Enjoy good journalism?
… then let us make a small request. The COVID crisis has slashed advertising rates, and we need your help. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.
Raw Story is independent. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.
We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.
Value Raw Story?
… then let us make a small request. The COVID crisis has slashed advertising rates, and we need your help. Like you, we believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We need your support to do what we do.
Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.
The Washington Post reported that the National Rifle Association is about to drop $2 million to attack President Joe Biden for trying to eliminate ghost guns, calling for an assault weapons ban and implementing background checks to all sellers at gun shows. The suggestions are small but any gun safety laws are seen as a violation of their rights to the NRA.
Interestingly, however, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) noted how low the figure is.
"The actual news here is that the NRA, facing bankruptcy, has only $2m to spend," he tweeted. "For comparison, Senate candidates were spending $2m A DAY last fall. This 'campaign' is a proof point that the political momentum has shifted."
The actual news here is that the NRA, facing bankruptcy, has only $2m to spend. For comparison, Senate candidates w… https://t.co/0POEnn4zSS— Chris Murphy (@Chris Murphy)1619096853.0
Politico cartoonist Matt Wuerker joked that $2 million is CEO Wayne LaPierre's salary and shopping budget from the organization. Part of the internal fight with the NRA is that LaPierre spent almost $300,000 on suits from Beverly Hills on the NRA dime. As of 2018, LaPierre's base salary was $1.3 million "plus a bonus of $455,000 and 'other reportable compensation' of more than $427,000, the filings show. LaPierre also received an additional $73,793 in 'retirement and other deferred compensation' and 'nontaxable benefits' from the NRA and related entities, according to the filings, which the NRA provided to The Washington Post on Friday," the Washington Post reported in 2019. It's unclear how that has changed during the uprising of the NRA board and in the wake of investigations into the group's finances.
The NRA spent that much on Lapierre’s salary, bonuses and shopping allowance last year https://t.co/ghSrIASfJd— Matt Wuerker (@Matt Wuerker)1619098929.0
According to the new ad buy, "more than $400,000 will be spent in Maine, West Virginia and Montana on television ads that say 'Stop Biden's gun grab.'" The ads are meant to target U.S. Senators that the NRA views as swing votes on gun issues. Ironically, Maine and West Virginia are pointless markets because Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was just reelected. Sen. Angus King (I-ME) isn't up for reelection until 2024, giving him ample time to explain his vote to the state if it's a problem. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has already indicated he's not going to support any gun legislation. He also failed to pass any meaningful legislation the last time he promised he'd get it done.
In March, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow eviscerated Manchin for failing to pass background checks after the Sandy Hook massacre.
"More than 90 percent just want freaking background checks, full stop, the rest of the country stood back and took very credible senators to pursue this rinky-dink, tiny reform instead. They said that was something they could get done and they failed," said Maddow. "They failed, even after six-year-old first-graders were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary."
Manchin has an A-rating with the NRA. Collins isn't up for reelection for another six years. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) is up for reelection in 2024, and isn't likely to take a stand. So, the NRA is essentially wasting $400,000 of their ads.
"Some Democrats worry about the impact of a gun debate on the 2022 midterm elections," said the Post. "In 2014, the late senator Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) lost reelection after voting to support legislation to expand background checks. The NRA spent millions to defeat Hagan that year."
In 2014, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) won with just 49 percent of the vote. He scored over $4.4 million in independent expenditures from the NRA and other groups at the time. While it's unclear what kind of money the NRA has, if it can only spring $2 million to fight Joe Biden, Sen. Murphy thinks they're hurting.
"In addition to the TV ads, the NRA announced that an additional $600,000 will go to targeted digital advertising in the original three states and Arizona, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania," the Post said. "Another half-million dollars will be dedicated to a direct mail campaign that will also hit Utah, Alaska, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana."
Essentially the NRA is targeting their own members with the desperate hope that they'll care or pay attention. The last time gun owners were polled in 2018, it was revealed that 70 to 80 percent of NRA members support a universal background check.
Republican greed is why Americans can't have nice things.
Every developed country in the world has some variation on a free or low-cost national healthcare system, and free or even subsidized higher education. In most developed countries homelessness is not a crisis, nobody goes bankrupt because somebody in their family got sick, and jobs pay well enough and have union pensions so people can retire after 30 or 40 years in the workforce and live comfortably for the rest of their lives.
But not in America. Republicans would never allow any of those things to happen.
It's not about ideology. Republicans don't hate Social Security and Medicare, for example, because they're afraid that those programs are going to somehow turn America into a communist country. They hate those programs because they're paid for with tax dollars, and greedy Republicans hate to pay their fair share of taxes.
It's not about racism, although it often appears that way. The reason Republicans work so hard to keep Black and Brown people down is because they subscribe to a weird economic theory that "requires" an underclass who do most of the hard work for very little money so rich Republicans, being part of the overclass, can reap the benefits and stuff the extra cash into their money bins.
If their use of racist language and Confederate iconography brings in a few more low-IQ white voters, that's just icing on the cake. They can use the racist yahoos to get themselves reelected so giant corporations will continue to stuff their SuperPACs with lobbyist cash they can use for their own retirement.
It's not about charity, although they love to say that the housing and healthcare needs of poor people should be taken care of through charity. What they're really saying is that they don't want to pay their fair share of taxes to maintain a healthy society.
It's not about Christianity, although they're constantly invoking Jesus for everything from pushing the death penalty on women who want to get an abortion to giving bigots the legal right to discriminate against gay and trans people. Jesus never once mentioned abortion and decried bigotry, but they regularly ignore and even flaunt His teachings in the Sermon on the Mount and His warnings in Matthew 25. They protect multimillionaire evangelists' tax-free status, and the preachers repay them by preaching politics from the pulpit.
It's not about saving Americans from the pandemic. Trump used the Defense Production Act to force mostly Brown and Black meatpackers back to work, not to keep Americans safe. As long as the factories are humming and the stock market is rising, a few hundred thousand dead Americans are just collateral damage.
It's not about conservatism. They're not interested in slowly or "cautiously" improving society, or "conserving" anything other than the balances in their own checking accounts. They like to use the word "conservative," but they've rendered it meaningless at best and code for "racist" at worst.
It's not about making the world a better place. They deny climate change, deregulate industries that poison our air and water, and do everything they can to screw working people out of unions, good wages and decent benefits. They're totally down with pesticides that are killing our pollinators while they poison our atmosphere with their carbon emissions, all just to make a buck.
It's not about having a better-educated electorate or populace. They've spent decades trying to destroy our public education system that was, in the 1960s, the envy of the world. When they did away with free and low-cost college education during the Reagan years they kicked off almost $2 trillion worth of student debt which is preventing people from starting families, opening small businesses, or even buying their first house. But it sure is profitable for Republican bankers!
It isn't about "culture." They do a good-old-boy NASCAR/Duck Dynasty routine to bring in the rubes, but there's no way Donald Trump would ever invite the average Republican voter with a giant flag and a pickup truck to any of his golf clubs, nor would Ted Cruz want to vacation with one of them or their families in Cancun.
It's not about "gun violence." As long as their investments in weapons manufacturers are profitable and the problem of gun violence is limited to poor- and working-class Americans, Republicans don't give a rat's ass about "gun safety." Althought they're happy to use guns as a wedge issue to bring in male voters who are insecure about their own masculinity.
It's not about immigrants taking jobs from working-class Americans. Ronald Reagan stopped enforcing the laws against wealthy white employers hiring people who are here without documentation. As a result, entire industries like construction and meatpacking that once provided good union jobs have been de-unionized, their former American-citizen union employees replaced by low-wage workers without documentation. And when the spotlight gets shined on them, Republicans are more than happy to put poor, hard-working Brown people in jail but there's no way they're ever going to go after wealthy white employers. They don't give a damn about your job, particularly when they can find somebody else to do it cheaper.
It's not about America "first." Reagan and Bush the Elder negotiated NAFTA and revived the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) so businesses could offshore entire factories. Since the Reagan administration, over 60,000 factories have left America, along with at least 5 million jobs. Donald Trump's rewrite of NAFTA even gives American companies a huge new tax break if they move factories from America to Mexico.
At the end of the day, all Republicans care about is money. Greed is their principle animating force.
It doesn't matter how many Americans die, how many humans struggle in misery and poverty, how many children's growth is stunted or are poisoned by industrial and mining waste being poured into our air and rivers.
As long as the money keeps rolling in and their billonnaire patron's taxes remain absurdly low, that's all Republicans care about and are willing to fight for.
A bill passed by Republicans in Tennessee would force women who get abortions to either bury or cremate their aborted fetuses, and could leave them on the hook to pay for it if they don't follow certain guidelines.
Local news station WMC Action News 5 reports that Tennessee's legislature this week passed the so-called Unborn Child Dignity Act that mandates a woman state in writing whether she wants the fetal remains after her abortion to be buried or cremated.
Tennessee state Rep. Tim Rudd argued that the bill is good because it provides women a "choice" for how they dispose of the aborted fetus and gives them closure by knowing what happened to its remains.
"Normally the baby is abandoned in the abortion clinic and it's thrown out in the trash or medical waste," he said.
The bill states that the woman's health care provider would have the primary financial responsibility for burying or cremating the fetus, although the woman could be on the hook for paying for the burial if she "chooses a burial location other than the one provided by the facility," reports WMC Action News 5.
Democratic Tennessee state Rep. London Lamar slammed passage of the bill, which she said was designed to place more emotional and financial hardship on women who are already dealing with a traumatic experience.
"What we're doing is traumatizing potential victims of rape and incest," she said.
The bill has passed the legislature and is now headed to Gov. Bill Lee's desk for his signature.
Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Raw Story Investigates and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.
$95 / year — Just $7.91/month
I want to Support More
$14.99 per month