Russia wants Steven Seagal to reform U.S. gun laws

Action movie star, fitness guru, animal rights activist, and Dalai Lama enthusiast Steven Seagal may be adding the job title "gun lobbyist" to his name if Russia has its way.

Today, the country's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin formally asked the martial arts star to lobby for fewer restrictions on the sale of Russian rifles inside the United States.

"Your connections within the American establishment could help resolve this issue," Rogozin told Seagal, according to The Moscow Times.

The Kremlin is for real:

Rogozin said his question concerns a 1996 U.S. government regulation allowing Russia and other former Soviet countries to export hunting and sport rifles to the United States.

Russia sees the regulation as discriminatory, since it only allows it to export weapons made before 1996 and because it does not cover all types of rifles.

"Those restrictions are detrimental for our country," Rogozin said.

Apparently the Russian riflemaker Izmash sees an opportunity to boost its bottom line with fewer restrictions, as the United States already imports 80 percent of its sporting and hunting rifles. Not a bad economic inroad.

If the idea of the Under Siege star lobbying on behalf of the Kremlin paints a funny image in your head, it's not the first time the pair have teamed up. Just last week, Seagal appeared with Vladimir Putin to support a plan to improve physical fitness in Russia. According to the Guardian, "Seagal's action films are popular in Russia and he has met the president several times." 


Joe Scarborough Blames Iraq War on Democrats Who Voted Against It

This morning, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough correctly pointed out that many Democrats supported the Iraq war before turning against it. But in his lineup of Democratic flip-floppers, which showcased Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, he also included Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco -- two lawmakers who expressly voted against the Iraq War Resolution in 2002.  

"The very same people who spent years beating up George Bush were the very ones beating the drum for Iraq's regime change and Saddam's ouster," says Scarborough, as Pelosi and Levin's faces appeared on the camera. The video then singles out four lawmakers -- Pelosi, Clinton, Levin and Kerry -- in a montage of their public statements before and after the war.

The clip has been passed around favorably on Twitter and picked up by National Review's Andrew Johnson, who called it a "look back at the war's most vocal critics who were once its most ardent supporters, including John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, and Carl Levin." In reality, that view is much more difficult to support when applied to Pelosi and Levin.

To rewind the clock, the clip featuring Pelosi includes her applauding George W. Bush for "focusing on this issue [nuclear proliferation]." However, if you read her full statement, she adds this a few seconds later: "I say flat out that unilateral use of force without first exhausting every diplomatic remedy and other remedies and making a case to the American people will be harmful to our war on terrorism."

Levin was an even stronger opponent of the war, telling Meet the Press in 2002 that Saddam Hussein wouldn't likely use WMD. "He would not, in my judgment, initiate an attack with a weapon of mass destruction, because it would lead to his own destruction.... He's a survivalist. He is not a suicide bomber," he said. It's unclear why other Democratic targets such as Harry Reid weren't chosen for the video, but that's for Scarborough to explain. The segment ends with a popular adage reformulated by Scarborough: 

Victory has a hundred fathers, but defeat is an orphan. And on the day that President Bush strode around the USS Abraham Lincon in his flight suit to declare victory, Republicans and Democrats alike were lining up with papers to prove their paternity. How short our memory is.