Fox News has been a reliable advocate on behalf of the National Rifle Association and its mission to insure that even the most lethal types of guns are readily available to just about anyone. They even opposed legislation that would prohibit people on the terrorist no-fly list from buying firearms. Let’s face it, they love them some guns, and any attempt to interfere with their fixation is sacrilege.
Today Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the newest member of the Fox & Friends crew, proposed what she regards as an alternative solution to the tragic mass murders that have plagued the nation (video below). Her suggestion had nothing to do with background checks, or limiting access to dangerous individuals, or barring military-style weapons and magazines that hold dozens of bullets. She and her curvy-couch potatoes think that video games, and the people who play them, are the crux of the problem.
Hasselbeck: “What about frequency testing? How often has this game been played? I mean, I’m not one to say get in there and monitor everything, but if this indeed is a strong link to mass killings, then why aren’t we looking at frequency of purchases per person, and also how often they’re playing. Maybe they time out after a certain hour on this.”
So according to Hasselbeck and her pals, the government must never engage in responsible registration of firearms, or keep databases to alert authorities when someone has amassed a dangerous stockpile of munitions, or check to see if a prospective buyer is guilty of a violent felony or has a record of mental health problems. However, the government ought to keep track of video game purchases, as well as the amount of time individuals spend playing the games. She is actually proposing databases of game buyers and some sort of control mechanism on every game that measures the time it is used. Get ready for the nanny state to shut down your XBox after an hour or two in order to insure that you don’t murder a few dozen people. What’s next? Access to books, web sites, felafels? And none of that seems to intrude on their right-wing aversion to Big Government.
The Fox panel also displayed a graphic showing some of the perpetrators of mass shootings and alleged that they were all video game aficionados. Wow – what a startling revelation that young men in America were found to be fond of electronic gaming. Who knew? What they did not mention is that all of the same people were also obsessed with the guns that they actually used to, you know, actually kill actual people. But Guns couldn’t be part of the problem, could they?
Ever since the gruesome killings in Newtown, CT, there has been a rancorous debate over the 2nd Amendment and the role of firearms in our society. Last week was the six month anniversary of Newtown and most Americans have come to terms with a common sense approach that would subject prospective gun buyers to a simple and quick background check in order to assure that they are not violent felons or mentally unstable. Unfortunately, this rational initiative has been supplanted in the news cycle by a bevy of trumped-up scandals that don’t have nearly the real-world impact on the lives of average Americans.
The UN recently released for signatures an arms treaty that would curb access to weapons by terrorists and rogue nations, but the advocates of unfettered access to firearms are already circling the wagons to oppose it. They have abandoned all respect for reason and empathy. The magnitude of their fixation on the broadest possible interpretation of gun rights has exceeded all boundaries of rational thought. They promote a near-total absence of laws regulating gun ownership that amounts to what could be called gunarchy (gun+anarchy). To say that some of their arguments border on lunacy would not be an overstatement. The following examples reveal just how devoted the NRA congregation is to their mission.
The UN Arms Trade And National Sovereignty Abolition Treaty
The United Nations recently approved an international treaty aimed at prohibiting the free-flow of military-grade weapons between oppressive dictatorships and terrorist organizations. This treaty was supported by more than 170 member-states with only Syria, Iran, and North Korea dissenting. Nevertheless, the gunarchists in congress decided to align themselves with that elite trio of naysayers and blocked ratification in the senate. The reason given was that this treaty had the potential to infringe on the sovereignty of the United States, despite the fact that such an infringement was explicitly prohibited in the treaty. So while the UN attempts to make the world safer, right-wingers in the U.S. are serving the interests of defense contractors (even those in China), who favor unencumbered free trade.
Prevent School Shootings By Putting More Guns In Schools
The first response from the NRA to the tragedy at Sandy Hook was to propose the placement of armed guards at every school in America. The folly of this suggestion is all too apparent. The proliferation of guns will never be the solution to the problems they produce. It would merely turn every campus into a potential war zone. The gunarchists never explain how armed guards would prevent a mad man like Adam Lanza, who would still have had greater firepower than a school guard. Plus, he would have had the advantage of surprise and would likely have made his first victims the guard and any nearby teachers. This “solution” also fails to address the rest of our allegedly imperiled communities. There are also children at the beach, in shopping malls, at church, in restaurants, and parks, and playgrounds, and libraries. Would they propose to have armed security at every Chuck E. Cheese and Disney movie? Would they advocate that we have innumerable George Zimmermans patrolling our neighborhoods and slaughtering the innocent?
The NRA-Theists On Buying America
Earlier this year, NRA Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, publicly rebuked New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for spending heavily to promote his campaign for gun safety legislation. Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns was reported to have raised $12 million for advocacy and advertising. LaPierre pounced on that disclosure accusing Bloomberg of trying to “impose his will on the American public,” and insisting that “He can’t buy America.” What LaPierre neglected to mention was that his own campaign had just spent more than twice that amount leading up to the November elections last year. So if Bloomberg is trying to buy America then the NRA is brazenly outbidding them. At least Bloomberg’s campaign is sync with what the American people already believe by huge majorities.
Let’s Disarm The First Responders
As gun safety activists started to make strides in state legislatures, the infuriated gunarchists struck back by taking their vengeance out on state and local police. Weapons retailers vowed to refrain from selling their wares to law enforcement agencies in states that strengthened their safety regulations. Clearly this was not very well thought out because the effect of this reverse boycott, in the unlikely event that it was successful, would leave police unarmed as they endeavored to protect the public from evildoers. That’s the sort of radical response that harms people who have nothing whatsoever to do with the issue under protest. Yet conservative media from Fox News to Glenn Beck’s The Blaze to Breitbart News, all bragged about how this was snowballing into a movement.
Comparing Gun Rights To Civil Rights
NRA board member, and washed up rock burnout, Ted Nugent, has never been at a loss for utterly deranged and offensive words. He has engaged in violent rhetoric suggesting his desire to shoot President Obama, and California’s senators Feinstein and Boxer. And were he more reliable, he would currently be either dead or in jail today according to his own promise. But if it’s possible for him to cross a line that he has not already thoroughly erased, he did so when he placed himself in the same heroic company as Rosa Parks saying “There will come a time when the gun owners of America will be the Rosa Parks and we will sit down on the front seat of the bus.” Never mind the obvious absurdity of juxtaposing the non-violent civil rights struggle for equality with the desire to hoard munitions. Nugent and his ilk even suggested that things would have been much better had civil rights activists been armed to the teeth. Of course that would have violated the principles of non-violent civil disobedience practiced by Martin Luther King. It would also have contributed to a blood bath in the streets if protesters were actually stupid enough to do what Nugent proposes.
The Heartbreak of Hoplophobia
Not satisfied with merely rebutting the arguments of gun safety advocates, the gunarchists have invented a psychological disorder that they can use to dismiss the heart-tugging appeals of real people who were victims of gun violence. Hoplophobia, which they define as a morbid fear of guns, is not recognized by any mental health authority, but it is now being used to assert that anyone who has undergone a traumatic experience associated with guns is psychologically impaired and unfit to participate in a policy debate. There is only one purpose for this made-up malady, and that is to try to get effective spokespeople like Gabrielle Giffords, Jim Brady, the Sandy Hook parents, etc., to shut up.
The advocates for unrestrained proliferation of weaponry of all kinds have simply stopped trying to make coherent arguments. They are pursuing an absolutist course wherein any opposition is tantamount to tyranny and justifies armed rebellion to resist. These are the immutable positions of the gunarchists who represent the arms manufacturers, but not the American people. Polls have repeatedly confirmed that even NRA members do not support the positions of the NRA leaders. And eventually our representatives in congress will have to recognize that their best interests are served by serving the people and not the lobbyists.
For some time now there has been a delusional right-wing fear that President Obama and his socialist henchmen were plotting to confiscate every firearm in the nation and force the patriopathic gun-lovers of America into servitude. These NRA-theists are the weapons version of Birthers and Truthers, and since they believe that the government intends to seize their armories, I am calling them “Seizers.”
Setting aside the fact that there has been no effort to prevent any law-abiding citizen from exercising their right to keep and bear arms, the psychotic fervor that is present in these fanatics has been so emphatic that it has overflowed the banks of wingnuttery and flooded the media and even congress. One of the latest and looniest theories is that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been buying up bullets as part of a scheme to deplete the market so as to deprive citizens from having access to ammunition. That’s actually a softening of their prior theory wherein they thought that the DHS was preparing for warfare against a rebellious population.
The DHS has explained repeatedly that they are not buying any more bullets than prior administrations and, in fact, their purchases have declined (from 148.3 million in fiscal 2010 to 103.2 million rounds in 2012). But that hasn’t stopped the Seizers from frantically squealing about the imaginary conspiracy. What really makes this notion epically inane is that in a free market the only thing panic buying would do is motivate the manufacturers to increase production to meet demand. And now Fox News has gotten around to reporting this simple economic reality. But not without editorializing it in a false and negative way:
The article interviews an employee of - get this - Stockpile Defense by the name of - not kidding here - Steve Warholic (I wish I could make up stuff this good). This article goes to great lengths to advance the conspiracy theories of the Seizers before eventually getting around to reporting a bit of truth. They lead off with with some familiar Fox fear mongering:
“Massive government purchases, including a plan by the Department of Homeland Security to buy more than 1 billion rounds of ammunition, have further stoked fears – and suspicions.”
However, later in the article they get to what is truly at issue:
“Ammunition manufacturers are reporting record profits and sales, with increases that number in the double and sometimes triple digits. Olin, which owns Winchester, reported last week the company’s first quarter earnings climbed 190 percent over the same period last year.”
There you have it. This whole escapade by the administration was actually an effort to enrich the weapons industry. They were probably in cahoots with the NRA the whole time. Consider this: Since we know that the NRA is not a grassroots organization of citizens, but rather a lobbying group for arms manufacturers, then they have an interest in pumping up sales for guns and ammo. And the Obama administration has been struggling with weak job growth even as the economy has been heating up. So they would welcome anything that puts more people back to work. Therefore, news like like this would benefit both Obama and the NRA:
“Ammunition manufacturers are struggling to make enough and have hundreds of millions of dollars in backorders. They’ve added hundreds of employees and equipment and increased overtime, and, in some cases, are running factories around the clock.”
It’s a win-win. And accomplished courtesy of crackpots who are easily persuaded that their world is falling apart and they must stockpile munitions to protect them from their ravenous neighbors and the jackbooted thugs they used to revere as first-responders.
This sort of economic stimulus could be replicated with any number of other conspiracy theories. Reaching back to some golden oldies, why not reprise the Birther craze, but this time add a profit component that would convince people that they need to get their own documents in order. That would create a demand for paper to print new birth certificates and spur hiring at Kinkos and other quick copy emporiums. Or how about priming the climate change “hoax” in conjunction with oil companies to jump start the sales of gas guzzlers and petroleum products.
With the abundance of lunatic conspiracy theorists out there we could bring unemployment down to 4% in no time if we manage these nut cases efficiently.
[Update] Apparently unsatisfied with the response they got to this article, Fox republished the exact same piece five days later. They are really pushing to make something of this clunker.
The keynote speaker for this year’s NRA convention in Houston was a real crowd pleaser with experience riling up weak-minded right-wing sheeple. Glenn Beck’s sermon was delivered with his usual flair for phony emotion and theatrics. Here is the video if you have the stomach for it.
Beck set up his speech by fluffing the audience with praise for what awesome, charitable, courageous, sexy, patriots they all were. Of course, they lapped up this drooling approbation like thirsty puppies and rewarded Beck’s pandering with masturbatory applause. Beck gave the people exactly what they wanted and even titillated them with a teasing hint of a new project he would be announcing “in the coming days” with “major partners.”
The primary message of Beck’s program, however, was a more overarching appeal to the grand province of the Lord, with whom Beck frequently reminds folks that he is in close communication. Never mind that Beck’s interpretation of the divine is in stark contrast to that of most theologians. Take, for instance, how he inexplicably juxtaposes the mission of the NRA with that of the Prince of Peace by saying “Our right to keep and bear arms will not be infringed. We will follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ.” And while Beck never reveals where in scripture he learned that Jesus’ footsteps were fortified with firearms, he returned to the theme several times with pronouncements like this:
“Jesus was a man of God. He was a man of peace. He was a man of forgiveness. But make no mistake, Jesus Christ was also immoveable. The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. And we will win by strapping on the full armor of God.”
Perhaps someone should remind Beck that Jesus ordered his apostles to lay down their weapons when confronted with Roman soldiers who came to arrest him in the Garden of Gethsemane. Or maybe they just dismiss it as that old “live by the sword, die by the sword” nonsense that their savior mumbled while under duress. Or, much like the 2nd Amendment, they just heed the half of the text that appeals to them and throw out irrelevancies like “die by the sword” and “well regulated militia.” And where he gets this business about the “armor of God” that he’s so anxious to strap on (an unfortunate phrasing), is anybody’s guess. The closest similar rhetoric would come from the Crusades. In the end, it belittles any notion of a divine power that certainly doesn’t need to rely on the defensive accoutrements of mortals.
Beck railed on interminably, punctuating his evangelical bluster with warnings of end-times alarmism. He insisted that we are in a “precarious situation” and that “the hour grows late.” He feverishly hammered into the heads of his assembled masses the apocalyptic angst that is the hallmark of his nightmarish doctrine.
“Our freedom is under attack. Our liberty, our way of life is being legislated out of existence. Our rights are being diminished by a ruling class of power of elites. They’re growing out of control. We have a government of radical revolutionaries actively working against the Constitution and the American people.”
And after that upchucking of fear and darkness, Beck was steadfast in his determination to fight the left’s tactics of fear and darkness – with love. Because, as we all know, love is best expressed behind the muzzle of an assault weapon that was acquired without any background check. Just ask the children of Sandy Hook, the students of Virginia Tech, the movie fans of Aurora, or even the church-goers of Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
This may one of the most repulsive moves yet by gun worshiping extremists bent on preserving the legitimate rights of the 2nd Amendment for murderers and madmen.
The Daily Caller, a web site run by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, posted an article that posits a theory about people who have survived gun violence or the families of deceased victims. The authors propose that such people are mentally unfit to express their opinions about the tragedies that they and their loved ones endured. These committed reformers, the authors allege, are suffering from “hoplophobia,” a fake condition that is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association or any other mental health authority.
The term was coined by the late Jeff Cooper, a former board member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), and is defined by him as “a morbid fear of guns.” TheDC argues that people who have had traumatic experiences involving gun violence cannot construct rational opinions about public firearms policy because they have been damaged psychologically. The article falsely asserts that hoplophobia is “a real, extremely dangerous, widespread, and clinically recognizable complex specific phobia.” No, actually, it is none of those things. It is the creation of a politically motivated lobbyist for weapons manufacturers. Which makes this statement from the article all the more absurd:
“Many doctors are guilty of ‘boundary violations’ when they, with some frequency, inject anti-gun political opinions or content into their clinical work as health-care providers. It is our assertion that this constitutes several serious ethical violations including at least: mixing politics and health care.”
As a representative of the NRA, and not a medical professional, it is undeniable that Cooper’s conflation of politics and medicine is an outright ethical violation that the article itself later condemns as “practicing outside one’s recognized fields of expertise.” As the article progresses interminably through its jargon-laden mush of pseudo-science, it never makes a coherent argument to support its premise that victims are not credible witnesses or activists. Yet it does glorify its own intellectual silliness with the hyperbolic claim that “Hoplophobia is far and away the most dangerous of all phobias.”
It is easy to assert that a phobia you make up yourself is the worst one ever, but it is much harder to support such a claim. In fact, hoplophobia is a cognitive disaster area that makes little sense. One of the obvious flaws of this crackpot theory is the assertion that gun violence victims have a generalized fear of guns. To the contrary, many are themselves gun owners and continue to endorse the right to keep and bear arms even after their traumatic episodes. There is nothing inconsistent (or insane) in advocating reasonable regulations for obtaining dangerous weapons and supporting legislation to keep such items out of the hands of those who will misuse them.
Which brings us to another glaring flaw. The authors attribute opposition to unfettered access to any type of weapon as evidence of hoplophobia. Were that the case it would mean that in excess of 80% of the American people are sufferers, because that’s how many support the expanded regulations currently being debated in congress. Obviously, 80% of the country has not been victimized by gun violence, so TheDC will have to come up with another theory to explain this discrepancy. And luckily, they have one handy:
“The large-scale support such a program sometimes finds, including within the media, implies a mass-hysteria or mass-hypnosis effect.”
See? We’re all hypnotized and/or hysterical. Never mind the fact that many of us own guns and happily concede that right to others in an environment that is responsible and filters out felons and other unstable individuals. And set aside the reasonable perspective that a certain measure of managed fear is appropriate when dealing with instruments that are so potentially injurious. Far too many devastating accidents have occurred when people failed to respect the inherent destructive force that guns possess.
In the end, it seems that the inventors of the phony phobia are themselves the ones who suffer from irrational fears. They consider any approach to public safety that addresses guns is a covert attempt to disarm them, enslave them, and confiscate their guns and other private property. They explicitly state in this article that hoplophobia “can compromise the U.S. Constitution and human freedom itself.” If that isn’t an expression of a hyper-phobic personality, then what is?
You would think that it’s bad enough that innocent people at Lone Star College near Houston were assaulted by a maniac with a knife, but the last thing they need is some right-wing jerk-holes exploiting the tragedy to make an idiotic political point about gun control.
Sadly, that’s exactly what happened yesterday as aforementioned jerk-holes like Michelle Malkin, Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, Glenn Beck flunkies, and others made light of the horror experienced by the victims of the attack. The common theme addressed in their juvenile attempts at humor was that Obama would propose some sort of “knife control” now that there had been a mass-stabbing at a school.
Malkin: Coming soon: Limits on length, serration & sharpness.
Starnes: Does Obama have Air Force One gassed up and ready to head to Houston to launch his “War on X-acto Knives”?
Beck Flunky: Will there be calls for stricter knife control following today’s horrific attack?
Alex Jones: Government, Protect us! Ban knives now!
The problem with their non-funny, non-logic (aside from the rank insensitivity) is that there is a glaringly obvious corollary to this story that they are incapable of comprehending.
As tragic as it is to be a victim of a crime like this, there is some solace to be had by having survived. That’s a sentiment that is surely shared by friends and relatives. I’m pretty sure that every one of the people who were stabbed are grateful that they were not shot and killed. And the simple fact that there were no fatalities in Houston contrasts vividly with the deadly consequences of last Decembers shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.
If anything, the results of this crime spree are an argument in favor of stricter regulations on guns. NRA apologists are fond of saying that criminals could simply use knives if they were unable to get guns. Well, as we’ve seen here, that would be step in the right direction if your objective is to save lives.
Unfortunately, the objective of the NRA, their bought and paid for legislators, and the dupes they have deceived, is to sell ever more guns and ammo. They work for the firearms manufacturers, not any rank and file constituency of citizens. And they are advocating a policy that guarantees more grief and suffering. It’s time to do something about it and, but for the efforts of the gun worshipers, we could pass sensible legislation that would make our society safer without imposing on anyone’s rights.
By the way, there already is knife control, as well as restrictions on many other dangerous weapons. It’s a pretty sorry situation when the American people overwhelmingly support legal solutions to the problem of gun violence and can’t get it, but silliness like “shoe control.” is imposed in all of our airports.
The American ultra-rightists in the Republican Party like to associate themselves with an unwavering patriotism that borders on psychosis. They revere the flag as if every one of the Chinese-sewn banners had wrapped pieces of the True Cross. Granted, their unctuous adoration is mostly vacant rhetoric that disguises a deeply held animosity for real liberty and justice, but it is worn as garishly as papal vestments.
This makes it all the more startling that senate Republicans have declared their opposition to a recently approved UN Arms Trade treaty that would regulate the transfer of tanks, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, warships, missiles, etc., between member nations. There were only three votes against the treaty in the UN: Syria, Iran, and North Korea. Consequently, the GOP is aligning itself with three of the most brutally oppressive regimes in the world.
The treaty has been debated for more than a decade and contains language that explicitly prohibits it from regulating any domestic transactions within any country. The whole purpose is to stem the traffic of military grade weapons to rogue nations and terrorists. So obviously Syria, Iran, and North Korea have easily discernible motivations to oppose the treaty. The question is: What reasons do senate Republicans have?
The short answer to that question is: The NRA. The National Rifle Association has come out against the treaty claiming that it will infringe on the Second Amendment rights of American citizens. They offer no evidence of how the treaty could interfere with our Constitution. They simply oppose it out of a blind distrust for any institution that seeks to put limits on the transfer of weapons. The position of the NRA, and their allies in Washington, is that any entity, person, corporation, or nation, should have free reign with regard to weapons acquisitions, and sales, including weapons of mass destruction. They believe this fervently despite assurances like this one from Secretary of State, John Kerry:
“As the United States has required from the outset of these negotiations, nothing in this treaty could ever infringe on the rights of American citizens under our domestic law or the Constitution, including the Second Amendment.”
This is perhaps one of the clearest delineations of the differences between extremists on the right and rational progressives with regard to sensible gun safety measures. Progressives favor keeping dangerous arsenals out of the hands of tyrants and terrorists, while right-wingers, serving the interests of defense contractors (even those in China), favor unencumbered free trade. And this manufactured controversy over a much-needed international treaty parallels perfectly with the domestic debate. The right has no intention of engaging in an honest debate or representing the wishes of the people, who overwhelmingly support new regulations.
The more this sort of insanity is revealed to American voters, the more they will continue to reject the short-sighted, falsely skewed servants of the gun lobby. But the media needs to be more responsible and point out the loony alliances that are forming between mad dictators like Assad, Ahmadinejad, and Jong-Un, and our own congressional leaders like Mitch McConnell.
Police investigating the shootings at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut, released a stack of documents today that reveal many previously undisclosed details about the crime and the perpetrator, Adam Lanza. Among the items made available to the press were inventories of a well-stocked cache of weapons and ammunition, a variety of notebooks and journals, and various computers, books, and gaming devices.
Also disclosed in the warrants were materials from the National Rifle Association including an NRA booklet on the “Basics of Pistol Shooting” and a certificate from the NRA in Lanza’s name.
Curiously, when Fox News broadcast a story on these documents they omitted any reference to the NRA items listed therein. Reporter Rick Leventhal had sufficient time to note that Lanza was an avid gamer, but he said nothing about the NRA. The report even included prepared graphics with three screen-fulls of bullet-pointed lists of the contents of the documents, but no mention of those related to the NRA.
Either Fox News doesn’t think that the presence of NRA training books and certificates are relevant to the story (although samurai swords and books on autism are), or they are deliberately protecting the NRA from the bad publicity that could result from disclosing all the facts.
This casts a whole new light on Fox’s slogan, “We report. You decide.” Perhaps it should read “We report some things but withhold those that reflect poorly on our ideological allies. You decide based on the censored set of ‘facts’ we choose to reveal.”
The result of this sort of journalistic chicanery is that viewers will always make decisions based on the prejudices imposed by Fox’s editors and reporters. Ironically, their overtly biased story construction only makes matters worse. Were they to have included the information about the NRA, they could have also pointed out that the NRA cannot be held responsible for crimes committed by anyone who purchases their books or takes their training courses. However, by omitting the facts completely, Fox makes it appear that the NRA has something to be embarrassed by and that they benefit from Fox’s malfeasance. Perhaps they are even complicit in influencing Fox to alter their reporting.
In the end, it is just another reason that Fox viewers are so grossly ill-informed and hold views that widely diverge from the majority of Americans who have a more common sense perspective on gun safety issues and many other political and social matters. It explains the existence of the Fox Bubble World and the pathetic drones who reside therein.
The National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre appeared on Meet the Press this morning to lambaste New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to educate voters about the gun safety legislation currently being debated in congress.
LaPierre is furious that the Mayor is joining with other mayors in an advertising campaign (video below) to help convince voters and congress to adopt responsible gun safety reforms. What outrages LaPierre, and what Fox News made the headline for their report, is that Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) is planning to spend $12 million on the campaign. LaPierre pounced on that disclosure accusing Bloomberg of trying to “impose his will on the American public,” and insisting that “He can’t buy America.” That stretches the boundaries of irony to stratospheric new levels.
The budget for MAIG is less than half of what the NRA spent in the last election cycle, $2 million of which was spent directly on lobbying members of congress. If MAIG is trying to buy America then the NRA is brazenly outbidding them. It takes a double-barreled load of gall to accuse someone of something you are doing to a far greater degree, but that’s the sort of dishonest hyperbole that LaPierre is known for.
The allegation that MAIG would impose Bloomberg’s will on the American public is also blatantly false. In fact, the public overwhelmingly supports the proposals in the MAIG’s platform that include universal background checks and banning assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. One needs look no further than the Fox News poll released this week for confirmation.
The issues advocated by MAIG have broad support from the American people in general, and some are also supported by majorities of gun owners and even NRA members. LaPierre purports to represent the entire membership of the NRA, but that is clearly not the case. The NRA is primarily a lobbying organization that serves the interests of firearms manufactures, not citizens.
If anyone is trying to buy America and impose his will on the people, it is LaPierre and the NRA. And Fox News is happy to help them deceive the public by reporting the MAIG expenditure but not put it in context by reporting the NRA’s spending.
So exactly how deep is the vein of idiocy that runs through the NRA gun worship crowd? Just have a look at this item from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze (and associated wingnut media): 44 Gun Companies Have Stopped Selling To Law Enforcement In Anti-2nd-Amendment States.
This is the sort of thing you expect from lie factories like Fox Nation. But the evil genius in this meticulously plotted protest is not readily apparent at first glance. However, if you let it sink in for a minute it becomes hilariously inept. In fact, it’s rather astonishing how they could get so much wrong in one short headline. Let us count the ways:
1) No states are anti-2nd Amendment.
The gunnies are trying to portray any state that dares to seek solutions to rampant gun violence of the sort that took the lives of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut, as contrary to the right to keep and bear arms as stipulated in the Constitution. However, reasonable regulations and background checks have been upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court and are supported by majorities of the American public, and even by majorities of NRA members.
2) There’s no evidence that any of the listed vendors were ever state suppliers.
The article on TheBlaze lists 44 munitions vendors who are taking an oath to refuse to sell their products to law enforcement agencies. But in no cases have they provided any evidence that they are presently engaged in such sales. And in at least some cases it seems pretty unlikely. I’m not sure that Old Grouch’s Military Surplus or Controlled Chaos Arms are sacrificing much in the way of revenue from police department clients. None of the major arms manufacturers like Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer, or Glock are participating in the boycott.
3) Other vendors will happily take up the slack.
These eager activists don’t seem to grasp the concept of boycotts. Generally they are carried out by refusing to buy certain products, thus hurting the targeted vendors by using their financial clout to affect policy changes. Instead, the gunnies are refusing to sell their own products to willing buyers, thus hurting only themselves. It’s a little like demanding that the bank teller hand over all the money and threatening to shoot yourself if they don’t.
4) If effective, the boycott would endanger the lives of citizens.
Setting aside the fact that this protest is pitifully ill-conceived, let’s imagine how it would unfold if it had any chance of succeeding. The apparent goal is to pressure states not to implement gun safety initiatives by, in effect, disarming the officers who are there to protect the people. That seems like a reckless course of action and one that the public would disapprove of in droves. Gun advocates may enjoy fondling their weapons and pretending to be superheroes, but most citizens are not anxious to confront desperate criminals on their own. Grandma is not likely to hear the call on the police scanner, start up the Rambler, and head down to the mall to foil a gang of jewelry store thieves.
5) The law enforcement agencies don’t make the laws.
Perhaps the most tunnel-blind facet of this folly is that the dimwitted gun vendors are aiming their protest at the police, despite the fact that they are only responsible for enforcing laws, not drafting them. So the gunnies are taking a stand to refuse to provide service revolvers to local police because of something that was done by governing legislatures and executives.
Like so many harebrained schemes by far-right extremists, this protest action is not very well thought out. It harms first responders who are innocent parties in this debate; it puts citizens at risk; it blows up in their own faces financially; and it makes no strategic sense whatsoever. Yet it is being heralded by the wingnut press including Breitbart News, and Fox Nation. And in addition to the article on TheBlaze, Glenn Beck addressed the subject on his webcast escalating it into pure conspiracy theory delusion. He warned that the gun dealers…
“…are not going to provide anything to a state where those weapons are going to be used against the citizens to possibly take guns and gun rights away.”
So Beck is afraid that states are plotting shooting rampages by police against residents in pursuit of their firearms and, therefore, the police must be disarmed. This is another demonstration of conservatives leaning so far out to the right that they fall overboard and make asses of themselves. And as if to underscore their dementia, note the ad on TheBlaze about “FEMA Coffins.” Those should come in handy after the cops have killed everybody.
Today Fox Nation went after Joe Biden’s Gun Violence Prevention Task Force by reporting that one of the members is the father of a young man who was convicted in 2008 of plotting a Columbine-style attack at his school. But that was only half of the story.
Thomas Nee was president of the Boston Police Patrolman’s Association. He was selected to be a member of the task force due to his life-long career in law enforcement and his 30 year association with Biden. Unfortunately, he also happens to have a son who ran afoul of the law.
Joseph Nee was a teenager when he reportedly conspired with his friend, Tobin Kerns, to commit an assault on the students and faculty of his Marshfield, MA, school. He was convicted and sentenced to nine months, with another two years of probation. The defense noted that it was Joseph who went to the police to report the plot, which resulted in his arrest and that of his friend. Consequently, due to Joseph’s renunciation of the activity and cooperation with law enforcement, no one was ever actually threatened or harmed.
The article posted by the Fox Nationalists featured the sensationalist headline “Member Of Biden’s ‘Gun Control Task Force’ Has Son Convicted Of Planning Columbine-Style Attack.” The clear intent on the part of Fox was to tarnish the task force’s reputation in order to bias public opinion against its work. None of the details were included by Fox or the Breitbart News column which was its source.
Also not included was the fact that the President of the NRA has also had family problems with regard to criminal gun use. David Keene’s son was convicted of shooting at another man in an incident of road rage. The younger Keene was sentenced to ten years in prison for attempted murder.
To the extent that Fox desires to discredit Biden’s task force by publicizing the actions of a single member’s family, the NRA should be similarly liable for the actions of the spawn of its president. If anything, these kids are a warning sign of the potential risks associated with growing up in families where firearms are revered. Both of these fathers were ardent gun advocates and users, and they raised their kids in households where such weaponry was commonplace.
However, neither of these fathers can reasonably be prohibited from involving themselves in the public discourse on gun violence because of the actions of their sons. And this one-sided effort by Fox to impose a form of censorship via smear tactics is unconscionable, unethical, and further evidence of their unfitness to be regarded as a credible news enterprise.
True to form, Fox News is rolling out a massive PR blitz in favor of the NRA’s “Guns Everywhere” agenda. It’s a free advertising bonanza for gun nuts and rightist politicians who exploit the controversy as a wedge issue. This morning there were fourteen separate stories on Fox Nation in addition to those airing on multiple programs on the Fox News Channel. And in every case the tone mirrored gun worshipers who are willing to tolerate mass murder every so often in order to hang on to their assault weapons.
Much of what is giving them their latest case of the willies is an off-hand remark by Vice-President Joe Biden. Speaking about bipartisan meetings with people and groups concerned about the subject, he told reporters that “There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken.” That was all it took to heat up the right to boiling, even though the reality is that there are very few and limited measures that can be implemented in that manner. Biden was merely referencing the fact that his review would be comprehensive, as any responsible approach to such a serious subject should be.
The resulting outrage echoed across the mediasphere with lunatics like Alex Jones threatening an armed rebellion, and NRA board member Ted Nugent comparing gun nuts to Rosa Parks. An item on Drudge made comparisons to Stalin and Hitler. Of course the usual suspects in the pundit and political classes immediately began inciting fears of a tyrannical Obama confiscating all guns and abolishing the Constitution. Among those were Fox’s Charles Krauthammer, who declared any regulation of guns was unconstitutional and would lead to an insurrection, and newly minted Tea Party senator Ted Cruz, who concurred.
It really is impossible to have a rational, productive discussion with hair-trigger crackpots like these inflaming their followers and distorting the facts. They disregard the actual legal precedents with regard to regulation, as well as their own saner associates (i.e. Gen. Stanley McChrystal), and even recent polls that show that majorities of NRA members favor stricter controls on certain types of guns. In this environment it will require lawmakers to focus on the facts and the people’s will, rather than the lobbyists and political opportunists, if we hope to make our country safer.
After a week of silence, the NRA has finally come forward to comment on the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The spokesman for the gun manufacturer’s lobbying group was NRA executive VP Wayne LaPierre.
The speech was a rehash of familiar diversions the NRA uses to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the bloody consequences of the gun culture they advocate. Their obsession with a misreading of the second amendment (which they always ignore makes specific reference to “a well-regulated militia”) takes priority over every other right or freedom in America, including free speech and the right to life.
According to LaPierre, the real killers in America are the producers of movies and video games. And while LaPierre advocates regulating these forms of entertainment, he is adamantly opposed to the sensible regulation of the actual weapons that cause actual fatalities. This is consistent with the hypocrisy of right-wingers who claim to want government off their backs, unless it is to enforce some aspect of their theocratic morality. They chafe at federal efforts to rein in predatory bankers, but are thrilled when government keeps gays from getting married.
The NRA’s core argument against stricter regulation of the most dangerous types of firearms is that “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The problem with that argument is that it requires everybody have a gun. And, of course, having guns did not help Adam Lanza’s mother. What’s more, statistics show that people with guns in their homes are more likely to be victims of gun violence than those without guns. Often the gunowners weapon is used against them by their assailant.
The only constructive suggestion in LaPierre’s remarks was to hire and station armed guards at every school in America. Aside from turning all campuses into war zones, that would not come close to solving the problem of violence in our society. There are also children at the beach, in shopping malls, at church, in restaurants, and parks, and playgrounds, and libraries. Would LaPierre propose to have armed security at every Chuck E. Cheese and Disney movie?
At one point in his speech LaPierre spun an absurd hypothetical asking what would have happened if there were an armed guard at Sandy Hook. His presumption is that the tragedy would have been averted. However, it might just as likely have resulted in the murder of the guard along with everyone else. Common sense tells us that the killer would be expecting the guard, but the guard would be surprised by the killer. Plus, would the guard be armed with equivalent firepower? If so, that means that all of the guards at the sites we decide to protect would be carrying assault weapons. Seriously? Assault weapons at Chuck E. Cheese and Annie’s Day Care and Toys ‘R’ Us? Surely, nothing bad would come of that.
The NRA approach to public safety would be a throwback to the wild west when everybody was packing heat and there were shootouts in the street. It would turn our society into a battle zone with frightened citizens scrambling to insure that their mode of protection was superior to any other they might encounter. There would be innumerable George Zimmermans patrolling our neighborhoods and slaughtering the innocent.
The NRA manages to find fault in everything but guns. LaPierre cited movies, video games, mental health, and even hurricanes, as the causes of “a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization.” So we are victimized by hurricanes, but not by rapid-fire rifles with 30 round magazines? And at the top of his list was the media about whom he said…
“Throughout it all, too many in our national media, their corporate owners, and their stockholders, act as silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators.”
On this point I may have to agree with him. The media has been far too timid about addressing the practical issues surrounding gun policy in America. They are cowed by charges that it is “not the right time” to engage in this debate. But according to the NRA it is never the right time. Even now, LaPierre said that “There’ll be time for talk and debate later. This is the time, this is the day for decisive action. We can’t wait for the next unspeakable crime to happen before we act.” Let the absurdity of that statement sink in. He is saying that this issue is so important that we should act without any deliberation. We should just do something, but we must not, under any circumstances, talk about it first.
Always happy to do its part, Fox News has already signed on to LaPierre’s dictate of silence. It was recently disclosed that a Fox executive sent a memo to their producers ordering them to refrain from discussing gun control. And today, Fox is apparently still operating under that edict. They broke into the LaPierre speech late and left it before it concluded, cutting out a full third of the speech. Then they followed the aborted speech with a fiscal cliff panel. While they didn’t have time to show all of LaPierre’s remarks, they did broadcast in full remarks to the press by three GOP senators on a Benghazi report that was released two days ago.
I feel safer already knowing that Fox News and the NRA are aggressively campaigning for the rights of all Americans to live in a society awash with weapons designed for combat. Heavily armed guards in schools and bookstores can only serve to move this country closer to the utopian models of Somalia or Beirut sought by right-wingers where freedom reigns above all and government is small enough to drown in a bathtub.
Just when you thought you’ve heard it all, the sickening blather of the right-wing nuthouse crowd manages to scale to new heights of idiocy and hypocrisy.
Following one of the most horrific mass murders in this nation’s history, Republicans have rushed to the TV cameras and talk radio mics to blame the Newtown massacre on the absence of God in the classroom, the violence of video games, and/or too few firearms in the hands of teachers. The call for turning your child’s faculty members into an elementary school SWAT team has come from GOP leaders, congressmen and NRA spokespersons.
Now Ted Nugent, not surprisingly, has joined the fray. Nugent is on the board of the NRA and has a long history of worshiping weaponry. He was the host of a Discovery Channel special called “Ted Nugent’s Gun Country” (which Discovery just announced will have no further episodes). In his latest column for the “Moonie” Washington Times, Nugent, of all people, blasted what he called a “culture of contempt.” Adding that…
“The ugly and dangerous truth is that we live in an embarrassing, politically correct culture that exalts and rejoices in the bizarre.”
I couldn’t agree more. And Nugent is the perfect example of what is most embarrassing and bizarre in our culture. For Nugent to criticize the alleged contempt in society is something like Hitler criticizing anti-Semitism. Nugent is the guy who recently said…
“I vow that I will use our freedom to get these dirty cock-suckers out of the White House. The president is a bad man. The vice president is a bad man. They’re all bad people. If you don’t get that, you’re a dead motherfucker.”
“If Barack Obama becomes the President in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”
“I was in Chicago last week I said, ‘Hey Obama, you might want to suck on one of these, you punk?’ Obama, he’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on one of my machine guns. Let’s hear it for them. I was in New York and I said, ‘Hey Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset you worthless bitch.’ Since I’m in California, I’m gonna find Barbara Boxer she might wanna suck on my machine guns. Hey, Dianne Feinstein, ride one of these you worthless whore.”
Now Nugent thinks he can lecture other Americans on morality and virtuous culture? Nugent is a loathsome and hate-filled misanthrope whose wretched perception of reality is tainted by an all-consuming and diseased ego. He has no standing to judge other people or society in general. It is demented souls like his that contribute to what is worst in our society. And we would be far better off if he were to keep the promise he made a few weeks ago about being either dead or in jail. The sooner the better, Ted.
It is going on five days now that the NRA has maintained a media silence with regard to the Newtown massacre. Their Facebook and Twitter accounts went dark on Friday and have remained so ever since.
Today, however, Fox News reported that the organization is planning to make a statement soon. They posted this notice on their web site with the headline “NRA TO END SILENCE: Rights Group To Answer Gun-Control Lobby.”
That headline is a perfect demonstration of how Fox News deliberately prejudices their reporting to favor groups they support and disparage those they oppose. Fox identifies the NRA as a “rights group” when in fact they are registered lobbyists for the gun industry. Then they call gun control activists “lobbyists,” even though they represent only citizen efforts to reform gun safety legislation. That’s sort of like calling the Tobacco Council a smokers rights group, and the American Cancer Society anti-cancer lobbyists.
Fox News doesn’t seem to care about what the definition of a lobbyist is. So they attach the term, which has deserved negative connotations, to grassroots gun-control advocates in order to cast them in a negative light. And they refrain from properly identifying the NRA as the lobbyists they are in order to promote them more positively. This is an obvious rhetorical tactic to slant the impression they give to their audience. It further indicts Fox for their pro-NRA bias which became clearer yesterday when it was revealed that their program executives instructed their producers to refrain from any discussions of gun control.
And to top it all off, this bit of ironic ad placement was captured on Fox’s web site:
Putting a woman in a bloody t-shirt adjacent to an article about a mass killing is surely no one’s idea of smart marketing. Of course, this occurred due to an automated ad placement by a third-party agency. However, this unintended and unfortunate juxtaposition tells a story that is consistent with Fox’s editorial philosophy. Twenty-seven people are dead in Connecticut, but according to Fox, so far as gun control is concerned, everything is fine.
The nation is once again grieving the senseless loss of innocent life at the hands of a mentally unstable gunman. Compounding the tragedy, this time the majority of victims were children. As President Obama said this afternoon…
“As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago — these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”
Unfortunately, the politics will eventually seep into this as it always does. Gun rights advocates may try to evade a public debate by claiming that it is inappropriate to discuss responsible gun policy after a notorious crime, but in truth there is no better time. And waiting until the nation is crime-free would mean putting off the debate forever (which, of course, is their intent).
The President’s message explicitly addressing the need for meaningful action is bound to set off a flurry of paranoia from the Second Amendment set. It is just the sort of soundbite that triggers their imaginations. During the campaign, NRA president Wayne LaPierre wrote in a fundraising letter that Obama’s re-election would result in the “confiscation of our firearms” His proof of that was the fact that Obama had not taken any actions against gun ownership throughout his first term. To LaPierre, and many other right-wingers, that meant that Obama was lulling gun owners into a false sense of security and that Obama would proceed with the gun roundup in his second term. Of course, Fox News was a principle proponent of these conspiracy theories. Here are a few headlines from Fox’s community web site Fox Nation:
Obama Starts Pushing Gun Control
Obama: We’re Working on Gun Control ‘Under the Radar’
Obama May Use Executive Orders to Bypass Congress on Gun Control Laws
Obama to Push for New Gun Laws in Wake of Colorado Massacre?
Chuck Norris: Obama’s Stealth Gun Control
WSJ: Second Obama Term Could Kill Second Amendment
There were similar conspiratorial prophesies percolating in the midst of the “Fast and Furious” affair. Many conservative pundits and politicians believed the whole thing was a covert plot to impose stricter gun laws in the United States. Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips said as much on Fox News earlier this year.
“This was purely a political operation. You send the guns down to Mexico, therefore you support the political narrative that the Obama administration wanted supported; that all these American guns are flooding Mexico, that they’re the cause of the violence in Mexico and therefore we need draconian gun control laws here in America.”
So I’ll give it about forty-eight hours before some gun nut charges that Adam Lanza was an Obama operative sent to Connecticut to create havoc that would open the door for federal agents to clamp down on the rights of gun owners to possess assault weapons and other military grade munitions that our Founding Fathers could never have imagined. It could be Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Allen West or Michelle Bachmann. There are plenty of delusional crackpots on the right who could advance this theme. And if all else fails, the NRA could take it up themselves. Seriously…I wonder how long it will take them to run an ad like this:
Today America is mourning again. We all send our condolences to the families of the victims. But the most meaningful thing we can do for them is to start tomorrow to insist that rational and reasonable steps be taken to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the first place. That means adopting a sane approach to gun ownership and compassionate access to mental health care. Not to do so would be to rub salt in the wounds of everyone who has lost a loved one to gun violence, and it would also be an invitation for more of these horrific events in the future. We need to stop this, and we need to do it now.
Fox News has long been a source of blatant dishonesty and partisan propaganda. Most conscious observers are aware that much of what is broadcast on Fox is tainted and unreliable. That accounts for why so many independent surveys show that Fox News viewers are significantly less informed and/or misinformed, than consumers of other news media. Some studies even show that Fox News viewers know less about news events than people who watch no news at all.
But now Fox News has taken a step over the edge into pure Wackoland by linking to a known conspiracy theorist on their Fox Nation web site.
The article on Fox Nation, headlined “Soros Promotes UN Control Over Gun Ownership,” links directly to the Infowars web site run by Alex Jones. Jones is a noted proponent of some wildly off-kilter (and debunked) notions including FEMA-run concentration camps and 9/11 Trutherism. His imagination is boundless and he has provided the raw material for other looney fabulists like Glenn Beck. In fact, Jones accuses Beck of ripping off most of his material, such as the delusional fear mongering of a global caliphate engineered by a cabal of radical Muslims and western socialist atheists.
It’s not surprising to see the Fox Nationalists glom onto this nonsense because this single fable hits on three of the conservative community’s favorite phobias: George Soros; the United Nations; and federal agents coming for their guns. And in every case there is not even a sliver of reality to their nightmarish ravings.
First of all, the core issue centers on a United Nations initiative to address the proliferation of international “illegal” arms trading. There is nothing in the proposal that would infringe on the rights of any nation to set their own standards for gun ownership. The actual resolution explicitly states that countries will “exclusively” maintain the right within their borders to, “regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership, including through national constitutional protections on private ownerships.“
Secondly, George Soros has nothing whatsoever to do with the UN’s activities in this matter. The only association that Jones/Fox News can assert is that the media watchdog group Media Matters has written about the NRA’s obsession with this issue and Fox’s frequent promotion of that viewpoint. Jones writes that…
“George Soros is financing the fight to give the United Nations control of your guns.
“Through his Media Matters organization, Soros is dumping pro-UN gun control propaganda into the mainstream media to coincide with the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty”
Soros has contributed to Media Matters and therefore, according to the conspiracy theorists, Soros is exerting his omnipotent control over every charitable organization to which he has donated. Since Soros has given away billions of dollars to hundreds of organizations, he must be busier than God as he enforces his will on a defenseless world. Never mind that there has been no “dumping” of “pro-UN gun control propaganda.” All that Media Matters has done is to respond to the pro-NRA propaganda that Fox News has been disseminating.
Finally, if there is any conspiracy to be unveiled, it is the one engineered by Fox News to advance the agenda of the NRA. The NRA’s CEO, Wayne LaPierre, is a fixture on the Fox network, and his commentaries are never challenged by guests with opposing views, and certainly not by Fox hosts. Fox permits LaPierre to express his irrational belief that Obama is determined to confiscate all of the guns in America. His proof of that is that Obama is trying to lure us all into a sense of false security by doing nothing to inhibit gun ownership. It’s a demented logic that argues that the more Obama refrains from any gun control, the more his gun control aspirations are revealed.
That’s the sort of absurdity that makes for the most entertaining, albeit dangerous, conspiracy theorism. And it’s the sort of thing that has made Alex Jones a leading figure amongst conspiracy theorists. The fact that Fox has now joined up with Jones says a lot about the direction that Fox is heading during this election year. Apparently the lunacy and lies generated by the Fox News regulars is not sufficient for the current situation, so they have called in reinforcements from the masters of mayhem at Jones & Company. Just when you thought that the credibility of Fox News couldn’t get any lower.
This past weekend there was a media feasting on a few poorly chosen words by CNN commentator Hilary Rosen. Although Rosen is not a representative of President Obama’s administration or campaign, the President and his staff was hounded for reactions and responses to her comments. Republican operatives and media flacks spent countless hours falsely asserting that Obama was in some way responsible for Rosen’s opinions.
OK then, let’s have some fairness and balance. This weekend another political partisan had a few things to say about the upcoming election. Washed-up, geriatric rocker, Ted Nugent appeared at the NRA conference in St. Louis and what he had to say ought to have similar repercussions for Romney. His unhinged rant was an onslaught of invective wherein he called the President and others in the administration “evil” and “vile,” and he spoke of his desire to oust “the enemies in the White House.” Here are a few more choice moments from his psychotic spewing:
“If you don’t know that our government is wiping its ass with the constitution, you’re living under a rock someplace.”
“We’ve got four Supreme Court justices who don’t believe in the constitution.”
“If Barack Obama becomes the President in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”
“Our President, Attorney General, our Vice-President, Hillary Clinton – they’re criminals.”
“We need to ride into the battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”
“It’s as Nazi Germany as it gets.”
“We need to become warriors on the streets of America.”
These remarks run the gamut from merely disrespectful to hostile to treasonous. And this is not coming from an unassociated cable news talking head, Nugent is a Romney advocate whose endorsement Romney purposefully solicited. Last month Nugent Tweeted his support after a personal call from Romney:
“after a long heart&soul conversation with MittRomney today I concluded this goodman will properly represent we the people & I endorsed him”
At the time I wondered whether the media would hold Romney accountable for actively seeking the endorsement of a psychopath who has threatened the President and others with assassination. Apparently the media wasn’t interested. However, after the press’ mobbing of Rosen you might think that they would expect similar responses from Romney for what his campaign surrogate says.
The differences in the way that the press handle these situations should put an end to any talk of the so-called liberal media. Nugent’s violent and revolting rhetoric (which he means sincerely) far exceeds the comparatively tame opinions of Rosen (which were misconstrued). And Romney ought not to be allowed to evade questions on the matter.
[Update] New York Magazine contacted the Secret Service with regard to Nugent’s threats and they confirm that “We are aware of it, and we’ll conduct an appropriate follow up.”
Here is a highlight reel of Nugent’s remarks (and if you have the stomach for it, here is the whole thing[Note: The NRA has removed this video]).
Glenn Beck has been pretty busy this weekend. After delivering the commencement speech at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Virginia, where he told the graduating class to “shoot to kill,” he jetted off to North Carolina to deliver the same message to the National Rifle Association. He began is address by appropriately greeting the crowd with a hearty “Hello gun nuts.”
It is interesting to note that Beck could barely get through a couple of paragraphs of his speech at LU without sobbing. But at the NRA he didn’t even mist up once in 45 minutes. But as always, the most interesting part of Beck’s performance is the shockingly ignorant and repulsive things he says. And the NRA speech was no exception – starting with this:
“We have to think of something, because the Titanic is going down. We need to save the passengers, that’s what we need to worry about. Let the ship sink if we have to. We have a great plan: It’s called the Constitution, and we’ll build another one.”
What a hideous notion. Does he have no conception of how many lives would be ruined were his fantasy to come true? Of course, he wouldn’t have to worry about himself because, like the Titanic, the wealthy were given priority access to the lifeboats while everyone else was locked away in steerage until the ship’s fate was sealed.
Along with his striking indifference to the suffering of others, he also affirmed his reputation as a flaming hypocrite. Beck has spent months castigating Ron Bloom, a Treasury Department advisor, for an off-hand remark (which Beck takes out of context) wherein he said that he agrees with Mao’s quote that power comes from the barrel of a gun. Well, at the NRA affair Beck said that he agrees with Mao (and Bloom) as well, and that that’s why “they” want to take your guns away.
Now that Beck has aligned himself with Mao, I’m sure we can expect him to do a week of shows about himself with blackboard illustrations tying him to radical communism. He could link it to his assertion at the NRA conference that there aren’t any Democrats anymore, they are all revolutionary Marxists. All of them. Along with media reform activists, Free Press, and your church.
On the religious front, Beck was unambiguous about the need for you to abandon your church and follow him. He declared that we have “lost faith in faith.”
“Our faith is down. Our churches are emptying. Do you know why? Because our churches don’t stand for anything anymore.”
Beck asked his audience what they still believed in. He ran down a list of institutions that he implied were no longer worthy of our trust: congress, politics, big business, capitalism, etc. Then he listed the three things that we could still believe in: each other, our troops, and cops. No mention of the church. Now if you note that his audience is a few thousand people gathered to celebrate gun ownership, then all three of Beck’s beacons of trustworthiness are armed, and two of them are enforcers of authority. What exactly is his message? He obviously values the use of force and fear over democracy.
As Beck might say, does that sound familiar? Despite his complaint early on in this speech that he is tired of being called a Nazi, that is precisely what he sounds like. And he even made excuses for the German regime by completely mischaracterizing what drove them to war:
“Now who did they blame? World War II and the fascists came in, Adolf Hitler came in, because the Germans looked at the Jewish banker. Then they also looked at, who else? Oh, France. France and Great Britain. They forced them to pay – at our bidding. We, through Woodrow Wilson said, ‘Make ‘em pay. Make ‘em pay.’ And France said ‘Make ‘em pay.’“
So it was our fault that the Germans invaded Poland and Czechoslovakia and England and France and Russia? It was our fault that they massacred millions in cold blood? It was because of our president in cahoots with western Europeans and Jews? And Beck doesn’t want us to call him a Nazi?
To describe these ravings as lunacy and ignorance simply doesn’t go far enough. But as usual, Beck went to great lengths to glorify ignorance. That’s a position he can take with authority given that his background consists mainly of being an alcoholic, drug abusing, college dropout, who rose to fame as a morning zoo, AM radio shock-jock. But it’s not enough for him to pay tribute to the self-educated, he has to go further and denigrate those with real academic achievements:
“I’m a self-educated man, and proud of it. If you have a Harvard degree, or a law degree from Yale or Princeton, what the hell do I care? What difference does that make? I can sit down with the best of them one-on-one.”
I have no problem with an individual’s ability to acquire knowledge. And I don’t believe that a college diploma is the only measure of intellect. But neither do I disparage those who demonstrated the commitment and intellectual fortitude to endure the rigorous years of learning and testing one’s limits that occurs throughout a college career. It’s funny that Beck thinks that he could “sit down with the best of them” despite the fact that he never does so. If he did, he would be thoroughly demolished. His grasp of reason is as brittle as egg shell, and he has a severe aversion to facts. But perhaps my favorite part of Beck’s fantastical philosophical misadventures was this:
“Quite honestly, I never understood the free love, smoking dope, having sex in the mud, Woodstock hippies, then. I don’t understand them now. But that’s who’s running our country now. Personally I liked them better when they were in the mud naked having sex than running our country.”
Personally, I rather liked it better myself. However, Beck is lying when he says it, because he was five years old when Woodstock took place in 1969. How could he have understood it then? But to be fair, with his warped perspective of the world, how could he understand it now either? He has a long history of animosity toward youth. He regards them as stupid and easily manipulated. But even setting that aside, his impression that hippies grew up to take over the country is ludicrous. Hippies were a minority at the time and, while most of them did become contributing members of society, the vast majority of today’s leaders were never hippies.
This speech was another example of Beck’s failure to comprehend modern society – or reality. It incorporates his trademark idiocy with ever lower and more disgusting insults to decent people and institutions. He reaffirms his devotion to authoritarianism, militarism, and the Church of Beck. Along with his speech at Liberty University, Beck made this a weekend of extremist conservatism that is little more than warmed over Randian exaltation of selfishness. I hope he takes a couple of days off now. I’m getting nauseous.