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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Three Pillars of Conservative Power are Teetering

New Orleans        I’ll be honest I’m enjoying reading every line of this.

Page 6 of the Wall Street Journal had another article on the high-life high jinks of Wayne LaPierre, the chief muckety-muck of the National Rifle Association (NRA). Earlier they had reported on some $270,000 worth of clothing that LaPierre had charged to a vendor.  Today, they revealed that the vendor was Ackerman McQueen, the Oklahoma City based public relations and media contractor for decades to the NRA, and a company with whom LaPierre had historically been thick-as-thieves.

The other shoe that dropped was not related to haberdashery, but travel.  A letter was leaked that Ackerman McQueen had sent the NRA board about $240,000 worth of travel expenses that LaPierre had charged to the company’s credit card without adequate documentation.  The junkets included trips to the Bahamas and Italy.  All of this could be grist for the mill in the New York State investigation about the NRA’s tax status of course.  It also indicates the wounds are still bleeding in the internal disputes within the NRA over the falling out between LaPierre and his forces on the board versus the Ackerman McQueen allies.  Hey, LaPierre had their credit card for a reason, and I would bet money that none of these half-million bucks worth of expenditures would have every hit the light of day if they hadn’t fallen out.  Meanwhile LaPierre was being paid $1.4 million a year according to the 2017 IRS 990 filing for the NRA with the IRS.

That’s not all of the good news.  The scourge of workers and people-first policies in the name of business, the Chamber of Commerce, was front page news in their fall from influence, if not grace.  Executive salaries are up of course but lobbying expenditures and corporate donations are down in recent years.  Reportedly Trump wouldn’t shake their lobbyists hand, because they didn’t back him in the 2016 race.  Furthermore, his wild-right roll has made their traditional business-first conservationism passé.  Republican congressmen and senators were routinely quoted saying their emperor has no clothes anymore.  Meanwhile they are having an internal shake up as well, because they were out of step with big corporate power on social issues like gender and sexual discrimination.  They even have had to revise their vote-scoring system to boost the scores of some of the hated Democrats.  Their boss, Thomas Donahue, made $6.6 million in 2017, travels in a chauffeured SUV in DC with a two-man security detail, flies the chamber’s private jet to his Florida vacation home, and brings his doctor along on overseas trips.

Nonprofit DC lobbying is great work if you can get it, or so it seems.

All of this was in the businessman’s daily news source, Rupert Murdoch’s The Wall Street Journal.  The editorial and op-ed pages can still peel paint off a car, but the rest of the book is burning up the track.

Old line conservatives and Republicans of all stripes must be screaming in the middle of the night when central pillars of their house like the Journal, the NRA, and the Chamber of Commerce are showing deep cracks and roof cave-ins, leaving them few of the usual places to hide.

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Please enjoy Kris Kelly’s Birthplace.

Thanks to KABF.

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