Shorter Question Everything
Coming two days before Martin Luther King day, and the President’s inauguration, it’s not much of a surprise to me that “Gun Appreciation Day” is chock full of racists, birthers and other loons. It’s a none too subtle poke in the eye, to say nothing of a threat. These people are domestic terrorists.
• A3P (American Third Position): January 19 is Gun Appreciation Day. The event was originally sponsored by American Third Position, a political group that lists President Obama on their list of 10 Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians and describes itself as representing “the unique political interests of white Americans,” Media Matters reported. “Civil rights groups have harshly criticized A3P. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) categorizes A3P as a white nationalist hate group, and states that it is a “political party initially established by racist Southern California skinheads that aims to deport immigrants and return the United States to white rule. The group is now led by a coterie of prominent white nationalists.” The Anti-Defamation League calls A3P a “white supremacist political party.”” An early Friday afternoon visit to the Gun Appreciation Day website reveals that American Third Position has been removed from the 8-page list of sponsors. American Third Position still promotes Gun Appreciation Day on its homepage.
• New West Point Study Highlights Threat Posed by Far Right-Wing Groups In U.S. The study is already coming under attack by Republicans for not properly defining what constitutes a member of the “far right.” A new study from a think tank connected to the West Point Military Academy highlights the threat of violent far-right movements in the United States, leading to the conclusion that, while diverse in in their causes, they are similar in their use of violence to achieve their aims. West Point’s Combatting Terrorism Center was founded in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, and has primarily focused its research on international terrorist threats. Titled “ Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right,” this new report instead looks as the risk that domestic groups pose to the U.S. Breaking down these groups into three categories — the Racist/White Supremacy Movement, the Anti-Federalist Movement, and the Christian Fundamentalist Movement — allows the study to examine the background ideologies and methods of each subset thoroughly, opposed to lumping them all together as most studies have. [PDF]
• The recorded message on the contact line for the NRA’s lobbying arm told callers Friday, “We are currently experiencing extremely high call volume due to the recent attacks on our Second Amendment rights.” There is a political battle being waged right now, but despite how some on the conservative right-wing are trying to frame it, the fight is not over the Second Amendment. The president and vice president have both said they believe in the right to bear arms, and none of the gun safety laws proposed by the White House this week infringes on the Second Amendment. But they do, however, require some changes in American gun culture.
• Bill Maher: “New rule: someone has to tell America’s gun nuts to stop wetting their amy surplus pants about losing the Second Amendment. It’s not your Second Amendment rights that are under attack — it’s all the other ones.”
• Man Shopping With Rifle, Glock at Utah JC Penney “Pretty Much an Idiot”: If you have to bring big, dangerous guns to a store to prove that “they are not dangerous in the hands of law abiding citizens,” then that pretty much proves that they are dangerous… in anyone’s hands.
• ‘Firearms instructor’ hired as school guard leaves handgun in student bathroom: A prosecutor in Lapeer, Michigan says, “No harm, no foul,” after a charter school took the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) advice and hired a armed security guard who promptly left his handgun unattended in a student bathroom. Chatfield School co-directors Matt Young and Bill Kraly announced last week that they had hired retired Lapeer County Sheriff’s Dept. firearms instructor Clark Arnold as a security guard in response to the December mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. “It’s a tremendous asset to the safety of our students,” Young told WNEM in a report that aired on Tuesday. But by Wednesday, the school had admitted to The Flint Journal that the retired firearms instructor had made a “made a breach in security protocol” and left his unloaded handgun unattended in the school restroom “for a few moments.”
• 4 Pinocchios for a slashing NRA ad on security at Sidwell Friends School: A slashing attack like this has an especially high threshold to get its facts straight. The ad gives the impression that a phalanx of armed police are guarding students, such as the Obama and Gregory children, at Sidwell Friends. But that is completely false. Far from being elitist, the relatively small force of unarmed security guards at Sidwell is not unusual for a school of its size. Moreover, the ad also suggests that Obama rejects out of hand boosting security at schools, when in fact his proposals include provisions that would provide funding for more school security. If the NRA is also trying to count Secret Service protection for Obama’s children as part of that force of armed guards, that’s even more ridiculous. As we noted, such protection is mandated under federal law — and only exists for the president’s children.
A laugh to get that taste out of your mouth
In other news
• Expect sparks at the first Liberal leadership debate, as all nine candidates battle to get their points across. Canadian Press reporter Joan Bryden says some may gang up on front-runner Justin Trudeau.
• As dispute over islands escalates, Japan and China send fighter jets to scene: The action in the skies over the East China Sea started simply enough. Last week, the Chinese government sent a civilian surveillance plane, a twin propeller aircraft, to fly near the uninhabited islands at the heart of a growing feud between China and Japan. Tokyo, in response, ordered F-15 fighter jets to take a look at what it considered Chinese meddling. The Chinese then sent their own fighters. It was the first time that supersonic Chinese and Japanese military fighters were in the air together since the dispute over the islands erupted last year, significantly increasing the risk of a mistake that could lead to armed conflict at a time when both countries, despite their mutual economic interests, are going through a period of heightened nationalism that recalls their longstanding regional rivalry.
• Three Chinese surveillance ships Saturday entered Japan’s territorial waters near the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, Japan’s coast guard said. The 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa prefecture said a coast guard vessel had been directing the Chinese ships to leave the area since they appeared at about 9 a.m.
• Algerian forces freed more than 600 hostages held by Islamic militants at a gas plant in In Amenas, Algerian television reported. Nearly 100 of the 132 foreign hostages and 573 Algerians were freed in an assault by government forces, the Los Angeles Times reported.
• FBI Director Robert Mueller met in Libya with Prime Minister Ali Zidan, intelligence and justice officials to probe the [Benghazi] incident Thursday, The Tripoli Post revealed.