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by spocko

I’m Hiring NRA’s Lobbyists to Work for Me!

5:03 am in Uncategorized by spocko

I’ve long held that the most powerful force in the country right now are lobbyists. And the lobbyist’s lobbyists are the NRA’s lobbyists.

Winning scratch off ticket

If Spocko won the lottery ...

People always ask the boring ol’ question, “What would do you do if you won the lottery or a genie granted you one wish.”(For the record if I won the lottery I’d start a Progressive think tank that attacks right wing think tanks. If it was a genie I’d like a working spaceship.)   But what would you do if you had NRA’s lobbyist power at your fingertips?  I know what I’d do. I’d hire them to work against the weapons manufacturers and the NRA’s leadership.

I ask this question because on Thursday at 12:00 Noon EDT my buddy Cliff Schecter and a great group of people are protesting the K-Street Lobbyists in DC who are paid by the weapons manufacturers and the NRA to subvert the will of the people.

WASHINGTON, DC –Riding a wave of public anger at the Senate’s failure to pass even minimal gun control legislation, a coalition of activists, advocates and campaign finance reformers will lead a march on Washington firearms lobbyists this Thursday, April 25 at NOON. The goal is to drag the lobbyists out of the shadows where they prefer to operate and expose exactly how the National Rifle Association subverts democracy.

The event will begin with a news conference in McPherson Square, where gun violence prevention leaders will lay out the web of influence controlled by the NRA and unveil a new anti-NRA artwork by Shepard Fairey, who produced the most memorable image of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

The protest will then move along the K Street corridor, symbolically holding up giant checks from the NRA made out to key lobbying firms and delivering crime-scene photos illustrating the devastating effects of gun violence to those firms’ offices.

(More here at The Political Carnival)

Now you’ve all heard the old saying, “Nobody is the villain in their own life narrative.” I’m sure that the people who convinced the senators to defy the desires of 90% of their constituents don’t think they are doing a bad thing. When I get the photos from the event I’ll put up pictures of the big checks made out to their firms. (“You are already a winner Mr. NRA Lobbyist!”)

Did you ever see the movie, Thank You for Smoking? It’s based on a very funny book written by the only funny conservative I know, Christopher Buckley.  It’s about a tobacco lobbyist and how he convinces himself that what he is doing is right, and how it pays his mortgage. He works with two other lobbyists. One for the gun lobby and another for the liquor industry. They call themselves the MOD squad for Merchants Of Death.

The other day I was telling my friend Cary Grant (not his real name) about how sad, but unsurprised, I was that the NRA lobbyists had ensured that the Senate couldn’t pass a bill to increase gun safety. He said, “Why don’t you become a lobbyist?”

That kind of blew me away. I’ve been fascinated with the power of lobbyists for awhile now and like to hear and read stories how it’s “really done.” Not the TV versions, but the behind the scenes stuff where someone sends you a check for 200 million dollars and says, “Block this bill” or “Get the votes for this bill to pass, don’t tell me how you do it, just do it!” and then the team sits down, plans the strategy and then starts setting up meetings for doling out money to politicians, belief tanks, writers, pollsters, golf trips and restaurants.

I’ll bet there are the Power Point presentations with statistics and 3D Graphics with great ideas for Op-Eds to write.  Do they still use hookers and blow these days? Do they come up with bumper sticker slogans? Catch phrases? (“When seconds count the police are only minutes away!” Is my current favorite.) I know they set up fake grass roots groups, I’m sure they have social media methods to amplify the words of true believers beyond their actual numbers.

They really are powerful, and if they are anything like the rich powerful people I know, they are pretty thin skinned and try hard not to be self reflective. So they will ignore the protest, won’t look at the giant checks with their names on it or the photos of the kid killed by guns.  Why? Because 1) these people aren’t paying them 2) they are depressing. 3) mortgage is due every month.

Nobody wants to see pictures of dead kids mangled by guns, that’s so pre-Boston marathon.  (BTW, I just watched the movie 9/11: The Falling Man and I wonder if seeing photos from Sandy Hook would have made a difference in the vote. I think showing them to the public wouldn’t have made a difference, but what if they were shown to the NRA lobbyists and our “representatives?”)

Now to do some lobbying jobs you need a certain amount of moral and intellectual flexibility, especially if you don’t believe in what the client is pushing. But most people doing this are either believers or can rationalize the belief for the mortgage.

I’m not going to throw stones at anyone (or should I say throw bullets?) I have my price, it’s in Quatloos, but I have one.  If I was them instead of focusing on all the damage that weapons do, I’d focus on what I saw as all the good that they do. I’d never want to focus on the dead for three reasons. 1) They aren’t paying me.  2) they are depressing. 3) Mortgage. So I’d focus on positive things and abstract things. Don’t think of the 10′s of thousands of dead, think of the millions of non-dead. Don’t think of today’s headline dead:

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by spocko

Radio Hosts Bring Guns into Studios, Violating Firearm Policies. Response Salem CEO Astinger?

1:23 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

I’ve been listening to the fringes of talk radio for years. The people running the media companies that distribute these shows usually don’t listen. If they did they would be appalled. The hosts often say things that would never be allowed if that host worked in that company’s office.

What would get someone fired for sexual harassment or bigotry is classified, “entertainment” since supposedly off the air the hosts follow the corporate HR guidelines and their words or actions are different.

While listening to Armed American Radio, carried nationwide by Salem Communications Corporation, (NASDAQ: SALM) I heard the two hosts talk about ignoring signs about no guns in the studio. I got confirmation they did bring their guns into the studio and it sounded like they violated the corporation policy when doing so.  Salem is the top Christian broadcast radio company in the nation and the third ranked radio company overall, but no one from headquarters wanted to talk to me about the policies or consequences for violation so I wrote them one of my patented Spocko letters to ask about the apparent disconnect between their corporate stance on firearms and what their hosts are saying and doing on air.  Some of my questions were:

  • How should a corporation act when the hosts both violate and mock a company’s policies about bringing firearms into the company’s office?
  • Did your HR people give them permission to violate your policies?
  • Have other employees been advised of guns in the office? Do other employees have any rights to safe working conditions?
  • Have people who work in the same building as the radio studio been advised of firearms in the building?
  • Do workers in surrounding offices have a right to know that some people either got a waiver to bring firearms into the building, or that there were/are no consequences for firearm violations?
  • Does the building management have a no firearms clause in their lease? Have they been alerted that it is being violated? Are there any consequences for violation of the lease?
  • Have the insurance companies who cover the liability of the corporation been alerted? Do they want to re-evaluate the premiums that the corporation is paying?

It’s been a week and HQ has not responded to my calls and letter, so I’m posting it here publicly. I’ll let you know if they respond.


Edward Astinger III, CEO
Salem Communications Corp

Dear Edward:

Do you know that two of your radio hosts bring loaded firearms into your studios? Please listen to the following clip of hosts Mark Walters and his producer/sidekick Sean Young aka “Seanto”  LINK.

They talk about ignoring signs saying “no food and drink in the studio” and ignoring signs that say “no guns.” To determine if they actually had guns in the studio, I contacted Mike Moran, the general manager at your Atlanta studio from which Walters was broadcasting on Sunday, January 25.

Moran spoke to Walters who confirmed that he had in fact brought firearms into the studio that day. Additionally, Walters admitted to the GM he had brought firearms into the studio(s) in the past. I haven’t yet confirmed if Young was also carrying that day, however I am copying John Peroyea, VP of Operations & GM for your Dallas/Ft. Worth station on this letter. He may be able to determine when and how often Young carried while in your Dallas studios.

Moran believes Salem has a strict policy that does not permit employees, independent contractors, customers and/or their guests to bring weapons onto your premises. Can you confirm this, and does the policy apply to your properties and leased studios nationwide? I attempted to get a copy of your firearms policies but neither Christopher Henderson, your VP of Legal and HR, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary nor Russel Shubin, Director of your National News and Public Affairs responded.

The reason I want to know your policies on firearms is because many of your company’s hosts and our nation are engaging in a national discussion on public safety. Specifically we are looking at the causes of, and solutions for, violent gun deaths. As a leader in the Christian and conservative communities, your corporate policies on this issue and how you respond to people violating your own policies regarding firearms is important.

Moran told me that Walters assured him that he won’t bring his firearms to the studio again, however, I wonder about the reliability of someone who has flagrantly disregarded your rules in the past and who ends every show with, “Carry on, carry off, carry everywhere. NEVER leave your cave without your club.”  Can Walters be trusted to put the safety of others and compliance with your policies ahead of his own “carry everywhere” brand?

I’m not sure why your staff didn’t respond to my questions or why your policies aren’t published on your website. Perhaps you consider it a private internal matter, however, considering you are the co-creator of the petition site Support Second Amendment  which you and your SRN hosts plan to present to congress, I think the public has a right to know your views on firearms in your own offices and studios.

I know you can’t oversee all your employees or contractors who rent out your studios, that’s why you set up policies. I look forward to hearing back from you or your staff.


Cross posted at Spocko’s Brain