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Cliff Notes: Unarmed and dangerous? The NRA and ALEC were major backers of Florida's "stand your ground" law.



From the Majority Report, live M-F 11:30am EST and via daily podcast at http://Majority.FM:

Cliff Schecter joined us this week to talk about a number of current event issues. This is the first portion of the discussion. For the rest, listen to podcast!

My dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter, has a weekly column; hence, because Cliff has given me permission to share his work with you, 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:

In 2005, when Florida was considering its insane stand-your-ground-or-perhaps-chase-down-an-innocent-black-teenager-and-shoot-him law, state senator Dan Gelber was a voice of reason. Gelber, when asked what he thought of legislation that would transmogrify many a heat-packing Floridian into a juiced-up Judge Dredd, posed some questions of his own.

When you think someone "looks at your wife" the wrong way or "spills coffee on you," should the message be "to walk away or do we tell them that you're supposed to stand your ground and fight to the death?" According to NRA troll/super-lobbyist Marion Hammer, the supposedly smart Bush who was governor at the time (Jeb) and state senator Dennis Baxley--a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who likes racial slurs in state songs and wants to remember The great Lost Cause on license plates--the answer was of course shoot. To kill.

But the bigger story here is the alliance of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)--a secretive, corporate-sponsored clearing house for ideas that are dopey enough to be purchased by the pound--and the arms-dealer front group known as the National Rifle Association (NRA). [...]

ALEC is behind a nationwide push to take voting rights away from African Americans and any other group that doesn't largely vote for creepily religious, corporate Republicans advocating wish-list items [...]

As writer Ari Berman pointed out in a piece called "The GOP's War On Voting," there's been "a systematic campaign orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council – and funded in part by David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankrolled the Tea Party – 38 states...this year designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process." [...]

These very same ALECites have been (coincidentally, or course), pushing for tort reform bills in states throughout the country, which have been proven again and again to
disproportionately hurt the poor and minorities while protecting corporate bottom lines. Meanwhile, "racial issues" and stereotyping have been used by ALEC to push for tort reform, the very same play on white fear that is the literal pitch of the NRA to convince anyone, no matter how unstable or criminally-inclined, to buy more guns.

Part of this pitch has used the first black President ("Communist trained!") to inform their most ardent and paranoid members of secret plots ("massive Obama conspiracy!") to take away their guns  [...]

Trayvon Martin is not the exception. He is the rule. The collateral damage of a quite open and obvious agenda for anyone willing to take a look.

Cliff Schecter is the President of Libertas, LLC, a progressive public relations firm, and the author of the 2008 bestseller The Real McCain.

Follow him on Twitter: @Cliffschecter