Daily Caller hack Matthew Boyle spent yesterday calling around to the spokespeople for Republican members of Congress and asking them if their bosses think Attorney General Eric Holder should resign over Operation Fast and Furious, and wouldn't you know it, he found a few willing to grandstand in the press. According to Boyle, "Republican Reps. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, John Mica of Florida, Quico Canseco of Texas and Gus Bilirakis of Florida each told The Daily Caller on Thursday that they believe Holder should step down now."
If you think that seems like an odd group of members of Congress that have nothing in common, you're right. If you think that almost definitely indicates that he reached out to some Republican congressional offices who either refused comment or wouldn't say Holder should step down, you're probably right. And if you think that it sounds like Boyle created a story rather than reporting one, you're definitely right.
But because Boyle is a hack, this is an indication that Holder's "tenure in the Obama administration may be coming to an end," because the number of members of Congress calling for his resignation "has doubled in one day." How the fact that relatively low-level Republican members of Congress don't support him would lead to him leaving the administration is left unsaid.
Because the Daily Caller is a hack publication, they are currently running this banner headline:
And of course, they have help from their friends at Fox News:
As we previously noted, Fox devoted nearly four times more evening coverage to a Republican congressman's call for a special counsel to investigate Holder than they gave to Senate Democrats who called for one to investigate Bush AG Alberto Gonzales. It will be interesting to see how much time they decide to give to Boyle's non-story.
From the October 27 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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Politico reports this morning that according to a newly-released Gallup poll, "support for gun control is at its lowest level in 50 years." Likewise, CNN's Jack Cafferty is using the poll to claim that "more Americans are against gun control than ever before." In fact, the Gallup poll points to robust public support for either maintaining or strengthening current gun violence prevention laws.
Cafferty and Politico are focusing on the results Gallup received by asking respondents whether they support a ban on civilian possession of handguns. While a national ban on handguns may have been a topic of political debate when Gallup first asked the question in 1959, there has been no large-scale push in favor of such a ban in recent decades. Indeed, the Supreme Court has found that local bans on handgun ownership are unconstitutional.
Indeed, another question included in Gallup's poll demonstrates robust support for gun violence prevention legislation. 77 percent of respondents feel that the laws covering the sales of firearms should either be stricter or kept as they are now, with only 11 percent calling for them to be weakened.
In other words, the vast majority of Americans support reasonable gun control measures; only a small fraction is actually opposed to gun control.
This finding is confirmed by other recent polling that shows that Americans support measures to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals. According to one poll, 89 percent of respondents support requiring all gun buyers to pass a background check at gun shows, 94 percent support requiring gun owners to alert police if their guns are lost or stolen, and 69 percent support requiring those buying ammunition to pass a criminal background check. Another poll showed 86 percent of respondents supported background checks for every gun buyer
Since there's no anniversary of a national tragedy to exploit this week, the NRA had to resorted to more classic gun lobby tactics in their most recent fundraising e-mail. This time, they suggest that by supposedly criticizing the NRA's extremist policies, the media is "raining down a message of hate on gun owners to boost Obama's re-election campaign."
NRA chief lobbyist Chris Cox tells NRA members these media attacks against gun owners are "getting worse by the day":
That's why the freedom-hating media elites see you as a THREAT. That's why they're dramatically stepping up their attacks on gun owners--labeling us as lunatics and nuts in a deceitful effort to help win the election for Obama.
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune saying that "Castle Doctrine" laws give gun owners a "chilling license to kill" to the Philadelphia Magazine accusing NRA members of hating children, the media is raining down a message of hate on gun owners to boost Obama's re-election campaign.
I can go on... the Washington Post, New York Times, Newsweek, Time, ABC, MSNBC and CBS News, Associated Press, Chicago Sun Times, Miami Herald and too many more to list have all joined with Obama and the gun-ban lobby to destroy your gun rights.
Last month, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre claimed the existence of a "massive Obama conspiracy" to get the president re-elected by taking no action on guns, then use his second term to repeal the Second Amendment. The NRA now appears to be claiming that the media are in on the scheme.
The only two articles Cox bothers to specify as examples of the increasing attacks against gun owners were both written in May. Beyond not being especially timely, the articles are ridiculous examples to present as attacks on gun owners by "media elites" in defense of President Obama. Both concern state laws without any particular connection to President Obama.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune article referring to the Castle Doctrine as a "chilling license to kill" wasn't even authored by a media figure, but in fact was written by a Minnesota police chief.
The Philadelphia Magazine article referred to was written by columnist Sally Hingston. Hingston wrote a column savaging the NRA's lobbyists - not its members - for their Florida effort to keep pediatricians from asking their patients and their parents about guns and gun safety in the home.
Florida's NRA-backed law has already been blocked by a federal judge for violating freedom of speech. The initial version of the NRA-backed bill would have potentially led to 5 million dollar fines or 5 year prison sentences. It's hard to believe that gun owners that aren't paid NRA lobbyists looking to gin up controversy are eager to start jailing doctors. Using the same contrived logic that Cox applies to Hingston, you could say that pro-gun bloggers that called the Florida legislation "dumb" and "stupid" are calling NRA members stupid and dumb.
The subject line of the latest fundraising effort asserts that attacks against the NRA are attacks against gun owners saying, "Anti-gun media now attacking you and me". In reality NRA members and gun owners don't always agree with the extremist positions of the NRA.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) finally found a gun related conspiracy theory they don't want circulating around the internet; one targeting the NRA and their legislative efforts. According to the NRA, other pro-gun groups are trying to get noticed and raise money by spreading "ridiculous" "mischaracterizations" about NRA-backed H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act.
If these gun groups are advancing conspiratorial misinformation to raise money, then it's not hard to figure out where they could have gotten the idea. In recent months the NRA has continued to put out e-mails warning of black helicopter style schemes by the United Nations to go after guns in America, accused President Obama of plotting to "destroy the Second Amendment" by not pursuing gun control, and used the memory of 9-11 terrorist attacks to raise money.
H.R. 822 would force states to accept out of state concealed carry permits no matter how dangerously weak the standards are in those states. The legislation is opposed by law enforcement and anti-domestic violence groups, but it appears the NRA is more concerned with even more extreme pro-gun groups like the National Association For Gun Rights (NAGR). From the NRA lobby shop's most recent effort to get the "truth" out about H.R. 822:
But more and more, a small cadre of self-described "pro-gun" groups continually sound false alarms and "stir the pot" in an effort to be noticed. (And to raise money, of course.) These repeat offenders peddle mischaracterizations as the gospel, and dilute the good work being done to protect the Second Amendment by legitimate groups.
Of course, NAGR's attack mirrors the NRA's own paranoid narratives. NAGR suggests H.R. 822 is a "trojan horse" that, through a hazy slippery slope process, would lead to advancing gun control:
Even worse, once this bill starts moving, anyone can amend the bill with anything ... and no legislation can bind a future Congress in any way. And that doesn't count what Obamacrats in the Department of Justice might dream up as the "regulations" to carry out the legislative "intent."
But mark my words, H.R. 822, the National CCW Registration Act, will become nothing more than a Trojan Horse for even more federal gun control.
They will use this bill as the foundation to create a federal database of CCW permit holders.
Paranoid slippery slope arguments are the bread and butter of NRA rhetoric, as are flagrant mischaracterizations of gun-related policy proposals. NRA executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre has spent the last several months falsely calling an Obama executive order requiring gun dealers to report multiple sales of Mexican cartel favored rifles "gun owner registration". The NRA constantly asserts that efforts to require backgrounds checks for all gun sales constitutes a "ban" on "private sales", even through it wouldn't actually keep private citizens from selling a gun.
1980s NRA chief Ray Arnet famously said, "You keep any special interest group alive by nurturing the crisis atmosphere". Other extremist gun groups appear to have learned that lesson well.
On Tuesday, the coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) released a video testimonial from Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker criticizing H.R. 822, a bill currently before Congress that would force states to recognize the concealed carry permits of all other states -- even those with dangerously lax standards.
Booker called the bill "insane" and said that it would put civilians and law enforcement "at risk." Indeed, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, and the Police Foundation all oppose the bill, citing the potential danger to their members.
The video did not go unnoticed by the bill's main supporter, the National Rifle Association. Last night, NRA Radio's Cam Edwards responded, pushing the same flawed arguments his organization has been using to push the legislation:
Edwards defends H.R. 822 by comparing concealed carry licenses to driver's licenses:
EDWARDS: Is it "insane" for driver's licenses to be recognized across state lines? Because I'm pretty sure there are different qualifications to get your driver's license, depending on what state you live in.
MAIG's Cliff Schecter previously addressed this talking point in an op-ed challenging similar arguments from NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox:
Is the NRA now comparing a concealed carry permit to owning and driving a car, where each individual is required to possess a license and register their vehicle? So is Mr. Cox's position that we should create a registry of each person who carries loaded, concealed firearms, so gun regulations will work similarly to the laws governing the owning and driving of automobiles?
To the substance of his point, the police are able to verify the status of one's driver's license through a national database. With concealed carry permits, there is no such licensing database -- and Mr. Cox assures us there are no plans to create one. Some states don't even keep accurate records of who's allowed to carry a concealed weapon -- much less feed them into a national database -- and others destroy these documents. Perhaps this is why virtually all law enforcement organizations oppose this.
National Rifle Association chief lobbyist Chris Cox claims in Guns & Ammo magazine that a proposed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty is "completely unnecessary" because the United States "operates what even Hillary Clinton admits is the 'gold standard' of export controls for arms transfers.'" But Clinton made that comment while expressing U.S. support for a treaty that would "promote the same high standards for the entire international community."
National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre was mocked by progressives last month for claiming that there is a "massive Obama conspiracy" to "lull gun owners to sleep" by not taking any action on reducing gun violence in order to win re-election and then carry out his plot to eliminate the Second Amendment.
LaPierre explained to Ashley Martella that gun owners need "to do everything they can to make sure that President Obama does not get a second term so that he can destroy the Second Amendment":
LaPIERRE: Our job is to protect the Second Amendment and that means that every gun owner, every Second Amendment supporter needs to do everything they can to make sure that President Obama does not get a second term so that he can destroy the Second Amendment. And that's what's going to happen if he gets a second term.
And I want to leave no doubt about that. This is the most dangerous election in our lifetime for the Second Amendment freedom that American citizens have. A second term by President Obama will break the back of that freedom in this country.
When he last offered up this bizarre conspiracy theory, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow pointed out that, far from working to "destroy the Second Amendment," Obama has actually been "saying very little and doing even less on gun laws," with his most notable action on the issue being signing a bill that allows guns in national parks.
But LaPierre and the NRA aren't about to let reality get in the way of their conspiracies.
In an editorial this morning, The Washington Examiner claims that Attorney General Eric Holder "should fire his aides -- or get fired himself" due to what the editorial suggests is either incompetence by the aides or a lack of candor about what Holder knew about the failed ATF sting Operation Fast and Furious and when he knew it.
Specifically, the Examiner claims that "senior Holder aides" knew about the operation's controversial tactics, and that it is "highly unlikely" they didn't inform the Attorney General:
[The Justice Department says] Holder knew about the program, but did not know about the program's details. But the emails obtained by CBS News show that is highly unlikely. For instance, an Oct. 17, 2010, email from Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Jason Weinstein to Deputy Chief of the National Gang Unit James Trusty, questions the wisdom of having Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer attend a press conference associated with Fast and Furious, "given the number of guns that have walked." These emails make clear that senior Holder aides knew that allowing dangerous gun sales to go forward were at the heart of Operation Fast and Furious. It's highly unlikely that they did not alert Holder to these facts, Best case: Holder has surrounded himself with incompetents and should fire them forthwith. Worst case: Holder lied when he denied knowing about the gun-running scheme and should get the boot himself. [emphasis added]
The Weinstein email to which the Examiner refers states: "Do you think we should try to have Lanny participate in press when Fast and Furious and Laura's Tucson case are unsealed? It's a tricky case, given the number of guns that have walked, but it is a significant set of prosecutions."
But according to DOJ, Weinstein's references to "guns that have walked" wasn't to Operation Fast and Furious, but rather to "Laura's Tucson case," which Justice Department sources identified as the Bush-era Operation Wide Receiver. According to DOJ, as in Fast and Furious, Wide Receiver involved ATF allowing guns to be trafficked in hopes of tracing them and taking down a trafficking network. DOJ says Trusty and Weinstein did not know that guns had been walked in Operation Fast and Furious at the time of their email exchange.
A white supremacist couple accused of committing four murders in a two-week crime spree across three states were on their way to Sacramento, California to "kill more Jews" when they were arrested by a California Highway Patrol officer last week, according to law enforcement investigators.
The alleged victims of David "Joey" Pedersen, 31, and his 24-year-old girlfriend Holly Ann Grigsby include Reginald Alan Clark, a 53-year-old African-American man apparently targeted at random and shot to death in his pickup truck in Eureka, California. Pedersen referred to Clark in a recent jailhouse interview as a "dead Negro."
The pair also gunned down 19-year-old Cody Myers in Lincoln County, Oregon because his last name "made them think he was Jewish," Grigsby reportedly told authorities. Myers was a devout Christian.
According to court filings, Pedersen and Grigsby have admitted killing Clark and Myers as well as Pedersen's father and stepmother, who were slain September 28 in Everett, Washington. Pedersen has since claimed that Grigsby had "nothing to do with" the murders and that he had held her against her will; according to the charging documents Pedersen had written Grigsby a note in jail promising to take the blame for their alleged crimes.
Both alleged killers have long criminal records. Grigsby has five past felony convictions for identity theft and stealing cars. In May Pedersen was released from prison after serving seven years for assaulting a police officer, his third felony conviction. In 2001 he was convicted of threatening the life of a federal judge in Idaho.
In July, Islamophobe Pam Geller suggested that she supported impeaching President Obama on the basis of the myth that his administration supported the release of the Lockerbie bomber. Now she's found a new false rationale for impeachment: Obama's supposed knowledge of the ATF's failed Operation Fast and Furious.
Geller claims that both Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder knew the controversial operational details of that failed gunrunning sting, which is currently under DOJ and congressional investigation. Her evidence? Obama's support for economic recovery legislation which did not fund the operation, and a speech in which Holder did not talk about Fast and Furious.
In a post entitled "Direct Evidence: Holder Lied, Bragged About Project Gunrunner In Mexico In 2009," Geller wrote:
This is the most corrupt and criminal administration in American history. And their contempt and disgust for the American people is degenerate, rotten, scandalous. Holder must be fired. Obama should be impeached for Fast and Furious. The Republicans must uphold the laws of this country.
Geller points to a blog post which details how "despite... repeatedly denying knowledge of Project Gunrunner," Obama approved stimulus funding for the program and Holder gave a speech referencing it.
Apparently we need to point this out again: Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious are not the same thing.
Obama and Holder never denied knowing about Project Gunrunner, a high-profile effort begun under the Bush administration in which ATF agents were directed from other offices to the Mexican border region in order to reduce cross-border gun trafficking. They have consistently denied knowledge of the details of Fast and Furious, the failed operation run under Project Gunrunner by a team from the ATF's Phoenix office, in which agents allowed guns to be transferred to known traffickers in the hopes of building a complex conspiracy case against cartels.
Indeed, Fast and Furious was not begun until fall 2009, months after Holder's comment.
Even right-wing bloggers have pointed out that people making this conflation are wrong. But Geller apparently can't be bothered to fact-check.
Last month right-wing blogger Mike Vanderboegh accepted the "David and Goliath Award" for "intrepid" investigative journalism from Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO). The now-award winning "journalist" spent the past few days repeatedly posting a photoshopped image of Attorney General Eric Holder dressed in a Nazi officer's uniform.
Apparently having even a modicum of taste isn't part of JPFO's idea of award-winning journalism.
Vanderboegh is most well known for encouraging people to throw bricks through the windows of Democratic offices and has been featured on Fox News in recent months. Beyond his call to vandalism, Vanderboegh has a history of activism with militias, the extremist "three percenters," and the Minutemen border vigilante group, and has promoted Oklahoma City bombing conspiracy theories.
Vanderboegh is clearly a big fan of Photoshop. This weekend's Holder photo is based on a photo Wehrmacht Field Marshall Friedrich von Paulus with an Iron Cross across the neck and the Nazi's Third Reich symbol of an eagle atop a swastika pinned to his chest. He's also posted a picture of former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives chief Ken Melson at the Nuremberg war crime tribunals.
Roger Ailes, Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly have all likened opponents to Nazis. Maybe Vanderboegh is auditioning to be a regular Fox News correspondent.
On Tuesday, after Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, called for a special counsel to investigate whether Attorney General Eric Holder perjured himself during testimony about the botched ATF gunrunning sting Operation Fast and Furious, we noted that Fox News had previously devoted little coverage to Democratic calls in 2007 for a perjury investigation of Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Our analysis found that the network's evening lineup had devoted only three segments and less then twelve minutes of coverage in their first three broadcasts after Senate Democrats called for a special counsel to review Gonzales' testimony about President Bush's domestic surveillance program. All three segments ran on Special Report; the rest of the Fox evening programs we reviewed were silent on the subject.*
By contrast, in their first three broadcasts after Smith's call for a special counsel to investigate Holder, the Fox evening programs that we reviewed devoted 43 minutes to the story. In addition to Special Report, The Five, The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity, and On the Record all covered the story at least once.**
From the October 6 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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On Friday's edition of her MSNBC program Rachel Maddow highlighted a variety of right-wing extremist activities on gun related issues, including National Rifle Association (NRA) executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre's increasingly infamous suggestion that because President Obama hasn't pursued gun control he must be secretly plotting to "erase the Second Amendment." Maddow also highlighted Fox News mainstreaming right-wing blogger Mike Vanderboegh, who gained notoriety last year for advocating throwing bricks through the windows of Democratic offices in response to the health care reform bill.
Maddow reviewed the NRA's factually challenged assertion that Obama had a "ten point plan to change the second amendment" that the NRA crafted as part of their anti-Obama political push in 2008. That claim was rated "pants on fire" by PolitFact in 2008 and in no way resembles the actual Obama record on gun control. Now LaPierre is asserting a "conspiracy" against the Second Amendment. Maddow explains the absurdity of LaPierre's comments:
MADDOW: The NRA says the way you can tell Obama is coming for your guns, is that he's not coming for you guns. It's genius! That is the insane paranoid message from the NRA this year.
Maddow also called out Fox News for featuring right-wing blogger Mike Vanderboegh, who in addition to advocating vandalism has pushed conspiracy theories about the Oklahoma city bombing, advocated for militias, the Minutemen movement and the anti-government three percenters. Last week Media Matters reported on Fox mainstreaming Vanderboegh and noted that his call to vandalism has been widely denounced:
After the Post profile, Vanderboegh drew fire from the left, right, and center. MSNBC's Ed Schultz described him a "whacko," while colleague Rachel Maddow pointed to how Vanderboegh's "efforts to inspire violent action around the country [are] apparently derived from his belief that he leads millions of people who think the same things he does." Jonah Goldberg called him an "idiot" and a "buffoon" whose behavior "is simply wrong, reprehensible, and childish." The Daily Beast's John Avlon wrote that the "parallels, intentional or not, to the Nazis' heinous 1938 kristallnacht ... are hard to ignore."
Fox News doesn't seem to care.