National Rifle Association

Trump Invites Anti-Government Extremist Sheriff To Speak At GOP Convention

In the lead-up to and during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, we’ll be profiling some of the activists and politicians invited to speak at the event. Find more of our Meet the Speakers series here

The Republican National Convention released a partial list today of the politicians, activists, C-list celebrities and Donald Trump family members who will be speaking at next week’s convention. What the speakers’ list lacks in establishment GOP leaders it makes up for in fringe activists. One name especially stands out: Sheriff David Clarke, the Milwaukee law enforcement officer who has made a name for himself hurling anti-Obama vitriol on Fox News and elsewhere while quietly cozying up to anti-government extremist groups.

Clarke, who is African American, has built a conservative following by enthusiastically bashing President Obama, his Justice Department, Hillary Clinton and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Clarke has called the Black Lives Matter movement “black slime” that “needs to be eradicated from the American society and the American culture,” “garbage” and a “subversive movement” that seeks to overthrow the government, and said that the movement is driven by “an ideology of victimhood with a list of grievances that do not exist.” He has dismissed concerns about police brutality by saying that “black criminal abuse, black criminal brutality” is “the real brutality going on in the United States.” The real problem in “the American ghetto,” he has said, is “modern liberalism.”

Clarke said that Michael Brown, the black teenager shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri, was a “co-conspirator in his own demise” because he “chose thug life.” After Sandra Bland, a black woman who had been thrown to the ground during a traffic stop, died in police custody, Clarke went on Fox News to chastise her. He said that he would have used even more force against a group of black teenagers who were thrown to the ground by police outside a public swimming pool in Ohio, telling people who saw a racial component in the action to “shut up already.”

Clarke has been colorful in his condemnation of President Obama and Hillary Clinton for sympathizing with the Black Lives Matter movement, calling them “straight-up cop haters.” He called Obama a “heartless, soulless bastard” for speaking up about “goons” killed by police and said that the Obama administration’s attempts to address racial disparities in policing were a plot to “emasculate the police” in order to impose dictatorial control.” He accused the president of worsening racial divides in the country by pitting “whites against blacks” and “Hispanics against Americans.”

The sheriff is also happy to throw red meat to his conservative audience on a number of other topics. After the Supreme Court struck down state marriage equality bans, Clarke called for a “revolution” to “get this country back,” complete with “ pitchforks and torches ,” urging his audience to launch a standoff against the federal government the next time a bakery or the like is fined for refusing business to a same-sex couple.

When Trump caused a national uproar when he attacked a judge because of his Mexican-American heritage, Clarke took to his radio show to defend the candidate.

Clarke first became a conservative hero when, in 2013, he aired radio ads in his county urging citizens not to rely on calling 911 but instead to learn to protect themselves against crime. Speaking at the National Rifle Association’s convention last year, he proposed adding a semi-automatic rifle to the Great Seal of the United States. Appearing on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio program, Clarke warned that a renewal of the federal assault weapons ban would lead to gun confiscations that would spark “the second coming of the American Revolution, the likes of which would make the first revolution pale by comparison.”

While Clarke has no patience for African Americans who have deadly run-ins with the police, he has repeatedly associated himself with anti-government militia groups who have staged armed standoffs with federal government agents or who threaten to defy federal law. Earlier this year, when a group of armed activists took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, Clarke backed their cause, saying that the country had reached a “pitchforks and torches moment” that couldn’t be solved by an election.

In 2013, after he aired his ads discouraging citizens from relying on 911, Clarke accepted the “ Constitutional Sheriff of the Year” award from the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, an anti-government group that promotes the idea that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the country and thus have the power to defy federal laws that they believe are unconstitutional. In his acceptance speech , Clarke declared that “government” was the “common enemy” of the “patriots” in the room. In a radio interview that year, he said that “on an everyday basis, to me, federal government is a bigger threat” than terrorism.

Just this year, Clarke spoke at a fundraising event for the New York chapter of the Oath Keepers, an anti-government group aligned with the Constitutional Sheriffs that urges law enforcement officers and military personnel to defy laws they believe are unconstitutional and encourages its members to form militias ready to defy an out-of-control federal government. At that event, Clarke called Black Lives Matter a “hate group” and vowed to do “everything I can” to get Trump elected president.

At NRA Convention Trump Helps Stoke Fear, Feed Gun Industry Profits

From the moment Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, certain members of the media have been eagerly predicting his pivot away from the far right into the mainstream of American politics.

Today, while collecting the National Rifle Association’s endorsement at the group’s annual convention, he continued to keep both his campaign and his rhetoric firmly rooted in the policies and rhetoric of the far right.  

Trump began his speech by claiming that Hillary Clinton wants to “abolish the Second Amendment.” Politifact rated this Trump claim “false” nine days ago.

In uttering this lie, Trump aligns himself with a longstanding NRA strategy. In both 2008 and 2012, the organization and its leadership made similar claims about Barack Obama, yet none of them ever came to pass. NRA board member Grover Norquist even acknowledged these statements were hyperbole.

Creating a climate of fear around the notion that a Democratic president will strip Americans of gun rights is not only designed to whip conservative voters into a frenzy, it also benefits the bottom line of the NRA’s benefactors in the gun industry.

As Jarret Murphy explained in The Nation:

There is no divorcing the politics of guns from their profits. America’s gun lobby and gun industry both benefit from creating a fearful vision of life in the United States—a picture of criminals constantly menacing our families and a government hellbent on taking our guns—that is very effective at selling weapons. In fact, in large part because of the way anxieties about his gun policies have been manipulated, the Obama era has been a golden age for firearms manufacturers, and the run-up to Election 2012 could be for Glock and Remington what the Christmas shopping season is for Macy’s and Sears: a time to cash in before the narrative changes.

This sentiment was reflected by gun industry analyst Jim Barrett, who told The Blaze in 2012, “The driver [of the gun industry's financial success] is President Obama. He is the best thing that ever happened to the firearm industry.”

The Blaze reported in the run-up to the 2012 election:

Major gun company stock prices are up. The number of federally licensed, retail gun dealers is increasing for the first time in nearly 20 years. The U.S. gun lobby is bursting with cash and political clout.

The NRA’s endorsement, if nothing else, means that Donald Trump will attempt to keep this gravy train of fear fueling the bottom line for gun manufacturers for another four years.

Ted Nugent Fantasizes About Hillary Clinton Being Shot; GOP Still Wants His Org To Vet Supreme Court Nominees

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that the Senate won’t confirm any Supreme Court nominee unless that nominee has the support of the National Rifle Association, which has been stretching the truth in its efforts to oppose the nomination of Merrick Garland.

The absurdity of this position was reinforced yesterday when, as Media Matters reported, NRA board member and perpetual loose cannon Ted Nugent posted on his Facebook page a fake video of Hillary Clinton being shot, with the caption “I got your guncontrol right here bitch!”

This is who McConnell wants in charge of vetting Supreme Court justices?

This sort of gleeful violence is nothing new to Nugent, who in a 2007 onstage rant relished the prospect of killing Clinton and then-candidate Obama:

Decked out in full-on camouflage hunting gear, Nugent wielded two machine guns while raging, "Obama, he's a piece of shit. I told him to suck on my machine gun. Hey Hillary," he continued. "You might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch." Nugent summed up his eloquent speech by screaming "freedom!"

Earlier this year, Nugent engaged in a week-long anti-Semitic meltdown, including posting a Facebook meme alleging that Jewish politicians and activists are “behind gun control.”

Stunningly, there seems to be no organized effort within the NRA to fire Nugent, even as some NRA members have been waging a campaign to oust anti-tax activist Grover Norquist from the organization’s board because they claim he is a Muslim Brotherhood agent.

Nugent, not surprisingly, is enthusiastically backing Donald Trump in the presidential race.

So, Senate Republicans are refusing to so much as hold a hearing on Garland’s nomination in the hope that Trump will become president and nominate someone who has been approved by Nugent and his organization? Sounds reasonable.

Ron Johnson Is Taking His SCOTUS Talking Points Straight From Right-Wing Groups

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is one of the Republican senators who is under considerable pressure in his home state to break from his party leadership and consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

So far, Johnson has toed the party line and says that he supports blocking any nominee to the Supreme Court for the remainder of Obama’s presidency. In defending this position, he has turned to a number of stock talking points cooked up by right-wing groups seeking to keep an Obama nominee off the Supreme Court.

As soon as President Obama announced his nomination of Garland, Johnson turned to the talking point that the conservative Judicial Crisis Network has been promoting since soon after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death left a vacant seat on the Supreme Court.

Johnson’s appeal to let the American people “decide” and give them a “voice” by discounting President Obama’s entire last year in office, comes straight out of the messaging that JCN started hammering in early ads urging obstruction. In JCN’s first ad, a narrator says:

It’s ‘We the People.’ Sometimes the politicians forget that. The Supreme Court has a vacancy and your vote in November is your only voice. Sen. Chuck Grassley agrees: the American people should decide. This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats. It’s about your voice. You choose the next president, the next president chooses the next justice. Call Sen. Chuck Grassley. Thank him for letting the people decide.

Of course, the people already did have a voice in choosing who would pick the next Supreme Court justice when they reelected President Obama for a second four-year term in 2012.

The New York Times reported yesterday on an event in Wisconsin at which Johnson attempted to justify the Senate GOP’s obstructionism by implying that the Constitution’s requirement of “advice and consent” can mean the Senate advising the president not to make any judicial nomination at all:

“Yeah, I am hearing the drumbeat, ‘Do your job! Do your job!’ ” Mr. Johnson said, invoking the Democrats’ battle cry in their quest to get Judge Garland a hearing. “We’re doing our job,” Mr. Johnson declared, to shouts of “yes.”

“Our job as a coequal branch in the nomination process is advise and consent,” he said. “Well, President Obama — surprise — didn’t heed our advice. So now we are doing the second part of that advice and consent: We’re withholding our consent. Completely appropriate.”

This is a talking point that Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, a longtime right-wing player in judicial fights, pioneered very soon after the death of Justice Scalia, when he told televangelist Pat Robertson, “The Senate has a role in this, the Constitution says ‘advice and consent.’ The advice here is, ‘Don’t put up a nominee when you’re only going to be the president, you’re a lame duck and you’re only going to be the president for 11 months.’”

We don’t think that refusing to even consider a Supreme Court nominee is what the founders had in mind when they gave the Senate the power of “advice and consent," which is why the GOP leadership’s decision to have the Senate do absolutely nothing in response to a Supreme Court nomination is unprecedented.

According to the Times article, Johnson has also taken to saying that Garland is “hostile” to the Second Amendment:

“Judge Merrick is hostile to your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” Mr. Johnson said in Pewaukee, using the judge’s first name. “So I am doing my job to protect the Second Amendment rights of Wisconsinites.”

Johnson’s use of the word “hostile” is no accident. The phrase “hostile to the Second Amendment” is what right-wing groups have settled on to describe Garland’s utterly benign record on gun rights. That’s the exact phrase that the National Rifle Association has been using in its effort to stir up opposition to Garland’s nomination. The “hostile” term seems to have come from an opposition research package put together by the Judicial Crisis Network, which in turn seems to have borrowed the phrase from a 2007 article in the NRA’s magazine.

We outlined last week why the Second Amendment “hostility” argument is bunk.

Senate Republicans seem to have ceded not only their governing, but the very words that come out of their mouths, to right-wing obstructionist groups.

Cruz Adviser Frank Gaffney Stumps For Grover Norquist NRA Recall Effort

When Sen. Ted Cruz named the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney as a top national security adviser last week, he stepped right into a battle that is raging in the National Rifle Association over one of its board members, the anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist. Gaffney has been claiming for years that Norquist is a Muslim Brotherhood plant in the conservative movement, a cause that has recently been taken up by Glenn Beck, who is trying to get Norquist kicked off the NRA’s board over the baseless accusation.

On his “Secure Freedom Radio” program last week, Gaffney promoted the latest effort to recall Norquist from the NRA’s board, urging listeners to vote for the Norquist recall because the anti-tax activist has done “incalculable harm, I believe, to the party, the conservative movement, the country, and is certainly not fit to be a leader of the National Rifle Association.”

Gaffney backed up his point by arguing that the Muslim Brotherhood must have someone in the conservative movement.

“The efforts that the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly, has made over the years to subvert us from within seem to be designed to attack all of our civil society institutions and governing agencies,” Gaffney told his guest, Robert Spencer. “Is it possible that they could have overlooked or decided not to go after the Republican Party and the conservative movement in their civilization jihad against us?”

“There’s just no possibility of that whatsoever,” Spencer agreed. “They want to make sure to control the people who are in power, and to do that they have to have people who are highly placed in both parties. And they have very skillfully operated in the Republican Party by means of people like Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan.”

Conservatives Make Pathetic Effort To Claim Garland Is 'Hostile' To Gun Rights

As soon as President Obama announced his nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court seat left by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, the conservative Judicial Crisis Network and the Republican National Committee unveiled embarrassingly thin dossiers to frame Garland — whom conservatives have previously praised — as an unconfirmable liberal activist.

Both organizations decided to focus their criticism on the claim that Garland is “hostile” to gun rights, something that other conservative groups have picked up and run with. The National Rifle Association, in turn, is out with a petition urging the Senate to reject Garland’s nomination, also claiming that he’s “hostile to the Second Amendment.”

The NRA cites three cases that it says show that Garland “supports a handgun ban” and “supports a national gun registry.” Not one shows anything of the sort.

Claim 1: “In 2007, he ruled in favor of reviewing the D.C. Circuit’s decision that invalidated the city’s handgun ban – the very ban Scalia helped overturn at the Supreme Court.”

The facts: A divided panel of three other judges of the D.C. Circuit Court, on which Garland sits, reversed a lower court ruling and found that a Washington, D.C., handgun ban was unconstitutional. The full court then had an opportunity to vote on whether the case should be reheard by all the judges on the entire D.C. Circuit. Garland was one of four members of the court, including a decidedly conservative colleague, Raymond Randolph, who voted to rehear the case. That vote indicates absolutely nothing about what Garland thought about the merits of the case and certainly doesn’t mean that Garland “supports a handgun ban” as the NRA claims. After all, this was before the Supreme Court ruling in Heller and, regardless of ideology, it made perfect sense for a judge to want the full circuit to consider the case.

Claim 2: “In 2004, he ruled against rehearing another pivotal Second Amendment case, thereby casting a vote against the individual right to Keep and Bear Arms.”

The facts: It’s the same story here. The NRA seems to be referring to the 2005 case Seegers v. Gonzales, which had to do with whether the parties suing had standing to challenge D.C.’s handgun law; the substance of the Second Amendment argument was not at issue. This time, Garland voted with the majority of his colleagues to deny a full-court rehearing of the case. Again, that vote gave absolutely no indication of how he felt about the issue of standing (to say nothing of the merits of the Second Amendment case) and definitely was not “a vote against the individual right to Keep and Bear Arms.”

Claim 3: “In 2000, he ruled in favor of the federal government’s plan to keep gun owners’ personal information in an unofficial national registry.”

The facts: In this case, NRA of America v. Reno, the NRA claimed that a regulation requiring information from gun background checks to be temporarily retained violated a law requiring background check records to be destroyed. Garland joined in an opinion finding that the law didn’t prohibit the temporary storage of that data “for audit purposes,” after which it would be destroyed as required by law. From this, the NRA falsely concludes that Garland “supports a national gun registry.”

There is frankly nothing in Garland’s record that indicates his substantive views, if any, on the Second Amendment. Could it possibly be that conservative groups are grasping at straws in an attempt to justify their blanket obstruction of the Supreme Court nomination process?

Ted Nugent: Verizon Dropped Sportsman Channel Because Obama Hates America

Earlier this month, Verizon announced that it was dropping The Sportsman Channel from its lineup from its Fios service “due to its low viewership.” But NRA board member and Sportsman Channel fan Ted Nugent knows the real reason for the Verizon lineup change: President Obama and the media’s “anti-Americanism.”

Nugent called into Alex Jones’ “Infowars” program yesterday to rail against Verizon for giving “the toxic middle finger of communism” and “anti-Americanism” to viewers like him, which he managed to link to President Obama, the Affordable Care Act, the 2012 Benghazi attack and the IRS.

“My God, Alex, the number of freedom-abusing, freedom-destroying, fundamental transformation, abuse of power and corruption and fraud and deceit and anti-Americanism that runs amok in this country from the president on down, it breaks the hearts of good Americans by the hour across this country,” he said.

“When Verizon cancels Sportsmen’s Channel, it’s a direct result of the anti-gun, anti-freedom, anti-hunting, anti-wildlife, anti-science, anti-Americanism that has infested our media across this land,” he declared.

The Sportsman Channel itself has framed the Verizon decision as censorship, telling visitors to its website : “Your lifestyle, Your freedom, Your rights – TAKEN.”

Jindal: Indiana And Arkansas Controversies Were A 'Dangerous' 'Attack On Our Constitution'

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal continued to try out his anti-big business, populist talking points in speech to the National Rifle Association’s convention today, telling the big-spending political group that is funded by the gun industry that Republicans need to “be ready to stand up to big business.”

He was talking, of course, about the recent decisions of lawmakers in Indiana and Arkansas to soften measures sanctioning discrimination under the guise of “religious liberty” – decisions that were made under pressure from corporations wary of doing business in states seen as hostile to LGBT people.

Jindal called the Indiana and Arkansas decisions “very, very dangerous,” saying that “Hollywood liberals and editorial columnists” and “some of the biggest corporations in our country…came together to bully the elected representatives of the people.”

“This wasn’t just a matter of competing policy preferences,” he said. “This was different. This was an attack on our Constitution. It was an attack on the fundamental right to speech and association and the free exercise of religion. It was large corporations, Hollywood and the media elite saying, ‘We don’t care about the First Amendment.’”

“If these large forces, if they can conspire to crush the First Amendment, it won’t be long before they conspire to crush the Second Amendment,” he told the crowd.

“This 2016 election will be an election between elitist and populism. Hillary Clinton will be on the side of elitism, we need to be on the side of the people and their First and Second Amendment rights,” he said.

ALEC Experiences ‘Donor Exodus’ Following Trayvon Martin Tragedy

Apparently not all press is good press, after all.

American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) documents recently obtained by The Guardian show the popularity of ALEC, an organization that connects corporate lobbyists with state legislators to push special interest legislation, to be in sharp decline.  In the wake of the national outcry surrounding Trayvon Martin’s death, ALEC saw both its corporate and state legislative membership drop in numbers – experiencing what The Guardian describes as a “donor exodus.”   

That’s because among the many damaging pieces of legislation ALEC has pushed over the years are “Stand Your Ground” laws, which became a cornerstone of the national conversation about the Trayvon Martin tragedy. Drafted in part by the National Rifle Association, ALEC promoted these types of laws as “model legislation.”  But some legislators and corporations – including Kraft, Coca-Cola, Amazon, and more – decided they didn’t want any part of it.

Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg report:

The Guardian has learned that by Alec's own reckoning the network has lost almost 400 state legislators from its membership over the past two years, as well as more than 60 corporations that form the core of its funding. In the first six months of this year it suffered a hole in its budget of more than a third of its projected income.

For forty years, ALEC has helped advance bills that hurt everyday Americans, and PFAW works with allies like the Center for Media and Democracy to expose their extreme agenda. 

If you’re in the DC area, you can join us this Thursday for a “DC Stands Up to ALEC” rally to make clear that it’s not only legislators and corporations who have had enough of ALEC – it’s the American people.


Nugent: Obama Like A Crack Addict

Ted Nugent compared President Obama to a crack addict and an alcoholic during an interview yesterday with conservative radio host Lars Larson. After attacking Obama for “violating his oath, violating the basics of America, the basics of ‘We The People,’” the NRA board member said Obama reminds him of a “criminal son or daughter asking for more allowance so they can buy more crack.”

“Their spending ways can only be described as a drunken idiot, the waste, the corruption, the fraud, the deceit, the abuse of power, it breaks my heart.”

Voter suppression and intimidation reported in Colorado recall election

The recall effort began earlier this year as a grassroots protest and on Tuesday resulted in State Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs and State Senator Angela Giron of Pueblo losing their seats.

All Hands On Deck: Stop the NRA’s Colorado Senate Recall!

YOU can help defeat gun extremists' unprecedented power grab in Colorado.

Nugent: 'Gangster' and 'Diehard Communist' Obama, 'Murderer' Clinton Ruining America

NRA board member Ted Nugent appeared on Sons of Liberty Radio yesterday to talk about how his organization is “the pinnacle of self-evident truth” as found in the Constitution, unlike President Obama whom he called a “Chicago gangster” and a “diehard Communist.” Nugent also said that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a “murderer” who “intentionally kept security away from American citizens so they can get blown to smithereens,” called Vice President Biden “an absolute buffoon,” and accused Attorney General Holder of “gunrunning.”

But the interview ended abruptly when Nugent complained about audio feedback: “Boy, that’s getting to be a pain in the ass, what kind of radio station is this?”

I understand logic, I understand common sense, the commonality and sensibility of it all, and here in 2013 the NRA was the ultimate celebration, the pinnacle of self-evident truth, ‘we the people’ adherence who understand that ‘we the people’ are the bosses of our elected officials. It’s gone tipsy turvy where we have a Chicago gangster, ACORN community organizer, scam artist and diehard Communist as the President of the United States, a gunrunning Attorney General, an absolute buffoon for a Vice President and a murderer as the Secretary of State who intentionally kept security away from American citizens so they can get blown to smithereens.

NRA's David Keene Claims Obama Is Scared of America

NRA president David Keene appeared on The Mike Huckabee Show today where he told guest host J.D. Hayworth, a former congressman from Arizona, that President Obama is scared of America.

Keene claimed that Obama and his advisers don’t understand the gun debate because they live inside “the confines of urban Chicago or Cambridge, Massachusetts or Washington D.C.,” which Keene astonishingly seems to think are areas unaffected by gun violence.

He also blasted Obama for a comment about how he understands the appeal of gun ownerships in places like rural Iowa where law enforcement officers could be miles away, which Keene said is further proof that “he just doesn’t get it.”

Keene, whose group opposed background check legislation backed by a huge majority of Americans, including most gun owners and voters in “red states,” argued that Obama is out of step with the country and claimed that “frankly the rest of the country scares him.”

Keene: The amazing thing to me about this administration is just how parochial it is. These are people — remember when Barack Obama recently went to Iowa and he looked around and he said ‘well gosh I can understand why if my wife lived out here she might want a gun,’ what’s that about? You know, in other words, he just doesn’t get it. If you are outside the confines of urban Chicago or Cambridge, Massachusetts or Washington D.C., he and most of his advisers have no concept of what the rest of the country is like and frankly the rest of the country scares him.

The Background Check Filibuster: "Who's Laughing Now?"

Senators who voted to filibuster a bipartisan gun sale background check bill are losing friends quickly. After all, 90 percent of voters and 90 percent of gun owners supported the measure...

Rand Paul Raising Money for Right-of-NRA Gun Group

PFAW’s recent Right Wing Watch in Focus report on opposition to more effective regulation of guns noted that promoting conspiracy theories is a primary strategy used by extremists to block common sense policies.  New evidence comes in the form of a recent email from Sen. Rand Paul raising money for the National Association for Gun Rights, a group that is so far out there it thinks the National Rifle Association has gone soft.

Rand Paul’s letter uses inflammatory rhetoric to push the conspiracy theory that registration of guns and requiring background checks for gun purposes – which is supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans, including gun owners – is just a prelude to “confiscation” by the “gun-grabbers.”

And make no mistake, the gun-grabbers’ TRUE motives behind gun registration is always the same -- outright gun CONFISCATION, and to do that they must first register every gun and gun owner.

Another letter Paul signed for the group argues that President Obama is working to empower United Nations bureaucrats to confiscate Americans’ guns:

I don't know about you, but watching anti-American globalists plot against our Constitution makes me sick.

PFAW’s report on opposition to addressing gun violence notes that there are real consequences to the promotion of conspiracy theories by elected officials:

It is also true that the failure to challenge extremist and dishonest rhetoric can lead to damaging consequences for our common public life.  The promotion of false conspiracy theories, the claims by public figures that their political opponents are out to destroy freedom and America itself, and the false equation of sensible, broadly supported laws with the elimination of the rights of hunters and other gun owners, can foster a dangerous extremism, including threats of violence.

One of Rand Paul’s letters refers to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bill restricting ownership of assault weapons as “the effective END of the Second Amendment in America.”

I can hardly even think about what a DISASTER for our country it would be should President Obama, Senator Feinstein and their anti-gun pals succeed in ramming this monstrosity down our throats.

An earlier alert from the National Association for Gun Rights was labeled: “Obama declares war.”

Why is Rand Paul raising money for these guys?

The NRA vs. Judicial Nominees

Back in December, The New York Times’ Linda Greenhouse wrote a great article explaining how the National Rifle Association has worked in concert with Republican senators to oppose many of President Obama’s federal judicial nominees – usually without anything close to a legitimate reason. The NRA’s “symbiotic relationship with the Republican Party,” Greenhouse wrote, led the group to oppose judicial nominees like Sonia Sotomayor, who had next to no record on the Second Amendment, and the party to chip in when the NRA didn’t like a nominee.

It is that symbiotic relationship that succeeded in sinking the nominations of two highly qualified women to federal courts this week. Both were unquestionably qualified and well-respected in legal circles. The NRA and the Senate GOP went after both for completely unfounded reasons.

Caitlin Halligan was President Obama’s nominee to fill one of four vacancies on the hugely influential Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Never mind that she had broad bipartisan support and sterling credentials. She had once represented a client, the state of New York, in a lawsuit against gun manufacturers. Back when John Roberts was being considered for the Supreme Court, Senate Republicans said that judicial nominees shouldn’t be held responsible for positions they took as lawyers on behalf of clients. But no matter. Senate Republicans twice voted to filibuster her nomination – most recently on Wednesday – never even allowing her an up-or-down vote.

Then today, Nevada District Court nominee Elissa Cadish withdrew her nomination over one year after she had been selected by President Obama. Her story was similar. Filling out a questionnaire in 2008, Cadish stated that under then-current law, the constitutional right to bear arms didn’t apply to individual citizens. She was correct. Two months later in a 5-4 opinion, the Supreme Court established for the first time that the Second Amendment does contain that right. Cadish made clear that she understood, and would follow, the new Supreme Court precedent.

But no matter. The NRA targeted Cadish and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller used a little-known Senate practice to keep her from ever even getting the chance to explain her views in front of the Judiciary Committee. Under committee procedures used by Chairman Patrick Leahy as a courtesy to his colleagues, a nominee is not granted a hearing unless both of her home-state senators give permission in the form of a “blue slip.” Heller simply refused to sign the blue slip for Cadish, thus single-handedly sinking her nomination.

The flimsiness of the arguments against Cadish and Halligan, and the fact that much of the opposition took place behind the scenes (in the case of Cadish without even a public hearing), betrays the real reason the NRA and the GOP were working to keep these women off the federal bench. They just don’t want President Obama to be nominating federal judges.



After Threatening the President's Life, Ted Nugent Rewarded with Ticket to the State of the Union

Texas Republican congressman Steve Stockman announced today that he is “excited to have a patriot like Ted Nugent joining me in the House Chamber” during President Obama’s State of the Union, once again confirming Stockman’s position as one of the most far-right members of Congress.

Nugent in the past has threatened to kill President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.

“I was in Chicago and I said hey Obama, you might want to suck on one of these you punk; Obama, he’s a piece of shit, and I told him to suck on my machine gun,” Nugent screamed during a concert while brandishing two machine guns, “Then I was in New York and I said, ‘Hey Hillary you might want to ride one of these into the sunset you worthless bitch…. Then I was out in California and I thought, Barbara Boxer, she might want to suck on my machine gun, hey Dianne Feinstein ride one of these you worthless whore.”

Nugent at a National Rifle Association gathering said that if Obama and his “vile, evil America-hating administration” win re-election then “I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”


He also told NRA members that Obama and other Democratic officials are “criminals” and like an animal that needs to be shot.


Besides threatening to kill U.S. officials, Nugent also claimed that he now wishes that the South had won the Civil War and attacked civil rights leaders over their “ebonic mumbo-jumbo.” He has even denounced what he calls Obama’s “racist agenda” and “liberal jihad.”

But unlike most people who have been visited by the Secret Service over their violent threats to elected officials, Nugent is invited to the State of the Union address.


Right Wing Round-Up - 12/21/12

Mitt Romney Won’t Disavow Supporter Ted Nugent’s Violent Rhetoric

Contrary to some media reports, Mitt Romney has failed to disavow the inflammatory and violent remarks made by Ted Nugent on Saturday at the NRA national convention. Nugent, a longtime NRA board member, made his remarks one day after Romney addressed the convention.

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said yesterday that “divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from.” “Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil,” she continued. Remarkably, some in the media have characterized this weak and vague statement as Romney disavowing, even condemning, Nugent.

“Mitt Romney is apparently unable, or unwilling, to confront Nugent’s violent rhetoric directly,” said Michael Keegan, president of People For the American Way. “This isn’t just a case of incivility or divisiveness. We’re talking about a prominent supporter of Mitt Romney making threats to shoot and chop the heads off of his political opponents.”

Nugent endorsed Romney after the two had a long conversation about gun laws, and Nugent made Romney pledge to oppose any new restrictions. The Romney campaign touted the endorsement, and Romney himself said he had a good time getting to know Nugent.

“Presidential candidates can’t be expected to answer for everything their supporters say, but it’s different when a candidate seeks an endorsement, makes promises to win it and then touts it to the public,” said Keegan. “Romney’s vague, pox on both their houses, approach shows that his campaign is more concerned about courting extremists like Nugent than doing the right thing for America.”

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People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch blog discovered Nugent’s remarks and posted them online:


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