NRA Demands, Once Again, Trump Constituent Demands

,The duplicitous  wants guns in OUR workplaces, in our groceries, in our churches, in our night clubs, yet they ban carrying loaded rifles into THEIR offices. To assure their demands are heeded, they send out their chief lobbyist to threaten our politicians such that if they were to support ANY form of gun control legislation, the NRA would make them pay a price—their seat in Congress.  Thus, more terrified of the NRA than their nescient constituents, Senate GOP members would rather sell guns to terrorists than protect the lives of your loved ones.

To end the Democratic filibuster of Senate business last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised “a vote” on gun legislation this week. But, he made sure that any votes taken would require a 60 vote super-majority for passage. Accordingly, all FOUR gun management amendments failed cloture, leaving the terror loophole and the gun show loophole firmly in place and the ability of terrorists on the watch list and the No-Fly list with the affirmed right to buy as many assault rifles and ammunition as they can carry.  Do you feel safer now?

4720

Heller voted NAY

4749

Heller voted YEA

4750

Heller voted NAY

4751

Heller voted YEA

It’s time to make the NRA’s money worthless.  If we really want to make a difference in how our country is governed, it’s time we started taking out the NRA-supported GOP obstructionist trash, starting with taking out Amodei in the US House this year and replacing him with Chip Evans. We also need to assure that Rep. Joe Heck is NOT elected to the Senate and that we replace retiring Sen. Harry Reid with Catherine Cortez Masto. Senator Heller isn’t up for re-election this year, but he’ll be up for re-election in 2018.  We need to remember that he’s indebted to the NRA to the tune of $122,000 and that they’ve bought his votes.

Oh, and as you read through the above vote summaries, if Senator Grassley’s name sounds familiar to you, he chairs the Judiciary Committee. He’s the one blocking any and all consideration of the Supreme Court nomination of Justice Merrick Garland.  So nice to see that he now has a two-fer in an election year where he’s running for re-election to a 7th 6-yr term.

Advertisements

Please Note: Democratic Candidates May Have Lost, But Progressive Issues Won

— by David Morris (reposted from CommonDreams)

Ballot initiatives more accurately take the ideological pulse of the people because debates over issues are not disrupted by the personality politics and subterfuge that dominate candidate races. (Photo: Susy Morris/flickr/cc)

On November 4th Democrats lost big when they ran a candidate but won big when they ran an issue.

In 42 states about 150 initiatives were on the ballot. The vast majority did not address issues dividing the two parties (e.g. raising the mandatory retirement age for judges, salary increases for state legislators, bond issues supporting a range of projects).  But scores of initiatives did involve hot button issues.  And on these American voters proved astonishingly liberal.

Quote01Voters approved every initiative to legalize or significantly reduce the penalties for marijuana possession (Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Washington, D.C.)  It is true that a Florida measure to legalize medical marijuana lost but 57 percent voted in favor (60 percent was required).

Voters approved every initiative to raise the minimum wage (Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota). Voters in San Francisco and Oakland approved initiatives to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018.  The good citizens of Oakland and Massachusetts overwhelmingly approved more generous paid sick leave.

Both Colorado and North Dakota voters rejected measures that would have given the fertilized egg personhood under their criminal codes.

Washington state voters approved background checks for all gun sales and transfers, including private transactions.

By a wide margin Missourians rejected a constitutional amendment to require teachers to be evaluated based on test results and fired or demoted virtually at will.

By a 59-41 margin North Dakotans voted to keep their unique statute outlawing absentee owned pharmacies despite Walmart outspending independent pharmacist supporters at least ten to one.

The vote in Colorado offers a good example of the disparity between how Americans vote on candidates and how we vote on issues.  A few years ago the Colorado legislature stripped cities and counties of the right to build their own telecommunications networks but it allowed them to reclaim that authority if they put it to a vote of their citizens.  On Tuesday 8 cities and counties did just that. Residents in every community voted by a very wide margin to permit government owned networks even while they were voting by an equally wide margin for Republican candidates who vigorously oppose government ownership of anything.

Republicans did gain a number of important victories. Most of these dealt with taxes. For example, Georgia voters by a wide margin supported a constitutional amendment prohibiting the state legislature from raising the maximum state income tax rate. Massachusetts’ voters narrowly voted to overturn a law indexing the state gasoline tax to the consumer price increase.

What did Tuesday tell us?  When given the choice between a Republican and a Democrat candidate the majority of voters chose the Republican.  When given a choice between a Republican and a Democrat position on an issue they chose the Democrat.  I’ll leave it up to others to debate the reasons behind this apparent contradiction.  My own opinion is that ballot initiatives more accurately take the ideological pulse of the people because debates over issues must focus on issues, not personality, temperament or looks.  Those on both sides of the issue can exaggerate, distort and just plain lie but they must do so in reference to the question on the ballot.  No ballot initiative ever lost because one of its main backers attended a strip club 16 years earlier.

I am buoyed by the empirical evidence: Americans even in deeply red regions are liberal on many key issues. And I am saddened that these same voters have voted to enhance the power of a party at odds with the values these voters have expressed.  The challenge, and in an age where billions of dollars in negative sound-bites define a candidate it is a daunting one, is how to make the next election on issues, not personalities.

  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

David Morris is Vice President and director of the New Rules Project at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, which is based in Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. focusing on local economic and social development.

In Their Honor

May 23, 2014 | By CAP Action War Room

Progressive Policies For Veterans This Memorial Day
Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C.    CREDIT: Shawn Davis

Memorial Day is a time for relaxation, but also for reflection and remembrance. The day is first and foremost about honoring American service members who are no longer with us. But there are also steps we can take to help improve the lives of the 10 million current vets and the many military families. So before you take off for the long weekend, take a few minutes to read our list of some progressive policies to help veterans:

  1. Support Vets Looking For Work. Veterans have suffered from Congressional Republicans’ refusal to extend emergency unemployment benefits. There are roughly 163,000 unemployed post-9/11 vets and more than 600,000 unemployed veterans overall. Those who volunteered to protect our nation oversees but can’t find a job back at home deserve more support from our elected officials.
  2. Give 1 Million Veterans A Raise. Of the roughly 10 million veterans in the United States today, one in ten — that’s 1 million vets — would get a boost in wages if we raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. Almost two-thirds of these veterans are over the age of 40. Nobody should be paid wages so low that working full-time can still leave them in poverty, and that includes many former members of our Armed Forces.
  3. Help Keep Veterans Out Of Poverty. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is a powerful anti-hunger and anti-poverty tool. But it’s been the subject of persistent attacks from some Republicans in Congress, who voted last year to cut $40 billion and push 4 to 6 million people from the program. SNAP has never been more needed for service members: there are 900,000 veterans who rely on the benefits in any given month, and military families’ reliance on the program hit a record high last year.
  4. Expand Health Care To Low-Income Residents. There are over a quarter million uninsured veterans in states that are currently refusing to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. That’s just wrong. (While many people assume that all veterans have health benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs, as of 2013 only two-thirds were eligible and just one-third were enrolled).
  5. Implement The Common Core. The average military family moves to six different states, and each state offers a separate set of academic standards for military children to follow. When relocating to one state, a child may be way ahead of her grade level; in another, she might be far behind. Having a high-quality, unified set of standards like the Common Core State Standards provide will help military families with transitions and ensure our nation’s economy and military remain strong.
  6. Expand Background Checks For Gun Buyers. Veterans are some of our nation’s foremost experts on guns, what they can do in the hands of trained, responsible people, and how they can be used in the hands of those who want to do us harm. The massive loopholes in our gun background check system allow criminals, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people to easily access guns. Expanding background checks to all gun sales goes hand in hand with strengthening our second amendment by helping keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
  7. Pass The Employment Non-Discrimination Act. There are over one million LGBT veterans and almost 50,000 more currently serving. Since the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, members of the military can serve with honesty and integrity and without the fear of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Unfortunately, the same fair treatment does not exist in the civilian sector. ENDA would go a long way to solve that problem and could also also significantly curtail high rates of veteran unemployment.

 

BOTTOM LINE: As a nation, we should pride ourselves on doing everything we can to make sure that citizens who sacrifice to protect our security and freedom are able to live healthy and secure lives back home. These are just a few of the many steps that we should take to get to that point for veterans, and create a more prosperous country for everyone.

PS: The allegations of long wait times and secret waiting lists at the Phoenix VA hospital is a serious concern and must be addressed immediately. But we must also not lose sight of the VA system’s successes, as well as its steady improvement in recent years. Here are key facts to know.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

Gun Violence Double-Speak

I’m always fascinated how folks in Washington are always saying they need a comprehensive bill for this or for that.  Then, when presented with a comprehensive bill, they claim they need to fix that issue not with a massive bill, but in a step by step process.  What they’re really saying is give it to me piece by piece so I can kill what my Corporate sponsors don’t like … and I can vote for what they love.  Gun violence legislation is the most current example of the comprehensive vs. step-by-step dilemma we all to frequently face.

I recently sent an email to Sen. Harry Reid regarding “comprehensive” gun violence legislation purportedly being considered.  My email was in support of not just background checks, but restricting clip sizes as well as the ability to buy assault rifles.  Senator Reid’s response back to me is shown below and it appears to be saying two different things about the exact same thing — background checks.  It’s supposedly IN the bill, but it’s also apparently still being negotiated.  And, IF a compromise can be reached, then he’ll include it.  HUH?  I’ve highlighted the differences with two different colors of text:

“Thank you for contacting me regarding legislation to prevent gun violence. I appreciate hearing from you.

I took note of your support for Congressional action to combat senseless violence in our schools and communities. In the wake of the tragic shootings that have occurred across our nation, we must do more to safeguard all Americans from such incomprehensible violence. As a former police officer, I understand the importance of protecting our families and communities from gun violence.

On March 21, 2013, I started the process of bringing a bill to reduce gun violence to the Senate floor. The Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 (S.649) includes the provisions on background checks, school safety, and gun trafficking recently approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. I hope negotiations to reach a bipartisan compromise on background checks will continue over the coming weeks, and I am hopeful that they will succeed. If a compromise is reached, I am open to including it in the base bill. I believe that in order to be effective, any bill that passes the Senate must include background checks. (emphasis added as to ambiguity)

The bill I have advanced will serve as the basis for opening debate. Once debate begins, I will ensure that a ban on assault weapons, limits to high-capacity magazines, and mental health provisions receive votes, along with other amendments. In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for all of these provisions to receive votes, and I will ensure that they do.

I have noted your support for the inclusion of these provisions in the Senate’s bill. As the 113th Congress works to prevent and reduce gun violence, please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind. “

Absent from the bill cited in Sen. Reid’s response (S.649) is any mention of assault rifles and clip-size, something that has seriously incensed Sen. Diane Feinstein and others. Also missing (and cut completely from Rep. Ryan’s Path to Poverty budget that passed the House, and that went down in flames in the Senate) was any mention of anything to address mental health issues.

Sen. Reid has clearly stated that he won’t bring anything related to assault weapons and clip sizes to the floor because “HE” doesn’t believe “HE” has enough votes to pass the bill. Personally, I don’t care if “HE” has enough votes one way or the other.   WE DESERVE A VOTE!  The families who lost their children in Sandy Hook deserve a vote.  People in Colorado who lost family members and friends in a theater one night deserve a vote.

Sen. Reid later relented that he would allow them to bring it up as an amendment to a “later bill.”   What bill might that be?

I’m not sure about you, but as a voter, I want to know WHO is for and WHO is against this as well as other issues. But Congress makes it a bit of a challenge for us to keep up with what’s taking place, or more importantly NOT taking place.  Too many people have a hard time paying attention to bills passed or not passed, or bills proposed as a stand-alone bill and then later incorporated in some other bill or added to another bill as an amendment to some unrelated bill all together.  This is a very important issue, and it WILL affect for whom many of us will cast a vote at the polls.  Whether the bill is passed or goes down in flames,  WE deserve a vote!

Sen. Reid did introduce S649 today (3/21/2013).  Text of the bill is not yet available on THOMAS, but hopefully, will be available early next week:

S. 649: Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 

A bill to ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale, and for other purposes.

The Labyrinth of Gun Laws Complicating Reform

As Congress attempts to navigate the labyrinth of federal legislation in their attempt to quell gun violence, it’s important to note that there are a myriad of differences in how gun registration, sales, concealed carries, and background checks are and aren’t handled at the state levels.  “Home Security”  has an excellent interactive resource on their blog (Nevada’s gun-related requirements are noted in the screen capture below) that allows you to see the differences in requirements from state to state, as you hover your mouse over each state.  Click the previous link or click on the picture of the USA below to read the full article, as well as how requirements in other states differ from Nevada.

image

 

 

 

A special thanks goes out to Chelsea Tompkins for bringing this article and resource to our attention.