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Thursday, October 27, 2016

WASHINGTON — If you are tired of seeing the debate on guns dominated by the National Rifle Association and yearn for sensible weapons laws, you have to love New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. When most politicians were caving in or falling silent, there was Bloomberg, wielding his fortune to keep hope alive that we could move against the violence that blights our nation.

But imagine that you also believe the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision was a disaster for representative government because a narrow majority broke with long precedent and tore down the barriers to corporate money in politics. The decision also encouraged the super rich to drop any inhibitions about using their wealth to push their own political agendas.

When it comes to policy, I fall into both of these camps — pro-Bloomberg on guns, but anti-Citizens United. And so I have been pondering the issue of consistency or, as some would see it, hypocrisy.

Put aside that the hypocrisy question is rarely raised against those who defend unlimited contributions except when the big bucks are wielded against them. Can I be grateful for what Bloomberg is doing and still loathe Citizens United? I say: Yes.

Are opponents of Citizens United and the new SuperPAC world required to disown those who use their wealth to fight for causes we believe in? I say: No.

To begin with, even before Citizens United, the regulations on “issue advertising” — most of what Bloomberg is doing now — were quite permissive for activities outside the period shortly before elections. The Supreme Court’s 1976 Buckley decision had already given wealthy individuals such as Bloomberg a great deal of leeway.

And unlike those who donate large amounts anonymously, Bloomberg is entirely open about what he’s up to. He is simply offsetting the political might of the arms manufacturers.

Supporters of universal background checks along with bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines simply cannot be asked to repudiate the help they need to face down the power of the gun lobby.

To put it in an unvarnished way, I’m glad some members of Congress will have to think about whether enraging Bloomberg is more dangerous than angering the NRA. And his advertising serves to remind politicians inclined to yield to the gun lobby that their constituents support universal background checks by margins of around 9 to 1.

The Supreme Court has stuck us with an unsavory choice. If the only moneyed people giving to politics are pushing for policies that favor the wealthy, we really will become an oligarchy. For now, their pile of dough needs to be answered by progressive rich people who think oligarchy is a bad idea.

  • Regardless of the eventual outcome of this latest effort to restore sanity in an out of control violent society, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg deserves the respect and admiration of everyone. Confronting the arms industry, and its disinformation arm, the NRA, takes courage and it is evident Mayor Bloomberg has plenty of it.
    Special interests have managed to shift the focus from a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines into a purported attack on the right to bear arms, and infringement on the right of states to pass legislation such as Florida’s Stand Your Ground, which is nothing more than a license to kill.
    Some may consider Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to fight for a civilized society a publicity stunt or a Quixotic quest, I regard it as evidence of hope for a better future.

    • sigrid28

      It IS possible, perhaps even ideal, to walk and chew Nicorette at the same time. In the twentieth century, the Civil Rights movement evolved at the same time that growing numbers of Americans changed smoking habits. As in the Civil War, some battles were won thanks to wealthy generals, and in others, the day was carried on the backs of shoeless infantrymen. Today, there are cowardly billionaires hiding behind the sinister manipulations of ALEC, intent on getting their way by steering state legislators they look down upon; and brave billionaires, like Mayor Bloomberg, openly supporting worthy causes with his wealth and holding elected office: he is a public servant by choice. Like Rosa Parks refusing to yield her seat on the bus, a young doctor sits tight in the last clinic in North Dakota where abortions can be safely performed, watching her resources dwindle, while receiving death threats daily. When it comes to the perpetual struggle in which corruption tries to destroy the well-being of a nation, citizens united always win, in the end, over Citizens United.

  • nobsartist

    We now have a dysfunctional, bankrupt government.

    It is not like it just appeared one day.

    This country has been going down since we accepted the Warren Commission and all of the other lies foisted on us by our morally and financially bankrupt government.

    Lets order more aircraft carriers.

  • Why do you have such a problem when the Koch brothers spend their wealth to try to advance causes they believe in ?

    • deb1ryan

      Because they want to make the rest of us poor and their subjects. Why do you think our forefathers left their homelands to come to America you dolt.? If that’s how you want to live go to China!!!!!

      • I don’t think the 70,000 people who they employ would agree with you.

    • Independent1

      I don’t have a problem with them spending money to advance “causes” they believe in, but I have a BIG PROBLEM when they spend money trying to stack the deck on all the decisions that our President and Congressional legislators make by falsely presenting the credentials and issues that individual voters have to use in choosing to elect the presidents and legislators that lead the nation.

      • neeceoooo

        Some simple minded people have a hard time getting their head around lobbiests (such as the NRA) and how they can control the government.

    • disqus_CmPS82g3vc

      A lot more silence from you would do all good.

  • Independent1

    It sounds to me like the issue being discussed in this article involves comparing apples and oranges: I’ve never been aware that there were ever any restrictions or guidelines on how much money could be spent in trying to influence the decisions of government officials that had already been elected or appointed to office – when had that ever happened? That’s what Bloomberg is trying to do – influence elected officials who should be congnizant enough of the issues surrounding decisions that they must make. While in contrast, Citizens United and all other election restrictions I’ve ever been aware of had always focused on restricting or at least minimizing the influence of big money in presenting the information about candidates that are to be elected by individual voters. Therefore, Bloomberg is merely trying to influence already elected officials who voters believe should be knowledgeable enough to make rational decisions based on the facts, while Citizens United involves largely allowing big money to paint (often falsely) the choices voters have, voters who are often just barely aware of the issues they should know in order to elect the right candidate. I am without question totally opposed to Citizens United and solidly supportive of what Bloomberg is doing; I see absolutely no conflict in those choices, and for someone to question that, in my mind is nonsensical.

  • leadvillexp

    If you like freedom, this is a man you should fire. This is the man who will tell you what size drink you should have, what you should eat, what you should eat it off of and what guns you should own. If the legislature won’t do it he will decree it. This is a dictator. He is the head of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, make no mistake he wants all guns illegal. He wanted to do away with term limits in NYC so he could stay in office. Thank God the people stopped that. Let him mind the business of his own City, the rest of us in New York don’t need a nanny.

    • I personally don’t care if you get hog fat from your Big Gulps! I do care about gun background checks! This man has the courage to put his money where his mouth is. Someone has to start somewhere! Obviously, all you need is your freakin’ guns!

      • plc97477

        Some might say their guns are making up for lacks elsewhere.

      • leadvillexp

        I had a very hard time replying to you. I think AOL blocks me . they like Huffington. You sound angry. Do you know what freedom is? I have no objection to back ground checks. How about licensing all firearms owners and users? Could be done like Hazmat on CDLs. Background check every five years. Put it on the drivers license. I am against banning and restricting what kinds of firearms you can own. That gos against the Second Amendment, licensing dosen’t.

  • ObozoMustGo

    Gun control is NOT about guns… it’s about people control. It’s amazing to see how many7 of you leftist freaks are so eager to trade away your liberty, and frankly the liberty of others, for the perception that politicians and laws will somehow make you safer. They will not. Criminals do not obey laws, by definition, you morons. Besides, the gun control debate was settled in 1791. There’s nothing to debate about it.

    Have a nice day!

    “The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” -Thomas Jefferson

    “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence … From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable . . . the very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that is good.” – George Washington

    • Oh Please! Enough with your rants on your “rights” and “independence”! All we want are backfround checks!!

      • ObozoMustGo

        Bullsheet on you, Maddie! That’s a lie. Background checks are the step now, and the next thing is gun registration, followed by confiscation. it works the same way EVERYWHERE it has been done. And the fact is that Diane Frankenfeinstein has even admitted that her desire is to take away all guns from “Mr. and Mrs. America.” Others have admitted this as the ultimate objective, as well.

        Have a nice day!

        “To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” — George Mason, Founding Father known as the Father of the Bill of Rights.

        The Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a FREE State, the Right of the people to keep and bear Arms, SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED [VIOLATED].”

    • THANK YOU!!! More blather from the FAUX INTELLECTUAL!

      Always good for a laugh.

      Give up your right to think for yourself. Vote Republican and follow every word spoken by FAUX SNOOZE.

      Pretend you are mentally superior to all the “LIBERALS.”


      And, yes, I had training on the use of semi-automatic rifles, but that does not mean I believe any idiot with a grudge should have the right to own them.

      • ObozoMustGo

        Jimmy, you are a confused fool. It does not matter whether YOU think someone should own a rifle, semi auto or not. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall NOT BE INFRINGED! Not by you. Not by nanny bloombum, not by Obozo, not by Frankenfeinstein, not by anyone. You don’t like it, ammend the Constitution. Until then, STFU!
        [click image to enlarge]

        Have a nice day!

        As Founding Father Tench Coxe said, while attempting to allay the fears of critics of the proposed Constitution: “The powers of the sword are in the hands of the yeomanry of America from sixteen to sixty. The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American… [T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.” – Tench Coxe, Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

        • Hey, BOZO!!

          In case you can’t understand MY RIGHTS to free speech, that is too bad.


          Only an imbecile would agree that any IDIOT should have the right to own Military Style semi-automatic or fully automatic rifles with high capacity magazines.

          And, if you do, you have been smoking to much of the wacky weed.

          Coming from the D.C. suburbs, I had first hand experience with road rage and the aftereffects that it caused. Too many IDIOTS have no problem pulling a gun because of some slight to them.

          You flaunt the 2nd amendment just so you have the right to run through a full magazine of ammo trying to take down Bambi.

          GROW UP!!!! Little kids deserve a chance to go to school without having to worry that another COWARD will show up with a few Military Style semi-automatic rifles and handguns.

          Because they are REAL MEN.

          • ObozoMustGo

            Jimmy boy… you are a dope! The 2nd Amendment is NOT about hunting. It’s the last line of defense, a sort of panic button in a way, for citizens to defend themselves against foreign invasion OR against their own government should it become run by tyrants and dictators. And the right SHALL NOT be infringed. And that is the reason for it. If you don’t like it, you can try to amend it by the process proscribed in the document itself. Until then, you have already lost this debate. Since 1791, by the way.

            And I would prefer that my kids go to a school where EVERY adult is armed. No wacko would dare go there. Instead, they can go to the leftist freak schools and kill all their kids because no one is armed… just like that jackass did in CT. Their gun laws were already some of the most strict. They were in a “gun free zone”, yet the criminal didn’t obey that law, did he? What a joke a “gun free zone” is. That’s the kind of law that a complete IDIOT like you supports until you see the consequences of advertising to wackos that all prospective victims are defenseless… just what they want.

            Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.. about your stupid real man statement. You’re an idiot, Jimmy. Real men have a right to protect their property and lives, and an obligation to protect their family. If they choose to do so with firearms, that is THEIR business, not yours, you piece of sheet!

            Have a nice day!

            “The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in
            government.” -Thomas Jefferson

  • There are one million NRA members, less than the total number of KKKlansmen in this nation. I suspect that a fairly large percentage of the KKKlansmen are also members of the NRA.
    WHY does anyone care what they say? They’re meaningless when it comes to public policy & they sure don’t represent America in elections.
    WHO cares what the NRA says, I certainly don’t. Ignore them, they’ll fade away.