Reid’s Revelation: U.S. is an ‘Oligarchy’ that Promotes Machine Guns

News & Politics

MSNBC’s foremost gun-hater, Joy Reid, was particularly aggravated by the Supreme Court’s decision that struck down a Trump administration-era ban on bump stocks by the ATF. On Tuesday’s episode of The ReidOut, she invited former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern to denounce the apparent “oligarchy” that they alleged was working behind the scenes to orchestrate the destruction of America’s democracy.

Reid characterized conservatives as a “tag team,” disparaging the Supreme Court justices as little more than the lackeys of Republicans “who are taking the money” from gun rights, defense, and oil and gas lobbyists. She made sure to note that there were “only two Democrats on the list for defense money, but other than that, we’re talking about all Republicans.”

According to Reid’s logic, Republicans were corrupt only because she hated the causes which supported them. Yet, she made no mention of the copious funds Democrat politicians received from teacher unions, unions in general, social media and tech companies, etc.

Reich echoed her view and called for the end of big money in American politics since only the elites seemingly benefit from it. He, too, neglected to mention any “big money” accepted by Democrats, most prominently from billionaires like George Soros:

Well, this is corruption and bribery, and it should be understood as corruption and bribery. But fundamentally, we have gotta get big money out of American politics. We have talked about this before, but the big money is getting bigger. Every election cycle, it gets bigger. More billionaire money, more big industry money, and it is not for the public interest. It is not for anything that all of the rest of us get anything out of. In fact, very often, it is just tax breaks and regulatory rollbacks, the rollbacks of health and safety and environmental protections that the rest of us need.

The MSNBC host evidently failed to do her own research and inanely fell back on Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s false definition of bump stocks, saying that they “essentially turn firearms into machine guns. It turns an AR-15 into a machine gun.” 

Ironically enough, she was notably irritated with Justice Clarence Thomas’ definition which he “literally copied and pasted from a gun organization that’s to the right of the NRA, and their verbatim, their words.” She was essentially upset he was citing experts on the subject matter to make an informed decision.

The patriotic values promoted by the Firearms Policy Coalition must have terrified Stern because he identified them as “an extremist organization that uses violent rhetoric, encouraging its supporters to support the abolition of ATF and all gun regulations, that uses language that sounds in the rhetoric of assassinations and violence against political leaders.”

The highlight of the segment was when Reid and Reich decided that the United States was, in fact, an oligarchy and “we have an obligation to future generations, to ourselves, to our democracy…to return to a system that is basically of the people, by the people, for the people.” Because Reich was “old enough to remember” that democracy ended 50 years ago.

Reid’s solution? “Voting. And you have to vote smart and not vote party-line. You vote smart.” Of course, what she really meant was vote for Joe Biden.

The transcript is below. Click “expand” to read:

MSNBC’s The ReidOut

6/19/2024

07:10:13

JOY REID: They work as a tag team, Robert. It’s a–it’s a tag team, because you’ve got judges who are willing to do the work, and you’ve got politicians who are taking money. If I put those back up just really quickly–so I can let you comment on them as well–if you look at the top ten recipients of the oil and gas money, they’re all Republicans. All ten of them. The top ten in gun rights, they’re also all Republicans. There are two Democrats, only two Democrats on the list for defense money, but other than that, we’re talking about all Republicans.

Now let me listen–let you listen to a Republican. This is Senator Pete Ricketts. He was opposing a bill to ban bump stocks, which essentially turn firearms into machine guns. It turns an AR-15 into a machine gun. Here he is about the bump stock bill.

[Cuts to video]

SENATOR PETE RICKETTS (R-NE): We need to be very clear why the majority leader is now holding this show vote. The Supreme Court made a decision last week that he didn’t like. A 6-3 majority in the Supreme Court ruled the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives overstepped their authority when they tried to reclassify bump stocks as machine guns. The Supreme Court made the right decision. In January, I joined Senator Lummis and other colleagues in filing an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to do what they did.

[Cuts back to live]

REID: So, first to you, Robert. He filed an amicus brief to try to make sure bump stocks would be legal, which of course Clarence Thomas dutifully did, literally copying it and pasting from a gun extremist gun organization into his ruling. And, he is number 18 on the list of top recipients of money from gun rights organizations. 18–he is number 18, so he didn’t make the top ten. Your thoughts, Robert.

ROBERT REICH: Well, this is corruption and bribery, and it should be understood as corruption and bribery. But fundamentally, we have gotta get big money out of American politics. We’ve talked about this before, but the big money is getting bigger. Every election cycle, it gets bigger. More billionaire money, more big industry money, and it is not for the public interest. It is not for anything that all of the rest of us get anything out of. In fact, very often, it is just tax breaks and regulatory rollbacks, the rollbacks of health and safety and environmental protections that the rest of us need.

REID: And by the way, Mark, going to go back to Clarence for a minute, Clarence Thomas for a minute, they’re not even–he’s not–he’s acting like a politician that has a staff that simply writes his rulings. He literally copied and pasted from a gun organization that’s to the right of the NRA, and their verbatim, their words–maybe not verbatim, they just copied and pasted–I think actually verbatim from…

MARK STERN: Yes! Quite literally copied and pasted this material from the Firearms Policy Coalition’s amicus brief. This is an extremist organization that uses violent rhetoric, encouraging its supporters to support the abolition of ATF and all gun regulations, that uses language that sounds in the rhetoric of assassinations and violence against political leaders. Clarence Thomas is trusting them to do the thinking for him. Clarence Thomas is taking their materials and saying “These guys got it right.” 

But we need to take a step back and say who is funding these groups, right? These are getting funded by the same billionaire donors, the same dark money donors that are funding the fossil fuel industry, that are funding much of the defense industry, that are saying, “We can buy the courts and the courts will do the dirty work for us.” 

This decision on bump stocks, it’s indefensible to the hilt, but the Supreme Court pretended as though if it were wrong, Congress could just overrule it. Congress could come in and clarify the law and enact a new bump stocks ban that would take care of the problem. We all know Congress isn’t going to do that…

REID: Right.

STERN: …for the exact reason that Senator Ricketts just said, because Republicans are getting too much money from the firearms industry.

REID: And by the way, this House bill that passed automatically registering young men for the draft, I mean, if anybody tries to object to that and goes to the Supreme Court, they’ll just affirm it and then the defense industry gets more cannon fodder, right? It–they work in symbiosis.

STERN: Absolutely. And it’s so difficult to explain this to voters. I’m glad you’re doing this segment. But people feel that the Supreme Court’s work is wrapped in the shroud of legalese they can’t understand. The Supreme Court takes advantage of that. The more indefensible and controversial the decision, the more legalese the Supreme Court will deploy to make it seem impenetrable to normal people.

But all this stuff people can understand without a law degree. They should be paying attention to the mischief and frankly the lawlessness that’s going on at the Supreme Court, because those justices work for them. They are not representing the American people right now. They are representing a very small and wealthy segment of the elite.

REID: From all this description–Robert Reich I’m going to give you the final word on this–how are we not an oligarchy, then? What’s the difference between this and an oligarchy?

REICH: I mean, we are living in an oligarchy, Joy, and I think it’s very important that we understand that. The question is, how do we get people, voters, to understand that we have an obligation to future generations, to ourselves, to our democracy to get this big money out of American politics, and it is possible. I mean, it was not here, you know, 50 years ago. I’m old enough to remember, we had a system that was not like this. We have got to return to a system that is basically of the people, by the people, for the people.

REID: That’s right. Absolutely. And you can do that by voting. And you have to vote smart and not vote party-line. You vote smart. People who are doing this, they should not be re-elected. Robert Reich, Mark Joseph Stern, thank you both very much.

(…)

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