Trump’s Not Resisting A Transition. He’s Building A Brand.

              For all the brilliant investigative reporting about Trump done by my friends in the mainstream (liberal) media, leave it to The Wall Street Journal, a media property owned by  Fox, to explain what the pronouncements about a ‘rigged’ election are really all about. You can download the article right here. [Thanks Paula.]

              What Trump’s Presidency has been from even before he started his 2016 campaign was and remains an effort to build yet another brand, in this case, the MAGA brand that he can now use to sell all kinds of crap as well as to license the trademarked MAGA brand to anyone else who wants to use it to make a quick buck.

              When did Trump copyright MAGA?  His application was filed with the Patent and Trademark office in – ready? – 2013 and was approved on July 14, 2015. Exactly one month earlier on June 16, Trump publicly announced his 2016 Presidential campaign. And you think he started giving away those hats with the disgusting MAGA lettering for free?

            What other Presidential candidate has ever created a logo that didn’t along with his or her name? Here’s the official Hillary campaign logo from 2016:

             Here’s the logo from Joe and Kammie’s current campaign. Wow! A logo like this will surely sell a lot of perfume, right?

              Remember the big, raucous, and energetic rallies that Bernie held in 2019? I recall a rally he held in New York City after he recovered from a heart attack. It was called the ‘Bernie is Back’ rally and the crowd was enormous – probably more than 25,000 showed up to help Bernie restart his campaign. Here’s Bernie’s campaign logo which would make a really great design for a line of clothing or maybe some gluten-free snacks:

              Notice the difference between these logos and the Trump MAGA brand:

              Notice whose name isn’t on the Trump logo. But Trump owns the logo so he owns the brand. And even when just of a few of his diehard supporters show up on a street corner waving their signs about the ‘rigged’ election, they’re wearing the MAGA hats, waving the MAGA banners, buying the brand.

              When all is said and done, what Trump really looks at every day isn’t the alt-right websites or the Fox talking heads. It’s his website where he sells the MAGA crap and I guarantee you that he will introduce other product lines as soon as his legal challenges to the 2020 election come to an end.

              One of the things that folks love to collect are posters, buttons, and other crap from political campaigns. Want to buy a JFK poster from his 1960 campaign? You can get an allegedly original poster for the measly price of $595 bucks. On the other hand, that same website is selling Trump campaign posters for $2.95. Obviously, there’s room for the Trump election memorabilia market to expand.

              But the whole point about MAGA is that it isn’t a slogan based on a specific political campaign. It’s a brand and a name that can stand on its own if it’s promoted for the kinds of products that can be linked in some way to Trump. One product he might roll out is a line of self-defense ammunition. After all, Trump could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue, gun someone down and he’d still be elected President. Or maybe what he should sell is a Nazi flag with an inscription that reads, “there are good people on both sides.”

              All hyperbole aside, the fact is that we have never had a President who was so blatant about using hi political authority to line the pockets of his pants. Download the WSJ article here and you’ll notice how so much of the revenue at various Trump locations came from GOP groups who held events at Trump hotels. When did this revenue increase? During the 2016 and 2020 campaigns.  Gee, what a surprise.

              Trump isn’t resisting a transition to Biden because he believes there’s any chance that he’ll be sworn in again as President on January 20, 2021. He’s challenging the inevitable because his behavior promotes his name and his brand. Which is what his entire Administration was all about.

              I only wish my friends in the liberal media would figure this one out.

Is Trump A Racist?

 A brief excerpt from Langston Hughes:

“’Why boy, I like you. I am a liberal. I voted for Kennedy. And this time for Johnson. I believe in integration. Now that you got it, though, what more do you want?’

‘Reintegration,’ I said.’

‘Meaning by that, what?’

‘That you be integrated with me, not me with you.’”

This little episode from one of the Jesse B. Simple stories, sums up for me what the Black-White situation in the United States has been all about. Because from the moment that Blacks in every part of the United States were no longer chattel property, thanks to the 13th Amendment in 1865, Blacks have been playing catch-up with Whites.

How many millions of acres of free land did we give to Whites in the Homestead Acts? How many more free acres of land did we give the railroads owned by Whites to move goods and provisions from coast to coast? How many subsidized home mortgages did we give to Whites so they could move into suburban communities where Blacks were not legally allowed to own homes?

The point is that this country built a middle class that did not enroll Blacks. And in the process, while African-Americans achieved legal equality a century after they were freed, economically, and socially they were left behind.

This two-tiered society in which one tier is largely occupied by Whites, and a tier underneath is largely occupied by Blacks, is what racism in today’s America is all about. Racism isn’t about defining or identifying people by the color of their skins. It’s not about Whites being ‘better’ than Blacks or Blacks being ‘better’ than Whites.

Racism is how some Whites still try to explain why they are on top and Blacks are below. Racism is the ideology that justifies inequality. That’s all it is.

The good news is that in my own lifetime I have seen racism erode and in some situations completely disappear. After all, it’s pretty tough to sustain the idea that one race is superior to the other when laws barring inter-racial marriage have been struck down.

In 2005, I found myself eating dinner in one of the most exclusive and expensive restaurants in South Carolina. At the next table sat a lovely, young Black couple trying their best to get through dinner even though either woman’s mother was sitting at the table, complaining away and basically ruining their meal. Twenty years earlier, the only Black faces I would have seen in this restaurant would have been the men and women cleaning the table and sweeping the floor after the White patrons finished their coffee and desserts.

The legacy of slavery and inequality is a stain on our history which remains to the present day. There are plenty of decent, White folks who still believe that ‘integration’ means letting Blacks get something for free that Whites had to earn.

In Genesis it says that seven generations must pass before the past is wiped away. We are only in the midst of the sixth generation since the 13th Amendment was ratified, and Trump’s campaign was based if not whole, then at least in part, on the sense that the terrible stain of slavery has not yet been erased.

Does that strategy make Trump a racist? No. It makes him a clever and opportunistic politician who saw an opportunity to exploit what are still open wounds.

Trump isn’t a racist. Trump is Klan. And if you don’t understand how I’m using that word, just ask one of your Black friends to explain the word to you. Or just read the next several sentences as carefully as you can.

Klan means fear, and fear is the most dangerous threat to the human community. Fear creates violence, and violence is the one threat to the human community that we still don’t know how to control.

We need to vote against Trump next week because we need to push the Klan back under the rock and into the hole in the ground where it belongs.

What If Trump Wins?

              I was born in 1944. Which means I was 9 years old when the Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education in 1953. I remember it very well because until 1954, I was a student in a segregated school whose student body then became more Black than White within one year.

              I didn’t attend a public school in Louisiana, or Alabama, or one of those Southern states. My grammar school, West Elementary, was located on Farragut Avenue between 13th Street and 14th Street, right in the middle of Washington, D.C.

              That’s right. The District of Columbia, the seat of the Federal Government, was segregated not by custom but by law. I lived less than three miles from the National Archives which displays an original copy of the Constitution containing the 13th Amendment which says that Blacks are just as free as Whites, but until Brown v. Board, Blacks couldn’t live in my neighborhood, they couldn’t go to my school. Not by choice, but by law.

              Slavery was and remains a curse on this country. This is because our slave system was the most draconian and punitive of any slave system ever devised. We were the only society which enforced a slave system that had no grounds for manumission at all. Once you were a slave, you were always a slave, and not just for the span of your own life. Every Black person living in the United States in 1865 was a slave, even though the slave trade ended in 1808.

              My family moved from D.C. to New York in 1956. I went on a Freedom Ride in 1958. Our bus took us to a diner on U.S. Route 40 in Delaware which didn’t serve Blacks. When you drove across the Delaware Memorial Bridge and got on Route 40, because I-95 didn’t yet exist, the first roadside stand where you could stop to pee had a sign prominently displayed: ‘Colored – around back’.

              When Black kids showed up in the 5th grade of my grammar school, I remember that some of my White classmates began using words like ‘nigger’ to express how they felt about this change. I had never heard that word used before but I knew from the anger and fear I felt from these White kids that the word meant something very bad. Something scared them, something had gone wrong.

              From that day to this day, I have never understood how or why anyone believes themselves to be better than anyone else. I simply don’t comprehend how such ideas can swirl around in anyone’s head. But there’s lots of other things I don’t understand about how humans think and behave. We really do have feet of clay.

              That being said, I also believe that the worst thing that will happen if Trump is re-elected is that we will have to put up with his daily exercise in demeaning the office and stature of the Presidency for another four years. We won’t lose our Constitution; we won’t lose our civil rights. I don’t even think women will lose their right to choose. I’ll just spend the next four years watching movies instead of CNN on my TV.

              Friends of mine keep telling me that Trump is a ‘fascist.’ I lived in Spain during the worst, most repressive years of the Franco regime. That was Fascism. This is nothing more than a bloated, reality-TV personality who figured out that anyone can become President if he can find two-tenths of one percent of the total votes cast in three rust-belt states.

              I really hope Trump gets his assed kicked in and takes his new movie-star buddy Rudy Giuliani along with him when he leaves. But if he somehow manages to find another two-tenths of one percent of the votes in some swing states I’ll survive and so will you.

              Which is to say you’ll survive if you remember to wear your mask.

Once Again The Liberal Media Gives Trump A Pass.

              Three weeks ago, The Atlantic Monthly magazine published an article alleging that Trump had mocked the deaths of U.S. troops when he visited a military cemetery in France. The article was truly a bombshell and the magazine promised more such assaults in the weeks to come.

              Yesterday the promised piece came out and in every respect it demonstrates to me just how craven and unreliable the liberal media has become.  The current article is a piece about how Trump and his minions are cooking up a big scheme to ‘subvert’ the results of the 2020 election through a combination of voter intimidation, electoral-college interventions and disqualifying mail-in voting; all measures justified by charging the Democrats and/or the Deep State with fraud.

What’s the difference between calling the Presidential election a ‘scam’ and saying exactly the same thing about the Mueller report? There’s no difference. It worked once, why not try it again?

              What I find both interesting and disheartening about this article is the degree to which the liberal media continues to let and even encourage Trump’s ability to establish the public political narrative on his own terms. And if the narrative is total bullshit and has absolutely no connection to any reality at all, so what?

              There’s a remarkable anecdote in Michael Cohen’s book where he describes a meeting between Trump and a group of Evangelical leaders in 2012. The purpose of the meeting was to begin laying the groundwork for a Trump campaign, and the confab ended with a ‘laying on of hands’ ceremony in which the ministers all gave Trump their blessings because he promised to fight for their most cherished issues; i.e., school prayer, tax exemptions and ending abortion ‘rights.’ [See pages 125 et. seq.]

              So the meeting ends, the Evangelicals walk out of Trump’s office and Trump turns to Cohen and says, “Do you believe that anyone believes that bullshit?” And that moment perfectly and completely sums up what the Trump presidency is all about.

              There is absolutely nothing Trump says that necessarily connects to anything he either thinks or does. But if he says it more than once, it becomes the rhetorical framework in which the entire political narrative is then defined – by the media on both sides! Which is perfectly exemplified by The Atlantic Monthly piece.

              Here’s the statement around which the entire article revolves: “Trump’s state and national legal teams are already laying the groundwork for postelection maneuvers that would circumvent the results of the vote count in battleground states.” And this groundwork consists primarily of various voter-suppression efforts in the battleground states based on the alleged recruitment of 50,000 GOP volunteers who will be at all the polling stations to challenge ‘suspicious-looking’ individuals (read: Blacks) who show up to vote.

            Where does the author of The Atlantic piece, Barton Gellman, get his information about the formation of this poll-watching army that will appear at various polling locations on November 3rd? He gets it from an article published in The (failing) New York Times back in May which was based entirely on statements made by operatives from the Trump campaign.

Meanwhile, when a reporter for New York Magazine went out to Harrisburg in August to interview the staffers who were organizing the grass-roots Trump effort in the all-important battleground state of Pennsylvania, she couldn’t find one, single meeting that was held to recruit and train these dedicated volunteers.

Did Barton Gellman bother to go out to rural Pennsylvania to validate the claims that Trump had a 50,000-strong army getting ready to pounce on anyone suspected of trying to vote for the Biden team?  Of course not. What he did was sit in his office and talk to a couple of liberal academics who know what’s going on in the boondocks because they have written books about various voting issues that have come up in the past.

The liberal media falls for it every time. They take the totally false messaging from the Trump campaign, compare it to evidence-based, academic research that has to be true because, after all, it’s evidence-based, and then compare the two versions as if anyone should be taking anything said by Trump seriously at all.

Trump’s comment to Michael Cohen about how anyone could believe such bullshit could have been a comment made not just about Evangelical ministers, but about liberal media as well.

Why Does The Media Report Lies As If It’s News?

              Remember when Ronald Reagan did TV commercials for General Electric? If you’re not my age, and I’m 76 years old, you probably don’t remember those commercials that Reagan made for GE beginning in 1954, but every commercial ended with Reagan smiling and telling the viewers that “progress was the most important product” for GE.

              And how could you argue with that idea? After all, the 1950’s was the first time that a majority of Americans owned their own homes, their own cars, their own TV sets, and their own washers and dryers.  That’s not progress? 

              The only problem was that once GE developed an enormous consumer market for electric appliances, everyone else jumped in, and a company that had owned this market in the 1950’s, found that by the 1980’s, all they owned was a lot of debt.

              Enter Jack Welch.  He was CEO of GE from 1981 and 2001, and during this period the company’s stock went from $1.50 a share to almost $60 bucks.  Welch built a new company by moving GE out of home appliances and into credit, leasing, and other financial pursuits. He also began to buy other companies so that GE’s bottom line no longer depended on washing and drying machines.

              Right now the company’s stock is sitting at $6.22 and investors are waiting to hear any day now that Chapter 7 has been filed in some federal bankruptcy court. What was the veritable straw that broke the veritable camel’s back? The company’s decision to get into natural gas production and distribution right when the natural gas market began to contract.

              And why has the natural gas industry fallen on hard times? Because of the falling cost of – ready – renewable energy, as in all those wind turbines and solar panels which increasingly dot the landscape all over the place.

              Know what industry has suffered even more from renewables than natural gas?  Try coal, which is shortly on its way to being completely put to bed. Coal first started being mined and used in large quantities beginning in 1885. By 1918 annual production was 500 million tons, went up and down over the next 80 years and by 2008 hit more than one billion tons each year. Know what the production was in 2016? Try 728 million tons, which is back down to where it was in the early 1980’s.

              In other words, coal is basically finished as a primary energy source, and its use will continue to decline as renewable energy and green energy distribution continues to expand. And anyone who tries to deny this slow but sure shift away from coal is either lying, or dumb, or both.

              Want the name of an individual who is making a pro-coal argument that is a complete lie? Try the 45th President of the United States who will say anything to drag a few more votes into his column to win a second term. Wyoming, West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, and Pennsylvania account for 70% of all U.S. coal.  Montana, Texas, Indiana, North Dakota, Colorado, Ohio, New Mexico, Utah, Alabama, and Virginia account for just about all the rest.

              Note that of those 15 states where coal mining and production still means jobs, nine of those states are reliably red states, but three other states – Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas – are states which Trump better win or he’ll be out on his fat ass come January 2021.

              So what is Trump doing? He goes around to these coal-rich states, presents himself as a great ‘friend’ of coal miners and simply lies about everything he’s doing to help them keep their jobs. The truth is, he’s not doing anything to revive the coal industry because it can’t be revived. It’s dead and dying, okay? Gone. Or fartig (finished) as my grandfather would say.

              But this reality doesn’t stop Trump from going around and using a completely fake narrative to take swipes at the Green New Deal and/or the Communist Left and/or the ‘Democrat’ Party – it’s all one and the same.

              The liberal media, from The (failing) New York Times on down, should be ashamed of themselves for giving this guy any space at all.

Should We Abolish The Electoral College?

              Ever since the world was startled and shocked by how Trump won the 2016 Presidential election but lost the popular vote, I have been hearing kvetch after kvetch from the anti-Trump, liberal combine (it’s one and the same thing) about how and why the Electoral College has to go. Incidentally, I didn’t hear a single complaint about the Electoral College in 1992 when, thanks to Ross Perot, Bill Clinton received the winner’s share of Electoral College votes even though his 43% of the popular vote was below the 46% received by Trump in 2016.

              Anyway, we now have an ‘official’ argument for abolishing the Electoral College in a book written by a member of The (failing) New York Times editorial board, Jesse Wegman, whose book, Let The People Pick The President, is reviewed right here. And basically the book argues for direct voting for President through something that Wegman calls the ‘National Popular Vote Compact.’ which would require all the states to give their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote.

              If Joe and Kammie win the election, I suspect the interest in reforming or changing the Electoral College will die down. If somehow, Trump is able to pull off a second term by convincing the rednecks in a couple of swing states that he’s still their man, you can be sure that every person on the Biden-Harris email list will start receiving fundraising requests to support some kind of scheme to replace the Electoral College with a popular vote.

              If that were actually to happen, the way things stand right now, it would probably bring about the demise of the Democratic Party and/or make it virtually impossible for the blue team to ever capture the White House again. And here’s the reason why.

              Going into the 2020 election, there are 24 states which are reliably red. How do I define a ‘red’ state as being reliable? Any state which delivered a majority of votes to the GOP ticket in every Presidential election since 2000. I picked 2000 because the Reagan elections in 1992 and 1996 were such landslides that the results were simply too unusual to be considered typical of what happens when Americans go to the polls every four years. Frankly, when he recovered from getting shot, Reagan could have been elected President for life.

              Since 2000, there are also 19 states that are reliably blue although two of those states – Colorado and Virginia, did have several results that would put them in the red bucket, but as of today these states are as blue as any to states can be.

              Criticisms that the Electoral College favors the smaller, rural states may sound convincing, but it happens not to be true.  Together, the 24 red states contain 111,372,848 residents, the blue states count 136,329,440 (2019 Census estimates.) Which means that going into a national election, the blue team starts off with a reliable 222 electoral votes, the red team has 191. This leaves 125 electoral votes controlled by 9 ‘unreliable’ states – Iowa, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and PA.

              For the Democrats to win the White House, they need to win any combination of ‘unreliable’ states that will yield them 48 electoral votes. So, if they win, let’s say, Iowa, Florida, and Michigan they win. If they take Ohio, Wisconsin, and PA they win. In other words, because the blue team goes into every national election needing only 48 electoral votes, the road to victory is much easier than for the red team because the red team needs to corral 79 of those ‘unreliable’ electoral votes.

              What needs to be understood is not whether we should ‘reform’ or ‘revise’ or even get rid of the Electoral College. What needs to be understood is how the 2016 Clinton campaign could spend twice as much money as the Trump campaign spent in 2016 and somehow let states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania vote red by less than 1/100th  of the total votes cast in those three states.  If we do in 2020 whatever we did to let that happen in 2016, Trump deserves another four years, like it or not.

Should We Blame Trump For Covid-19?

              The two comments that have received the overwhelming attention in Bob Woodward’s new book, Rage, are statements that Trump made to Woodward on February 7 of this year when he said the virus was very ‘deadly,’ and then in March when he admitted to Woodward that he deliberately ‘played down’ the viral threat. 

              You can read descriptions of both of these exchanges between Trump and Woodward in the first 6 pages of the book. I’m willing to take short odds that 99% of the noisemakers on both sides of the political aisle have read those pages and nothing more.

              Now if you take the trouble to read all 392 pages of Woodward’s text, here’s how it ends: “When his performance as president is taken in tis entirety, I can only reach one conclusion: Trump is the wrong man for the job.”

              I happen to disagree with Woodward for two reasons: First, the book’s narrative doesn’t support what he says. Second, nowhere in the book do we get any kind of definition of what the president’s job is supposed to be. And even if we did, who says how Woodward defines the Presidency is a definition that would be shared by anyone else?

              I am going to review this book as well as the book written by Michael Cohen.  Please note: I have been a political junkie for 60 years (since as a high-school sophomore in 1960, I was in the crowd at JFK’s New York campaign rally in Herald Square), I have read probably every book, news magazine article and credible political blog about presidential politics that has been published to date, and I am a proud, yellow-dog Democrat except that I believe that LBJ’s decision to widen the war in Southeast Asia was the worst decision any President has ever made.

              That being said, I don’t agree with Bob Woodward’s evaluation of Trump, and I don’t believe the media has been fair to him or has really understood the political style and behavior that he represents.

              No other President in my lifetime has ever given any journalist the degree of open and unfettered access that Trump gave to Woodward prior to the publication of this book. In fact, no other President has been as unblocked and unfiltered as Trump, even with journalists and opinion-makers representing media venues who are openly critical of just about everything Trump does.

              This doesn’t mean that Trump has done a good or even passable job. He hasn’t, as far as I’m concerned. But to disparage his communication style and content by comparing him to FDR, which is how Woodward ends up deciding that Trump is unfit for the job, is to make a comparison that is simply beyond belief.  How could any other President stack up against FDR?

              The first half of the book covers foreign policy issues with Russia, China and North Korea that eventually led to resignations of Tillerson and Mattis, who were respectively the initial Secretaries of State and Defense. Both ultimately resigned because they were unable, they believed, to carry out their responsibilities for a President who would say one thing in a meeting with either of them, and then blow out a tweet which said exactly the reverse.

              I recall the first 18 months of the Trump Administration when it seemed like a highly-placed member of the Executive branch was quitting every other day, at least two dozen senior people quit or were fired during that time.  Know what? The government didn’t collapse.

              If I had an opportunity to interview Trump, and I wanted to figure out what made his Presidency so different, I would ask him why he seems to attract so many scam artists like Manafort, then those two Russians who told Giuliani they could help him dig up dirt on Biden in the Ukraine, then Bannon, now DeJoy, there must be others as well.

              Maybe I’ll find the answer in Michal Cohen’s book which I’m going to read tonight.

Trump’s Wartime Report: “It Is What It Is.”

A week after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt held a meeting with a group of close associates. He was now Commander in Chief of a war effort that would have to defeat both the Germans and the Japanese. So he needed to know whether he could count on his current military leadership, given how they had screwed up the intelligence which allowed the Japanese to wreck our Pacific fleet.

Now imagine what would have happened if Roosevelt hadn’t reviewed the report a month later, immediately cashiered the entire military general staff, and replaced them with a brilliant group of commanders – Marshall, King, Eisenhower, Arnold – who organized and won a worldwide, two-front war. Imagine if a year after Pearl Harbor we hadn’t already defeated the Japanese at Midway; imagine if we weren’t about to land at North Africa, and imagine if Roosevelt had been asked by a reporter to assess the war’s progress and had said, “It is what it is.”

Let’s remember that back in March, Trump considered himself to be a ‘wartime President.’ I didn’t say that – he did. So when he was asked last week to tell us how the war was going, the best he could come up with was: “It is what it is.” This is how you give the American public an assessment of how well we are fighting a war?

Back in 2016, a story began floating around that Trump had told People Magazine in 1998 that if he ran for President he would run as a Republican, because  “Republicans are the dumbest voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News.”

The story has been debunked numerous times, but when Trump describes his Covid-19 effort as ‘it is what it is,’ he must believe that his supporters are as dumb as they come. He must. Nobody could say something that stupid in the midst of a political campaign.

Or maybe it isn’t the Trump ‘base’ which is so friggin’ dumb. Maybe it’s Trump who speaks up to his base rather than down. But wait a minute – you can’t be that stupid and yet build a fairly-successful Manhattan real estate business featuring luxury condos and five-star hotels.

On the other hand, let’s not forget that Trump wasn’t exactly someone who had any kind of connection or previous experience with anything having to do with planning or fighting a war. The last President who actually saw combat action was George H. W. Bush, and he didn’t do a bad job of planning Desert Storm. If anything, he was more successful fighting Saddam Hussein in 1990 than fighting Bill Clinton in 1992.

And this is exactly the reason why Trump has been such a miserable failure when it comes to his non-response to Covid-19. Because from the day we first learned about the virus, Trump has been dealing with it as a political problem, as if this is just another part of his Presidential campaign.

The first thing he did was spend a month going after the Chinese ‘thugs,’ the same way he went after ‘Hillary the crook.’ He then said the problem could be solved by keeping people from China out of the United States, just another riff on how that now-forgotten Mexican wall would keep us safe. Then he put together a ‘task force’ led by none other than the renowned medical expert Jared Kushner, whose work in helping Trump get elected the first time around guaranteed that he would quickly develop and implement a plan to defeat the virus in its tracks.

In other words, Trump did everything except the one thing he should have done. He should have gotten the best and the brightest experts on fighting pandemics together, told them to come up with a plan and then use this plan to tell the American people what they all needed to do.

This is what Franklin Roosevelt did in 1941. This is the reason we won World War II. This is what Trump is unable to do which is why we now have a virus killing 1,000 people every day which is what it is.

On November 3rd: Vote Early, Vote Often.

Hey Rand – Time To Stop Scamming Gun Owners

Last week NRA members, myself included, received a letter from Senator Rand Paul, asking us to donate to The National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), an organization which, according to its website, is the fastest-growing gun rights organization in the United States. Senator Paul’s letter, which is the second I have received soliciting funds for the lobbying efforts of the NAGR, led off with a quote from President Obama stating that he would use “whatever power this office holds” to ban guns. The fundraising appeal then goes on to list the usual scare-mongering attacks on Biden, Feinstein and the rest of the liberal, anti-gun crowd.

There’s only one little problem. The President never said what Rand Paul claims he said. He didn’t even come close. What he said, right after Sandy Hook, was that he would use the powers of his office to “engage my fellow citizens in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.” Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to paint Barack Obama as a friend of the gun lobby. He’s not. But it seems to me that a United States senator, particularly one who is evidently running to succeed Obama in the White House, needs to be a little more careful with the words he uses.

paulOn the other hand, Rand Paul’s fundraising appeal struck me as a bit more strange than just the fact that he misquoted the president because the letter had Paul’s return address as being in Virginia, and I thought he was from Kentucky. But it turns out that the letter wasn’t sent from Paul at all; it was actually produced by a political PR firm called Saber Communications, whose address is the same town in Virginia which is the headquarters of the NAGR.

So here we have a very interesting three-way connection between a putative presidential candidate, a PR firm that does work for the candidate and a so-called advocacy group that claims to represent the interests of gun owners nationwide. What exactly is this advocacy group known as NAGR? Turns out it was founded in 2001 by a conservative political operative in Colorado named Dudley Brown, who used to claim that he graduated from Colorado State University when, in fact, henever graduated from Colorado State or anywhere else. Brown operated primarily at the state level until he was able to piggy-back onto Glenn Beck, the Tea Party and any other right-wing group to which he could attach his organization’s name.

In addition to tirelessly sending out fundraising appeals, the NAGR also has an affiliated PAC which ostensibly lobbies in Washington on issues involving gun rights. In a press release of October, 2013, Brown claimed that his group spent more than $1 million and “led the effort against gun control” on Capitol Hill. But I’m not sure if the money spent by NAGR went into political campaigns, or lobbying efforts, or is being spent primarily on phony and misleading fundraising appeals like the one I recently received. I took a look at NAGR’s tax return for 2010, and of the $1.6 million in revenue for that year, direct lobbying was $118,000 but nearly $1 million went for internet marketing and direct mail. And I’ll bet that most of that dough was paid to Saber Communications whose owner, Michael Rothfield, sits on the NAGR Board.

The attempt to generate income for a for-profit PR operation by chasing gun owners for donations hasn’t escaped the attention of gun folks, many of whom consider NAGR to be nothing more than a fundraising scam. Gun owners tend to be careful with their money, so comments made about NAGR on such gun blogs as AR-15.com,Smith & Wesson Forum and Gun Broker Forum. Com should alert Senator Paul to the fact that a population he considers to be solidly in his corner won’t be there much longer if he doesn’t polish up his act and stop allowing the NAGR to use his name just to enlarge the revenues of a privately-held PR firm.