Open Thread Feb. 25: Puff the Magic Rifle

Filed in National by on February 25, 2018

American corporations are fleeing the NRA faster than bullets from a semi-automatic rifle, and the NRA’s response sums up perfectly why people own guns: The organization, which claims 5 million members, called the corporations cowards.

That’s what the guns are about, you see. Without lifelong friend Puff the Magic Rifle, little Jackie Paper cannot be brave. Take away their guns and they cower in fear of a world full of lurking danger. Fearing their inferiority and fearing others sense it too, they need a comforting rod of iron so that they need never bow to any man. And when they find that other men bow to them, the power is intoxicating. Somebody lock these overgrown little boys up and let them suckle at a giant teat all day, just keep them away from society. Oh, and explain to them that the fears of 5 million little people don’t amount to a hill of bullet casings in this crazy world.

I forget which commenter the other day called for removing the gun industry’s exemption from liability suits, but William Rivers Pitt agrees:

The auto and tobacco industries — also makers of potentially lethal products — sought and enjoyed legal protections for years before finally being brought to heel. If the gun industry loses its legal immunity, nature will take its course through the civil court system. After a few massive financial judgments against them, the industry will come to see addressing the gun crisis as being very much in its own self-interest. What was the industry’s fertile field could become its goad to duty.

Don’t tell me public pressure doesn’t work. Without it we wouldn’t have two prominent Democratic neoliberals, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker, swore off donations from corporate PACs. It sounds more dramatic than it is; this is but one of many sources of corporate funding, and a minor one at that. But it shows the smart ones see which way the wind is blowing.

Delaware, the state that puts the “cheat” in “escheat,” won another federal court case upholding its aggressive auditing of corporate records for unused gift cards. As Don Vito Corleone said so well, a lawyer with a briefcase can steal more than 100 men with guns.

Thomas Frank frets about the media inflating the Russian bot army are a major threat instead of a tool soon to be ubiquitous:

Yes, go after the Russian trolls. Prosecute them for their alleged crimes. Punish Putin if he tried to jack with us. But understand that this sort of operation is not going away. Its extremely modest price tag guarantees it, as does the liberals’ determination to exaggerate its giant-slaying powers. This is rightwing populism’s next wave, and in an oligarchic world, every American plutocrat will soon be fielding his or her own perfectly legal troll army. Those of us who believe in democracy need to stop panicking and start thinking bigger: of how rightwing populism can be undone forever.

I think he misses an important point though. The media is writing about this in part to let readers know, without coming right out and saying so, that conservatives inflate their numbers. If they came right out and said so, the right-wing whining would cause ear damage.

The diplomatic skills of The Big Cheetoh were on full display this week, as the president of Mexico scrapped plans for a White House visit after he wouldn’t agree to approve his role as heel in Trump’s script. Maybe he’s getting them written by Linda McMahon, subject of a treacly beat-sweetener in the New York Times.

Paul Manafort is so far up Shit Creek he can touch both banks at the same time. This story looks at his relationship with Rick Gates, his until-now loyal sidekick.

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  1. RE Vanella says:

    For anyone who’s still confused as to why we’re not are playing your dumb fucking games anymore, dig this:

    California Dem Party just refused to endorse 4 term Senator Dianne Feinstein. They prefer her opponent by 54-37%.

    The “good” old days are over. It’s a long march to running neoliberal garbage out on a rail.

  2. jason330 says:

    The reality of assault weapon wounds. This article in the Atlantic covers the clinical info the NRA works to suppress.

    I was looking at a CT scan of one of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who had been brought to the trauma center during my call shift. The organ looked like an overripe melon smashed by a sledgehammer … One of the trauma surgeons opened a young victim in the operating room, and found only shreds of the organ that had been hit by a bullet from an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle which delivers a devastatingly lethal, high-velocity bullet to the victim. There was nothing left to repair … the injury was fatal.

  3. jason330 says:

    REV – thanks for that link. Awesome news. Change is possible.

  4. That Cali news is huge. Will we DE Dems have the balls to do that to Tom Carper?

  5. mediawatch says:

    DE Dems … balls — in same sentence?

    They’ll have the balls to turn out Carper when he, like Feinstein, turns 84. Two more terms to go.

  6. jason330 says:

    Feinstein is 84? Wow. She doesn’t look a day over 82.

  7. Paul says:

    @Jason I think that, as unpleasant as it is, people need to know how this weapon is not just another rifle. As awareness grows, opinions will change for the better. Come right out and say it: this is a military weapon designed only to kill people efficiently and with devastating effect. I’m sure some old grizzled observer would be quoted as saying, “pull the fire alarm and it’s like shooting ducks in a barrel”. Terrible awareness but necessary to help people understand the aesthetic components of this death. Thanks for sharing your piece.