Erich Pratt

Paranoia-Rama: This Week In Right-Wing Lunacy - 12/6/13

RWW's Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

Did you know that gay people seek to use the government to steal the children of conservative parents and kill Christians? Or that a commonsense, bipartisan bill to ban undetectable guns first signed into law by Ronald Reagan is actually a plot by President Obama to threaten all gun owners? Well, we didn’t! But thanks to the totally reasonable and coherent arguments from right-wing figures, we do now:

5. The Gay-Liberal Adoption Plot Exposed

Stan Solomon, who you might remember from such conspiracy theories as ‘Obama is forming a black paramilitary’ and ‘Obamacare will force people into electro-shock therapy,’ now warns that liberals will take the children of conservative parents and put them into the homes of abusive gay couples. Of course, Phyllis Schlafly thinks Solomon is onto something:

4. Limbaugh Senses Conspiracy Behind Retraction Of Erroneous Report

The World Health Organization corrected a report that mistakenly claimed there was a rise in “self-inflicted” HIV infections in Greece as a way to collect welfare benefits , saying the report was unfounded and a result of an editing error: “There is no evidence suggesting that deliberate self-infection with H.I.V. goes beyond a few anecdotal cases.” But it didn't matter to Rush Limbaugh, who insisted that, in fact, the original, erroneous WHO declaration was true:

So what do you think really happened here? Do you think they goofed up? I don’t, either. I think they’re trying to walk back what they inadvertently admitted yesterday. And being leftists, I’m sure they didn't think that they would get the kind of reaction they got. I’m sure they were expecting to get reactions rooted in sympathy and compassion, and instead they got reactions that were based and rooted in outrage. They were not prepared for that, so now it's, dare we say, CYA time here at the World Health Organization.

3. Obama Trying To Close Vatican Embassy

Even though the words “relocate” and “close” are different words that mean different things, Republicans pounced on the news that the US Embassy to the Holy See, or the Vatican, will be relocated to charge that Obama is trying to close the embassy as part of his anti-Catholic agenda.

Jeb Bush suggested it was the result of “retribution for Catholic organizations opposing Obamacare;” the National Republican Senatorial Committee called it “a slap in the face to Catholic-Americans;” one Washington Times columnist billed the move as an attempt to “snub the Pope” and “pick a fight with Catholics” and a Breitbart blogger said it was the result of “the Regime’s pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage stance.”

“Neither Obama, nor the State Department, are planning on permanently closing the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See – also known as the Vatican,” CNN reports. “What is happening, however, is the building the embassy is currently using is being moved to a property closer to Vatican City.”

The Washington Post points out that the government report “which urged moving the embassy for both cost and security reasons — as well as practicality” was issued during the Bush administration in 2008, or before Obama even took office.

2. Ban On Undetectable Guns Threatens All Gun Owners

Gun Owners of America is deeply concerned that the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill to “extend a ban on manufacturing plastic firearms that are not detectable by security-screening devices.” The right-wing group’s spokesman Erich Pratt claims that the bill will open “the door for greater mischief much later,” will inevitably be “twisted by President Obama,” and represents “an unconstitutional infringement of our liberties that is not only ineffective, but could eventually be expanded by an anti-gun administration to ban even more guns.”

The National Association for Gun Rights put out a similar petition demanding the House “oppose any and all gun control legislation” unless they too want to be labeled as “gun-grabbers” and “anti-gunners.” NAGR calls the bill “a ticking time bomb” that “could spell disaster for gun owners.”

How far out are GOA and NAGR for opposing a bill prohibiting the manufacture of undetectable plastic guns? Not only does the GOP leadership support an extension of the 1988 law (that’s right, signed into law by Ronald Reagan), but even the National Rifle Association refused to oppose the bill.

1. Gay Marriage Will Kill Christians

We probably shouldn’t be surprised that a commentator for Renew America believes that the gay rights movement is a Satanic plot to murder Christians.

“The Godless communists (or fascists, if you prefer) are using the homosexual agenda to work toward eradicating Christian opposition to their plans, which are Satan’s plans,” Gina Miller writes. “If you know your Bible, then you know that Christianity is destined to be outlawed. We are moving steadily toward a time when Christians here in America will be in danger of state-sanctioned murder for their beliefs.”

We really couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried:

Cuccinelli Touts Endorsement Of Radical Gun Group With Ties To White Supremecists, Conspiracy Theorists

Earlier this month, the extremist gun group Gun Owners of America announced that it was endorsing Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli in next month’s gubernatorial contest and urged its supporters to do “everything you can” to elect the Republican. Though Cuccinelli’s campaign doesn’t seem to have touted GOA’s endorsement at the time, it is now prominently featuring the endorsement on its website.

While it’s no surprise that GOA is backing Cuccinelli, Cuccinelli’s touting of the GOA’s endorsement should raise some eyebrows.

GOA is an extreme group that trades in racism and conspiracy theories. The group’s executive director, Larry Pratt is so radical that he was forced out of Pat Buchanan’s 1996 presidential campaign after it became public that he had spoken at white supremacist and militia movement rallies.  Just this past fourth of July, Pratt was scheduled to speak alongside a prominent white nationalist at an event hosted by an anti-Semitic rock band.

Today, Pratt regularly appears with far-right fringe talk show hosts including Alex Jones, Stan Solomon and Pete Santilli, where he has:

GOA’s legislative counsel Michael Hammond and its communications director Erich Pratt (Larry’s son) also push conspiracy theories on fringe media.

So, why is Cuccinelli touting GOA’s endorsement?

Gun Owners of America Embraces Racist 'Black Hurricane Names' Meme

Earlier this week, the Congressional Black Caucus recommended that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee replace Janet Napolitano as the head of the Department of Homeland Security, so naturally the American Family Association’s One News Now turned to Gun Owners of America for comment.

Gun Owners of America is no fan of the DHS under Janet Napolitano – the group’s executive director, Larry Pratt, thinks the agency is raising a private army that will allow President Obama to overpower the US military.

But the group’s objections to Jackson Lee are unrelated. Seizing on a bizarre meme popular among Internet racists circa 2006, GOA spokesman Erich Pratt (Larry’s son), told One News Now that Jackson Lee thinks “one of the top pressing issues of our time ... is the group NOAA, which takes part in naming hurricanes. She thinks that they're racist because they don't use black-sounding names like ‘D’Shaun’ and ‘Keisha’ and ‘Jamal’ and names like that."

As Snopes explains, Jackson Lee did in fact express concern in a 2003 interview that “all racial groups should be represented” in NOAA’s hurricane names and hoped that the agency “would try to be inclusive of African American names.” Her comment then provoked a storm of anger among right-wingers including Rush Limbaugh and WorldNetDaily, which published a comment from a reader asking, “This is ridiculous. How about naming the storms after gang members, or infamous criminals?” It also spawned at least one horribly racist chain email.

And apparently the meme lives on, since Gun Owners of America – normally a leading light of racial reconciliation – is featuring it as its primary objection to a possible Jackson Lee nomination.

Erich Pratt, spokesman for Gun Owners of America (GOA), is not keen on the idea of the longtime representative heading up DHS.

"If Sheila Jackson Lee becomes the new Homeland Security director, I think it will make us all long for the days of Janet Napolitano, who was certainly one of our more inept directors,” he tells OneNewsNow. “... We don't think [she] is going to be any better. She's ‘F-minus’ rated from Gun Owners of America."

Pratt also fears Jackson Lee would politicize the DHS even more than did Napolitano.

"[Jackson Lee thinks] one of the top pressing issues of our time ... is the group NOAA, which takes part in naming hurricanes,” he explains. “She thinks that they're racist because they don't use black-sounding names like ‘D’Shaun’ and ‘Keisha’ and ‘Jamal’ and names like that."

Gun Owners of America Fears Creation of 'Minority Report'-style 'Pre-Crime Unit'

Spokesman for Gun Owners of America have already warned us that background checks on gun purchases may lead to anti-Christian persecution and genocide, and last week the group’s communications director Erich Pratt warned that new gun legislation might include a “government enemy list” that could target Gun Owners of America members or “anybody who attends church or listens to Christian radio.”

Of course, the Senate gun bill actually has language meant to prevent the creation of such any gun owners’ registry, but that didn’t stop Pratt from criticizing the legislation’s plan to expand background checks.

Pratt said that while he has no problem requiring background checks for things like nursery employees, he argued that there should be no background checks at all for gun purchases since it is a “God-given right.” Pratt went on to maintain that such background checks may lead to government screenings of pastors, writers or couples seeking to get married or having children.

“If anybody has ever seen the movie ‘Minority Report’ that is where we end up going, where government sets up a pre-crime unit,” Pratt concluded.

People are thinking ‘well you know in my church we do background checks if I’m going to work in the nursery and you know, what’s wrong with that?’ Well to that I would say, I don’t have a God-given right to watch your children so if you want to do background checks on me to work in the nursery I’m OK with that. But I do have a God-given right to protect my children and my life and my wife so there is a big difference because now when you do that background check you are sending my name to the government and you have just created the framework for a gun registry. When you have people like Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying that confiscation is an option, the Democrats in the New York legislature put forth a plan for confiscating certain firearms and several legislatures around the country talking about confiscation, heck, right after Hurricane Katrina they did confiscate firearms when they went door to door in the city and the police chief announced that ‘no one is going to be allowed to have guns and we’re going to take them all,’ and they did, or at least they tried to, they confiscated thousands of firearms.

So with that threat that’s constantly there that is why any gun owner should strongly oppose background checks on anything related to their Second Amendment rights, it is a huge slippery slope problem. Plus the fact that quite honestly, why should government be screening law-abiding people before they exercise their rights? If you are a good person there is no reason why you should be screened before you preach a sermon, before you publish an article, before you get married. You could argue there are a lot of wife beaters out there so we need to check you out and there are a lot of child abusers so we need to check you out before you have children; no we don’t do that to rights. You don’t take God-given rights and say we’re going to have government check you out first just to make sure. If anybody has ever seen the movie ‘Minority Report’ that is where we end up going, where government sets up a pre-crime unit and it is screening everybody and catch us before we do anything wrong. Heck, they might as well put drones over our homes and spy on us; they could just as easily catch crime that way.
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