The Blaze’s Dana Loesch: The Obama Administration Isn’t Addressing Terrorism Because “They Would Indict Themselves”
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President Obama delivered remarks on the recent massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, and included observations that current gun laws fail to stop terror suspects and disturbed individuals from legally purchasing assault weapons. Right-wing media were quick to attack the president's “insulting” comments.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump echoed conservative media’s tendency to blame mass shootings on so-called “gun-free zones,” saying of the June 12 attack at gay nightclub Pulse that left 49 dead, “if you had guns on the other side, you wouldn’t have had the tragedy that you had.” In fact, the gunman engaged in a firefight with three police officers during the massacre at the the Orlando, Florida, nightclub.
A National Rifle Association video attacking Hillary Clinton for the State Department’s approval of arms exports during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state unwittingly makes the case for background checks for weapons sales.
The NRA video falsely claims that during Clinton’s tenure, the State Department based decisions on arms export permits on whether a country had donated money to the Clinton Foundation. In fact, the State Department’s statutory role in deciding when to grant arms export permits is “to promote our national security interests and foreign policy objectives.” As explained by the State Department, The United States’ controls over arms exports are considered the “gold standard” throughout the world, meant “to prohibit the transfer or transshipment of capabilities to rogue states, terrorist groups, and groups seeking to unsettle regions.”
As a function of its permitting responsibilities, the State Department operates a program called the Blue Lantern that conducts investigations into entities receiving U.S. arms exports to ensure that arms transfers are within the U.S. national security interest.
In a video promoted on the NRA’s news website, NRA News commentator Dana Loesch attacked Clinton by claiming that according to the International Business Times, “during the first three fiscal years of Clinton's term as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 countries whose governments gave money to the Clinton Foundation. Do you think that they underwent background checks?”
Loesch went on to claim, “when Hillary Clinton isn't trying to disarm women and prevent us from the equal opportunity exercise of our pro-choice right to self-defense, she is approving billion-dollar arms sales to countries with horrendous human rights records. Countries where women have little to no rights, countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and others.”
According to Loesch, the State Department approved arms exports to Qatar and other countries in exchange for monetary donations to the Clinton Foundation and to members of Clinton’s family.
Loesch’s claims about the Clinton Foundation are conspiratorial. Despite discredited claims in conservative media, stemming from Peter Schweizer’s book “Clinton Cash,” there is no evidence that the Clinton family charity organization existed as part of a quid pro quo scheme used by foreign countries hoping to influence U.S. policy.
In the video, Loesch asked whether countries that received arms exports “underwent background checks,” seeming to suggest that in exchange for donations, Clinton would approve arms exports to dangerous world actors.
In fact, because of the State Department’s statutorily mandated responsibility, arms can be exported only after the State Department, and in some cases other federal agencies, grants a permit. The reason for the permit is to avoid the proliferation of arms.
In 1976, Republican President Gerald Ford signed The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) into law, legislation that gave the president broad latitude in approving or disapproving arms sales for the purpose of preserving national and international security. Ford soon signed an executive order delegating this responsibility to the Department of State. Subsequent executive orders during the Bush and Obama administrations have clarified and streamlined this delegation of authority.
Under the AECA and related laws, the U.S. has what are considered the highest standards in the world for deciding whether to approve arms sales to foreign nations. While the NRA video attempts to scandalize the State Department’s approval of arms exports during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, the agency’s actions during her tenure merely indicate that it carried out its statutory duty, as it has done for 40 years.
In the NRA video, Loesch also misleads by suggesting that Clinton is opposed to women’s rights because of sales approved to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Oman. Left unsaid is that Clinton and the State Department routinely condemned human rights abuses, including those that targeted women, in those countries.
While one role of the State Department is to promote human rights around the world, another facet of U.S. foreign policy is to promote national security interests. (And the NRA must have a keen interest in that goal, as it routinely raises concerns about terror in the Middle East.)
One way the country promotes these interests is by helping to arm countries that are engaged in the war on terror. For example, as a March State Department fact sheet explains, the department has approved arms sales to Oman because the country is “a vital U.S. partner on a wide range of regional, political, and security issues facing the Middle East” including “cooperation on maritime security, military preparedness, arms transfers, cybersecurity, and counterterrorism.”
The NRA’s video gets many things wrong, including its simplistic approach to foreign policy and conspiratorial claims about Clinton. But the video also inadvertently acknowledges the value of background checks in ensuring that weapons don’t fall into the wrong hands -- a point that counters the NRA’s usual position.
Right-wing media condemned former Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) for referring to Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX) as “Lucifer in the flesh” and the most "miserable son of a bitch” he has ever worked with.
NY Times: Boehner Described Ted Cruz As “Lucifer In The Flesh,” The Most "Miserable Son Of A Bitch” He Ever Worked With. The New York Times reported on April 28 that Boehner “described Senator Ted Cruz as ‘Lucifer in the flesh’ … and said that he would not vote for” Cruz if he became the Republican presidential nominee:
Former House Speaker John A. Boehner described Senator Ted Cruz as “Lucifer in the flesh” during a forum at Stanford University on Wednesday and said that he would not vote for the Texas Republican if he is the party’s presidential nominee.
Mr. Boehner’s harshest assessment was saved for Mr. Cruz, who he has not forgiven for spearheading the 2013 government shutdown.
“I have Democrat friends and Republican friends,” Mr. Boehner told David Kennedy, an emeritus history professor, at the event. “I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.” [The New York Times, 4/28/16]
National Review Editors: Boehner’s Comments Are “A Witless Cheap Shot” And “Petty Grudge-Holding.” National Review’s editorial board wrote on April 28 that Boehner’s characterization of Cruz was a “witless cheap shot.” The editors said the comments were “petty grudge-holding” and speculated that these “knee-jerk responses … though cathartic, would ultimately set back our common goals”:
We get it. John Boehner doesn’t like Ted Cruz. In a witless cheap shot, Boehner called him “Lucifer in the flesh” at an event at Stanford University. Boehner’s attitude is widespread among Republican insiders who are foolishly allowing personal ill will to cloud their reasoned judgment about who, among the candidates left in the GOP race, is the best representative of conservative principles and policies, and about who would be the best candidate in the upcoming general election.
[P]rominent conservatives who might not be counted among Cruz’s friends — Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush come to mind — have urged the party to rally around Cruz as the only reliable conservative left in the race.
They’re right to do so, and not to give in to the petty grudge-holding of John Boehner. In 2013, when Cruz was engineering his ill-fated government shutdown, his Republican critics, including us, warned against interpreting tactical disagreements as evidence of disagreements about objectives. We encouraged conservatives not to indulge in knee-jerk responses that, though cathartic, would ultimately set back our common goals. That argument works in both directions. Whatever his personal feelings, Boehner agrees with Cruz on most questions of principle and policy, and it’s a shame he can’t act accordingly. [National Review, 4/28/16]
Sean Hannity: “John Boehner, Shut Up … You Failed The Republican Party.” On the April 28 edition of Fox News’ Hannity, host Sean Hannity told Boehner to “shut up,” calling his performance as speaker “weak, timid, feckless, visionless.” Hannity asserted that Boehner “failed the Republican Party,” concluding, “We don’t need lectures from you”:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): All right, I’ve got to tell you something. I can't say this strongly enough. John Boehner, shut up. You know what? You gave us $4 trillion in debt. You were weak, timid, feckless, visionless. And I’ve got to be honest, you want to know why Cruz and Trump are doing so well? Look in the mirror, because you are afraid of your own shadow that you might get blamed for a government shutdown, so you wouldn't defund Obamacare, you wouldn’t use the power of the purse, you wouldn’t defund executive amnesty, which was -- which Republicans ran on in 2014. You failed the Republican Party. We don't need lectures from you against presidential candidates that are resonating with the American people, thank you very much. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/28/16]
Townhall’s Kurt Schlichter: Boehner “Today Just Demonstrated His Utter Contempt For” The People On The Right. During the April 28 edition of NRA News’ Cam & Company, conservative Townhall columnist Kurt Schlichter said Boehner’s remarks “proved” that he was “a giant waste of air.” Schlichter concluded, “The people on the right are angry … at people like John Boehner, who today just demonstrated his utter contempt for them”:
CAM EDWARDS (HOST): How about that? “Lucifer in the flesh.” So, I saw that description today, and for whatever reason, Kurt, the phrase “Goldwater’s baby” came to mind --
KURT SCHLICHTER: Its eyes! Its eyes! What did you do to its eyes!
EDWARDS: I want somebody to use that as an insult this year, I just want to hear somebody call someone else “Goldwater’s baby.”
SCHLICHTER: Oh my gosh. You know, with Boehner, sometimes it's like, you know, we all knew it, and then it happens. This guy literally says he would vote for Hillary Clinton before one of the nominees by the other Republicans. This was our speaker. We were all saying you know, this guy is a giant waste of air, and then he comes out and just completely proves it.
SCHLICHTER: The people on the right are angry. They’re angry at people like John Boehner, who today just demonstrated his utter contempt for them. And they always knew it, and there were people saying, "No, no, no, he really doesn’t feel that way." And well I said, “You know, I kind of think he does.” And now he’s kind of proved it. I think people are justifiably angry. They’re not going to -- to quote Roger Daltrey, "won't be fooled again!" [NRA News, Cam & Company, 4/28/16]
Fox’s Laura Ingraham: “I Don’t Like That Comment By John Boehner. At All.” On the April 29 edition of Courtside Entertainment Group’s The Laura Ingraham Show, host Laura Ingraham decried Boehner’s comments as “not helpful.” Ingraham called Boehner and “establishment” Republicans “devils,” saying, “I have the idea it’s devilish to run on one thing and then govern on something quite different”:
LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): This John Boehner comment about Cruz as “Lucifer in the flesh"? Not helpful. I said yesterday when I saw that this had been said that, I mean, John Boehner should just button it. It's not helpful. Now, you see, I have the idea it's devilish to run on one thing and then govern on something quite different. I think that's very deceiving, as the devil is deceiving. Ted Cruz actually said he was going to run on some basic principles, and for the most part it seems like Ted Cruz actually, you know, tried to fulfill his Senate duties with those principles in mind. Now that's “Lucifer in the flesh”? What? It seems like the revolt against the establishment is making it pretty clear who people think the devils are. The devils are the people who say they’re going to oppose Obama only to fund his entire budget. The devils are the people who say they’re pro-life only to fund Planned Parenthood. The devils are the people who spend most of the good part of an entire year pushing Obama's Trade Promotion Authority. The devils are the people who say they’re going to get rid of Obamacare only to allow Obamacare to be funded. Those are the devils. The devils are the people who call the people the loud people, or make fun of them and say “it’s too hard,” like John Boehner did. So I don't like that comment by John Boehner. At All. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 4/29/16]
Conservative Radio Host Hugh Hewitt: “‘Despicable’ Is My Term For [Boehner’s] Attack On [Cruz].”
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) April 29, 2016
Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell: “Boehner Doesn’t Have The Guts To Apologize. He Is A World-Class Coward.”
Boehner doesn't have the guts to apologize. He is a world-class coward.
— Brent Bozell (@BrentBozell) April 29, 2016
The Blaze’s Dana Loesch: “John Boehner Gets Along With Every Beltway Elitist -- But Not The Average American. This Is Why He’s Out To Pasture.”
John Boehner gets along with every beltway elitist — but not the average American. This is why he’s out to pasture.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) April 29, 2016
ESPN fired former Major League Baseball analyst Curt Schilling after he shared an image attacking transgender people on Facebook. Right-wing pundits immediately denounced ESPN as "brownshirts" and claimed "the world-wide leader in sports has no balls."
The Blaze’s Dana Loesch mocked transgender people and hyped the bathroom predator myth on her show with a skit of a man walking into the women’s restroom saying “I'm Matilda, I’m identifying as a lady today, I hear you guys have champagne and cookies in here.”
During the April 20 edition of her show on The Blaze TV, Loesch criticized celebrities boycotting North Carolina after the passage of the so called “bathroom bill,” aimed at discriminating against the LGBT community. Later that evening, Loesch tweeted the video claiming “It's obvious why everyone wants to use the #womensbathroom.” The tweet linked to the video from Loesch showing a man with a beard walking into a women’s restroom claiming “I’m identifying as a lady today”:
The Blaze has a history of ridiculing serious issues with horrible skits. Previously, The Blaze's Stu Burguiere reenacted rape scenarios with men portraying women being raped in an effort dismiss rape statistics as “massively” inflated.
A National Rifle Association video falsely claims that President Obama gave Mexican drug trafficker “El Chapo” a .50-caliber sniper rifle in order to claim that the president may be on the “side” of drug cartels.
But the NRA video never mentioned that the gun in question was manufactured by an NRA board member or that the NRA has strongly opposed efforts to ban the sale of .50-caliber sniper rifles. The class of firearm is “among the most destructive weapons legally available to civilians” and has been linked by law enforcement to “terrorism, outlaw motorcycle gangs, international and domestic drug trafficking, and violent crime.”
In an April 15 video, NRA News commentator Dana Loesch criticized President Obama over news reports that a .50-caliber sniper rifle associated with Operation Fast and Furious was recovered at the hideout of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, who is widely known as “El Chapo,” following the narcotrafficker’s January arrest.
Fast and Furious was a failed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) operation to track firearms sold to traffickers at retail stores in the United States to high-level drug cartel figures in Mexico. The ATF lost track of many of the guns after they crossed the border, and the operation, which was terminated in 2011, became public knowledge after one of the guns was used to kill a U.S. Border Patrol agent. Fast and Furious was spun off of the botched Bush administration Operation Wide Receiver, which also failed to track trafficked guns to high-level targets.
While an independent investigation found that the failure of Fast and Furious was due to “flawed” tactical decisions on the ground, the NRA has long conspiratorially claimed that Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder hatched the operation as a secret plot to cause violence in Mexico and thus justify more restrictive gun laws in the United States.
In NRA video, Loesch claimed, “El Chapo did not get that .50-cal from a [concealed handgun license] holder in Texas; he got it from Barack Obama and Eric Holder,” before asking, “Who's side are they on?”
It is well-established that Obama and Holder were not aware of Fast and Furious while the operation was underway. While the NRA continues to push conspiracies about the operation, even Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the primary congressional investigator into the failed sting, has said it is “important” to acknowledge that an independent investigation found that Holder was unaware of the program during its existence.
The independent investigation, undertaken by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, found that “ATF's Phoenix Field Division, together with the U.S. Attorney's Office, bore primary responsibility for the conduct of Operations Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious.” The investigation also debunked the NRA’s conspiracies about the purpose of Fast and Furious, finding “no evidence that the agents responsible for the cases had improper motives or were trying to accomplish anything other than dismantling a dangerous firearms trafficking organization.”
The NRA video also failed to mention the organization’s own role in making the .50-caliber sniper rifle -- a gun whose round “can penetrate structures and destroy or disable light armored vehicles, radar dishes, helicopters, stationary and taxiing airplanes” -- easily available to the public.
There is no federal law that specifically regulates .50-caliber rifles, meaning they can be purchased by anyone aged 18 or older who passes a background check at a licensed gun dealer (and in many states the rifle can be bought without a background check through the private sale loophole).
The NRA has long opposed proposals in Congress to ban the sale of the .50-caliber rifle, falsely arguing that .50-caliber weapons pose no danger to the public. In 2013, the gun organization successfully urged New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) to veto a .50-caliber rifle ban. The NRA also lobbied against a 2005 U.S. House of Representatives bill to restrict .50-caliber rifle ownership -- which it misleadingly labeled as a "hunting rifle ban" -- and has opposed state efforts to regulate the .50-caliber rifle in California and Hawaii. Other material from the NRA-ILA has falsely claimed, ".50 caliber rifles are not used in crimes -- .50 caliber rifles are too large and heavy to be employed in normal criminal behavior," and attacked critics of the .50-caliber sniper rifle as engaging in "phony terrorism hype."
The NRA has a financial interest in promoting access to the .50-caliber rifle. The inventor of the .50-caliber rifle, Ronnie Barrett, sits on the NRA board of directors. Barrett has maintained a close relationship with the NRA, and his company has donated between $50,000 and $99,000 to the gun group. In 2010, the NRA gave Barrett an award that recognized "exemplary achievement by individuals who were responsible for the development, introduction, and promotion of equipment that has made a profound and enduring impact on the way Americans shoot and hunt."
Right-Wing Media Still Refuse To Acknowledge The Gender Pay Gap
Equal Pay Day “symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year,” according to the National Committee on Pay Equity. Despite efforts toward equitable pay in the United States over the past several decades, American women still face a considerable gap in pay when compared to their male counterparts. Rather than acknowledging the overwhelming evidence that American women are still paid less than men for the same work, conservative media have promoted myths and misinformation that obscure the truth about pay disparities.
On Equal Pay Day, Media Matters looks back at how conservative media attacked female celebrities and athletes for speaking out about wage disparities in their industry and the need for a guarantee of equal pay for equal work. Right-wing media blamed wage inequality on women’s “self-esteem,” their willingness to sign and negotiate “bad” contracts, and so-called “fuzzy math” on the part of equal pay advocates; all while continuing to push the myth that the gender gap doesn’t exist.
To celebrate Equal Pay Day, Media Matters looks back at how Fox News has denied, downplayed, and justified the gender pay gap. From blaming women’s emotions to calling women “less ambitious” and suggesting they should be “better negotiators,” Fox personalities have blamed women and ignored facts in reporting on pay inequality.
A commentary video from the National Rifle Association (NRA) falsely claimed that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found there were up to 3.3 million defensive gun uses each year in the United States. But the CDC has never released a study with that conclusion.
Moreover, the CDC is actually prevented from researching gun violence due to decades of NRA lobbying efforts.
In an April 7 video, NRA News commentator Dana Loesch, who is also a radio host for Glenn Beck’s The Blaze network, criticized Cosmopolitan for running recent features on women and gun violence, claiming the magazine is “sexist” and believes “women are less valuable than their potential rapists, and its rapists' feelings which we should prioritize rather than women’s safety.”
To support this claim, Loesch fabricated a statistic, stating a “CDC report commissioned by Barack Obama … shows that there are anywhere from 500,000 to 3.3 million instances of defensive gun use annually” and that the “CDC said that concealed carry is ‘a great deterrent to crime.’”
Loesch is likely referring to a 2013 Institute of Medicine and National Research Council (NRC) report requested by Obama in order to provide the CDC a possible research agenda should the agency be allowed to research gun violence.
One of the contributors to the report was criminologist Gary Kleck and included in the report is his repeatedly discredited research that claims that there are between 500,000 and 3 million defensive gun uses each year. The citation of Kleck's research in an NRC report is not indicative of the CDC’s conclusions about defensive gun uses, as Loesch falsely claimed.
The consensus view among gun violence researchers is that guns are used far more often to commit crimes than they are used to prevent crimes. Research has also found that defensive gun uses are so rare they are difficult to measure.
The NRA’s claim that the “CDC said that concealed carry is ‘a great deterrent to crime’” is also fabricated. Loesch may have been referring to more Kleck research in the NRC report which found “self-defense can be an important crime deterrent,” although the words quoted by Loesch do not even appear in the NRC report.
Loesch previously included fake historical Second Amendment quotes in her 2014 book about firearms, Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America.
Right-wing media personalities pushed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to withdraw from the presidential race following an "embarrassingly" poor performance in the March 8 GOP primaries and caucuses.