On the topic of the entirely predictable defeat of the Senate’s Manchin-Toomey gun amendment, The Erstwhile Conservative says just what needs to be said beautifully in a post laying into the nation’s “gun whores,” including one of the foremost among them, Missouri’s Roy Blunt. Go read it all. The poster, Duane Graham, lays it all out: Blunt the cash-gruber who is willing to lie to satisfy the NRA folks who pull his strings on this particular issue. In this case, the lie he is talking about has to do with Blunt’s affirmation of dishonest NRA panders to the effect that the Toomey-Manchin amendment would have established a gun registry.
In a particularly telling quote in the post, Blunt, confronted by a Fox newscaster with the fact that his fellow Republican, Senator Toomey, was emphatic that the amendment would not lead to a gun registry, responded that:
And that’s his point of view, and it’s one that may have validity. Just last week, it was determined that the state of Missouri – my state – had given 167,000 concealed carry permit information on 160,000 people to, of all federal agencies, the Social Security Administration. Once you get these lists out there – once you have a gun dealer keeping lists for lots of other people – the only way that works, frankly, is if you keep the paper. And if you keep the paper, eventually somebody’s going to ask for it.
Graham can’t resist poking a little fun at Blunt’s ridiculous comment:
Notice how quickly Blunt acknowledged that the other side might be right. But also notice that even if what Blunt said was true-and obviously it is not-even if someone asked for “the paper,” so what? What is it that Blunt fears? Does he fear that law-abiding gun owners will soon be the subject of an impossible-to-conceive gun grab by the feds?
Does he fear that Barack Obama will find out where all the white folks who own guns live and then tell a barely-breathing New Black Panther Party where they are so we can have a race war?
Or perhaps Blunt fears that Barack Obama will not step down after his second term and instead use the military to go after every single gun owner in the country and rip the weapons from millions of cold, dead hands.
Some might be tempted to note that Graham’s ridicule falls just a little flat because the folks Blunt is pandering to, on behalf of the NRA, are often insane and ignorant enough to be quite capable of entertaining just such beliefs. Which leads me to the obvious question. Hasn’t it ever occurred to anyone that individuals who entertain such paranoid fantasies are not necessarily the folks we want armed to the teeth? Same goes for those folks who think that they have a right to “nullify” democratically enacted laws they don’t like (like Obamacare, maybe?), and resort to guns if their absurd nullification charades are ignored.
The Republican frenzy over sharing information about gun-owners with the federal government, via gun safety laws or, here in Missouri, by cooperating with Social Security Administration fraud investigations, is somewhat paradoxical given that the GOP-dominated House of Representatives just enabled a massive invasion of citizen privacy. I’m speaking of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) which was passed out of committee yesterday and which will be voted on by the entire House. What does it do? In the words of novelist and tech writer Cory Doctorow:
And does this bother the sensitive Republican souls who run the House of Representatives? The folks who are working so hard in the name of privacy rights to protect the ability of citizens to secretly squirrel away any kind of weapons cache they might desire? Not at all – as Doctorow notes:
It’s about as horrible as it can be: the House Rules Committee won’t even allow privacy-protecting amendments on the agenda; the bill’s sponsor Rep. Mike Rogers dismisses people who oppose CISPA as 14-year-olds in their parents’ basements; and a bunch of tech companies are lobbying in favor of CISPA because the bill cannily immunizes them from liability for firehosing your personal, sensitive information all over the place.
CISPA hasn’t made it to the Senate yet, so it’s hard to say what Blunt, specifically, will do. He co-sponsored an earlier iteration of this bill until the outcry became so strong that he withdrew his support. However, among those opposed to the earlier CISPA-type bills were the big telecoms such as AT&T, a big-time Blunt contributor that retains Blunt’s son’s lobbying firm. This time around, the legislation contains a sop to the telecoms since they will be able to hand over our information with no fears of repercussions and they’ve mostly lined up behind it.
In the light of the newly secured telecom support, it will be interesting to see how Blunt swings if CISPA makes it out of the full house. I hope that if he comes out in support of the bill, plenty of folks remember to ask him why his concerns about privacy are limited to the fantasies of paranoid gun-owners.
NOTE: To be fair, many Democrats were among the worst offenders supporting earlier CISPA legislation. President Obama, though, has promised to veto the current legislation if it comes to him for his signature in its present form which lacks adequate provisions to protect Internet privacy.