Senate Passes Symbolic, Limp Gun Control Bill - The Monday AM Quickie 6/13/22
I'm back! After another brief stint in Ukraine with Corey covering, I'm back on newsletter duty all this week to make up for lost time. We're covering gun control and the Jan. 6 hearing that Corey set us up for on Friday. Let's go! - Jack
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THE BIG NEWS
Senate Passes Gun Control Bill That Doesn't Control a Whole Lot of Anything
All right, let's start with the good news. The good news is that the Senate put forward a bipartisan bill that does expand some background checks on gun sales and finally extends a ban on owning guns to new groups of domestic abusers (before, if an abuser was just "dating" someone they could still get a gun, even if they had an abuse crime on their record). The new bill also provides money for states to implement their own "red flag laws," which can take guns out of the hands of people who are unstable or may use them to commit violence.
That's about it. That's the good news. The bill, which passed with 10 Republican co-sponsors, is essentially a less-than-bare-minimum gasp at any kind of gun progress whatsoever. The Times notes that it's nothing compared to the bill that Biden wants, and nothing compared to the bill that passed the House last week. That House bill did a whole lot more, for instance: barring anyone under 21 from buying a semiautomatic weapon, banned large capacity magazines, et cetera. The Biden administration also wants universal background checks, which the Senate bill doesn't give either. Once again, you see the shape of things in Washington.
Republicans know that a bill the likes of the one just put through the Senate changes basically nothing. It's worth noting that even gun groups like the NRA have expressed cautious support for red flag laws – remember, someone getting a gun taken away doesn't hurt the sale of guns in the first place, and seeing as it's all about the money, red flag laws don't hurt the gun lobby's bottom line. Sure, a bit more in the background check column will surely boot a few prospective buyers here and there, but the lobby also knows that won't make a measurable difference in gun sales either.
Senators on both sides are calling it a win. A joint statement by Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy and Texas Republican John Cornyn reads: “Today, we are announcing a common-sense, bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe and reduce the threat of violence across our country. Families are scared, and it is our duty to come together and get something done that will help restore their sense of safety and security in their communities.”
In other words, the Senate is going to take a victory lap and use this one to run on or run against in the midterms, and people are going to keep getting shot.
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
The Treason Show, Episode 02 Preview
All right folks here we go. On the first day of publicly televised January 6 hearings that Corey so expertly summed up on Friday, we got the beginnings of a case being sketched against former President Trump, potentially leading up to eventual charges. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. On the second episode of the Treason Show, which airs later this morning, Sunday night's background briefings suggest that we're going to hear a lot more about the fundraising apparatus behind Trump's "big lie" scheme, which raked in millions of dollars between the 2020 election and January 6. From the Post:
Testifying on Monday before the committee will be former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien; Chris Stirewalt, a former political editor for Fox News; Benjamin Ginsberg, a Republican election lawyer; former U.S. attorney B.J. “BJay” Pak; and Al Schmidt, a former city commissioner of Philadelphia.
The witnesses are likely to bolster the committee’s assertion that Trump had a “seven-part plan” to overturn the results of the 2020 election, as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the committee’s vice chair, said Thursday.
Strap in, everyone, the Treasoncoaster is just getting started.
Ukraine's Eastern Cities Are in Dire Shape
I know, because I was just there. The Russian plan is very simple: they are going to bombard everything they can reach mercilessly with artillery until it is destroyed or devoid of resistance. It's working very well so far. The current push is centered around Severodonetsk and its sister city Lysychansk. The Russians control most of the former, the Ukrainians the latter. There's a river in between the two. Lysychansk is on higher ground, though, so there's little reason for the Russians to push uphill and take it – instead, they've been blowing it to pieces with artillery and are moving to take land around it, trapping Ukraine's forces in Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. In the surrounding areas, things are grim: most places I visited last week were ghost towns or else populated by the few poor, elderly, or stubborn who refuse to leave.
- Lefties Surge in French Elections Macron's centrist block is running neck and neck with Jean-Luc Mélenchon's leftist candidates in the first round of ballot counting in France's parliamentary elections. via the Wall Street Journal.
- McDonalds Returns to Russia – Sort Of New branding, who dis? Capitalism cannot be stopped, baby – and a Siberian oil mogul is promising to give Russia Maccas again, just the store-brand version using local ingredients. It's a weird situation. via the NYT.
- Brookings President (And Former General) Resigns in Disgrace After Getting Caught Lobbying Former four-star general John Allen resigned as juggernaut think tank Brookings's president after allegations that he was illegally lobbying for Qatar (which donated millions to Brookings, of course). via Responsible Statecraft.
- Bakari Sellers New PAC is Trying to Topple Rashida Tlaib And they're clearly flush with cash. Launched by Black "business and civic leaders," the PAC is hunting progressives. via The Intercept.
- Gun Scare at March For Our Lives Just what these kids don't need. This country is absurd. via WaPo.
That's how much Russia's oil revenues are up this year, despite boycotts and blockades. Fun global system we've got here!
ON THE SHOW TODAY
6/13: Sam and Emma host Jefferson Morley, editor of the JFKFacts blog, to discuss his recent book Scorpions' Dance: The President, the Spymaster, and Watergate.
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“This law creates problems for doctors and patients. There is no clear and straightforward answer to what constitutes a threat to a woman’s health and life. Doctors are afraid to make decisions.”
– Jan Kochanowicz, the director of the University Clinical Hospital in Bialystok, the largest city in northeastern Poland, where abortion is illegal, foreshadowing the future the U.S. could soon face.
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