NRA struggling to maintain its influence in 2020 race

❝ The National Rifle Association was already reeling from leadership shakeups and allegations of financial mismanagement when it dropped another bombshell.

The NRA accused Chris Cox — the man who had controlled the organization’s lobbying and political activities for more than 15 years — of trying to overthrow Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre, according to a lawsuit filed last month.

❝ Cox denied the charge to The New York Times, but quickly resigned. His unceremonious sacking stunned NRA board members, who saw Cox as a potential successor to LaPierre, and infuriated political staffers. Some started packing up their desks, unsure of whether they would be ousted too, multiple NRA sources said.

That’s when the Washington power brokers really started to worry. Cox’s departure, after months of turmoil at the NRA, only amplified the sense that the gun-rights group might not be the political powerhouse in 2020 that it has been for decades, including notably in 2016.

RTFA if you wish to catch up on details that sound like a very bad soap opera from the 1950’s. Which is where most NRA political ideology comes from.

Trump defends racism — House Dems [plus a couple Republicans with backbone] prepare condemnation


madmagazine.com

❝ Injecting race into his criticism of liberal Democrats, President Trump said four congresswomen of color should go back to the ‘‘broken and crime infested’’ countries they came from…blah, blah, blah!…ignoring the fact that all of the women are American citizens and three were born in the US…

❝ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will vote on a resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s tweets.

Pelosi on Monday said Trump ‘‘went beyond his own low standards using disgraceful language about members of Congress’’ and said his xenophobic and ‘‘disgusting’’ comments cannot stand without rebuttal…

❝ Following a familiar script, Republicans remained largely silent after Trump’s Sunday morning broadsides that caused Democrats to set aside their internal rifts to rise up in a united chorus against the president.

I expect little or nothing from Congressional Republicans. They haven’t much of any membership left that gets upset about racism or bigotry unless it threatens their almighty dollar$. Frankly, I haven’t expected the Democrats in Congress to show anymore courage or principles than the rightwing nutballs controlling the GOP. Apparently, the new blood added in 2016, grassroots rejection of the Democrats’ longtime lameduck mentality…is having some effect.

I hope it carries on through the primary season to something more than a lip-service platform and lifers who sit on their hands and wallets.

American Dark Money Funds Europe’s Far Right/Populist Politicians


Pier Marco Tacca/Getty

❝ Five years ago, Matteo Salvini stripped and posed half-naked for a series of “sexy” photos that were auctioned on eBay…Today, Salvini’s party has transformed itself into one of the most prominent nationalist movements in Europe (now known only as Lega). Salvini himself has become Italy’s interior minister and the country’s most recognizable politician…

❝ Along with Marine le Pen in France, leader of the National Front (now rebranded as the National Rally party), Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, and others, Salvini is leading a startling resurgence of Europe’s far right…Holding up a rosary, kissing a crucifix, and thanking the “Immaculate Heart of Mary,” he proclaimed it time to “save” Europe’s “Judeo-Christian roots.”…

These movements did not emerge overnight, nor will they fade anytime soon. Since mid-2016, together with colleagues at openDemocracy, we have tracked the growth of Europe’s nativist movements, from the Brexit campaign, to Orbán’s increasing stranglehold on the levers of power in Hungary, to cross-border networks seeking to block or roll back women’s and LGBTQI rights. Their strategy begins by influencing elections, courts, education, and healthcare systems, as well as policymakers and public opinion, and ends by taking power.

RTFA. Not quite up to the beerhall putschists of the 1930’s. The mindset is the same. Lots of the money comes from “the land of the free, the home of the brave”. Trumpkins.

Trump’s July 4th party bankrupted DC’s security fund


Stephanie Keith/Getty

❝ Remember just a few weeks ago when the president planned a “my dicktatorship is bigger than yours” July Fourth event in which he wanted tanks and jets and sparklers and shit?

Well, it sounds like that whole thing has bankrupted the Washington, D.C., security fund as they have spent some $1.7 million reserved for protecting the nation’s capital from terrorist threats.

In a letter to the president Tuesday, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) warned that the fund has now been depleted and is estimated to be running a $6 million deficit by Sept. 30. The mayor also noted that the account was never reimbursed for $7.3 million in expenses from Trump’s 2017 inauguration.

Does ANYONE ever get Trump to pay his bill?

Epstein’s arrest shows the power of one newspaper’s investigation

❝ In the past year the Jeffrey Epstein case was catapulted onto the national news radar by one newspaper, the Miami Herald, and by one reporter in particular, Julie K. Brown. The paper’s “Perversion of Justice” series came out last November, and Brown has stayed on the story ever since.

❝ As soon as The Daily Beast broke the news that Epstein had been arrested on Saturday evening, fellow journalists and other observers credited Brown and thanked her for the tenacious investigation.

Law enforcement officials are also giving credit to the reporting. “We were assisted” by “some excellent investigative journalism,” Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said at a Monday morning press conference.

❝ Brown was in the room for the press conference. She was actually scheduled to interview another one of Epstein’s accusers on Monday. But after he was arrested, she cancelled that flight and booked a ticket to New York.

True to form, she sought to shift the spotlight, away from her own work and toward her subjects. “The REAL HEROES HERE were the courageous victims that faced their fears and told their stories,” she tweeted Sunday.

The standards of a real hero.

All of Mississippi’s beaches are closed by toxic algae


Get out your jogging sandals, folks. You ain’t going swimming.

❝ Summer’s the perfect time to hit the beach — unless you live in Mississippi.

Along the state’s Gulf Coast, all 21 of the state’s beaches have been shut down for swimming due to a blue-green harmful algal bloom (HAB), according to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality…

❝ HABs occur when “colonies of algae — simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater — grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on people” or wildlife, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says.

The toxic algae can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, the state agency warned…

HABs aren’t rare. In fact, every US coastal and Great Lakes state experiences them, the NOAA says. However, they are popping up with increasing frequency due to climate change and increasing nutrient pollution, according to the NOAA.

Shameful. Causes are inclusive. Decades of mismanagement of most of the waterways in the Mississippi system. Lousy regulation of farm chemicals. You name it – the Mississippi probably suffers from it.

Best medical care in the world


Click to enlarge

Some of the hundreds of people in dire need of medical care wait in a parking lot for 12 hours in below-freezing temperatures for a chance to be seen at a temporary free clinic in rural Tennessee in February. Tickets were handed out first come, first served.

Yup. Best medical care in the world – if you can afford it!

Oh, BTW, the link to the article only works if you have a subscription to the Washington Post.