Hey, America: This Is How Republicans Play With Our Lives
What do you do after the deadliest mass shooting in modern history, a 15-hour filibuster to force a vote on gun control, and a 26-hour sit-in to force a vote on gun control, finally make it clear Americans are so united in wanting gun control legislation â€“Â and you’re the Republican in charge of the Senate but you and your fellow Republicans are bought-and-paid-for by the NRA and afraid the NRA will support another candidate challenging you?
Make it look like you’re giving the people what they wantÂ â€“ but in reality, give cover to your caucus because it’s an election year.
Welcome to “As Mitch McConnell’s World Turns.”
Literally a hour after House Democrats announced the end to their 26-hour sit-in/protest demanding House Speaker Paul Ryan allow a vote on gun control, Republican Senator Mitch McConnellÂ on Friday let it be known the Senate would vote on two gun control billsÂ â€“ totally making it look like he was the Statesman in the face of Speaker Ryan labeling the House Democrats’ actions a “publicity stunt.”
Spoiler alert: both bills failed. Super spoiler alert: By design.
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) would get a vote on her bipartisan version of the “no fly, no buy” terrorism watch lists bill, which the NRA opposes, and Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) would get a vote on his bill, which the NRA did not officially oppose.
Collins’ bill would also mandate FBI notification should anyone who has been on the terror watchlist within the past five years attempt to purchase a firearm. The NRA labeled Collins’ bill unconstitutional.
“Under Collinsâ€™ amendment,” USA Today reports, “federal authorities would have had to have been notified of the purchases” made by the Orlando terrorist who killed 49 people and injured 53 more, “giving them an opportunity to surveil him and possibly preventÂ his tragic scheme.”
Johnson’s version mandated that the Dept. of Justice had a mere three days to find a reason to deny a gun purchase to someone who is or had been on the no fly or terror watch lists. After that, purchase approved.
Here’s where the Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell worked his evil.
“Senate GOP leadership explicitly designed the vote to go nowhere by using a procedural tactic,”Â Talking Points Memo reported.
Mitch McConnell just voted to kill bipartisan terror gap amendment. pic.twitter.com/2A7lvIn7Te
â€” igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) June 23, 2016
After the Collins bill survived an initial “test” vote, which it was not expected to do, McConnell put the two bills up together, giving Senate Republicans cover to vote for a form of gun control, splitting the number of votes that the Collins bill could have gotten.
And then, just to make it worse, the vote on the Collins bill was not to pass it, but to fail it.
“In doing so, McConnell, a master of the Senateâ€™s arcane rules, provided cover for vulnerable Republicans who wanted to be seen as supporting the effort, but did not want to cross the National Rifle Association,” The Hill explains.
â€œThe scenario that Sen. McConnell set up was textbook McConnell,â€ former Senate Republican aideÂ Brian Darling told The Hill.Â
The Collins bill got 52 votes, but not the 60 needed to pass, so the Senate can now say it tried, but the votes just aren’t there.
The senators who voted to kill a bipartisan compromise designed to prevent suspected terrorists from getting guns: pic.twitter.com/V8P1k3cZKR
â€” igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) June 23, 2016
â€œIt didnâ€™t have sixty votes. Thatâ€™s what a motion to table does. It demonstrates where the votes are,â€ McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said.
Marco Rubio had such a deep awakening after Orlando shooting to get into public service, he just voted AGAINST compromise terror gap bill
â€” igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) June 23, 2016
Calling it a “last-minute measure,” The Hill reports it “had no chance of passing the Senate, but gave political cover for Johnson and Sens.Â John McCainÂ (R-Ariz.),Â Rob PortmanÂ (R-Ohio),Â Richard BurrÂ (R-N.C.),Â Roy BluntÂ (R-Mo.) andÂ Marco RubioÂ (R-Fla.), who are all in challenging reelection races this fall.”
â€” igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) June 20, 2016
“All six voted against the Collins bill but in favor of the Johnson measure.”
Collins says she will “never know” why McConnell set up the votes the way he did.Â
But America does, and we suspect the Republican Senator from Maine does as well.
Here’s Senator Mitch McConnell, two days after the Orlando anti-LGBT hate crime mass shooting terror attack, that killed 49 people and wounded 53 others, explaining how Republicans are keeping America safe:
â€” Sen. McConnell Press (@McConnellPress) June 14, 2016
â€œBetween the Senate filibuster, the House sit-in, and this vote, we have helped create a massive uprising of support in favor of laws to make our nation safer from gun violence,” Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, who stood on the Senate floor for nearly 15 hours, holding a filibusterÂ for gun control, said. “And while I know we are far from the finish line, this has been a momentous last eight days for this crusade.â€
Murphy called today’s Senate vote a huge loss for the NRA.
Today’s vote in the Senate represented the largest Republican defection from the gun lobby in recent memory. Today was a loss for the NRA.
â€” Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) June 23, 2016
It’s a start.
Image by SenÂ McConnell Press/Twitter
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Mike Pence Quietly Took a Huge Christmas Ski Vacation as Coronavirus Cases Soared – Costing Taxpayers Over $750,000
More details continue to emerge about the Trump-Pence administration.
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said new documents show then-VP Mike Pence showed “bad judgment” during the coronavirus pandemic.
“While coronavirus cases surged to record levels late last December, Vice President Mike Pence went on a ski vacation in Vail, Colorado. The trip came with a massive bill to taxpayers, with Secret Service protection alone costing $757,527.85, according to documents obtained by CREW. At the time of his holiday travel, Pence was the head of the White House coronavirus task force, which put out dire warnings after Thanksgiving as the CDC recommended that Americans stay home over the holidays in order to limit the spread of the virus. Clearly, Pence did not follow the government’s advice, and in the process put dozens of Secret Service agents at heightened risk of infection,” the group said on Thursday.
“Pence’s trip extended from December 23rd to January 1st, and reportedly included a Secret Service entourage of at least 48 agents, contributing to both the high cost and the risk of infection.The agents stayed at several different hotels in the Vail area and rented 77 cars for the trip. The charges included more than $270,000 at the Marriott Vail Mountain and more than $80,000 at the Ritz Carlton,” the group reported.
“This also is not the first time Mike Pence stuck taxpayers with huge bills for his travel. Back in 2019, he traveled to Ireland for government business in Dublin, but stayed overnight at Donald Trump’s resort on the other side of the country in Doonbeg. Travel costs for that were more than half a million dollars, and also resulted in the Secret Service spending more than $15,000 at Trump’s resort,” the group noted. “While Pence’s December trip to Vail was less nakedly corrupt than his trip to Doonbeg, it showed another kind of bad judgment, by putting many government workers tasked with keeping him safe at risk in the midst of a raging pandemic. We would hope that the head of the coronavirus task force would know better.”
NEW: Then-VP Mike Pence went on a ski trip in late December, when COVID rates were surging and the CDC recommended people stay home for the holidays. Documents obtained by @CREWcrew show the trip cost taxpayers more than $750,000 in Secret Service costs.https://t.co/pYm6bX3GCB
— Noah Bookbinder (@NoahBookbinder) April 22, 2021
Image: Official White House photo by Myles D. Cullen via Flickr
Andrew Yang Tried to Get an LGBTQ Group’s Endorsement So He Talked About Wanting to Visit a Lesbian Bar: NYT
Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who was a surprising breakout success but suffered criticisms about “tone,” and continues to, is running to become New York City’s next mayor. He’s currently the frontrunner in the very early race but once again, as The New York Times reports, his inability to build support among minority groups is hurting him.
Yang spoke to the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, a top LGBTQ organization, on Wednesday.
“It did not go particularly well,” the Times reports.
Yang’s approach and the way he treated LGBTQ people was seen as “outdated,” according to Stonewall’s president, Rose Christ.
“Yang cited gay members of his staff as apparent evidence of his openness to the club’s concerns, and expressed enthusiasm about the prospect of visiting Cubbyhole, a storied New York lesbian bar, participants said,” the Times reveals.
“He proactively talked about resurrecting the city’s Pride March, but failed to pay sufficient heed to more substantive issues they were actually concerned about, including homelessness and affordable housing, they said.”
“When I see a candidate come in just with Michael Scott levels of cringe and insensitivity, it either tells me Andrew Yang is in over his head or is not listening to his staff,” said Alejandra Caraballo, a member of the organization, referring to the character played by Steve Carell on “The Office.” “Those are both radioactive flashing signs that say he is not prepared to be mayor of New York.”
Yang also repeatedly referred to LGBTQ people as a “community,” telling members of the Stonewall Democratic Club how much he cares about “your community.”
“I genuinely do love you and your community,” Yang told members. “You’re so human and beautiful. You make New York City special. I have no idea how we ever lose to the Republicans given that you all are frankly in, like, leadership roles all over the Democratic Party.”
Filmmaker and Stonewall member Harris Doran said Yang “kept calling us ‘Your community,’ like we were aliens.”
“We have, like, this incredible secret weapon,” Yang also said. “It’s not even secret. It’s like, we should win everything because we have you all.”
“Gay, gay, gay. Wow,” one person wrote in the chat accompanying the forum, which was later shared with The New York Times. “More to us than just that.”
Trump Loving Lawmaker Schooled for Claim Founders Oppose DC Statehood: They ‘Never Intended’ for GOP to ‘Commit Sedition’ Either
Just before the U.S. House of Representatives voted 216-208 on Thursday to make Washington, D.C. a state, Ohio Republican state representative Mike Loychik posted a tweet insisting the “founders never intended for Washington DC to become a state.”
He’s not wrong, technically, but – as many corrected him – given that the founders never intended for many things, including for women and Black people to be allowed to vote, for people who did not own property to vote, and, as some noted, for Republicans to “commit sedition,” what difference does it make?
The founders also did not originally intend for Washington, D.C. to be the seat of government. First it was New York City, then Philadelphia.
Rep. Loychik, who just filed a bill to make Ohio taxpayers spend $300,000 to rename Mosquito Lake State Park in Donald Trump’s honor, did not respond to any of the people educating him, but hours later he posted a tweet attacking Democrats:
The founders are looking down on America and they’re DISGUSTED by what the Democrat party is trying to do to this country.
— Representative Mike Loychik (@MikeLoychik) April 22, 2021
Loychik is clearly ignoring the fact that “the Republican Party has historically taken far more effective advantage of the addition of new states,” as The Atlantic reported in 2019.
In 1889 and 1890, Congress added North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming—the largest admission of states since the original 13. This addition of 12 new senators and 18 new electors to the Electoral College was a deliberate strategy of late-19th-century Republicans to stay in power after their swing toward Big Business cost them a popular majority. The strategy paid dividends deep into the future; indeed, the admission of so many rural states back then helps to explain GOP control of the Senate today, 130 years later.
Washington, D.C. could become the 51st state, if Democrats in the Senate can convince six of their Democratic colleagues currently opposed to the measure, and another ten Senate Republicans to support it, or kill the filibuster, which would allow passage with 50 Senate votes plus Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.
Here’s how some are schooling the Ohio Republican lawmaker:
You're only 3/5 right.
— Ed Bott (@edbott) April 22, 2021
The founders never intended for women to vote or people of color to be considered more than 3/5 of a human being. The founders never intended for @HouseGOP and @SenateGOP to commit sedition and overturn a free and fair election. Based on your logic, there should only be 13 states
— James (@JamesSNYC) April 22, 2021
The founders owned people like cattle.
— Review & Resist (@ReviewResist) April 22, 2021
The founders never intended for one of two political parties to flirt with fascist autocracy while attempting to implement minority rule either. But here we are. https://t.co/2DPIm5AfCK
— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) April 22, 2021
They never intended to extend voting rights to anyone other than property-owning white men, but here we are.
— Steve M. (@nomoremister) April 22, 2021
The Founders also believed that African-Americans were only 3/5ths of a person.
— Andrew C Laufer, Esq (@lauferlaw) April 22, 2021
They didn’t intend persons of color to vote, women to vote, or anyone who wasn’t a white guy with land for that matter.
DC has more people living there than WY or VT. It has more residents than 77 congressional districts.
So, no. You don’t get to deny DC their rights.
— lawhawk #maskingforafriend (@lawhawk) April 22, 2021
Founders never planned to ride a train either, hoss
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) April 22, 2021
The founders never intended 2a to mean every moron can own an AR-15, either.
No one lived in DC then, they do now. Taxation without representation is illegal.
— 𝕸𝖆𝖗𝖎𝖕𝖔𝖔𝖕𝖔𝖔𝖕𝖔𝖔 (@maripoopoopoo) April 22, 2021
That’s inaccurate. Article IV Section 3 of our US Constitution laid out the pathway to statehood. Article I Section 8 lays out the purpose of our nation’s capital which is not to be a state.
— Rep. Ron Ferguson (@ronfergusonohio) April 22, 2021
Remind me which of the original 13 states Ohio was again? https://t.co/K8zZyycF5e
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) April 22, 2021
Founders never intended for there to be a standing army.
Founders never intended for popular election of Senators. https://t.co/hTatnAW3eY
— Mesopelagic Mike (@nyambol) April 22, 2021
They never intended a not well regulated militia with AK’s either.
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) April 22, 2021
The founders intended Ohio to be part of Connecticut & Virginia, but here we are (also they did not intend blacks or women to vote, but we evolved).
— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) April 22, 2021
I think we can safely stop using “the founders never intended” for a lot of ideas. It’s been almost 250 years. A few things have changed.
— Anthony (@anthonytx42) April 22, 2021
Yup. And HR-51 does this specially. pic.twitter.com/GEF3Z77Mx2
— sunni ♥︎ (@sunnivaskeleton) April 22, 2021
A Strict Constructionist reading (or any reading for that matter) of Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution does not exclude ANY area that is not already part of a State, @MikeLoychik.
Read the WHOLE Constitution, Mike, not just the 2nd Amendment. https://t.co/XilZo4NtKU
— Sgt Joker (@TheSGTJoker) April 22, 2021
The Founders thought bloodletting cured fevers. Go play.
— BettyFastCat (@BettyFastCat1) April 22, 2021
The founders never intended for the Air Force to become a military branch but here we are.
— National Security Counselors (@NatlSecCnslrs) April 22, 2021
I dare say they would start a revolution to fight against taxation without representation.
— Nick Done 🇺🇸 (@NickDone8) April 22, 2021
Image: screenshot via Facebook
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