Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Watch Pranksters Confront And Thank Wayne LaPierre For ‘Thoughts And Prayers’ After Mass Shootings (w/ Video)

Mod
: Maybe Wayne should have also been thanked for stealing from the suckers who donate to the NRA?

Watch Pranksters Confront And Thank Wayne LaPierre For ‘Thoughts And Prayers’ After Mass Shootings (PoliticusUSA link): The comedy duo, The Good Liars, confronted Wayne LaPierre and thanked him for everything that he has done to prevent mass shootings with thoughts and prayers.

Jason Selvig of The Good Liars said to LaPierre, “Whenever there’s a mass shooting, they all say that Wayne LaPierre isn’t doing enough to stop these mass shootings and even implying that Wayne LaPierre has played a part in making it easier for these shooters to get guns to get weapons…..You kept hearing that Wayne LaPierre is not doing enough, and frankly, that’s not true. The NRA under Wayne LaPierre’s leadership has provided thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families.”

Selvig
goes on to tell the audience and LaPierre that they can make all of the mass shootings stop with the power of their thoughts and prayers.

It was great because LaPierre, the NRA board members on stage, and the audience looked and sounded confused. It was like they knew that nobody could possibly believe their thoughts and prayers BS to this degree, yet, he sounded sincere, and at the end of Selvig’s remarks, the confused audience applauded. 

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com 

Monday, May 30, 2022

Based On Their Wealth Growth, 26 Top Billionaires Paid An Average Income Tax Rate Of Just 4.8%

Mod
: But whatever you do, don't ever call them oligarchs.
 

Based On Their Wealth Growth, 26 Top Billionaires Paid An Average Income Tax Rate Of Just 4.8% Over 6 Recent Years (Americans For tax Fairness link): Twenty-six of the richest people in America paid an average federal income tax rate of just 4.8% over six years (2013-18) when the growth in their wealth is counted as income, according to Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) using IRS tax-payment information recently released by ProPublica and billionaire wealth growth data from Forbes

This revelation underscores the need to tax billionaires and other ultra-wealthy Americans more effectively, as proposed in plans from President Biden and Congressional Democrats

The 26 billionaires’ collective wealth grew by $500 billion between 2013 and 2018 while their total federal income taxes were just $24 billion. The taxes paid were not based on wealth growth, which under current law is not taxed, but rather on “taxable income”: wages, private business earnings, dividends, interest, profits from the sale of stocks and other investments, and other sources. As is usual among the ultra-wealthy, that taxable income—in this case, $132.2 billion—is far smaller than their leap in fortunes.

At the scale enjoyed by billionaires, growth in the value of assets—even if those assets are not sold—can be as good as money in the bank, which Elon Musk is putting to good effect in his purchase of Twitter. Among their other advantages, those gains can be used to secure low-interest loans that fund lavish lifestyles without owing income tax. 

So including the increased value of unsold assets when figuring the share of income paid in federal income taxes provides what ProPublica in a separate report last year dubbed a “true tax rate.” That report identified six billionaires paying no taxes some years or very low tax rates—this ATF analysis expands the list to 26.

Notable names that paid less than a 2% tax rate based on their wealth growth include: Warren Buffett (0.1%), Jeff Bezos (1.1%), Mark Zuckerberg (1.1%), Charles and David Koch (1.3% and 1.4%, respectively), and Michael Bloomberg (1.8% ). Elon Musk paid a mere 2.1% tax rate. 

Mod: More at the link.  

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Newsweek: Full List of Republican Senators Who Receive Funding From the NRA

Mod
: The money they have taken has made them willing enablers of serial mass murder.

Full List of Republican Senators Who Receive Funding From the NRA (Newsweek link): The political influence of the National Rifle Association (NRA) is once again in the spotlight in the wake of the mass shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

The shooting reignited the debate regarding gun control laws in the U.S. after a gunman killed 19 children and two adults at the Robb Elementary School on Tuesday.

While several Republicans tweeted after the shooting that they are offering their thoughts and prayers to the victims, others have pointed out that there are a number of GOP senators who have received millions of dollars of donations from the NRA over the years. 

According to data compiled by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in 2019, about two dozen sitting Republican senators have received contributions from the NRA. Of those senators, 16 have received more than $1 million.

Topping the list is Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who received more than $13 million in NRA contributions. The NRA money donated to Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, was raised by a number of social media users after Romney tweeted his condolences in the wake of the Uvalde mass shooting.

"Grief overwhelms the soul. Children slaughtered. Lives extinguished. Parents' hearts wrenched. Incomprehensible," Romney wrote. "I offer prayer and condolence but know that it is grossly inadequate. We must find answers."

Jemele Hill, a contributing writer for The Atlantic, tweeted in response to Romney: "Grief does not overwhelm the soul nearly as much as $13M from the NRA overwhelms your bank account. The answer you seek is the money you continue to take."

Mod: The complete list of corrupt bought off Senators is at the link. Too long to post here.



sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Turns Out Phony Ted Cruz Is Sending His Daughters to an 'Antiracist' School—and the Hypocrisy Is Real

Mod: Article from March showing again that Ted Cruz is just as phony as they'll ever come.

Turns Out Ted Cruz Is Sending His Daughters to an 'Antiracist' School—and the Hypocrisy Is Real (Second Nexus link): Republican hysteria over critical race theory—the advanced academic framework examining how racist policies in America's past contribute to current racial inequalities in American society—was on full display as the Senate Judiciary Committee considered Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Far-right Senator Ted Cruz of Texas was particularly forceful, chastising Jackson for serving on the board of Georgetown Day School, which he claimed was "filled and overflowing with critical race theory." He soon brandished copies of books he claimed were a part of the school's curriculum, including Antiracist Baby by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi—a children's book that introduces youngsters to discussions about racism and how to be actively antiracist. 

Cruz's characterization that the book teaches that babies are racist was widely panned, including by Washington Post book critic Ron Charles.

But the questioning also led to heightened scrutiny of St. John's School—the Houston, Texas institution where Cruz sends his daughters—from journalists, including Vimal Patel of the New York Times.

Amid the historic uprisings against racist police brutality in the summer of 2020, top officials at St. John's school released a statement reiterating its commitment to antiracism:

St. John’s, as an institution, must be antiracist and eliminate racism of any type — including institutional racism — within our school community and beyond."

What's more, at least one of the books Cruz brandished to shame JacksonStamped (For Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You, also by Dr. Kendi along with Jason Reynolds—is in the library catalog of St. John's.

Mod: More at the link.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Friday, May 27, 2022

Guns are now the leading cause of death for American children

Mod
: You know the drill. Thoughts and prayers, and now is not the time. Never is.

Guns are now the leading cause of death for American children (Yahoo link): Firearms have surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death among American youngsters, with official data showing a strong rise in gun-related homicides such as the killing of 19 children in a Texas school rampage.

Overall, 4,368 children and adolescents up to the age of 19 died from firearms in 2020, a rate of 5.4 per 100,000 a dashboard by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed. Homicides made up nearly two-thirds of the gun deaths.

By comparison, there were 4,036 deaths linked to motor vehicles, the previous leading cause of death among this age group. The gap has been narrowing as road safety measures have improved over the decades, while gun related deaths have risen.

The trend lines crossed in 2020, the latest year for which data is available -- a finding identified in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) last week.

The letter's authors noted the new data was consistent with other evidence that gun violence rose during the Covid-19 pandemic, for reasons that aren't fully clear, but "it cannot be assumed that (it) will later revert to pre-pandemic levels."

The newly updated CDC dashboard shows that nearly 30 percent of the deaths were suicides, just over three percent were unintentional, and two percent were of undetermined intent. 

The figures served to underscore that while mass shootings such as the one in Uvalde provoke horror, they make up only a small fraction of overall childhood gun deaths.

Mod: More at the link.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Trump is speaking to the NRA on Friday -- but audience members won't be allowed to carry guns

Mod
: You could carry automatic weapons into a school, but not an NRA convention when Chubby Cheddar's in the house.
 

Trump is speaking to the NRA on Friday -- but audience members won't be allowed to carry guns (Raw Story link): Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak before the National Rifle Association on Friday, but audience members won't be allowed to exercise their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms during his speech.

As NPR reports, the United States Secret Service is "taking control of the hall during Trump's speech and is prohibiting attendees from having firearms, firearms accessories and knives." In addition to these weapons, attendees will also be barred from having "ammunition, laser pointers, pepper spray, toy guns, backpacks," among other items.

And to ensure that the NRA members won't be carrying heat during the speech, everyone in attendance will be searched with a magnetometer designed to detect hidden firearms.

Trump's speech at the NRA convention in Houston, Texas, comes in the wake of the mass shooting at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 children and two adult teachers dead.

Mod: But what about pies?

Donald Trump Is Allegedly Deathly Afraid Of Someone Whipping A Pie At His Head (Gone Trending link): Donald Trump‘s ever-expanding menagerie of random phobias has plagued him for years. Stairs, germs, fruit, steaks without ketchup on them, you know the drill. Well, now there’s a new item to add to the list: Pies.

According to a new deposition from Trump’s former fixer, Michael Cohen, the 45th president allegedly lived in fear of getting hit in the face with a cream pie like he’s in The Three Stooges or a Bugs Bunny cartoon. The guy who positioned himself as America’s toughest, strongest president will apparently crumble at the thought of baked goods coming at him.

Mod: More meringue at the link.



sierramadretatler.blogspot.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

'Bald-faced lie': Houston Chronicle torches Texas gov’s 'bankrupt conscience' and 'cowardice' after Uvalde mass shooting

Mod
: It is important that news organizations not hold back in times as horrible as these.

'Bald-faced lie': Houston Chronicle torches Texas gov’s 'bankrupt conscience' and 'cowardice' after Uvalde mass shooting (AlterNet link): The Houston Chronicle's editorial board is pushing back against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) remarks in response to the tragic mass shooting that claimed the lives of 21 victims at a Uvalde, Texas elementary school on Tuesday, May 24.

Abbott on Tuesday addressed the shooting as he vowed to use the state's resources to “do everything that is necessary to make sure that crime scenes like this are not going to be repeated in the future.”

Although Abbott described the shooting as "horrifically, incomprehensibly” and vowed that "never again" would such tragedy happen in his state, the editorial board isn't convinced he'll do his part to prevent a repeat of this from happening. Dissecting the governor's speech, the Chronicle offered a blistering assessment after carefully reviewing his words.

Highlighting the governor's use of the word "horrific," the board wrote, "The first word is apt — especially for the moms and dads who dropped off their little ones at school Tuesday morning, maybe lingering a little bit in the car line, just to crane their necks back and watch as that precious little body, that floppy ponytail or that lanky little string bean frame, laden with backpack and lunch box, made it safely through the schoolhouse door, where, it seemed, they would be safe."

The board added, "Horrific was the moment they got the news. Horrific will be their nights of endless tears. Horrific will be the bright, sunny mornings when they remember it wasn’t a dream. The bed is empty, no little lump beneath the blankets, waiting to be awoken."

However, his use of the word "incomprehensibly" was described as a "bald-faced lie." "The second word Abbott used — “incomprehensibly” — is just as much cowardice as it is a bald-faced lie," the editorial board wrote.

According to the board, the state's Republican run legislature has contributed to the gun problem due to the lenient laws in place when it comes to acquiring firearms. "Texas lawmakers won’t even pass universal background checks to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people even though about 80 percent of Texans support them."

"Whether it’s a handgun, rifle or semi-automatic invented for war, the governor has supported and the Legislature has passed law after law that have obliterated any semblance of good sense regulation — laws so permissive that they’ve even defied the objections of police chiefs and gun safety instructors, including the 2021 permitless carry bill that the governor bragged on Twitter allows any eligible Texan to carry a gun in public with 'no license or training' needed. As though that were progress," the editorial board wrote. 

Mod: More at the link.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Osama bin Laden's niece defends 'Ultra MAGA movement' during appearance with Steve Bannon

Mod: You can meet the nicest people at MAGA gatherings.

Osama bin Laden's niece defends 'Ultra MAGA movement' during appearance with Steve Bannon (Raw Story link): Noor bin Laden, the niece of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, defended the "Ultra MAGA movement" during an appearance with Steve Bannon.

In a Monday interview on Bannon's War Room: Pandemic podcast, bin Laden suggested that so-called "elites" are "like a bulldozer" in enacting a worldwide agenda.

"And this is why President Trump was such a huge thorn and is such a huge thorn and the entire Ultra MAGA movement is such a huge thorn to them," she explained. "And I think, judging by the intensification of the attack and the blatant, blatant farcical steal of the 2020 election and all the different efforts."

"You say we are the silent majority," bin Laden added. "We have reached a critical mass where enough of us are completely awake to what they are trying to do and we will not let this happen and I think they are worried." Watch the video from Real America's Voice on Twitter here.

Mod: So what is she threatening to do? Launch a terrorist attack?

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Monday, May 23, 2022

Southern Baptist Leaders Covered Up Clergy Sexual Abuse for Decades, ‘More Evil and Systemic Than Imagined’

Mod: 220 people who worked or volunteered in Southern Baptist churches have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to sex crimes since 1998.

Southern Baptist Leaders Covered Up Clergy Sexual Abuse for Decades, ‘More Evil and Systemic Than Imagined' (Political Flare link): One of the most sickening and near impossible to explain phenomena of late is the MAGA obsession with calling the Democrats “groomers and pedos,” you hear it everywhere on Twitter, and one wants to rip one’s hair out. There are sick people throughout politics, and no side has a monopoly, but of late, the GOP and MAGAs have obviously and openly had very serious issues.

Today the Washington Post is out with a report on the biggest section of the MAGA community, that section that will preach politics from the pulpit, on abuse within the Southern Baptist Church and it is stunning:

Leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention on Sunday released a major third-party investigation that found that sex abuse survivors were often ignored, minimized and “even vilified” by top clergy in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

The findings of nearly 300 pages include shocking new details about specific abuse cases and shine a light on how denominational leaders for decades actively resisted calls for abuse prevention and reform. They also lied to Southern Baptists over whether they could maintain a database of offenders to prevent more abuse when top leaders were secretly keeping a private list for years.
 

The report — the first investigation of its kind in a massive Protestant denomination like the SBC — is expected to send shock waves into a conservative Christian community that has had intense internal battles over how to handle sex abuse.

Russell Moore, a prominent evangelical and former president of the SBC’s policy arm, wrote in Christianity Today on Sunday that “the investigation uncovers a reality far more evil and systemic than I imagined it could be.”

Again, no party, no membership to anything is immune from this sickness. But the willingness to cover it up must be outed and examined closely when it is found. Given that Trump would’ve never invented the MAGA movement without the Southern Baptist seal of approval, one would hope that the MAGAs will be a little shamed by this and quiet down. They will not, though.

The full report from the Southern Baptist Convention is HERE.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Sunday, May 22, 2022

San Gabriel Valley Tribune: Youth 4 Ruth in San Dimas

Mod: My Sunday Opinion column. Big Mayoral election in San Dimas. The "Get Off My Lawn" party is finally getting a run for its money. 

Youth 4 Ruth in San Dimas (San Gabriel Valley Tribune link): Unfortunately, you won’t be reading much about the San Dimas mayor race. It might have something to do with the national newspaper reporter shortage we’re suffering through. While different from the baby formula shortage, it will leave you hungry. So let’s crack open some news and shake it up.

San Dimas’ reputation is that it’s a nice-enough place. But when it comes to innovative new ideas? Not so much. The same pool of well-vested and mature dudes has been running the place for decades. It’s that kind of club where all the members have known each other for a long time, and don’t feel any need to change.

It is also a club that leans heavily on just one profession. Should Emmett Badar get yet another term as mayor (he’s been running for office since 2007), elective city government in San Dimas would remain almost entirely composed of law enforcement. Nothing against cops; they have a dangerous grind of a job few folks are capable of doing. But a different perspective wouldn’t hurt, either.

Ruth Luevand, who is running for mayor against Emmett the Venerable, is an honors chemistry instructor at San Dimas High School, and mom to five boys. She is enormously popular with students, and gets deserved credit for her success. The “Youth 4 Ruth” phenomenon is happening, which explains the earnest door-knocking students handing out campaign flyers. That also includes parents, who see in Ruth the fresh outlook San Dimas has long needed.

Luevand also serves as treasurer for Mt. San Antonio College. She has considerable involvement with budgets that extend out for years. At the recent candidate forum, the emerging debt problem in San Dimas was raised. This is in a town that never had debt before. Here Ruth explains how things went south:

“Next year San Dimas is expected to see a rise in costs from staff retirement pensions, the Sheriff’s Department, and maintaining roads and buildings … What jumps out is San Dimas has about $15 million in unfunded CalPERS pension obligations, plus $8 million in deferred road and maintenance costs. Tax revenue is flat because while inflation is running at about 7%, property taxes increase 1% a year.”

Throw in some aging bond debt obligations and you could see San Dimas heading for financial woes similar to other SGV cities. You can’t just sweep that under the City Hall carpeting, either. It might also cost San Dimas taxpayers as much as $23 million to build a Gold Line parking facility. Metro is methodically laying tracks, yet little is being done to account for people who won’t be taking any Ubers to the train.

The only remotely monetary solutions spoken of by Badar’s campaign have to do with a Traffic Motor Deputy program, and a “FLOCK Safety System,” both actually products of Sacramento. Emmett shouldn’t be taking any undeserved credit.

At that candidate forum, a question about what to do about the homeless problem came up. Living in the shadow of Los Angeles where the catastrophe is medieval, that concern is understandable. However, it is important to remember the homeless count in San Dimas is just 15 individuals. Which makes Luevand’s idea of collaborating with similar neighboring cities financially savvy.

One puzzling homeless solution Badar pushed recently is removing bus benches, something that is not likely to be popular with cleaning ladies and other low-wage workers.

On Emmett Badar’s campaign postcard it states, “Supported our citizen soldiers by providing housing to our National Guard during civil unrest.” While nobody I know recalls any civil unrest in San Dimas, maybe he is referring to 1992’s Rodney King riots?

That was the last instance of civil unrest in L.A. County. Thirty years ago.

Mod: This column appears in this morning's edition of the Pasadena Star News, Whittier Daily News plus the hometown paper of San Dimas, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Friday, May 20, 2022

Las Vegas newspaper: We can’t find any GOP candidates to endorse ‘who aren’t a threat to democracy’

Mod: It could be there just aren't any.

Las Vegas Newspaper: We Struggle To ID GOP Candidates Who Aren’t Threat To Democracy (Huffington Post link): The Las Vegas Sun issued a plea to non-MAGA Republicans to “reach out to us” because the current crop of GOP candidates in the state are too extreme to back.

The newspaper’s editorial board, in an essay published Sunday, said it had “endorsed Republicans in the past and might do so again in the future.”

 “Yet as we survey the field of Republican candidates across the state, we are struggling to identify those who are not an active threat to American democracy or the institutions of government that have sustained our republic for 250 years,” it continued.

The five leading GOP Nevada gubernatorial candidates have all “gone on record as both supporting and contributing” to former President Donald Trump’s baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him, the board said.

“If you are a Republican running for office who believes in truth, believes that the last election was fair, who rejects the deranged calls to destroy our democracy, we need to hear from you. Nevada needs to hear from you. We want to endorse sanity, honesty, integrity and moderation,” it said.

In search of GOP candidates willing to stand up for democracy
(Las Vegas Sun link): No one knows better than Nevadans when it’s time to put our cards on the table.

The Editorial Board, and Nevadans as a whole, are facing an agonizing problem. We have endorsed Republicans in the past and might do so again in the future. Yet as we survey the field of Republican candidates across the state, we are struggling to identify those who are not an active threat to American democracy or the institutions of government that have sustained our republic for 250 years. 

Those are the stakes here for the GOP. For Nevada. For our voters.

If you are a Republican running for office who believes in truth, believes that the last election was fair, who rejects the deranged calls to destroy our democracy, we need to hear from you. Nevada needs to hear from you. We want to endorse sanity, honesty, integrity and moderation.

As it stands right now, voters are faced with a slate of GOP candidates — nearly across the board — who aren’t fit for elective office because they buy into the Big Lie and its attempt to derail democracy. We hate finding people in the public sphere who want to destroy the very elections they now seek to win. We hate efforts to disenfranchise voters and rig future elections. We yearn for a dignified, honest and pro-democracy Republican leadership. We yearn for the Republicans of years past. Patriots, not insurrectionists.

 Mod: Good read. Go to the link for the rest.

sierramadretatler.blogspot.com

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Steve Schmidt calls for ‘venomous and dangerous’ Rupert Murdoch to be stripped of US citizenship

Mod
: One of the reasons I don't have cable is so I can't be forced to give money to Fox News. Schmidt's solution is better.
 

Steve Schmidt calls for ‘venomous and dangerous’ Rupert Murdoch to be stripped of US citizenship (Raw Story link): Lincoln Project co-founder and former GOP strategist Steve Schmidt wants the United States to strip Rupert Murdoch of his U.S. citizenship, calling the 91-year-old Australian-born media titan "the most venomous and dangerous foreigner to ever arrive on American soil."

Murdoch is the man behind News Corp, a massive multi-national conglomerate that in the U.S. owns Fox News, The New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, book publisher HarperCollins, and even Realtor.com. But it is Fox News that Schmidt is focused on.

"The January 6 Committee will prove a massive conspiracy," Schmidt tweeted Tuesday night. "That conspiracy will likely involve Fox News hosts and personalities. Rupert Murdoch is responsible for what happens on Fox News, which has long claimed in Federal Court that is not news but entertainment." 

Taking a dig at Murdoch and the birther movement which Fox News amplified, Schmidt says Murdoch "is not a Birthright Citizen like @BarackObama. He is a Naturalized Citizen. Though it happens rarely, there is a Denaturalization process that can lead to revocation of US Citizenship and removal from the country.

Murdoch
became a U.S. citizen in 1985 so he could own American television stations.

"There are conditions and requirements for Denaturalization," Schmidt continues. "This should be studied closely by Attorneys. I believe a strong case could be made that @rupertmurdoch, the most venomous and dangerous foreigner to ever arrive on American soil meets it easily."

Schmidt in his final tweet tags former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who over the past few years has accused Murdoch and his media properties of undermining democracy in the U.S. and in Australia.

Last November Schmidt said Murdoch “has been a pancreatic cancer on democracy, pluralism and decency.” And in February Schmidt suggested Fox News was an enemy of the U.S., calling it "an American Fifth Column that has declared war on American patriotism."

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