As the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high and other students and protesters like them continue to be vocal and visible in their demands for real gun-control legislation, there are reasons to believe that this latest tragic mass shooting in Parkland may finally jump-start action in Congress. Students are organizing a March for Our Lives rally nationwide for March 24, 2018, to demand action from lawmakers on sensible gun-legislation reform. Sign up—and show up—for the Austin rally here.
Many teens from the school traveled to the state capital to meet with lawmakers, who refused to see them, and subsequently refused to even debate gun-control legislation. So thousands of students and protesters rallied to the Capitol to demand sensible gun reform. As a panicked GOP and NRA begin trying to discredit the students’ voices and mitigate their powerful impact by implying they’re paid actors and pawns of the media, the left, and even George Soros (really, this is a theory they are floating), anaide to a Florida legislator was fired for propagating these conspiracy theories.
More than 60 percent of Americans in a recent survey believe Donald and Congress aren’t doing enough to prevent mass shootings. Sixty-six percent of Americans and 50 percent of gun owners believe there should be stricter gun laws. The Dallas mayor pro tem—Dallas!—asked the NRA to take its annual convention elsewhere. The First National Bank of Omaha, which issues the NRA-branded credit cards, has announced it will end its relationship with the NRA based on overwhelming public and consumer outcry. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has put two of the largest gun manufacturers on notice that it’s reevaluating its investments as it speaks to weapons manufacturers and distributors to “understand its response” to the Parkland shooting. Enterprise, Alamo, and National car rental companies have stated that they are ending a discount program they offered to the NRA, swiftly followed by an avalanche of other companies: Delta and United Air Lines, MetLife, Allied Van Lines, Best Western and Wyndham hotels, and others.
Resistbot has a new feature—text “NRA” to the easy text-to-fax app for faxing your MoCs and it will inform you how much the NRA has spent for—or against—your elected officials.
Donald called for a ban on “bump stocks”—which weren’t involved in the Parkland shooting and doesn’t address the outcry against military-style automatic weapons for civilians, but rather would ban the device that allows semiautomatic weapons to be fired more quickly. It’s something, but it’s like banning matches while continuing to sell cigarettes. He’s also suggested he’s open to strengthening the national system for background checks (despite, as one of Donald’s first acts in office, having overturned Obama’s mental health regulation on gun purchases), which the NRA also supports. Now the man stripping funding and tax breaks for schools wants to arm teachers as his way of addressing mass shootings in schools. (You’re not alone if this administration feels like a Fellini film to you.)
Pennsylvania Republican governor Patrick Toomey, who has spearheaded bipartisan gun legislation efforts in the past, plans tointroduce legislation to expand background checks for firearms purchases. Even Florida governor Rick Scott, who normally lives in the NRA’s pocket, finally came out of hiding long enough to buck the opinions of his sugar daddy and concur with banning bump stocks and raising the minimum purchase age for firearms to 21 from 18 a position also taken by NRA-backed Kansas senator Pat Roberts.
On to Russia. Let me explain. No, there is too much—let me sum up.
- New criminal charges have been filed against Manafort and Gates. The indictment contains 32 counts of fraud, money laundering, and tax charges.
- Rick Gates will plead guilty to tax- and bank-fraud-related charges.
- Mueller is investigating whether Manafort promised a Chicago banker a position in the White House in exchange for millions of dollars’ worth of home loans.
- Mueller’s investigation into Jared Kushner’s dealings has grown to include his efforts to secure foreign investments from financiersduring the presidential transition.
- Alex van der Zwaan, the son-in-law of a Russia-based billionaire, has pleaded guilty to lying to Mueller’s investigation about contact with Donald’s former campaign aide Rick Gates. Van Der Zwaan also acknowledged deleting emails sought in the special counsel’s inquiry into Russian election interference.
- Donald continues frantically deflecting and diverting away from the Russia investigation. With the release of the redacted Democratic memo regarding the House Intelligence Committee investigation, he continues wringing his hands on Twitter.
In other political progress:
In the first days of early voting for Texas primaries, voter turnout is at record levels, most notably Democratic, but for both parties (hopefully more moderate voices in the GOP are turning out as well).
A new House map in PA drawn after a federal court ruled that old ones were unfairly and illegally gerrymandered creates much more realistic and fair districts that reflect the electorate more accurately and will even the playing field in the 2018 elections. In fear losing if they can’t cheat, the GOP, of course, has vowed to sue to stop the new districts.
In Kentucky’s 49th House District, a district Donald won 72-23 in 2016, Democrat Linda Belcher snatched a GOP-held seat with nearly 70 percent of the vote—the 37th Democratic victory in a Republican-held state legislative seat since the start of 2017.
Legal action by green organizations opposing Scott Pruitt’s rollback of EPA regulations to protect the environment are slowing and in some cases even reversing Pruitt’s reckless edicts—like the one allowing mercury into our waterways, or loosening restrictions governing pollution from power plants, vehicles, and pesticides. A slew of federal courts have ruled against Pruitt in recent hearings.
Jared Kushner and John Kelly may be headed for a showdown after Kelly tightened the laces on security clearances (subsequent to revelations of how many White House staff lack permanent top-secret clearance), and Kushner is pushing back and insisting he continue to have full access despite not having permanent clearance. Sources have suggested clearance may be held up because of Mueller’s investigation.
Missouri’s Republican governor, Eric Greitens, has been indicted on felony charges for invasion of privacy, regarding blackmail threats he’s alleged to have made to his mistress to publish a nude photo of her if she revealed their extramarital affair. Greitens is refusing to step down. Brought to you by the family values party.
Donald had a big win in a recent poll, taking home the gold for Worst President Ever, as well as Most Polarizing President (even among only Republican scholars he ranked fifth-worst). He received an overall grade of F across the board, and even his Republican-leaning supporters polled gave him a C as their highest ranking (for foreign policy). So much winning, Donald. So much.
Finally, under “Random Crazy Shit That Has Become Commonplace,” a new dating site for Donald supporters you’ve no doubt heard about not only prohibits LGBTQ membership while allowing “happily married” folks on board, but also featured a convicted sex offender as part of the poster couple on its site—a man convicted of filming a sex act with a 15-year-old when he was 25. Make America Creepy Again.