Even Gun Owners Think the NRA Has Gone Too Far

Even Gun Owners Think the NRA Has Gone Too Far

Now that the NRA has been defeated at the ballot box twice in Washington state, the organization appears to be reeling from internal discord. It seems that NRA leadership has fallen out of touch with the needs and desires of NRA members. Need proof? The Center for American Progress released the astounding results of a Public Policy Polling survey of gun owners yesterday. This survey demonstrates the existence of an American populace that doesn’t resemble its radical lobbying group in the least. A vast majority, some 83 percent, of gun owners want background checks on all gun sales nationwide. Those are jaw-dropping numbers. Think about it—that’s more than eight out of ten of all gun owners. And way more than half of all gun owners—66 percent—say they’d be more likely to support a politician who does support background checks. But the real eye-opener is this result: Only 29 percent of gun owners feel that the NRA represents their thinking when it comes to background checks, with 62 percent saying the NRA is out of line with them on the issue. That fits in with a broader feeling that the NRA has lost it way: 59 percent of gun owners feel that the NRA used to be an organization devoted to gun safety but that it has been overtaken by lobbyists and the interests of gun manufacturers and lost its original purpose and mission. Nearly one-third of NRA members believe the organization has lost its way. Roughly one out of every three NRA members believe their organization is out of step with their beliefs. If the NRA’s claims that they have 4.5 million members is accurate, that’s about one and a half million people. Imagine the kind of explosive headlines we’d be seeing if this were a poll of Democrats, or Catholics. The NRA is an organization that has been unchallenged for far too long, and, like any cash-heavy lobbying group, they’ve
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Daily Clips: November 19th, 2015

Daily Clips: November 19th, 2015

Clinton offers a more hawkish foreign policy than Obama:  In one of the most predictable moves of this primary season, Clinton has “urged a more aggressive approach” to fighting ISIS. She’s doing this for two reasons: 1) because it’s campaign season and 2) because she’s drastically trying to separate herself from Obama’s legacy without pushing too far away. All of this goes to show that our next president, regardless of the party, will be far more willing to blow sh*t up. Here’s the full transcript from Hillary’s speech on ISIS. Scariest headline of the day: Please, George F. Will, N.S. Cassella wants you to retire.   US weekly jobless claims continuing to decline:  According to CNBC, “the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week, pointing to a fairly robust labor market.” Claims have now been held below 300,000 for the 37th consecutive week. This is an important measurement, because claims below this level are most often associated with a healthy jobs market. Fear is making the GOP’s job easier:  EJ Dionne’s most recent piece can be perfectly summarized in these two sentences: “There are equally good reasons for Republican politicians to encourage voters to think about their fears of terrorism, their worries about immigrants and their feelings toward Islam. For the moment, dreadful and genuinely frightening news is making the GOP’s job easier.”

Welcome to America, Where We Turn Away Orphans Out of Fear but Allow Suspected Terrorists to Buy Guns

Welcome to America, Where We Turn Away Orphans Out of Fear but Allow Suspected Terrorists to Buy Guns

The American response to the terrorist attacks in Paris has been horrifying. This cowardly refusal to accept Syrian refugees has done real damage to the American ideal of accepting “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Only a handful of governors, including Jay Inslee, have responded to the attacks by opening their arms to Syrian refugees , and the rest have adopted an utterly un-Christian stance of fear and hatred. On the right, presidential candidates have demanded (unconstitutional) tests to “prove” Christianity  before refugees are allowed in the US. President Obama, meanwhile, has rightfully mocked anti-refugee protesters of being “worried about three-year-old orphans.” Max Fisher at Vox looked at six ways the anti-refugee rhetoric fails to reflect reality . For one thing, governors can’t legally refuse refugees. For another, America vets its refugees very well. For a third, the Parisian attackers authorities have identified up until now have not been Syrian refugees. Even worse, many of the same people who refuse to accept refugees have actively fought against policies that would help keep guns out of the hands of terrorists. Today the New York Daily News reported : The NRA — and their gun-loving Republican cohorts — are refusing once more to stop terrorists intent on getting armed in the U.S.A. A legal loophole allows suspected terrorists on the government’s no-fly list to legally buy guns, but a bill to fix that will likely wither on the vine. The federal Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act, even in the wake of last week’s terrorist killing of 129 people in Paris, remains a long shot due to its rabid pro-gun opponents. The News goes on to report, “more than 2,000 suspects on the FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist bought weapons in the U.S. over the last 11 years.” So while Americans fall over themselves trying to deny citizenship to a group of people based on religious grounds, they fail to support actual legislation that could keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists. This is
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Gov. Jay Inslee stands up against anti-refugee bigotry

Gov. Jay Inslee stands up against anti-refugee bigotry

Jay Inslee made a bold and morally brave statement earlier this week, declaring that “Washington will continue to be a state that welcomes those seeking refuge from persecution, regardless of where they come from or the religion they practice.” He scolded over half of the nation’s governors who have publicly stated they do not want refugees in their states, calling such language “of little value except to divide people and foment intolerance.” Today, Inslee defended his position to NPR: “I think that our nation is tested from time to time, and I think this is one of those times to really dig deep and see what kind of charter our nation and my state has. I’ve always believed my state and the country has always been a place of refuge for those who have been persecuted…” During the interview, Inslee said he understands the criticism that has been directed his way, claiming, “Fear is a powerful thing and these atrocities strike deep…but I think leadership calls for people to yes, recognize it’s real and act responsibly.” Inslee pointed out that America has not always been able to overcome the “ dark impulses ” which fear and death bring about. Specifically, he spoke out about his own state’s experience of “locking up Washington and American citizens” and by that he means when the federal government sent Japanese Americans to internment camps. He noted that during this dark time in our nation’s history, “we lost moorage of who we are as a country.” You can listen to the full interview here .

Daily Clips: November 18th, 2015

Daily Clips: November 18th, 2015

Washington Gov. Inslee welcomes Syrian refugees: Here’s an NPR segment with our Governor, Jay Inslee, who talks about the importance of supporting Syrian refugees fleeing from civil war. His words are full of wisdom and humanity, putting him at odds with over half of the nation’s xenophobic governors. Hillary Clinton and her paid leave problem:  Recently, Hillary Clinton has been attacking Bernie Sanders’ position on taxes; namely, that some of his proposals like paid family leave will require tax increases for middle-class Americans. During last week’s debate, Clinton stated, “Hard working, middle-class families need a raise, not a tax increase.” That is a great soundbite, but how would she actually pay for 12 weeks of paid family leave without taxing the middle class? A Clinton aide claims, “She supports a different way to pay for [paid leave] and so will be outlining additional ideas for ensuring the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share.” For now, your guess is as good as mine. Race-baiting for the presidency:  This article takes a historical look at the use of race in presidential elections and how racial divides have been callously employed since the birth of our nation. The takeaway message, in my opinion, can be summed up in this line: It may be the case that [racial divineness may be] a useful approach in some primary contests, but quite damaging in a general election with a more diverse electorate. In the maelstrom of bigotry, Republicans have forgotten this cogent piece of advice. Elizabeth Warren Delivers Stinging Critique Of Efforts To Reject Syrian Refugees: “We are not a nation that delivers children back into the hands of ISIS murderers.”

Daily Clips: November 17th, 2015

Daily Clips: November 17th, 2015

Obama tells Republican governors it’s “not American” to only accept Christian refugees:  At the G20 summit, Obama had harsh words for our nation’s top xenophobic governors, stating, “When I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful.” He also urged leaders to not give in to their “dark impulses” when it came to this matter. David Brooks is misleading you or he’s an idiot: In his latest spiritual-babble column, Brooks laments how the “secular substitutes for religion — nationalism, racism and political ideology — have all led to disaster.” You’ve got to be kidding me. As a secularist, I find it highly insulting that Brooks thinks I substitute religious meaning in the world for nationalism, racism and political ideology. The man’s a bigot. And it appears he’s not very well acquainted with secularism, however that unfortunately did not stop him from writing about it. Rubio’s plan to keep the poor out of higher education:  “But education is not what Republicans are about, and this debate was aimed, naturally, at GOP primary voters. Hence, swipe at egghead philosophers, who by definition (in the Tea Party view), belong to the liberal intelligentsia. That was just the very well-educated, not-a-welder Marco Rubio playing to his nativist party’s epic anti-intellectualism.” Yellen urges rejection of rule-based monetary policy proposal:  According to Reuters, “Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Tuesday condemned a proposal in the U.S. Congress that would require the central bank to tie interest rate policy to a mathematical rule, arguing this would ‘severely damage the U.S. economy.'”

The End of American Apathy Towards War?

The End of American Apathy Towards War?

Americans love war, but after waging (at least) two in the last decade, we have become tired of spilling blood in foreign lands. Our current apathy towards conflict has been labelled the “ Iraq Syndrome ” – a disease characterized by our collective doubt regarding the use of force. However, our fatigue towards warfare may be succumbing to the threat of ISIS. A CCN/ORC poll from October discovered that 46% of the country would support sending ground troops to fight the Islamic State. This number will most likely increase after the latest attacks in Paris, driving support for another war in the Middle East even higher. The outcome seems clear: the media will do all they can to sell fear and hatred, while Republican candidates will happily provide their nativist base with racist generalizations and fantasy-like plans for war. Take for example Jeb Bush: a stumbling presidential candidate who is hoping to become the third Bush to start an American war in the Middle East. After the Paris attacks, Bush  said  that the US “should declare war” on ISIS. Specifically, he advocated for taking “it to them in Syria and Iraq.” He then went onto explain how he would do this: You destroy ISIS. And then you build a coalition to replace this radical Islamic terrorist threat to our country and to Europe and to the region with something that is more peace-loving. (It’s all so simple! Just blow ISIS up and create a peace-loving regime in its place. Why hadn’t Obama thought of that before?) During this incredibly unintelligent interview on Meet the Press, Chuck Todd asked Bush what he would say to an American people wary of future wars in the Middle East. His answer is revealing : I tell the American public that a caliphate the size of Indiana garners strength each and every day if it’s not taken out. In
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Daily Clips: November 16th, 2015

Daily Clips: November 16th, 2015

Tweet Democrats need to learn to defend Obama’s record on foreign policy:  If you watched Saturday night’s debate, you would have seen the Democratic candidates uncomfortably defend the status quo in the Middle East. It felt awkward and half-hearted. Matthew Ygelsias provides a useful narrative for Democrats to champion Obama’s foreign policy going forward: …But then again, the Middle East was a violent and chaotic place when Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were in office. Obama has not managed to solve the problems of the region, but he has defended America’s core interests — including, crucially, the absence of terrorist attacks at home — without incurring the thousands of American military casualties than we saw under his predecessor. It is, all things considered, a pretty good record. Across the country, voters want to limit money’s control of politics:  Americans are demanding new solutions “to the age-old problem of money in politics.” From Seattle to Maine, Americans are trying to ameliorate this situation and “piece by piece and city by city, we’re strengthening the levees of our democracy. From city halls to the Capitol, we are working on adopting innovative approaches to give all Americans the ability to be heard. The returns from Maine and Seattle suggest there is common ground and voters are ready to act. Left, right and center, everyone has had enough of politics that serves only the interests of big political donors.” Obama says no to ground troops:  “It is not just my view, but the view of my closest military and civilian advisers, that that would be a mistake,” Obama said of putting boots on the ground. “A strategy has to be one that can be sustained,” the president added. Growing number of states refuse to accept Syrian refugees:  Michigan, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and Indiana have all refused the relocation of refugees after the Paris attacks.

Daily Clips: November 13th, 2015

Daily Clips: November 13th, 2015

Stiglitz: Sanders is right – everybody has the right to healthcare, sick days and paid leave:  Here is an intriguing conversation between Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, and Amy Goodman at Democracy Now! They talk about a range of issues, mostly relating to the 2016 race, but this section of the talk I found to be particularly interesting: AMY GOODMAN: So that’s Hillary Clinton. You advise Hillary Clinton? JOSEPH STIGLITZ: I talk to her, yes. AMY GOODMAN: So, her response—”We’re not Denmark”—as a put-down to Bernie Sanders? JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, it’s a fact we are not Denmark. But the question is whether the United States is rich enough to be able to make sure that everyone has a basic right to healthcare, family leave, parental, you know, sick leave—we are exceptional—whether we are a society that can tolerate—that should tolerate the levels of inequality that we have. I think Bernie Sanders is right about that. And I think that we—Hillary is right that one of the strengths of America should be that we can give opportunity for small businesses. Actually, Denmark and Norway do that, as well. So, what I would say is that Bernie is absolutely right that providing the basic necessities of a middle-class society should be the right of everybody in our country. David Brooks criticizes Marco Rubio!  For the first time in this race, Brooks had stern words for Rubio – a man he has previously lauded as “ young and thus uncorrupted .” In his latest column, Brooks seems to have had enough of Rubio’s fence-sitting on immigration, stating: “I’m sorry, Marco Rubio, when your party faces a choice this stark, with consequences this monumental, you’re probably not going to be able to get away with being a little on both sides.” The real job for the next Democratic president:  There are a lot of promises which are being made by Bernie, Hillary, and Martin, but the odds of them accomplishing any of these commitments are very low. As
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Pramila Jayapal: “Language and names matter in signaling that our public lands are for everyone.”

Pramila Jayapal: “Language and names matter in signaling that our public lands are for everyone.”

Over at Slog , Washington state Senator (and Civic Skunk Works contributor ) Pramila Jayapal notes that today, finally, the National Parks Service is expected to approve a very important name change. For eight years, Washington state residents have fought to change the offensive names of Coon Lake and Coon Creek in the North Cascades National Park to Howard Lake and Howard Creek. She applauds the change to the new names, which honors the history of the land, but she acknowledges that this isn’t enough. She calls for… …the National Park Service to use its [centennial] anniversary as an opportunity to unveil a new platform for inclusion. Data show that just 22 percent of NPS’s annual visitors are minorities, where almost 37 percent of America’s population is now minority. The NPS platform for inclusion should lay out plans to increase representation of people of color within the park service employees and to have targeted outreach to communities of color to encourage their usage of our natural treasures. Diverse representation creates a bridge to communities who might not otherwise see themselves in certain environments or feel culturally understood. The thing about inclusion is that it can be hard work. It involves scouring institutions for unwelcoming or exclusionary policies and features. It means reaching out to communities that you may not know. But once you’ve successfully created a diverse environment, the rewards that diversity bring more than make up for the effort. Please go read the essay and think about ways you can make your world a little more inclusive.

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