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.
From the October 13 edition of Fox Business' Freedom Watch:
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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.
From the October 13 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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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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From the October 4 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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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.
Suggesting the United Nations is coming for your guns is among the longest running pieces of scarelore for the National Rifle Association and other gun lobby groups. Today Fox News got in on the action, airing a segment that recycled the paranoid accusations most recently seen in NRA fundraising efforts.
The segment, produced as part of Fox's "Taking Liberties" series, appeared on today's episodes of America's Newsroom and Happening Now, correspondent Douglas Kennedy interviewed critics of the proposed treaty who inaccurately describe its intended goals.
Happening Now introduced segment with the misleading chryon, "Obama Administration Backs U.N. Treaty To Control Guns."
While the Obama administration hopes to back the U.N. arms treaty, treaty negotiations haven't been concluded. There is no final treaty language, no treaty to back, and no guarantee the administration will find the final treaty acceptable. Fox's misleading suggestion mirrors a long debunked chain e-mail that erroneously suggests the administration has already signed the treaty.
It didn't get much better once the segment started rolling.
Over the past two weeks, leaders of the National Rifle Association have embarked on a campaign of extremist rhetoric and wild conspiracies. They have called federal law enforcement agents "jack-booted thugs," referred to President Obama as "Communist-trained," and described a "massive Obama conspiracy" in which the administration plans to push for the repeal of the Second Amendment. The organization has also pushed a radical legislative agenda during that period, calling for a national concealed carry reciprocity bill that law enforcement groups call "dangerous" and pushing for concealed firearms on college campuses.
On yesterday's edition of MSNBC's Hardball, Chris Matthews criticized National Rifle Association executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre's recent comments at the Florida Conservative Political Action Conference suggesting that President Obama was secretly plotting to "erase the Second Amendment." Matthews noted LaPierre's comments were of "another strain of the crazy far right" and said they sounded like "civil war" talk.
MATTHEWS: Well here's something that another strain of the crazy far right. Here's the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre, and I've know this guy a long time, I'm astounded by this new accusation that the President is leading some conspiracy.
The language, "lie," "conspiracy," it's almost like, I don't know Lincoln talking about what was going on in civil war below the Mason Dixon line. I mean, this is civil war talk about a President of the United States.