Late Night Open Thread: Nice “Work” If You Can Get It…

Jon Chait, NYMag, “Why Are Republican Small Donors So Easy to Swindle?”:

Republicans have long complained, usually in private, that their fundraising apparatus is overrun with fraudsters. National Review’s Jim Geraghty has a column, “The Right’s Grifter Problem,” saying what many of them have been whispering. Many of President Trump’s most publicly strident loyalists are in the business of raising money for political projects that spend virtually all their funds on operating expenses…

Grifters go where the marks are:

A former pro football player who serves on the National Rifle Association board was paid $400,000 by the group in recent years for public outreach and firearms training. Another board member, a writer in New Mexico, collected more than $28,000 for articles in NRA publications. Yet another board member sold ammunition from his private company to the NRA for an undisclosed sum.

The NRA, which has been rocked by allegations of exorbitant spending by top executives, also directed money in recent years that went to board members — the very people tasked with overseeing the organization’s finances.

In all, 18 members of the NRA’s 76-member board, who are not paid as directors, collected money from the group during the past three years, according to tax filings, state charitable reports and NRA correspondence reviewed by The Washington Post.

The payments received by about one-quarter of board members, the extent of which has not previously been reported, deepen questions about the rigor of the board’s oversight as it steered the country’s largest and most powerful gun rights group, according to tax experts and some longtime members…

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C.R.E.A.M. Open Thread: The NRA Discovers the Political Grift Is Not As Easy As It Looks

It looked foolproof! Give your self-selected ammosexuals an outlet for their most paranoid, racist fantasies, and watch the dollars flow in! Unfortunately, the existing Repub professional grift-orgs… excuse me, PACs… saw Wayne LaPierre and his buds less as competitors/partners, and more as sheep for the fleecing:

New York Attorney General Letitia James is conducting a wide-ranging investigation into alleged financial mismanagement at the NRA, while the group is embroiled in a messy lawsuit with its longtime image-maker, Ackerman McQueen. The NRA sued the Oklahoma City-based ad firm last month to get documents as part of an apparent internal investigation into whether the firm has been siphoning money out of the gun lobby, allegations that Ackerman denies.

Then there’s Carry Guard. The program — which offers combat training and liability insurance for shootings carried out in “self-defense” — was founded in 2017 to keep money flowing into the NRA’s dwindling coffers after President Trump’s surprise election left gun owners assured that, for the time being, at least, no “jack-booted” government officials were coming for their firearms.
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MOAR GUNZ in Holmby Hills – Open Thread

A man was arrested Wednesday after authorities seized more than 1,000 guns from a home in Holmby Hills, authorities said.

Officials received an anonymous tip about a person illegally manufacturing and selling guns in a home in the 100 block of North Beverly Glen Boulevard, said Officer Mike Lopez, a spokesman with the Los Angeles Police Department.

As part of an ongoing joint investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the LAPD served a search warrant at the home at 4 a.m., he said.

The ATF said in a statement that its agents searched the home after discovering an individual illegally selling firearms “outside the scope of the federal firearm license that the individual possesses.”

Over a thousand guns of various types and ages were found. A second home was searched on North Bunker Hill Avenue in Los Angeles, but apparently nothing found there.

This is a developing story. Not much on it that I’ve seen. Of course, guns are no longer news. We’ve already moved on from the two shootings in Colorado this past week.

 

Open thread!








Sad Gunhumpers Open Thread: When There’s Honest Argument, the NRA Loses

In case you wondered why the usual GOP suspects were screaming so loudly:

The president is probably right to be worried by the NRA’s travails. His tweet seemed to signal concerns about whether the once all-powerful group would again spend tens of millions of dollars to back him in the 2020 election as it did so effectively during his 2016 win, say NRA veterans and gun rights analysts…

NRA stalwarts say Trump’s Twitter call to end the organization’s internal battle royale – which featured charges of insider self-dealing involving its CEO and president – and focus on legal and financial threats, suggests that Trump is hoping to bank again on the NRA’s grassroots political and financial muscle boosting his re-election fortunes…

Trump’s 2020 political prospects are expected to turn in part on the NRA repeating what it did in 2016 to back his then long-shot candidacy. The NRA spent a record $30m-plus on ads supporting Trump and mobilized its field operations in critical midwestern swing states where the gun lobby has strong grassroots, helping Trump prevail despite losing the popular vote by 3 million.
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The Poway, CA Synagogue Shooting: Some Updated Information

Details are coming in to focus regarding the domestic terrorism attack, which will be charged as a hate crime because the domestic terrorism portion of the Federal terrorism statute does not include penalties, just a definition, at the Chabad of Poway, CA synagogue today. The shooter is a 19 year old named John T. Earnest. Earnest wrote and published a manifesto, in the style of the Christchurch terrorist’s, that included all of the anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and xenophobic, and racist greatest hits. He claims to be inspired by the attackers of both the Tree of Life Synagogue and the two Christchurch mosques. Earnest also, like the Tree of Life attacker, claims he’s not a supporter of the President because the President isn’t extreme enough, is a “Zionist, Jew loving, anti-White, traitorous cocksucker”. Earnest also manages to work in all the traditional Christian anti-Semitic justifications as well including a Jewish led white genocide. He also claims he’s striking this blow on behalf of the European race, of which he is a member. There is no European race. Regardless, Earnest is clearly asserting that he is doing this on behalf of white Christians in order to protect them and preserve their culture and way of life. So we can confidently say that today’s domestic terrorist attack was motivated by white Christian supremacy. Earnest also makes it very clear that he the Christchurch attacks were the trigger for today’s attack, as well as a failed attempt to burn down a mosque in Escondido, CA the week after the Christchurch attack. So provided his confession checks out, that act of domestic terrorism is now solved.

I’ve read the whole manifesto. It is internally coherent and focused, but, as you can imagine is full of conspiratorial thinking and claims that are unlikely to be verifiable. For instance, Earnest claims an ancestor among the lost Roanoke colonists. This is an attempt by Earnest to tie himself into one of the faux intellectual strains of white supremacy that is centered around a wholly invented mythology for Virginia Dare, the first English colonist born in North America. According to this made in the late 20th century faux history, Dare, referred to as “the White Doe”, was supposed to have survived the destruction of the colony, was raised and lived among the Kroatoan tribe, where she was called the White Doe. There is, of course, no empirical evidence for this as no one knows what happened to the Roanoke colonists after they abandoned their settlement. The biggest proponent of this insanity is former NRO columnist and English expatriate Peter Brimelow. Brimelow is the founder of the site VDare, named for Virginian Dare.

As is always the case after these events, the real concern is copy cats. To a certain extent, Earnest’s attack today, as well as his failed attack on a local mosque three weeks ago, are copy cats of the Christchurch attacker. The other concern is for people who were already planning their own terrorism attacks or sprees and decide, because of the publicity, to accelerate their plans as the media is now primed. I expect that religious congregations, regardless of the actual religion, are currently laying on more security for whatever services and/or events they have tomorrow and for the coming week.

For those interested in how to do anti-terrorism prevention through environmental design, I published on this in Security Journal in 2006. The article is derived from a keynote briefing and an inservice I ran on the topic at Disney University back in October 2004. Below, I’m posting an adaptation of that article I did in 2013 for a contact at DHS. And, as I indicated after the Tree of Life attack, if anyone’s congregation, regardless of religion, sect, and/or denomination has questions or needs some guidance regarding adjusting physical security, please shoot me an email using the contact a front pager tool at the top right and I’ll provide the best answers I can without being able to be on site. And, as I put in a comment earlier, for coverage of these types of attacks, I highly recommend MSNBC because they have my good, long time friend and colleague (from when I was a civilian academic) Brian Levin on as a subject matter expert. Brian is a professor at Cal State San Bernardino where he runs The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

Here’s that write up:

USAWC_Cultural_Operations_Report_Securing_People_Places_Things

Open thread!