Republicans’ Focus Is Tax Cuts for the Rich, Not Gun Violence

In a scene right out of Groundhog Day, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan did exactly the same thing Republicans always do after mass shootings and domestic terror attacks committed by white guys; ignore the issue and change the subject.

Apparently, since Ryan offered up the typical Republican “thoughts and prayers” solution to a horrific terror attack that claimed 59 lives and injured 500-plus other Americans enjoying an outdoor concert on Monday, he had enough “gun talk” by Tuesday morning. If there is any question as to why nothing will be done to put a stop to these annual “pray for the dead” events, Ryan blowing off reporters’ queries about addressing gun violence should clarify why Americans will see more of guns involved in domestic terror attacks.

During a news conference Tuesday, when asked about Republican plans to forge ahead on an NRA bill to make killing Americans easier for the shooters to escape undetected, Ryan said he was focusing on tax cuts for corporations and the richest Americans. Ryan is more focused on helping the 400 richest families in America get richer, than the nearly 600 Americans impacted by the terrorist organization Republicans are closely aligned with and indebted to; the NRA.

Specifically, Ryan was asked if House Republicans were intent on passing a piece of NRA legislation making silencers legal in light of the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Ryan wouldn’t respond to the question because he can’t be bothered talking about gun violence when he had an opportunity to boast that Republicans are focusing on the need for corporate tax cuts; the only issue worthy of his time.

Ryan said he doesn’t know when the “Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act” (SHARE Act), the NRA’s bill to legalize silencers, will be next scheduled for a vote, because “right now we’re focused on passing our budget.

Ryan is lying. This week’s House Republican focus was interfering with women’s reproductive rights and voting to legalize silencers; at least until their handiwork allowed a madman to rain down death on innocent Americans in Las Vegas. Republicans did pass an extremist evangelical bill because next to tax cuts for corporations and the rich, nothing consumes Republicans more than controlling women.

After Ryan changed the subject from guns to the budget, he told the gathered reporters, with a “chuckle” no less;

“By the way, we’re bringing up our budget this week – I don’t know if you knew that. The reason we’re bring up our budget this week is because we want to pass tax reform, because we think that’s one of the most important things we can do to improve people’s lives. That is our present focus and the Sportsmen’s Bill is not scheduled.

For once, the reporters were not so easily put-off and they pressed Ryan asking if he “regrets passing legislation that President Trump signed” making it easier for mentally ill people to buy guns. Ryan “guffawed” and ignored the question by calling on a different reporter who asked a related gun safety related question. Defeated, Ryan answered by framing Republicans rolling back restrictions on “people with mental illness buying guns as about protecting people’s rights.”

Ryan couldn’t leave it at that and had to lie some more by feigning concern for mental health reform; something he said “is a critical ingredient to making sure we can try to prevent mass shootings.” He’s as big a liar as his standard bearer in the White House.

Ryan and his Republican cohort have perpetually supported healthcare and budget proposals that gut the “largest payer of mental health services in the country – Medicaid.” It is also noteworthy that Ryan has been a staunch proponent of eliminating the requirement that Medicaid covers mental health services. All of these “cuts” Ryan supports are for the sole purpose of funding greater tax cuts for the rich and corporations; the only thing, besides attacking women’s rights, that Republicans, as a movement, care about.

It’s painfully obvious that Republicans don’t want to talk about gun violence, or their part in advancing the National Rifle Association’s crusade to eliminate all gun safety regulations no matter what the people want or how many innocent lives are lost. Caring for Americans has not been a priority for Republicans for a couple of decades, at least, because all of their focus is on making a few hundred wealthy families richer except when they take time to attack women and help their NRA co-conspirators put more guns on the streets and in the hands of lunatics.

NRA and GOP Share Responsibility for the Las Vegas Terror Attack

As Americans go through the annual, and often bi-annual, uniquely American national day of prayers and thoughts for slain gun victims and their families, there is less attention from Republicans about the terrorist than normal because he was white. There is, however, some small controversy about whether a gunman killing 59 and wounding over 500 other Americans was really a domestic terror attack as if it makes any difference to the slain, the survivors, and their families. The regular offer of useless prayers from Republicans and gun zealots likely rings hollow to the survivors and their families after conspiring to put more assault weapons into the hands of madmen.

Apparently law enforcement is still determining if the Las Vegas attack was terrorism or just some disgruntled old white guy with a battlefield arsenal in tow; based on witness accounts of the attack, each and every one of the 22-plus thousand concert attendees on Sunday night were terrified beyond belief. And, if law enforcement is looking for extremist groups to connect with the shooter to make it a conspiracy necessary for a “domestic terror” designation, both the National Rife Association and Republican Party have offices in Washington.

Those two groups are solely responsible for the proliferation of firearms in the population by inciting terror to drive the public to arm themselves out of an irrational fear and belief that carrying firearms will keep them safe. Firearms, whether hand guns or battlefield assault weapons, are not for protection or defense; they are offensive weapons.

It is little wonder Republicans are making statements offering prayers, and it is likely they are praying the public will ignore their culpability in what was definitely a terror attack; the gunman wasn’t using easily-obtainable battlefield weapons to spread peace and joy. Although it’s true that the NRA doesn’t “always” write legislation to arm the population for war against other Americans, they do pay Republicans to pass their “model legislation” and threaten electoral death if they fail to toe the NRA line.

Since January, Republicans, including Trump, have toed the gun-fanatics’ line and were poised to vote on another one of the NRA’s long-wished-for legislative dreams – making “noise suppression” devices (silencers) legal. However, concerned that their culpability in the most recent terror attack will be further exposed, Republicans once again put off the vote; at least for the time being.

Apparently Republicans are concerned that legalizing silencers might bring undue attention to their part in helping maniacs kill other Americans easier. This “silencer” bill was put on hold before and the NRA was irritated because they claimed the restrictions on silencers is costly and unnecessary. Of course they don’t explain why the restriction is costly, but they don’t have to; Republicans do their bidding without question.

Republicans were gung-ho to pass the “silencer” legislation at about the same time a gunman opened fire on a congressional softball practice injuring Republican Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) and two police officers. It is worth remarking that if the shooter’s weapon was equipped with “noise suppression,” the body count could have been horrific and the madman may have walked away undetected. Still, Republicans knew they couldn’t possibly be seen passing legislation making it easier to kill and escape without bringing undue attention to their insane devotion to their funders at the NRA.

Republicans have another gun-proliferation measure in the works because it has been a major goal of the NRA for a long time; it is doubtful that this atrocity will be put on hold. The Republican legislation allows people the NRA has terrified to legally carry concealed weapons in “all jurisdictions” nationwide; even in states where concealed carry is banned. What that means is gun safety measures in states with prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons will be null and void if a person comes from a state that allows concealed carry without restriction. It is another “exception” to the Republican rule that “states’ rights” always supersede federal laws.

Trump was given undue credit for not “politicizing” the “tragedy” in his remarks yesterday and there are two good reasons he couldn’t possibly mention the  gun proliferation threat to Americans’ lives; the NRA would destroy him and he is responsible for putting more guns in the hands of Americans who should never be allowed near a firearm.

In February Trump signed a bill revoking Obama-era gun checks for mental illness. Signing the bill earned high praise from the NRA leading the gun-sales organization to issue a celebratory statement praising Trump as gun owners’ messiah. NRA-ILA executive director, Chris Cox said that Trump signing the “let lunatics have guns” legislation “marks a new era for gun owners, as we now have a president who respects and supports our arms.

The NRA has been terrorizing the public to believe if every man, woman, and child is not armed at all times, their lives are in peril. And it is not enough for every person to have a gun; even convicted felons, terrorists who are banned from flying, and people with mental disorders should be well-armed according to the NRA and Republicans in Congress. Now the terrorist conspirators want all Americans to carry firearms with high-capacity magazines and silencers, and they have to be allowed to carry them in schools, in church, while shopping, and at youth sporting events. Republicans draw the line at allowing 2nd Amendment rights in the Capital and the White House though because they know there are too many guns in the population.

The horror in Las Vegas was a domestic terror attack. Republicans and the NRA may not have fired the shots and terrified over 20,000 peaceful concert goers, but they are responsible for making it easy for the lunatic to gain access to enough battlefield weapons to kill 58 Americans and injure over 500 others. It doesn’t matter what the shooter’s motivation was and it doesn’t matter what his politics or religion were; he used battlefield firearms to commit mass murder.

Sadly, nothing will come from this terror attack except platitudes and offers of prayers from the same Republicans that made the massacre possible. It is tempting to place all the blame on the National Rifle Association because they have contributed more than anyone to the proliferation of guns, perpetuating these annual national day of prayer for victims of gun violence. But the NRA doesn’t get to vote in Congress; they only pay for those votes. That makes them co-conspirators with Republicans who are ultimately responsible for the increase in domestic terror attacks committed with guns.

One would think that because there was a conspiracy to instill terror in the population for the express purpose of selling weapons of war to lunatics committing acts of terror, law enforcement should have an easy task prosecuting this latest attack as what it was; a domestic terror attack aided by the NRA, Republicans in Congress, and the madman in the White House.

Image: Bloomberg