Last month, we documented how right-wing media used the Norway terrorist attack to push for more lenient gun laws. They're at it again, now using the riots in the United Kingdom as their hook.
Today, Andrew Breitbart's Big Government published a blog post by AWR Hawkins headlined "If We Let the Government Take Our Guns, We'll Have To Run and Hide Like Londoners." Hawkins claimed that "because England banned the private ownership of handguns the "criminals are confident the citizenry is thoroughly unarmed" and are "going into homes and business ... taking whatever they want." They then attempt to strike fear into readers by suggesting "if we ever let the government take our guns, it won't be long till we'll be scrambling under tables like Londoners."
He punctuated that post with this picture, although it's unclear if this is supposed to be a picture of the rioters or those running in fear because they don't have guns:
Not to be outdone, Fox News soon got into the act.
From the July 28 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
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From the August 9 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
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As part of its extended campaign against the Obama administration Justice Department's hires, Pajamas Media has turned to noted experts on the subject of politicization: Hans von Spakovsky and J. Christian Adams.
Yes, the conservative media outlet is again attacking the Obama administration for hiring civil rights attorneys for the Civil Rights Division. And they've decided that the best people to push their months-long investigation are a beneficiary of the Bush DOJ's policy of politicized hiring and a Bush DOJ staffer known for injecting his own politics into the department's work.
It's the sort of takes-one-to-know-one decision reminiscent of Fox News' decisions to hire Judith Miller as a media critic and book Michael Brown to discuss disaster relief.
Who's next? Will PJM drag out fellow Bush DOJ alums Bradley Schlozman and Monica Goodling to write the next installments in this breathtakingly mundane series?
Pajamas Media has been scandal-mongering for months with hollow allegations of politicization in the hiring process at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Today, Hans von Spakovsky published the first piece "in a series of articles by Pajamas Media about the Civil Rights Division's hiring practices since President Obama took office." He claims the supposed tainting of the hiring process by the DOJ's Civil Rights Division under Obama is "nearly unprecedented in scope and significantly eclipses anything the Bush administration was even accused of doing."
Spakovsky and PJM are responding defensively to allegations that under President Bush, political appointees at DOJ's Civil Rights Division illegally considered applicants' political leanings when making hiring decisions. These claims have been backed up in a report completed by the DOJ's Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility, who declared the hiring activity a "viola[tion] of federal law."
For months, PJM has been waging a campaign alleging the Obama administration is committing the same sins. The crusade continues today, with Spakovsky's piece outing the so-called "new radicals" in the Civil Rights Division's Voting Section. Instead of bolstering his argument, however, he's instead just highlighted the many exemplary qualifications and relevant civil rights law experiences the new employees have brought to the table. Indeed, von Spakovsky's complaint often appears to be that the Civil Rights Division has hired attorneys with backgrounds in civil rights.
Specifically, Spakovsky has published the employment histories of the 16 new hires in the Voting Rights department of the Civil Rights division. He rails at length about the alleged liberal affiliations of the DOJ hires, detailing their past civil rights work with groups like the ACLU and NAACP, but his complaining notably lacks any accusation or evidence that DOJ was hiring unqualified lawyers or excluding applicants based on their political predilections - something the Bush administration was found to have done.
The question, after all, is not whether DOJ hired too many conservatives in the Bush administration or too many liberals in the Obama administration; the question is whether either of those administrations improperly used an individual's political leanings as a pro or con in their hiring deliberations. Spakovsky offers no evidence that the DOJ is doing this other than the circumstantial claim that it's more likely than not that politicization took place because so many liberals have been hired.
On Friday, America's Newsroom hosted National Rifle Association (NRA) executive vice president Wayne LaPierre to discuss an NRA lawsuit that challenges a rule requiring gun dealers along the southwest border to report purchases of two or more rifles, like AK-47s. LaPierre only spoke briefly about the lawsuit and instead used most his appearance to push the myth that America is not a significant source of firearms for Mexican cartels.
The facts on U.S. guns going to Mexico are straight forward. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) has seized more 10,000 firearms and more then 1.1. million rounds of ammunition headed to the southwest border since 2006. On the Mexican side of the border, 20,504 or 70 percent of the total firearms seized and submitted for tracing in the last two years were from the United States. Undeterred by the facts LaPierre continues to push the idea that U.S. guns play a minimal role in arming Mexican cartels.
LaPierre began by suggesting that State Department cables, released by Wikileaks, support his theory:
LAPIERRE: Everyone now admits the drug cartels in Mexico are getting their guns from Russia, China, defections from the Mexican army, the international black market and largely through Central America. The Wikileaks cables from our own State Department prove that. They went to Congress [Crosstalk]
ALISYN CAMEROTA: So are you saying that no semiautomatic guns from the U.S. and from the southwest border are falling into the hands of Mexican criminals?
LAPIERRE: There may be a small time operator coming in, trying to break the law, they ought to be prosecuted. But our own State Department cables say the Mexican drug cartels are not getting their guns from the U.S., they're getting from Central America. They're not getting them from the U.S. dealers.
Since its founding in 2003 American Thinker has become a reliable online source of climate change denial, Obama-as-Marxist conspiracy mongering, Muslim-bashing hysteria and other mainstays of right wing talk radio.
No surprise, then, that Rush Limbaugh regularly cites American Thinker articles on the air and has called it "one of my most favorite and thoughtful blogs." But Limbaugh has yet to sound off on the topic that has been the subject of a flurry of recent American Thinker pieces: white nationalism (that is, that only white Americans are true Americans). Most recently, American Thinker gave a forum to prominent white nationalist leader Jared Taylor, who said in 2005:
Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization -- any kind of civilization -- disappears.
Taylor is the founder of the New Century Foundation, which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as:
[A] self-styled think tank that promotes pseudo-scientific studies and research that purport to show the inferiority of blacks to whites -- although in hifalutin language that avoids open racial slurs and attempts to portray itself as serious scholarship.
Taylor doubles as the editor-in-chief of his foundation's American Renaissance magazine and hosts a conference every other year where racist intellectuals socialize with Klansmen and neo-Nazis. The occasion of Taylor's Aug. 1 front page American Thinker column was a response to a July 10 column slamming white nationalism in the same publication. It was written by Dean Malik, an Iraq war veteran, conservative Republican politician and former prosecutor in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
From the August 4 edition of Fox Business' Stossel:
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J. Christian Adams, the right-wing storyteller whose works include the many-times debunked New Black Panther scandal, is back with a gripping tale about Eric Holder's "peculiar tendency to set loose militant black panthers." Writing on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government, Adams proclaims: "Leftist Activists Convince Eric Holder's DOJ to Set Violent Marxist Free." The violent Marxist in question is Marilyn Buck, who was incarcerated in 1985 for her roles in the Black Liberation Army's 1981 armed robbery of a Brinks armored car and the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Senate.
Take it away, J. Christian:
Yet Holder's DOJ unlocked Buck's jail cell and set her free last summer. Justice concluded that Buck "expressed a dramatic change from her previous political philosophy." Releasing Buck reflects an alien attitude that has caused the Obama years to be characterized by an ideological disconnect with most Americans.
The letters which persuaded the Justice Department were stuffed with crackpot arguments and have yet to be reported over the last year. They are full of lawlessness and arguments from extreme fringes of political thought. What's worse, the letters are on the letterhead of government and private institutions, institutions most Americans incorrectly think are worthy of respect.
Got it? Crazy people wrote crazy letters to free their terrorist friend, and Holder loves crazy terrorists so much that he unlocked her cell and let her scamper off into the summer breeze.
Now, let's explore what really happened and look at three key facts that Adams omitted from his piece: 1) the groundwork for Buck's early release was laid during the Bush administration; 2) Buck was ultimately released because she had late-stage terminal uterine cancer; and 3) she passed away less than a month after her parole.
Richard Andrew Poplawski was convinced in early 2009 that America was secretly controlled by a Jewish cabal that was moving fast to eradicate free speech and use the military to enslave the American people. Naturally, federal agents and law enforcement officers would first have to seize all privately owned firearms, he believed.
According to the Anti-Defamation League Alex Jones' website Infowars.com was among Poplawski's "favorite" venues for conspriracy theories:
One of Poplawski's favorite places for such conspiracy theories was the Web site of the right-wing conspiracy radio talk show host Alex Jones. Poplawski visited the site, Infowars, frequently, shared links to it with others, and sometimes even posted to it. One of his frustrations with the site, though, was that it didn't focus enough on the nefarious roles played by Jews in all these conspiracies. "For being such huge players in the endgame," he observed in a March 29, 2009 posting to Infowars, "too many 'infowarriors' are surprisingly unfamiliar with the Zionists." Another time he was more hopeful, noting that "racial awareness is on the rise among the young white population." *
Less than a week later, Poplawski ambushed and shot to death three Pittsburgh police officers who responded to a domestic disturbance call at his residence.
One might think that such a tragic outcome would give Alex Jones pause before he started another round of promoting his wild-eyed theories about the U.S. government coming to take our guns.
Alas, Jones is up to his old tricks. A "bunch of Hitlers," he says, are running the country, and they're just itching to douse us with Ebola and nerve gas.
In an August 1, 2011, video posted on PrisonPlanet.com, Alex Jones states:
I have confirmed through two Texas gun dealers and through someone in my office that when you buy two rifles, and by the way it's in this letter, or two handguns, revolver or pistol, that you get an ATF or FBI visit to your house. And they demand to come in your home and see your guns without a warrant. It's a chilling effect, it's intimidation, just like in Nazi Germany.
The system does not want armed citizens, they want to set a precedent. And as our country goes into designed banker depression, as we implode, they are coming after our guns.
The system is having the police and military start a fight where they know gun-owning constitutionalists are not going to along with it. They are going to start responding as things degenerate. And they are going to be called terrorists. The system, the social engineers, are sending the ATF and the Feds on a collision course with law abiding patriotic Americans so they can kick off a civil war in America.
Addressing a rally in April 2011, white nationalist lawyer William Johnson lamented the media scrutiny he drew with his recent failed campaign for a judgeship in California.
|White nationalist lawyer William Johnson at San Juan Capistrano rally
"Ron Paul endorsed me for Superior Court judge, and I was on my way," Johnson said. "No sooner than I'd put my hat in the ring than ... it came out that Johnson is a white nationalist, that Johnson wants to create a separate white ethno-state, that Johnson supports the 14 words of [white power domestic terrorist] David Lane, that 'We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children,' and the media went wild with all of that, and Ron Paul withdrew his endorsement of me...because he did not believe in a separate white ethno-state and he didn't know that I did."
A white ethno-state? The 14 words?
Johnson sounded like he was at a neo-Nazi conference, as in 1986 when he addressed the Aryan Nations World Congress. But the banner hanging over the stage was not a Swastika flag. It read: "Tax Day Tea Party."
The April 16 rally in San Juan Capistrano, California, corresponded with more than 100 Tea Party rallies scheduled across the country for that Saturday. It was promoted on the website of Tea Party.org, also known as 1776 Tea Party, one of six well-established Tea Party umbrella groups. Its true organizers, however, were from American Third Position, or A3P, a white nationalist political party founded by racist skinheads. A3P did not respond to repeated inquiries for this article. Neither did 1776 Tea Party.
Since April 2010, A3P members have organized, co-sponsored or freely distributed literature at no fewer than 10 Tea Party rallies in six states, including Augusta, Georgia; Harrison, Arkansas; Baton Rogue, Louisiana and throughout California, where A3P was founded in May 2009 by Freedom 14, a racist skinhead crew seeking to establish a more respectable-seeming political front group.
Although it would be unfair to characterize the Tea Party movement on the whole as white nationalist, it's clear that large gatherings of angry, conservative, predominately white Americans are viewed with relish by groups like A3P.
"The Tea Parties are fertile ground for our activists," said A3P Pennsylvania Chairman Steve Smith. "Tea Party supporters and the A3P share much common ground with regard to our political agendas."
Days before Pam Geller came under fire for "attacking the victims" of the recent Oslo attacks, radio host Dana Loesch championed Geller's "good fight" against "the jihadi mindset."
Geller, the Atlas Shrugs blogger and frequent Fox News guest, has been under the microscope since the attacks, as commenters noted that accused killer Anders Behring Breivik frequently cited fringe Islamophobic bloggers, including Geller, in his manifesto.
Geller now faces widespread condemnation after a weekend blog post in which she called the Norwegian youth camp where dozens of young people were massacred an "anti-Semitic indoctrination training center" and posted a picture of the targeted children with the caption:
Note the faces which are more Middle Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian.
Geller has subsequently scrubbed the caption from her blog post.
Salon's Glenn Greenwald has rightly called on media to stop giving Geller a platform to spew her Islamophobic hate speech in light of her most recent comments.
Indeed, despite a long history of outrageous, Islamophobic comments, Geller has long benefited from media exposure that soft-pedals or defends her hate speech - which was on full display throughout the summer of 2010 as Geller helped gin up outrage over the Park51 Islamic Community Center.
Just last week, in fact, Geller called into The Dana Show, where host Dana Loesch defended Geller, saying criticism of her hate speech and was nothing more than "extreme, baseless, bigoted, partisan attacks." Geller, Loesch claimed, was under attack and being "defamed" because she "posed such a threat to people who have supported the jihadi mindset."
In an attempt to absolve its parent company, News Corp., of potential U.S. criminal responsibility for allegedly bribing U.K. police officials, The Wall Street Journal misled its readers about the enforcement history of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), a federal law that outlaws certain bribes paid to foreign officials.
In a July 18 editorial, the Journal attacked the Justice Department for opening an investigation into News Corp. The Journal asserted: "The [FCPA] has historically been enforced against companies attempting to obtain or retain government business. But U.S. officials have been attempting to extend their enforcement to include any payments that have nothing to do with foreign government procurement."
A reader of the Journal editorial would think that the FCPA pretty clearly applies to bribes that are made "to obtain or retain government business" and not to the types of bribes News Corp. allegedly made. A reader would also think that bureaucrats seeking to increase their power are baselessly "attempting to" broaden the coverage of the FCPA to such other areas.
But the Journal's narrative is plainly incorrect. While experts say the FCPA was once enforced more narrowly, the language of the FCPA is not limited to bribes that are made "to obtain or retain government business." Rather, the relevant sections of the FCPA each prohibit bribes to foreign officials that assist in "obtaining or retaining business for or with ... any person." [15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd-1(a)(1), 78dd-2(a)(1), 78dd-3(a)(1) (emphasis added)]
Furthermore, when the Bush administration brought a case against defendants who had paid bribes to foreign officials but were not seeking to obtain or retain government business through the bribes, a federal appellate court specifically stated that the FCPA could apply to such situations.
In other words, if the bribes News Corp. allegedly made to U.K. officials were made to obtain scoops for the purpose of increasing circulation, the bribes may very well have violated the FCPA.
Yesterday Naser Abdo was arrested for what local Police Chief Dennis Baldwin suggested was likely a terror plot against soldiers at Fort Hood. Abdo's alleged actions highlight the threat of lone wolf and suicide militia attacks using conventional weapons such as the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
Abdo's shopping list suggests he was likely planning a combination of shooting and bombing somewhat like the recent Norway attack. Since 2009, Al Qaeda has increasingly encouraged terrorists to ditch complicated hijacking and bombing plots instead use easily obtainable firearms and explosives.
The National Counterterrorism Center's 2009 report on terrorism noted, that Mumbai style attacks have been on the up swing around the globe:
Most attacks in 2009 were perpetrated by terrorists applying conventional fighting methods such as armed attacks, bombings, and kidnappings. Drawing on the lessons learned from the Mumbai attack in 2008, Sunni extremist elements used suicidal militia style attacks in numerous large scale attacks in 2009.
Last month Al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn instructed would be terrorists in the United States to visit gun shows where they can bypass the usual background check for individuals buying a gun. Being on the terrorist watch list doesn't disqualify individuals from purchasing a gun and at gun shows private sellers can bypass conventional background checks.
Fortunately Abdo's suspicious behavior led vigilant Fort Hood area gun store clerk Greg Ebert to contact the police. Unfortunately not every gun seller has shown the responsibility that Ebert displayed, some of the worst have even been caught selling to buyers that said they couldn't pass a background check.
Last night, Investor's Business Daily published an editorial which claimed that a chain of emails indicate that a White House staffer sought and received information about the ATF's failed Operation Fast and Furious from the ATF special agent who oversaw the initiative. According to the editorial, this proves that "the White House knew" about the operation. Unfortunately for IBD, this claim evaporated before the paper hit the newsstands after the Los Angeles Times got ahold of the emails in question and reported that they reveal nothing of the sort.
Detailing the exchange between William Newell, ATF special agent in charge of the Phoenix office, and his longtime friend Kevin O'Reilly, a National Security Council staffer, IBD wrote in typical conspiratorial fashion:
Newell sent O'Reilly the requested information with the caveat, "You didn't get this from me."
Why was a National Security Council staffer asking about an operation that no one in the upper echelons of the administration was supposed to be aware of? We find it hard to believe it was for O'Reilly's personal amusement. Why would Newell request that he not be acknowledged as the source?
Administration officials have taken the Sgt. Schultz "we knew nothing" approach to any inquiries, only to be tripped up by their own words and actions.
Newell's email to O'Reilly is evidence that at least one person in the White House did.
After reviewing the actual email chain, LAT's Richard Serrano wrote: "The ATF's field supervisor on the Southwest border sent a series of emails last year to a top White House national security official detailing the agency's ambitious efforts to stop weapons trafficking into Mexico, but did not mention that a botched sting operation had allowed hundreds of guns to flow to drug cartels."
Indeed, the emails show O'Reilly reaching out to Newell for information about the ATF's Gun Runner Impact Team (GRIT), a separate initiative that deployed scores of agents to Arizona and New Mexico on a short term basis. According to ATF, "GRIT special agents initiated 174 firearms trafficking-related criminal investigations and seized approximately 1,300 illegally-trafficked firearms and 71,000 rounds of ammunition, along with drugs and currency." O'Reilly was seeking information about GRIT in order to brief White House counterterrorism advisor John Brennan about the operation in preparation for a meeting with Mexican officials.