Late Night Open Thread: NRA “Share the Safety” Is A Hoax

For which small blessing, many thanks. The NRA has stretched Poe’s Law so badly out of shape, I wasn’t actually sure until Snopes.com weighed in. Here’s the Buzzfeed story from last night:

The National Rifle Association on Wednesday said an elaborate online campaign under its name to give away guns in “at-risk neighborhoods” to “increase the safety” is a hoax.

Complete with a website, press releases, a social media presence, and even spokesman to take media calls, the campaign fooled many online. But the website appears to be an elaborate hoax that copied the fonts and layout of the NRA’s website for the ruse…

The campaign encourages people to purchase a handgun online, then pick a high-crime neighborhood to which another gun will be delivered to “make an underprivileged American safer, while treating yourself to that Smith & Wesson you’ve always dreamt of.”

Whoever it is appeared to have gone to great lengths, and time, to make the campaign look legitimate.

Twitter and Facebook accounts connected to the campaign appeared to have been active for weeks, posting and retweeting gun rights content…

Bettina Chang, at Chicago Magazine:

So, who put all this time into the fake campaign? A cursory search shows that the owner of the ShareTheSafety.org domain name used a privacy blocker to hide their identity. The same goes for NRApress.org, the dummy site where the press release was first posted. (Official NRA websites are registered directly to the National Rifle Association HQ.) Most of the links on the site direct back to real NRA websites, and all the contact email addresses on the site are linked to the ShareTheSafety.org domain.

I called the phone number listed on the press release, and oddly enough, a real human person answered the phone claiming to be “Hensley Cocker,” the self-proclaimed Program Director (“capital P, capital D”) of Share Your Safety and supposed NRA member. In the ensuing 11-minute call, he 100 percent adhered to the conceit of the hoax, claiming the program started two years ago, and detailing how they were inspired by the “activism regarding shootings of unarmed African Americans,” as well as Sandy Hook, TOMS Shoes, and Warby Parker.

When I informed him of the NRA’s vehement denials that his program was affiliated with the national organization, “Cocker” said it was disappointing and confusing. He claimed it was because of a schism in the NRA that had been bubbling up between those who supported Colt or Smith & Wesson. He even quoted Wayne LaPierre’s famous line about law enforcement being “jack-booted thugs.” Finally he claimed a protester was disturbing his launch event at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and excused himself from the call.

NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker denied everything he said. “This is just a complete hoax,” she said. “There is absolutely no affiliation with the NRA.” She outright laughed at the claim of a schism within the NRA between the two gun brands, and she said the name “Hensley Cocker” didn’t ring any bells and that he had no affiliation with the group…

This may leave you with a question: Is it legal to give away a gun for free? Yes. Yes, it is.

I gotta admit, whatever his goals, ‘Hensley Cocker’ nicely jigsawed a very convincing mixture of all-American self-righteousness, well-meant-but-ill-thought-out generosity, and dogwhistled racism.



Cloud Cuckoo Land

After revoking the WaPo’s press credentials for accurately reporting that he insinuated President Obama is in league with terrorists, Trump is now doubling down on that very same bat-shit insane accusation and tweet-wanking over his own alleged prescience yet again:

The embedded article from Trump propaganda outlet Breitbart is entitled “Hillary Clinton Received Secret Memo Stating Obama Admin ‘Support’ for ISIS.” Vigorously auditioning for the role of “MiniTruth” in the dystopian hellhole of a Trump administration, the Breitbartians offer proof of nothing but their own disconnection from reality and inability to comprehend an intelligence report. Hillary Clinton is not amused:

Early on in this circus, someone observed that Trump’s success in the GOP primary was based on his willingness to ratchet up the insults and accusations beyond the bounds of rational discourse but that eventually, he would run out of room to escalate without sounding like a drooling psychopath.

Fellow citizens, we’ve arrived at that moment: The primaries officially ended last night, and Trump is already accusing both his opponent and the sitting President of the United States of being traitors who conspire with ISIS. I don’t believe in Peak Trump, but I am having a hard time imagining where he goes from here. The Illuminati? Chem trails? Lizard people? Help me out here…



Who Lost Last Night’s Debate?

I’m borrowing this image from Wonkette to set the tone for today’s inevitable Hilldo vs Bernbro skirmishes:

hillary2016_wonkette

Some folks around here have been fretting about the increasingly acrimonious tone of the Democratic primary campaign for weeks. Not me. I think the drawn-out tussle in 2008 ultimately strengthened then-candidate Obama and kept everyone focused on the race, giving voters more of a stake in the outcome (and thus a reason to turn up at the polls).

But now I’m officially joining the worrywarts. Last night’s debate was nasty, sarcastic and personal. I think Sanders realizes New York is his last stand, and I don’t blame him for trying to win. But if he loses, a grownup needs to pull him aside and tell him to dial it back before he damages our chances in the fall.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz certainly can’t be that grownup. Maybe it’ll fall to our designated national adult, President Obama. But someone damn sure better do it. The Democrats lost the debate last night. Read more



When Scooter and the Big Man bust this city in half

Which GOP candidate has establishment media been most in the tank for? Atrios writes of Rubio:

The blatant cheerleading for Rubio by our supposedly “objective” press has been one of the funniest things about this primary season. I don’t really get it, as he just seems to be horrible. Not horrible because he’s conservative and I don’t like conservatives, but horrible because he’s just a horribly inept candidate.

But I think it’s tough to top Matt Bai’s fluffing of Christie:








Pretty men to tell you all those pretty lies

As you may know, I am fueled creatively by my massive hatred of David Brooks. Sometimes, though, I forget that he’s not just a right-wing nut, he’s also exceptionally intellectually dishonest. Yesterday, in the wake of the Rubiobot’s dismal performance in New Hampshire, he wrote that:

Marco Rubio, who has become the most intellectually creative of the presidential contenders, has given us a book, “American Dreams.” He moves beyond the Reagan-era emphasis on top marginal tax rates. He moves beyond the Mitt Romney distinction between makers and takers.

The title of the column is Marco vs. Larry (which might be a good title for a rom-com where Michael Sera and Ryan Gosling compete for the affections of Emma Stone), and the idea is that Larry Summers also has some kind of a good economic plan but it’s not as good as Rubio’s because it’s not Burkean enough.

Anywho, it’s Rubio porn, meant to buck up the spirits of mythical moderate Republicans and/or get tote-baggers talking about what a serious guy Marco Rubio is. The least Bobo could have done was begin with “Dear Penthouse Forum”, so his readers would know where the column was going.

Contrast this with Michael Gerson’d dead-on piece about Donald Trump’s prospects in South Carolina:

Trump appeals fairly broadly in South Carolina — many opponents of Trump I talked with in the state report having some relative who loves him. But there are lots of angry, rural white males at his rallies. They have reason to feel disadvantaged in our economy and overlooked in our politics. This is mixed here (as elsewhere) with baser motives. On racial matters, according to one senior South Carolina Republican, Trump is using “not a dog whistle but a train whistle.”

[….]

Republicans who remain unreconciled to the Trump dynasty now comfort themselves with one scenario. After the shock of early Trump victories wears off, some candidate in a winnowed field will need to rise and restart the race. “Trump,” this heretofore mythic figure will argue, “has won some early primaries in the South. But he has a ceiling of support — just 35 percent in the GOP — that dooms him with the national electorate. So, here I am, the only candidate who can unite the party and win a majority in November.” At that point, the spigots of Republican money will open and the electoral terrain — in Illinois, Missouri and Ohio, and eventually in New York and California — will dramatically improve.

All of which depends on two questionable assumptions. First, I can remember when Trump’s ceiling was supposedly 25 percent. After a series of victories, it may rise again. Second, this scenario assumes that any of the mainstream candidates are capable of cutting the alpha down to size.

Gerson hates Trump at least as much as Bobo does (he’s devoted several columns to this topic) and in many ways he is just Bobo with extra Jesus sauce. But at least he has the decency to write columns about what is actually happening in the GOP primary, rather than mash notes to a pretty robot who probably won’t finish higher than third in the next primary.



The boom anime babes who make me think the wrong thing

More wise, tough talk from the very serious daddy party:

GOP strategist Rick Wilson dismissed the “childless single men” who support Trump’s presidential bid.

“The fact of the matter is, most of them are childless single men who masturbate to anime.”

Instead of masturbating to American-made internet porn like real patriots!








Straight outta Hopkins

I love the flute in the new Ben Carson hip-hop radio ad.