What Would Nellis Say?

May 2022

Lobbying by gun rights groups hit a spending record in 2021. They outspent gun control by more than 5x.

 

The May 24th tragic shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, has once again stirred up the debate over gun control. A surge in lobbying by gun rights groups last year, though, could stave off significant changes.  From 1989 – 2022 the top 20 congressional recipients of gun lobby funding are all Republicans. 

 

The top five are:  Ted Cruz, TX ($442,343),  Steve Scalise  (LA) $396,371,  John Cornyn (TX) $340,325,  Lindsey Graham (SC) $283,730 and Mitch McConnel (KY) $247,084. 

Since 1998, gun rights groups have spent $190 million on lobbying, with 60% of that total being spent in the past nine years.  Gun control advocates have spent just $30 million since 1998 according to a May 25, 2022 Fortune Magazine report.

Beyond lobbying, gun control groups have contributed $50.5 million to federal candidates and party committees between 1989 and 2022, with the vast majority going to Republicans. They spent especially heavily in the 2020 election, with $16.6 million in outside spending. For 2022, they’ve already contributed $4.4 million, says Open Secrets, based on its analysis of Federal Election Commission data.

The National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America are leading contributors of lobbying and campaign contribution spending for gun rights groups. Spending on House and Senate races generally pales in comparison to the amount those groups spend on presidential and gubernatorial elections.  For instance, in 2020, the NRA alone spent over 12 million campaigning against Biden and another $4.5 million in favor of Donald Trump.  (Some high-profi9le Senate races, like Jon Ossoff vs. David Purdue in Georgia in 2020, capture millions in spending, bathe NRA’s candidates lost those races.)

That said, Texas Senator Ted Cruz has been the biggest beneficiary of those from home groups when it comes to campaign spending a separate study by OpenSecrets looking at funds received by gun rights groups from 1989-202 shows he has received a disproportionately larger amount of funds from those groups, compared to other lawmakers.

What would Nellis say?

HAVEN’T WE ALL HAD ENOUGH MURDER AND TRAGEDY?

19 youngsters and 2 teachers murdered in their classroom by a teenager who couldn’t legally buy a beer but had no difficulty purchasing body armor and two assault weapons of war on his 18th birthday.

Think about that.

27 of the 213 mass murders committed in this country so far this year were carried out in schools…and we’re only five months into the year.

More than 45,000 Americans died of gunshot wounds in 2020.

Our population of approximately 330 million owns more than 390 million guns. 

How is that even possible in the most advanced country in the history of the world? 

It starts with the companies who manufacture mass quantities of weapons but are protected from liability by arcane and ridiculous laws passed by legislators who receive huge contributions in return for their votes. 

Combined with weapons produced for the military, it is a $28 billion/year industry that profits from death. Gun rights groups (NRA et al) spent $15.8 million lobbying politicians and contributed more than $16 million to Republican campaigns in 2020 alone.

We could debate the Second Amendment but biased courts have supported laws that were never envisioned by the founders of our democracy. The laws in Texas and too many other states allow anyone over the age of 18 to purchase a gun (but not a beer) without a background check, without training to qualify for a license, and then permits them to openly carry that weapon wherever they might choose.

The ‘Stand Your Ground’ law in the state of Florida allows gun owners to shoot anyone who makes them feel ‘threatened’ without fear of prosecution.

How many little kids have to be sacrificed in these senseless massacres?

 

The politicians who are being paid to protect the gun industry offer prayers and wishes, talk about mental health, suggest arming every teacher in every school…or resorting to homeschooling as the ultimate response to school shootings…but they’re never going to stand up for common sense and common decency. These are the same officials who want to restrict a woman’s right to an abortion but won’t support any legislation to help mother or child after the birth. 

 

Nothing can or will change until they are voted out of office and replaced with legislators who actually work for the common good rather than their financial sponsors. Innocent children will continue to be massacred for corporate profits.

Nothing can or will change until disaffected Republicans and conservative independents stop endorsing blatant lies and supporting the bigotry that is the essence at the very core of the current Republican Party, grounded and amplified by Hate Television churning out distorted and false propaganda 24/7.

There are many issues that divide us, some real and far too many manufactured out of thin air, but if each of us would stop for a moment to consider how many blessings we all share, how much alike we are in spite of our differences, how the foundations at the very core of our shared social history are precious to us all, perhaps we could find common purpose to solve some of these issues that have plagued our society of decades…one at a time…before another family has to bury a child murdered by another moron with a gun.

The Congressional committee recently established to find 'common-sense' solutions to the gun madness in this country is being stymied by Republican members who refuse to discuss, let alone consider background checks, universal licensing requirements, red-flag laws to confiscate guns from mentally-ill citizens who might harm themselves or someone else, restricting “open carry”(which is totally insane), banning assault rifles and large-capacity magazines, or even increasing the age requirement for purchasing those weapons from 18 to 21.

Our children are being slaughtered and the Republicans' best solution is to offer prayers and wishes to the families of those mutilated kids. Not only do they mock common sense but the ‘pious’, ‘patriotic’, ‘Christian’ bigots can’t even condone common decency.

Conservative media is familiar with Buffalo mass murder suspect’s alleged ‘theory.’

Peyton Gendron, 18, the suspect in the killing of 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket allegedly wrote a document endorsing “great replacement theory,” a once-fringe racist idea that became a popular refrain among media figures such as Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham of Fox News and conservative writer Ann Coulter according to a May 15, 2022 Washington Post report.

 

Before the shooting rampage that also left three wounded, the suspect, Payton S. Gendron, 18, allegedly posted a lengthy document invoking the idea that White Americans were at risk of being “replaced” by people of color because of immigration and higher birthrates.

 

Gendron, who is White, allegedly indicated that he chose a neighborhood with a large number of Black residents for his alleged attack. In the document that Gendron is suspected to have written, he indicated that he was radicalized online. There’s no indication that he watched Carlson’s program.

 

The theory was once confined to far-right White extremists, who cast immigration as part of a plot by “elites” to take political and economic power away from White people. It has gained broader circulation in recent years as a talking point among prominent conservative media figures.

 

Carlson, whose weeknight program is typically the most popular on Fox News, has been an especially avid promoter of the thesis. He has mentioned variations on the idea in more than 400 episodes since 2016, according to a New York Times analysis of his program. 

 

In April of last year, he said on Fox News that people from the “Third World” are immigrating to the United States “to replace the current electorate” and “dilute the political power of the people who live there” — language that essentially distills the replacement thesis.

 

He was more explicit in a video posted on Fox News’s YouTube account in September. 

What would Nellis Gray say?

The “Race Replacement Theory” touted by Fox and other right-wing media was lifted from Madison Grant’s 1916 racist tome advocating the sterilization of “undesirables” to protect the purity of white “Nordic” society in America. He included anyone whose ancestors lived outside a tight geographic circle bounded by Britain, the Scandinavian countries, Northern Europe, and the Germanic countries.

Our current version of Hate Media demonizes anyone who is not a white evangelical heterosexual male - claiming that Caucasians are the superior race yet, somehow, victims of a conspiracy of “those people” who are coming to take their job, homes, women, and lives in a carefully coordinated campaign to commandeer the future of our nation.

As with everything broadcast on the “no facts, just made-up nonsenrumors” network, none of this ever “verified” or supported by legitimate proof. It is just propaganda spewed 24/7 to convince millions of foolish and terrified viewers  to support right-wing politicians who promise to save “White Americans” from the impending invasion of “others”.

I often wonder how an Australian bigot was allowed to launch a television/media empire dedicated to destroying everything that makes our nation the envy of the world and why we allow him to continue?

Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court justice, pressed Ariz. lawmakers to help reverse Trump’s loss, emails show.
 

Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona lawmakers after the 2020 election to set aside Joe Biden’s popular-vote victory and choose “a clean slate of Electors,” according to emails obtained by The Washington Post according to a May 20, 2020 Post report.

 

The emails, sent by Ginni Thomas to a pair of lawmakers on Nov. 9, 2020, argued that legislators needed to intervene because the vote had been marred by fraud. Though she did not mention either candidate by name, the context was clear.

 

Just days after media organizations called the race for Biden in Arizona and nationwide, Thomas urged the lawmakers to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure.” She told the lawmakers that the responsibility to choose electors was “yours and yours alone” and said they had “power to fight back against fraud.”

 

Thomas sent the messages via an online platform designed to make it easy to send prewritten form emails to multiple elected officials, according to a review of the emails, obtained under the state’s public-records law.

 

The messages show that Thomas, a staunch supporter of Donald Trump, was more deeply involved in the effort to overturn Biden’s win than has been previously reported. In sending the emails, Thomas played a role in the extraordinary scheme to keep Trump in office by substituting the will of legislatures for the will of voters.

 

Thomas’s actions also underline concerns about potential conflicts of interest that her husband has already faced — and may face in the future — in deciding cases related to attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

What would Nellis Gray say?

It is my hope that Ginni will face charges of treason and sedition and her husband will be impeached and removed from his seat on the Supreme Court before they can do any more damage to our democracy.

Prosecutor:  ‘We Build The Wall’ fundraiser cheated donors.

The organizers of a “We Build The Wall” campaign to raise money for a wall along the U.S. southern border lied to donors by saying all their money would fund the wall when they were actually pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars, a prosecutor told a jury at the start of a criminal trial according to a May 24, 2022 Associated Press report.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe directed the attention of jurors to defendant Timothy Shea, who sat alone facing charges after two other defendants recently pleaded guilty in the case and a fourth defendant, Steve Bannon, were pardoned by President Donald Trump hours before he completed his four-year term last year.

She said Shea, of Castle Rock, Colorado, and his “partners in crime” beginning in December 2p0189 duped hundreds of thousands of people into believing that they would not pocket any money that was raised because 100% of donations went to building the wall.

The prosecution tried to narrow the focus of jurors by telling them that the prosecution “is not about whether there should be a wall” or whether money was used to build a wall.  

“None of that makes it OK for the defendant to steal money at the same time,” she said.

Moe and Shea used a shell company, Ranch Property Management, to hide the fact that hundreds of thousands of dollars were being siphoned away from operations because Shea and his partners “wanted some of that money for themselves.”

What would Nellis Gray say?

Why is anyone surprised? The current Republican party and their most ardent paymasters exist to line their pockets at the expense of their own ignorant and gullible base. They have no platform, no plan to solve the endless list of problems facing our country, and no intention of accomplishing anything beyond maintaining the wealth and dominance of their most treasured donors, blocking any and all legislation, and holding on to power at any cost...including destroying our democracy.