Last month, an Arkansas gun range owner named Jan Morgan got some national attention when she declared her business a “Muslim free zone,” writing on her website, “This is more than enough loss of life on my home soil at the hands of muslims to substantiate my position that muslims can and will follow the directives in their Koran and kill here at home.”
What many news reports missed is that Morgan is not just the owner of a single shooting range, but a national gun activist who has spoken at multiple events for the “religious liberty” group Liberty Counsel as well as Tea Party gatherings and last month’s misnamed “Two Million Bikers” rally against President Obama.
And Morgan has some friends in high places in the gun lobby. In an interview with Arizona-based radio host Josh Bernstein this week, Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt praised Morgan, saying that she was “on very sound ground” with her Muslim ban.
“I know there will be a lot of people that will be outraged at that, but we don’t facilitate murderers and if you read the Quran, it’s an instruction to go kill people, lots of them,” Pratt said. “And there are Muslims that don’t buy into that, well, how do I know which one you are?”
All of which reminded Pratt that he had been meaning to start giving out a Gun Owners of America award and Morgan “ought to get it.”
Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt is convinced that President Obama is destabilizing the U.S. military while lifting up undocumented immigrants, and Pratt thinks he knows why: the president is trying to create his own personal paramilitary staffed by undocumented immigrants.
Pratt, who once wondered if Obama will have a private army to fight in his looming race war, told a listener on the conservative radio show “Crosstalk” this week that the president will enlist immigrants in his private “Praetorian Guard.”
“Bring them in from out of town, they don’t have any connectivity with the folks in the area and they’re only going to be loyal to the guy who brought him,” he explained.
Pratt also used the interview to address the Bundy Ranch standoff, calling it “one of the greatest moments in modern American history.”
“We saw our fellow Americans, probably with no more urging than an email informing them of what was happening on Cliven Bundy’s ranch, pick up, go out to the ranch, arm themselves before they left and just stood there as interposers between the feds and Mr. Bundy,” he said. “I thought that was incredible. It led to something that took most of us by surprise.”
He added that government officials are just waiting for a crisis in order to implement “special measures” to seize people’s firearms.
Attorney General Eric Holder, who today announced his plans to resign, has been a leader in addressing systems of racial discrimination and protecting the fundamental rights of every American to be treated equally under the law and participate in our democracy.
Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that the Right loves to hate him.
In February of this year, the American Family Association demanded Holder’s impeachment after he had the audacity to treat married same-sex couples like married opposite-sex couples with regard to a host of legal rights and recognitions. Shortly after, both Faith and Freedom Coalition head Ralph Reed and Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp echoed the call for Holder’s impeachment because of his support for marriage equality. Televangelist Pat Robertson also joined the impeachment parade, alleging that under Holder, “sodomy” was being “elevated above the rights of religious believers.”
Holder’s commitment to redressing racial injustice was no more warmly received by the Right than his work in support of LGBT equality. After Holder spoke out against voter ID laws, which disproportionately harm people of color, Texas Gov. Rick Perry accused him of “purposefully” “incit[ing] racial tension.” Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt argued that Holder’s open discussion of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system means that he is the real “racist,” asserting last year that Holder wants to “intimidate the rest of the country so that we don’t think about defending ourselves” against “attacks by black mobs on white individuals.” Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association went so far as to say that Holder would never “prosecute someone if the victim is white.” And after Holder visited Ferguson, Missouri last month, David Horowitz outrageously commented that the attorney general was leading a black “lynch mob.”
And those are just a handful of the attacks the Right has leveled against Holder for his work protecting equality under the law.
The fact that the far Right has reacted with so much vitriol to the attorney general’s leadership is a sign not only of how uninterested they are in the civil rights that the Justice Department is meant to protect, but also of how effective Holder’s work has been. The next attorney general should share Holder’s deep commitment to protecting the rights of all Americans – and, by extension, make all the “right” enemies among those hoping to turn back the clock on civil liberties.
Larry Pratt, president of Gun Owners of America, was a guest on Gordon Klingenschmitt's "Pray In Jesus Name" program once again today where he amazingly asserted that those who push for gun control legislation are insane zealots who are fundamentally immune to facts.
As Pratt explained it, liberals are motivated entirely by "feelings" and therefore push for things like gun-free zones solely because they feel safer without guns around, failing to realized that gun-free zones are actually making them less safe because it leaves them vulnerable to mass shooting attacks.
"Their feelings are so intense that the string of mass murder after mass murder in gun-free zones just doesn't seem to shake them off that conviction," Pratt said, before asserting that conservatives, on the other hand, always ensure that their views and positions are rooted in fact and reality.
"We live in a rather ddifferent universe from those who support gun control," he said. "And just to repeat, the facts just don't seem to ever get under their skin. I guess it's the definition of a zealot that no matter how many times he fails at doing something, he knows that if he does it one more time the same way, he's going to succeed. That's otherwise knows as the definition of a crazy person."
Then, without a hint of irony, Pratt immediately followed up that statement by declaring that it is the mission of his organization to completely eliminate all gun control laws.
"We want to see gun control legislation taken off the books," he said. "We think 'shall not be infringed' means shall not be infringed, period! No other discussion is permitted by that language":
Larry Pratt, president of Gun Owners of America, recently appeared on Gordon Klingenschmitt's "Pray In Jesus Name" program where he declared that Democratic lawmakers are rightly afraid of being shot by gun owners because "that’s what the Second Amendment is all about."
Klingenschmitt asked Pratt why wealthy activists like Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg are willing to spend large amounts of money in supporting gun control measures when, according to Klingenschmitt, doing so only hurts Democrats at the polls.
Pratt said that Democrats in general support gun control because they are socialist "control freaks" who know that if they are ever going to be able to control every aspect of the lives of America citizens, they first need to take away all of their guns.
And those guns first need to be taken away, Pratt said, because Democrats are fully aware that their efforts to exert total control will result in them getting shot.
"They clearly want to exercise power that, in their judgment, would cause enough push-back to stop them from doing what they're doing," Pratt said. "And I just said in a nice way that they're afraid of getting shot and they ought to be! That's what the Second Amendment is all about. They ought to be afraid of an armed people so that they don't get into a situation where they would actually provoke violence":
This is not the first time Pratt has expressed the sentiment. This summer, he earned a rebuke from the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — a Democratic lawmaker was shot in an assassination attempt — for saying that the fear of assassination was "a healthy fear" for members of Congress to have.
The protests in Ferguson, Missouri, this month presented a dilemma for the anti-government Right. The activists and elected officials who spent the spring fawning over lawless Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s stand against what they saw as an overbearing federal government changed their tune or just went silent when a police force armed with military weapons cracked down on mostly peaceful protesters in Ferguson.
On Tuesday, Gawker’s Adam Weinstein examined the “inherent contradiction” in the membership of St. Louis police officer Dan Page — who was suspended after he shoved a CNN reporter and the video of a violent rant he made came to light — in Oath Keepers, a group whose entire founding purpose is a fear of violent government overreach against unarmed citizens.
…For all their delusions, the Oath Keepers seem tailor-made to counter the surreal overarmed police state that may have played a role in Michael Brown's death by cop in Ferguson, and that has ebbed and flowed through the streets there ever since. The oath that Oath Keepers keep is to disobey a set of orders they believe may be given by government authorities . Hence they swear, in part:
- We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.
- We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.
- We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.
As Weinstein notes, the Missouri chapter of the Oath Keepers has sent a “letter of warning” to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon in opposition to police tactics against the protesters. But the Oath Keepers’ opposition seems to be based less on principle than on strategy — in a separate blog post, the national group objects to the police failure to stop looting while it took aim at peaceful protesters. The blog post also notes that Oath Keepers on the scene in Ferguson were “talking consensus for the benefit of the police and the people equally.” This role of self-appointed mediator is in sharp contrast to the group’s show of force at the Bundy ranch.
Ferguson has exposed some common ground between the anti-government Right and mainstream civil liberties groups — for instance, both the extreme right-wing Gun Owners of America and the American Civil Liberties Union have signed on to a plan to end the program that sends discount military equipment to local police departments.
Gun Owners of America’s executive director Larry Pratt, however, has been uncharacteristically quiet about Ferguson, linking on Twitter to the Missouri Oath Keepers’ letter to Nixon, but also to an article claiming that Michael Brown wasn’t unarmed because he was “young and strong.” GOA sent out an email arguing that violence in Ferguson was just another reason why people should be allowed to own AR-15s.
Sheriff Richard Mack, the founder of a group that believes that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the land, has also been strangely silent on Ferguson, despite having spent time rallying against the federal government at the Bundy ranch with armed militia groups that he compared to Rosa Parks.
And then there’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a Bundy ally who, as the situation in Ferguson escalated, crowed about the combat supplies that he had amassed for his own department.
Yes, the relative silence of the anti-government Right on Ferguson is inconsistent, but so is their view of the Ferguson protests: In the view of many right-wing activists, the protesters in Ferguson weren’t standing up to the government, they were themselves tools of the government.
There is a school of thought among right-wing commentators that the protests in Ferguson were orchestrated — or at the very least encouraged — by Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama administration in order to stir up racial resentments and increase Democratic chances in the 2014 midterm elections.
This paranoid scenario is in line with Pratt’s fear, expressed last year, that President Obama is on the verge of starting a race war against white people.
The Ferguson protests exposed a key fault line in the anti-government "Patriot" movement: they are against government overreach, but their definition of what counts as government never seems to be quite clear.
Here’s a round-up of last week’s Right Wing immigration hysteria:
In an interview with extremist talk show host Stan Solomon that was posted online last week, Pratt alleged that immigration reform would destroy the GOP and therefore the country: “That means kiss our Second Amendment goodbye, it means, really, kiss our republic goodbye, because if you give the Democrats a lock on all of the levels of government, the country goes communist.”
“It’s just the end because they know no limit to the big government that they support,” he said. “It will be extremely dangerous, and gun owners will be early on in the sights of those Democrats that might be voted for by the newly minted voters. So the idea of amnesty is a really bad idea.”
Pratt and Solomon also agreed that Speaker John Boehner and the rest of the GOP leadership have effectively “switched sides” and joined the Democratic Party.
Nearly two years into President Obama’s second term, a do-nothing Republican Congress is focusing on its next project: the 2014 midterm elections. But that effort might be complicated by increasing pressure from the party’s base to turn Congress’ energy to impeaching President Obama. The impeachment call, which has existed on the right-wing fringe since the start of Obama’s presidency, has picked up steam in recent weeks as it has been endorsed by right-wing media figures, activists and elected officials.
This has put Republican congressional leaders in a tricky spot as they attempt to placate their base without alienating moderate voters. When House Majority Whip Steve Scalise appeared on Fox News Sunday this week, he continually dodged the question. Ted Cruz similarly batted away a question about impeachment, calling it politically unfeasible. Right-wing leaders including Pat Buchanan and Tom DeLay have urged caution in the impeachment campaign, although DeLay said he would personally “love to impeach him.” Likewise, Karl Rove has warned that when it comes to impeachment, “the politics of it are all wrong.”
Even Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas, who last year distributed to every office on Capitol Hill a book on why the president should be impeached and removed from office and hired an attorney to look into impeachment, is now backtracking and warning that impeachment proceedings could benefit Democrats in the midterm elections.
Now, House Speaker John Boehner is claiming that talk of impeachment is a Democratic “scam” to win voters…an odd claim since it’s members of his own party who have been beating the drum about impeachment.
But it might be too late for Republicans to backtrack on a steady buildup of rhetoric questioning the president’s legitimacy, love of country, and authority to govern, which has led to increasing calls for impeachment from right-wing lawmakers, activists and media personalities... although nobody can quite agree on what the impeachment should be for.
In an interview with far-right talk show host Stan Solomon this month, Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt blamed the fatal beating of a man at an Amtrak station in San Antonio on the fact that San Antonio is a liberal area.
Upon learning that the murder had taken place in San Antonio, Pratt said, “Well, that’s disappointing to hear, because I guess in the city people are rather more liberal than they are in the rest of the state, because if that had been attempted in a medium-sized city, the outcome could have been quite different.”
“Well, there probably could have been 25 people in that Amtrak station who could have pulled a weapon and blown this son-of-a-Michelle to hell,” Solomon replied, apparently a reference to the First Lady, whom he frequently makes a target of puerile jokes.
Last year, Pratt blamed the death toll in the mass shooting that critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on the fact that it took place at “a Democrat town hall meeting of a Democrat representative” and Democrats “don’t necessarily, most of them, believe in carrying guns.” There was, in fact, a man with a gun at the scene who attempted to stop the shooter, but almost shot an innocent man.
Later in the conversation, Solomon blamed the murder on anti-white racism (a favorite theme of his), while his cohost “Chief” Steve Davis speculated that if the “race-baiter and race-agitator” Barack Obama “was not the president, this would not have happened.”
Prominent gun lobbyist Larry Pratt is doubling down on his insistence that members of Congress should have a “healthy fear” of being shot, lecturing a congresswoman who felt threatened by one of his group’s members that she just doesn’t understand the Constitution.
Right Wing Watch first reported Pratt’s comments in a March interview with radio host Bill Cunningham. Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, told Cunningham that a member of his group had spoken to a congresswoman who told him, “you want to shoot me, don’t you.”
“Well, that’s probably a healthy fear for them to have,” Pratt said. “You know, I’m kind of glad that’s in the back of their minds. Hopefully they’ll behave.”
The quote made it into a recent profile of Pratt in Rolling Stone, where it caught the eye of Mark Kelly, whose wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was critically injured in an assassination attempt, and of Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who it turns out was the threatened congresswoman Pratt had been talking about.
When Kelly called for elected officials to reject all future support from Pratt and Maloney called for an investigation into his comments, Pratt responded by calling Maloney “foolish.”
Then, this week, Pratt doubled down, issuing an open letter to Maloney, a New York Democrat, claiming that she does not understand the Constitution and telling her once again that she “should do her job in constant trepidation” that she will be shot: “Should you attempt to disarm Americans the way the British crown tried 240 years ago, the same sovereign people who constituted this government using the cartridge box someday may need to reconstitute it, as clearly anticipated by the Declaration of Independence.”
You reported that the Capitol Police and House sergeant-at-Arms concluded that there was “nothing to be done,” but since you apparently do not “get it,” allow me to explain the obvious. I have never encouraged, or even suggested, that anyone harm anyone. Rather, my speech was designed to educate citizens, and politicians, that it is the fact that Americans are armed that allows them to resist efforts to be dominated, intimidated, or controlled by politicians.
You should do your job in constant trepidation that:
* Should your constituents disapprove of your job performance, you will be publicly criticized from the soap box;
* Should you enact unconstitutional legislation in violation of your oath of office, you will be voted out via the ballot box;
* Should criminal charges be brought against Americans for crimes which are not authorized by the U.S. Constitution, these prosecutions will be nullified in the jury box; and
* Should you attempt to disarm Americans the way the British crown tried 240 years ago, the same sovereign people who constituted this government using the cartridge box someday may need to reconstitute it, as clearly anticipated by the Declaration of Independence.
Private ownership and skilled use of firearms is what enabled our country to gain its independence, and it is what continues to preserve our liberty. Someday, I hope that you study this aspect of the history of our great nation, that currently allows you to serve in the People’s House, and come to understand the great principles on which it was founded and continues to operate.
Earlier this year, we reported on Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt’s response to hearing that Rep. Carolyn Maloney was afraid of getting shot by a member of his group.
“That’s probably a healthy fear for them to have,” Pratt said of members of Congress who fear assassination, in an interview with radio host Bill Cunningham. “You know, I’m kind of glad that’s in the back of their minds. Hopefully they’ll behave.”
This week, the quote made it into Rolling Stone’s great profile of Pratt’s career of extremism and caught the eye of Mark Kelly, whose wife Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was critically injured in an assassination attempt in 2011.
Understandably upset by Pratt’s comfort with threats of gun violence to members of Congress, Kelly issued statement yesterday urging lawmakers to reject contributions from GOA.
“No matter where you stand on policies that reduce gun violence, Larry Pratt’s view that our leaders should live in fear of gun violence is an affront to all responsible gun owners, Gabby and me included,” Kelly wrote.
“No candidate for office should accept the support of Larry Pratt’s organization again.”
UPDATE: Rep. Maloney has called for an investigation into Pratt's comments, which, of course, GOA has responded to by accusing her of being "foolish" and lacking an "understanding...regarding key historical documents."
Just this morning, we shared a new Rolling Stone profile of Gun Owners of America leader Larry Pratt, who despite his long record of anti-government extremism and association with any number of racist and anti-Semitic radicals continues to be an influential gun lobbyist who gets airtime from the mainstream media and attention from members of Congress.
As if to underscore the point, this weekend Pratt gave an interview to a pair of Patriot movement activists who recently launched a radio show after meeting at the Bundy ranch, where he shared the bizarre fringe birther theory that President Obama is secretly the son of labor activist Frank Marshall Davis, who groomed the president from birth to destroy America from within.
The Frank Marshall Davis birther theory was invented and popularized by right-wing filmmaker Joel Gilbert, who thinks that Obama got plastic surgery in an attempt to hide his resemblance to Davis and who also believes that the president wears a secret Muslim wedding ring and could have been behind the Aurora movie theater shooting .
The “evidence” for Gilbert’s claim — laid out in detail in his 2012 film “Dreams From My Real Father” — is a series of racy photos of a woman who bears a passing resemblance to Obama’s mother (but is not) and his totally scientific opinion that Obama looks more like Davis than like Barack Obama, Sr.
Gilbert’s theory has been panned by traditional birthers, because it undermines their claim that Obama isn’t a natural-born U.S. citizen, but has taken off among those who are seeking other ways to question the president’s origins. It was most notably endorsed by Bill Armistead, the chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, who said in 2012 that he had seen Gilbert’s movie and “verified that it is factual, all of it.”
In his interview with “The Liberty Brothers Radio Show,” Pratt presented the Frank Marshall Davis theory as a plausible explanation for why Obama “hates” America.
“His father was either a Kenyan socialist or the Communist Party member who lived across the street, Frank Marshall Davis, and there’s a lot more physical resemblance between the latter and Obama than Obama Sr. and Obama,” he said.
Bringing up the conspiracy theory that Obama enrolled in school as a foreign student, Pratt said that while he doesn’t think the president is foreign-born — “I really think that more likely was that the communist that lived across the street in Hawaii could have been the father” — he does think Obama lied about being a foreign student to get financial aid.
Rolling Stone is out today with a lengthy profile of Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt, who, as we we frequently note, continues to hold a large amount of sway among Republicans in Congress despite his ongoing record of extremism.
Reporter Alexander Zaitchik digs into Pratt’s history of allying with anti-government militia groups and the anti-Semitic, racist Christian Identity movement. On the afternoon of the Oklahoma City bombing, Pratt implied that Timothy McVeigh had been doing God’s work against a government that was behaving “like a beast.”
Zaitchik also notes Pratt’s early forays into radical Religious Right activism, including calling for a quarantine of AIDS victims in the early days of the epidemic.
The whole profile is worth a read, but here are a few excerpts.
Along with his gun work, Pratt was involved during the Reagan years in a wide range of social and foreign policy issues. He was a member of the Council for National Policy, a think tank bringing together leading conservative figures to generate policy for the new administration. In 1980, he founded the Committee to Protect the Family Foundation, which raised money for anti-gay campaigns and assisted the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue with legal defenses. In 1986, during the depths of the AIDS crisis, Pratt bought ads around the country highlighting a D.C. law forbidding health insurance companies from denying coverage and raising rates for people who test positive for HIV. "We don't think AIDS should have civil rights," Pratt told the Los Angeles Times. "The law is a dangerous and outrageous precedent for other wacko legislators to follow. [Those who support it should be] held accountable for voting to support homosexual privileges."
The following year, Pratt called for the quarantine of people suffering from AIDS. "Our judges coddle criminals instead of caring for the victims of crime," he wrote in a Family Foundation fundraising letter. "They've chased God out of our schools, defended abortions…and now they are trying to infect us and kill us with strange and horrible diseases."
The bloodshed and the armed standoff [at Ruby Ridge] that followed catalyzed groups across the far right into action. This activity would soon produce a national militia movement for which Ruby Ridge functioned as a modern-day Alamo. The most important event in this development was a three-day meeting convened in October 1992 by Christian Identity leader Pete Peters. Christian Identity maintains that Aryans are the true Jews, that blacks are a pre-Adamic subhuman species, and that a race war is coming, after which whites will establish a "Christian government." These were the baseline ideas uniting the 150 far-right leaders who answered Peters' call to action at a YMCA hall in Estes Park, Colorado. Among those present was Larry Pratt. According to media reports, Pratt railed against the 14th Amendment and delivered one of his favorite lines: "The Second Amendment ain't about duck hunting."
According to Leonard Zeskind's report from the conference, published in a November 1995 Rolling Stone story, Pratt's fellow speakers consisted mostly of extremists with little mainstream profile or Washington connections, people like Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler and Texas Klansman Louis Beam. Pratt represented a link between these worlds and the rightward edge of the conservative establishment. Pratt's presence, wrote Zeskind, "signaled the transformation of the gun lobby. Organizations like GOA or even the National Rifle Association, which were devoted to the single issue of firearms, would become the leading edge of a far right, multi-issue assault on government institutions and democratic rights. The gun lobby would be at the center of a web of right-wing warriors."
In militia circles, the [Waco] siege confirmed the worst suspicions about the federal government. The links between the militia scene and the gun groups had deepened to the point where NRA fundraising letters echoed the language of extremist publications on the radical right. In one 1995 letter, NRA executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre described ATF officers as "jack-booted thugs" in "Nazi bucket helmets." But the NRA stopped short of supporting the Christian Identity lawyer Kirk Lyons, who was representing multiple victims of Waco. Pratt and the GOA had no such compunction and donated tens of thousands of dollars to Lyons's white supremacist organization CAUSE (short for the Aryan bastions of Canada, Australia, the United States, South Africa and Europe), "Not $50,000 — but a lot of money for us," Pratt told Rolling Stone in 1995.
For many, the gun scene's rhetoric of an "evil" and "fascist" government was immediately rendered in more sinister shades when Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck bomb under Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah federal building on April 19, 1995, the second anniversary of the Waco siege. Former president George W. Bush spoke for many when he cancelled his NRA membership in the bombing's wake, citing LaPierre's incendiary rhetoric.
On the afternoon of the City bombing, Pratt was in Washington, D.C., demonstrating in front of FBI headquarters for its role in the Waco tragedy. Three days later, Pratt spoke before a gathering of 600 Christian Identity adherents and assorted radicals convened by Pete Peters at the Lodge of the Ozarks in Branson, Missouri. Pratt addressed the "Biblical Mandate to Arm" and seemed to justify McVeigh's act of terror, at the time the bloodiest in American history. According to an account by Michael Reynolds in Playboy, Pratt told the gathered, "The government behaves as a beast. It did in Waco, and we have somebody, whoever it might have been, whatever group it might have been, assuming they can't rely on the Lord to take vengeance."
Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt is furious about Hillary Clinton’s recent remark that the gun lobby is a “minority of people” who “hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.”
Pratt told Tea Party News Network host Tim Constantine on Tuesday that Clinton’s remark means she thinks that all gun owners are terrorists and is therefore ignoring Islamic terrorism, which he claimed is being taught in “most of the mosques in our country.”
“That means that they’re not willing to look at Islam and realize that Islam teaches killing other people,” he said. “Pure Islam from the Koran says that anybody who doesn’t agree exactly with Islam is to be killed, or enslaved at best. So, there’s your real terrorist. And it’s in most of the mosques in our country. You want to find the real terrorists, Mrs. Clinton, check out mosques.”
Last week, after a couple motivated by far-right ideology killed three people in Las Vegas, we wrote about the Right’s efforts in 2009 to quash a Department of Homeland Security report on violent right-wing extremism .
Right-wing groups pounced on the report because it dared to note that violent right-wing extremists — people like Timothy McVeigh and the Hutaree militia and abortion clinic bombers — are motivated by right-wing issues. The Right eventually made such a fuss that the DHS pulled the report — utterly infuriating the conservative Republican analyst who had written it, who noted that his small team studying “non-Islamic domestic extremism” was later cut down to just one person.
But the myth that the Obama administration declared all Christian conservatives and Tea Partiers to be potential terrorists has lived on in the right-wing myth machine.
The story came up again earlier this month when Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt joined conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Infowars.
Jones asked Pratt about a Washington Times report about a 2010 Pentagon directive — an update to a series of similar directives crafted under previous administrations — outlining how and when the military can use force to quell domestic unrest “in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the president is impossible.”
Jones, of course, read this to mean that it is “official and has been confirmed” that the military is “training with tanks, armored vehicles, drones” to “take on the American people, mainly the Tea Party.”
“Well, he’s certainly not thinking that Muslims are a threat,” responded Pratt, “so he’s turning to his political opponents, declaring that they’re the enemy and ignoring the fact that Muslims from time to time have a tendency to go ‘boom.’”
Pratt then cited the 2009 DHS report to claim that the Obama administration has “fingered veterans as potential terrorists, people who believe in the Second Amendment, who are pro-life, who want to work for limited government.”
“I guess the idea of limited government really would terrorize a socialist,” he said, adding, “The enemy is freedom and they really are doing what they can to extinguish it.”
Late last month, Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt and Andrew Mangione of the Association of Mature American Citizens gave us an interesting peak into the internal fighting within the GOP.
In a May 31 conversation on Pratt’s Gun Owners Radio Hour, the two conservative activists agreed on many things — including a visceral hatred of the Affordable Care Act and a fear that President Obama will send “goon squads” after people who fail to report gun ownership to their insurance companies. (Mangione’s group was founded as a conservative alternative to the AARP after the AARP got behind the health care reform).
But things got contentious when Pratt brought up his frequently-expressed anger at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who he thinks hasn’t done enough to obstruct President Obama , and declared, “If I lived in Kentucky, I’ll tell you right now, I’d vote for the liberal Democrat just to get rid of Mitch McConnell out of leadership in the Republican Party, where he does so much damage,” adding, “he is poison, pure and simple.”
Mangione, aghast, responded, “So you’d rather lose the seat than have a Republican, regardless of how pure he is on the conservative scale.”
“You’d rather have the seat go to a Democrat, you’d rather give the seat to the people who brought you Obamacare because of your personal dislike of this Republican?” he continued. “That’s why we got Obamacare, that’s why we got another four years of Obama. You’re talking crazy, sir, with all due respect.”
Pratt responded that “Mitch McConnell is the reason we got Obamacare,” to which Mangione replied that McConnell successfully denied health care reform a single Republican vote in the Senate and gave the GOP an election issue that has lasted for years.
According to Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, the unhinged, misogynist manifesto written by Elliot Rodger before he killed six people and himself in a mass shooting outside of Santa Barbara “reflects the thinking of a person like our president.”
In an interview last week with Stan Solomon, the GOA executive director reacted to Rodger's shooting spree the way he reacts to every mass shooting – by finding anything to blame other than guns.
Solomon ripped into Richard Martinez, who criticized the NRA after losing his son in the shooting, calling the bereaved father a “stupid son of a bitch” and asking “what the hell is wrong with you?” Mistakenly thinking that Martinez lost a daughter in the shooting, he added, “If you had taught your daughter how to have and use a weapon, she might still be alive.”
Pratt responded by blaming Rodger’s lack of a “traditional kind of family life” for the shooting, adding, “I think that the parents deserve a lot of the credit slash blame for bringing up a son like that.” (Pratt has also blamed Trayvon Martin’s death on his “broken family”).
The two then discussed Rodger’s manifesto, in which he railed at women for refusing to have sex with him, which Pratt said reminded him of President Obama.
The manifesto, Pratt said, “clearly reflects the thinking of a person like our president, who’s extremely narcissistic and it’s all about me, all about me.”