Bjorn Against's Journal
Member since: Mon May 22, 2006, 07:07 PM
Number of posts: 10,036
Number of posts: 10,036
We will get to the NSA scandal, but first I want everyone to take a moment to think back to 2008 when a few large banks nearly brought down the American economy. Most of us remember the darkness of those days very clearly, I will never forget the day that I went to work and saw 25% our workforce laid off in a single day.
I want you not just to think about how you were affected by the crisis however, I want you to think about what that crisis means about the way our economy and our government are structured. I want you to think about how the owners of these banks have become so powerful that their failure could bring down the entire US economy.
Now think about this in terms of politics and consider what this means in terms of Presidential power. Too often we only look at what each President did, we can see that Bush was a royal fuck up in everything he did but that really does not tell us nearly as much as we often believe it does. We also can see that Obama pushed some financial stimulus that did help get the economy back on track, but that is also not the key issue here.
The key issue is that despite anything that Bush did or Obama did the same system is in place that has existed for years. The reforms that have been made to the system are pretty minimal and not a single banker was held accountable for their role in the collapse.
We have had some very heated debates on DU about the lack of prosecution of the bankers not so much because we disagree on whether or not bankers should be prosecuted, in fact most people here seem to be in agreement that they should be prosecuted. What the division always revolves around is Obama's role, we yell at each other and divide ourselves over whether or not we think Obama has handled the situation well. Yet in debating Obama's role as an individual we often miss the big picture and we fail to recognize the system that Obama stepped in to. It is also the system that Bush stepped into, it is the system that Clinton stepped into, it is the system that our nation has been building for hundreds of years now and it has lots of powerful interests invested in it.
The bankers proved to us that they were so powerful that they hold the ability to collapse the entire global economy, do you not think that might cause Obama to pause before he prosecutes any of them? If they have the ability to collapse the global economy they have the ability to do a lot of other things that we can only speculate about as well, if one of them were to be prosecuted and the others wanted revenge they could screw a lot of people over very easily.
So how does this relate to the NSA scandal? Well we are falling for the same thing again, we are debating Obama's role in the scandal rather than recognizing the larger powers that exist.
The NSA was founded in 1952 and they have always been a very secretive organization, we really don't know what they have been up to for the last sixty years because they reveal very little about their operations to us. We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg when we are talking about metadata, the NSA undoubtedly has tons of information that we don't know anything about. This is a spy agency that has been operating in the dark under several Presidents now.
A lot of people say Obama should have issued an executive order to stop this spying. I certainly wish he had the power to do that, but let's be honest about just how corrupted our government has become and consider how far back this corruption goes. The NSA has been spying on Americans for the last sixty years, they have enormous databases of who knows what kind of information and there are powerful people who no doubt use these databases to look up information for reasons that are not in any way noble. They want you to think it is all about fighting terrorism, but you would have to be pretty naive to believe they are only looking at suspected terrorists and not monitoring their political opponents. Having this massive spy network no doubt benefits some powerful people, how do you think they would react if Obama tried to shut down their operation with an executive order?
I am not trying to defend Obama nor am I trying to blame him, what I am trying to do is make us all consider how little this has to do with any of the specific individuals involved in the case and how much it has to do with a rotten system that has been built up over the years. The reality of this case is the reality of damn near every story that hits the news, wealth has been so far concentrated at the top in American society that our democracy does not work any more. We can keep electing all the Presidents we want, but no single President is going to change this because the real power brokers are the people like the bankers who nearly collapsed the economy, when a few individuals amass so much money that they can bring down the entire economy if they want to no President is going to mess with them.
That is unless we push to change the system. The focus should not be on pushing to change Obama, the focus should be pushing to change the system. It is a system that has been in place long before Obama and it is a system that will be in place long after Obama unless we push to change it.
The corporate bigwigs want us to be debating Obama because they know that divides us. What they don't want us to be doing is they don't want us to be debating the NSA's powers, they know that if we were to focus on the system rather than specific individuals we would all see how fucked up their system is and we would demand real change. They want us to believe that the only way to bring change is to elect new people to office, but they never want us to think about challenging the very system that those new people are stepping into. They want us to believe the President is all powerful because if we realized that the President is not as powerful as the corporate interests are the illusion of democracy would disappear.
Let's not fight about Obama, let's fight the real enemies.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Thu Jun 13, 2013, 09:41 PM (90 replies)
I have heard from so many politicians today both Republicans and Democrats that opening up our phone records to scrutiny is necessary for keeping safe. I am being told that we have nothing to fear then we should have no problem with people looking at our phone records, well I am sure that the people telling me this must not have anything to fear either or else they would never be advocating for such a policy.
Every election season I hear these same politicians tell me that they are men and women of principle so I am sure they will have no problem living by the same principles that they enforce on the rest of us the people.
If the politicians want to look at our phone records then I am sure that they will be more than happy to let us look at theirs, after all they have nothing to hide right?
I want to see the names of every donor and lobbyist that our politicians speak on the phone with, if they have nothing to fear then they should be willing to let us see who they are talking to should they not?
The next time your member of Congress holds a town hall ask them if they are willing to live under the same microscope they want the rest of us to live under, if they are the principled people they claim to be I am sure they will be more than happy to hand over their phone records to you.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Thu Jun 6, 2013, 09:13 PM (7 replies)
A couple of scratches.
I have suffered worse injuries than those when I cut myself shaving.
We are being told that suffering a couple of tiny scratches in a fight justifies shooting and killing an unarmed teenager. Wrap your head around that and think about just how fucked up that is.
The fact that we are even having a debate over whether or not the killing of Trayvon Martin was justified shows just how nuts the NRA and their George Zimmerman defending minions have become, any sane person should realize that suffering a scratch does not justify homicide.
I think people should have the right to defend themselves, but when people try to tell me that suffering a couple of tiny scratches justifies killing an unarmed person that shows just how insane the definition of "self defense" that the gun nuts are promoting has become.
Even if murder and perjury suspect George Zimmerman's story were completely true, I still can not possibly see how killing Trayvon Martin would have been justified. If Zimmerman's story were true I would accept shoot to wound as self defense, but I have not heard any credible reason as to why shoot to kill was necessary in the situation Zimmerman was in even if his story were true.
Yet the gun nuts insist that they should have the right to shoot to kill on the basis of suffering a couple of tiny scratches in a fight. We can not allow the gun nuts to weaken the standards for what constitutes reasonable self defense, if Zimmerman's ridiculous self defense claim holds up I hate to think of the precedent it will set.
Most people support the right to self defense, but the sane among us will never allow anyone to tell us that suffering a couple of scratches justifies shoot to kill.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Wed Jun 5, 2013, 07:30 PM (9 replies)
We have been hearing over and over for the past week that the IRS "singled out" the Tea Party for special scrutiny when they applied for tax exempt status for their "social welfare" organizations. It is an allegation that has been screamed loudly by the right-wing and the media and it has even been repeated by many on the left end of the political spectrum.
I have read a great deal about this "scandal" and I have heard the allegation that the Tea Party was "singled out" many times, but I have yet to find a single official source that confirms they actually were singled out. There have been many stories in the media that have made this claim, but I have yet to find one of these stories that was actually able to back that allegation up with a source.
Many of you may be saying, "The IRS apologized for singling the Tea Party out and the Inspector General's report confirmed they did just that." If you actually read either the apology or the Inspector General's report however neither of them actually state that the Tea Party was singled out.
Let us start out with IRS official Lois Lerner's apology; here are the words that sparked the firestorm:
So our line people in Cincinnati who handled the applications did what we call centralization of these cases. They centralized work on these in one particular group. They do that for efficiency and consistency — something we do whenever we see an uptick in a new kind of application or something we haven’t seen before. Folks might remember from back a few years ago we had credit counseling organizations and we centralized those cases. We had mortgage foreclosure cases and we centralized those cases. We do it for consistency So they went ahead and did that. How they do centralization is they have a list in their office that they give out to folks who are screening cases that says if it is one of these kind of cases and it can’t be screened it needs to go to group X. So centralization was perfectly fine.
However, in these cases, the way they did the centralization was not so fine. Instead of referring to the cases as advocacy cases, they actually used case names on this list. They used names like Tea Party or Patriots and they selected cases simply because the applications had those names in the title. That was wrong, that was absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate — that’s not how we go about selecting cases for further review. We don’t select for review because they have a particular name.
Now that you have seen what those words say, let's think about what they do not say. Lerner says that they searched out terms like "Tea Party" and "Patriots", but she never says those are the only terms they searched for. They may have also been searching on terms like "Democratic" and "Progressive", we don't know because the IRS has yet to provide us a complete list of all the search terms that may have been used. Lerner never mentions anything at all about how left-leaning groups may have been handled by the IRS, but she was asked about it by a reporter. Here is what she said...
"I don't have any information on that."
WHAT??! This is a high level official that oversees groups seeking tax exempt status and she can tell us how Tea Party groups are flagged, but she can not provide us with even one shred of information on how left-leaning groups were flagged. As a person who is in charge of overseeing tax exempt groups it seems that she should be able to explain to us how groups are flagged, yet she only claims to have knowledge of the process they used to flag one small subset of applicants. Does anyone really find this believable? How could someone in her position have absolutely no information on the flagging process of on any left leaning groups? How are we supposed to determine that the Tea Party was singled out when we are not even given anything to compare their experience with?
The Inspector General's Report acknowledges that the Tea Party groups were not the only groups flagged for scrutiny, in fact the Tea Party only made up about 30% of the flagged groups. If you read the report however the focus is nearly entirely on the way Tea Party groups were flagged and says almost nothing about how other groups were flagged. It cites questions that were asked to Tea Party groups but were not asked to "other groups", yet it never specifies what other groups it is talking about. It is common knowledge the IRS does scrutinize some groups more than others because it has limited resources, we already knew that some groups don't get the same level of scrutiny but that is not the issue here. The issue is whether or not the Tea Party was singled out based on their political views, but the Inspector General's report does not say that left leaning groups who were flagged were not asked the same questions.
according to the IRS, a Determinations Unit specialist was asked to search for applications with Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in the organization’s name as well as other “political-sounding” names. EO function officials stated that, in May 2010, the Determinations Unit began developing a spreadsheet that would become known as the “Be On the Look Out” listing (hereafter referred to as the BOLO listing), 15 which included the emerging issue of Tea Party applications. In June 2010, the Determinations Unit began training its specialists on issues to be aware of, including Tea Party cases. By July 2010, Determinations Unit management stated that it had requested its specialists to be on the lookout for Tea Party applications.
In August 2010, the Determinations Unit distributed the first formal BOLO listing. The criteria in the BOLO listing were Tea Party organizations applying for I.R.C. § 501(c)(3) or I.R.C. § 501(c)(4) status. Based on our review of other BOLO listing criteria, the use of organization names on the BOLO listing is not unique to potential political cases. 16
Interesting, the report says that they have a "Be on the Look Out" group that not only includes applications for "Tea Party", "Patriots", or "9/12", but they also flag "other political sounding names". What those "other political sounding names" are they do not tell us. They do tell us that there are groups on the BOLA listing that are not based on political cases, right after that statement we see the number 16 which indicates a footnote, let us take a look at what that footnote says.
16 We did not review the use of other named organizations on the BOLO listing to determine if their use was appropriate.
WHAT??!! There were other groups on the list that were not affiliated with the Tea Party, but the Inspector General's report did not review ANY of them? What the hell kind of report is this? How the hell are we supposed to know that the Tea Party was singled out when they don't even review the treatment of other groups that were on the exact same BOLO list that they were?
If this scandal swirls around whether or not the Tea Party was treated differently than other groups then knowing how other groups were treated is absolutely crucial information in determining whether or not there was political bias, yet the Inspector General's Report did not even review it.
Who the hell would initiate a review like this without including such crucial information as to the scrutiny placed on other non Tea-Party groups, well the report gives us the answer to that question...
TIGTA initiated this audit based on concerns expressed by members of Congress.
So members of Congress called for this report, presumably Republicans. Did these members of Congress order the Inspector General to only evaluate the treatment of the Tea Party and not look at any other groups? If so is this not an example of abusing a government investigation for partisan political purposes?
I issue my challenge again, I challenge anyone to find me a piece of evidence from an official source that shows the Tea Party was singled out. I have heard the allegation many times this week, but I have yet to find a single piece of evidence that proves the Tea Party was treated differently, all I can find is reports on how Tea Party applications were handled with silence on how the applications of non-Tea Party groups who were also flagged were handled.
Can anyone cite me a source, or can we conclude that this "scandal" is not about the Tea Party being singled out?
On edit: I want to thank Chathamization who is a relatively new DUer that pointed me to the footnote used in the Inspector General's report. The contributions Chathamization provided were invaluable.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Thu May 16, 2013, 07:44 PM (40 replies)
The admins have sent a clear message that violent rhetoric is not welcome here.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Thu May 2, 2013, 11:37 PM (152 replies)
It is time to take a firm stand to denounce those who advocate "Second Amendment Solution" terrorism
A recent poll shows that 29% of Americans, including 44% of Republicans, 18% of Democrats and 27% of independents support an armed rebellion in the near future.
This may be the single most disturbing poll I have seen in a long time, and I have seen plenty of disturbing polls.
Let me be clear: those who are among the 18% of Democrats who believe this shit are not on my side. They can call themselves Democrats all they want but they are among the same level of scum as the teabaggers who cheer on Ted Nugent.
I have long been a strong supporter of non-violent resistance against the government and I have been in the streets many times over the last few years engaging in non-violent resistance. Non-violent resistance is a wonderful thing, but violent resistance is terrorism and all those who speak of "Second Amendment Solutions" are making it clear to us that they are at the very least terrorist sympathizers.
I know most of the scum bags who talk about turning their guns against "government tyranny" are all talk and won't actually carry out the murder they endorse, but it is a possible that a few of those nut jobs will and people will die. The blood of those people will be on the hands of all of the 29% who endorsed this idea.
Free speech is good, if people see government tyranny I highly encourage them to stand up against using any non-violent means at their disposal. Once the guns come out however the person wielding those guns becomes a murderous thug that needs to be condemned by every last person.
I sure as hell don't want the teabaggers deciding we are facing government tyranny and believing it is acceptable to use their guns against those of us they believe are contributing to that tyranny. I don't want anyone on my side to take up arms against the government either and anyone who even encourages such a thing is someone who I will loudly condemn them no matter their stances on other issues.
There is absolutely no way in hell that an armed revolt could ever succeed against the largest and most technologically advanced military the world has ever seen, but that doesn't mean people would not die in large numbers. And what happens then? All these people who were "fighting for our freedom" will cause the biggest crackdown on civil liberties this nation has ever seen, because don't think for a second the government will grant you more freedoms if you start murdering their people.
Those who call for taking up arms to "protect our freedoms" are in reality a threat to the freedoms of all of us. I just hope all of the 29% of Americans who say they support such a stupid and sickening idea are just idiots that say stupid shit without any intent of carrying it out, but if even a few of those 29% are actually serious and do carry out what they say they want to do all the people who encouraged this shit will have to share in the blame.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Thu May 2, 2013, 09:46 PM (27 replies)
"Government should be run like a business."
I would be surprised if there is a single person reading this who has never heard this favorite Republican Talking Point. Many Republican politicians have ran on the platform that they would run government like a business, in fact their last Presidential candidate tried to base his campaign on running government like he ran his business.
To be clear I do not think government should be run like a business, the ideas I am going to suggest are not ideas that I agree with they are ideas that Republicans agree with and I am merely helping them to get their message out.
If government were run like a business Barack Obama would clearly be the CEO of that business. Obama currently has a salary of about $400,000 a year. For a CEO of a major company that is peanuts, the average CEO makes an average of 12.9 million a year, Republicans have consistently made it clear that they support CEOs making this kind of money, in fact they have accused those who say otherwise of class warfare. The average CEO makes over 32 times what Obama gets paid in a year. Clearly government is not being run like a business here, when the average CEO makes 32 times what Obama makes and Obama is running the largest operation of any of them. If government were ran as a business Obama would make at least 32 times his current salary and a probably a hell of a lot more considering he is the biggest of the big wigs, clearly the Republicans who support running government like a business would support giving Obama a massive salary increase far beyond anything that I would recommend, but they are welcome to their opinion.
Being a CEO is not just about money however, it is about being in control of guiding the company and ensuring that company grows and keeps growing. The Republicans have always been clear that they support business men who work to expand the size of their business. I sure have never heard a Republican suggest that a business should work to reduce its size, so clearly if the Republicans want to run government like a business they want a CEO who will work to expand the size of government just like a business works to expand the size of their business, they would clearly want to fire any business leader who tried to shrink the size of the business.
In order to expand their business a CEO needs to eliminate any employees in the company who are holding the business back. If anyone filibusters the CEO it is obvious that the people who want government run like a business would be supportive of the CEO when he unilaterally decides to fire all those who try to block him from leading the company forward. Paul Ryan, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, clearly all of those people are rebelling against the direction the CEO is trying to lead the company, if government were a business all of them would no doubt be fired and only the people who went along with Obama on everything would be retained. To be clear I don't believe that Obama should unilaterally be able to fire anyone who expresses even the slightest disagreement with him, but that is how businesses are run and because Republicans want government run like a business it seems pretty clear to me that they would have no problem with Obama firing everyone who disagreed with him in his quest to maximize government profit.
Make no mistake about it, the ultimate goal of a business is to maximize profit. Sadly for the Republicans the government has not been very profitable, clearly they must think that more revenue needs to be brought in. Obviously the government is not charging enough money to pull in maximum profits, raising taxes substantially will go a long ways in increasing revenue and making the government business more profitable. Considering the government has no competition the smart business move would be to increase the taxes substantially, that is how business works if there is no competition businesses charge more for their services and Republicans want government run like a business so clearly they must want this massive increase in taxes.
These taxes will not only create huge profits but they will also cover the expenses of running the business, this means lavish all expenses paid trips to Hawaii for their executives. This is the sort of bonus that is common for the executives of most large corporations, so clearly those who want government run like a business would be excited to see their tax dollars going to fund a lavish vacation for all the members of the Obama administration.
I may not be a big fan of the idea of running the government like a business so I don't support all of the ideas I mentioned, but I am certain that all the right-wingers who have been advocating for government to be run like a business must support these ideas because they undeniably represent the way businesses are commonly run. Businesses work to expand their size, the executives hold all of the power and can fire anyone who stands in their way, and they regularly raise costs in order to increase profits and provide those lavish all expenses paid Hawaiian vacations to their executives.
The next time you hear a Republican say that government should be run like a business tell them about the ways businesses are run, if they are as principled as they claim to be and are willing to stand behind their government as a business idea then I can guarantee you their heads will not explode.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Wed May 1, 2013, 09:04 PM (1 replies)
"I'll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands"
-Former NRA President Charlton Heston
"Now if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they're going to be wearing bulletproof vests." … "They've got a big target on there, ATF. Don't shoot at that, because they've got a vest on underneath that. Head shots, head shots.... Kill the sons of bitches."
-Right-wing radio host G. Gordon Liddy
"“Obama, he’s a piece of sh**. I told him to suck on my machine gun." "Hey Hillary, You might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch.”
-NRA Board Member Ted Nugent who was waving an assault rifle in the air as he spoke these words
These quotes represent just three of the many pieces of violent rhetoric that has come from the right-wing in recent years. The people who said these disgusting things were not just random right-wingers, they are people who were given giant microphones by the far right.
The right-wing leaders who uttered these disgusting words were not held accountable, G. Gordon Liddy continued to host his radio show, Charlton Heston's "cold dead hands" line was not only cheered by his supporters but was printed onto bumper stickers by the NRA, and Ted Nugent has continued to be reelected to the NRA Board of Directors and provided a microphone to make other violent threats.
Yesterday a tragedy struck in Boston, it happened on Tax Day just a short distance from the site of the original Boston Tea Party. As of right now we don't know exactly who set off the bombs in Boston, but it is certainly not a stretch to see the symbolism of Tax Day and suspect that it might be right-wing extremists who carried this attack out.
Now people tell me that we should wait for the facts to come in before we voice our suspicions, but I feel that we have been seeing the facts for far too long and I can not pretend that these facts do not exist. They may not be facts that point to a specific individual, but they are facts that do raise a lot of suspicions.
The fact is that we have heard far too much of the "from my cold dead hands" rhetoric, we have seen far too many nutty right-wingers tell us that they need an arsenal of guns to protect themselves from the government. They have made no secret of the fact that they dream of using their guns to violently overthrow the government, they want us to think that their guns are needed to protect us from government tyranny. Of course in their world tyranny means allowing gay people to get married and providing health care to poor people.
When I hear violent rhetoric I suspect that at least some of the people pushing that rhetoric are violent people themselves, and when a Tax Day attack happens they are going to be the first people I suspect. The reason I suspect them is based on their behavior, if they did not promote violence I would not suspect them no matter how much I disagreed with them. I disagree with nearly all Republicans, but the vast majority of Republicans I would never suspect of committing a violent act such as this one. There is a small group of them however that does seem extremely dangerous to me, the people who embrace Ted Nugent's violent rhetoric are the type of people who I believe are likely to be violent themselves.
In recent months we have seen right-wingers openly carrying assault rifles into State Capitol buildings in places like Oregon and Washington in order to intimidate law makers who are working pass gun legislation. We have seen the legislators who have introduced gun control bills sent numerous death threats. This is real and it is happening right now, I can't sit and pretend that this sort of violent rhetoric does not make me suspicious.
Maybe in the end I will be proven wrong, maybe it won't be a teabagger that gets arrested maybe it will just be some crazed teenager who was had a sick idea that he thought it would be fun to unleash chaos. Even if I am wrong however I will not apologize for being suspicious because it is the violent rhetoric of a certain group of people that made me suspicious of them, and if a person chooses to speak that violent rhetoric it is their own fault when the finger gets pointed at them when something happens.
The people who promote violence are not innocent, even if they did not have a direct role in planting these bombs they are still responsible for promoting acts of violence and terrorism.
I suspect this bombing was committed by a right-winger who is a fan of the sort of violent rhetoric that I posted at the top of this post. I am not going to make any apologies for voicing my suspicions before all the facts are in because there are more than enough facts to say that a certain group of people have acted in a way that has caused people to be legitimately suspicious of them. If they don't want people suspecting them of violence then they need to stop promoting violence.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Tue Apr 16, 2013, 07:13 PM (131 replies)
Yesterday I made a decision that I wanted to learn more about who serves on the NRA Board of Directors and I set a goal of researching every last one of them and posting about them here in the Gun Control Activism forum. I knew there were some real crazies on the board, but I must say that even I am shocked by just how nuts this organization is. Today we are going to cover three more members of the NRA Board, one who markets ammo to help people survive in the zombie apocalypse, another who refers to people getting murdered as "taking your lumps", and a third who physically assaulted Al Sharpton. Sadly this is not the Onion, these are actual members of the NRA Board of Directors.
Steve Hornady runs Hornady Manufacturing Company, Hornady markets ammo to be used in the case of a zombie apocalypse. I am not joking this is an actual ad for their ammo...
I guess I really can't blame Steve Hornady for preparing for the zombie apocalypse, if I found myself surrounded by as many NRA members as he has I would probably believe the zombie apocalypse has arrived as well.
Buster Bachhuber is probably best known for having the dumbest name of anyone on the NRA Board of Directors, but in his spare time he refers to mass shooting victims as "lumps"...
Bachhuber pulled out some of the arguments pro-gun people pull out to defend the ability of Americans to carry all manner of firearm: guns don't kill people, people kill people; criminals don't follow the gun laws anyway; the public doesn't want more gun control; allowing people — such as teachers — to carry firearms might be the best defense against mass shootings.Link
Ultimately, it's about freedom, he said, and "maybe you just got to take your lumps when you're free" and accept that every now and then large numbers of people will be shot to death.
Such compassion for the Newtown victims don't you think?
Roy Innis boasted of himself "I am one of the few non-bigoted black leaders", literally seconds after he made that claim he physically assaulted one of the most well known Civil Rights leaders of all time...
Yes, the NRA has a Board Member who has violently assaulted a national civil rights leader on national television, but assault does not stop the NRA from presenting him as a model gun owner.
Despite his violent tendencies Innis does try to present a positive public image for himself, he has ran a "Stop the War on the Poor" campaign. It sounds like a wonderful thing until you realize that Innis is referring to the poor multinational oil companies.
Roy Innis, the head of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), whose group participated in a "Stop the War on the Poor" campaign launched by a lobbying firm connected to Alaskan oil interests in order to push for more oil drilling in the US.
Innis has also taken a great deal of money from chemical giant Monsanto to run his "civil rights" organization, that money seems to have bought some interesting opinions from him my favorite of which is this...
As national chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the New York-based black civil rights group founded in the Forties, he has caused a mighty stink with his attacks on greens. Innis thinks that environmentalist thinking is helping to ‘strangle Africa’. He argues that European Union restrictions on the use of the pesticide DDT to combat malaria are ‘killing black babiesLink
It is true, gun's don't kill people but restrictions on the spraying of DDT kills black babies. Apparently DDT is an essential nutrient in black baby's diets, it must be true because the NRA's resident "civil rights activist" says so.
After zombies, lumps, an assault on Al Sharpton, the poor oil companies, and DDT for black babies I think we have had enough NRA craziness for tonight. I will give you a hint that my next installment will cover an NRA member who takes a bold stand against "Jews Blacks and women". See you in the near future, and if you missed Part 1 you can check it out here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1262599
Posted by Bjorn Against | Wed Mar 20, 2013, 11:02 PM (14 replies)
We all know what the NRA is, but there has been far less focus on who the NRA is. We know the NRA is the largest gun lobby in the United States, but how many people know about the people who lead the organization? I have looked at the names of the members serving on the NRA Board of Directors and have seen several familiar names, but there are a number of them that I have not heard of.
In order to be effective advocates against guns I think it would be valuable to have some information on all of the members of the Board of Directors so I have decided to start a new project for this group, I am going to look up information on all the members of the NRA board and post what I find here. Because the NRA has over 50 members who serve either on their Board or in a key leadership position I will have to compile the information over several installments so it may take me a long time before I get to everyone, but ultimately my goal is to write something about every last one of them. Here are the facts on the first few members on my list of the NRA Leadership:
After Bush secured the Republican nomination, he chose Dick Cheney to lead the process of screening and selecting a running mate. Allbaugh ended up with the responsibility of vetting Cheney himself when Bush focused directly on Cheney as his choice for Vice President, rather than as the man to simply help with the choice. The screening process was subsequently called into question when Cheney's Halliburton stock options, along with his sparse voting record in state and local elections, came to light. A Cheney spokeswoman defended Allbaugh's vetting process, saying it "was as thorough, if not more thorough than what other candidates went through." It remained unclear whether Cheney had filled out a questionnaire he had given the other potential running mates, which dealt with these issues among other topics.Link
When the election results turned into a dispute over Florida ballot counts, Allbaugh went to Florida to run the post-election operation there while other advisers remained behind in Texas. After the legal maneuverings played out with Bush prevailing, he named Allbaugh as his nominee to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency on January 4, 2001.
Yes, our very first member not only was the person who vetted Dick Cheney and completely ignored his corrupt ways in that vetting process, he was also the guy who ran the post-election operation of the Bush campaign that involved the most blatant theft of an election in Presidential history.
Of course anyone who would vet Cheney and find that his corruption doesn't matter probably is not too above board himself and it should come as no surprise that Allbaugh was also involved in the exploitation of the war in Iraq for his own personal profit.
After leaving the government, Allbaugh capitalized on his ties with the Bush administration by going into private business ventures connected with Bush's policy objectives. He became one of several partners involved in New Bridge Strategies, a consulting firm to help clients "evaluate and take advantage of business opportunities in the Middle East following the conclusion of the US-led war in Iraq", and Diligence-Iraq, a security company providing protection for companies doing business there. Diligence, a company founded by former CIA and FBI chief William Webster and 40 percent owned by a wealthy Kuwaiti politician. Allbaugh is the co-chair of Diligence.
As it seems pretty obvious that our first NRA Board member is obviously a corrupt right-wing tool, it probably won't surprise you that the next member on my list of the Board members is also an obviously corrupt right-wing tool.
Graham Hill is the founder and CEO of a right-wing lobbying group called Ice Miller LLP, he also serves as the Director of the Fifty Caliber Institute.
Prior founding the lobbying firm Ice Miller Strategies, Hill served as the staff director and senior counsel to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. Hill is also the Director of Federal Affairs for the Fifty Caliber Institute. While the Fifty Caliber Institute claims that the .50 caliber sniper rifle is “helping to make our streets and nation safer,” the gun has been criticized by many—including members of law enforcement—as a weapon too dangerous for civilian use. John C. Killorin, a former special agent in charge of the Atlanta field division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), called the .50 caliber sniper rifle “a devastatingly powerful weapon against which most troops, most law enforcement, no civilians, have any means of defense.”
Hill also specializes in helping corporate interests to buy out politicians.
One of Graham’s principal Ice Miller clients is General Atomic, which paid Ice Miller $510,000 in lobbying fees between 2007 and 2011. General Atomics has courted controversy for the large amount of money it spends underwriting trips for members of Congress and their families.
And the personal biography of him on Ice Miller's own website brags that he "managed negotiations" on the Patriot Act.
During his time on the Committee, Hill drafted the Norm Mineta Department of Transportation Re-organization Act, which created PHMSA and RITA. He oversaw the negotiations of the port security bill, which contained proposed legislation for port, pipeline, transit and rail security through the Departments of Homeland Security and Transportation. He also managed negotiations for the committee on the REAL ID Act and the Patriot ActLink
Well the NRA may claim to be all about Freedom but the first two board members seem to be closer to Dick Cheney and the Patriot Act than they are to anyone who truly cares about freedom.
Many of us have heard from the gun enthusiasts on this site that there are many Democrats in the NRA, if you believe them then you might hold out hope that the third member on my list of the NRA leadership is not quite so rabidly right-wing. Sadly however, there is not much hope for that wish to come true.
Scott Bach is living proof that the Tea Party has absolutely nothing in common with the original Boston Tea Party, unless you think the Boston Party would be fans of King George, the man who Bach apparently wishes was leading America today:
In a July 3 interview with Adam Toxin, the interim communications manager of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFPO), Bach asked, “Are we trending towards more individual freedom, which, of course this country was founded on, or less?” Referring to a recent Supreme Court decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, he answered, “And what I see, and which is, um, echoed and amplified by the recent, um, health care decision is, my conclusion is it’s less … The Obamacare decision is, to me, it’s the final nail in the coffin … It is the ultimate attack on the Republic. The last vestige of freedom that’s left.” Toxin, referring to the King of Britain at the time of the Revolution, stated, “King George wasn’t anywhere near this tyrannical. The Stamp Act was nothing like Obamacare.” Bach replied, “I agree with that … This is a…case of public officials who have an agenda, who have exceeded their mandate, who have violated their trust and Constitution and the principles on which the country was founded”link
Yes, Scott Bach may be a Tea Party guy, but that does not stop him from taking a stand to call for the return of King George just like the original Tea Party from the 18th century would have wanted. Bach has a very deep desire to move us back to the 18th century, a time in which believes our founders were shooting .50 caliber sniper rifles.
In an October 10, 2007 editorial in the Star-Ledger, Bach addressed New Jersey state legislation that sought to ban private ownership of firearms of .50 caliber or greater, like the Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle, a weapon that can take out armored targets up to a mile away. Claiming that the legislation would ban “hundreds of common hunting and historical firearms, including the flintlocks and muskets that won the American Revolution and the Civil War,” Bach mocked the legislation as “a clear solution to the urban problem of drive-by musketeering, no doubt...”
You know, for all the grief NRA supporters have given to gun control advocates over not knowing the technical details of gun features, it would seem the NRA would keep members off their board who can't understand the difference between a musket and a modern high-tech sniper rifle. I wonder how many people George Washington sniped from a mile away with his .50 caliber musket.
These are just the first three members on my list folks, I shudder for what is to come in future installments of this blog.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Tue Mar 19, 2013, 09:13 PM (5 replies)