How Much Longer Can Wayne LaPierre Hang On?

New Orleans       Normally, when I note that I’m sick of reading about the National Rifle Association, known to all as the NRA, that means that there’s been a mass shooting somewhere in the United States, and they have planted themselves in the road to block any path of reasonable reform.   On those days, it’s impossible to read about the NRA without a feeling of disgust.  These days though the NRA is also in the news almost daily with more shoes dropping about the greed, perfidy, and ruthlessness of its CEO Wayne LaPierre and the corruption rift throughout the organization.  I read every word appalled at the level of total moral and ethical rot that has seeped into the organization and its leadership behind the grisly and deadly headlines of its waning influence.

The nation’s two largest news organizations, The New York Times and especially The Wall Street Journal are on LaPierre like a bad dream.  The organization’s 76-member board is rift with resignations as some leave in disgust that the public reputation of the organization is falling like a rock, or they are being forced out by LaPierre as he tries to exact revenge on members and staff who supported a cleanup of the organization and a change at the top because of his profligate spending.  Whistleblowers and the disenchanted inside the huge nonprofit must be carrying internal documents and financial reports of all his misdealings to the reporters in wheelbarrows!  He has to be drowning in his own rage and bile.  How much longer can he hang on?

Early reports documented almost a half-million in suits and luxury vacation trips that LaPierre had billed to the NRA’s former ad and PR firm out of Oklahoma.  It was a falling out among the thieves!  That would have been enough to topple a lesser tyrant, but LaPierre weathered that blow at least for a while.

Now it’s the thousand cuts that might get him.

There was a big check for $60000 that the NRA wrote for a down payment on a $6-million mansion in Dallas for him and his wife that they claimed was simply an advance to speed up the purchase for security reasons.  More information came out that now looks like the NRA footed the whole $6-million tab.

There are these estimated $5000 a flight trips for his wife’s niece and her daughter, both of whom seem to work somehow for the NRA, to ferry them back and forth from Nebraska to DC or wherever.  This is all so grimy that there’s no mention of nepotism.

Even if the members want to keep hiding their heads in the sand at all of these rip-offs, some of the problems are harder to ignore forever.

The Times charted the declining clout the NRA among Democrats in the House over the last decade leaving it with less than twenty representatives who made passing grades on its scorecard with the rest of the majority-controlled body all getting F’s.  That’s political, but on the financial side, investigations by the New York Attorney General and the District Attorney for Washington, DC are having a field day as they examine the nonprofit status of the NRA in light of all of these revelations.

It’s not going to get better.  LaPierre still has the ear of President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but both of them are politicians.  They may listen with one ear still, but they read the paper and realize that LaPierre could stick on their shoes just like the weight he now is dragging down the NRA itself.

How long can he hang on?  Not much longer I would bet, and for every day he does, the good news is that he is bringing the NRA down with him.

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Which Paper Tiger Folds First:  NRA, Walmart, Trump, or McConnell?

New Orleans     Unbelievably, President Trump was unable to stay on message even in the wake of the national tragedy of mass murder in El Paso and Dayton.  Only, Trump could make a day of mourning and the traditional post-disaster visit all about him and his sense of grievance and entitlement, rather than about the victims, their families, and communities.  He read from a statement that was on message, but couldn’t control either his mouth or his Twitter-finger.  He will pay for this lack of discipline and decorum and reap a whirlwind of disgust.

So, will the Republican Party.  If they hadn’t lost any prospects of a Latino vote before, they surely have lost it for a generation now from El Paso to immigrant-bashing to overt racism to mass workplace arrests in Mississippi with more to come to detention centers and child separation.  The only question may be whether the Party has lost votes for several generations rather than just this one where the memories – and wounds – are fresh.

What other paper tigers will fold?

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is hamstrung by internal conflict, board resignations, mass subpoenas of its board members, accusations of financial misdealing, and a wrenching power struggle.  No matter what they argue today, their voice has been reduced.  What politician would fear their wrath now or not weigh it against the red-hot rage of their own constituents?

Even the President in his own bumbling way seemed to argue for some kind of gun registry without any details.  Where Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been able to wall off any reforms in the Senate, it may be harder now, and even he has been quoted opening the door a crack to the considerations of some reforms, even if weak ones like the “red flag” warnings, which put the onus on friends, family, and the community to report others who should be flagged.

Even Walmart, where recent killings have occurred in Mississippi and Texas is feeling the pressure not only as a venue for slaughter, but also as a purveyor of the weapons of mass destruction.  Hundreds of white-collar Walmart employees walked out of the mega-retailer’s e-commerce offices in California, Oregon, and New York to pressure the company “to stop selling guns and discontinue donations to politicians who receive funding from the National Rifle Association,” according to The Washington Post. “Walmart sells guns in about half of its 4,750 U.S. stores, making it one of the nation’s largest retailers of firearms and ammunition.”

The organizers of the walkout faced retaliation from the company, but other reports have focused on the limited training and protection workers have gotten from Walmart about active shooter situations.  No amount of money is worth taking a bullet for your boss, and ten dollars an hour is far less than any would consider a fair price for the risk.  Tourists and pedestrians panicked and ran for cover around Times Square in New York when they heard a backfire on a small vehicle.

This is out of control.  The paper tigers must fold so that the public is protected.  We are close to the tipping point where politics is forced to recede in the face of common sense and basic safety.

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Please enjoy “”Unwed Fathers”” by John Prine and Margo Price. Thanks to KABF.

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