The right is mad over Kathy Griffin’s gruesome Trump video. The left asks: Remember Ted Nugent?

May 31 at 4:01 PM

At a time of strong partisan divide, when one side messes up, the other pounces like a bird of prey.

That happened after comedian Kathy Griffin, who supported Hillary Clinton, posted a 12-second video of her holding what appeared to be President Trump’s bloody, severed head. It immediately drew ire from conservatives, as well as some liberals. By Wednesday, CNN had dropped the comedian from its annual New Year’s Eve program, which Griffin has co-hosted with Anderson Cooper since 2007.

As the backlash against Griffin continues, many on social media have pointed out what they see as a double standard.

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Kathy Griffin’s full apology to Trump for severed head photo shoot
Comedian Kathy Griffin apologized for a picture of her holding a prop of President Trump’s severed head on May 30. Griffin came under fire from both conservatives and liberal figures for the image. (AP)

A few times within the past several years, a well-known conservative activist got in hot water over hateful comments about former president Barack Obama. In those instances, though, there was no image of a bloody head; just Ted Nugent’s pointed words, some of which prompted a Secret Service investigation. Trump would later host the hard rocker at the White House — a recent memory that many on Twitter brought up in the aftermath of Griffin’s controversial post.

Their cumulative sentiment: Both spewed hatred. Griffin was punished for it. Nugent became a White House guest.

You old enough to remember your silence at Ted Nugent calling for Obama to be hanged? No? So pipe down now, too. Grown-ups got this. https://twitter.com/benshapiro/status/869636473732997120 

Remember that time you sought and accepted the endorsement of violently racist pederast Ted Nugent for your presidential bid? Good times. https://twitter.com/mittromney/status/869678525925670914 

Ted Nugent called for the death of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He then got invited to the White House. Your argument is null. https://twitter.com/tomilahren/status/869735211684077568 

Nugent, a gun rights activist, is known for his heated remarks about Obama that stretch back to at least 2007, when the former president was competing against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Nugent went on a rant onstage during a concert and said vile things about both Obama and Clinton, using expletives to refer to both.

Five years later, Nugent made an impassioned plea for support for then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during a National Rifle Association Conference in St. Louis. At that time, Obama was running for reelection.

“We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November,” he said of the Obama administration in April 2012. He added: “If Barack Obama becomes the next president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”

Nugent said he was simply trying to excite voters. But the Secret Service nevertheless asked to talk to him so he could explain his comments. A Secret Service spokesman confirmed the investigation at that time but declined to give details.

You will not be surprised to learn that Spicer ducked a reporter’s question about Ted Nugent by claiming not to know what he said.

Two years later, during a hunting and outdoor trade show in Las Vegas in 2014, he called Obama a “communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel” and a “gangster” who weaseled his way into the presidency.

Nugent apologized for using the term “subhuman mongrel” during an interview with conservative radio host Ben Ferguson a month later. Ferguson then asked whether Nugent was directly apologizing to Obama, to which he replied, “Yes.”

But the controversial remarks didn’t stop there.

In a lengthy Facebook post last year, Nugent said Obama and Clinton should be tried for treason and hanged over their handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

Despite his history of making inflammatory statements, Nugent, along with former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and musician Kid Rock, became Trump’s dinner guests at the White House in April. Trump had invited Palin, who brought Nugent and Kid Rock with her. Nugent posted a picture of him shaking Trump’s hand as the president sat at his desk during the visit.

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READ MORE:

Ted Nugent, Sarah Palin and Kid Rock visited the White House for dinner with President Trump

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Trump pulls US out of Paris deal: What it would mean

Pulling the United States out of the Paris climate deal would have unforeseen consequences for President Trump, his international agenda and U.S. climate policy.

It would leave the world’s superpower outside an accord meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that includes nearly every other country in the world, aside from Syria and Nicaragua.

While it is not entirely clear that Trump has made up his mind to end U.S. participation in the deal, sources say that at a minimum, he is leaning in that direction.Here’s how to interpret and understand the decision.

Trump is playing to the base

Trump has called the pact a “bad deal” for the United States, and made withdrawing from it a key component of his “America First” campaign platform.

At an April rally, he called the agreement “one-sided,” and said “the United States pays billions of dollars while China, Russia and India have contributed and will contribute nothing.”

Given his past statements and promises, it isn’t hard to see why Trump would want to pull the United States out of the deal.

Yet the decision has provoked a furious internal battle within the White House, pitting Trump’s family members Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner against adviser Steve Bannon and EPA administrator Steve Pruitt.

Pulling the United States out of the deal means Trump is siding with Bannon and his base over the objections of centrists in his government — and the business community.

Exxon Mobil Corp. and many large American businesses urged Trump to stay in the deal, arguing it would maintain U.S. influence over future talks.

“By remaining a party to the Pars agreement, the United States will maintain a seat at the negotiating table to ensure a level playing field so that all energy sources and technologies are treated equitably in an open, transparent and competitive global market,”

Exxon CEO Darren Woods wrote in a May 9 letter to Trump.

By pulling out of the Paris accord, Trump would be signaling he’s willing to take on supporters of the deal who are usually his allies — in order to back his core base of supporters.

Many Republicans on Capitol Hill are likely to support pulling out of Paris — 20 leading Senate Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) asked Trump to do just that last week.

Withdrawing from Paris would greatly please conservative groups, who have orchestrated an all-out push in opposition to the pact.

Robert De Niro on Trump’s America: a ‘tragic, dumbass comedy’

The actor hits out against the Trump administration in a speech at Brown University when receiving an honorary doctorate

‘You are graduating into a tragic, dumbass comedy’ … Robert De Niro.
‘You are graduating into a tragic, dumbass comedy’ … Robert De Niro. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Robert De Niro has said that the US has become a “tragic, dumbass comedy” under Donald Trump, and urged students to “work to stop the insanity” of his presidency. The actor made the comments during a commencement ceremony speech at Brown University in Rhode Island, where he was receiving an honorary doctorate of fine arts.

“When you started school, the country was an inspiring, uplifting drama,” he told students. “You are graduating into a tragic, dumbass comedy. My advice is to lock the [university’s] Van Wickle Gates and stay here.

“But if you do leave, work for the change. Work to stop the insanity. Start now so the class of 2018 will graduate into a better world.”

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Watch Robert De Niro’s speech to Brown University students

De Niro has been highly critical of Trump since his election win last November. Earlier this month he said that the Trump administration had shown “mean-spiritedness” in its budget proposal, which advocated cutting arts funding. De Niro also suggested that Charlie Chaplin would not be allowed into the US todaydue to Trump’s strict immigration policy.

Before Trump’s election win, De Niro came under fire for saying he would like to punch him in the face. He later revised his comments, adding that he would have to “respect” the fact that Trump was president.

As Kim Jong Un Continues Missile Tests, Typhoon Trump Moves Toward the Koreas

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ELIZABETH BROCKWAY/THE DAILY BEAST

LAST DITCH

With the deployment of nuclear submarines and carrier battle groups, President Trump is acting very tough, but he seems to know only China can save the day.

HONG KONG—Loose lips sink ships, and U.S. President Donald Trump’s lips are about as loose as they get. But what might lie behind his gaffes? And what might lie ahead of them? In the looming showdown with North Korea, the answers are potentially apocalyptic.

For the moment we can only guess what Trump told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week about his North Korea strategy. “It’s a big problem. It’s a world problem and it will be solved at some point,” Trump declared to the press at his meeting with Abe before the G7 summit in Italy. “It will be solved, you can bet on that.”But how does one “solve” a problem like North Korea?

Soon there will be three U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups cruising near the peninsula. But on Monday, Kim Jong Un staged another successful missile test—just the kind of operation the Trump administration has vowed to stop.

“As we agreed at the recent G7, the issue of North Korea is a top priority for the international community,” Abe told reporters in brief televised remarks on Monday after the latest missile test. “Working with the United States, we will take specific action to deter North Korea.”

There are clues to Trump’s thinking, and it keeps turning toward Beijing. His tweeted reaction to the latest provocation by Pyongyang: “North Korea has shown great disrespect for their neighbor, China, by shooting off yet another ballistic missile…but China is trying hard!”

 But “trying hard” may not be enough.

We now know that during an April 29 phone call between Trump and his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte, amid praise for extrajudicial killings of alleged drug dealers and addicts—“an unbelievable job on the drug problem”—Trump called North Korea’s Kim Jong Un a “madman with nuclear weapons.” And Trump asked Duterte’s opinion about whether Kim is “stable or not stable.” (Some would see irony in this, given the two people who were talking.)

The American president also let slip that the United States had “a lot of firepower over there,” and boasted, as he is wont to do, with some highly classified specifics: he told Duterte two nuclear submarines had been dispatched by the Pentagon to the region.

So, three carriers, two nuclear submarines . . .

Trump sounded amazed at the potential destructive power he commands. “I’ve never seen anything like they [the subs] are, but we don’t have to use this, but he could be crazy, so we will see what happens.”

Actually, we have a pretty good idea what would happen if full scale warfare breaks out. Diplomats talk about “the tyranny of proximity,” and U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis sketched out the scenario Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation: It would be “probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes,” he said. “The North Korean regime has hundreds of artillery cannons and rocket launchers within range of one of the most densely populated cities on Earth, which is the capital of South Korea. And in the event of war, they would bring danger to China and to Russia as well.”

Trump told Duterte, “We can’t let a madman with nuclear weapons let on the loose like that. We have a lot of firepower, more than he has, times 20, but we don’t want to use it.”

Mercurial as ever, Trump recently told Bloomberg News that he would be “honored” to meet Kim, echoing a notion that he shared on CBS’s Face the Nation regarding his opinion of the North Korean dictator’s savage grip on his office: “A lot of people, I’m sure, tried to take that power away . . . And he was able to do it. So obviously, he’s a pretty smart cookie.”

Duterte, in his chat with Trump, didn’t seem to share that view. “He is not stable, Mr. President, as he keeps on smiling when he explodes a rocket,” the Philippine strongman said. “But it seems from his face he is laughing always and there’s a dangerous toy in his hands which could create so much agony and suffering for all mankind.”

The Duterte phone call transcript was leaked from the Philippines, and The Intercept and The Washington Post both published it online in full last week. In it, there was a lot of talk about China, East Asia’s most dominant power broker and one of North Korea’s few backers (at least, until recently).

What now are Pyongyang’s weekly launches of short- or medium-range ballistic missiles, a prelude to the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles that might reach as far as Seattle, have been described as a defiant show of power toward South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, but they are equally aimed at China and even the United States, which has 80,000 troops stationed in South Korea and Japan.

China, as Duterte told Trump, “is the last country he should rebuke.”

So Kim Jong Un has proven himself to be an unreasonable dictator, and Beijing is losing patience. For the second month in a row, Chinese imports of North Korean coal have been zero. The airport in Dandong, a northeastern Chinese city, confirmed that flights operated by Air Koryo, which transports passengers between China and North Korea, have been suspended. Chinese tourism companies have been eliminating tours to the hermit kingdom; half-day tours of Pyongyang, which is visa-free for some Chinese travelers, are becoming skeletal. Cross-border commerce, which provides consumer goods to the general population in North Korea, has been in a rut.

Even though relations between China and South Korea have been rough because of Seoul’s adoption of the American THAAD missile defense system, officials of the two nations have been meeting to repair ties.

During one of the sessions, Chinese state councilor Yang Jiechi, who is a senior policy advisor to the Chinese President Xi Jinping, said that the two nations must work together to guard against North Korean threats. A special envoy, Lee Hae-chan, has been dispatched by the new South Korean president to keep communication channels with Beijing open and smooth.

Not only has the Chinese Communist Party been withholding meaningful financial support for Pyongyang’s elite, it has slowly but surely made suggestions about how the Chinese state apparatus would react to armed conflict in the Korean Peninsula. In late April, an op-ed circulated in Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece Global Times had a tidy note buried near its end: “If America performs surgical strikes in North Korea, China will only intervene diplomatically, but not militarily.” (The op-ed, which was written in Chinese, has been taken offline.) Its author, whose name was not in the byline, even suggested that somebody should cut off most, but not all, of North Korea’s energy supply to emaciate the regime.

Trump must walk a tightrope. To counter China’s aggressive territorial grabs in East and Southeast Asia means provoking the CCP—exactly the sort of provocation sparked by the presence of two nuclear submarines and overt freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea. But containing North Korea means that two superpowers need to get along in the same sandbox and work in concert.

During Trump’s visit to Vatican City, Pope Francis asked the American president to be a “peacemaker,” gifting him a small sculpture of an olive tree that, as the pope said, symbolizes peace. But when it comes to North Korea, American action—diplomatic, military, or any other form—may be insufficient on its own, no matter the intention.

Last month, when discussing the possibility of reining in North Korea, Duterte offered this sobering truism to Trump during their phone conversation: “At the end of the day, the last card, the ace, has to be with China. It’s only China. [Kim Jong Un] is playing with his bombs, his toys, and from the looks of it his mind is not working well and he might just go crazy one moment. China should make a last ditch effort to tell him to lay off. China will play a very important role there.”

Health Care and the Environment

by Stephen Capra
 
The last few weeks have shown a new depth in Republican thinking. What would at first glance seem crazy, stealing heath care from up to 24 million Americans is at best going to be a very close vote that will likely mean less for average Americans and more tax cuts for the wealthiest in our country.

To accomplish this Republicans are willing to lie repeatedly, obfuscate and threaten. They will use misleading facts and create fear among the most vulnerable, to cajole their way to this warped vision of victory.

So when a party that dominates both Houses of Congress and the Presidency is willing to literally kill people to gain a tax cut, what is the potential that they will have concern or a sense of responsibility when it comes to the environment?

The answer is unfolding before our eyes. From Bear Ears and Monuments across the West to the fight on Climate Change or methane releases and the countless environmental regulations they have placed in the shredder, we are witnessing genocide of the planet on a level that few can remember. Republicans continue to use terms like freedom and choice to conceal and define a narrative that enriches corporate American off the backs of native wildlife, protected habitat and the health and welfare of people that love and respect wild nature.

Democrats in this process are fighting back, but also share some of the responsibility in the delays and Blue Dog member’s conflicts with important environmental legislation that stalled or was not implemented through Executive Orders until the final year of an Administration, regulations that should have passed in year one.

It has taken the Trump Administration 100 days to tack public opinion against environmental protection and to inspire this congress to go for the jugular in destroying generations of responsible environmental progress. While many in America are fighting back and town hall videos represent new voices of hope, we remain trapped with a President that has shown his shallowness, his vindictive nature and his willingness to destroy the foundations of our democracy. In his disturbed mind, he sees only those loyal to him and those who oppose him. Friendship and critical analysis are fed through money and his ability to profit. Dissension is met with paranoia and callous retribution.

So we stand at a precipice in time. In the next forty days a report will come back that could very well be the paper work the President desires to remove some of our most precious lands from Monument protection. What on the surface seems to be a very misguided and unthinkable prospect is in the Trump world another opportunity to harm those who most vehemently opposed him in the campaign-the conservation community. For those in the Steve Bannon inner circle, it is another way to blow up the Federal government, leading us towards an inevitable anarchy.

So the question for many remains what can we do? The answer is to first, never stop fighting. The second is to realize that we are approaching the bottom, many have spoken about. It is true Trump could move to disband our National Parks, but that is something that for now seems a remote possibility. No this President is trying to break our spirit and push us into a national depression that will force people to tune out and give him free reign. Next we must continue to educate ourselves, friends and family, it is simply amazing how many people are already tuned out. Finally, we must vote out these bastards, our planet simply cannot continue a cycle of bust and boom in terms of protection of our natural heritage, we are approaching life support and that demands our energy and perseverance. We can never surrender to evil, or ignorance.

This Republican Congress is making clear from Health Care to the removal of James Comey, that they are putting party first before the American people and our values. Power and control are the mechanisms that feed their trough and what was once considered a sacred responsibility to put county before party, has been destroyed in the haze of Citizens United and the thirst to move their radical agenda.

Should Democrats retake control of congress or eventually the White House, they must move in the first, not the eighth year of a Presidency to change environmental regulations or use Executive Actions so that they have a sense of permanency. Democrats must also be strong, not weak, in pushing aggressive environmental protections, wilderness and Monument protections and designations. That includes those in coal country.

Until such time as the American people fight in one voice to protect our environment, Republicans will continue to flourish from the poisoned money that flows from the fossil fuel, mining, NRA and corporate agenda. That money is breaking the Arctic ice packs, fouling our air and water, it is killing wolves in the West and Mid-West, and it is stealing protected lands from all Americans and allowing a deranged man to lead our county, while simultaneously tearing us apart.

We can do so much better, and we will. But we are in a war, there really is no other way to describe it and we have no choice but to fight with every fiber of our being. For those in the rust belt that made Trump our President, I would remind them that their vote and actions are helping to destroy our quality of life in the West. So we can fight one another, or we can unite to save our planet, our wildlife and the moral compass of a nation that has lost direction.

Get out into the Parks and Monuments, allow your spirit to heal and flourish, soak in the energy and life that nature provides, in that place of love and beauty, find the strength and resolve to save it from those who can never understand or fear that which is wild.

The road is long, but you are not alone, we are many and fierce in our love of that cathedral of life, that endless bounty that is nature.

We will fight and we will win.

But we will also suffer and hurt, yet in that pain is the resolve to never allow this to happen again. The health, not just of people, but of the planet is in our hands.
In such destiny is the power to change, and change we must or we will bear witness to our own demise.
I choose to fight.

Letter in the NY Times re: Donald Trump Jr.’s Hunting

To the Editor:

According to news reports, Donald Trump Jr. spent Earth Day shooting prairie dogs in Montana. His guide was Greg Gianforte, a Republican candidate for Congress and himself a hunting enthusiast. Prairie dogs are not killed to be eaten, but strictly for fun.

Fun? What’s wrong with these people? How can killing defenseless rodents in their natural habitat be seen as fun? This fact further underscores how pathetic and callous the Trump family is. C’mon, Don Jr., really?!

SCOTT CITRON, NEW YORK

From Gandhi to guns: An Indian woman explores the NRA convention

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/28/world/indian-immigrant-nra-convention/

The author, an Indian-American, visiting her first NRA convention on Friday.

Atlanta (CNN)Guns are not a part of the culture of my homeland, except perhaps for the occasional Bollywood movie in which the bad guy meets his demise staring down the wrong end of a barrel.

My childhood in India was steeped in ahimsa, the tenet of nonviolence toward all living things.
The Indians may have succeeded in ousting the British, but we won with Gandhian-style civil disobedience, not a revolutionary war.
Trump: Eight-year assault has come to end

Trump: Eight-year assault has come to end 01:07
I grew up not knowing a single gun owner, and even today India has one of the strictest gun laws on the planet. Few Indians buy and keep firearms at home, and gun violence is nowhere near the problem it is in the United States. An American is 12 times more likely than an Indian to be killed by a firearm, according to a recent study.
It’s no wonder then that every time I visit India, my friends and family want to know more about America’s “love affair” with guns.
I get the same questions when I visit my brother in Canada or on my business travels to other countries, where many people remain perplexed, maybe even downright mystified, by Americans’ defense of gun rights.
I admit I do not fully understand it myself, despite having become an American citizen nearly a decade ago. So when I learn the National Rifle Association is holding its annual convention here in Atlanta, right next to the CNN Center, I decide to go and find out more.
My eyes open wide inside the vast and cavernous Georgia World Congress Center. I take in countless exhibits by the firearms industry and even check out a few guns. Among them are the Mossberg Blaze .22 semiautomatic Rimfire Rifle and an FN 509 semi-automatic 9mm pistol.
I’ve never had the desire to own a gun. I try hard to experience the excitement of others who are admiring these products.
Around me are 80,000 of America’s fiercest patriots and defenders of guns. Many are wearing American flag attire and T-shirts with slogans like: “Veterans before refugees” and “God loves guns.”
Few people here look like me. Most appear to be white and male. Many view the media, including my employer, with disdain — and they do not hesitate to let me know.
I walk around with some trepidation, but I’m determined to strike up conversations. I begin with this question: “Why do you want to own an object that can kill another human being?”
The answers are varied, but they center on three main themes: freedom, self-defense and sport. The first type of response is rooted in the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which allows for the ownership of more than 300 million guns in America. How many other countries have the right to bear arms written into their very foundation? It’s unique and because of that, foreigners often have trouble grasping it.
I meet Chris Styskal at a booth set up by the NRA Wine Club. Yes, a wine club for the almost 5 million members of the organization.
“Eat, sleep, go fishing. Drink, sleep, go shooting. In that order,” Styskal jokes.
But then we get into serious talk. Gun ownership, he tells me, has its roots in the birth of this country.
“George Washington’s army fought off the British with rifles,” he says. “They overthrew an oppressive government.”
His statement gives me pause. The gun laws in India stem from colonial rule, when the British aimed to quell their subjects by disarming them. Perhaps my Indian compatriots should consider the right to own guns from this perspective.
Styskal, 41, earned a degree in psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and tells me the prevailing belief that gun owners are not educated is simply wrong. He owns a collection of rifles and pistols at his home in Port Carbon, Pennsylvania, and last year he fired 100 rounds every week at a shooting range.
He says the Second Amendment is about much more than the right to bear arms. It’s about freedom.
“We don’t want any government telling us what we can and cannot do.”
It’s a thought echoed by Brickell “Brooke” Clark, otherwise known as the American Gun Chic. She has a website by that name and also a YouTube channel. Both are bathed in hues of pink and dedicated to her recently formed passion for guns.
I introduce myself to Clark as we await President Donald Trump’s arrival at the convention. The darkened room is booming with NRA clips bashing everyone from Hillary Clinton to George Clooney.
“What would you tell my friends in India who say Americans are infatuated with guns?”
“I wouldn’t say Americans have an obsession with guns,” Clark says. “We have an obsession with being free.”
I ask what the Second Amendment means to her.
“It means I can live my life without anyone overpowering me,” she says. “It makes me equal with everyone else.”
The great equalizer. I never thought of the Second Amendment in that way.
Self-protection, I discover, is a huge reason many Americans own firearms.
Take Chloe Morris. She was born in Atlanta to Filipino parents; on this day, she’s brought her mother along to hear Trump, the first sitting President to speak at an NRA convention since Ronald Reagan.
Morris is 35, petite and soft-spoken, but she’s fierce about her opinions on guns.
“I’m 5 feet tall and 100 pounds,” she tells me. “I cannot wait for a cop to come save me when I am threatened with rape or death.”
Morris was once opposed to guns. “Extremely opposed,” she says.
She earned a master’s degree in criminal justice from Georgia State University. “I know the law,” she says. “For me guns were not the answer.”
But a few years ago, a dear friend was assaulted in her own home in an upscale Atlanta subdivision. The incident struck fear in Morris. She would never let herself become a victim.
She took shooting classes and became a Glock instructor. “I teach for free. I want women to be safe.
“I own 10 guns. I have a 14-year-old son. I started teaching him to shoot when he was 5. I’m a lifetime member of the NRA.”
She pauses, and her next sentence surprises me.
“I don’t think I can even kill another person — except when my life is in danger.”
In a way, I understand her position. My first real exposure to guns came after I embedded with the US Army and Marines to report the Iraq War. As a journalist I never carried a weapon, though soldiers coaxed me to learn how to shoot an M16. My conversation with Morris reminded me of a night when we came under threat, and the platoon sergeant placed a 9mm pistol on my Humvee seat. I refused to take it but knew instantly what he was trying to tell me. What if I were the last one alive? How would I save myself?
Luckily, we were safe that night. But I’ve always wondered how I might have acted under a dreadful scenario.
Other NRA members I speak with also tell me they don’t trust the police to arrive in time when they are in danger. Scott Long, 55, lives out in the country in Piketon, Ohio — 25 miles away from the county sheriff.
“The police can’t be there all the time,” he says, looking at his wife, DeeDee, and their three young children, whom he’s brought along to the convention for a mini family vacation. Their son Brody, 9, has been shooting at the pellet range and is excited about his first 20-gauge shotgun.
“Where we live, we can shoot in our backyard,” says Long, who owns 25 guns and is enjoying checking out all the shiny new weapons exhibited here.
Such remoteness, too, is alien to me. I grew up in a city that now brims with some 16 million people on a working day. Firing guns in my grandfather’s garden would not have been a good thing. I think about all the space we have in America. So many of us live far from other human beings. Like the Long family. Perhaps isolation adds to the need to own guns.
I move forward in my quest to know more.
I hear gun proponents express a dislike for big government. They stress individual liberties over the collective. For people who live in more socialist countries, it’s another obstacle to understanding American gun culture.
Near a stairway emblazoned with a giant Beretta, I speak with Derrick Adams. He’s a 32-year-old electric lineman from Nottingham, Pennsylvania. He describes himself as part black, part Puerto Rican and part Caucasian.
“How many guns do you own?” I ask.
“Not enough,” he replies.
He picked up his first Glock when he was 22, and his first shot shattered a whole bunch of stereotypes.
“People look at guns as this evil tool whose job it is to kill,” he says. “They’re not at all that. They are about protection.”
Adams believes that if all law-abiding citizens were armed, crime would drastically go down. He tells me that Chicago would not have such a high gun homicide rate if good folks in the inner cities were armed to fight “thugs and gangs.”
“Stop looking to government to help us. They are not our parents,” Adams says.
Liberals in America who want more gun control, says Adams, want to keep minorities and poor people dependent on government. Gun control started after slavery ended and was a way to keep black people disarmed, he says.
“You idiots,” Adams says, referring to all people of color. “It was invented to suppress you.”
He looks at me as though to say: You should know better.
Again, I think of colonialism in my homeland and how the British passed strict gun control to keep Indians from rising up.
Fighting tyranny and oppression is something Jaasiel Rubeck considers, too. The 29-year-old wife and mother from Columbus, Ohio, immigrated to this country from her native Venezuela when she was 6. People who live under authoritarian regimes should all understand the need to own a gun, she tells me.
Rubeck’s words remind me of a friend from Iraq who wished she could own a gun during Saddam Hussein’s rule. After he was overthrown, she slept with an AK-47 under her pillow at the height of the insurgency. She has always spoken of her love-hate relationship with guns. She wants to protect her family, but she is tired of the eternal violence plaguing her land. She wishes now that every gun would disappear from Iraq.
What I hear from speakers at the NRA convention, though, is that a peaceful world is a utopian fantasy — and that the need for guns will always exist.
“The NRA saved the soul of America,” says Chris Cox, the executive director of the organization.
I leave the convention trying to reconcile what I’ve gathered on this day with the philosophy of nonviolence with which I was raised. I am not certain that vast cultural differences can be bridged in a few hours, but I am glad I got a glimpse into the world of guns. I have much to consider.

Donald Trump is first president to address the NRA in 34 years

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/donald-trump-president-address-nra-34-years/story?id=47080710

Apr 28, 2017

President Donald Trump is following in the footsteps of former President Ronald Reagan by speaking at a National Rifle Association event.

Today’s speech, at the NRA’s Leadership Forum in Atlanta, won’t be Trump’s first talk to the gun rights group. He was endorsed by the NRA in May and spoke at their convention at the time.

But his appearance later today marks the first time that a sitting president has addressed the group since Reagan did so in 1983.

The NRA is known for their sizable lobbying operation and by raising money for — and against — candidates. The group made over $52 million in donations to candidates during the 2016 election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. They spent $30.3 million in support of Trump, the CRP reported.

Trump campaigned on the pledge to support and protect the Second Amendment, which he said during his May NRA appearance, was “under a threat like never before.” He pointed to his then-rival Hillary Clinton as the basis for that threat.

“Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment, not change it; she wants to abolish it,” Trump said at the time, although Clinton had never made such claims.

“The Second Amendment is on the ballot in November. The only way to save our Second Amendment is to vote for a person you know: Donald Trump,” he said.

Trump has noted that his two eldest sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, have been longtime members of the NRA, and during the May speech, he said that “they have so many rifles and so many guns, even I get concerned.” 

During the second presidential debate, Trump promised to appoint Supreme Court justices that will “respect the Second Amendment and what it stands for and what it represents,” and said that the list of 20 judges that he released as possible picks all fit that bill. Judge Neil Gorsuch, who he later nominated and has since been appointed to the Supreme Court, was on that list.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that hundreds of protesters and gun control advocates are reportedly gathering near the convention site this morning. Part of the protest will feature a “die-in,” where 93 people will lie down in a local park to represent the number of people who die from gun violence every day, the paper reports.

There will be another protest on Saturday, and Rep. John Lewis of Georgia is scheduled to attend. Lewis and Trump have a turbulent history. Lewis did not attend the inauguration and said he did not see Trump as a “legitimate president.” Trump returned the favor by criticizing the civil rights leader, saying that he was “all talk, talk, talk — no action or results.”

Donald Trump’s Earth Day Statement Is Shameful

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-earth-day_us_58fb9b9ee4b06b9cb91759d6

The president has moved swiftly to dismantle a wide range of protections for the environment.

“Our Nation is blessed with abundant natural resources and awe-inspiring beauty. Americans are rightly grateful for these God-given gifts and have an obligation to safeguard them for future generations,” Trump said in the statement Saturday. “My Administration is committed to keeping our air and water clean, to preserving our forests, lakes, and open spaces, and to protecting endangered species,”

Trump, who has claimed that climate change is a hoax that the Chinese invented, has appointed multiple climate change skeptics to fill his cabinet. Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt, one such skeptic, sued the agency more than a dozen times when the was attorney general of Oklahoma. Rick Perry, now the secretary of energy, said in 2012 he wanted to abolish the department Trump tapped him to run (he now says he regrets the comment).

In his first 100 days as president, Trump has moved to eliminate several protections for the environment. He signed legislation repealing the Stream Protection Rule, which protected streams from mining operations. The president has also moved to eliminate the Clean Water Rule, which protects 2 million miles of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands. Getting rid of the rule could jeopardize drinking water for nearly 120 million Americans and numerous endangered species. He has also moved to get rid of car emission and pollution standards.

The statement also noted that Trump is committed to “rigorous science” and “honest inquiry.”

“Rigorous science is critical to my Administration’s efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection,” Trump said.  “My Administration is committed to advancing scientific research that leads to a better understanding of our environment and of environmental risks.  As we do so, we should remember that rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.”

But under Trump, the EPA’s Office of Science and Technology has removed “science” from its mission statement. Trump and Pruitt have questioned well established science that shows global warming is real. His administration has proposed gigantic cuts to biomedical and scientific research and, the EPA and environmental programs.

Trump and the White House have also undermined science by distorting the truth and questioning facts. The entire field of science is built around objective observation and facts in the pursuit of truth. Thousands joined protests around the world on Saturday to highlight how Trump’s disregard for facts undermined science.

Trump Junior’s plans for Saturday morning in Montana causing controversy

http://www.abcfoxmontana.com/story/35194052/trump-juniors-plans-for-saturday-morning-in-montana-causing-controversy
Apr 19, 2017 6:38 PM PDTUpdated: Apr 19, 2017 6:38 PM PDT

Trump Junior’s plans for Saturday morning in Montana causing controversy
BOZEMAN –We are learning more about Trump Junior’s plans for Saturday morning and it’s sparking some controversy with local environmentalists. The Ravalli Republic reported that Gianforte told a crowd in Hamilton Monday that he plans to take Donald Trump Jr. Out to shoot prairie dogs.

It’s important to note that shooting prairie dogs in Montana is completely legal, but at least one wildlife advocate says it is far from ethical.

Dave Pauli Senior Advisor for Wildlife Policy with the Humane Society of The United States said, “I was disappointed I guess that any national or international politician or celebrity would have the opportunity to come to Montana in the spring and their first choice of things they want to do is shoot prairie dogs.”

In a Facebook post posted on Wednesday, Pauli voiced his frustrations about the idea of Gianforte and Trump Jr. Spending their time in Montana shooting prairie dogs.

The Facebook post has garnered a lot of attention with more than 300 likes and 400 shares in just a few hours. And there are plenty of comments on both sides of the issue.

Ruth Gessler Farnsworth simply said, “Awful.”

While Jeremy Parish said, “totally legal and encouraged. Just like the coyote slaughter in most states.”

Shane Scanlon Communication Director for Greg Gianoforte says Ginaforte is proud to hunt in Montana. Scanlon released a statement saying…

“Hunting is a big part of gain forte’s life; he’s a sportsman and an outdoorsman and tries to get out when he can. He’s just looking to have a good time with Donald Trump Jr. and shooting some prairie dogs this weekend.”

Pauli says he’d rather see the duo hit a shooting range.

Trump Junior’s first appearance in Montana will be on Friday in Kalispell, from there he will visit Hamilton and close out his trip in Bozeman.

He’s attending several fundraisers for Gianforte who is running against Democrat Rob Quist for Montana’s lone congressional seat.