"Categorically False": DHS Debunks Right-Wing Fiction That ISIS Attempted To Cross The U.S.- Mexico Border
The Department of Homeland Security definitively debunked the persistent right-wing media conspiracy theory that Islamic State fighters have attempted to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the rumor is not supported by any “credible intelligence” and knocking the claim that the terrorists have been apprehended at the border as “categorically false.”
What began early this summer as an unsubstantiated claim from Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) that “people that are coming [across the U.S.-Mexico border] from states like Syria that have substantial connections back to terrorist regimes and terrorist operations,” (a claim PolitiFact Texas rated “Pants on Fire”), has morphed into a full-blown right-wing conspiracy theory. Conservative media and elected officials are hyping fears that members of the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) terrorist group are utilizing the U.S.-Mexico border to enter the U.S. and launch terrorist attacks, a chorus that has only grown louder in the ensuing months to attack immigration reform.
In September, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) claimed to have seen information detailing “four individuals trying to cross through the Texas border who were apprehended at two different stations that do have ties to known terrorists organizations in the Middle East,” a story subsequently hyped by Fox News. Nearly a month later, the number had jumped from four terrorists allegedly apprehended to 10.
Fox News’ On The Record provided a platform to Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) who claimed to have first-hand knowledge of the terrorists crossing the border. Host Greta Van Susteren replied to Hunter’s allegations by asking, “Do you have any information, or any evidence, that they are actually coming in the southern border now?” And Hunter responded, “Yes. … I know that at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas,” citing information he’d received from border patrol agents.
But the right-wing talking point is “categorically false,” according to the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees border security. On October 8, DHS spokesperson Marsha Catron refuted the rumor that Islamic State terrorists had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, telling The New Republic:
"The suggestion that individuals who have ties to ISIL have been apprehended at the Southwest border is categorically false, and not supported by any credible intelligence or the facts on the ground," said DHS spokesperson Marsha Catron. "DHS continues to have no credible intelligence to suggest terrorist organizations are actively plotting to cross the southwest border."
It remains to be seen whether DHS’s facts permeate the right-wing bubble. After hearing the DHS statement, Sean Hannity claimed on his radio program that the agency could not be trusted and suggested it may be lying.
Media Matters researcher Jess Torres contributed research to this post.
Flashback: When The Religious Right And Republicans Quashed An Investigation Into Right-Wing Extremism
Reports that the married couple who shot and killed two police officers, a bystander and themselves in Las Vegas this week were motivated by right-wing extremism have highlighted one of the more troubling trends in even the “mainstream” Right — denial that violent right-wing extremism even exists.
As Brian mentioned earlier today, a conservative pundit’s claim on the same day as the shooting that far-right violence is a “complete and total bogeyman” echoes the objections the attacks that many right-wing groups lobbed at a 2009 Department of Homeland Security report on domestic extremism. Right-wing groups and their allies in Congress created a fuss about the report, claiming that it was an attack on conservatives, Christians and veterans.
The American Family Association, Concerned Women for America and the American Center for Law and Justice piled on. Republicans in Congress demanded an investigation into how the report had come to pass. Spotting a good fundraising opportunity, Liberty Counsel even printed out “Proud to be a Right-Wing Extremist” cards to distribute to its members.
Eventually, the pressure led DHS to retract the report and later to cut back the team that produced it. Two years later, speaking publicly for the first time, the analyst who wrote the report — who happened to be a conservative Republican Mormon — said that the attacks on his unit’s work had undermined law enforcement’s ability to address the “growing and dangerous problem” of violent right-wing extremism.
What happened at DHS as a result of the criticism?
My team was dissolved. All training courses and briefings presentations were stopped. DHS leaders made it increasingly difficult to release another report on this topic.
Why would DHS leaders dissolve your team and stop these analytic activities?
The subject had become too politically charged. As a result, DHS leaders adopted a risk adverse approach toward this issue. Perhaps they thought it was a matter of organizational preservation.
Do you think the dissolution of your unit that you discuss has negatively affected State and local law enforcement?
Certainly. There is one less agency to assist state and local law enforcement with this growing and dangerous problem at a time of heightened activity.
Yet, as recently as last year, Religous Right groups were still using their bogus criticism of the report as a talking point against the Obama administration.
h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW
President Barack Obama has ordered a review of U.S. deportation practices to see whether immigration enforcement can be more humane, the White House said Thursday.
In a meeting with Latino lawmakers, Obama said he was deeply concerned about the pain that families feel when they are separated because of a broken U.S. immigration system. He told the lawmakers he’s asking Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to perform an inventory of current practices “to see how it can conduct enforcement more humanely within the confines of the law,” the White House said in a statement.
The announcement comes as immigrant rights activists, frustrated by the lack of progress in Congress, have been pressuring Obama to halt all deportations. Obama had said he doesn’t have the power to take that step unilaterally, although he has previously moved to ease deportations for some children brought into the U.S. illegally.
The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill last June with strong bipartisan support that would create a pathway for citizenship for the 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally, tighten border security and establish new visa and enforcement programs. The measure has languished in the House despite calls from Republican Party leaders, business groups, religious organizations and labor for lawmakers to act.
Taking part in the meeting Thursday were Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Texas, who chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill., a prominent immigration advocate, and House Democratic Caucus Xavier Becerra of California also joined Obama in the Oval Office.
President Barack Obama has ordered a review of our nation’s deportation practices to make our methods more humane. I believe the President’s right in making those moves.
he Home School Legal Defense Association announced today that the Romeike family, the German homeschoolers who lost their petition to have asylum in the US, will be granted “indefinite deferred status” by the Department of Homeland Security.
While Religious Right activists like HSLDA head Michael Farris blamed President Obama personally for the Board of Immigration Appeals decision not to grant the Romeikes asylum status, we aren’t holding our breaths for them to thank the Obama administration for the DHS’ decision.
Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, for one, is still milking the case for all it’s worth.
The Fox pundit today published an interview with Republican congressman Phil Roe, who told Starnes that it may take “civil disobedience” to prevent the Romeikes from facing deportation. Roe added that he blames Attorney General Eric Holder for the initial Board of Immigration Appeals decision, calling Holder “one of the most dangerous people in the country.” The congressman also described the Obama administration’s stance as un-American.
Farris, for his part, told Starnes that Tennesseans will organize like Rosa Parks to defend Romeike family, and one Republican state lawmaker called the case an “attack” on “Christian values.”
Southern Baptist Convention spokesman Roger Oldham added that the Romeikes are only facing legal problems because “this family is the antithesis of this administration’s political agenda – a heterosexual married Christian couple desiring to teach their biblical values to well-grounded children.”
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW
Former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will lead the U.S. delegation to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, which includes three openly gay athletes. She shared with NBC’s David Gregory this weekend that she now supports marriage equality, which she previously opposed:
NAPOLITANO: Like many in political and elective life in the early part of this century the evolution hadn’t occurred, and my statements were very much in that way. This was something that society in a way, the arc of history, as it were, needed to get there, and the arc of history has clearly arrived.
Under Napolitano’s leadership, the Department of Homeland Security issued written guidelines for protecting same-sex couples from deportation before the Defense of Marriage Act was overturned, and then ordered a review of all green card petitions after the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Almost four months after he was unmasked as a militant black nationalist who called for murdering “Uncle Tom race traitors,” Ayo Kimathi is still employed.
The black-nationalist Department of Homeland Security employee who was placed on leave almost four months ago for running a website that espouses the mass murder of whites has still not been fired, an agency spokesperson told National Journal.
The Southern Poverty Law Center first exposed Ayo Kimathi in August, prompting a small media firestorm that led DHS to place the procurement officer on administrative leave with pay pending review. DHS deputy press secretary Gillian Christensen confirmed that his status has not changed and that he is still on leave pending review.
Kimathi, using the online nom de guerre “the Irritated Genie,” called for “ethnic cleansing” of “black-skinned Uncle Tom race traitors” on his website, which envisioned a massive race war on the horizon. “In order for Black people to survive the 21st century, we are going to have to kill a lot of whites—more than our Christian hearts can possibly count,” he wrote.
In other postings, he warned that whites and their enablers like President Obama are trying to “homosexualize” black men in order to make them weaker, and suggested that a woman’s primary role in life should be to “keep a strong Black man happy.” He also seemed to hold anti-Semitic views, claiming in a Facebook post that his website was under attack from a conspiracy of “zionist smallhats, the Uncle Tom koons,” and, naturally, “the haters.”
Kimathi, who has been at DHS since 2009, works for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and made $115,731 in 2012. Civil service laws make it difficult for the federal government to fire employees.
Government Executive's Charles Clark reported in early September that DHS received complaints about Kimathi as long as two years ago. A former supervisor of Kimathi’s told the SPLC that “everybody in the office is afraid of him,” and worried that he would “come in with a gun someday and go postal.”
In September, a contractor at the Washington Navy Yard killed 12 people and injured eight others in a shooting rampage that also left him dead.
Homeland Security has condemned Kimathi’s political views and said his employment is under review, but as of Monday afternoon, he remains employed. That’s not acceptable, says Josh Glasstetter of the SPLC, which researches hate groups of all stripes. “DHS should be tracking Kimathi, not employing him,” he told National Journal.
"This isn’t a mundane human resources matter or a tricky First Amendment question. DHS should have investigated and fired Kimathi months, or even years, ago," Glasstetter added.
Kimathi has claimed his website was merely intended for entertainment. “The Irritated Genie of Soufeese” replied to a request for comment sent to his website saying “we will not be making any statements on this unfortunate situation.”
Obama nominates Jeh Johnson as secretary of Homeland Security
AP: President Obama nominated Jeh Johnson as next the secretary of Homeland Security.
At the Pentagon, Johnson oversaw the increased use of unmanned drone strikes, the revamping of military commission to try terrorism suspects and the repeal of the ban on gays in the military.
If confirmed by the Senate, Johnson, 56, would succeed Janet Napolitano, who left to take over as president of the University of California in September.
Photo: In this Nov. 30, 2010, file photo, Jeh Johnson speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon in Washington. (Charles Dharapak / AP Photo, file)
Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt continues to push the completely debunked conspiracy theory that the Department of Homeland Security is stockpiling ammunition to, as he put it recently, allow President Obama to raise a private army “equally as powerful as the military.”
In an interview at a recent conference in Oklahoma, Pratt falsely claimed that the DHS “won’t answer” right-wing questions about ammo purchases. “The most benign explanation” for the DHS’s purchases, Pratt said, is that the Obama administration is “destroying the economy” and preparing to respond to the ensuing “social unrest.”
Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano to resign, becomes next head of the University of California system — MSNBC
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will resign to become the next president of the University of California system. She will be the first female president in the system’s history.
Rep. Frank Lucas Wonders if There's an Obama 'Conspiracy to Buy Up All the Bullets So They're Not Available to Us' | Right Wing Watch
Rep. Frank Lucas, Republican of Oklahoma and House sponsor of a bill that is feeding a right-wing conspiracy theory about ammunition purchases by the federal government, wondered Monday if the Obama administration is leading “a conspiracy to buy up all the bullets so they’re not available to us.”
In an interview with Steve Malzberg, Rep. Lucas claimed that bullets are being “rationed” and that his constituents “have been telling me for a year they cannot buy ammunition in the retail stores.” When Malzberg played a clip of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano refuting the conspiracy theory that the administration is buying up bullets to keep them from consumers, Rep. Lucas replied, “It’s hard to see in the mind of an Obama-appointed official. They tend to be a little different than the general public, they have a different perspective.”
Rep. Lucas, along with Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, is sponsoring a bill that would cap the amount of ammunition non-Defense federal agencies are allowed to buy. The bill is a response to an Alex Jones-fueled right-wing conspiracy theory that even the NRA has debunked.
Rep. Jim Jordan Endorses Conspiracy Theory that Government Is Hoarding Ammunition | Right Wing Watch
Ohio Republican congressman Jim Jordan is joining Sen. Jim Inhofe in endorsing the conspiracy theory that the government is buying up bullets in order to limit their availability to gun owners during an interview yesterday with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who was the guest host on Sandy Rios In The Morning.
During the program, Perkins praised people for “buying bricks of ammo” and “buying gold” — even though the price of gold is collapsing — adding that he is “buying my kids ammo instead of saving bonds.” Jordan said that “Americans rightly understand that freedom is under attack in this country,” specifically religious liberty and the Second Amendment.
Jordan agreed with Perkins’ contention that the Department of Homeland Security is “hoarding ammunition” as a “way for the President to keep Americans from having ammo by having the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies buy it all up” and commended Americans for “purchasing a record level of firearms and ammunition.”
From the 04.29.2013 edition of AFR’s Sandy Rios In The Morning:
h/t: Right Wing Watch
Two Republican members of Congress introduced legislation on Friday that would limit the amount of ammunition the government is able to purchase at a given time. The bill is a response to far-right conspiracy theories that the government is “stockpiling” ammunition, either to wage a war against the American people or to dry up the ammunition market so average citizens can’t buy bullets.
Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) will put forth the Ammunition Management for More Obtainability Act (or, AMMO) Act in both the House and Senate. The bill would require executive branch agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to maintain ammunition levels below the average monthly amounts that the agencies had before Obama took office.
Last week, another Republican representative, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) brought up the “stockpiling” conspiracy in a hearing with DHS Sec. Janet Napolitano, who said it was “inherently unbelievable that those statements would be made.”
The theory comes from fringe websites like Alex Jones’s Infowars, but have been given a platform by Drudge, a site that commonly peddles unfounded conspiracy theories. Even some far-right sites have taken it upon themselves to debunk the claim that DHS is “stockpiling” weapons. Brietbart.com described the theories as “based more on panic than fact.”
(via Addicting Info: Debunking More Right-Wing Bulls**t: Liberal Shooters)
Conservatives always lie.
This “letter to the editor” has been making the rounds since January so I think it’s about time we debunked it. The letter is a hit job that originated with right-wing radio host Roger Hedgecock. The former mayor of San Diego has a radio show and podcast which he uses to spew his ugly messages. This one was picked up by viewers and redirected at local LTE pages nationwide. Let’s have a look, shall we?
The overall assertion is that progressive liberals are anti-gun and anti-second Amendment. Speaking as a progressive liberal gun-owner, um…. no. No we are not. What we are is anti-loophole and pro-sensible gun laws. The piece goes on to ask why we “… acquire guns, then kill movie goers and children in schools.” This charge is unsubstantiated and inflammatory, just like the rest of this piece of garbage. After setting up a nice, big straw man, the list begins…
Ft. Hood Shooter – registered Democrat and Muslim. Okay, that last one is correct, Nidal Hasan was a Muslim. However, he was not a registered Democrat. He lived in 2 states: Virginia and Texas. Neither state requires a partisan registration. Ergo, no registered Democrat here. Move along.
Columbine Shooters – Too young to vote – both families were registered Democrats and progressive liberals. Harris and Klebold were, indeed, too young to vote. They lived in an affluent, conservative suburb of Denver, Littleton. Harris’ father was a retired Air Force pilot and Eric had expressed a desire to join the Marines. Both boys admired Tim McVeigh. So the idea that the boys were liberal is iffy while the claim that they were registered Democrats is demonstrably false.
Virginia Tech shooter – Wrote hate mail to President Bush and his staff, registered Democrat. Bzzzt! Wrong again! Seung-Hui Cho was, first of all, a resident alien and ineligible to vote in the U.S. Even if he could, Virginia is, as mentioned before, a non-partisan registrations state. He was not a registered Democrat. Whether or not he wrote letters, that’s not been shown to have merit.
Colorado theater shooter – registered Democrat, staff worker on the Obama campaign, Occupy Wall Street participant, progressive liberal. This one is completely off-base. It’s based on shoddy research done by someone at (wait for it) Brietbart.com (I’m sure you’re shocked). That guy found A ”James Holmes” but it was not the one who opened fire in a Colorado theater. It is doubtful that the shooter was registered as anything. Some outlets that had taken Breitbart’s word for it (when will they learn?) retracted the allegations. Some, including Breitbart, did not.
Connecticut school shooter – registered Democrat, hated Christians. This one is based on the faulty reasoning that since Connecticut voted for Barack Obama at a 2-1 ratio, Adam Lanza must have been a Democrat. I don’t have to tell those of you who understand logic and statistics how dumb that premise is. In fact, Newtown voted for Romney. Lanza’s mother was a doomsday prepper and a home schooler who was, according to one source, a registered Republican. There is nothing to indicate that he hated Christians. But investigators did find an NRA membership certificate in his name. So we can call this one false as there is nothing to substantiate the claim that Lanza was a registered Democrat.
This is not to say that all mass shooters are Republican. Obviously, neither party sanctions this sort of behavior, at least, their leaders do not. The idea that a crazy person can actually act on behalf of any political party is a step too far. These are ideological crimes, when there is any motive at all – there often is not. That being said, a great many mass killings were committed by far right crazies. If you’ll recall the DHS report – the one that Fox raised such a stink about – it stated that there had been an uptick in right-wing violence and warned of further incidents from the same quarter. What happened there? Fox likes to play the false equivalence card and, short of reaching back into the 1970s, they were unable to find similar incidents of violence from the left-wing. So they whined and bitched and the new administration knuckled under. That doesn’t change the fact that they were correct.
Below is just a sampling of incidents of right-wing violence. Of course, the biggest attack was the Oklahoma City bombing, a horrible attack driven by political ideology.
- Eric Rudolph, the Olympic Park bomber, killed one (and one indirectly) and wounded 111 others. His motive for the bombing, according to Rudolph’s own admission, was political. He also had bombed an abortion clinic in an Atlanta suburb, killing 2 and injuring six. Extremist chatter on the Internet while he was evading capture praised him as “a hero.”
- In 1993 Michael Frederick Griffin murdered Dr. David Gunn in Pensacola, Florida. He waited outside Gunn’s clinic and shot him three times, yelling, “Don’t kill any more babies.” He is currently serving a term of life in prison.
- A little more than a year later, Paul Hill shot Dr. Bayard Britton in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun. Hill also killed Britton’s bodyguard, retired Air Force lieutenant James Barrett, 74, and wounded Barrett’s wife June, a retired nurse. Hill bragged that “… no innocent babies are going to be killed in that clinic today.”
- Anti-abortion terrorist John Salvi carried out two fatal attacks on two abortion clinics in Brookline, Massachusetts in December 1994. Receptionists Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols, were killed in the attacks. He escaped but was captured after another clinic attack in which he killed 2 more receptionists on March 19, 1996.
- Anti-immigrant vigilantes murdered Raul Flores Jr and his 9-year-old daughter Brisenia at point-blank range in their Tucson, Arizona home in 2009. A month earlier another young girl had died in a gun massacre in which anti-immigrant protestors were implicated.
- In 1998, James Kopp shot and killed Dr. Barnett Slepian. Kopp was affiliated with the militant Lambs Of Christ anti-abortion group.
- Militia wanna-be Bruce Turnidge went apeshit after Barack Obama was elected in 2008. He and his son, Joshua, succumbed to NRA hype and fear. They built and planted a bomb at a bank in Woodburn, Oregon on Dec. 12th, killing 2 police officers and wounding two others.
- George Richard Tiller, MD was murdered inside his church on May 21, 2009 by Scott Roeder, a militant anti-abortion protestor. Tiller had been shot and wounded 16 years earlier by another anti-abortion militant, Shelley Shannon.
We can see from this sampling that these crimes were driven by ideology, not party. Mostly, it’s anti-abortion militants who seem to think it’s okay to murder people to protect life. Now there’s an oxymoron for you.
As far as the bogus letter to the editor, it is simply not true.
Dana Busted: Deranged gun fetishist moron Dana Loesch: "A Spoon 'Can Be Classified As An Assault Weapon'"
Newly minted RedState.com blogger, ex-CNN "contributor, and gun fetishist nutbag Dana Loesch was on national television yet again saying even more stupid shit about guns. The most insane thing of all that she said on tonight’s edition of CNN’s Piers Morgan Live was that a “spoon can be classified an ‘assault weapon.’” A spoon is NOT anywhere close to an “assault weapon” in the sane world, but in NRA/#TCOT-land, it is.
Piers Morgan‘s show got heated on Thursday night when he invited Dana Loesch, Grover Norquist, and Van Jones to debate gun control. At one point in the segment, Loesch and Morgan grew especially frustrated as Loesch pressed the CNN host on where he draws the line on the number of gun deaths that are okay.
Morgan went off the “outrageous” and “insensitive” NRA leadership, going on to cite statistics about gun-related deaths in the country, compared to those in other countries with stronger gun laws. Often making this comparison on the show in the past, Morgan stressed that those countries have “negligible” gun-related deaths. How, he asked, can that be explained in “any rational way”?
“There is a deliberate effort to conflate the types of firearms,” Loesch insisted, noting that just because a gun “looks scary” doesn’t mean it can be categorized that way. She and Morgan later clashed over what qualifies as an assault weapon, with Loesch quipping that even a spoon could be labeled one.
She further dismissed the argument about magazine capacity and criticized those who she felt are simply seeking to disarm people. Jones jumped in again to fire back at logic that doesn’t “make any sense” — like spoons. We’re talking about “funeral after funeral after funeral.”
“How many deaths are okay to you?” Loesch asked Morgan. “Answer that question.”
As he sought to argue how a seven-round magazine is different from a 30-round magazine, she interjected, “So seven is okay with you then.”
“Seven is better than 30, isn’t it?” he retorted.
The other two guests were NRA board member and Americans for Tax Reform Founder Grover Norquist (who has been on KFTK’s The Dana Show before) and senior fellow at Center For American Progress Van Jones (whom Loeschhas smeared previously).
From the 03.28.2013 edition of CNN’s Piers Morgan Live:
After the show, she took to her blog at RedState to further smear gun safety advocates and repeated the baseless smear that the DHS is buying ammo, as even the deranged as hell NRA thinks it is too far out there..
Let’s not cede further ground on this issue due to fear on language: any attempt to curtail the civil liberty outlined in the Second Amendment is an abridgment of that liberty. There is no splitting of the baby here. You take all of it or none of it. Restricting magazine capacity is silly, for the reasons I noted in my response to Morgan. First, they’re interchangeable, easily modified, and can be made with remedial shop skills in your garage. It is completely unenforceable. So what’s the next step then? Regulating the amount of ammunition one can purchase? The DHS is well on their way to drying up the supply by buying over a billon rounds of ammo. Ammunition is becoming projectile gold, for the lack of a better phrase. Restrictions on magazine capacity are easier to stomach than full on ammunition rationing, so that’s where Democrats will begin, through the proverbial Overton Window.
Restricting magazine capacity is NOT “anti-2nd Amendment,” as you allege.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST OF PIERS MORGAN LIVE: Let’s now bring in my all-star panel. Van Jones, CNN contributor and president of Rebuild the Dream, conservative radio talk show host Dana Loesch and Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and an NRA board member.
Welcome to you all.
Van Jones, I just spoke again to Richard Feldman who is pretty close to the NRA leadership for quite awhile and the message is loud and clear from the NRA, as it always is. More guns and you’ll deal with gun violence. What do you say to that?
VAN JONES, PRESIDENT AND CO-FOUNDER OF REBUILD THE DREAM: Well, I just think people are just flabbergasted to hear this. I mean, the idea that the kind of gun, the size of gun, the kind of magazine, none of these matters. Well, then, fine, just pass out bazookas. Start selling neutron bombs on the open market and then when people start using the bazookas and doing — say well, it’s not the bazooka or owner, you see, it’s just — I mean, it’s not the bazooka, it’s just the bazooka’s owner.
Obviously the size of the cartridge matters. Obviously the kind of weapon matters. That’s why you can’t buy bazookas, you can’t buy neutron bombs, you can’t buy weaponized drones because these things matter.
It’s very, very frustrating — the shame that I see right now is that on the one hand we’re not doing enough about mental health, but then we have people who are hiding behind the fact that we’re not doing one thing to stop us from doing anything else. And that’s wrong, too.
MORGAN: I mean, Marco Rubio said today, he’s warned that he will filibuster any new gun legislation.
Dana Loesch, how can that be an appropriate response to what happened at Sandy Hook?
DANA LOESCH, CONSERVATIVE RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, “THE DANA SHOW”: Well, simply, Piers, because we have gun laws already on the books. Most of the proposals are simply redundancy. That’s why, why are we paying individuals to go and essentially waste taxpayer dollars to argue laws that we already have on the books?
Laws which either aren’t enforced or criminals don’t obey them simply because that’s what criminals don’t do. Criminals are called criminals because they don’t follow law.
MORGAN: Right. So Adam Lanza had two rifles, a BB gun, a starter pistol, four more weapons he took to school including the AR- 15, 1600 rounds of ammunition in his house, 12 knives, three Samurai swords, a bayonet, eye protection, ear mufflers at gun range, (INAUDIBLE) binoculars, paper targets, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And he went and did what he did.
At what point, Dana, do you say, you know what, we’re just going to make it tougher for people to be able to have this kind of arsenal?
LOESCH: Well, Piers, you realize that Adam Lanza, according to the “L.A. Times,” the “Portland Observer,” numerous local media report in Connecticut, he did try to purchase a firearm. And Connecticut’s gun laws prohibited him from doing that. Those gun laws worked in the sense that they prohibited him from purchasing a firearm.
Now as to whether or not his mother should have had her firearms perhaps stored a little bit better and kept away from her son, that’s another topic of discussion. But, you know, again, he stole firearms, he committed a crime to obtain a firearm which he then used illegally.
MORGAN: Grover Norquist, you’re on the board of the NRA. And the NRA it seems to me has a lot of very reasonable members, many of whom tweet me. And if you’re watching now, you want to tweet me, @Piersmorgan, and let me know if you’re an NRA member. And they can be quite rational and they say look, you know, we have no real problem with background checks. We don’t have any problem with more investment in mental health and so on. Not even much of a problem with the high capacity magazines.
They’re not too sure about assault weapons. But they’re quite rational in what they say but the leadership always seem to me to be — particularly Wayne LaPierre, completely outrageous. Utterly insensitive, totally uncompromising. Why is that?
GROVER NORQUIST, BOARD MEMBER, NRA: Well, I think if you look at the history of gun laws, make a list of which cities and states have the most oppressive gun laws. You’ll find they also have more crime and more shootings. There’s actually, if you look at the science, you know, liberals are always saying, we should look at the science, and yet they don’t want to look at the existing science on whether gun laws make us safer or less safe.
John Locke did the first study of all the counties in United States and where you had concealed carry permits, more gun ownership by citizens, you actually had significantly less crime, hundreds and thousands of fewer murders, fewer rapes.
MORGAN: OK, Grover, Grover —
NORQUIST: What you don’t have reported in the news is the fact that those states that put in concealed carry laws decades ago and have more people carrying guns are safer to live in than ones that ban it. So when you ask why don’t we do something stupid, the answer is because we have looked at the statistics, because we have looked at the science, and flat earthers should not be passing new laws.
MORGAN: Well, let me — let me throw some science at you. How do you explain that, as I said to Mr. Feldman earlier, America has between 11,000 and 12,000 gun murders a year, 18,000 gun suicides a year, 100,000 Americans are hit by gunfire a year. And you look at somewhere like Britain or you look at somewhere like Australia or Japan or I could name dozens of other countries that have pretty strict gun control laws, and just have negligible gun deaths.
I mean, literally, like 40 or 50 people a year get killed. How do you explain that, Grover, in any rational way that convinces me that countries that don’t have guns in mass circulation have almost no gun crime?
NORQUIST: Well, if you compare apples and apples and look at the United States, and obviously Brazil and South Africa and other countries have a great number of gun crimes and they have very serious gun laws, so gun laws haven’t solved the problem in other countries, and where you put in more gun laws in Australia and Britain you’ve had more crime in general. More robberies, more crime. That they become less safe.
Now in the United States, compare the states, 50 or 57, however you want to count them, they’ve all got different gun laws and different —
MORGAN: OK, Van.
NORQUIST: — rules and —
MORGAN: Let me get Van in here. Let me get Van in here because he’s shaking his head vigorously.
JONES: Well, first of all, that’s just actually not true but I want to say a couple of things. This is not about concealed —
NORQUIST: No, wait a minute. It is true.
LOESCH: It is true. It is true.
JONES: Hold on a second. It’s not true.
NORQUIST: You can’t deny the science.
JONES: First of all this is not about —
NORQUIST: You’re a science denier, Van.
JONES: Are you going to let me talk? You guys are wonderful —
LOESCH: About gun laws, guys and statistics.
JONES: Hey, listen, I’m with you. I’m for statistics. Here’s what’s actually true. This is not a debate about concealed carry. You want to move the argument over to something that nobody’s arguing about. Nobody’s arguing about concealed carry. People are arguing about military-style weapons on the streets of America and whether or not that is a good thing or a bad thing.
LOESCH: That’s a false premise.
JONES: The —
LOESCH: That’s a false premise.
JONES: No. That’s not — it’s a false premise?
LOESCH: No. Van, do you actually know what the difference —
JONES: That’s the entire debate in Washington, D.C. right now.
LOESCH: I’m going to correct you because I’m tired of this talking point being put out there. First and foremost, let’s get something straight. Military-style assault weapons are not out on the street. We are talking about semiautomatic weapons, weapons that are capable of select fire or weapons that are fully automatic.
MORGAN: OK. But Dana, Dana, Dana.
LOESCH: Then you can — no, I’m not going to let this go anymore, Piers.
JONES: You guys say the same thing every time.
MORGAN: No, Dana, you said this repeatedly on my show.
LOESCH: Then you can use the military term. Let’s stop conflating.
JONES: You do the same thing every time.
LOESCH: Let’s stop playing ignorance and —
MORGAN: General Stanley McChrystal —
LOESCH: Now you can go ahead and continue.
MORGAN: General Stanley McChrystal used the phrase — so forget us, forget Van, forget me. One of the great military commanders of the last 20 years in America —
LOESCH: The man who bans conservatives (INAUDIBLE) — yes.
MORGAN: — said these were military-style weapons. So is he wrong? Do you know more about these weapons than General McChrystal does?
NORQUIST: Evidently because —
LOESCH: General McChrystal is also of your same ideology so I want to put that out there first and foremost. There is a deliberate effort to conflate the types of firearms. I do not own a military- style assault weapon just because of what — a firearm looks scary? Then you call it military assault? Do you realize that one of my children has a BB gun that looks like an AR-15? Is that going to be considered a military style assault weapon? It sounds silly and uneducated.
MORGAN: Adam Lanza killed — Adam Lanza killed — wait a minute. Wait a minute. Adam Lanza killed —
LOESCH: And it’s dangerous.
MORGAN: Adam Lanza, as we now know, in the space of 300 seconds, using an AR-15, killed 26 people, Dana.
JONES: Thank you.
LOESCH: And he reloaded four times.
MORGAN: He had magazine — he had a magazine for 30 bullets.
LOESCH: So, Piers, I want to ask you a question. Yes.
MORGAN: Are you telling me — are you telling me that doesn’t —
LOESCH: And he reloaded four times. Anyone can reload.
MORGAN: Are you tell me that doesn’t —
LOESCH: Anyone can reload.
MORGAN: Dana, let me finish. Are you telling me that doesn’t qualify as an assault weapon?
LOESCH: By the technical definition, no, Piers. Anything can be qualified as an assault weapon. If you stab someone with a spoon, it can be qualified as an assault weapon.
MORGAN: So you’re equating stabbing somebody with a spoon —
LOESCH: Let me ask you a question, Piers.
JONES: Oh my god.
MORGAN: — to the shooting dead 26 people in five minutes?
JONES: Hold on, hold on.
LOESCH: If this is conversation about a ban on magazine capacity —
MORGAN: Really, Dana? Really? Talk about stabbing somebody with a spoon?
LOESCH: Do you realize how easy it is to reload? Piers, you can take a speed loader and reload a revolver, 150 rounds. That means he had to reload four times.
JONES: This is the strategy — it’s the conscious strategy.
LOESCH: And the only reason that he stopped was because he heard authorities.
JONES: What you’re seeing right now, Piers —
LOESCH: No, Van, this is the strategy of the people who actually deliberately want to disarm individuals.
JONES: Piers, what you’re seeing is the conscious strategy to distract and —
LOESCH: You guys talk about magazine —
JONES: Hold on a second. Hold on a second.
LOESCH: You talk about magazine restriction —
MORGAN: OK. Let Van — let Van have his say.
JONES: See, this is the conscious strategy on the part of the pro-gun folks to constantly bring things back around to things that don’t make any sense. You’re talking about people stabbing people with spoons. If that was a problem we had in America, people stabbing people with spoons, we wouldn’t be talking about this right now.
What we’re talking about is funeral after funeral after funeral. What we’re talking about is — are our children being gunned down and what we’re talking about is common sense measures. Not confiscating guns. We’re not talking about that. We’re talking about commonsense measures that 90 percent of Americans agree with and the majority of gun owners agree with.
JONES: But when you guys get on television, you don’t talk like the people who actually are the gun owners in America. What you talk like are people who want to take the conversation in a direction —
LOESCH: I’m a gun owner in America, Van Jones.
JONES: — that has nothing to do — I’m sorry, you said?
LOESCH: By the way, the latest CBS poll shows that support for these gun control measures is tanking. This is —
LOESCH: let me finish my thought.
LOESCH: Then I am going to let you answer. I’m tired of this conflation and this uneducation when it comes to using terms about firearms. Let’s use —
JONES: You want to make it about terms and words. Fine. Hey, listen, what we’re talking about is funeral after funeral after funeral.
MORGAN: one at a time.
LOESCH: What’s the difference between 30 rounds and what’s the difference between seven rounds? Piers Morgan, let me ask you a question. (CROSS TALK)
MORGAN: Let me explain to you the difference. Let me explain the difference.
MORGAN: Let me ask you a question. The difference between 30 and seven is 23. So it could save 23 lives if there was a federal ban on these magazines.
LOESCH: Seven lives lost are OK with you, then? Seven lives lost are OK?
MORGAN: You know what, Dana, seven is better than 30, yes.
MORGAN: Better than losing 30, yes, it is.
LOESCH: I’m just trying to establish where you draw the line. Where do you draw the line at preventing the deaths of children, Piers?
MORGAN: I would love to draw the line — I would love to draw the line — I would love to draw the line, Dana, at zero gun deaths in America.
LOESCH: So you do believe in disarmament, then.
MORGAN: I said zero gun deaths.
LOESCH: That’s the answer that I wanted.
MORGAN: When did I say disarmament? Wait a minute. You talk about conflating the argument. Dana, when did I say disarmament?
LOESCH: I’m taking it down — I’m using your logic and going down that road. If you’re talking about limiting magazines — first and foremost, magazines are universal. I can make one in my garage.
MORGAN: I said I wanted zero gun deaths.
MORGAN: Let me finish. We have to go to break. But you said — I said I wanted zero gun deaths. You announce that meant I wanted disarmament. That’s the problem with the pro-gun debate.
MORGAN: Let’s take a break. Let’s all calm down, come back and talk about gay marriage. That will be even more lively, probably. Let’s try that. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MORGAN: Back now with Van Jones and Dana Loesch and Grover Norquist. Before we move on from guns, I just want to read a quick Tweet. This is from Steven Smith, who says to me “where can you buy these deadly assault spoons?” Maybe Dana can help him with that later. Let’s move on.
LOESCH: Really, it goes over people’s heads. Anything, Piers. Stabbing deaths every day.
MORGAN: Let’s move on. It was just a little joke, Dana. Let’s turn to gay marriage. Grover, I want to play you an astonishing piece of tape, really. Yesterday we had Bill O’Reilly almost converting to gay marriage. Today, Rush Limbaugh joined in. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This issue is lost. I don’t care what the Supreme Court does, this is now inevitable. And it’s inevitable because we lost the language on this. We lost the issue when we started allowing the word marriage to be bastardized and redefined by simply adding words to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Grover, is he right? Is the gay marriage debate lost to those that oppose it?
NORQUIST: Well, it’s an interesting question. Obviously, once you get the government into defining something, they’re going to mess it up. Marriage for a lot of people is a religious sacrament in any of the Abrahamic faiths. Yet the government should be enforcing contracts, if people want a contract with who they live with and how they want to pass on their estates. For years we worked with gay groups trying to get rid of the death tax, because that was one of the discriminatory factors there.
So I think there are a number of laws that the government’s got itself into that we need to extricate it. If the government was less involved in marriage and defining it and regulating it, we might be better off, everybody.
MORGAN: Dana Loesch, what do you think?
LOESCH: I’m not quite sure whether or not it’s lost. I do agree that the language has been muddled. And just the two cases that are before the Supreme Court right now, I don’t think that both of them will be tossed down. But the Defense of Marriage Act, especially where it concerns insurance benefits and engaging in contracts, I think people should be able to enter into contractual agreements with each other. There shouldn’t be any sort of stipulation on that.
That’s where, at the same time, while I’ve told individuals who have been out there advocating for same sex marriage and wanting to bring the government in, as someone who is a Christian conservative, I don’t want to bring the government in to defend my faith or to defend or define marriage. I think that’s something that should be left to the people. We don’t have the government involved in baptisms or taking of the sacrament.
So I don’t think that government should be involved in marriage, either. I think bringing the government in period is a bad idea.
MORGAN: OK. Van Jones, this sort of reminds me of conversations in America in the ’50s and ’60s, which would go along the lines of, I don’t mind, having thought about this quite carefully, black people using the same bus as me. But I’m not really ready for them to come to the same school. Is it that kind of repositioning?
JONES: It’s sad. First of all, we are on the verge of one of the great breakthroughs and achievements in human freedom, human equality. I can’t tell you how proud I am to be in a country where people — where the freedom to marry is going to be available to everybody very soon. Rush Limbaugh is right.
But the idea that suddenly now government is getting involved in marriage, government has been involved in marriage from the very beginning and nobody complained about it as long as it was for heterosexuals. Now — and I’ll say something else as well. You know, my marriage would have been illegal in a lot of parts of this country very recently, because I’m in a mixed race marriage.
So what I know is that — and the government was involved in regulating that. So what I think we’ve got to recognize now is that there’s — no matter what happens — this is a great thing about America — there is an expiration date on some of this bigotry that is in our laws, because the next generation doesn’t want to hear any of this stuff; 70, 80 percent of young people in America think that if you love somebody, marry them.
And the people who are messing up marriage in America are the heterosexuals. Heterosexuals are the ones being divorced. Heterosexuals are the — the people who are bringing marriage back and making marriage mean something is the gay community that’s fighting for that right. Now marriage means something. The Kardashians are doing more to destroy traditional marriage than gay people ever did.
LOESCH: A couple points, Piers, really quick. I can’t compare gay marriage to what black Americans have gone through, because in the Bible — and I want to point this out because this is how Christians look at this. Nowhere in the Bible —
JONES: I’m a Christian.
LOESCH: It’s not mentioned in the Bible.
JONES: That’s not true. That’s not true. I’m a Christian. I’m a Christian. I’m a Christian. I’m going to tell you right now —
JONES: The Curse of Hamm was used to say we were the victims — LOESCH: If you are trying to get Old Testament, remember, Van, the New Covenant with Christ, the New Covenant with God, that’s why we have the New Testament.
MORGAN: Dana, Dana, Dana, Dana —
LOESCH: — between a man, a woman and God, before God, on God’s terms. That’s how Christians define it.
MORGAN: Dana, Dana, Dana, what do you say to Van’s point that it wasn’t so long ago he wouldn’t have been able to get married without the help of the government interfering? Isn’t that an incredibly salient point?
LOESCH: You know what, Republicans all throughout, Piers — I agree with that because Republicans — that’s why you have the Republican party because they split from Democrats and they split from — you know, the KKK was the militant faction of that. They didn’t believe. They were the original abolitionists, the Frederick Douglass Republicans.
Yes, absolutely, they thought that was horrible. That’s why you had individuals fight for the Civil Rights Act.
JONES: Can I respond to that?
MORGAN: Unfortunately, Van, we’ve got to move on. I think you made some very good points, actually, which I think are pretty inarguable. The fact you couldn’t have got married 50 years ago pretty well says it all.
Let’s talk very quickly about a sad day, I think. Barbara Walters is going to retire apparently in May of next year, 80 odd years old, incredible energy, one of the most remarkable television journalists really ever. What do you make of that, Grover Norquist?
NORQUIST: Well, she’s had a tremendous career. She’s been great fun to watch and listen to and learn from. And I’m sure this is the sequester’s fault.
MORGAN: Dana Loesch, can we reach any point of agreement on Barbara Walters?
LOESCH: I grew up watching Barbara Walters. And it’s nice to see a strong woman with such a great — such an accomplished career in the industry and it’s sort of sad to see her go because of that.
JONES: I have had the honor to be on “The View” with her, watching her. She’s one of the best ever. She’s able to keep the empathy high, but she asks the tough questions. And I just think it’s a moment in history.
MORGAN: Yeah. Very sad day. It will be a great valedictory fly-by tour, though, lasting a year, which I’m looking forward to. So Barbara, if you’re watching, we wish you all the very best. You have been one of the truly great interviewers in television history. I for one will be glad you’re gone because you get so many great bookings which I may now have a sniff at. But that’s just a personal .
Thank you to my all-star panel, Dana, Van and Grover. I really enjoyed this. Let’s get you back soon.
She again bashed marriage equality, while guest Van Jones defended it. Grover Norquist spoke out against government regulation of marriage.
The American Family Association’s Buster Wilson has been warning for the last few weeks that Presidnet Obama is getting ready to confiscate guns en masse. When Obama announced his twenty-three executive actions yesterday, gun groups largely shrugged them off, but not Wilson. In his latest effort to stoke fear, he’s warning that the Obama administration may take guns away from pastors and radio talk show hosts like himself who denounce homosexuality:Wilson: What if the Attorney General, and listen the reason I say this might happen is because if you remember the first report put out by the Director of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, when the President became President of the United States, she put out a paper talking about the people who are the categories of people who might be homegrown terrorists. In that list she put people who believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ, people who believe in pro-life issues, people who don’t believe in having illegal aliens here, they put a lot of good, decent categories of people in that paper. Well here’s what number four says, the Attorney General can put who he wants to on the list of people who are too dangerous to get guns. What if he decides radio talk show hosts who don’t believe in gay marriage, they’re dangerous, so they shouldn’t get guns; what about pastors who preach against abortion and homosexuality, they’re too dangerous get guns; that could happen.
Not only did Wilson clearly distort the plain wording of the executive actions, but he also grossly misrepresented the DHS report on right-wing terrorism.
He said that the DHS report tacked “good, decent” people “who believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ, people who believe in pro-life issues, people who don’t believe in having illegal aliens here.”
The 2009 report [PDF], which concentrates on racist and anti-government militias, only mentions abortion in a single footnote as an example of how violent actions can be driven by a single issue, such as the bombings of clinics or the murder of abortion doctors. The only references to the Second Coming or Christianity are to the racist, anti-Semitic Christian Identity movement – whose members have engaged in violence – and a note about how End Times and doomsday prophesies have in the past radicalized certain individuals or groups.
As for immigration, the DHS only addresses the connection between anti-immigrant militarism and hate crimes against Hispanics, like violent border vigilantes, not political activism on illegal immigration.
The author of the report, Daryl Johnson, is actually an anti-choice, Mormon gun owner and a Republican. His warnings were prescient – right-wing extremists recently committed a massacre in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and a shooting at the Holocaust Museum.
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW