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After Orlando John Oliver Reveals Secret of Beating the NRA: ‘You Have to Show Up Every F*cking Day’

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HBO Pundit Challenges America to Force Congress to Allow Research on Preventing Gun Violence – Because That’s Currently Illegal, Thanks to the NRA

John Oliver Sunday night looked at gun violence in America in the wake of the Orlando anti-LGBT hate crime mass shooting terror attack, and focused his sights on the NRA. 

After examining a few responses to the Orlando tragedy, including Donald Trump’s attempt to frame the terrorist as foreign, even though, as Oliver notes, he was born in Queens, just eight miles from where Trump was born, Oliver went after Congress for failing to respond to our nation’ gun violence crisis.

“Here we are again after another mass shooting with weak legislation due 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. And it is pretty clear what is standing between those two things, and it is the National Rifle Association,” Oliver accused.

The “Last Week Tonight” host observed that efforts to block gun control often begin with Republicans saying there’s no proof gun control works, and that’s very convenient, because in 1997 they passed the Dickey Amendment, which specifically bans the CDC from studying gun violence or advocating for gun control. Efforts to repeal the Dickey Amendment, which are even supported by Jay Dickey, the now-former U.S. Congressman who sponsored the legislation, consistently fail, thanks to the pull the NRA has on many members of Congress.

Making it illegal to study gun violence and ways to reduce or eliminate it gives Congress the out it wants to refuse to pass gun control measures.

“So how the fuck has the NRA managed to accomplish all of this? Because the truth is, they’re not that large an organization. They claim they have a membership of around 5 million, but that is three million fewer members than Planet Fitness—and the members of Planet Fitness have almost no power. Most of them don’t even have the power to go to Planet Fitness,” Oliver quipped. “The real power of the NRA are in its members who are highly motivated and can be mobilized quickly.”

The HBO pundit noted the NRA is also successful because it mobilizes its members to show up and tell Congress “no.” They aren’t for anything, they are against everything. They have one message and one goal, and that makes it easy for their members to show up in Congress and to call their Congressmen and Senators to demand they vote “no” on all gun control efforts.

“The truth about politics is it’s about showing up. Remember the Manchin-Toomey Amendment?,” he asked, speaking of the 2013 bill offered in the wake of the Sandy Hook slaughter of 20 first grade students and six administrators. “Well, a national poll at that time found that 88 percent of people supported universal background checks, and yet Manchin’s office maintains that of the calls they received, they ran 200 to 1 in opposition to the bill, and that’s why it’s actually important to call your congressman,” said Oliver.

Oliver wants America to repeal the Dickey Amendment so we can once again study gun violence and ways to reduce it. He calls the NRA’s success at blocking information on guns its “most ingenious and insidious” tactic. And he says you will have to get involved, and not give up.

“You’re going to have to call and remind them, again, and then call them on their birthday and say, ‘Happy birthday! And also get rid of the Dickey amendment.’ Call them on Arbor Day and say, ‘Happy Arbor Day, whatever that is. By the way, what’s going on with that Dickey amendment?’ Call them on days when there wasn’t a mass shooting — and I know those days are getting fewer and farther between — but say, ‘Hey, it’s me again, what the f*ck’s up with the Dickey amendment?'”

Repealing the Dickey Amendment “is not asking much,” Oliver pleads. “It’s not gun control! It’s enabling us to have an informed conversation about what that could look like. And if or when a proposal you like is on the table, you’re going to have to make all those calls again, because remember, it doesn’t take much to outnumber the NRA. Planet Fitness members outnumber them. But it’s time for us to learn what those members haven’t. If you’re going to see serious changes, you actually have to show up every fucking day.”

Watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyZKcQEs73c

 

 

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OPINION

Why Alito’s ‘Stop the Steal’ Flag Story Just Fell Apart

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Justice Samuel Alito’s defense for why there was a “Stop the Steal” flag flying at his Alexandria, Virginia home three days before Joe Biden’s inauguration, ten days after the January 6, 2021 insurrection, just fell apart.

The entire justification for a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice with lifetime tenure who refuses to recuse himself from cases including ones related to the 2020 election, which ethics experts and U.S. Senators say he is obligated to do so, is a dispute with a neighbor, according to The New York Times‘ original reporting, and a Fox News reporter.

Critics say his defense doesn’t justify flying a U.S. flag upside down, a symbol of the Stop the Steal movement used by insurrectionists.

In brief, Fox News’ Shannon Bream reports Justice Alito “told me a neighbor on their street had a ‘F— Trump’ sign that was within 50 feet of where children await the school bus in Jan 21. Mrs. Alito brought this up with the neighbor.”

“According to Justice Alito, things escalated and the neighbor put up a sign personally addressing Mrs. Alito and blaming her for the Jan 6th attacks,” Bream wrote. She added Alito “says he and his wife were walking in the neighborhood and there were words between Mrs. Alito and a male at the home with the sign. Alito says the man engaged in vulgar language, ‘including the c-word’,” which prompted Mrs. Alito to hang the American flag upside down as the insurrections did on January 6.

RELATED: ‘Partisan Insurrectionist’: Calls Mount for Alito’s Ouster After ‘Stop the Steal’ Scandal

Court watchers and critics have called into question Alito’s judgment. Senate Democratic Judiciary Chairman Dick Durban has called for the Justice to recuse himself from all cases related to the 2020 presidential election, NBC News is reporting.

Critics are asking if Justice and/or Mrs. Alito’s response to an alleged dispute with neighbors was appropriate, but now Justice Alito’s telling of events is being called into question entirely.

Aaron Fritschner, Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), says no school children would have been waiting for school buses at the time the Alito’s flag was photographed upside down, because schools had moved to virtual learning during the COVID pandemic at that time in the area the Alitos reside.

Further calling into question Justice Alito’s claims, CNN’s Holmes Lybrand, a former fact-checker for The Weekly Standard, reports none of the Alitos’ neighbors remember the alleged dispute the justice recounted.

“I spoke with some of Justice Alito’s neighbors who said they remember the American flag being flown upside-down at his home but didn’t recall any neighborhood drama surrounding it,” Lyband reports. “Each neighbor I spoke with reiterated multiple times how kind and well-liked the Alitos are.”

In its report that broke the story, The New York Times noted, “The half-dozen neighbors who saw the flag, or knew of it, requested anonymity because they said they did not want to add to the contentiousness on the block and feared reprisal.”

READ MORE: Trump Appears to Violate Gag Order After Judge Threatened ‘Incarceration’

 

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OPINION

Alito Tells Fox News Story Behind His Home’s ‘Stop the Steal’ Flag but Critics Unconvinced

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Editor’s note: The spelling of Fox News host Shannon Bream’s last name has been corrected.

Justice Samuel Alito on Friday appeared to compound concerns over the bombshell New York Times report revealing a flag associated with the January 6 insurrection and the “Stop the Steal” movement was flying at his house just before Joe Biden was inaugurated and while the Supreme Court was reviewing a 2020 election case.

Alito, whose far-right positions including writing the majority opinion in the Supreme Court case overturning Roe v. Wade, have infuriated and frustrated the left, once again has found himself the subject of apprehension over his impartiality and grasp of ethical norms.

In a rare move, the embattled justice, who now faces strong calls for his ouster, spoke immediately to the news media to address those issues, and revealed the story behind the decision to fly the “Stop the Steal” flag at his home.

Confirming again it was his wife who put the flag up, Alito seemed neither remorseful nor cognizant of the great ethical and credibility violation that act represented.

RELATED: ‘Partisan Insurrectionist’: Calls Mount for Alito’s Ouster After ‘Stop the Steal’ Scandal

“I spoke directly with Justice #Alito about the flag story in the NYT,” Fox News host Shannon Bream reported late Friday morning via social media. “In addition to what’s in the story, he told me a neighbor on their street had a ‘F— Trump’ sign that was within 50 feet of where children await the school bus in Jan 21. Mrs. Alito brought this up with the neighbor.”

“According to Justice Alito, things escalated and the neighbor put up a sign personally addressing Mrs. Alito and blaming her for the Jan 6th attacks,” Bream continued.

“Justice Alito says he and his wife were walking in the neighborhood and there were words between Mrs. Alito and a male at the home with the sign. Alito says the man engaged in vulgar language, ‘including the c-word’,” she wrote. “Following that exchange, Mrs. Alito was distraught and hung the flag upside down ‘for a short time’. Justice Alito says some neighbors on his street are ‘very political’ and acknowledges it was a very heated time in January 2021.”

The Bulwark’s Bill Kristol chastised Bream, noting she got Alito’s side of the story without “trying to see how it compares with the accounts and recollections of others involved. If only the anchor had the resources of a ‘news’ channel to seek out the truth!”

Some critics responding to Bream’s report say Alito’s explanation doesn’t make their perception of his actions — or his wife’s – any more reasonable.

Former George W. Bush administration official Christian Vanderbrouk commented, “Sam Alito is unapologetic for desecrating an American symbol as part of a neighborhood feud.”

READ MORE: Why Are One in Five GOP Voters Still Voting for Nikki Haley Over Donald Trump?

“Interesting claims by Alito,” attorney Robert J. DeNault remarked. “Not sure it’s reasonable to think any person would react to a neighbor disagreeing — even crassly or rudely — over Trump by hanging an American flag upside down. Does not feel credible to contend Alito’s upside flag was divorced from MAGA symbolism.”

“Alito speaks to Fox about New York Times report, continues to attribute it to his wife, but does not explain why his wife’s reaction to a ‘fuck Trump’ sign and being insulted was to hang an American flag upside down in the days after Jan. 6.” observed CNN’s Edward-Isaac Dovere. “Suburban neighborhood disputes happen all the time – over lawn care, noisy children, Christmas lights… all sorts of things. Not many instances of an escalated response being a now very politicized symbol of military distress.”

“Friendly reminder the entire GOP and Fox News is screaming on practically a daily basis that Judge Merchan needs to recuse because of the work his adult daughter separately does,” national security attorney Brad Moss offered. “But yeah, this is no biggie.”

READ MORE: ‘Long History of Playing Games’: Biden Campaign Shuts Down Trump’s Tantrum

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OPINION

‘Partisan Insurrectionist’: Calls Mount for Alito’s Ouster After ‘Stop the Steal’ Scandal

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A symbol of Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” movement, which culminated in his January 6, 2021 rally and the insurrection that followed, was flown over the home of Justice Samuel Alito just days before Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, and as the U.S. Supreme Court was reviewing a 2020 election case. Now, calls are mounting for Justice Alito’s ouster.

The “Stop the Steal” movement, created in 2016 by far-right activist Roger Stone, was put into action by Trump acolytes during the 2020 election cycle. It is based on the “Big Lie,” promoted by Donald Trump and the majority of his followers, the false claim that Joe Biden did not win the 2020 presidential election, that it was “stolen.”

A symbol of “Stop the Steal” is an upside down American flag, which is technically used only “as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.” Trump’s MAGA followers co-opted the symbol, and it was widely seen during the violence of the January 6 insurrection.

It was also, as The New York Times reported in its bombshell story Thursday night, flown at “the residence of Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., in Alexandria, Va., according to photographs and interviews with neighbors.”

READ MORE: Will Trump Testify at Trial? ‘Absolutely’ Is Now a ‘No Decision’ Yet

A critical element of The Times’ report is the timing of Alito’s “Stop the Steal” flag.

“While the flag was up, the court was still contending with whether to hear a 2020 election case, with Justice Alito on the losing end of that decision,” the Times reported.

“In coming weeks,” The Times noted, “the justices will rule on two climactic cases involving the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, including whether Mr. Trump has immunity for his actions. Their decisions will shape how accountable he can be held for trying to overturn the last presidential election and his chances for re-election in the upcoming one.”

Justice Alito is taking no responsibility for the flag at his house.

“I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag,” Alito told The Times. “It was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs.”

The New York Times’ Michael Barbaro, who did not write the Alito article, commented: “Crucially, Alito doesn’t deny the flag was flying upside down, doesn’t deny its meaning, doesn’t express any disapproval for it and doesn’t disavow it.”

The Times also reports there are ethics and impartiality issues surrounding the use of the Stop the Steal flag.

READ MORE: ‘Ready to Start Another Insurrection’: Gaetz Support for Trump Echoes Proud Boys Order

“Judicial experts said in interviews that the flag was a clear violation of ethics rules, which seek to avoid even the appearance of bias, and could sow doubt about Justice Alito’s impartiality in cases related to the election and the Capitol riot.”

Legal and political experts, not to mention many ordinary Americans, are expressing great concern, with some even calling for Alito’s ouster, and some even using the word “impeachment.”

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), responding to the news, blasted both Justices Alito and Clarence Thomas.

“A judge is supposed to act in a way that enables all parties and lawyers appearing before the Court to believe they will be treated fairly,” Sen. Kaine wrote. “Alito and Thomas have brazenly destroyed this bedrock principle.”

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor of history and a scholar of authoritarians and fascism, also pointed to both for Alito and Thomas, and called for their ouster.

“Clean up the Court,” she urged. “Thomas and Alito must go. They are far-right activists masquerading as impartial justices, that is why so many anti-democratic forces (Federalist, billionaires) have invested in them.”

Political scientist Norman Ornstein, the highly-respected emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and a contributing editor for The Atlantic, responded to the Alito scandal.

“Sam Alito is a partisan insurrectionist. He has no business being on the Supreme Court,” he wrote Thursday night.

“It is time for a House member to introduce an impeachment resolution against Sam Alito,” Ornstein added an hour later. “He has openly and blatantly violated every standard we expect for any judge, not to mention the Supreme Court. And time for Dick Durbin to suck it up and hold hearings on this abuse of power,” he said, referring to the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Richard Painter, a professor of law and a former chief White House ethics lawyer, cut to the chase, posting the U.S. Code requiring recusal:

” ‘Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.’
28 USC Section 455″

“Justice Alito should be impeached and removed!!” declared SiriusXM host and attorney Dean Obeidallah. “If a liberal justice flew a flag in support of coup attempt waged by a Democratic President, the House GOP would immediately impeach him! We need Senate Dems to hold hearings!”

Veteran journalist John Harwood, responding to the Alito article, remarked, “bitter fanatic on the court.”

Laurence Tribe, University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, a constitutional law scholar who has argues three dozen times before the Supreme Court, commented: “More telling — and disqualifying — than the sheer antidemocratic sentiment this ‘Stop the Steal’ flag displayed is the hair-splitting sophistry of Justice Alito’s pathetic effort to shift blame from himself to his wife or someone else in his household.”

Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, a conservative until 2020, also blasted Justice Alito. Watch the video of her remarks below or at this link.

RELATED: Justice Alito’s Secret Speech ‘Spiking the Ball’ on Revoking Abortion Seen as Worsening Court’s ‘Credibility Crisis’

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