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“I’ll See Your Chainsaw And Raise You A Semi Automatic”: GOP Candidates Are Finding It Difficult To Capture The Spotlight

Two weeks ago, Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) presidential campaign, eager to generate some interest in its message, released an unfortunate video. The 51-second clip showed Paul, looking and sounding a bit like a used-car salesman, setting fire to large stacks of paper, putting the paper through a wood-chipper, and literally using the chainsaw.

It was supposed to have something to do with federal tax policy.

That, of course, set a fairly high bar for presidential candidates doing silly things to generate attention for themselves. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), do you have a rebuttal?

“There are few things I enjoy more than on weekends cooking breakfast with the family,” Cruz opens the video. Raw bacon and aluminum foil are then wrapped around the barrel of a machine gun at a firing range.

“Of course in Texas, we cook bacon a little differently than most folks,” Cruz says.

The far-right senator appears to have partnered with IJReivew, a conservative site, for the video called, “Making Machine-Gun Bacon with Ted Cruz.” The minute-long clip is online here.

The video proceeds roughly as one might expect: the raw bacon “cooks” as Cruz fires the gun. When he’s done with target practice, the senator removes the foil, takes a bite with a fork, and laughs. “Mmm, machine-gun bacon,” he says.

For the record, I’m not entirely sure if this actually is a “machine gun.” More knowledgeable sources can (and should) check me on this, but I was under the impression that machine guns are fully automatic, firing bullets quickly. The far-right senator appears to be firing one bullet with each pull of the trigger. It seems like a relevant detail – if Cruz doesn’t know what a machine gun is, this video may prove to be more embarrassing than intended.

Regardless, whether or not this video is better than Cruz’s tryout for “The Simpsons” is a matter of taste.

As for the larger context, this is apparently what it means to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2015.

In a massive field of 17 candidates, which is currently led by a former reality-show host who has never sought or held public office, GOP candidates are finding it increasingly difficult to capture the spotlight. Looking “presidential” is nice, but it’s also evidently dull.

And so we’ve reached the curious combination of candidates, chainsaws, and raw meat on gun barrels.

What’s more, it’s only early August. What the YouTube clips will look like in, say, November, is anybody’s guess.


By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, August 3, 2015

August 4, 2015 Posted by | GOP Presidential Candidates, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz | , , , , , | 3 Comments

“How Wayne LaPierre Increases Gun Sales”: Completely Freaking Out The Public About Some Imminent Demise Of Law And Order

The National Rifle Association is holding their annual conference in Indianapolis this year, and Wayne LaPierre is sounding more unhinged than ever. He sounds almost as paranoid as our quail-hunting former vice-president.

Perhaps the nation’s most visible gun rights advocate, LaPierre drew a stark picture of the dangers that he said plague the country and argued the government has failed to protect its citizens.

“We know that in the world that surrounds us there are terrorists, home invaders, drug cartels, car jackers, ‘knock-out’ gamers, rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse as a society that sustains us all,” he said.

“So I ask you this afternoon: do you trust this government really to protect you and your family?” he continued. “We’re on our own. That’s a certainty.”

LaPierre got so worked up there that basic grammar broke down for him. I don’t know quite what to make from such heated rhetoric. Is it some kind of sign of desperation? Do the people who travel to NRA conferences really need to be sustained on this level of high-octane bugnuttery?

Notice the incredible inversion of reality, where campus killers and shopping mall killers and airport killers are less a threat because they’ve legally purchased semiautomatic weapons despite being insane than they are an excuse for the rest of us to purchase semiautomatic weapons for our own defense.

Notice that the argument is not that we need to be armed to serve in a well-regulated militia but to prepare for the complete breakdown of modern civilization.

We must be prepared for “vicious waves of chemicals” that will no doubt be unleashed on the unincorporated hamlets of red state America rather than in our densely-populated cities.

Maybe the following helps explain the true source LaPierre’s angst:

The share of American households with guns has declined over the past four decades, a national survey shows, with some of the most surprising drops in the South and the Western mountain states, where guns are deeply embedded in the culture.

The gun ownership rate has fallen across a broad cross section of households since the early 1970s, according to data from the General Social Survey, a public opinion survey conducted every two years that asks a sample of American adults if they have guns at home, among other questions.

The rate has dropped in cities large and small, in suburbs and rural areas and in all regions of the country. It has fallen among households with children, and among those without. It has declined for households that say they are very happy, and for those that say they are not. It is down among churchgoers and those who never sit in pews.

The household gun ownership rate has fallen from an average of 50 percent in the 1970s to 49 percent in the 1980s, 43 percent in the 1990s and 35 percent in the 2000s, according to the survey data, analyzed by The New York Times.

The only way to make up for this is to get gun owners to own more guns. And the best way to do that is to completely freak them out about some imminent demise of law and order.


By: Martin Longman, Washington Monthly Political Animal, April 26, 2014


April 27, 2014 Posted by | National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“We Need Gun Control To Stop More Than Criminals”: Gun Violence Isn’t Only Committed By Classic Criminals

Opponents of any kind of gun restrictions argue that they are meaningless, since criminals by definition don’t follow the law, and therefore won’t allow gun laws to hamstring their criminal behavior. That’s true. But gun violence isn’t only committed by classic criminals, as recent gun-related tragedies show.

There’s the 12-year-old who apparently took a shotgun out of a musical instrument case and shot and injured two classmates at a middle school in New Mexico. His behavior would make him a criminal (and what is a 12-year-old doing with a gun?). But most likely, his classmates and teachers did not see him as your basic law-breaker. He was, the Los Angeles Times reports, a bright but distant boy. He was able to get a gun because his family is a gun family, enjoying hunting. Are they criminals? It doesn’t sound like it. The boy simply had easy access to a gun, without which he would not have been able to do the damage he has done. We don’t yet know the circumstances of the origin of the gun used, but could the tragedy have been averted had there been mandatory safety stopgaps – either on the weapon itself, or with a requirement that the guns be kept in a locked structure?

A man in Florida, meanwhile, shot and killed a fellow movie-goer after said viewer refused to stop texting. The annoyance of the shooter is more than understandable – and many of us might have no problem with grabbing a phone from a theater-goer, throwing it on the floor and stomping on it – but the fact that this man felt he could shoot and kill someone for behaving so boorishly is alarming. Is he a criminal? It didn’t sound like it, based on evidence from before the shooting. In fact, he was a retired police office with a spotless record. And early reports indicate he thought he was being threatened (turns out the “threat” may have just been thrown popcorn). The point is he had a gun, had it with him in a movie theater, and could not have killed someone if he had not had the weapon with him. If people were not allowed to carry concealed weapons into the theater, this particular tragedy may not have happened.

On Wednesday night, a gunman opened fire at an Indiana grocery store, killing two people with a semi-automatic weapon before police shot and killed the gunman. That offender may well have been a classic criminal before the episode. We may never know, as he can’t tell us his back-story. If he was a troubled person (and his behavior suggests that he was), would a simple background check have kept him from getting such a gun?

Ban guns and only criminals will have guns, we are told. Put restrictions on gun ownership, or require people to undergo background checks first, and we will only make it harder for law-abiding citizens to get guns for protection, gun rights advocates say. They are right on both counts. But it would still prevent a great many murders.


By: Susan Milligan, Washington Whispers, U.S. News and World Report, January 16, 2014

January 17, 2014 Posted by | Gun Violence, Guns | , , , , , , | 1 Comment


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