Glenn Greenwald vs. WaPo 'Obama Loyalist' Ruth Marcus on the 'Crimes' of NSA Contractor Edward Snowden and DNI James Clapper [VIDEO]
Still on the road (back full time as of next week), but thought this video from yesterday's The Lead with Jake Tapper on CNN was well worth popping here quickly, if you've yet to see it.
It's a fantastic and very lively debate about Edward Snowden and, perhaps most-interestingly, Obama's Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, between journalist Glenn Greenwald and Washington Post op-ed columnist Ruth Marcus. Greenwald describes Marcus here --- much to her apparent consternation --- as an Obama Administration "loyalist" for, among other things, what he sees as a double-standard for her calls for the prosecution of whistleblower Snowden, versus the seeming free pass she's willing to give to Administration officials such as Clapper who has admitted to misleading Congress with false testimony (aka Lying to Them). That would be a felony crime...if anybody bothered to prosecute it.
Greenwald is tenacious (as usual) in forcing Marcus to answer his question about whether Clapper should be prosecuted. For her part, she does a decent job of acquitting herself, sort of, even as the entire conversation --- and the two staked-out positions here --- really do help to illustrate, as Greenwald describes it, how "the D.C. media" and "people in Washington continuously make excuses for those in power when they break the law."
"That's what people in Washington do," he charges. "They would never call on someone like James Clapper, who got caught lying to Congress, which is a felony, to be prosecuted. They only pick on people who embarrass the government and the administration to which they are loyal, like Edward Snowden. It's not about the rule of law."
"People in Washington who are well-connected to the government like she is, do not believe that the law applies to them. They only believe that the law should be used to punish people and imprison people who don't have power in Washington or who expose the wrongdoing of American political officials," Greenwald argues. I'll let you watch to see how Marcus responds.
This one is very much worth watching in full. If you prefer, the complete text transcript is posted here...
An epic national debate over gun rights in Colorado on Tuesday saw two Democratic state senators ousted for their support for stricter laws, a “ready, aim, fired” message intended to stop other politicians for pushing for firearms restrictions. Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron will be replaced in office with Republican candidates who petitioned onto the recall ballot.
Party insiders always said Giron’s race was the harder one. Although her district is heavily Democratic, Pueblo is a blue-collar union town. Morse’s district included Manitou Springs and a portion of Colorado Springs — and more liberals.
“It has been an honor to represent the 11th Senate District,” Morse said in his concessionRECALL RESULTS 2013 Ballot Issue State Senate 3 – Recall Giron
100% reportingYes 56.0% (19,355) No 43.9% (15,201)
UPDATED 53 MINUTES AGOBallot Issue State Senate 11 – Recall Morse
100% reportingYes 50.9% (9,094) No 49.0% (8,751)
UPDATED 1 HOUR, 19 MINUTES AGO
speech. “It’s been hugely rewarding.”
Giron conceded about 10:45 p.m., telling supporters “this will make us stronger.”
She said she had no regrets about the votes she had taken that led to her recall. “I’m a fighter,” she said. “We will win in the end, because we are on the right side.”
The turn of events made Morse and Giron the first Colorado state lawmakers to be recalled. Former Colorado Springs councilman Bernie Herpin will take Morse’s seat in the Senate, while Pueblo will be represented by former Deputy Police Chief George Rivera.
It’s unclear when the city of Pueblo was last represented in the Senate by a Republican.
“Coloradans … sent a clear message that politicians who blatantly ignore their constituents will be held accountable,” said Dustin Zvonek, state director of Americans for Prosperity. “Perhaps this will serve as a lesson that one-party rule in Denver doesn’t give the majority license to take things to extremes or run roughshod over the values and rights of Coloradans who just happen, for the moment, to be in the minority.”
“Tonight is a victory for the people of the state of Colorado, who have been subject to the overreach of a Democrat agenda on guns, taxes andColorado State Senate President John Morse gives his concession speech after being defeated in the recall election against him at his election night party at the Wyndham Hotel in Colorado Springs on Tuesday. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)
accountability to the people,” said Tim Knight, Founder of the Basic Freedom Defense Fund and the “father” of the recalls. “Since day one, they said it couldn’t be done. Tonight, this is a victory for the people of Colorado, and we share this victory with them.”
Democrats control the Senate, the House and the governor’s office. Even with Morse and Giron leaving, Democrats retain a one-seat majority in the Senate.
The National Rifle Association, which donated about $360,000 to support the recalls, hailed Morse’s loss, telling The Denver Post it “is proud to have stood with the men and women in Colorado who sent a clear message that their Second Amendment rights are not for sale.”
But it wasn’t just the NRA that warned Democrats about messing with gun rights.
Sen. Lois Tochtrop, an Adams County Democrat and longtime Second Amendment activist, opposed five of the seven gun bills initially introduced in the session, including a lightning-rod proposal by Morse.
That proposal would have assigned liability for assault-style weapon damages to manufacturers and sellers, but Morse killed it at the 11th-hour because he didn’t have the votes to pass it through the Democratic-controlled Senate.
“I feel like all these gun bills have done — to quote the last words in the movie ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!’ — is to awaken a sleeping giant,” Tochtrop said during the debate.
Awaken they did.
Upset by the bills themselves and the Senate Democrats’ decision to hold seven hearings in one day — resulting in hundreds of witnesses being unable to testify — voters in Morse’s and Giron’s districts successfully forced the first-ever recall elections of state lawmakers in Colorado history.
Spurred by two national tragedies — a shooting in an Aurora movie theater in July 2012 and a Connecticut elementary school in December — legislatures across the country this year passed new gun laws.
Some states, including Colorado and Connecticut, passed stricter laws, while others loosened(CLICK TO ENLARGE)
restrictions, believing more law-abiding citizens carrying guns would mean fewer shootings.
They ran the gamut, from New York’s limit of seven rounds per magazine to Arkansas’ Church Protection Act, giving places of worship the authority to allow guns on their premises, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
In the end, Colorado was able to do what Congress could not, but it came with a price for Democrats.
Gov. John Hickenlooper — once deemed so unbeatable that the GOP couldn’t even find a candidate to run against him in 2014 — now faces falling approval ratings and a crowded field of Republican contenders, in part for backing stricter gun measures.
But not every Republican supported the recalls.
“I think this is the wrong way to settle differences,” said Dorothy Carr, 79, as she waited in line to vote in Morse’s district.
Also voting against Morse’s recall was Coloradan Sachin Mathur, a Democrat attending Colorado College.
“I’ve grown up in the age of Columbine and the Aurora theater shooting, and John Morse has stood up to the (NRA),” Mathur said. “He did what was right.”
The road to the recalls took a number of turns.
The efforts to recall two other Democrats, Rep. Mike McLachlin of Durango and Sen. Evie Hudak of Westminster, failed when their constituents failed to get enough signatures to force an election.
Even the head of Colorado’s most strident gun-rights group, Dudley Brown with the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, initially balked at the idea of a recall, suggesting the money would be better spent in 2014 in swing legislative seats.
And the recalls against Morse and Giron were marked by legal challenges, including unsuccessful attempts by Democrats to invalidate the signatures of voters who supported the recalls. One court battle ultimately resulted in turning what was supposed to be an all-mail ballot into a polling-place election, which forced campaign strategists to change their ground game.
Recall opponents argued that the elections — which the two counties have to pay for — were a waste of money because Morse is term-limited next year and Giron is up for re-election. They also said recalls should not be used to solve policy differences.
But recall supporters contend Morse and Giron ignored their constituents and the constitution by advancing the gun laws. They accused the governor and the legislature of taking marching orders from the White House and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who contributed $350,000 to fight the recalls. Vice President Joe Biden even called Democrats on the House floor on the day that chamber was debating the gun package.
Mark Glaze, executive director of the group Bloomberg formed, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said Tuesday that the NRA no longer has the field to itself in the ballot over gun laws.
“Win, lose or draw, this will send a message to legislators who take risks to protect their community. We will have their back, and eventually, the tide will turn,” Glaze said.
In order to force a recall, supporters had to collect a percentage of valid voter signatures based on the turnout in the previous election in that district.
Because the turnout in Morse’s election in 2010 was so low — a race where he probably would have lost had there not been a Libertarian candidate — no one was surprised when that recall effort succeeded.
It was a different story in Pueblo, a heavily Democratic district, where three plumbers armed with laptops linked to a state database not only collected enough valid signatures but had a low number thrown out.
“Giron’s disregard for the majority of her constituents to vote ‘no’ on anti-Second Amendment issues and her general disregard of our Constitution and the rights of the citizens of Colorado demonstrate she must be removed from the Senate,” plumber Victor Head, president of Pueblo Freedom and Rights, said in a statement at the time.
Staff writers Ryan Parker and Austin Briggs contributed to this report.
Gov. Hickenlooper statement about recall election results
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper released this statement Tuesday night about the recall elections in Pueblo and El Paso counties:
“Our democracy gives the people the right to vote for their elected representatives. Tonight, voters in two Senate districts have spoken. We are certainly disappointed by the outcome of the recall elections.
“It’s now time we refocus again on what unites Coloradans — creating jobs, educating our children, creating a healthier state — and on finding ways to keep Colorado moving forward.”
A 16-year-old boy in Arkansas is in stable condition after being accidentally shot Monday afternoon by his 15-year-old friend, 5News reported.
The shooting took place at 1:43 p.m. in Fort Smith, Ark., after Nico Sanders, his twin brother Marco and their friend, Trevor Hargrove, had been playing a “zombie game,” according to 5News. Hargrove pointed an empty bow at one of the brothers when Nico Sanders grabbed a .40 caliber handgun from his mother’s drawer and began to play with it. He soon pointed the gun at Hargrove and fired the weapon, striking the boy in the upper torso.
Hargrove’s mother emphasized that it was an accident, but stressed the importance of storing guns safely.
“They’re good friends, it was just an accident and I just want all parents to know to keep guns locked up and teach your kids gun safety. Just because the clip ain’t in the gun doesn’t mean there’s not a bullet in the chamber and somebody can get hurt really bad,” Kim Hargrove said, according to 5News.
A Lake County, Florida couple have been arrested on charges of child neglect after a 4-year-old shot off a piece of his finger with a gun that was left on their couch, WKMG Local 6 reports.
Donald Greeson, 40, told police he had smoked marijuana and took prescription pills the day before the shooting incident. Police also found drugs and prescription pills within reach of the child. In addition to child neglect, Donald Greeson was also charged with “unsafe storage of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, possession of paraphernalia and possession of methamphetamine,” according to WKMG Local 6.
The child’s finger was removed in a local hospital.
Maybe it’s just me. But it seems like hardly a day goes by without reading another story about some child in Texas being shot by another child or by himself with some unattended gun that some idiot left where the kid could get it.
Maybe it’s just me. But if I own guns and have little kids around, and I see these stories about kids being shot and injured by guns they were able to get their little grape jelly-stained hands on, I’d do a double check to make sure that any little kids in MY house were not able to put their grubby little mitts on MY guns.
But Texas. Almost every day. Another tragedy.
A two-year-old girl was admitted to a children’s hospital on Friday after being shot inside a home in Killeen, Texas, KWTX.com reports.
The child was conscious when she was taken from the scene, police told reporters. There was also a three-year-old inside the house when the shooting happened.
Police said they recovered a hand gun from the residence, but gave no further details.
The Second Amendment’s worst enemy is NOT the people who want to ban guns outright. It’s the people who leave their guns laying around like toys for the babies to play with.
The National Rifle Association is stoking the misguided fears of its members that the United Nations is coming to steal their guns through an international arms treaty in an attempt to raise funds needed to help block the treaty in the Senate.
In an email sent out on Wednesday to its supporters, the NRA ominously warned about the coming collusion between the United Nations and President Obama in the name of “trampling our Second Amendment freedoms.” The vehicle for this complete destruction of the Constitution? The recently passed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which opens for signature on June 3. Despite the fact that only North Korea, Syria, and Iran voted against the treaty, the right-wing in the United States has long opposed what it sees as a chance for the government to legally steal Americans’ handguns.
The NRA email went to great lengths to solidify this fear in the minds of its supporters, repeatedly referring to the ATT as the “global gun ban treaty,” or variations thereof. “We need to send a clear message to every Senator that they have only two choices: Side with us and stop the U.N. gun ban treaty … or start looking for a new job at election time,” the message tells its readers. Despite the dark tidings, the ATT actually doesn’t affect the Second Amendment, something that even Texas’ extremely conservative attorney general begrudgingly admitted.
Instead, the treaty seeks to limit the sale of arms — including attack helicopters, tanks, and other larger arms, as well as small arms and ammunition for these weapons — to regimes that use them to violate human rights. To achieve this, the treaty requires states set up a system for tracking exports of arms to other countries and reporting those statistics to the United Nations annually. The U.S. government already tracks the sale of weapons overseas, meaning very little will change in practice for American citizens.
Undaunted by facts and unable to kill the treaty before it passed at the United Nations, despite its best efforts, the NRA now is attempting to shut down its passage in the Senate. As with all treaties, a two-thirds majority is required to ratify the ATT. “Your signed petition is the best tool we have against this attack on our gun rights and our national sovereignty,” the message declares, urging people to sign on to help “line the halls of the Senate with boxes and boxes of these petitions.”
The NRA is asking for “emergency contributions” from petition-signers. “This year, we’ve been forced to spend more than we’ve ever spent … because the attacks we’re facing have been bigger than anything we’ve ever faced before,” the email pleads, seeming to use the time-tested tactic of exploiting fear to raise money.
Unfortunately, the NRA’s messaging already seems to have permeated Washington, with prominent conservatives such as John Yoo and John Bolton penning op-eds unfairly condemning the treaty’s provisions. Senate Republicans are already lining up to condemn the treaty based on the same false pretenses as the NRA. Some members of the GOP are even warning that the treaty will lead to a Rwanda-like genocide. In spite of this opposition, the Obama administration has already made clear that it does intend to sign the treaty once it opens for signature.
A 2-year-old boy in Texas was pronounced dead Wednesday after he shot himself in a home that Child Protective Services had deemed unfit for children just last year, KLTV reported.
Trenton Mathis shot himself in the face with a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun Wednesday afternoon in his great-grandparents’ home in Cherokee County, Texas. Police said both great-grandparents were at the home when the shooting took place.
Mathis and his three siblings were removed from their parents’ home in Harris County, Texas last year by CPS due to “abuse and neglect,” according to the report. Three of those children, including the now-deceased toddler, were placed in their great-grandparents’ home, despite the fact that CPS denied a home study. Such a denial signaled that CPS did not believe the home was safe for children, according to KLTV. The other child was placed in a foster home.
On the very same day an active duty Marine from North Carolina was killed in a shootout with Eden, Texas, cops after a random shooting spree in which two were killed and five were wounded, the Texas Legislature decided it would be just a wonderful idea to allow guns on college campuses.
Talking Points Memo tells the tale.
The Texas Legislature approved a final version of a bill Sunday that would allow students with gun licenses to keep their firearms in cars on college campuses. Following this approval, the bill will be headed to Governor Rick Perry to be signed into law.
Colleges are currently allowed to prohibit guns on their property. Backers of the bill argue faculty and staff members already are permitted to bring their guns to campus in cars.
The House and Senate had already approved separate versions of the bill, which was proposed by Republican State Senator Glenn Hegar. On Sunday both chambers gave final approval to a joint version of the bill.
What could POSSIBLY go wrong?
EDEN, Texas – Two people are dead and five injured, including a sheriff, after a gunman in Central Texas opened fire on several vehicles, apparently at random, authorities said.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said the gunman is among the dead. His identity was not released Monday, but authorities said he was a 23-year-old North Carolina resident.
DPS said the shootings began about 4:30 a.m. Sunday when the gunman shot a motorist in the Eden area in Concho County, about 40 miles southeast of San Angelo. Over the next 90 minutes, he’s suspected of shooting two people who were sitting in a car at a convenience store in McCulloch County and then another motorist back in adjacent Concho County.
Shortly after 6 a.m., a 41-year-old woman, Alicia Torres, was found dead in her car in Eola, just east of San Angelo.
The suspect fired on the vehicle of Concho County Sheriff Richard Doane when the sheriff came upon him north of Eden, according to DPS. Doane was wounded in the gunfire and hospitalized.
A state trooper and game warden came upon the scene and exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who was killed.
An assault rifle, handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were recovered, DPS said.
Concho County authorities deferred comment Monday to the DPS office in Austin. Phone messages left there were not immediately returned.
(Editor’s Note: And how was YOUR Memorial Day?)
Late last week, 21 year old Hofstra University student Andrea Rebello was shot and killed during an attempted robbery in a group house near the Uniondale, New York campus.
But the initial assumption — that Rebello was murdered by the suspected robber Dalton Smith during a shoot-out with police — now appears to be wrong. Nassau County police officials confirmed over the weekend that the victim was accidentally shot and killed by a responding police officer at the scene:
The Nassau County officer, a 12-year veteran whose identity was withheld, fired eight rounds. Seven struck Smith and one hit Andrea Rebello, 21, in the head. Rebello, of Tarrytown, shared the off-campus rental home with three other Hofstra students, including her identical twin sister, Jessica.
Rebello’s tragic death underscores the absurdity and danger of the NRA’s push for more vigilantism on city streets and inside classrooms — “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” in NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre’s words. Police officers in Nassau County are subjected to a battery of weapons trainings when they join the force, and yet even a 12-year veteran can make a mistake that ends with the loss of an innocent life.
And these kinds of incidents are far from anomalies either. Last summer, police officers in New York City opened fire on a gunman outside of the Empire State Building in midtown Manhattan, accidentally shooting nine bystanders caught in the crossfire.
As Congress fails to make progress on reforming the nation’s gun laws, state legislatures have filled the void. A number of states around the country, and not just deep-blue ones, have taken steps to crack down on gun violence. Even some very conservative states have defeated National Rifle Association (NRA) supported bills that would have significantly weakened state gun laws.
Here’s a run-down of ten instances of state progress that were in some cases mere proposals as recently as this January:
1. Colorado. A purple state with a strong gun culture, Colorado nevertheless enacted universal background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines.
2. California. Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed legislation at the beginning of May that would provide $24 million for confiscating illegally owned weapons that the police have identified, but hasn’t had the resources to seize. California is also considering thirty-odd measures strengthening the state’s gun violence prevention measures.
3. Georgia. The Georgia legislature killed a bill at the end of the last legislative session that would have allowed concealed carry in churches, courthouse, and college campuses.
4. Maryland. Maryland enacted one of the most sweeping new gun laws in the country, including an assault weapons ban, restrictions on magazine size, and a requirement that all gun purchasers get a license and submit a fingerprint sample.
5. Rhode Island. The Ocean State’s legislature is considering an omnibus gun bill, supported by its governor, Lincoln Chafee (I), that would set up a police registry of guns to better track crime guns as well as make it harder to get a concealed carry permit.
6. Delaware. In early May, Governor Jack Markell (D) signed a universal background check bill into law.
8. New York. New York strengthened its already strong gun laws, including stricter assault weapon and high capacity magazine bans.
9. Connecticut. Connecticut also passed a comprehensive package that included universal background checks for bullets as well as guns, as well as an assault weapons ban and magazine restrictions.
10. Nevada. Just this Wednesday, the Nevada Senate passed a universal background checks bill that would require a check on all private sales.
While several states have also loosened their gun laws after Newtown — and a few advanced laws so extreme that they are almost certainly unconstitutional – the above examples prove that the NRA’s stranglehold over the gun conversation isn’t nearly as tight as some believe, and that concerted effort at the state level can have significant effects on the gun policy landscape.