity of the people who think that owning a gun somehow makes you more of an American.

Collect the guns and get these nuts off the street before more of our children die.

Lee Cohen, Glendale

Now take a look at our own Cliff Schecter making the case against violence on The Last Word. As always, he knocked it out of the park:

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Student killed. Just "another week in the United States of the NRA."

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oregon shooting student killed v CNN gunsPhoto via CNN

While I was on air with Nicole Sandler today, this terrible news broke: Student killed, shooter also dead, at Oregon high school. Shortly after that, I received a press release from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, in part (emphasis mine):

"We hear our representatives calling for prayers, but today, we call on responsible gun owners, mothers, fathers, and all concerned citizens to call on our elected officials to pass reasonable reforms that will prevent gun violence. Will we have to wait until there is an active shooter at every school in America before our lawmakers act?" said Sarah Finger McDonald, Oregon Chapter Leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. "Today’s shooting was the 74th since Newtown. Our children and teachers should be learning and teaching in schools—not on lock down, cowering under desks, and evacuated from school with their hands raised in the air.”

Here at TPC, we can barely keep up with the epidemic of NRA-sponsored carnage, but we've tried:

These stories make a few things very clear. For example, in one case, no gun was needed to tackle a shooter and disarm him. In another case, a "good guy with a gun" was killed by "a bad guy with a gun." So much for that right wing gun-fondler talking point.

Referring to Second Amendmenters as "good guys," framing it in such unrealistic, black-and-white terms, is misleading at best. This isn't a 1950s Roy Rogers movie, it's real life. And right now, reality sucks.

Our own Cliff Schecter was on the Ronan Farrow show today recapping the series of horrific events. He spoke with his usual brilliantly blunt eloquence:

Cliff was asked on because of the latest "student killed" headline. And because that "student killed" headline has become so damned commonplace. What has this country become? As Cliff said, it's not the same place in which he grew up. Ditto.

And with that, here are today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

With more states allowing citizens to openly carry weapons into stores, libraries and churches; with the National Rifle Assn. convincing others that the best antidote to gun violence is more guns; and with people entertaining themselves watching movies and TV shows full of gratuitous violence, do we really need to ask, "What precipitated this event?"

Just look in the mirror.

Matt Giorgi

Brea

***

Dateline, Mission Viejo: A son kills his father, mother, sister and himself with a gun.

Dateline, Atlanta: A gunman trying to charge into a courthouse with an assault rifle and grenades is subdued after a gun battle with police.

Dateline, Seattle: A gunman kills one person before being subdued.

Dateline, Las Vegas: Two police officers are assassinated by two shooters who also kill a shopper and themselves.

Another week in the United States of the NRA, where that phrase "not one more" is just another bumper sticker.

So, folks, enjoy your next trip to the mall or sending your kids off to school. What could possibly go wrong?

Frank Ferrone

El Cajon

***

Two armed individuals walk into a restaurant carrying loaded weapons because they are exercising their 2nd Amendment rights.

Two armed individuals walk into a restaurant and kill two police officers.

Question: How does anyone know which two individuals just walked in until they start firing?

Terry Sternberg

Woodland Hills

And to drive home a few very serious points, here is a tongue-in-cheek video courtesy of CollegeHumor's Favorite Funny Videos:

H/t: The wonderful Gaius Publius of AMERICAblog

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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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Mass murder 101 #NotOneMore

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guns not one more Richard Martinez mass murder

This thoughtful commentary about gun violence, mass murder, and possible reasons for the uptick in gun massacres comes to us by way of an email exchange I had with my dear friend and mentor, the source of our Cliff Notes series, Cliff Schecter:

I came to my work on guns from studying Criminology in college. I was almost a Crim major. I had no agenda, no hatred for guns (still don't). Hell, for my 40th Birthday my wife surprised me with, among other things, the NRA medals I still had from my days spending summers in New Hampshire doing competitive shooting at a camp.

The fact is what I learned in Criminology made it quite obvious that while there were a number of factors here--but guns were the main culprit. As Michael Moore pointed out we all play these video games, we all watch violent movies. We all have mental illness. [A friend] brought up the virality of certain behavior. I think there is something to that. We are unique, among high income nations, in our willingness to allow hate speech to be broadcast far and wide all day every day on talk radio and Fox, filled with half truths and outright lies, without anyone having equal time to respond. So I have no doubt that these are factors. Look, Richard Poplawski-- the guy who shot and killed three police officers in Pittsburgh-- did it because he thought they were sent by President Obama to "take my guns away."

Ditto the shooter who was headed to the Tides Foundation because Glenn Beck said they were evil and anti-capitalist, etc. He got into a shootout with cops on the freeway. Even when it is not political, it is sociological, and Fox and hate talk play into the worst fears of economically downscale white males.

But again, even with that, there are guns.

What has changed since the 1980s? Most people don't' know this, but concealed carry largely didn't exist before the 1980s. It was only in a handful of states. The NRA's' big project was to normalize the carrying of guns so they could sell more of them. And they have been very successful.

Also, military weaponry--like assault weapons--were not available to most pre-1980s. So, add in the availability of more lethal weaponry and the ability to carry outside your house without anyone blinking an eye, add in President Reagan destroying mental health services with cuts--which has been destroyed many more times since then by more cuts-- and add in that unhinged person, with no institution to go to sitting at home watching Sean Hannity saying Cliven Bundy is a hero. We should stand up to the government! The tyrants! etc. etc.

There are other factors, but to me it is:

1) Gun availability

2) Untreated mental health issues

3) Making hate and fear viral via Fox/Rush, etc.

You combine those 3, with other nations similar to us not possessing any of them on the scale we do, and that gets us there...

Put it all together, you have today's climate.

Thank you, Cliff. Now here's a little Twitter snark to wrap things up:

gun bingoLink

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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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