Tagged: NRA

Call for investigation of NRA fraud, political misuse of donations

sensible-gun-laws

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington requested the Internal Revenue Service open an examination into the finances of the National Rifle Association after the group failed to disclose more than $33.5 million it spent on political activity over six years. CREW also called on the Federal Election Commission to audit the NRA’s campaign arm, the NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), and its lobbying arm, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), after the group apparently violated federal election law by soliciting donations for the NRA-ILA that went instead to the NRA-PVF.

Between 2008 and 2013, the NRA-ILA, an internal division of the NRA, reported to the FEC and in annual financial statements that it spent more than $33.5 million on political activity. However, for each of those years, the NRA stated on its Form 990 tax return that it did not engage in any political activity at all, and the group did not once file a Schedule C disclosing its political expenditures. This failure to disclose political activity appears to violate federal law and, if it was intentional, could violate several criminal statutes. The NRA blamed the failure to disclose its political activity on a “clerical error” but did not express any intention to amend its Form 990 returns or file Schedule Cs…

The NRA-ILA reported to the FEC nearly $11 million in independent expenditures and member communications expressly advocating election or defeat of candidates for federal office between 2008 and 2013, and disclosed on annual financial statements prepared by an independent auditor spending more than $22.5 million on fundraising and administrative expenses for its political action committee, NRA-PVF, during the same period. All of these expenditures were for political activities that needed to be reported on the organization’s tax filings but were not.

CREW also called on the FEC to audit the NRA-PVF and NRA-ILA because it appears these groups may have solicited donations in violation of federal election law by failing to disclose to donors that their money would be used for political purposes. The NRA also appears to have violated federal election law by soliciting donations from the general public, which it is prohibited from doing as a member organization, and by failing to disclose the employer and/or occupation of its contributors.

It’s always heartwarming to witness rightwing nutball organizations like the NRA ignoring essential transparency requirements while they blather about conspiracies against their pet demento issues. Perish the thought they actually live up to anything approaching ethical standards -0 like any normal business entity.

They set the standard for corruption even higher than Congressional Republicans.

Going for a record: 204 mass shootings in 204 days — in 2015, so far


Never Forget

…The headlines all start to sound the same after awhile. Seven people shot inside Louisville nightclub. Four men shot in Suffolk early Sunday morning. Two dead, two hospitalized in Brice Street shooting.

The shootings happen so often, the circumstances become so familiar, that we tune them out. One dead, five injured in west Columbus shooting. Four shot in grocery store ambush. One dead, four injured in Stockton shooting.

Every now and then a particularly heinous crime makes us pause and reflect. Nine dead in shooting at black church in Charleston. Four marines, one sailor killed in attacks on Chattanooga military facilities. Gunman opens fire on Louisiana movie theater.

The Mass Shooting Tracker, a crowd-sourced project of the anti-gun folks at the Guns Are Cool subreddit, lists 203 mass shooting events so far in 2015. Add in the shooting at a Louisiana movie theater last night and you get 204. Incidentally, yesterday was the 204th day of the year…

The Mass Shooting Tracker is different from other shooting databases in that it uses a broader definition of mass shooting. “The old FBI definition of Mass Murder (not even the most recent one) is four or more people murdered in one event,” the site’s creators explain. “It is only logical that a Mass Shooting is four or more people shot in one event.”…

These shootings have become so common that they typically don’t even make national news. Do you remember the four people shot in Cincinnati earlier this month? How about the seven in Cleveland, or the nine in Fort Wayne? Unless you live in these areas, you probably didn’t even hear about them…

Will anything change? Probably not. The Charleston shooting did produce a fruitful national conversation — not on guns, but on the symbolism of the Confederate flag, which the shooter adopted as a banner of his racist beliefs. It took 150 years and a national tragedy for the country to reach something like a consensus on the meaning of a battle flag.

“Those who live in America, or visit it, might do best to regard [mass shootings] the way one regards air pollution in China: an endemic local health hazard which, for deep-rooted cultural, social, economic and political reasons, the country is incapable of addressing,” The Economist wrote in response to the Charleston massacre. “This may, however, be a bit unfair. China seems to be making progress on pollution.”

Agreed.

Another corrupt politician goes up the river

Former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), the Staten Islander best known for threatening on-camera to “break” a reporter “in half—like a boy,” has been sentenced by a federal judge to eight months in prison for tax evasion.

The sentencing, by US District Judge Pamela Chen, comes seven months after Grimm pleaded guilty to his role in filing a false tax return. Grimm had been indicted in April 2014 on 20 counts related to accounting practices at Healthalicious, a Manhattan restaurant he owned before his time in Congress. The restaurant’s co-owner, Bennett Orfaly, has previously been accused of having ties to a convicted Gambino family mobster.

Despite his indictment, last year, Grimm ran for reelection to his third term in Congress—and won. It was not until December 30—seven days after entering his guilty plea—that he announced his intentions to resign his seat.

Before Grimm was the target of an investigation by the FBI, he served for two decades as one of its agents. It was during this time that Grimm reportedly pulled a gun in a Queens nightclub, and, after a bouncer ejected him, stormed the nightclub with another FBI agent and members of the NYPD. “I’m a fucking F.B.I. agent,” Grimm reportedly said. “Ain’t nobody gonna threaten me.”

Sad commentary on the more criminal side of today’s Republican constituency. Just as the loony, creationist side of Christianity slanders well-meaning religious folk – just as Confederate flag-toting racists with teabags dangling from their AR-15s slander anyone who used to join the NRA to support their classes in hunting safety – conservatism as a political class is now deeply defined as the last bastion of fear and hatred. Better Dead Than Red is back and voting for more of the same.

NRA/Biker Jamboree in Waco, Texas – 192 arrested, 9 dead


Click to enlargeAP Photo/Jerry Larson

Texas police announced on Monday that 192 people will face organized crime charges following the Waco bike-gang shooting where nine people were killed and 18 were injured.

Nine people were shot to death after rival biker gang members opened fire at the Twin Peaks Sports Bar and Grill in Central Texas on Sunday. The incident initially started as a fist fight, which then turned into a battle with knives, clubs and chains, and later, guns.

One witness described the scene as a “war zone.”…

According to police, three rival biker gangs began fighting at the Waco restaurant while multiple officers were out in the parking lot arranging protection for residents. The fight started in the restaurant and spilled outside…

The officers were in the area because they had anticipated possible trouble at the restaurant — which has been the scene of ongoing tensions between bikers in recent weeks…

Police immediately secured the scene. District attorney Abel Reyna told police two weeks ago that trouble had been brewing among the biker gangs for some time.

“Thank goodness the officers were here, and took the action that they needed to take to save numerous lives,” Swanton said.

The officers at the scene engaged the gunmen in the fight — firing their weapons, as well. However, Waco police said no officers were wounded in the gun battle…

No doubt the NRA will provide legal aid for the bikers involved in the shoot-out. Gangs like these are only defending the same rights and policies that concern the NRA – nowadays. Although they don’t get the same cut in gun sales profits the NRA does.

American College of Physicians builds coalition against gun violence

NRA Paranoid

Every time a physician treats a gunshot victim he or she should develop a discharge plan that includes a mental health evaluation and counseling as needed.

Failing to do so is practicing bad medicine, said JudyAnn Bigby, MD, former secretary of Health and Human Services of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Bigby, who spoke at an American College of Physicians press briefing on gun violence, noted that it is standard medical practice for physicians to refer “attempted suicides for mental health evaluation,” yet common practice for gunshot victims is to “patch them up, and send them home.”

The ACP was promoting its coalition of 36 medical, legal, and community organizations, all of which have now signed on to a document titled “Firearm-Related Injury and Death in the United States: A Call to Action from 8 Health Professional Organizations and the American Bar Association.”

The 28 new co-signers, which include the American Academy of Neurology, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the American Psychological Association, added their names after the statement was published in February 2015. The original eight-member coalition included the ACP and the ABA as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Surgeons, American Psychiatric Association, American College of Emergency Physicians, and American Public Health Association…

Asked about next steps, ACP Executive Vice President Steven Weinberger said the coalition wants a public health campaign similar to campaigns used to curb drunk driving in order to build public support.

MedPage Today asked if the coalition sought a meeting with the National Rifle Association. Weinberger replied it had not, noting that the NRA did not appear to be interested in a “professional discussion.” He added, “When the original paper came out, they [the NRA] posted something on their website that was an acknowledgement but not a respectful analysis.”

Weinberger also pointed to the NRA’s efforts to block the nomination of Vivek Murthy, MD, as U.S. Surgeon General “because Dr. Murthy said gun violence was a public health concern…”

Another major problem, Bigby said, was the ease with which mentally ill patients had access to guns but did not have access to good mental health services. “This population, these people are the most severely mentally ill patients — they are the canaries in the mine for mental health care. If, as a society, we can’t get care for them, how can we address care for the large population of less severely ill patients?”

Way too rational for American politicians or gun profit-pimps like the NRA.

Surveys affirm, again and again, that Americans in general understand the good sense in programs like this – and wish to have sound regulation of access to firearms. Between ethically-corrupt groups like the NRA and cowardly elected officials, the need for professional organizations like the ACP to step in with broad political and social action only increases.

Japan court blocks restarting Takahama nuclear reactors

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A Japanese court has blocked the restarting of two nuclear reactors in the western city of Takahama, after local people raised safety concerns.

The plant had already obtained approval from the country’s nuclear watchdog.

But locals had petitioned the court in Fukui prefecture, where Takahama is located, to intervene, saying it would not withstand a strong earthquake.

All 48 commercial reactors in Japan remain offline following 2011’s Fukushima disaster…

The court agreed with nine local residents who filed an injunction, and ruled that the company had been overly optimistic in assuming that no major quake would hit the region…

It also criticised the Nuclear Regulatory Authority safety standards as “lacking rationality“.

As much as corporate flunkies whine about over-regulation, they’re perfectly happy to face a body like Japan’s NRA. Rubber-stamp oversight is OK with profit-hungry utilities.

Will Chechnya do a better job sending guns into Mexico than the NRA?


No – these are not Dick Cheney’s private personal bodyguards

A Kremlin spokesman reminded Russia’s republic of Chechnya that it is illegal for Russian regions to send weapons abroad, after the Chechen parliament threatened to supply arms to Mexico for it to fight the United States.

The Chechen parliament made the statement in response to a U.S. congressional resolution that called for sending lethal military aid to Ukraine…

U.S. arms supplies to Ukraine would be interpreted as a signal to send “the most modern weapons to Mexico” for the resumption of discussions on the legal status of “U.S.-annexed territories that now house … California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and a part of Wyoming,” Chechnya’s parliament speaker, Dukuvakha Abdurakhmanov, said Tuesday in an online statement.

Mexico ceded these territories to the U.S. under the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, a peace deal that ended the Mexican-American War. In exchange, the U.S. agreed to pay $15 million to Mexico and to assume another $3.25 million in debt owed by the Mexican government to American citizens.

The remaining parts of present-day New Mexico and Arizona were bought by the U.S. for $10 million under a separate purchase in 1853…

Abdurakhmanov was responding to a resolution overwhelmingly approved by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week that urged President Barack Obama to provide lethal military aid to Ukraine to help it protect its territorial integrity from pro-Russian separatists in the east.

They could even make a buck from selling arms to idjit secessionists in our Confederate states or scumbags in the Bundy militia.

There is no need to detail the NRA’s commitment to the equally amoral crew of profiteers in the US gun industry. They are as devoid of ethics as any European munitions producer in the 19th Century. With matching political puppets.

Which makes the Chechen threat laughable. Gun shops, the whole range of NRA flunkies along the Mexican border already run an efficient highway providing weapons to criminals in Mexico. They’re not about to let some furriner interfere with a profitable trade. Politicians ranging from Tea Party idjits to fascist-minded Confederate revivalists will move heaven and earth to keep the dollars flowing into the United States from drug gangs. Taking their own cut as usual.

Guns with history

Overdue. And the gun nutballs, the NRA, the folks who absolve themselves of any responsibility about gun safety – are crapping their tidy whities.

The folks who produced this PSA had a representative of the NYPD on the scene for the whole production, they used prop guns. They also told the truth about gun deaths that could have been prevented if paranoids didn’t have a lobby big enough to scare admittedly chicken-hearted politicians.

Speaking as someone who has been a gun owner for 60 years – Go get ’em, folks! Gun sense starts with gun safety, human safety – not rightwing paranoia.