Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Monday, October 09, 2017

Guns define modern conservatism: force, coercion and death

by digby

Right wing apostate Charlie Sykes is a bit less hyperbolic than I am about conservatives and guns but he does take issue with the NRA in this op-ed for the NY Times. He starts by pointing out that this tiny little step toward possible regulation of bump stocks is largely meaningless. Republicans are scared to death of the NRA.

He knows what he's talking about:
I saw firsthand how the N.R.A. worked six years ago when I was a conservative radio talk show host in Wisconsin. The context is important here: I was a longtime supporter of Second Amendment rights and had backed state legislation that would allow law-abiding citizens who passed training courses and background checks to carry concealed weapons (as every state now allows in some form). More than 16 million Americans have the permits.

In 2011, concealed-carry legislation was poised to pass both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature until the N.R.A. decided that it did not go far enough. It insisted that the Second Amendment should preclude even minimal safety requirements for concealed carry. The N.R.A., claiming that it was supporting what it calls “constitutional carry,” demanded that anyone be allowed to carry a concealed handgun without training, background checks or permits of any kind.

I thought this was nuts and said so. The N.R.A. position made no sense from the standpoint of either public safety or politics. How would an unlimited right to carry weapons enhance public safety or confidence if you could walk into Milwaukee’s Miller Park with a handgun without any training or a permit? That would be a nightmare for law enforcement and frankly unsettling even for many ardent Second Amendment supporters.

But the national gun rights lobby pushed back hard, targeting me and a radio colleague who thought the idea defied common sense. The headline on one pro-gun website declared, “N.R.A. Calls Out Milwaukee Talk Show Hosts for Ignorant Stance on Right to Carry.”

Darren LaSorte, a former lobbyist for the N.R.A. Institute for Legislative Action, appeared on an internet broadcast, insisting that “it’s embarrassing to see them do that.” By suggesting that people learn to use a gun before carrying it out in public, he said, my colleague and I “probably did more harm to constitutional carry and the fight there than any other people out there, the anti-gunners or anyone else.”

N.R.A. members, he said, “should be actively hammering them.” Many of them did so, as my email overflowed with angry gun-rights activists demanding unfettered concealed carry. But when I opened up the phones to listeners, the response was quite different. As polls suggest, most gun owners take a far more reasonable stance than the gun lobby. My listeners overwhelmingly supported gun rights but thought that requirements for background checks, safety training and permits just made sense.

Despite a costly campaign that flooded legislators with emails and calls, the N.R.A. lost its bid for “constitutional carry” in Wisconsin. But the organization is back again this year, pushing ahead with a new effort to eliminate the licensing and training requirements for concealed carry here and elsewhere. And the N.R.A. remains on the offensive: 12 states allow concealed carry without a permit.

Since we beat the N.R.A. back six years ago, the political environment on guns has shifted quite a bit. President Trump seems to understand not only that the gun issue helped him win states like Michigan and Wisconsin but also that opposition to gun control has now become a central test of loyalty in our tribal politics.

This is what many of the N.R.A.’s critics have been slow to grasp: The N.R.A. has successfully taken the issue of rational gun regulation out of the policy realm and made it a central feature of the culture wars. The issue is no longer simply about bump stock, or assault weapons, or specific regulations, or public safety; the debate over guns has become a subset of the larger cultural clash that pits us against them — liberals versus “normal” Americans. As Kurt Schlichter, a conservative columnist, insisted last week, “Leftists hate our rights because they hate us.”

The N.R.A. has pursued that strategy relentlessly and with great effect. It was hardly a coincidence that it decided to wade into the controversy over N.F.L. players’ kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. The group put out a video called “We Stand,” which linked the themes of freedom, patriotism and guns. “I stand for the children, the spouses and parents whose family made the ultimate sacrifice for us,” the narrator says. “We are all standing. We are the National Rifle Association of America and we are freedom’s safest place.”

In a recent video starring Dana Loesch, a popular radio talk show host, the N.R.A. checked all the boxes of the culture wars. Featuring apocalyptic images of protests and violence, the spot targeted educational indoctrination in the schools, Hollywood leftism and liberal news media bias. “The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom, is to fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth,” Ms. Loesch declares.

The video was part of a larger strategy. Last fall, the N.R.A. started its own television news outlet, known as NRATV. As Adam Winkler, a law professor at U.C.L.A. and the author of “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America,” notes, NRATV does not focus merely on guns. “Now it’s focused on immigration, race, health care,” he told The New Republic. “We’re seeing the N.R.A. become an extreme right-wing media outlet, not just a protector of guns.”

It’s actually more than that. The N.R.A. has effectively turned itself into the Id of the right. Despite the largely symbolic ban on bump stocks, the result is paralysis, both political and moral.

Actually, it's been focused on the broader culture war for a long time, as I wrote here. It's been one of their cleverest gambits. They have infiltrated all factions of the conservative movement, making themselves inseparable from all of them. They are at th center of the movement. There's no escaping them unless they all agree. And they won't.