Posts tagged "Guns"

From the 04.15.2014 edition of CPNLive’s Talk To Solomon

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

h/t: Jeremy W. Peters at The New York Times

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW 

Fox News correspondent Todd Starnes defended rancher Cliven Bundy in his lawless stand against the federal government. Referencing federal employees’ actions in legally confiscating Bundy’s cattle because of unpaid fees and fines, Starnes said: “Don’t they still have laws on the books about cattle rustling out in Nevada? … Back in the day, they used to string folks up for stealing cattle.”

Bundy is a Nevada rancher who has for decades refused to pay the federal government the fees required to allow his cattle to graze on public lands. Last year a federal court ruled that Bundy had to remove his cattle or they would be confiscated to pay the roughly $1.2 million in fees and fines he’s accumulated. The confiscation began earlier this month, but was halted because the Bureau of Land Management had “serious concerns about the safety of employees and members of the public.”

Bundy does not recognize federal authority over the land in question, and he and his armed supporters have repeatedly threatened violence against the federal government. Despite his lawlessness, Bundy has become acause célèbre for many in the right-wing media.

During an appearance today on the radio program of Republican strategist Alice Stewart, Fox’s Todd Starnes championed Bundy as an example of Americans “saying enough is enough” with the federal government.

"We do know that the feds returned some of the cattle that they had taken from the Bundy Ranch. What I find interesting, though, Alice, is don’t they still have laws on the books about cattle rustling out in Nevada?" Starnes said. "Back in the day, they used to string folks up for stealing cattle."

Starnes later claimed that the Bundy incident shows that “Americans have really reached a boiling point here” and Americans have finally said, ‘You know what? We’re not going to stand by and let the Constitution be tramped.’”

He also took the opportunity to link the situation to the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, stating: “Look at all the government firepower that was out there at that ranch. They had more guns there than they did at the consulate in Benghazi … if only Ambassador [Christopher] Stevens had been a protected tortoise.”

Despite his own inflammatory rhetoric, Starnes did caution against the behavior of some Bundy-supporting militia members, saying it’s “very disturbing” they were “[s]eeming to taunt the federal agents. And I think that they need to be very careful about that.” 

STARNES: We do know that the feds returned some of the cattle that they had taken from the Bundy Ranch. What I find interesting, though, Alice, is don’t they still have laws on the books about cattle rustling out in Nevada?

STEWART: Well, they should. They should.

STARNES: Back in the day, they used to string folks up for stealing cattle.

STEWART: Oh, yeah, unless you’re with the federal government.

[…]

STEWART: As Charlie Daniels has said, you mentioned this on Fox the other day, this is a situation, it’s the first case of citizen versus big government, and at least in this battle over the weekend, the citizens won. But the war is not over.

STARNES: You know, Alice, it’s not over. And I think that Americans have really reached a boiling point here. One of the things that worked to the Bundy family’s advantage was social media. That images and video was being put out there almost in real time as this was going down.

Very disturbing, though, the behavior of some of those militia folks that were out there. Seeming to taunt the federal agents. And I think that they need to be very careful about that. But I will say this. That Americans have finally said, “You know what? We’re not going to stand by and let the Constitution be tramped.” We’ve put up with this through Obamacare, through the NSA spying on our telephone calls, through the TSA, and their, you know, their endeavors in the airport, to even the IRS. You know, and I think that Americans are finally saying enough is enough. And now, Alice, just think about this for a moment. Look at all the government firepower that was out there at that ranch. They had more guns there than they did at the consulate in Benghazi.

STEWART: I know it.

STARNES: I mean if only Ambassador Stevens had been a protected tortoise.

From the 04.15.2014 edition of KTHE’s The Alice Stewart Show:

h/t: Eric Hanaoki at MMFA

See also: DKos: Cliven Bundy: right-wing extremist domestic terrorist lawbreaker

h/t: Ian Millhiser at Think Progress Justice

Fox News’ Sean Hannity is increasingly — and dangerously — taking on the role of PR agent for a Nevada rancher defying the federal government with violent threats.

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy has quickly become a darling of right-wing media over his decades-long refusal to pay federal government fees required to allow his cattle to exploit public lands. In July 2013, a federal court ordered the rancher to remove his cattle from the public property or they would be confiscated and sold to pay off the $1 million in fees and trespassing fines Bundy owes. When that confiscation began this month, the rancher took his battle to conservative media, who held him up as a folk hero battling big government invasion into private property rights and states’ rights.

Bundy’s defiance has been marked by violent and revolutionary rhetoric toward the federal government, hints of a bloody confrontation cheered on by the right-wing fringes who have repeatedly compared the situation to notorious and deadly standoffs like Ruby Ridge and Waco. For example, when Bundy appeared on his radio program, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones posited that if Bundy’s supporters confronted federal agents at the auction for Bundy’s confiscated cattle, which the rancher encouraged, it “could be how the shot heard round the world happens in this case.” Jones warned that “this could turn into 1776 very quickly.”

But such dangerous hyperbole isn’t confined to the fringes. Increasingly, Sean Hannity’s promotion and defense of the rancher’s actions and threats is starting to resemble that of far-right extremists.  

Hannity interviewed Bundy on his Fox program on April 9, sympathizing with the rancher’s claims and arguing that allowing Bundy’s cattle to graze on public lands “keeps the price of meat down for every American consumer.”

His rhetoric had noticeably escalated two days later when he invited Bundy onto his radio program The Sean Hannity Show. Hannity argued that federal agents have “drawn the wrong line in the sand here,” praising Bundy because he “like[s] anybody that’s willing to fight.” 

He went on, “I’m just afraid of what this government is capable of doing. I mean we saw what happened in Waco,” to which Bundy responded, “We have to have faith that America will stand. You know we would never won any of these wars from the Revolutionary War on up if we didn’t have faith and courage and fighting for something.”

Throughout the program, Hannity repeatedly pushed violent predictions, saying, “This can spiral out of control. You get one wrong person out there, this can spiral out of control really fast,” and “If it keeps going, this is going to end very, very badly.” He even demanded, “The government needs to stand down” because “this is only a symptom of how one person, standing up to the government, I’m telling you, [it is] my opinion that this crisis could come to a head, and lives could be lost.”

Hannity promised to bring Bundy back onto his Fox program that night, and discussed the possibility of traveling to Nevada to visit the ranch.

At this point, Hannity is perhaps Bundy’s most prominent supporter, and his role as PR agent for a man openly defying federal law and hinting at violent retaliation against federal agents appears to only be increasing. Words are one thing, but Hannity’s public hyperbole is particularly worrisome given the fact that armed militia group members are reportedly heading into Nevada to take on the government with Bundy, who’s placed armed guards at his gates. 

h/t: Emily Arrowood at MMFA

h/t: Ian Millhiser at Think Progress Justice

On VCY America’s Crosstalk last week, Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt agreed with a caller who said that unarmed teachers who protect students during school shootings aren’t heroes.

“When you see these stories on the news about teachers, and they’re saying they’re heroes because they’re running and hiding and locking doors and everything, and that’s supposed to be a heroic act. I think it’s sheer terror,” the caller complained.

“I’d rather they be a hero with a good shot,” Pratt agreed.

Earlier in the program, Pratt said that gun laws are only rational “if you want to be a dictator.”

“For those who are not thinking as totalitarians, gun control otherwise is not rational,” he said. “Now, if you want to be dictator, gun control is very rational. Like Hitler said, we’d have to be crazy to let the conquered people have guns. And crazy is one thing I don’t think he was. So, he understood that, but we apparently can’t think even as clearly as that monster.”

From the 04.03.2014 of VCY America’s Crosstalk:

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

When a mass shooting occurs, conservative media rush to blame mental health, video games, a lack of armed people present, and even liberal values — anything but the fact that the shooter was able to get a gun.

But the single proximate factor in all mass shootings, and in all gun violence really, is that it is easy for dangerous people to access high-powered firearms. Lack of access to firearms typically makes it difficult for would-be mass murderers to carry out their plans. For instance, experts say mass stabbings are extremely rare in the United States. To the contrary, 69 percent of all homicides are committed with a gun. Of 37 public mass killings since 2006, 33 involved firearms, while the Boston Marathon bombings, an incident involving a car, and two cases of arson accounted for the other four incidents.

Furthermore, academic research has linked the easy availability of firearms to homicide. According tonumerous studies, “where there are more guns, both men and women are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.” Compared to other high income nations which typically more strongly regulate the availability of firearms, the United States’ gun homicide rate is 19.5 times higher, leading to an overall homicide rate that is 6.9 times higher. Research has also shown, “across developed countries, where guns are more available, there are more homicides. These results often hold even when the United States is excluded.”

Following the April 2 shooting at Fort Hood that left three victims dead and 16 others wounded, conservative media have refused to acknowledge the role of easy access to firearms in shootings and have instead claimed mass shootings are caused by video games, mental health problems, the “culture war,” and by a deficiency in the number of firearms carried by the general public.

All of these claims are canards. The claim that there is a causal relationship between playing video games and future violence, including mass shootings, has been debunked by academic research. While it is important to limit firearms access for individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others, the existence of a mental health condition alone is an extremely poor predictive factor for future violence. Claims that mass shootings are caused by a liberalized culture are plainly inflammatory attempts at political point scoring. And there is no evidence that locations where guns are not allowed attract mass shooters or that more people carrying guns in public would prevent mass shootings. Additionally, the suggestion that everyone on a military base carry a gun for self-defense has been rejected by a retired four-star general and a Medal of Honor recipient, among other military experts.

Below are examples taken from past mass shootings that show conservative media dishonestly exonerating the role of easy firearm access in gun violence:

VIDEO GAMES

After Fort Hood Shooting, Fox Military Analyst Ralph Peters Cited Video Games As A Reason Mass Shootings Are “Semi-Approved In Society.” While appearing on The O’Reilly Factor on April 3, Ralph Peters expressed the belief that because of video games and the Internet, mass shootings have “become almost an act of self-actualization that is semi-approved by society,” before adding, “I’m exaggerating.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor4/3/14]

Fox News Segment Linked Video Games To Recent Mass Shootings In Connecticut, Colorado, And Arizona. During a September 2013 segment, Fox News “Medical A-Team” member Dr. Keith Ablow compared video games to a drug that makes people violent and added, “Guns are irrelevant to this problem.” Days later in a column following the September 2013 mass shooting at Washington Navy Yard, Ablow wrote that the shooter “was also reportedly addicted to a drug — violent video games (which are no different than heroin or cocaine, but potentially more of a public health threat).” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom9/13/13, FoxNews.com, 9/17/13]

After Navy Yard Shooting, Fox News Linked Seven Mass Killers To Video Games. Fox News host Steve Doocy claimed that the gunmen responsible for six well-known mass shootings, including Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and Columbine, are “all described as essentially being addicted to video games” while a graphic asked, “Link Between Teen Killers & Video Games?”

image

[Fox News, Fox & Friends9/17/13]

MENTAL HEALTH

Fox News Graphic Bizarrely Suggested The “Motive” In The Fort Hood Shootings Was “Mental Illness.” The April 4 edition of Fox & Friends made the claim that the military was eyeing “mental illness as motive,” but hours later Fort Hood’s commanding general said the shooter’s “underlying medical conditions are not a direct precipitating factor. We believe that the immediate precipitating factor was more likely an escalating argument in his unit area.”

image

[Fox News, Fox & FriendsThe Washington Post4/4/14]

After Navy Yard Shooting, Fox News Host Martha MacCallum Scapegoated People With Mental Health Conditions. While discussing the Navy Yard shooting,America’s Newsroom co-host Martha MacCallum claimed that we have “become so PC that we do not understand that there are categories of people” who need to be institutionalized. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom9/19/13]

After Columbia, Maryland Mall Shooting, Fox News Psychiatrist Said “It Isn’t The Gun” Before Baselessly Speculating About Shooter’s Mental State. When discussing the motive of the shooter at the Columbia mall on Fox News, Keith Ablow said, “It isn’t the gun. We have a crisis in terms of mental health care.” [Fox News, America’s News HQ1/27/14 via Media Matters]

One Year After Newtown, Frequent Fox Guest Ann Coulter Claimed That Mass Shootings “Correlate With Not Locking Up Crazy People.” In a December 2013 column on her website, Coulter wrote that mass shootings “correlate with not locking up crazy people,” then added, “Fixating on guns after a crazy person commits mass murder is like draining the ocean to find a ring you dropped.” [Ann Coulter, 12/18/13]

LIBERALS AND POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

After Fort Hood Shooting, Fox News Graphic Linked Attack To “Culture War.” During a discussion of the Fort Hood shooting, a Fox & Friends graphic linked the shooting to the “culture war” and asked, “Are Mass Shootings Result Of Changed Society?”

image

[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/4/14]

After Navy Yard Shooting, Conservative Media Falsely Blamed Shooting On Clinton-Era Policy. Even though the policy regulating when and where guns can be carried on military bases was created during the George H.W. Bush administration, Rush Limbaugh and other members of the conservative media used their mistaken belief about when the policy was created to attack President Clinton after the Navy Yard shooting. [Media Matters9/17/13]

After Sandy Hook Shooting, Rush Limbaugh Claimed That Mass Shooters Are All Liberals Before Saying, “I Take That Back.” Before taking it back, radio host Rush Limbaugh said of mass shooters, “[t]hey all are liberals. If they’re mentally disturbed,” when discussing the Sandy Hook shooting. Additionally, Fox News host Mike Huckabee said the shooting happened because “we have systematically removed God from our schools,” NRA board member Ted Nugent blamed the shooting on “politically correct culture,” and a National Review Online writer said the attack was caused by a “feminized setting.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show12/21/12, Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto12/14/12Media Matters12/19/12]

After Virginia Tech Shooting, Conservative Commentators Blamed Mass Shooting On “The Wussification Of America” And “A General Culture Of Passivity.” On Fox News, conservative writer Mark Steyn said “part of the problem” that led to the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 “is a general culture of passivity.” Then-conservative talk radio host Neal Boortz invoked “the wussification of America” when discussing the behavior of the victims of the shooting. [Fox News, Your World4/19/07 via Media MattersMedia Matters,4/18/07]

NOT ENOUGH GUNS

After Fort Hood Shooting, Fox News Host Martha MacCallum Suggested That “Lives Could Have Been Saved” With More Armed Individuals. On the April 3 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, co-host Martha MacCallum claimed, “in every one of these cases, what stops these shooters, is another person with a gun who stops them. I mean, we know that. So in this case, if other people had been armed on that base … it’s highly possible that some of these lives could have been saved.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom4/3/14]

After Navy Yard Shooting Conservative Commentators Falsely Characterized Facility As A “Gun-Free Zone” That Invited Attack. Even though guns can be carried on military bases by authorized persons, MacCallum, Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich, and CNN host S.E. Cupp all suggested that easier availability of guns in the Navy Yard facility could have prevented the shooting. [Media Matters,9/16/13]

After Aurora Movie Theater Shooting, Glenn Beck Claimed Shooter “Wouldn’t Have Gotten Off More Than Four Shots” If Armed Individuals Present. Talk radio host Glenn Beck claimed of the movie theater shooting in Colorado, “If people had a gun in their back and they were — and they were licensed to carry it, that guy wouldn’t have gotten off more than four shots.” His guest Ted Nugent added, “But dear God in heaven, doing nothing is not an option. Training, having a firearm to neutralize an evil gun maniac is a way to go, and we train for that. And I wish I would have been in the theater that day.” [The Blaze, The Glenn Beck Program7/26/12, via Media Matters]

h/t: Timothy Johnson at MMFA

crooksandliars:

[Cross-posted at Hatewatch.]

Richard Mack, the former sheriff of Graham County, Ariz., and an antigovernment “Patriot” movement figure who leads the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, has a long history of promoting the theory that county sheriffs, not federal law enforcement, represent the supreme law of the land. This radically decentralized vision of government was first promoted by the old far-right Posse Comitatus movement.

Mack shot from obscurity to right-wing stardom in the mid-1990s when he challenged the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and won a victory in the U.S. Supreme Court that weakened the law. For the past two years, he has zigzagged across the country spreading conspiracy theories about the federal government and promoting his organization as a “line in the sand” against government agents.

Fox Business channel’s Lou Dobbs Tonight gave Mack a platform to promote his views Tuesday night. Lou Dobbs, of course, is no stranger to controversy.

read more

crooksandliars:

Missouri House Passes Bill Nullifying Federal Gun Laws

Missouri, which is home to the Council of Conservative Citizens and Sovereign Citizen Movement as well as hosting way too many right wing extremist attacks just passed a bill in the House that nullifies all federal gun laws in their state. You may remember when The Missouri State Highway Patrol released a report called The Modern Militia Movement, documenting the extremist problems in their state and the typical backlash politics that followed? And it’s usually law enforcement that feels the brunt of the violence. Are Conservatives just trying to arm all the lunatics in Missouri?

St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Now that both the Missouri House and Senate have passed versions of a bill nullifying federal gun laws, it appears likely the Republican-led Legislature again will have a showdown with its Democratic governor over gun rights.

read more

Last night, in reaction to the Fort Hood shooting (the same place where a much more tragic version of such a tragedy occurred back in November 2009), deranged gun nut and NRA mouthpiece propagandist Dana Loesch tastelessly smeared Cristina Hassinger (@chass63), the daughter of slain Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung, for calling out Loesch’s repeated harassment of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America founder Shannon Watts.

TBogg at The Raw Story has the story on Loesch’s insensitive tweets directed at Hassinger:

Our winner for the evening turned out to be radio screech weasel, pee-er on dead people, and thing-that-you-would-get-if-Michelle-Malkin-and-Sarah-Palin-had-a-bile-child, Dana Loesch,who made Pat Dollard look positively artful in his Twitter Tourettes.
Christina Hassinger criticized Loesch on Twitter for attacking Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America founder Shannon Watts. Loesch did not like this, no sireee bob. However, the witty repartee did not go well for Dana:Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 11.20.22 PMWhoopsie-doodle!
Of course, Dana had a chance to respond with, say: ” Oh wow, so sorry about you mother, you have my deepest sympathies after she died trying to save a bunch of children who are close in age to mine. God bless”…
But…no.
That would be  a sign of weakness that is reserved for people who aren’t  soul dead grifters pitching red meat stupidity to lowest-common-denominator  mouth-breathers who spend the day  listening  to hate talk radio, brought to you by reverse mortgages come-ons and male catheter come hithers.
Here’s your chance, Dana: be a human being, be a stand-up person, someone your kids could be proud of…Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 11.31.28 PMOhhhh. So close.
When I pointed out on the Twitter machine (and I should note that both Dana and her sad hipster wanna-be husband both block me on Twitter, so she had to go looking for it) that she was being kind of a dick, well, guess who the real victim is now?  Go on ….. guess. I dare you…Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 11.36.47 PMSTOP TWITTER YELLING AT DANA LOESCH , PEOPLE!


Moms Demand Action founder Watts correctly calls out Loesch for being a shill for the gun manufacturers:

TBogg:

(cross-posted from DanaBusted.blogspot.com)

sandandglass:

Republicans stir up controversy over Obama’s nomination for Surgeon General. Dr. Vivek Murthy upset Republicans by saying guns are a healthcare issue and that the NRA holds too much power over politicians.

His original Tweet read “Tired of politicians playing politics w/ guns, putting lives at risk b/c they’re scared of NRA. Guns are a health care issue” and you can find it HERE.

(via upworthy)

crooksandliars:

Rush Limbaugh's Latest Conspiracy: Democrats Using FBI To Weed Out Bad Apples Before Midterms

Rush Limbaugh must be boozing it up on the air because he’s been coming up with all sorts of weird conspiracies emanating outside his bubble. The last one I wrote about was Liberals wanting to hijack Mass transit so they can control the population’s movements or something insane like that. His latest one is just as kooky. Supposedly, the FBI is taking orders from Obama’s honchos to weed out all their corrupt pols before the midterm election so that people will forget about them.

How many people think that the FBI is a bastion of Liberal thinking? I bet they lean Republican 90% and I doubt they would fall in line with orders like that, but to Limbaugh, since State Senator Leland Yee was arrested, he believes they are involved in a lefty conspiracy.

Limbaugh: Now folks, if this is strictly Democrats which so far it is, we don’t know if there are other investigations to be revealed. The FBI has been working on all of this for years, not a peep folks.

I don’t know it’s hard to conclude otherwise. The FBI has been working secretly behind the scenes since Obama was elected and if this sweep is strictly Democrats, which, so far it is. What does that mean? What does that tell you, does it tell you anything?

read more

thepoliticalfreakshow:

The NRA spends its days defending deadly weapons, but it only needed a single tweet to kill a top Obama official.

If you’ve been following the news cycle, you probably saw Rand Paul and the gun lobby pitch a fit over the nomination of Vivek Murthy, the Harvard- and Yale-educated physician Obama picked to serve as the nation’s top doctor. Murthy’s biggest crime, beyond some concerns that he would “propagandize” on behalf of the Affordable Care Act, was simply that he described gun violence as a public-health issue. Once. In a tweet. In 2012. For the uninitiated, Murthy’s offending statement is this: “Tired of politicians playing politics w/ guns, putting lives at risk b/c they’re scared of NRA. Guns are a health care issue.”

Since then he has earned the undying ire of the NRA, which went public in its opposition to Murthy, threatening to “score”—track how lawmakers vote—any vote taken against him. Such measures might make sense if the surgeon general were in a position to regulate guns, but the post is a largely ceremonial seat used to highlight pressing health concerns.

Murthy’s claim is not particularly novel, even among Republicans holding the exact same position. “I doubt there’s been a surgeon general dating back to the days of Lyndon Johnson that would pass the NRA litmus test,” Jim Kessler with the centrist Democratic group Third Way told The Daily Beast.

Until now, they never had to.

C. Everett Koop, President Reagan’s surgeon general, made precisely Murthy’s point. Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1992, he called gun violence “a public-health emergency" and proposed that owning and operating a firearm carry with it the same restrictions as owning and operating a car. Koop did eventually alienate himself from conservatives, but his stance on gun violence wasn’t the reason; it was primarily his aggressive advocacy on AIDs. That conservatives didn’t flare up over his position on gun voilence shows how things have changed.

Such rhetoric hasn’t merely been the province of surgeons general. Announcing an initiative to fight gun violence at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in 2001, President Bush noted three out of four murder victims in Philadelphia were shot to death with handguns, adding that the figure rises to nine out of 10 among youth. “In America today, a teenager is more likely to die from a gunshot than from all natural causes of death combined,” he told the gathered audience. The NRA heartily endorsed him in 2004.

Louis W. Sullivan, President George H.W. Bush’s Health and Human Services secretary, spoke even more directly to the point, calling gun-related violence “a public-health problem in addition to being a criminal-justice problem.” He was particularly concerned about gun violence’s impact in the black community, where violence was cited as the primary cause of death for males ages 15-25, with 80 percent of the cases involving handguns. Sullivan wasn’t some freakish outlier: He was confirmed 98-1, with Republican Sens. Dan Coats, Thad Cochran, Chuck Grassley, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, and Richard Shelby voting “yes.”

The gun lobby’s current offensive smacks of a time in the 1990s when NRA-backed politicians went after researchers for publishing firearm data. They also attacked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for funding the research, and won. Now it appears they’ve moved from information suppression to rhetoric policing.

The larger irony is that when Murthy states gun violence is a health issue, he is merely stating the obvious. Whatever your notions about guns being symbolic of liberty, freedom, and America, when a bullet enters the human body, the situation falls very quickly and squarely into the arena of public health. The CDC reminds us firearms were among the leading mechanisms of injury in the U.S. in 2010, along with motor-vehicle and fall-related injuries. In 2009, they were the cause of 31,347 deaths; the number of deaths attributed to car accidents was 36,216.