Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bloomberg's AstroTurf Groups and Their Countless Lies and Distortions

This post was written to document the many lies, distortions and inaccuracies that are coming from Bloomberg front groups and all too often are repeated by an unquestioning media.  I'll start with the most recent one.

The Pulitzer Prize winning fact checking organization Politifact has published an article on Bloomberg's owned and operated group "Everytown for Gun Safety" false claim that their have been 74 school shootings since Newtown.  What was politically neutral organization's opinion of their claims?  MOSTLY FALSE.

Some of their findings:

39 Incidents were "spillovers" in which criminal activity that began outside to school moved onto school grounds - often after hours.  Removing these incidents leaves 35 "school shootings".

16 incidents were unconnected to the school (shots fired nearby, etc.)  Now we have 19 left.

9 were on campus suicides (including some after hours when school were closed, often by people unconnected to the school) - leaving 10 shooting incidents where the shooter intended to harm students at the school.

9 of these incidents were stopped - often by ARMED SECURITY - the solution suggested by the NRA and mocked by the left - before the number of victims reached the FBI definition of a "mass shooting" (4 victims).  Leaving one mass shooting on school grounds.

This one shooting involved Santa Monica College - not a K-12 school.  Furthermore, it
was a "spillover incident" in which the murderer killed the majority of his victims off campus and was cornered by police at the college.  Removing this one mass shooting leaves us with ZERO MASS SCHOOL SHOOTINGS, not 74.

In addition, Politifact determined that nearly half of all incidents in the Bloomberg total took place on college - not K-12 - campuses, and a very large number took place when students were not present.

In addition, Politifact contacted James Fox, a criminology professor at Northeastern University, and asked him to put recent shootings in historical perspective.  His conclusions?  "Fox said, the number of gun deaths documented by Everytown over the past year and a half are not out of the ordinary. About 15 to 20 kids in grades K-12 are killed at school each year, along with a similar number of college students".  In other words, THERE IS NO EPIDEMIC OF SCHOOL SHOOTINGS.  We are simply more aware of them because of the 24 hour news cycle and social media. 

The clear intent of Everytown's bogus report is to give people the impression - and spread the lie - that there have been a huge number of similar school shootings since Newtown.  THIS WAS NOT A MISTAKE, BUT AN INTENTIONALLY DECEPTIVE STATEMENT THAT HAS BEEN REPEATED BY NEARLY EVERY NEWS OUTLET IN THE COUNTRY.

This is not the first time that a Bloomberg front group has attempted to deceive the public.  Last June his front group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, began reading the names of so called "victims of gun violence".  Someone noticed that the name of Tamerlan Tsarnaev one of the Boston bombers was included.  Yep, a terrorist killed by police gunfire was considered a victim of gun violence by Bloomberg and his paid henchmen.

But that's not all.  The list also included California cop killer Christopher Dorner, and at least four others who were killed in shootouts with police. One analysis found that fully one in 12 names on the list were crime suspects, killed either by police or by armed citizens acting in self-defense.  

In addition the largest single group of "victims" committed suicide - these are included in spite of the fact that world wide there is no correlation between suicides and the availability of firearms.   For example, Japan - where private firearms are virtually banned - has a suicide rate almost twice that of the US.  Clearly someone who is serious about killing themselves has many choices besides using a gun and including them as victims of "gun violence" is a deceptive way of "padding" their numbers.

This deceptive tactic was the beginning of the end for Mayors Against Illegal Guns - which was already plagued by both resignations (50 in the first half of 2013 alone) and criminal convictions of it's "members".  Bloomberg has virtually shutdown the group.

This leads up to the most important point of all: Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety are all nothing more than fronts for a New York multi-billionaire who is, of course, protected 24/7/365 by armed security.  They have large paid staffs, very few, if any, members (a recent heavily promoted demonstration in a large metro area resulted in 12 (yes 12!) people showing up.    

Bloomberg's millions were also used by Moms Demand Action (MDA)  to bus in hundreds of paid demonstrators to the NRA Annual Meeting earlier this year.  (An organization that, in contrast to Bloomberg's "AstroTurf" groups, has five million dues paying members.)  MDA flew and bused in about 200 paid demonstrators - the NRA convention drew 75,269 (a record attendance!) every one of which paid their own way.

In true Bloomberg fashion, they have also been caught lying about an open carry demonstration - and, of course, this lie was accepted without hesitation by the mainstream media. Ditto for another lie that was exposed in National Review.  They claimed to have taken pictures of Texans openly carrying long guns (the only guns that can be carried openly in Texas) and intimidating their "members" (who were likely mostly paid staff).  The truth is they only took one of the pictures they claimed to have taken and police found that the open carriers involved had not committed any crimes - including threatening anyone with their firearms.   

They also lied about getting a Staples store to ban legally carried defensive firearms - something that never happened.

In addition, MDA is deceptive about their "accomplishments".  Their recent tactic goes like this:  Pick a large business (Jack in the Box, Target, Starbucks, etc) and demand that they ban guns in their businesses.  The businesses look at the issue and realize that banning the legal carrying of defensive weapons by off duty cops and licensed citizens has huge liability attached  to it.  So far, every one of these businesses has opted for the "Starbucks Policy".  This involves a request that gun owners not upset their customers by bringing guns into their businesses.  This request does not ban the legal carrying of concealed firearms by off duty police or licensed citizens.  So far NOT ONE of these businesses has posted the legally required signage that would make this illegal - clearly they have decided to split the baby by giving MDA a statement while still allowing licensed gun owners to carry concealed.

Yet, MDA declares that they have won another victory, leaving the impression that another business has "banned guns".  

Along the same lines, MDA demanded that Facebook ban all groups centered on, and all discussion of, firearms from their site.  (Many gun collectors and shooters do connect on Facebook and do buy, sell and trade firearms through licensed dealers or because they themselves hold a license that permits them to do so.)  What did Facebook do?  They issued a policy and statement that effectively said, "Here is the law, make sure you obey it".  Since this in no way banned - or in any way impaired - legal sales and trades, the NRA rightly declared victory.    Of course, MDA declared victory as well, even though it was a major loss.  From their corporate responsibility page:  "This victory marks a HUGE milestone in the history of our movement – we’re moving the country toward a culture of gun safety one company, one legislator, one law at a time."

By the way, when they say "gun safety" they do not mean the safe handling of firearms - they mean gun control and fewer - if any - guns.  They talk about gun safety because most Americans are opposed to gun control.  Yet more deception.

Yet, if you examine their "corporate responsibility" page and compare it to the actually policy of the businesses it becomes immediately evident that MDA is distorting or outright lying about the actual policies of the vast majority of these companies in order to make it appear that they have won major victories.  Here are some examples from that page:

STARBUCKS - This company was the first to come up with a way to get the anti-gun rights people off their backs, without offending the mainstream gun rights movement.  The simply ***requested*** that people not bring firearms into their locations.  This had the effect of ending open carry demonstrations and getting groups like MDA off their back without upsetting the bulk of the gun rights movement that believes in licensed concealed carry.  In addition, their lawyers likely looked at both the increased risk of robbery and mass shootings associated with "gun free zones" and the liability if someone under threat - who has a permit - were to be killed while unarmed at a Starbucks.  Not one Starbucks location has posted signs banning guns.  It is likely that, as before the controversy, thousands of customers are legally carrying concealed handguns into their restaurants.  Effectively nothing has change - MDA got a meaningless, toothless statement and declared victory.

CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL - Adopted "Starbucks Policy"

JACK IN THE BOX - Adopted "Starbucks Policy" (Although some reports of signs exist and arm robbers have responded by selecting Jack in the Box as their target of choice, their actual stated policy is the same as Starbucks.)

CVS - Has a policy banning all guns, but virtually no stores have signs - therefore concealed carry is legal in their stores.  This policy has been in place since before MDA was even started, but their corporate responsibility page leaves this out while encouraging members to to ask managers why there are not signs.  It seems like CVS wants to have it both ways, just like Starbucks.

COSTCO - Does indeed ban carry and has the required signage.  However, this again happened long before MDA was founded.

PEET’S COFFEE & TEA  - Does indeed ban carry and has the required signage.  However, this again happened long before MDA existed.

So, a full 50% of the business listed on this page as victories still allow legally carried firearms and the other 50% had bans on carry before MDA ever existed!  What have they actually accomplished?  Thankfully, up to this point, nothing - yet a causal reader of the page would think that MDA has been very effective in reaching their goals when exactly the opposite is true.  Bloomberg cannot be honest, even with the few supporters he has!
Eventually - perhaps sooner than he thinks given the fact that even CNN has exposed their most recent lie - MDA and Everytown will also be exposed and discredited, just as Mayors Against Illegal Guns was.  Sadly, when that happens, Bloomberg has the millions to set up another phony group - and almost certainly will do so.

Michael Bloomberg is using any deceptive tactic he can come up with in order to advance his agenda.   This raises an even more important question?  What is his real goal?  We certainly cannot expect him to tell us the truth, not when his organizations lie at every turn.  Michael Bloomberg likely would like a total gun ban if he could get it.

Fortunately, most Americans don't want that to happen - and their votes, contributions and hard work can trump Bloomberg's billions.

No comments:

Post a Comment