Mother Jones (magazine)

Inside the NRA’s Koch-Funded Dark Money Campaign

Man holding guns

Illustration: Mark Matcho

Anything that’s “Koch-funded” implies dark money

Mother Jones

“This election is going to be won on the ground,” Chris Cox, the National Rifle Association’s top lobbyist, told me early last year as the gun lobby prepared to launch its all-out campaign to defeat Barack Obama. Historically, pro-gun voters have favored Republicans by a margin of 2- or 3-to-1, but that only matters if they vote. And, Cox stressed, millions of gun owners were not registered yet.

The NRA’s get-out-the-vote effort, its most ambitious ever, would target gun owners from all angles. Its field workers would register them at gun shows and gun shops in battleground states such as Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. The NRA spent millions on TV spots; one seven-figure ad buy last October attacked the president for “chipping away” at Second Amendment rights, urging Americans to “defend freedom.” Chuck Norris, a spokesman for the NRA’s Trigger the Vote campaign, warned apathetic gun owners, “I’ll come looking for the people who sat this election out.”

Mobilizing the NRA’s estimated 4 million members “is always a critical part of the equation for us on the Republican side,” says Charlie Black, a veteran GOP operative who was an adviser to Mitt Romney’s and Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaigns.

But 2012 was different: The NRA wasn’t simply reaching out to its core constituency—it was reeling in big checks from conservative funders eager to take advantage of its grassroots muscle. The arrangement was mutually beneficial: The NRA burnished its reputation as a political force to be reckoned with, while donors invested in the kind of all-out GOTV effort they had once expected from the Republican Party itself.

Continue reading…

Watch: The Year of Mass Shootings

Mother Jones

2012 was the bloodiest yet. Here’s a video collection of our reports on gun atrocities.

[Friday's] shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut reminded the staff here at Mother Jones that we’re tired of updating our data on mass shootings in America. But we continue to work through the heartbreak because we hope our findings will contribute to a solution.

We’ve spent much of 2012 researching American gun violence dating back 30 years. Our stories and research cover a variety of angles, which are highlighted in this video. So please share and learn more…

Video: UC Davis Police Casually Pepper Spray Sitting Protesters

When it gets down to having to use

Violence, then you are playing the

System’s game. The establishm­ent

Will irritate you – pull your beard,

Flick your face – to make you fight.

Because once they’ve got you violent,

Then they know how to handle you.

The only thing they don’t know how

To handle is non-violen­ce and humor.

-John Lennon

Mother Jones

Here’s your blood pressure raiser of the day: Campus police casually pepper spray a group of Occupy Davis students who are sitting on the ground in protest after refusing to remove their tents from the quad. It’s not Kent State or anything, but it’s sure as hell an outrageous overreaction. Don’t watch unless you have a fairly strong stomach for casual brutality.

Obama’s Hope-a-Dope Strategy

Mother Jones

Progressives are furious that Obama, yet again, pulled his punches. The White House says it’s all part of the master plan.

You may remember the moment when Barack Obama declared war on the Republican game plan—or so it seemed. Five days after negotiating a budget-cutting deal that averted a government shutdown in April, Obama gave a speech at George Washington University, slamming the GOP over the slash-and-burn budget proposal of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Republicans, he declared, were pushing a “deeply pessimistic” vision of America’s future: “This is a vision that says even though Americans can’t afford to invest in education at current levels or clean energy, even though we can’t afford to maintain our commitment on Medicare and Medicaid, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy.” Such a vision, Obama vowed, would not prevail “as long as I’m president.”

Fighting words—and liberals were elated.  Jonathan Chait of The New Republic cheered, “He beat Ryan and the Republicans to a bloody pulp.…He expressed moral outrage in a way I’ve never heard him do before, and in a way I didn’t think he was capable of.”

Then came…nothing.  Or not much.  And this week, Obama cut a controversial deal with hostage-taking tea party Republicans, who insisted on severe spending cuts before they would consent to the previously routine action of raising the debt ceiling.

Rather than waging a titanic battle against Republicans after Obama delivered that passionate speech, the White House hunkered down with Republican leaders to try to cobble together a deficit deal to prevent the extreme GOPers from pushing the nation into default. What happened to the pulpification? “We moved to the negotiations process,” a senior White House aide explained. “It was up to others to push this piece of it.” After the equivalent of Henry V’s St. Crispin’s Day speech, it was back to the grind.

Continue reading here… 

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The Teen Suicide Epidemic in Michele Bachmann’s District

Michele Bachmann Official Photo circa 2007

Image via Wikipedia

Michelle Bachmann has been absolutely silent on this issue…

Mother Jones

Two years. Nine suicides. Why critics blame the congresswoman’s anti-gay allies for contributing to a mental health crisis.

The first was TJ. Then came Samantha, Aaron, Nick, and Kevin. Over the past two years, a total of nine teenagers have committed suicide in a Minnesota school district represented by Rep. Michele Bachmann—the latest in May—and many more students have attempted to take their lives. State public health officials have labeled the area a “suicide contagion area” because of the unusually high death rate.

Some of the victims were gay, or perceived to be by their classmates, and many were reportedly bullied. And the anti-gay activists who are some of the congresswoman’s closest allies stand accused of blocking an effective response to the crisis and fostering a climate of intolerance that allowed bullying to flourish. Bachmann, meanwhile, has been uncharacteristically silent on the tragic deaths that have roiled her district—including the high school that she attended.

Bachmann, who began her political career as an education activist, has described gay rights as an “earthquake issue,” and she and her allies have made public schools the front lines of their fight against the “homosexual agenda.” They have opposed efforts in the state to promote tolerance for gays and lesbians in the classroom, seeing such initiatives as a way of allowing gays to recruit impressionable youths into an unhealthy and un-Christian lifestyle.

But in 2008, when Michele Johnson and her daughter, Samantha, moved from rural North Dakota into the 38,000-student Anoka-Hennepin school district, the largest in Minnesota, they had no idea they were landing on ground zero of that culture war. Coming from a rural small town, Samantha barely knew what the word gay meant when she arrived at Fred Moore Middle School (now Anoka Middle School for the Arts) as a seventh-grader. But by the fall of 2009, the 13-year-old was at the epicenter of the public school fight over gay rights.

Continue reading here…

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Breaking News – Wisconsin Capitol Updates By writechic – Great News!

Writechic is a frequent commenter on this site.  Her website is worth checking out!   Writechic has some great news and I wanted to share it with you:

#1 by writechic on February 27, 2011 – 7:27 PM

I’ve been reading a live stream and tweets from Wisconsin. A police spokeswoman says there won’t be arrests. :-D

 

 #2 by writechic on February 27, 2011 – 7:29 PM

Oh, and the Koch brothers who helped fund Governor Walker and union busting efforts…here’s a Kos Diary detailing what the brothers make:

  • http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/08/24/895947/-Boycott-Koch-Products

    I’ll never buy any of their garbage.

  •  

    #4 by writechic on February 27, 2011 – 7:40 PM

  • 6:37 wiscnurse: It was just announced Republican Dale Schultz is voting against the bill. Email and call him with our thanks and support

    This is live and Republicans lie…but that’s the latest from Wisconsin. They need two or three more Republicans to kill the bill.

  •   

    #5 by writechic on February 27, 2011 – 7:47 PM

  • Mother Jones just confirmed: Higher-up with AFL-CIO in Wisconsin confirms to me that Wisc GOP senator Dale schultz not voting for walker bill #wiunion

    Hee, hee, hee.

    Also read a blurb from a police officer: I won’t be arresting people. I’ll be sleeping there.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/MotherJones  
  • #7 by writechic on February 27, 2011 – 8:19 PM

    Here’s Mother Jones. Schulz is probably in hiding. I’m sure he has a number in the Madson captial building. I’d check, but I have to work now.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/MotherJonesYou can post my comments, of course.The live stream for the Wisconsin rally is here:

    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/afl-cio-2010-rally

    Oh…and a hactivist group called Anonymous brought down the Koch Brothers website today. Naughty.

  • South Dakota Moves To Legalize Killing Abortion Providers

    This is not tabloid invented “news”, this is real and it’s absolute insanity.  Whether one is on the side of Pro-life or Pro-Choice, killing people who perform a constitutionally lawful procedure is absurd and more than likely against federal law.

    By the way, the term “pro-life” seems to be a contradiction of terms here.

    Mother Jones

    A bill under consideration in the Mount Rushmore State would make preventing harm to a fetus a “justifiable homicide” in many cases.

    A law under consideration in South Dakota would expand the definition of “justifiable homicide” to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus—a move that could make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions. The Republican-backed legislation, House Bill 1171, has passed out of committee on a nine-to-three party-line vote, and is expected to face a floor vote in the state’s GOP-dominated House of Representatives soon.

    “The bill in South Dakota is an invitation to murder abortion providers.”

    The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Phil Jensen, a committed foe of abortion rights, alters the state’s legal definition of justifiable homicide by adding language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person “while resisting an attempt to harm” that person’s unborn child or the unborn child of that person’s spouse, partner, parent, or child. If the bill passes, it could in theory allow a woman’s father, mother, son, daughter, or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion—even if she wanted one. 

    Jensen did not return calls to his home or his office requesting comment on the bill, which is cosponsored by 22 other state representatives and four state senators. 

    “The bill in South Dakota is an invitation to murder abortion providers,” says Vicki Saporta, the president of the National Abortion Federation, the professional association of abortion providers. Since 1993, eight doctors have been assassinated at the hands of anti-abortion extremists, and another 17 have been the victims of murder attempts. Some of the perpetrators of those crimes have tried to use the justifiable homicide defense at their trials. “This is not an abstract bill,” Saporta says. The measure could have major implications if a “misguided extremist invokes this ‘self-defense’ statute to justify the murder of a doctor, nurse or volunteer,” the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families warned in a message to supporters last week.

    The original version of the bill did not include the language regarding the “unborn child”; it was pitched as a simple clarification of South Dakota’s justifiable homicide law. Last week, however, the bill was “hoghoused”—a term used in South Dakota for heavily amending legislation in committee—in a little-noticed hearing. A parade of right-wing groups—the Family Heritage Alliance, Concerned Women for America, the South Dakota branch of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, and a political action committee called Family Matters in South Dakota—all testified in favor of the amended version of the law.    More here…