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Politifact Determined to Get It Wrong on Joe Biden and Gun Confiscation

Another week, another dubious “fact-check” from the professional propagandists at Politifact. This time the Poynter Institute project labeled a claim that Joe Biden has admitted to supporting gun confiscation as “Pants on Fire,” their most extreme rating for a supposed falsehood. In their herculean effort to obscure Biden’s support for gun confiscation, the media outlet went out of its way to avoid discussion of the overwhelming evidence of the presidential candidate’s intent to take guns.

Politifact took issue with an article from Conservative-Daily titled, “Watch: Biden Looks Into The Camera And Promises To Take Away Americans’ Guns​.” As evidence, the Conservative-Daily article cited a viral video of Joe Biden and Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, eating at Texas hamburger chain Whataburger. During the video, Biden states “This guy changed the face of what we’re dealing with regarding guns, assault weapons… and I just want to warn [Beto’s wife] that if I win I’m coming for him.”

By narrowly focusing on only Biden’s statement at the Whataburger, while avoiding all context, Politifact came to the conclusion that Biden was only expressing his intent to have O’Rourke be part of his administration and that the video did not show evidence of the former vice president’s desire to ban guns.

When looking at the totality of Biden’s comments on confiscation, this view is untenable.

Just prior to the Whataburger outing, Biden shared the stage with Beto at a campaign rally where the failed U.S. senate and presidential candidate endorsed him for president. Biden told those gathered, “I want to make something clear. I’m going to guarantee you this is not the last you’ll see of this guy.” Biden went on say, “You’re going to take care of the gun problem with me. You’re going to be the one who leads this effort. I’m counting on ya.”

By offering Beto a role on guns in a potential future administration, Biden made clear that he supports Beto’s gun control position. That position is gun confiscation.

During the September 12, 2019 Democratic debate, Beto was asked about his proposal to confiscate commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms. Beto responded in part by saying, “hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15.” The Beto campaign would go on to sell t-shirts with the anti-gun slogan.​

Less than a week later, Beto reiterated his call for gun confiscation on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time. During an interview, Chris Cuomo asked Beto, “All right, so let’s state the proposition. Are you, in fact, in favor of gun confiscation?” Beto responded with “Yes.”

There can be no doubt that Biden understands Beto would confiscate firearms, as he shared the debate stage with him on September 12.

However, it is not necessary to deduce that Biden supports gun confiscation from his support for Beto’s attacks on firearms rights. Biden has stated that he intends to take firearms.

Biden had the following exchange with CNN’s Anderson Cooper when asked about firearm confiscation during an August 5, 2019 interview.

Cooper: So, to gun owners out there who say well a Biden administration means they are going to come for my guns.

Biden: Bingo! You’re right if you have an assault weapon. 

It is revealing that the purported “factcheckers” at Politifact did not make a full accounting of the facts concerning Biden and gun confiscation. Biden and Beto’s statements on gun confiscation are public and have been made widely available by those who support the Second Amendment. Such actions by Politifact suggest a determined ignorance calculated to protect a favored political candidate.

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EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Senator Tom Cotton’s Open Challenge to Ayatollah Khamenei and President Obama on Nuclear Deal with Iran

Tall Lincolnesque Arkansas Junior Senator Tom Cotton did his constituents and all Americans proud.  His open letter to Iran’s Supreme Ruler Ayatollah Khamenei signed by 47 fellow Republican Senators was a ringing Constitutional declaration of Senate authority to review major international treaties. A rather remarkable achievement for the youngest US Senator  in the 114th Session of Congress following his electoral victory  on November 4, 2014  over incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor.  His letter put on notice the theocratic tyrant in Tehran that the US Senate had the right under Article II, Sec. 2 of our Constitution to advise and consent on treaties negotiated by the Executive branch of our government.  Moreover it put the Supreme notice that Congress has the right to vote on the lifting of any sanctions passed under existing legislation and signed into law by President Obama. Further, it basically informed Iran’s Supreme Ruler and its President that any bilateral agreement entered into by executive order by the President would be null and void upon his leaving office and the end of his second and final term.

Josh Rogin in his Bloomberg report captured the essence of this latest riposte to President Obama in the headline, “Republicans Warn Iran — and Obama — That Deal Won’t Last.”  He noted:

Organized by freshman Senator Tom Cotton and signed by the chamber’s entire party leadership as well as potential 2016 presidential contenders Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the letter is meant not just to discourage the Iranian regime from signing a deal but also to pressure the White House into giving Congress some authority over the process.

“It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system … Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement,” the senators wrote. “The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”

Arms-control advocates and supporters of the negotiations argue that the next president and the next Congress will have a hard time changing or canceling any Iran deal — — which is reportedly near done — especially if it is working reasonably well.

Cotton told Rogin:

Iran’s ayatollahs need to know before agreeing to any nuclear deal that … any unilateral executive agreement is one they accept at their own peril.

Rogin went on to note an ironic precedent by Vice President Biden;

Vice President Joe Biden similarly insisted — in a letter to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell — on congressional approval for the Moscow Treaty on strategic nuclear weapons with Russia in 2002, when he was head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He further noted that Cotton’s letter came against the backdrop of recent review legislation:

The new letter is the latest piece of an effort by Senators in both parties to ensure that Congress will have some say if and when a deal is signed. Senators Bob Corker, Lindsey Graham, Tim Kaine and the embattled Bob Menendez have a bill pending that would mandate a Congressional review of the Iran deal, but Republicans and Democrats have been bickering over how to proceed in the face of a threatened presidential veto.

The relevant language of Article II, Sec. 2 of the Constitution reads:

[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.

Article II, Sec. 2 of the Constitution:

Gives the Senate a share in foreign policy by requiring Senate consent, by a two-thirds vote, to any treaty before it may go into effect. The president may enter into “executive agreements” with other nations without the Senate’s consent, but if these involve more than minor matters they may prove controversial.

The emerging so-called phased P5+1 deal to forestall Iran from becoming a threshold nuclear state is anything but “minor.”  The Islamic Republic’s possession of nuclear weapons is a threat to Israel, America and the World.  In the hands of an apocalyptic Mahdist Shiite Islamic Republic nuclear weapons would foment chaos.  The chaos these madmen are eager to trigger they bizarrely believe would bring  about the rise from his slumber their moribund Messiah, the 12th Imam, from the Holy Well in the Holy city of Qom, Iran.  Just recall the first action of former Iranian President Ahmadinejad was to have his cabinet sign a letter to this effect that was deposited in that well in Qom.  Those possible Iranian nuclear weapons and the means of delivery could result in Islamic domination of the World and the possible destruction of both the reviled Great Satan (the U.S.) and Little Satan (Israel).

The reaction from Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif about the open letter to Iran’s leadership was:

In our view, this letter has no legal value and is mostly a propaganda ploy. It is very interesting that while negotiations are still in progress and while no agreement has been reached, some political pressure groups are so afraid even of the prospect of an agreement that they resort to unconventional methods, unprecedented in diplomatic history.

The Democrats in the Senate were apoplectic.  Senate minority leader Harry Reid said, “Republicans are undermining our commander in chief while empowering the ayatollahs.”  White House press Spokesman Josh Earnest said in reaction to the Republican Senate “open letter”:

Just the latest in an ongoing strategy, a partisan strategy, to undermine the president’s ability to conduct foreign policy.

President Obama said:

It’s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hard-liners in Iran.

Sen. Cotton issued this statement following Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address before a Joint Meeting of Congress on March 3rd:

I am happy to welcome a truly courageous leader to address the Congress today.  There is no one better equipped to discuss the danger posed by a nuclear Iran than Prime Minister Netanyahu. For decades, Iran has had as its expressed goal for Israel to be ‘wiped off the face of the earth’ and has been a lead financier and arms supplier of terrorist organizations dedicated to destroying Israel. If Iran is allowed to retain their nuclear program, the United States will find itself in a similar position.

The Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran have become an endless series of concessions. Any deal reached at the end of this month will inevitably empower our enemies and put our national security at risk. It is up to Congress to stand with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel and restore the credible threat of force against Iran to permanently end their nuclear program.

We wrote this about Senator Cotton when he was elected on November 5, 2014:

Cotton, reading a profile of him by retired Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), had a career that resonated. He was a highly educated double Harvard graduate who voluntarily served as an Infantry officer in the US Army during the Iraq-Afghanistan conflict.  Wisse’s WSJ op-ed   was an unabashed endorsement, “Vote for Tom Cotton—and Redeem Harvard”.

[…]

Cotton is a sixth generation Arkansan from a cattle raising ranching family in the small community of Dardanelle, Arkansas. A graduate of both Harvard College and Law School, motivated by the events of 9/11, he rejected a JAG Commission. Instead, he volunteered   to go through OCS at Fort Benning and trained at both the Infantry and Ranger Schools.  Cotton served from 2005 to 2009. He had two tours, one in Iraq and a second in Afghanistan with the famed Screaming Eagles, the 101st Airborne, rising to the rank of Captain and received a Bronze Star for his combat actions. At 6’5″, he was selected as Platoon Leader at the Old Guard that provides the honor guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Cemetery.

Perhaps the Senator Cotton’s open letter to Iran’s leadership was a forthright confirmation that the Republican leadership in the Congress heard PM Netanyahu’s message.  The letter represented a Constitutional challenge to the Administration asserting the Senate’s rights of review on any agreement that might be reached with Iran by March 31st that also called for lifting Congressional passed sanctions.

RELATED ARTICLE: Israel, Jews, and the Obama Administration

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Arkansas Republican U.S. Senator Tom Cotton.