Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz Has a Message for GOP ‘Graybeards’ Who Opposed Gov’t Shutdown

Ted Cruz (Credit: Jeff Malet, maletphoto.com)

I think Ted Cruz is a bit too sure of himself.  Outside of his home state of Texas, no one can stomach him…


When Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) led the charge to shut down the United States government over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act last fall, the general consensus, including among many of his Republican colleagues, was that the move would be a disaster for the GOP. But during a speech at the Republican Leadership Conference on Saturday, Cruz attempted to recast the shutdown as the one thing that could help his party take back the Senate in this year’s midterm elections.

“Let me tell you right now, I am convinced we are going to retake the United States Senate in 2014,” Cruz told the crowd to raucous applause. But beyond just sharing that positive outlook, Cruz wanted to delve into the reasons behind Republicans’ increased political favor. “Why are so many Democrats running terrified?” he asked.

The “most compelling reason,” according to Cruz, is Obamacare. He then turned to the fight that he led last year to stop the “abomination” that is the Affordable Care Act, which, after a troubled rollout, hashelped more than 8 million Americans gain health insurance.

If you listen to Democrats and the media, which Cruz implied are the same thing, “they will tell you that fight last fall accomplished nothing.” He may have failed to stop Obamacare from becoming law, but as Cruz said, “Not every war is won in a single battle.”

By “elevating the national debate” over Obamacare, Cruz said he and his followers created an environment for conservatives to succeed in the midterms. “And somehow, all of the graybeards in Washington, who opposed fighting against Obamacare,” Cruz said of his GOP colleagues, “are now looking around and we’re winning Senate seats all over the country. They’re reaping the fruits of the battle.”

“We need to take a moment to acknowledge the lesson of the battle,” Cruz said. “How do you win elections? You don’t win it by standing for nothing.”

Watch video here…

President Obama's Accomplishments (2014)

Obama Administration Accomplishments: 1-21-09 to 3-11-14

President Barack H. Obama

Democratic Hub, one of the best web portals out there, has a running list of President Obama’s accomplishments since day-one. The next time a RWNJ (or even someone on the far left) claims the President has accomplished nothing, send them the link. They may not like what he’s accomplished, but then that’s the whole point, isn’t it?    H/t: All Things Democrat


Democratic Hub

03/11/14 Overtime pay mandated for executive and professional employees Labor Workers & Jobs & Job Growth
02/19/14 Export/Import process for small businesses streamlined through creation of International Trade Data System Business & Economy Small Businesses
02/12/14 Minimum wage for Federal Contractors raised to $10.10 per hour. Minimum Wage Workers
02/07/14 Agriculture Act of 2014 signed into law Agriculture Act of 2014
11/24/13 Iran agrees to constraints on its uranium-enrichment program in exchange for sanctions relief in six month deal with world powers. Nuclear Energy Combating Nuclear Proliferation
10/17/13 Federal Government reopens after 16 day shutdown Government Shutdown Workers
09/27/13 President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani have a phone conversation, marking the first formal communication between the two countries in 35 years International Relations
09/14/13 Syria agrees to dismantle chemical weapons stockpile after United States and Russia reach deal Treaties & Agreements
06/26/13 Gay marriage to resume in California after lower court ruling declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional allowed to stand Civil & Human Rights LGBT
06/26/13 Defense of Marriage Act ruled unconstitutional by Supreme Court Civil & Human Rights LGBT
01/02/13 American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 signed into law American Taxpayer Relief Act of 20…
09/10/12 Yemeni forces have killed Said al-Shihri, second in command of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula Al-Qaeda Combating Terrorism
09/02/12 U.S. drone strike killed a top al-Qaida militant (Khaled Batis), who was wanted for allegedly masterminding a 2002 attack on a French oil tanker Terrorism Combating Terrorism
08/24/12 Mullah Dadullah, a senior commander of the Pakistani Taliban, killed by NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan Pakistani Taliban Combating Terrorism
06/06/12 Abu Yahya al-Libi, No.2 leader of Al Qaeda, confirmed killed by CIA drone strike in Pakistan Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
05/19/12 Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng free to leave China with his family and study in the USA after diplomatic negotiations with China by Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration International Relations Freedom of Speech
05/09/12 Barack Obama becomes the first President to publicly support the legalization of same sex marriage LGBT
05/06/12 Airstrike Kills Senior Al-Qaida Leader Fahd al-Quso In Yemen Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
04/04/12 Members of Congress and certain government employees prohibited from using non-public information for personal profit, including insider trading. STOCK Act U.S. Citizens & Reducing Govt Fraud\Corruption
02/22/12 Cuts in Medicare physician payment rates averted with extension of existing rates through 2012 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Cr… Doctors & Retirees
02/22/12 Federal unemployment benefits programs extended an additional 13 to 20 weeks Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Cr… Unemployed & Improving the Economy
02/22/12 Self-employed social security payroll tax reduction from 12.4% to 10.4 % extended through 2012 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Cr… Entrepreneurs & Improving the Economy
02/22/12 Employee social security payroll tax reduction from 6.2% to 4.2 % extended through 2012 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Cr… Workers & Improving the Economy
02/09/12 Pakistan Al-Qaeda leader Badar Mansoor killed by U.S. drone attacks Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
01/30/12 U.S. drone attack in Yemen killed 12-15 militants, including at least four Al-Qaeda leaders Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
2012 JAN Senior Al-Qaeda figure Aslam Awan killed in U.S. drone strike Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
12/17/11 War in Iraq ended with last American troops crossing border into Kuwait 2003 Iraq War U.S. Citizens
12/06/11 US government international campaign initiated to build respect for the human rights of LGBT persons worldwide Discrimination LGBT
09/30/11 $700 million annual funding for child protection, child abuse prevention, family support and adoption promotion through 2016 Child and Family Services Improvem… Foster Children & Orphans
09/30/11 Senior Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki killed in Yemen by a CIA-led U.S. drone strike Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
09/16/11 Patent litigation costs reduced through tightened patent standards, quality and processes to expedite challenges. America Invents Act Entrepreneurs
09/16/11 Entrepreneurs and businesses benefited by reduced average wait time for patent approvals from 3 years to 1 year. America Invents Act Entrepreneurs
09/11/11 Al-Qaeda’s operations chief for Pakistan Abu Hafs al Shahri reported killed in U.S. Predator strike Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
09/06/11 U.S./Pakistani joint arrest of suspected Chief Al-Qaeda Younis al-Mauritani in Quetta Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
08/22/11 Al-Qaeda No. 2 Atiyah Abd al-Rahman Killed in Pakistan by CIA predator drone strike Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
06/07/11 East Africa’s Al-Qaeda senior leader Harun Fazul killed at security checkpoint in Somalia Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
06/03/11 Al-Qaeda Commander Ilyas Kashmiri Killed in U.S. Predator Strike Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
2011 JUN 6 senior Al-Qaeda figures killed in U.S. Air Strike Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
05/02/11 US Forces Kill Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
02/23/11 Defense of Marriage Act declared unconstitutional and no longer defended in federal courts by the Obama Administration LGBT
02/05/11 Number of US and Russian strategic nuclear missile launchers reduced in half by 2017 New START Treaty Combating Nuclear Proliferation
02/05/11 Number of US and Russian nuclear warheads deployed reduced by two-thirds by 2017 New START Treaty Combating Nuclear Proliferation
01/04/11 Small family farms selling locally exempted from federal regulations such as traceability and record keeping Food Safety Modernization Act Farmers & Improving Govt Efficiency
01/04/11 Safety of U.S. grown food improved with requirements for large factory farms to register all food handlers and maintain records relating to food safety Food Safety Modernization Act Consumers
01/04/11 Safety of imported food improved with new FSVP & VQIP programs that helps ensure it is safe, unadulterated and not misbranded Food Safety Modernization Act Consumers & Improving Govt Efficiency
12/22/10 US sponsored measure to include “sexual orientation” in the definition of human rights adopted by the UN General Assembly, 122- 0. Discrimination LGBT
12/22/10 $193 million saved over five years by eliminating recruiting and retraining costs of replacing soldiers discharged due to DADT Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act Military Personnel &Reducing Debt\Deficits
12/22/10 Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act LGBT & Military Personnel
12/17/10 $40 billion in tax credits for college students and lower income families with children 2010 Tax & Jobs Compromise Poor & Students
12/17/10 Unemployment benefits extended for 13 months at a cost of $56 billion 2010 Tax & Jobs Compromise Unemployed & Improving the Economy
12/17/10 $111 billion in tax relief for workers by a reducing social security payroll tax from 6.2% to 4.2% for 2011. 2010 Tax & Jobs Compromise Workers & Improving the Economy
12/17/10 $136 billion in tax relief for 21 million middle class households through patch to the Alternative Minimum Tax for 2010 & 2011 2010 Tax & Jobs Compromise Middle Class & Workers
12/17/10 $186 billion in tax relief for all tax payers by extending the Bush income tax cuts for 2010 & 2011 2010 Tax & Jobs Compromise Workers & Consumers
12/13/10 Schools and communities provided resources to utilize local farms and gardens to provide fresh produce for school food programs. Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act Children & Improving Health & Wellness
12/13/10 Number of eligible children enrolled in school meal programs increased by approximately 115,000 students Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act Children & Improving Health & Wellness
12/08/10 $3.4 billion settlement for Native Americans against the US government arising from incorrect accounting for royalties on mineral leases Claims Resolution Act Native Americans &Improving Govt Efficiency
12/08/10 $1.5 billion awarded to some 75,000 black farmers who were victims of discrimination in applying for farm loans from 1983 to 1997 Claims Resolution Act African Americans & Farmers
10/14/10 Veteran work-study programs expanded to include congressional offices, state agencies and institutions of higher learning Veterans’ Benefit Act Veterans & Creating Jobs
10/14/10 Insurance policy amounts and terms enhanced for severely disabled veterans Veterans’ Benefit Act Veterans & Improving Health & Wellness
10/14/10 On-the-job training opportunities expanded for veterans by reimbursing energy sector employers for training costs. Veterans’ Benefit Act Veterans & Creating Jobs
10/14/10 Service members receiving relocation orders protected from early termination fees for certain contracts and residential leases Veterans’ Benefit Act Military Personnel
10/14/10 Disabled veterans provided improved independent assisted living services, automobile adaptive equipment and allowances for automobile purchase Veterans’ Benefit Act Veterans
10/14/10 $10 million in job training, counseling, placement services, and child care services for homeless women veterans and homeless veterans with children Veterans’ Benefit Act Veterans & Women
09/27/10 $30 billion lending program created for community banks with incentives to increase small business lending Small Business Jobs Act Small Businesses &Improving the Economy
09/27/10 $12 billion in assistance for small businesses through eight separate tax cuts Small Business Jobs Act Small Businesses
08/03/10 Large disparity in jail sentences reduced for crack cocaine related offenses that disproportionately affected African Americans Fair Sentencing Act African Americans
07/22/10 Long-term economic stability improved through new FDIC powers to liquidate failing financial firms such as insurance companies and non-bank financial companies Wall Street Reform Act Improving Economic Stability
07/22/10 Borrowers protected from bad loans with rules and penalties requiring that lenders verify that they are able to repay the loans that they issue Wall Street Reform Act Homeowners & Consumers
07/22/10 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau established to promote fairness and transparency for mortgages, credit cards, and other consumer financial products Wall Street Reform Act Consumers
07/22/10 Transparency of Federal Reserve improved with additional government oversight and new audits to be performed by the GAO Wall Street Reform Act Improving Govt Transparency
07/22/10 FDIC bank deposit insurance increased from $100,000 to $250,000 Wall Street Reform Act Consumers & Improving Economic Stability
07/22/10 Risk in the financial system reduced with new SEC Office of Credit Ratings (OCR) to monitor credit rating agencies for conflict of interests & inaccuracies Wall Street Reform Act Improving Economic Stability
07/22/10 Future economic downturns minimized with new rules and transparency regarding bank trading in credit default swaps and derivatives including the “Volker Rule” Wall Street Reform Act Improving Economic Stability
07/22/10 Financial Stability Oversight Council established to identify and monitor excessive risks to the U.S. financial system Wall Street Reform Act Improving Economic Stability
06/29/10 U.S. drone attack killed 7 known terrorists, most notable Al-Qaeda operative from Egypt Hawza al Jawfi Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
06/02/10 Federal benefits extended to same sex partners of workers through memorandum by Obama administration Civil & Human Rights LGBT & Federal Employees
05/21/10 Al-Qaeda’s number three commander Sheik Saeed al-Masri killed in U.S. drone attack Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
05/05/10 Housing and care options expanded for homeless veterans living in care shelters Caregivers & Veterans Health Servi… Veterans
05/05/10 Care options expanded for veterans living in rural areas that lack the necessary VA medical facilities Caregivers & Veterans Health Servi… Veterans & Improving Health & Wellness
05/05/10 Counseling and care enhanced for military women victims of sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Caregivers & Veterans Health Servi… Veterans & Women
05/05/10 Health care services improved and expanded for women veterans at Veterans care facilities Caregivers & Veterans Health Servi… Veterans & Women
05/05/10 Family caregivers of veterans granted eligibility to VA counseling and mental health services Caregivers & Veterans Health Servi… Veterans & Women
04/18/10 Joint American and Iraqi operation killed Al-Qaeda leaders Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
03/30/10 $2 billion investment to laid off workers for education and career training programs in community colleges over four years starting in 2010 Student Aid Act Unemployed & Improving Education
03/30/10 $68 billion to expand Pell grants & make it easier for students to repay outstanding loans after graduation through savings in the federal student loan program Student Aid Act College Students & Improving Education
03/23/10 Consumers guaranteed the right to choose the primary care doctor or pediatrician from their health plan’s provider network Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Consumers & Improving Health & Wellness
03/23/10 Insurers selling to groups of 50 or more employees must spend 85% of premiums on medical care and quality improvement Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Consumers & Improving Health & Wellness
03/23/10 Annual dollar limits on health benefits restricted and phased out by 2014 Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Consumers & Improving Health & Wellness
03/23/10 Health care insurance plans prohibited from putting a lifetime limit on the benefits you receive Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Consumers
03/23/10 50% discount on prescription drug costs for seniors in the Medicare “donut hole” starting in 2011 Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Senior Citizens & Improving Health & Wellness
03/23/10 $250 rebate for those in the Medicare Prescription drug “donut hole” during 2010 Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Senior Citizens & Improving Health & Wellness
03/23/10 Young adults can stay on parent’s insurance plan up until age 26 Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Young Adults & Consumers
03/23/10 Children under 19 can no longer be denied coverage or benefits for a pre-existing condition Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Consumers & Children
03/23/10 People denied coverage for a pre-existing condition given access to a temporary high risk health insurance plan Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Consumers & Improving Health & Wellness
03/23/10 Preventative services will be covered at no additional cost Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Consumers
03/23/10 Women are no longer charged higher premiums because of their gender Obamacare (Affordable Care Act)
03/23/10 Consumers are guaranteed the right to appeal decisions made by their health insurance provider Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Improving Health & Wellness
03/23/10 HIV Testing Will Now Be Covered Under Obamacare Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Improving Health & Wellness
03/23/10 Health insurance companies can not charge higher premiums for out of network emergency room care Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Consumers
03/23/10 Insurance companies must provide consumers a short, easy to understand summary of their benefits and coverage Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Consumers
03/23/10 $143 billion in deficit reduction estimated between 2010-2019 from health care reform law provisions Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Reducing Debt\Deficits
03/23/10 People with a pre-existing condition cannot be denied health coverge by an insurance company starting in 2014 Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Consumers & Improving Health & Wellness
03/23/10 Insurance companies must spend 80% of the money raised from consumers premiums on health care and quality improvement Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Consumers
03/23/10 Mental health and drug addiction coverage is an “essential benefit” that can not be denied Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Improving Health & Wellness
03/18/10 Offsets costs through a 30 percent withholding tax on income from certain U.S. financial assets held by foreign banks who have not agreed to disclosures. Hire Act Unemployed
03/18/10 Encourages job creation by expanding investments in schools and clean energy projects Hire Act Unemployed
03/18/10 $20 billion to the highway trust fund for spending on highway and transit programs. Hire Act Unemployed & Improving Infrastructure
03/18/10 $17.5 billion in tax cuts, business credits and subsidies for state and local construction bonds to stimulate business investment and hiring Hire Act Unemployed & Businesses
03/18/10 Tax credits to employers who keep new hires for 52 weeks to encourage retention of new hires Hire Act Unemployed & Businesses
03/18/10 Social Security payroll tax credits in 2010 for employers that hired people who have been unemployed for 60+ days Hire Act Unemployed & Businesses
2010 MAR Al-Qaeda operative Hussein al-Yemeni killed by U.S. drone attack in Pakistan Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
02/24/10 Al-Qaeda and Taliban-linked Fedayeen-i-Islam leader Qari Zafar killed in US airstrike Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
2010 FEB Militant commander Muhammad Haqqani killed by U.S. drone attacks Terrorism Combating Terrorism
01/01/10 Discrimination based on gender identity banned in federal workplaces Discrimination LGBT
2009 Liquidation of General Motors and Chrysler avoided through government mandated restructuring plans and conditional investment and loan programs Business & Economy Businesses & Workers
2009 115,000 jobs created at General Motors and Chrysler since government financing and restructuring implemented Jobs Workers & Creating Jobs
2009 1.45 million American jobs saved overall by government financing and restructuring of GM and Chrysler to avoid liquidation Jobs Workers & Saving Jobs
2009 $96 billion in personal income losses avoided by government financing and restructuring of GM and Chrysler to avoid liquidation Labor Workers & Improving the Economy
2009 $28.6 billion net public benefit in income taxes and social security taxes paid because liquidation of GM and Chrysler avoided Taxes Businesses & Improving the Economy
12/17/09 Al-Qaeda Operational Commander Abdallah Sa’id killed in U.S. drone attack Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
12/08/09 Al-Qaeda Operational Commander Saleh al-Somali killed in U.S. drone attack Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
10/30/09 People with HIV/AIDS no longer prohibited from entering the United States Discrimination Immigrants & LGBT
10/28/09 Existing hate crime laws strengthened with funding to investigate and prosecute those crimes Matthew Shepard Act LGBT
10/28/09 Federal hate crime law expanded to include crimes motivated by gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. Matthew Shepard Act LGBT
09/14/09 Operation Celestial Balance: Navy Seals Kill Somalian Al-Qaeda leader Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in raid Al-Qaeda
09/14/09 Somalian Al-Qaeda leader Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan killed by U.S. raid Al-Qaeda Defeating Al Qaeda
09/04/09 White House voluntary disclosure of visitor logs Improving Govt Transparency
08/29/09 Co-founder of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan Tohir Yo‘ldosh killed by U.S. drone attacks Terrorism Combating Terrorism
08/05/09 U.S. drone attack killed Tehrik e-Taliban Pakistan leader Baitullah Mahsud in Pakistan Pakistani Taliban Combating Terrorism
06/29/09 First-ever reception at the White House honoring Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered, Bisexual Pride Month hosted by the President and First lady Discrimination LGBT
05/25/09 Sonya Sotomayor nominated and approved as Supreme Court justice Women & Hispanics\Latinos
05/22/09 Annual awards program established to recognize individuals and teams making significant contributions to improving efficiency of defense aquisition programs Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Improving Govt Efficiency
05/22/09 Funding provided to hire and retain highly skilled specialists to assess the cost, schedule and applicability of proposed Defense Dept weapons systems Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Improving Govt Efficiency
05/22/09 Oversight and audit required of those major defense programs experiencing cost overruns to determine if the programs are essential and cost-effective Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Improving Govt Efficiency
05/22/09 Defense contractors prohibited from participating in both the systems engineering and the development /construction phases of the weapon systems Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Improving Govt Efficiency
05/22/09 Defense oversight council required to seek input from combat commanders in evaluating proposed weapons system capabilities and needs Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Improving Govt Efficiency
05/22/09 Independent cost assesessment director initiated to ensure that cost estimates for major Defense contracts are fair, reliable, and unbiased Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Improving Govt Efficiency
05/22/09 Defense Dept ordered to evaluate the technological maturity and product knowledge of critical weapons’ technologies before letting defense contracts Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Improving Govt Efficiency
05/22/09 Dept of Defense systems analysis, engineering and developmental testing processes overhauled to reduce high rates of failure on defense acquisitions Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Improving Govt Efficiency
05/22/09 Credit cardholders protected against arbitrary interest rate increases, hidden and excessive fees, and due date gimmicks Credit Card Act Consumers
05/20/09 $2.2 billion appropriated to help communities address the homeless crisis. Helping Families Save Their Homes Homeless
05/20/09 Lenders incentivized to reduce foreclosures by loss mitigation guarantees, compensation and lender protection from lawsuits by investors holding the loans Helping Families Save Their Homes Homeowners
05/20/09 Homeowners’ foreclosures avoided by improved terms for loan modification and restructuring of their debt Helping Families Save Their Homes Homeowners
05/20/09 $42 million in special funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate securites fraud in financial institutions Fraud Enforcement Act Consumers
05/20/09 $40 million in special funding for the Secret Service to investigate financial institutions for fraud Fraud Enforcement Act Consumers
05/20/09 $60 million in special funding for Inspector General’s Office at the U S Dept of Housing and Urban Development to investigate financial institutions for fraud Fraud Enforcement Act Consumers
05/20/09 $60 million in special funding for the Postal Inspection Service to investigate financial institutions for fraud Fraud Enforcement Act Consumers
05/20/09 $80 million in special funding to the criminal, civil and tax divisions of the Dept of Justice to investigate and prosecute fraud in financial institutions Fraud Enforcement Act Consumers
05/20/09 $100 million in special funding for the offices of the United States Attorneys to investigate and prosecute fraud in financial institutions Fraud Enforcement Act Consumers
05/20/09 $140 million in special funding for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate fraud in financial institutions Fraud Enforcement Act Consumers
05/20/09 Securities fraud definition amended to include fraud related to commodities futures and derivatives fraud Fraud Enforcement Act Consumers
05/20/09 Crime of major fraud against the United States amended to include Federal grants made to stimulate economic recovery for fiscal years 2009 and 2010 Fraud Enforcement Act Consumers
05/20/09 Mortgage lending businesses added to list of financial institutions subject to Federal criminal law in fraudulent lending practices Fraud Enforcement Act Homeowners
05/20/09 Financial Crisis Inquiry commission created to examine and report on the domestic and global causes of the 2008 – 2009 financial and economic crisis Fraud Enforcement Act Consumers
04/21/09 Disadvantaged youth job opportunites enhanced by community service to gain skills/experience and earn education grants and stipends Serve America Act Volunteering & Community Organizers
04/21/09 Community volunteer program expanded to address the education, health care, energy and veterans needs of low income communities Serve America Act Volunteering & Community Organizers
04/21/09 250,000 volunteers by 2017 for community service programs in low income neighborhoods Serve America Act Volunteering & Community Organizers
04/13/09 Restrictions eased on Cuba travel, money transfers, and cellular telephone/satellite service. International Relations
04/11/09 Maersk Alabama Capt. Richard Phillips rescued during operation in which U.S. Navy Seal snipers kill three Somali Pirates holding him for ransom aboard lifeboat Somali Civil War Combating Terrorism
04/01/09 Approximately 2.7 million jobs added to US payrolls and unemployment rate kept 1½ percentage points lower due to Stimulus spending 2009 Stimulus Bill Workers & Businesses
04/01/09 Deeper recession or depression averted in 2009 and beyond with the help of stimulus bill provisions 2009 Stimulus Bill Improving Economic Stability
02/17/09 $48.1 billion in investments for highway, bridge, high-speed rail & other transportation projects 2009 Stimulus Bill Improving Infrastructure
02/17/09 $100 billion in education aid to prevent lay-offs, modernize schools, award Pell grants and help low income children & special education programs 2009 Stimulus Bill Middle Class & Poor
02/17/09 $155 billion in health care assistance for the poor & unemployed primarily for Medicaid, health information technology and insurance premium subsidies 2009 Stimulus Bill Poor & Unemployed
02/17/09 $70 billion in tax relief for middle class workers by patching the Alternative Minimum Tax for one year 2009 Stimulus Bill Middle Class
02/17/09 $82.2 billion in aid for low income workers, unemployed and retirees (including job training) 2009 Stimulus Bill Poor & Unemployed
02/17/09 Tax credit of $400 per worker ($800 per couple) for middle income workers for 2009 & 2010 totaling $116 billion 2009 Stimulus Bill Middle Class & Workers
02/17/09 2010 real GDP increased by about 3.4% due to stimulus spending 2009 Stimulus Bill Businesses & Improving the Economy
02/04/09 4 million more children insured under SCHIP in addition to the 6.6 million already covered Children’s Health Insurance Progra… Children
01/29/09 Employers prompted to review, develop and update their criteria on employee compensation to ensure they are applied consistently and uniformly. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Women & Women’s Rights
01/29/09 Pay discrimination based on gender, race, color, national origin, age and disability prohibited. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Women & Women’s Rights
01/29/09 Statute of limitations on filing equal-pay lawsuits eased by setting period to start from the date of the most recent paycheck. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Women & Women’s Rights
01/21/09 Use of torture by CIA and military to interrogate prisoners prohibited. Torture



BREAKING: Taliban Releases U.S. Soldier Held for 5 Years

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl held captive by the Taliban since 2009


On Saturday, officials announced the Taliban has released U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held in captivity since 2009, in exchange for the release of five detainees from Guantanamo Bay. Bergdahl, the only known prisoner of war from the Afghanistan conflict, was captured by insurgents nearly five years ago on June 30, 2009 and was believed to have been held near Pakistan’s northwest border.

The Washington Post broke the news on Twitter:

On Saturday, officials announced the Taliban has released U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held in captivity since 2009, in exchange for the release of five detainees from Guantanamo Bay. Bergdahl, the only known prisoner of war from the Afghanistan conflict, was captured by insurgents nearly five years ago on June 30, 2009 and was believed to have been held near Pakistan’s northwest border.

The Washington Post broke the news on Twitter:

According to The New York Times, President Barack Obama personally telephoned Bergdahl’s parents to inform them that their son would be coming home once he was safely with the American military in Afghanistan.

In January of this year, the Taliban released a video proving that Bergdahl was alive. At the time, it was the first he had been seen on camera in nearly three years and reportedly showed him in diminished health.

CBS' Benghazi Fiasco

Sharyl Attkisson Wastes No Time Linking Jay Carney’s Successor To Benghazi

Sharyl Attkinsson | CBS News

TPM LiveWire

Almost immediately after President Obama announced that Josh Earnest would replace Jay Carney as White House press secretary, Attkisson reacted to the news on Twitter.

Attkisson’s reporting on Benghazi and the Fast and Furious gun-running operation has made her a journalistic heroine on the right. She has continued to give fodder to conservatives since her resignation from CBS in March.

Last month, Attkisson said that CBS and other outlets are too “shy” to challenge the Obama administration and suggested that liberal watchdog Media Matters may have been paid to target her reporting.

CBS and Media Matters each strongly denied the claims.

The tweets on Friday weren’t the first time that Attkisson has levied such charges at Earnest. She made similar comments about the newly named press secretary during an interview last month with right-wing shock jock Glenn Beck.

“I’ve asked for the White House photographs taken that night,” she told Beck. “The White House photo office went from telling me the very day I asked that I could have them to referring me to Josh Earnest, a press officer at the White House, saying he had to release them. And it’s been a year-and-a-half and he won’t return my calls or emails.”

NRA · NRA Sponsors

Has the NRA Finally Met Its Match in Richard Martinez, Father of Isla Vista Shooting Victim?

Victim’s dad: Politicians, don’t call me (CNN)


NRA’s trick is to silence critics by saying politics disrespects victims. But Martinez won’t be silenced.

Richard Martinez’s son Christopher was among the six college students murdered last weekend in Isla Vista, California. It’s impossible to fathom the grief that Martinez must be experiencing right now, and the simple fact that he is upright and mobile is an act of tremendous courage. Which is precisely what makes everything else that he has done in the days since he lost his son all the more astounding.

From his first public statement — a blistering and emotional indictment of “craven” politicians who refuse to act on even moderate gun reform — to the tribute to Christopher he delivered Tuesday before a crowd of thousands, Martinez has been willing to show his raw and devastating grief to the world. He has made himself the gnarled and anguished face of our broken system — the lives that it takes and the lives that it ruins. His vulnerability and righteous, focused anger is unlike anything we’ve seen in response to a mass shooting.

And it should scare the shit out of the National Rifle Association, the gun lobby and the cowardly politicians who use these deadly weapons as literal and figurative political props.

It isn’t just the force of Martinez’s emotions or political conviction that make him powerful. He is currently shouldering the unimaginable grief of being yet another parent who has lost yet another child in yet another mass shooting. He has seen this happen before, he knows the political script that’s already playing out. He has listened as gun apologists — time and again — urge the nation not to “politicize” a national tragedy out of respect for the families, and then watched them turn on these same families in order to protect our deadly —  and immensely profitable — culture of guns. And he’s using it. All of it.

Days after 26 people were murdered in Newtown, Connecticut, Wayne LaPierre denounced gun reform advocates for “exploit[ing] the tragedy for political gain.” Months later, Sarah Palin  echoed the sentiment. ”Leaders are in it for themselves, not for the American people,” she told a crowd that summer, before effectively declaring how proud she was that her son Trig would grow up in a country where men like Elliot Rodger and Adam Lanza can buy guns and hoard ammunition without authorities batting an eyelash.

Martinez may be the single most powerful force we have against this kind of slithering political cowardice. He’s already familiar with the political dirty tricks and knows where the conversation will eventually turn — that the pro-gun crowd is going to come out hard against him,  just as they have turned on other parents and survivors. “Right now, there hasn’t been much blowback from the other side,” Martinez noted during a Tuesday interview with  MSNBC. “But I anticipate that once my grieving period is over, the gloves will come off. I don’t think it’s going to be easy. They are going to try to do to me the same thing that they’ve done to all of these people. But I have a message for them: My son is dead. There is nothing you could do to me that is worse than that.”

I can’t imagine a more direct rebuttal to the LaPierres and the Palins in this country. To the ridiculous  rifle-holding Mitch McConnells and every other ludicrous coward currently walking the halls of Congress and state legislatures across the country. These are the people who — as Martinez has made explicit — are responsible for these terribly predictable and preventable tragedies. Because they have the power to implement sensible reform, but instead stand by and do nothing while more people die every single day.

Continued on Page 2…

U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: May 31, 2014

Shinseki resigned on Friday.
Shinseki resigned on Friday. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Week

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigns, Donald Sterling sues the NBA for $1 billion, and more

1. Veterans Affairs secretary resigns in wake of scandal
President Barack Obama held a press conference on Friday morning to announce the resignation of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. The decision came in the wake of the VA’s scandals over manipulated waiting lists and poor service for its veterans. Sloane Gibson, currently the VA’s deputy secretary, will take Shinseki’s place until Obama names a permanent replacement. [TheWeek.comTIME]


2. Donald Sterling sues the NBA for $1 billion
Donald Sterling filed a lawsuit on Friday afternoon seeking damages in excess of $1 billion from the NBA. The lawsuit comes in the wake of a Thursday deal in which former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly purchased the Los Angeles Clippers from Sterling’s wife, Shelly, who Sterling had granted authority to sell the team. The NBA moved to effectively ban Sterling from all ownership positions within the organization following an audiotape that went public last month, in which the former owner is heard making racist comments to a female friend. [NBC News]


3. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney resigns
After three-and-a-half years as White House press secretary, Jay Carney unexpectedly resigned on Friday afternoon. Carney described his time in the position as an “amazing experience” and “so fulfilling.” His deputy, Josh Earnest, will replace Carney beginning in mid-June. President Barack Obama, who announced the departure in a press conference, praised his incoming spokesman.“His name describes his demeanor,” Obama said. “Josh is an earnest guy, and you can’t find just a nicer individual.” [USA TodayRT USA]


4. Board rules Medicare can cover gender reassignment surgery
The Department of Health and Human Services ruled in favor of a 74-year-old veteran seeking Medicare coverage for gender reassignment surgery. The landmark decision, which came on Friday, overturned a longstanding rule banning the government health insurance program from covering such medical procedures. Transgender people seeking the surgery will most likely be diagnosed with severe gender dysphoria, meaning severe discomfort with one’s current gender. [TIME]


5. White House confirms American citizen’s involvement in Syria suicide attack
The Obama administration confirmed on Friday that a U.S. citizen from South Florida participated in a suicide bombing in Syria last week. While the man’s name is not being released, authorities referred to him by his nom de guerre, Abu Huraira al-Amriki, “the American,” and said they believe he is the first American to help stage a suicide attack in Syria’s three-year-long conflict. The FBI has noted that a main counterterrorism operation for the agency is monitoring Americans who have traveled to Syria, and may attempt to return and carry out attacks in the United States. [The Washington Post]


6. Thailand’s new ruler: No elections for at least a year
Thailand’s new leader warned protesters that the military junta will not hold new political elections until the country re-learns democracy. Army General Prayuth Chan-ocha declared martial law on May 20, then he and his National Council for Peace and Order seized power two days later, arresting politicians and ousting Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. On Friday, Prayuth said anti-coup protesters were impeding the country’s return to a settled state — and marring its international reputation. “(Let) us have time to change our attitudes, values and several other things to solve Thailand’s democracy to make it match with the international standards,” he said. [NPR]


7. Mark Zuckerberg pledges $120 million to San Francisco schools
Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced this week that they will be donating $120 million to Northern California’s public schools. The Facebook CEO’s grant will be dispersed over the next five years to several school districts around San Francisco, and it will be used to improve classroom technology, train principals, and ease students’ transition from middle school to high school. “Education is incredibly expensive,” Chan said. “This is a drop in the bucket.” [USA Today]


8. Scientists: Earth is nearing ‘sixth great extinction’
Scientists at Duke University released a study, published on Thursday in the journal Science, showing that certain species of plants and animals are dying at least 1,000 times faster than they did before the existence of humans. The researchers posit that habitat loss is mostly to blame for the increase. Climate change may also be a factor. “We are on the verge of the sixth extinction,” Stuart Pimm, the study’s lead author and a noted biologist, said. “Whether we avoid it or not will depend on our actions.” [The Associated Press]


9. Ticket prices collapse ahead of World Cup kickoff
Getting to Brazil may cost you, but once you’re there, the World Cup experience becomes quite the steal. With reports of the country’s unpreparedness still swirling, ticket prices for soccer games have dropped as low as $9. On the high end, tickets for more highly anticipated matchups still hover around $20 or less. “You’ll find 4-5 stadiums that won’t be completed on time, the infrastructure won’t be in place and those stories impact the prices of tickets,” Oliver Wheeler, a spokesperson for online reseller Viagogo.com, said. “If those things don’t bother you, you’ll get a bargain.” [MarketWatch]


10. Julia Collins breaks second-place Jeopardy! record
Grabbing her 20th consecutive victory and another $18,100, North Shore game show contestantJulia Collins made history on Friday afternoon, securing the second-place record for most matches won on Jeopardy!. While her 20-game winning streak is still far off Ken Jennings’ 74 wins, Collins has won a total of $428,100. The Wellesley College alumna who now lives in Wilmette, Illinois, will aim to keep her streak alive on Monday. [The Chicago Tribune]

Washington Redskins

The 81-Year-Old Newspaper Article That Destroys The Redskins’ Justification For Their Name

George Preston Marshall, founder and owner of the Washington Redskins, in 1935 | CREDIT: AP

So there you have it…

Think Progress

As challenges against the name of the Washington Redskins have persisted for more than four decades, the teams ownership and management has held on to a consistent story: that the team changed its original name — the Boston Braves — to the Boston Redskins in 1933 to honor its coach, William “Lone Star” Dietz, who maintained at the time that he was a member of the Sioux tribe.

But in a 1933 interview with the Associated Press, George Preston Marshall, the team’s owner and original founder, admitted that the story wasn’t true.

“The fact that we have in our head coach, Lone Star Dietz, an Indian, together with several Indian players, has not, as may be suspected, inspired me to select the name Redskins,” Marshall said in the AP report. The quote was originally referenced in a story on the team’s name at Sports Illustrated’s MMQB site.  Jesse Witten, the lead attorney in a lawsuit challenging the legality of the team’s federal trademark protection, unearthed the actual AP report this week, and provided it to to Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney.  ESPN’s Keith Olbermann reported it on his show, “Olbermann,” Thursday night.

Here’s a copy of the news clip, which ran in the Hartford (Conn.) Courant on July 5, 1933:


The team’s owner, Daniel Snyder, and top management have justified the team’s name as an “honor” to Native Americans in letters to fans and the public. So too has NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. And both have leaned on the story that Marshall chose the name to honor Dietz to make that case.

Snyder referenced the history without using Dietz’s name specifically in a letter to season ticket-holders last October:

As some of you may know, our team began 81 years ago — in 1932 — with the name “Boston Braves.” The following year, the franchise name was changed to the “Boston Redskins.” On that inaugural Redskins team, four players and our Head Coach were Native Americans. The name was never a label. It was, and continues to be, a badge of honor.

The team has also used Dietz’s heritage — and the claim that the Redskins were named in his honor — to defend itself in the lawsuits challenging its federal trademark.

The NFL, too, has rested its case on that history. Goodell did so in a letter to 10 members of Congress who wrote him to challenge the name last June. The commissioner called the name a symbol of “strength, courage, pride, and respect” and specifically referenced Dietz’s role in the name:

In our view, a fair and thorough discussion of the issue must begin with an understanding of the roots of the Washington franchise and the Redskins name in particular. As you may know, the team began as the Boston Braves in 1932, a name that honored the courage and heritage of Native Americans. The following year, the name was changed to the Redskins — in part to avoid confusion with the Boston baseball team of the same name, but also to honor the team’s then-head coach, William “Lone Star” Dietz.

Asked for their response to the news clip, neither the NFL nor the Washington Redskins responded by the time of publication.

Dietz’s history was already in question at the time thanks to the work of historian Linda M. Waggoner, whose exhaustive account of Dietz’s life found that he almost certainly was not a Native American, as he had claimed. In fact, Dietz faced a federal trial alleging that he had falsely represented himself as a Native American to avoid the World War I draft. After the first trial ended with a hung jury, Dietz pleaded no contest to the same charges in a second trial and served 30 days in jail.

When ThinkProgress asked the franchise about the claims that Dietz was not a Native American last year, the team’s president and general manager, Bruce Allen, called the questions “ignorant requests” and suggested that we speak to Dietz’s family instead.

Amid scrutiny about Dietz’s history, the team has given the appearance of backing away from relying on the claim that he inspired the name. Notably, Allen did not cite Dietz or the origins of the name in his written response to a letter from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and 49 other senators who called on the team to drop “Redskins.”

If Marshall didn’t choose the name based on Dietz or the presence of Native Americans, what was his reason? As Olbermann notes in his report, the team chose its original name — the Boston Braves — because it shared a field with Boston’s baseball team by the same name. Marshall explains the AP story that he gave up the name “Braves” because it was too easily confused with the baseball team, and he chose “Redskins” to keep the Native American imagery as the team moved away from the Braves and into Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox.

Until recently, that story was more commonly told than the one about Dietz. In 1972, freelance writer Joe Marshall wrote a story on team nicknames in a promotional program from a game between Washington and the Atlanta Falcons. Joe Marshall didn’t reference Dietz in his story, instead writing that the team wanted to “change names but keep the Indian motif”:

The Redskins also copied a baseball team, the Boston Braves. George Preston Marshall started with his team in Boston on Braves Field. When he switched playing sites, he wanted to change names but keep the Indian motif. Since he was now sharing a park with the Red Sox and at the same time liked Harvard’s crimson jerseys, Redskins seemed appropriate. Redskins they have remained, a proud tradition. Until now, that is.

In that sense, it seems obvious that the name “Redskins” was chosen more as a marketing ploy than anything else, a way to tweak the team’s name without changing the image it had established. Regardless of the original motive, however, this much is clear: the story the team and NFL have used to justify the name’s existence as a “badge of honor” is not true, and the man who founded the team refuted it himself more than 80 years ago.

White House

Everything you need to know about the new White House press secretary

FILE - MAY 30, 2014: White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest will succeed outgoing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in an announcement by U.S. President Barack Obama May 30, 2014. WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 29:  White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest answers questions during the daily media briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House August 29, 2013 in Washington, DC. Earnest fielded questions from reporters about the Obama Administration's stance and response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest will succeed outgoing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in an announcement by President Obama on May 30.

The Washington Post 

With Press Secretary Jay Carney stepping down, Josh Earnest will now become the public face of the Obama administration.

It’s not a completely unfamiliar position for Earnest, who is now Carney’s top deputy and has stood in his place at the briefing room podium.

Earnest, 39, is a longtime Obama staffer, joining Obama’s first presidential campaign as Iowa communications director in 2007.  Earnest came to Washington when Obama took office.

Earnest grew up near Kansas City, Mo. His mother is a psychologist and father the athletic director of a private school in Kansas City. It wasn’t exactly a political family.

“The only thing I really remember about politics growing up was my parents taking me with them when they went to vote,” Earnest told McClatchy Newspapers in 2012. He had other interests — namely baseball and basketball.

“He’s definitely the quintessential coach’s son,” Adam Moore, a childhood friend, told McClatchy. “He has probably the best baseline jumper you’ve ever seen from the left-hand corner baseline. He could hit that three-pointer every time.”

The political bug bit, and Earnest worked on the campaign of former Houston mayor Lee Brown after graduating from Rice. Earnest went on to New York, where he served as an aide on former mayor Michael Bloomberg’s first campaign, and became spokesman at the Democratic National Committee.

Earnest married Natalie Wyeth, now  assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of the Treasury, in 2012. The couple is expecting a child. Earnest proposed to Wyeth in Hawaii  during one of Obama’s annual trips.

Earnest is well-regarded among the White House press corps, and his name has long been floated as a replacement for Carney.

Obama, who surprised reporters at the briefing Friday, recalled Earnest knocking on doors while press secretary in Iowa.

“In that role, you’d find him spending an extra hour or two helping young staffers make phone calls or knock on doors,” the president said. “There was no task that was too small, no detail too unimportant for Josh to attend to.”

Jay Carney

Jay Carney Steps Down As White House Press Secretary

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney | AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON 

The Huffington Post

Jay Carney is leaving his post as White House press secretary, President Barack Obama announced on Friday.

Obama delivered the news to reporters in the White House briefing room, after his remarks on Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation earlier in the day.

“I’m going to miss him a lot,” Obama said about Carney.

Obama said Carney “has become one of my closest friends” and is a “great advisor” with a “great heart.”

Carney did not specify his last day or plans after the White House, but said that he will be leaving in mid-June. Deputy press secretary Josh Earnest will take his place.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” Carney said of his time as press secretary. “In mid-life you don’t often make a whole new set of friends.”



Open-Carry Gun Laws

Gun Activists With Assault Rifles Harass Marine Veteran on Memorial Day

Texas, again…

Mother Jones

“Are you gonna cry? Sounds like you’re about to cry.” Watch armed men pursue a vet through downtown Fort Worth.

On Memorial Day this week, a former Marine in Texas named James got a couple calls from friends who’d spotted an unusual gathering in downtown Fort Worth: Roughly a dozen people, mostly men, were hanging out in the middle of the city’s cultural district, armed with semi-automatic rifles. James quickly knew what his friends were describing, having recently encountered an open-carry demonstration himself in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. An independent TV commercial producer who sometimes films live events, James headed downtown with his camera to get some footage.

What he saw there struck him as especially provocative. Not only had the open-carry activists come to a typically relaxed, family friendly part of town, they were displaying intimidating firearms just three days after a major gun massacre in Southern California. What he didn’t anticipate was that they would soon be pursuing him for several city blocks with cameras of their own, harassing him and later posting the footage online, where they would also level homophobic slurs and violent threats against him.

Women who speak out have been the primary target for gun activists, as I detailed in a recent investigation. But now, on a day meant to honor fallen service members, a military vet would make the hit list.

“I’ll be happy to smash assholes like him,” said one gun activist online. “Who here wants to help ruin him?” said another.

James, who asked that his last name not be used, knows his way around guns. He served for four years in the US Marines infantry, where he earned several awards for marksmanship. He is a gun owner, he told me, and a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and concealed-carry rights. But while carrying rifles publicly is legal in Texas, he felt that these guys—supporters of a movement that seeks to legalize the open carrying of handguns—were crossing a line.

The men, members of the groups Open Carry Texas and Open Carry Tarrant County, asked him which news network he was with. When he said he wasn’t, things began turning frosty. They pressed him about what he thought of their demonstration, and he replied with an unvarnished opinion that included profanities, language he told me he regrets having used.

“I’m all for responsible gun owners,” he says. “What I was taught was not to wear it around like a gold chain. What they’re doing is irresponsible. It intimidates the public, and people have just as much right to be comfortable in their public environment as these guys have a right to own their firearms.”

Suddenly he was surrounded by about a half-dozen armed men. They started badgering him with questions and accusing him of being anti-American. “I said, ‘Are you kidding me? I served in the military.’ They were trying to intimidate me, and when I didn’t cower that upset them,” he said. But he was starting to feel nervous and decided to disengage and walk away.

In a video obtained by Mother Jones that was posted online later that day by one of the activists, the group can be seen pursuing and harassing James through downtown Fort Worth. “I’m following this guy around,” declares one of them, setting off after him with his weapon slung across his back. He and others stay right behind James for several city blocks, following him through traffic and taunting him along the way. James grows more agitated and tells them off, calling them assholes and bullies.

“We’re being polite, you’re calling people names,” one of the gun activists pursuing him says.

“You’re not being polite out here with assault rifles the weekend after people lost their children,” James retorts, before again trying to walk away.

The harassment continues down the street. “Are you gonna cry?” one says. “Sounds like you’re about to cry.” Another says: “What’s wrong with that guy—is he a liberal?

“Yeah,” the other replies.

“Big time?”


image: facebook comments

Eventually they follow him to a parking lot (where, in the background, there just so happens to be a Chipotle). As James gets into his vehicle, the gun activists zoom in on his company’s name and contact info appearing on the side of his truck, as well as his license plate, vowing to post it all online.

After the video went up on YouTube and Facebook, James pushed back in the comments sections, only to be met with increasing hostility.

“That guy obviously thinks he’s a badass talking shit to armed citizens,” one gun activist said. “When [the shit hits the fan] I’ll be happy to smash assholes like him.”

When one of the guys who’d followed him suggested posting the video to multiple sites, another said they should “put really gay background music to it.”

“He wasn’t Marine Corps infantry,” declared another. “Or he got out due to ‘don’t ask don’t tell.’ What a fruit.”

“Who here wants to help ruin him?” said another.

image: facebook comments 2

The footage the group posted was not the first such effort to intimidate by exposing someone’s personal information: As I reported recently, in April members of Open Carry Texas outed a concerned schoolteacher who had called police in Plano, Texas, and she was soon hit with a barrage of harassment and violent threats by phone and email. James faced similar treatment this week, he told me, with harassers saying he was a “fucking faggot” and “this guy needs his jaw broken.”

James shared his story only reluctantly, but he is also adamant, he says, that what the gun activists are doing is wrong. And he’s far from alone in that view: He has since also received many positive calls and messages of support, he says—including from a couple of vocal open-carry supporters, one of whom invited him to go to a firing range together.

After multiple rejections from corporate restaurants and a wave of negative publicity, several Texas open-carry groups put out a joint statement last week asking their supporters to dial back the provocative tactics. Some hardcore followers balked at that, but now even some rank and file gun activists have expressed doubt in online comments about this latest incident. “Following him makes you the bad guy and could be considered intimidation,” one said. A member of Open Carry Texas—who himself participated in that group’s intimidation tactics against women—also disapproved of the footage, or at least of its public airing. “Nothing about this video benefits our movement,” he said.