Cramm for 8/7/20
New York is suing the National Rifle Association.
You know the National Rifle Association (aka the NRA) as the US’s biggest and most powerful gun rights lobby. You know the NRA for donating millions upon millions of dollars to candidates supporting gun rights (mostly Republicans). You know the NRA for being referred to as a “terrorist organization” by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James. And you know the NRA for facing some money problems lately - not to mention restructuring its leadership due to some internal disagreements.
Yesterday, James pointed fingers at the NRA (which was chartered as a nonprofit in New York 148 years ago) and some of its top leaders for breaking a long, long list of laws….sued...and demanded the org shut down. You read that right. The lawsuit alleges that some execs (in particular, CEO Wayne LaPierre) “looted” NRA funds to bankroll an extravagant lifestyle. Plus that the org violated a whole lot of tax laws.
Massive. Not long after, Washington, DC’s attorney general joined in and sued the NRA and its charitable org for apparent misuse of millions of dollars in charitable funds. The lawsuits didn’t end there. The NRA quickly sued James’ office - and said her lawsuit was politically motivated and violated First Amendment rights.
Regardless of whether or not this leads to the NRA being dissolved, it’s likely this lawsuit will take years to play out. Which could be bad news for the gun rights lobby.
WORLD: Recently, Sri Lanka headed to the polls. The results were big. As in Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s governing party won a majority of the country’s parliamentary seats. Quick refresher: Rajapaksa’s older brother, Mahinda, is Sri Lanka’s prime minister - but back in 2015, he ran for prez and lost. So when the new gov came in, it intro’d a constitutional amendment that put a two-term limit on the presidency, cut immunity from prosecution, and gave Parliament some control over presidential appointments. Fast forward to this year, and there’s been speculation that the Rajapaksa brothers are looking to ax this amendment to expand their power. Now, after winning more seats in the recent election, that scenario is all the more likely. In other news, a new study shows asymptomatic people carry Covid in high amounts.
POLITICS: Yesterday, the Trump team announced new restrictions on WeChat and TikTok. Yes, really. The two executive orders bar any transactions with the two social media platforms by any person or involving any property subject to US jurisdiction. Plus pretty much sets a 45-day deadline for TikTok to be acquired by an American biz. Speaking of which, Prez Trump’s also slapping a tariff on Canadian aluminum. To which Canada retaliated by hitting the US with a tariff of its own. And in some election news, Bill Hagerty - who was backed by Trump - just won Tennessee’s Republican primary.
PROTESTS: Everyone’s still talking about Beirut. Reminder: earlier this week, the city’s port region was hit with a massive explosion, leaving at least 137 people dead and thousands injured. It was later revealed that over 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate (found in fertilizers and explosives) were at the blast site. Cue allegations that Beirut officials apparently knew about the dangers of housing the chemical there - but did nothing. In response, massive anti-gov protests broke out in Beirut. Dozens of protesters were teargassed near parliament. Stay tuned. Speaking of which, 24 people were just charged with taking part in a (banned) candlelight vigil on June 4 to mark the anniversary of China’s 1989 Tiananmen crackdown. This comes as China’s been tightening control over Hong Kong.
WHAT TO KNOW
“Ralph Lauren:” what Snapchat users can now dress their Bitmoji in. Snaps.
“Tourist Posing With 200-Year-Old Sculpture Breaks Her Toes” - an actual headline. Oops.