On Sunday evening, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver picked up where he left off last week, this time using the mass shooting in Orlando to delve into why lawmakers consistently refuse to pass sensible gun laws, with the HBO host pointing the finger at the usual suspect: the NRA.
Describing the NRA as “like PETA, but for guns, and effective,” Oliver explained how the gun organization keeps lawmakers in line, not only through contributions, but by effectively organizing their members to inundate their congressmen with phone calls demanding they do nothing about our porous gun laws.
“Here we are again,” Oliver stated. “After another mass shooting, with weak legislation doomed to failure. And there is clearly a disconnect between public opinion which favors, to varying degrees, a number of different gun control measures and any practical action in Washington.”
Of particular note were clips he showed of lawmakers explaining that there is no evidence indicating whether gun laws prevent shootings, while on the other hand refusing to fund studies to investigate.
“One of the major funders for academic research, the Centers for Disease Control, has been hamstrung in studying how best to prevent gun violence for the last twenty years,” the HBO host stated, pointing out that the NRA had language inserted into the CDC’s budget, stating: “none of the funds available … may be used to advocate of promote gun control.”
“Now, the CDC was already banned from advocating for gun control laws, or indeed any form of legislation,” he explained. “But the 1996 Dickey Amendment — named after both its sponsor, Jay Dickey, and after the fact that it was an extremely dickey thing to do — had a chilling effect on the CDC funding any gun research at all.”
The host noted that CDC funding for gun research has plummeted 96 percent from 1996 — down to a mere $100,000 out of a total budget of $5.6 billion.
“The only two other things that have dropped 96 percent in the last two decades are Lycos searches and Tickle-Me Elmo-related stampedes,” Oliver quipped.
Oliver wrapped up the segment by passionately pleading with viewers to contact their lawmakers — every day if need be — to repeal the Dickey Amendment.
“It’s not about gun control. It’s enabling us to have an informed opinion about what that could look like,” he exclaimed. “If and when a proposal is on the table that you like, you’re going to have to make all those calls again. It doesn’t take much to outnumber the NRA … But if you want to see serious changes, you actually have to show up every f*cking day.”
Watch the video below via YouTube:
Dershowitz and Trump should both be worried what Jeffrey Epstein will reveal when he looks to cut a deal: ex-prosecutor
On Saturday, Georgetown Law professor and former federal prosecutor Paul Butler discussed the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking case with MSNBC's Joy Reid, and the conversation turned to Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz's increasingly furious battle with David Boies, a prominent lawyer representing some of Epstein's alleged victims. Dershowitz has been accused by one of the women of also abusing her at one of Epstein's parties, a claim he categorically denies.
"I've had sex with one woman since the day I met Jeffrey Epstein," said Dershowitz in a Fox News clip Reid played for her viewers. "I challenge David Boies to say under oath that he's only had sex with one woman during that same period of time, he couldn't do it. So he has an enormous amount of chutzpah to attack me and to challenge my perfect, perfect sex life during the relevant period of time."
Do politicians actually care about your opinions? This researcher says no
Earlier this month, a New York Times op-ed written by two political science professors, Ethan Porter of George Washington University and Joshua Kalla of Yale, discussed their troubling research findings: State legislators, the two claim, don't much care about the opinions of their constituents, even if they're given detailed data regarding their views.
This article first appeared in Salon.
Black Georgia lawmaker accuses white man of demanding she ‘go back where she came from’ in supermarket diatribe
On Friday evening, Erica Thomas, and African-American Democratic lawmaker in the Georgia House of Representatives, was shopping at a Publix supermarket in Mableton when a white customer came up to her and shouted at her, telling her to "go back where you came from" — words echoing President Donald Trump's recent racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color.
Thomas' crime? She had too many items for the express checkout line.
Today I was verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from bc I had to many items in the express lane. My husband wasn’t there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!