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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, July 24, 2014
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"It took one hour and 57 minutes for the execution to be completed, and Wood was gasping for more than an hour and a half of that time"..."Wood, 55, gasped more than 600 times before he died"...
'Green News Report' 7/22/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record wildfires burn the Pacific Northwest; June 2014 was hottest globally on record; EPA blocks Pebble Mine; CA blocks water pollution; PLUS: To cut emmissions, cut the beef...
Previous GNRs: 7/17/14 - 7/15/14 - Archives...
Aborted Statewide 'Recount' Reveals It's a Great Time to Steal an Election in California
In the closest election in state history, even a well-funded candidate couldn't afford to find out if he actually lost...
'I Never Realized Voter ID Fraud Had Not Been Proven'
A Rightwing caller's admission in response to Brad on a radio show in NC underscores unparalleled propaganda power of Fox 'News'...
John Oliver On America's Prison Problems...With Singing Muppets!
HBO's fake news show Last Week Tonight offered smarter (and certainly funnier) coverage than you're likely to see anywhere else...
No, JFK Didn't Steal the 1960 Election From Nixon
Another Zombie Myth that just won't die gets knocked down again...for now...even as its persistence continues to fuel false Republican claims of 'voter fraud' even today...
CA Adds Call to Overturn 'Citizens United' to Ballot
Measure calls for Amendment 'to make clear that rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are the rights of natural persons only'...
UK Deputy PM Condemns Israel's 'Deliberate Use of Disproportionate Response'
Nick Clegg calls attacks on Gaza 'collective punishment' that 'incubates next generation of extremists' and 'needs to come to an end'...
'Green News Report' 7/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Australia's RW govt repeals landmark carbon tax; Obama takes action on global warming impacts; Record wildfire season in West; PLUS: California gets tough on water wasters...
Previous GNRs: 7/15/14 - 7/10/14 - Archives...
Koch Brothers' Radical Libertarianism Broke Kansas
More than 100 top GOPers endorse Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's Democratic opponent after tax cuts for the wealthy have busted the extremist Koch Brothers' home state...
Killing Zombie Myths Dead: KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad takes on a bunch of lies this week that just won't die this week -- from e-cigs to Ann Coulter's voter fraud to 'global cooling' to the death penalty to marriage equality in Mississippi and more...
FEDERAL JUDGE FINDS CA DEATH PENALTY VIOLATES U.S. CONSTITUTION
George W. Bush appointee rules state system violates Constitution's ban of 'cruel and unusual punishments'...
'Green News Report' 7/15/14
Divesting from fossil fuels; Germany gives $1b to climate fund; Australia carbon tax repeal; All-electric Formula E racing revs up; PLUS: Climate denier Murdoch...
MO's Democratic Governor Discourages Quitting Smoking
Jay Nixon vetoes bill that would have exempted non-lethal e-cigs from being taxed like dangerous tobacco...
CNBC's Santelli Gets Schooled on CNBC
Fellow CNBCer slams the 'Tea Party' progenitor during on-air shout-fest in the perfect example of why people watch cable 'news' channels -- and why they don't...
GOP Voter Fraud Queen Ann Coulter Urges MS Senate Candidate McDaniel to NOT Pursue Fraud Concerns
Given her well-documented personal history, perhaps she shoulda stayed out of this one?...
'Green News Report' 7/10/14
Debunking the 70's 'global cooling' myth; Anti-science coal nuts in KY; BP oil in Gulf fish; Canada tar sands linked to cancer; PLUS: Pesticide killing birds & bees...
Challenging 'The Nation's Most Restrictive Voter Suppression Law': KPFK 'BradCast'
Journalist Ari Berman, just out of the federal courtroom in North Carolina, joins Brad to discuss the federal case; Plus MUCH MORE...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


LaPierre flip-flops to defend lack of background checks at trade shows where 40% of gun sales occur...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2013 12:57pm PT  

During testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in 1999, after the mass shooting at Columbine, the National Rifle Association's CEO Wayne LaPierre stated plainly:

LAPIERRE: We think it's reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere for anyone.

The NRA even went as far as to take out an ad [PDF] that included LaPierre's full testimony from his U.S. House Judiciary Committee appearance that day.

But that was then.

Today, testifying before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in the wake of the mass shooting at Newtown, LaPierre has completely reversed his position on background checks, as highlighted during this exchange with the Committee Chair Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)...

In short, despite tens of thousands of criminals prevented from buying guns at licensed dealers and pawn shops, thanks to instant background checks --- LaPierre pegged the number at 76,000 people who "have been denied under the present law" --- the NRA mouthpiece is now against closing the loophole that allows unlimited gun sales at trade shows with no background checks whatsoever, even though 40% of weapons in the country are purchased at such shows.

Once again, the con-man who heads up the NRA is completely out of touch with the vast majority of his own constituency as well as the vast majority of the nation as a whole...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/28/2013 3:47pm PT  

A federal lawsuit filed by the Calvary Chapel of Thousand Oaks seeks to test the legal line drawn by California regarding the boundaries of church and state.

Under the Golden State's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), churches are permitted to discriminate in hiring practices based on their religious beliefs only within the confines of non-profit institutions --- a line that recognizes that government has no role in a religious institution's selection of a priest, minister, rabbi or imam. Thus, for example, laws banning discrimination on the basis of gender do not prevent the Catholic Church from limiting the priesthood to adult males.

But the Calvary Chapel now seeks to obliterate the line drawn by the state FEHA law. It purchased the Little Oaks School of Thousand Oaks, a for-profit, previously non-sectarian private school and subsequently fired two teachers who refused to make statements of faith and obtain references from a pastor. The teachers' objections, one of whom had been the director of Little Oaks' preschool, were on religious freedom grounds.

Facing a likely legal challenge under state law, the church filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the teachers and their attorneys as a preemptive strike in hopes of preventing the teachers from seeking redress in state court under FEHA.

Both parties in the suit are using "religious freedom" as the basis of their argument. The church seeks "religious freedom" in its discriminatory hiring practices. The teachers seek freedom from religion in their right to maintain their jobs...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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ALSO: 15-year old 'accidentally' shot, killed by brother on same day
UPDATE: 'Gun Appreciation Day' ends with 5 dead in NM family, shot 'multiple times with military-style assault rifle' by 15-year old son...
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2013 12:22pm PT  

The headline at Think Progress, "5 People Shot At 3 Different Gun Shows On Gun Appreciation Day" was too perfect not to re-use in this case.

CNN describes yesterday's "Gun Appreciation Day" festivities this way today...

At least five people --- three in North Carolina, one in Indiana and one in Ohio --- were injured after weapons went off at gun shows Saturday, officials said, at a time when there's been renewed discussion about private gun sales at such shows.

The most casualties came at the Dixie Gun and Knife Show in Raleigh, North Carolina, where attendees bolted --- with at least one woman wiping out in the frenetic scene --- when gunfire rang out around 1 p.m., as seen on video captured by CNN affiliate WRAL.

Here's video from the NC gun show revealing the freedom fighters there scrambling after a 12-guage shotgun "accidentally discharged", injuring three people...


In Ohio, one man is hospitalized in stable condition today "after being shot by his business partner at a gun show" in the northern part of the state yesterday. It seems the owner of the Taurus semi-automatic 9mm handgun "brought the firearm into the show fully loaded," despite a policy barring loaded weapons.

Why, since NRA stooges tell us that "guns make us safer", are they not allowed to carry loaded weapons at gun shows, of all places? Seems, I dunno, hypocritical.

"In Indianapolis," the CNN report continues describing the third incident yesterday, "a man walking out of the Indy 1500 Gun and Knife Show shot himself in the hand as he was loading his .45-caliber semi-automatic firearm, Indiana State Police said in a statement."

In a less amusing incident Saturday, also on "Gun Appreciation Day", tragedy struck in Georgia, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, when a 14-year old boy playing with his 15-year old brother and a friend spending the night, got access to his mother's unloaded gun, loaded the weapon, pointed it at the older brother and "accidentally" killed him.

As journalist Brooke Jarvis tweeted yesterday, appropriately enough, a 1998 study on guns in homes found that "For every use in self defense, there were 4 accidental shootings, 7 assaults/homicides, & 11 suicide attempts."

But, ya know, guns don't kill people. Gunshot wounds from guns in people's houses kill people.

* * *

UPDATE 1/21/12: "Gun Appreciation Day" had an even darker ending in New Mexico, with yet another 15-year old involved, as Albuquerque Journal reports...

It was a “horrific” crime scene that confronted deputies Saturday night: Former Calvary church Pastor Greg Griego; his wife, Sarah; and their three youngest children dead — fatally shot multiple times with a “military-style” assault rifle and other weapons — at their South Valley home.

The suspect in custody is the couple’s 15-year-old son, Nehemiah Griego, who neighbors said often wore “nothing but camouflage” and wanted to be in the army.

“I’ve never seen a scene quite like this,” Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston said at a news conference Sunday morning.

The teen is accused of using several weapons, including a “military style” assault rifle, according to the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, to kill his parents and three youngest siblings.
...
Nehemiah told neighbors he wanted to be a soldier. He always wore army clothing and camouflage, but he wasn’t allowed to play violent video games, according to one neighbor, since the boy’s parents didn’t allow anything “dirty or violent” and limited TV watching.

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/19/2013 1:55pm PT  

This still photo depicts actor Mark Wahlberg using the powerful .50 BMG Barrett M82A1M to shoot down an approaching helicopter at the outset of the 2007 motion picture, Shooter. Later, in the same film, what appears to be a Barrett M82A1 mounted atop a computer-operated weapon platform, is remotely accessed to carry out the long-distance assassination of an Archbishop who is standing next to the President.

On a segment of Thursday night's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, the host addressed the fact that the National Rifle Association (NRA) is funded and controlled by those who are making obscene profits off the very weaponry used to carry out mass murders of civilians in the U.S. O'Donnell pointed out that, since 2005, when former Senator Larry "Wide Stance" Craig (R-ID), now an NRA Board member, pushed a bill through Congress which immunized weapons manufacturers from civil liability for the carnage wrought by the weapons they unload on the public, the NRA has received over $38 million in contributions from weapons manufacturers.

O'Donnell's list of NRA Board members included George Kollitides of the Freedom Group, owner of multiple weapons manufacturers, including Remington and Bushmaster. Kollitides' company manufactured the AR-15 that was used to murder 20 children and 6 educators at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT last month. Another one of his companies, Advanced Armaments, manufactures silencers, that, according to its web site, are legal in 39 states. Who inside this country, aside from mob hit men, need silencers?

The truly disturbing revelation, however, was that the military grade weapon, the Barrett M82 (see narrated video below), akin to the one seen in the still photo above, is being sold to the general public by Ronnie Barrett, yet another wealthy member of the NRA's Board of Directors.

The Barrett M82 semi-automatic sniper rifle chambers a powerful 12.7×99 mm NATO (.50BMG) armor piercing round. Known as the "Barrett Light Fifty," it was used by the IRA to conduct a sniper campaign against British armed forces in Northern Ireland. It has been sold to the armed forces of some 40 nations. During the First Gulf War, the U.S. military used the Barrett M82 to disable Iraqi armored personnel carriers.

It is difficult to imagine what possible legitimate function the M82 would have in any civilian setting --- that is unless one considers assassinations and shooting down helicopters to be a constitutionally protected sporting event. Yet, lighter variations of the M82, like the more advanced M107, are readily available to civilians in every state except California. When California banned civilian purchases of these insanely deadly weapons, Barrett retaliated by suspending sales to all of the Golden State's law enforcement agencies. Frankly, the following narrated video suggests that this powerful weapon should not be in the hands of law enforcement agencies either, let alone civilians.

One can't help but think of the words Martin Luther King presented during his moving "Beyond Vietnam" speech: "Somehow this madness must cease"...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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'Confusing tyranny with unpleasant burning sensation of losing democratic elections'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/18/2013 12:21pm PT  

Jon Stewart's take last night on "King Obama's" shocking executive actions (there were not "executive orders") on guns issued Wednesday was similar to our own here at The BRAD BLOG that same day, and later in the afternoon on our radio show.

In other words Stewart focused on those who are willing to beclown themselves by insisting that the President's rather tepid --- rather non-controversial if you bother to read them --- 23 executive actions and 9 recommendations to Congress to improve gun safety in this nation were nothing short of TYRANNY!!!!

As Stewart observes in the very funny segment posted below, it seems these folks are "confusing tyranny with the unpleasant burning sensation of losing democratic elections."

He ultimately concludes: "I guess it can be summed up by the old homily: 'First they came for the guns, and I said nothing, because...they really didn't."

The segment is split into two parts, both below, but it's really just one segment...

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By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2013 8:12pm PT  

Tyranny! No, wait! Freedom and liberty! No, wait! Obama puts the 'O' in Ompeachment!

Oh, this dictatorship stuff is all so confusing. But not nearly as confused as today's KPFK/Pacifica Radio listeners may have been. Don't believe me? Give a listen to today's BradCast posted below. Tons and tons of callers, and we didn't even get to half of the callers who were waiting on hold to be heard over their public airwaves...

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx. 58]...

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UPDATED to include our tyranny-loving 'President's' 9 shocking recommendations for legislation made to Congress!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2013 11:42am PT  

Oh, sure. They laughed when Matt Drudge responded as follows to Vice-Dictator Biden's remarks last week that Dictator Obama may propose "executive action" to be taken in addition to his recommendations to Congress for new gun safety measures...

But now that Herr Obama has maniacally and tyrannically signed 23 gun-grabbing executive orders actions today (all listed below), without anybody's permission, who's laughing now?

Certainly not Washington Times Columnist Emily Miller:

Or Fox News Radio Host Todd Starnes:

Or super-genius Republican "voter fraud" crusader Matthew Vadum who, as ever, has his thumb firmly on the pulse of America and courageously said this afternoon, out loud, what we are all thinking today!:

So, for the record, courtesy of comrade Rick Ungar at leftist rag Forbes magazine, here are the 23 scandalous, shocking, outrageous, gun-grabbing, tyrannical, impeachment-worthy executive actions --- and freedoms lost --- that Dictator Obama signed today...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2013 11:42am PT  

So this happened quietly last week:

A federal judge approved a settlement resolving the class action lawsuit filed on behalf of demonstrators who were pepper-sprayed at UC Davis in 2011.

U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez on Wednesday gave the final approval for the $1 million settlement, initially filed in September.

As part of the settlement, the university has agreed to pay $30,000 to each of the 21 plaintiffs, a total of $250,000 to their attorneys and a total of $100,000 to 15 other claimants.

The settlement also stipulates that UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi issue a formal written apology to the students and alumni who were pepper-sprayed. It also calls for the university to develop new policies regarding student demonstrations and use of force.

In the very same week...

• A military judge agreed that U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning's pre-trial confinement, for having allegedly leaked classified diplomatic cables, was excessively harsh, but refused to dismiss the charges against him. Instead, the judge reduced 4 months from Manning's potential life sentence that he hasn't even received yet while being jailed for 2 years and 8 months, so far, waiting for his day in military court. The judge also delayed the start of his trial for another 3 months in the bargain.

• 26-year old activist and Internet prodigy and pioneer Aaron Swartz killed himself after what his family describes as bullying by a federal prosecutor who filed 13 felony charges against him --- with potential penalties of nearly 50 years in prison --- for something that has never been a crime and has no victims.

Meanwhile, just a few weeks earlier...

• Britain's largest bank, HSBC, was slapped on the wrist with a $1.9 billion settlement (a few weeks of profit) for having knowingly laundered billions of dollars for drug cartels and terrorist organizations and rogue states after federal prosecutors in the U.S. decided that any harsher punishment --- such as larger fines or taking them to court or, God forbid, sending any single one of their employees or board members to prison for even a day --- would potentially result in bankruptcy for the "too big to jail" international bank.

And, a few weeks before that...

• Oil giant BP pleaded guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter and other criminal charges related to the massive oil spill and deaths of 11 men on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. They agreed to pay $4.5 billion in fines (they made more than that in profit alone in the third quarter of 2012) over a five year period. Nobody would face any jail time in the settlement.

Yet, all the while...

NRA stooges continued to pretend that their big bad assault weapons are responsible for keeping this country safe from big government tyranny.

What the fuck is wrong with this picture, those people, this Administration, our Dept. of Justice, and this country?

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By Brad Friedman on 12/27/2012 3:18pm PT  

In no particular order of dumbness...

1) "20 school children stabbed in China on the same day proves nothing can be done to stop crazy people!"

Nope. Though it does prove that, even without access to guns, crazy people may still try to kill people. But, unlike all of the 20 school children in Newtown, CT, who were shot several times each in a matter of minutes with a legally purchased and registered semi-automatic rifle equipped with high capacity magazines, none of the 20 kids stabbed in the China incident actually died. No wonder the NRA stooges stopped referring to that story within about 24 hours of the Newtown shootings, but it was "fun" while it lasted (and before the wingnuts bothered to read beyond the China story's headline.)

2) "More guns would have stopped it!"

Nope. Despite NRA Con-Man-in-Chief Wayne LaPierre's embarassing argument that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun", armed guards didn't stop the Columbine mass shooting or the Virginia Tech mass shooting (the worse in the nation's shameful history of mass shootings) or even the assassination attempt on President Reagan. But, more to the point, this 2009 ABC News video just destroys the absurd notion that "more guns would have stopped it!"

3) "You just want to take away my guns!"

Nope. But we do, at the very least, agree with the vast majority of NRA members (if not their terrorist-enabling, con-men leadership) who strongly support new gun safety regulations, such as mandatory background checks for all gun purchases, bans on concealed carry permits for violent misdemeanants and domestic abusers, gun safety training requirements for gun owners, and barring those on the "Terror Watch List" from purchasing weapons, just to name a few. Why does the NRA oppose all of those things despite the overwhelming support of them by their own members? Because they don't care about their members, the 2nd Amendment or gun safety, they care only about their real bosses: the U.S. arms industry. Period.

4) "More people die in automobiles, so you must want to ban them too!"

Nope (and we don't want to "ban" all guns, either.) But we'd have no problem with severe safety regulations and oversight on the manufacture, purchase and use of guns, just as we have in effect for the manufacture, purchase and use of automobiles. Seat belt requirements don't prevent everyone from dying in cars, but we still require they are built into every car and used by every driver. The result: the prevention of thousands of deaths and injuries each year. We also have serious licensing requirements for the use of cars, including proficiency tests before anybody is allowed to legally operate one on their own. We have universal speed limit laws, stop lights, and laws that bar drunk driving (which can be enforced before someone gets killed.) We also require that everyone purchase insurance before operating a motor vehicle. Yet few, if any (and certainly not the industry's top promoter, the AAA), cry "Liberty! Freedom!" in response to all of those sensible safety regulations. And, it should be noted, all of those safety regulations are in place for a "tool" that is designed to kill nobody, unlike semi-assault rifles and high-capacity magazines which, when used as designed, are meant to kill as many people as possible and as quickly as possible.

5) "Guns are just a 'tool'! Mental illness is the real problem!"

Nope. There are insane people everywhere, but almost no developed countries with the insanely high rates of gun violence that are found in the U.S. Nonetheless, it's clear that many people involved in violent gun crimes are mentally ill. So, what would you like to do about mental illness then? Spend more federal government money on health care? Sounds good. Require the "jack-booted thugs" of the federal government create "lunatic panels" to judge who is and isn't mentally equipped to operate a firearm before they are allowed to buy one? Would you like publicly available lists of who the Big Government believes to be insane? Or lists of which families have someone judged by the government to be mentally ill living in their households? You "ObamaCare" opponents ought to love all of the above! Doesn't sound intrusive at all!

Of course, this is just a new spin on the old "Gun don't kill people, people kill people" yarn which even folks on the Right don't actually believe. If they did, as Lee Fang recently pointed out, they wouldn't be so upset about the pretend "Fast and Furious" scandal.

6) "If not mental illness, it's video games and Hollywood movies that are the problem!"

Nope. If that was the case, the gun violence rates would be just as high in places like Canada, Great Britian and everywhere else in the world where they enjoy the same video games and Hollywood movies that we do here in the "land of the free and the home of the brave." But it's darling that you want to protect the bastardized version of what you believe the 2nd Amendment says and what the founders created it for, even while not seeming to give a damn about undermining the 1st in the bargain.

7) "'Gun Control' is just another excuse to take away my 'civil liberties'!"

Nope. Oh, and what "civil liberties"? Which ones? Where does the U.S. Constitution guarantee the "civil liberty" of the unlimited purchase and use of semi-automatic assault rifles, ammunition and high-capacity magazines? Even extreme rightwing Justice Antonin Scalia has no problem with the 1934 ban on machines guns. But, regarding that quaint "2nd Amendment Protects Us From Tyranny!" argument, how'd that work out in preventing the very real tyranny of the PATRIOT Act and all of the other civil liberties outrages that followed? Or, were you, like the NRA, one of the folks who didn't seem to care about that type of very real government tyranny, as it swept across our nation, with little or no complaint from folks like you, over the past decade or so?

Of course, if the founders had hoped that guns would be used by the citizenry to rebel against the federal government, one wonders why they expressly barred treason in the Constitution. It almost seems as if the argument that the 2nd Amendment was meant to allow the people to rebel against the federal government was made up long after the fact in order to dishonestly justify unlimited gun ownership with no regulation whatsoever. And, of course, it was.

Any other really dumb responses to Newtown that we missed?

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By Brad Friedman on 12/24/2012 12:07pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 12/23/2012 3:54pm PT  

Steve Heller notes in BRAD BLOG comments today...

Regarding the "2nd Amendment protects us from tyranny" argument: Let's think about the so-called Patriot Act. That law isn't some right-wing paranoid fantasy about "Obama will take our guns!" or black helicopters or blue-helmeted UN troops putting us in concentration camps. That law is a REAL infringement on our liberties. Under the still-in-effect Patriot Act, the fed. govt. can, at any time and without having to provide any reason, cry "National Security!" and arrest us without warrant or charges, imprison us indefinitely, hold us incommunicado, deny us legal representation, search our homes, persons, cars, papers, email, phone records, snail mail, etc. in secret and without a warrant, take away our right to Habeas Corpus (the right to go before a judge to contest our imprisonment), send us to foreign nations for "interrogation" by the authorities of said foreign nation (read "torture"), and a host of other liberty-destroying provisions too numerous to list here.

Where was the NRA while the Patriot Act was being passed? Where are they now while it's still in effect?

Most importantly, why didn't our right to bear arms protect us from this drastic, powerful, and seemingly permanent destruction of many of our Constitutional liberties??

Look, if gun owners really and truly want to protect our liberties, they should put down their guns and get politically active. Guns did not protect us and would not have protected us from the Patriot Act. Only active engagement in our political system would have or could still save us from the Patriot Act and/or other infringements of our liberties.

He then added separately...

P.S. Forgot to add, I'm a gun owner. But I try (in my very small and limited way) to protect liberty not by carrying my gun everywhere but by being actively engaged in the political process.

We'd add only one other thought for now: Where does the 2nd Amendment, or any other, afford anybody the "civil liberty" of buying and purchasing as many semi-assault rifles, boxes of ammo and high-capacity magazines as they want without restriction or regulation? We can't seem to find that in our copy of the U.S. Constitution and, though we've asked, no one has yet identified for us where that "liberty" is enumerated.

That said, Heller's point above is probably far more important.

IMAGE: Shutterstock/Sascha Burkard

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By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2012 1:09pm PT  

NYU media critic and professor Jay Rosen cut to the chase in his tweet: "Exact quote just now from the NRA press conference. 'This is the beginning of a serious conversation. We won't be taking any questions.'"

The only thing that might have made the NRA's post-Newtown "major press conference" this morning --- during which they had promised earlier this week to unveil their "meaningful contributions to help make sure" a mass shooting like the one at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, one week ago today, "never happens again" --- would have been if someone had actually opened fire there.

Tragically, that appears to have been happening in central Pennsylvania at almost the exact same moment as NRA CEO, Executive Vice-President and chief liar Wayne LaPierre was offering his remarks at the D.C. presser. According to a WPXI reporter, the suspect "went up & down a rural road in Altoona & shot victims." Four people are said to have died in that shooting, and three state troopers were injured attempting to stop the shooter.

"To be fair to the NRA," observed Media Matters' Jamison Foser, "YOU try to hold a press conference that doesn’t coincide with a gun killing in America. It ain’t easy."

All the while, LaPierre was instructing the gathered media today that the problems we are facing, the epidemic of mass shootings and gun violence, is due to video games, the news media, lack of armed security guards at elementary schools, mental illness, and even Barack Obama. It has, apparently, nothing whatsoever to do with guns in any way, shape or form, if LaPierre's 24 minutes of prepared remarks (full video below) are any indication.

"THIS is the mighty NRA? The group that supposedly rules all of Washington, DC? THESE nut jobs??" quipped Media Matters' Eric Boehlert, adding a few minutes later: "If nut job LaPierre held a 'press conference' every Fri, sweeping gun control would be passed by February"...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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(ALSO: How'd that work out at Fort Hood, Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc?)
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2012 6:05am PT  

[Update: During a disastrous post-Newtown press conference this morning in D.C., exactly one week after the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, the NRA's CEO and Executive Vice President (and chief liar) Wayne LaPierre said: "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." More on that presser now here, but the following article, published prior to the NRA debacle today, goes a long way towards pre-bunking LaPierre's main contention.]

There have been a lot of absurd claims by the folks scammed by the NRA racket into believing that nothing can be done to decrease gun violence following last week's horrific mass shooting in Newtown, CT.

(Our personal favorite was the one that failed the quickest: The claim that the stabbing of 20 school children in China on the very same day as the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre proves that putting responsible limitations on gun and high-capacity magazine ownership won't help stop these types of tragedies. The reason that response failed so quickly? The wingnuts using it apparently failed to read the actual China story to learn that none of the children there were actually killed in that attack.)

The excuse for taking no action in the wake of Newtown which has had the longest shelf life to date, seems to be the notion that if only someone in the school --- or in the movie theater, or in the shopping mall, or in the Sikh temple, etc. --- had been armed, the tragedy would have been averted.

BRAD BLOG commenter "JPack80" recently proffered the same silly notion:

If more law abiding responsible people had concealed carry permits and were able and willing to use their firearms when necessary, how many of you anti-gun nuts really believe he would have gotten off more than one or two shots in a school?

Setting aside his obvious strawman --- folks like us are no more "anti-gun nuts" than the vast majority of NRA members (if not their con-man leadership) who agree we should have increased gun safety regulations --- JPack80's thin argument, and the millions of other wingnuts making the same weak case, is quickly debunked by a few fairly easy to understand points. (There are many more, but we'll stick to two for the moment, since some folks making this case may have trouble counting higher than that.)

First, how many shots did the Fort Hood shooter get off when he opened fire --- killing 13 and wounding 29 others --- in the middle of a U.S. Army base, filled with people carrying loaded weapons and many more with easy access to them? (Answer: About 200 rounds, which also included shoot-outs with two armed officers, the first of which was hit three times before she went down. But, see update below for additional thoughts on this.)

It is also true that both Columbine and Virginia Tech had armed security officers on campus, as little good as that did anybody, during the mass shootings there. Let's also not forget the trained New York City police who attempted to stop a gunman at the Empire State Building over the summer. They ended up shooting nine (9) innocent bystanders in the bargain.

And, during today's ridiculous news conference by the NRA's Wayne LaPierre, where he called for an armed "a police officer in every single school" because "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," the Brady Campaign's Sarah Brady, wife of Ronald Reagan's Press Secretary James Brady, who was almost killed during the 1981 assassination attempt on the President, took to Twitter to respond to LaPierre's point by noting: "Wayne, a gun in the hands of Secret Service didn't stop Hinkley from wounding Pres. Reagan and 3 others including my husband." Our coverage of that bizarre presser now here...]

But the more damning response to the foolish point that "more people with guns are the best way to stop mass shootings" is found in this 2009 ABC video showing how people with guns, and training, actually react when confronted by something like a sudden, surprise shooting. Watch the results of the experiment --- using some folks with relatively little gun training as well as some who are trained marksmen --- to see how well that whole "if only someone was armed during these shootings they could have stopped the shooter!" argument holds up...

PART 1...

PART 2...

So, what's your next, dumb, non-solution for these problems, wingnuts?

* * *

UPDATE: Several commenters written to take issue with our description of the Fort Hood shootings having taken place "in the middle of a U.S. Army base, filled with people carrying loaded weapons and many more with easy access to them"...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2012 11:23pm PT  

On today's The BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio here in Los Angeles, we dealt with, what, if anything, will now be done in the wake of the latest mass shootings in Newtown, CT, and if the lies and propaganda and bullying of the NRA will finally be overcome --- or not.

We covered this morning's announcement that President Obama is naming Vice President Biden to head a task force with recommendations for new gun safety regulations due by January; the fact that the vast majority of NRA members call for many such regulations (even as their con-men leadership do not); and whether this moment --- and the change in positions by people like Republican Joe Scarborough and maybe even the NRA themselves) might finally become a tipping point in returning sanity to our out of control gun laws, or lack thereof, in this country.

Desi Doyen joins us for a brief history of how the NRA changed in 1977 from a 100-year old gun safety organization, to a Republican political operation, as well as for the latest Green News Report.

Plus, we got to a lot of phone callers with opinions on all of this, including an NRA member who says he'll be quitting the group; an NRA instructor who says we're absolutely right about what the NRA has become; a caller disagrees that any more gun laws are needed, because it would "allow the wolf in the door", or some such; and even a surprise call from our pal, the great progressive trouble-maker Cliff Schecter. Enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx. 58 mins]...

P.S. The BradCast is now carried on the free TuneIn mobile app as well as on the Stitcher Radio app. It's also available via RSS here --- since we don't always get around to posting every episode ourselves here.

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By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2012 3:55pm PT  

We're busy with today's BradCast on KPFK, so, until later, here are a few items that may, or may not, matter to you this afternoon...

President Obama names Vice-President Biden to head up a task force to work on new gun safety regulations to be submitted to him by January. Press conference transcript here.

Supreme Court rulings on what gun control measures are allowed by the 2nd Amendment are actually quite narrow and leave a lot of room for further interpretation and rulings. Here's a quick legal analysis of where the court seems to stand at the moment.

Robert Bork dies. In an attempt to be generous upon the occassion of his passing, we'll associate with Ian Millhiser who observes today: "At his best, Bork was a voice for the kind of judicial restraint that conservatives all but abandoned the minute President Obama took office." Bork had been selected by Mitt Romney to help him select judges as President. Mitt Romney's dream died first.

3 State Dept. officials resign after a report on Benghazi attack finds "grossly inadequate" security measures at the U.S. consulate on the night Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed last September 11th. "We did conclude that certain State Department bureau-level senior officials in critical positions of authority and responsibility in Washington demonstrated a lack of leadership and management ability," said report panelist Adm. Mike Mullen. In response, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton accepted all 29 of the panel's recommendations, while nursing her reported recent concussion that has, to date, kept her from testifying to Congress on the matter.

• Something or other occurred today in regards to the so-called "fiscal cliff" negotiations, but we couldn't care less what it was. At this point, after Sandy Hook, the "fiscal cliff" stupidity feels a whole lot like the "Summer of Sharks" did, in retrospect, after 9/11. Of course, after Obama's prepared remarks at his presser on guns today, the D.C. press wanted to ask him, almost exclusively, about "fiscal cliff" bullshit. Same as it ever was.

• Finally, here's your 7 day forecast...

Desi Doyen has more.

Discuss.

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