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FATTENING WALL STREET — Mike Whitney reports on the rapid metamorphosis of new Fed Chair Janet Yallin into a lackey for the bankers, bond traders and brokers. The New Religious Wars Over the Environment: Joyce Nelson charts the looming confrontation between the Catholic Church and fundamentalists over climate change, extinction and GMOs; A People’s History of Mexican Constitutions: Andrew Smolski on the 200 year-long struggle of Mexico’s peasants, indigenous people and workers to secure legal rights and liberties; Spying on Black Writers: Ron Jacobs uncovers the FBI’s 50 year-long obsession with black poets, novelists and essayists; O Elephant! JoAnn Wypijewski on the grim history of circus elephants; PLUS: Jeffrey St. Clair on birds and climate change; Chris Floyd on the US as nuclear bully; Seth Sandronsky on Van Jones’s blind spot; Lee Ballinger on musicians and the State Department; and Kim Nicolini on the films of JC Chandor.
Glocking Out

Are the NRA’s Horse-Head-in-the-Bed Days Over?

by MARTHA ROSENBERG

2012 will be remembered as the year the nation stood up to bullies–including the bullies dictating national gun policy. Perhaps the only good thing to come out of the Newtown massacre is it pried state and federal lawmakers out of the NRA’s cold, dead hands.

Actually, the NRA’s power has been waning since at least 2005 when it declared a boycott against ConocoPhillips, a major Oklahoma employer with 3,000 workers, for blocking its bring-your-gun-to-work efforts. “ConocoPhillips went to federal court to attack your freedom,” thundered Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president and CEO. “We’re going to make ConocoPhillips the example of what happens when a corporation takes away your Second Amendment rights. If you are a corporation that’s anti-gun, anti-gun owner, or anti-Second Amendment, we will spare no effort or expense to work against you, to protect the rights of your law-abiding employees.”

Unfortunately the boycott fizzled and the only “example” made was that the NRA is all hat and no horse.

The bring-your-gun-to-work bullying did not even fly in the “Gunshine State,” Florida. “Possession of firearms in the workplace or on company property is strictly prohibited,” said Bruce Middlebrooks of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, which has 7,500 employees in the Jacksonville area. “We’re not against the Second Amendment, but guns are inappropriate in our workplaces and workplaces include parking lots,” said Randy Miller, a lobbyist for the Florida Retail Federation which represents 12,000 businesses in the state.

Bring-your-gun-to-work efforts were so over the top, with hundreds a year already killed in workplace shootings, the American Bar Association challenged its legality.

Next, the paranoids at the NRA decided that the United Nations 2006 small arms conference, designed to coordinate individual nations’ policies toward arms shipments and sales, was a plot to grab US weapons. It even believed the gun grab was going to happen on the Fourth of July. (The press had a lot of fun with the idea of welterweight UN bureaucrats wrestling gun owners’ weapons away.) The NRA actually staged onsite demonstrations at UN headquarters, under the battle cry “Support Our Human Right To Guns and Self-Defense, and Protest the Gun Control Schemes of the United Nations.” Yes, “human right.”

Many remember the NRA’s mid-1990’s depiction of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents as gun grabbing “jack booted thugs.” It cost them the membership of George H. W. Bush and other prominent members. “To attack Secret Service agents or ATF people or any government law enforcement people as…wanting to attack law-abiding citizens is a vicious slander on good people,” wrote Bush in his resignation letter.

But fewer know about the NRA’s 2006 Freedom in Peril brochure, leaked to the press, that depicted gangs invading homes and flashing gang signs, hairy-legged female animal rights activists and the press as a giant vulture clutching a microphone. The illustrated brochure was a veritable NRA enemies list in which Katie Couric, Rosie O’Donnell, George Soros, Michael Moore, Nancy Pelosi, Sens. John Kerry, Edward M. Kennedy, Hillary Clinton and Dianne Feinstein, York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the New Orleans police, the United Nations and illegal aliens were demonized.

“Second Amendment freedom today stands naked in the path of a marching axis of adversaries far darker and more dangerous than gun owners have ever known,” says the 27-page brochure. “Acting alone and in shadowy coalitions, these enemies of freedom are preparing for a profound and foreboding confrontation in which they will not make the mistakes of their predecessors.”

George Soros is “the Hungarian-born billionaire bankroller of a globalist jihad against firearm freedom” who has been “trying to revoke the Bill of Rights through his checkbook,” says the brochure.

Like bullies everywhere, the NRA’s aggression comes from excessive fear. As Ring of Fire talk show host Mike Papantonio says, maybe they need a “shot of testosterone.” Every day millions of people, including children, old people and 110 pound women get to work without the help of firearms. Yet the tough guys at the NRA are afraid to go to work and into other gun free zones unarmed. “People could drive on their highways with the guns, but they couldn’t stop anywhere,” sniffles LaPierre about gun free zones. “In effect, you’re nullifying the right to carry.”

It is amazing politicians have allowed a few paranoid, aging white bullies to dictate a national gun policy that kills six-year-olds in school. It is just as amazing that voters have let them.

Martha Rosenberg’s is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).