This Was Supposed To Be The Big Day for Josh Powell

If you had been paying any sort of attention to the mainstream media, you might know that today was the day that Josh Powell’s tell-all book was to be released. The book entitled, Inside the NRA: A Tell-All Account of Corruption, Greed, and Paranoia within the Most Powerful Political Group in America, is supposed to tell us the inside scoop about Wayne and company.

Amazon is running this as the blurb for the book:

A shocking exposé of rampant, decades-long incompetence at the National Rifle Association, as told by a former member of its senior leadership.

Joshua L. Powell is the NRA–a lifelong gun advocate, in 2016, he began his new role as a senior strategist and chief of staff to NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre.

What Powell uncovered was horrifying: “the waste and dysfunction at the NRA was staggering.”

INSIDE THE NRA reveals for the first time the rise and fall of the most powerful political organization in America–how the NRA became feared as the Death Star of Washington lobbies and so militant and extreme as “to create and fuel the toxicity of the gun debate until it became outright explosive.”

INSIDE THE NRA explains this intentional toxic messaging was wholly the product of LaPierre’s leadership and the extremist branding by his longtime PR puppet master Angus McQueen. In damning detail, Powell exposes the NRA’s plan to “pour gasoline” on the fire in the fight against gun control, to sow discord to fill its coffers, and to secure the presidency for Donald J. Trump.

ABC News’ Pierre Thomas had an exclusive interview with him. It was so earth-shattering that they ran it on Friday on World News Tonight, on Sunday with George Stephanopolous, and again on Monday on GMA.

Powell described himself as a “huge Second Amendment supporter” with a sizable gun collection and a lifelong passion for hunting and shooting. As the NRA’s “No. 2 guy,” he said he “worked side by side” with LaPierre over several years. An NRA spokesperson, in a statement, said that Powell “had zero input or influence on the NRA’s political or legislative strategy,” but Powell says he was involved in “every single important conversation that went on in the NRA.”

But he became disillusioned with the organization and LaPierre’s leadership, he said, as LaPierre’s alleged misuse of members’ money came into focus. Powell says his work became “soul-sucking,” and he now considers it a “low point in [his] life.”

Danny Hakim of the New York Times reported that Powell is now calling for red flag laws and universal background checks.

A hunter since childhood and former Chicago options and derivatives trader, Mr. Powell says that the N.R.A. has fundamentally lost its way, abandoning “its roots as an organization focused on gun safety and education.” That has led it to limit its own long-term membership growth, he argues, by turning its back on the majority of gun owners who support background checks.

With this kind of build up plus dishing all the dirt on Wayne LaPierre and the NRA, you would think the New York Times Review of Books would give it a glowing review just to get Powell’s narrative out there.

And…you would be mistaken.

The review of the book was brutal. It starts off with this:

This is a sad book, and a bad one, and you shouldn’t buy it. The thinking in it is poor; the writing is worse. The author “exposes” evils that, if you’ve been paying even scant attention, you already know. Expect it soon in a Walmart remainder bin near you.

I had always assumed that Powell had a ghostwriter. Given the review of the writing style, I might be mistaken on that. Either that or he had the worst ghostwriter that money could buy.

It gets worse.

The unrelenting barrage of clichés is worse. The N.R.A. has debased the American language, and Powell adds to the sludge. If you only skimmed this book, you would think it was about a fox in a henhouse who caught flak and was thrown under a bus for playing laser-focused hardball like gangbusters and getting the short end of the stick while sensing blood in the water.

It concludes:

Powell’s book is a mea culpa. About the N.R.A.’s Kool-Aid, he writes, “I sold it, stirred it, drank it every day.” He lost his soul, he writes, and became part of the swamp. He’d like, he claims, again unconvincingly, to see the N.R.A. largely return to its roots as an organization dedicated to gun safety.

The N.R.A., in this telling as in others, is an organization in free fall. About New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, who has taken existential aim at the N.R.A., he writes, “I’m not betting against her.”

Bearing in mind that Powell is one of the four named defendants in the suit brought by Letitia James and because he appears to be a sociopath willing to do anything to save his own skin, I’m guessing he has already rolled over and is providing James all the gossip.

You might remember I noted that Powell’s attorney is a partner at Akin Gump. I had wondered how a guy without a job could afford such an expensive attorney. Five years ago the reported partner billing rate for the firm was over $1,200 per hour and undoubtedly is higher now. I might have an explanation for that. A friend who is a DC attorney said that lots of the big DC firms will take cases like this pro bono in exchange for the publicity.

It is either that or perhaps a former big city mayor who hates the NRA enough has decided to foot the bill so that even more dirt about the NRA is released just prior to the election. Nah, that would make me look like a conspiracy theorist or something.

Finally, if you are wondering how such an incompetent grifter ever got hired to a high position at the NRA, my sources say that the blame falls on Pete Brownell and Wayne’s former BFF Tony Makris. Sometime after Powell was elected to the NRA Board of Directors, they pitched him to Wayne as someone for his executive team. The rest is history as the saying goes.

I Don’t Think ABC’s David Muir Will Be Visiting These Folks In Georgia

ABC News’ anchor David Muir has been in charge of a series called “Made in America”. I’m guessing it has run for at least the last couple of years. I will give credit where credit is due – it has focused attention on the plight of US manufacturing and especially the small manufacturer. For example, after they pointed out the US Olympic Team that was outfitted with clothing made in China, the embarrassment brought some changes.

In the search for stuff that is still “Made in America”, I’ve always thought that they should do a story on that quintessential product that is still made on our shores – the firearm. However on second thought, given it is David Muir, perhaps we can skip that.

I came across a video this morning from a Georgia company called Armageddon Gear. They manufacture everything from slings to rifle cases to chest rigs for the AK. The promo video discusses how they make their products and then how they take the time to make sure their employees understand how the gear is used.

I just don’t see the well-coifed David Muir in his skinny jeans going down to Buena Vista, Georgia to go shooting with this group of bad-ass grannys.

If You Do Watch ABC’s 20/20 Tomorrow Night

Diane Sawyer and David Muir will have a special edition of ABC News’ 20/20 tomorrow night. The special is entitled Young Guns: A Diane Sawyer Special and will be, from everything I have seen, a hit piece on firearms. It is officially supposed about kids and guns as well as parental responsibility.

Before you watch this “report”, I’d suggest you do two things. First, you should read David Codrea’s column published today. As David reports, based upon one of their teaser episodes, Diane Sawyer and ABC News are attempting to cast doubt on the NRA’s Eddie Eagle child gun safety program. In the set-up that they use to do so, they may be in violation of Florida Statute 790.174 which specifies requirements for the safe storage of firearms when there are minors present. Of course, they probably won’t be charged with anything for this violation of Florida law.

The second thing I would suggest you do is to two interviews with an Armed Citizens Project participant from Texas named Amanda. She is a single mom with a special needs child. As she details on Episode 80 of the The Squirrel Report podcast (13:50-53:00), she and a number of other women who participate in the Armed Citizens Project were interviewed by ABC producers as well as David Muir. She reports that the ABC producers were disappointed in the answers that she and the other moms gave. She fully expected for much of what they said to be left on the cutting floor.

Amanda reported back in Episode 82 of The Squirrel Report podcast (39:40-51:00) that the ABC producers had contacted her to say that the group interview was being cut. They did invite Amanda and her son to be filmed in an individual segment. Amanda said she was willing to appear but not with her son. From her conversations with the other Armed Citizen Project mothers, they, too, had been approached.

So if you do watch the 20/20 Special, just remember that a lot was left on the cutting floor during editing. Moreover, remember it was filmed by people who had no hesitation at encouraging little kids to violate Col. Cooper’s Rule No. 1 – All guns are always loaded.

ABC’s 20/20, David Muir, The Armed Citizens Project, and “Amanda”

The Armed Citizens Project will be the focus of a story about guns in America scheduled to air on ABC’s 20/20 program sometime in December. Specifically, host David Muir sat down with a group of 12 single mothers who had received 12-gauge shotguns as part of the program.

“Amanda”, one of those 12 single moms, describes her participation in both the interview and with the Armed Citizens Project in the most recent episode of The Squirrel Report. She said Muir asked hard questions and she gave him back hard answers. Some of her answers must have been a little too hard for Muir as he changed the subject rather than continue his line of questioning. It will be interesting to see how ABC edits this. Amanda said that Muir’s anti-gun bias was quite evident.

The Squirrel Report is a weekly podcast hosted by Alan of Snarky Bytes, Breda of Breda Fallacy fame, JayG, and WeerdBeard.

Obama On Guns At Press Conference

President Obama had his last press conference of his first administration this morning. Among the questions asked was one by ABC News’ Jonathan Karl. Karl specifically asked Obama “what are you willing to do, or able to do, using the powers of your presidency to act without Congress?”

Obama responded with mention of improvements in data collection and tracking. He then said the administration would be pushing legislation that was “common-sense” dealing with regulation and “gun safety”. He consistently tried to use the words “common-sense”, “sensible”, and “responsible” throughout his answers. He also accused his opponents of trying to fan the fears about gun control.

One thing I think we will be seeing from both the administration and the gun prohibitionist groups is an effort to equate gun control with gun safety. Obviously they are not one and the same but you would never know that from listening to Obama. Moreover, and you won’t hear it from them, but that group “fanning the fears” does more for gun safety through the Eddie Eagle program and other training programs than any of them will ever do.

The video from the press conference is below:

You Knew This Was Coming

With all the publicity that ABC News has been using to promote Diane Sawyer’s “exclusive” interview with former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, I just had a bad feeling about it. That doubled when they said Giffords and Kelly would be announcing a new initiative and had recently met with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

I was right.

Giffords and Kelly look to become the new Jim and Sarah Brady.

They are calling their initiative Americans for Responsible Solutions. Interestingly, according to the webpage it is a political action committee. It is obvious that they mean this PAC as a cover for politicians just like the American Hunters and Shooters Association. The difference is that they evoke much more sympathy than AHSA could ever hope to do.

Giffords and Kelly say they want to propose “commonsense solutions” to “curb gun violence” (sic). Their proposals mirror some of those of Bloomberg and MAIG. They want universal background checks for private sales and they want magazine restrictions. Reading their op-ed in USA Today and the ABC News article, I don’t see any mention on banning semi-automatic rifles.

They make strong efforts to portray themselves as gun owners with Kelly noting he had recently purchased a firearm at Walmart and that they have two guns at home “in a safe”. In their op-ed they describe themselves as “a Western woman and a Persian Gulf War combat veteran who have exercised their Second Amendment rights” who aren’t out to take your guns.

I think you will see a strong effort by them to try and marginalize the NRA as being fringe or extremist.

Special interests purporting to represent gun owners but really advancing the interests of an ideological fringe have used big money and influence to cow Congress into submission. Rather than working to find the balance between our rights and the regulation of a dangerous product, these groups have cast simple protections for our communities as existential threats to individual liberties. Rather than conducting a dialogue, they threaten those who divert from their orthodoxy with political extinction.

As a result, we are more vulnerable to gun violence. Weapons designed for the battlefield have a home in our streets. Criminals and the mentally ill can easily purchase guns by avoiding background checks. Firearm accessories designed for killing at a high rate are legal and widely available. And gun owners are less responsible for the misuse of their weapons than they are for their automobiles.

Forget the boogeyman of big, bad government coming to dispossess you of your firearms. As a Western woman and a Persian Gulf War combat veteran who have exercised our Second Amendment rights, we don’t want to take away your guns any more than we want to give up the two guns we have locked in a safe at home. What we do want is what the majority of NRA members and other Americans want: responsible changes in our laws to require responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence.

We saw from the NRA leadership’s defiant and unsympathetic response to the Newtown, Conn., massacre that winning even the most common-sense reforms will require a fight. But whether it has been in campaigns or in Congress, in combat or in space, fighting for what we believe in has always been what we do.

 Watching the interview above as well as others they have given, you have to wonder how much of this is Mark Kelly as opposed to Gabby Giffords. She has had a traumatic brain injury and has made a great recovery. That said, after such an injury I would think – and I’m not an expert – that it would have to affect the thought processes and the ability to make rational decisions in some way. Kelly does most of the talking for them while Giffords looks at him and utters a little something here and then.

Make no mistake, Giffords, Kelly, and Americans for Responsible Solutions are a threat to gun rights. They present a sympathetic face, their agenda scarcely differs from that of Bloomberg and his Illegal Mayors, and the mainstream media have signed up to be their propaganda agents.

Now They Want You To Be The Victim, Too

ABC News is not just satisfied with sensationalism and bad reporting a’la Brian Ross. After watching the video below with the ABC news show 20/20’s Deborah Roberts, I’ve come to the conclusion that they want you to roll over and become the victim as well.

In the episode aired last night – the evening after the shooting in Aurora, Colorado – 20/20 reported on clerks and store owners who stood up to armed robbers and fought back. Chris Cuomo introduced it as “Vigilante Video”. I think that set the tone for the episode.

In the episode, Deborah Roberts interviewed a jewelry store owner who fought back as well as a convenience store customer who attacked the gun wielding robber with bottles of beer. Neither the owner nor the customer, who by the way was shot four times, regretted their actions. While I don’t necessarily think it was the wisest thing for the customer to have gotten involved, I don’t condemn him either.

To provide a tut-tutting counter-point to people refusing to be a victim, Deborah Roberts brought in a “security expert”. Rosemary Erickson, Ph.D., is a forensic sociologist and the president of Athena Research Corporation. From her vita, it appears she specializes in working as a consultant with convenience stores, restaurants, hotels, and similar such businesses. She serves as an expert witness in civil premises liability cases and testifies on business security.

When asked if it was “heroic” to challenge a robber, Erickson responded, “I think it’s suicide.” She continued, “Because the odds are you’re the one who is going to be injured or killed.” She goes on to say that, in general, robbers just want to get the money and get out. Roberts then asks Erickson about the odds of being killed or injured if one resists based upon research. To which, Erickson responded, “They found that 82% of the deaths are when people resisted.” From that statement, you are being led to believe that being passive and not resisting is the smart thing to do in virtually all cases. In other words, you are a victim once, don’t make it worse by becoming a double-victim by resisting the robber and becoming injured as a result.

Erickson is being disingenuous because her own research seems to contradict this. There was a study from Chicago done in 1986 by Franklin Zimring and James Zuehl that provided the 82% statistic. However, in a study that Erickson did for the National Association of Convenience Stores which analyzed 79 robbery-homicides in convenience stores in 1989 and 1990, she found:

The majority of the cases appeared to be gratuitous and senseless in nature with no signs of resistance….There was evidence of resistance in only 16% of these cases.

In her later research on Teenage Robbers, she found them to be more violent than adult robbers and were twice as likely to hurt or kill their victims. In cases where people were hurt or killed, her survey of teenage inmates found:

The juvenile robbers were asked whether in those robberies in which someone was hurt or killed they had planned to use the weapon in advance. Over half said they did plan to use it before they went in to do the robbery

I’m not sure who at ABC News decided that this episode was the right one to air on the evening after the Aurora shooting but I really do question their motives. To encourage non-resistance in the face of armed criminals ignores just how many compliant persons have been murdered because they were a witness or because it gave the perpetrator a thrill. The media should not be encouraging people to be like sheep before the slaughter.

To say I was disgusted is enough. I don’t want to even get started on so-called gun free zones which, as Massad Ayoob once noted, are nothing but hunting preserves for psychopaths.

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“You Can’t Play Liar’s Poker” – Darrell Issa

Rep. Darrell Issa was the lead guest on ABC’s This Week. Issa was interviewed by Jake Tapper who was sitting in for regular host George Stephanopoulos.

Issa outlined this morning that before the House committee he leads voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, he tried to reach an agreement with Holder.

“They came with nothing. Not even an offer in a form of a piece of paper. What they said orally was ‘we will brief you. We will then give you the information we believe supports that briefing, but you have to first agree to dismiss your subpoenas and your contempt,” said Issa. “You can’t play liar’s poker when you’re looking for who killed somebody, when you’re looking into this kind of a crime, and when you’re looking into the cover-up. Remember, it was deny, delay, and recuse.”

On the issue of gunwalking that happened during the Bush Administration, Issa acknowledged that it was wrong then and it’s wrong now. He did go on to point out that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee had requested and received plenty of information from Attorney General Eric Holder on prior gunwalking. However, he said it was like a small child getting caught in a lie over some incident and then saying “my brother did it too.” It doesn’t excuse the young child and it doesn’t excuse the current Department of Justice of its complicity in walking guns to the narco-terrorists.

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ABC News And The Media Battle For A New AWB

Diane Sawyer led off ABC’s World News last night with a story that is claiming that cops are undergunned when facing criminals. According to the visuals in the story shown below, it is cops and their Glock 22s versus violent criminals armed with AKs and ARs. Diane introduces the story using buzzwords like “mow down”, “staggering numbers”, and “high powered guns”.

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The story by Pierre Thomas featured a recent shooting in Ogden, Utah that left one police officer dead and five wounded. The shooting involved a special drug enforcement team serving a warrant on a suspect who opened fire on them with an AK-47. His father said in other reports that he had PTSD.

Thomas says that cops are often facing career criminals who are willing to shoot it out rather than to go back to prison and that they are using “assault rifles” which can be bought a “virtually any gun store, online, or through a vast black market.”

The insinuation that career felons Joe Bob, An’twan, and Paco can walk into a gun store and buy anything is false. Every gun sale made or delivered through a FFL requires a background check by the FBI but that is never mentioned. Moreover, while you can purchase a firearm “online”, it still must be delivered to you at a local FFL who will do the background check. As to the vast black market, this is where criminals get their guns. It is illegal for them to possess these guns and illegal for them to buy them so why does anyone presume to think one more law would stop them.

AR-15s or “patrol rifles” are becoming almost a standard issue firearm in many police departments. Moreover, virtually every patrol car still carries a 12 gauge riot gun which is very effective in close quarters encounters. Of course, none of this was mentioned in the ABC report.

The only rationale I can see for this story is to build a case for a new assault weapon ban. If it was just a story about cops getting killed in a raid, that is all they would have featured. However, Pierre Thomas went well beyond that, Diane Sawyer led off with an introduction filled with emotion-filled buzzwords, and it was the lead story on the newscast. I have no doubt we will see more and more stories like this throughout the year. I just wish they would take time to point out the obvious stuff like how it is already illegal for a felon to possess not just an AK but any firearm. That really is wishful thinking on my part.

The Nightline Whitewash

Jake Tapper devoted all of one question to Operation Fast and Furious in his “exclusive” interview with President Obama. Frankly it was a softball question asking Obama’s response when he learned of it. You could have gotten a tougher question coming out of a group of Obama supporters at townhall meeting.

ABC has made the transcripts available and the question and answer is below:

Tapper: Just to change the subject from the economy, the “Fast and Furious” controversy. Aside from some of the more wild charges out there, this is a big scandal. The Justice Department, the ATF was moving guns and some of them were tied to crime scenes. what was your response when you first heard about it?

Obama: Well I heard about it from the news reports. This is not something we were aware of in the White House and the Attorney General it turns out wasn’t aware of either. Obviously Eric Holder has launched a full investigation of this, it is not acceptable for us to allow guns to go into Mexico. Our whole goal has been to interdict aggressively in the flow of weapons and cash flowing south into Mexico because the Mexican president, President Calderon, has done a heroic job of trying to take on these transnational drug cartels. So this investigation will be complete, people who have screwed up will be held accountable but our overarching goal consistently has been to say we’ve got a responsibility not only to stop drugs from flowing north, we’ve also got a responsibility to make sure we are not helping to either arm or finance these drug cartels in Mexico. So it’s very upsetting to me to think that somebody showed such bad judgment that they would allow something like that to happen and we will find out who and what happened in this situation and make sure it gets corrected.

I’ll let you make your own judgement as to the truthfulness and adequacy of that answer.

UPDATE: Mike Vanderboegh has an interesting post on the whole whitewash attempt here on his blog. It makes interesting reading.