GRNC President - Paul Valone

By F. Paul Valone
May 2, 2014



In response to "Bloomberg's new gun control group is a noble, shrewd effort" (April 20):



According to the News & Observer, Michael Bloomberg and his "noble" group, "Everytown for Gun Safety" (EGS), represent "the will of the people", which has too long been "thwarted" by the NRA.

In truth, EGS is Bloomberg's latest foray into what political operatives call "astroturfing®" -- creating the appearance of popular support where none exists. It's introduction also showcased Bloomberg's narcissism as he pontificated: "I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close."

Bloomberg's first gun control effort was "Mayors Against Illegal Guns " (MAIG) which, thanks to an extraordinary number of criminal convictions among members, earned the sobriquet "Illegal Mayors Against Guns." Apparently embarrassed by mayors resigning after proclaiming they'd been duped, political ouster of their more strident number (including deposed Morrisville Mayor Jackie Holcombe), and the occasional sex offender making headlines, MAIG pulled the membership roster from its website.

Next was "Mom's Demand Action for Gun Sense In America" (MDA) which claims 130,000 members but recently turned out only six women and two babies to protest a hapless Staples outlet in Wake Forest. Its state director, Kaaren Haldeman, claims ten paid staffers. The question, until recently, was paid by whom?

For months, MDA hid its connection to Bloomberg, ignoring repeated requests for both financial reports and their IRS Letter of Exemption despite being legally obligated to provide both. In January, the NC Secretary of State's office sent MDA a "compliance outreach" letter because it apparently fundraises in the state without the required Charitable Solicitation License.  Only recently did a tiny disclaimer appear on MDA's donation page inviting you to make your check payable directly to -- ta-da! -- Mayors Against Illegal Guns.  (Fundraising under a false name is, after all, a crime. MDA now wisely advertises itself as a "campaign" of EGS.)

Each time a Bloomberg front group wears out its usefulness, he folds it into another. This time, he's upped the ante with "Everytown for Gun Safety" which, strangely enough, seems to feature all the same players but with a billionaire's table stake of $50 million.

The ostensibly mainstream media usually marginalizes Second Amendment advocates as "the gun lobby" or simply "the NRA." Our agenda, they insist, is dictated by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The truth is exactly opposite: Limousine liberals like Bloomberg hire lobbyists and a few strident malcontents who are fawned over by media, but stymied by all-volunteer organizations like ours. They have money, but we have the grass roots. Don't believe me? Here's a challenge to Haldeman: Let's hold simultaneous counter protests, at a mutually agreed time and place, and see who turns out more people.

Other astroturf® gun control groups carpetbagging here include "Americans for Responsible Solutions" (ARS), which came for a "dialogue with gun owners" but carefully hid from those gun owners, and the fictitious "Americans for Gun Safety" -- which granted $60,000 to North Carolinians Against Gun Violence but registered its lobbyists under "The Tsunami Fund" (no, they don't do disaster relief), itself a front for the hard left "Tides Center" in California.

If you're having trouble keeping them straight, don't feel bad; that's the intent. Their latest ruse is to "mine" emails from petitions and share them between groups, each group claiming them as "members." Try this: Register an email address, sign any White House petition, then sit back and watch your email. In a recent debate, I pointed this out to ARS representative Peter Ambler, whose smirk in return faded when I said: "It should disturb you to know that I am one of your so-called 'members.'"

Ironically, Bloomberg got a taste of real grass roots mobilization when his minions neglected to register "Everytown for Gun Safety" on Facebook. Overnight, hundreds "Everytown for Gun Safety" pages popped up like mushrooms, directing people to bonafide gun safety programs.

If you're tempted to laugh at Bloomberg's missteps, however, don't laugh too hard: As demonstrated when he financed "grass roots" demonstrators at the recent NRA convention, fifty million bucks buys a lot of phony grass.


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