Archive for the ‘Right Wing Extremism’ Category


The Tea Party As A Religion

Mitt Romney Attends Tea Party Rally In New Hampshire

Dishheads know I believe that you cannot understand the current GOP without also grasping how bewildered so many people are by the dizzying onset of modernity. The 21st Century has brought Islamist war to America, the worst recession since the 1930s, a debt-ridden federal government, a majority-minority future, gay marriage, universal healthcare and legal weed. If you were still seething from the eruption of the 1960s, and thought that Reagan had ended all that, then the resilience of a pluralistic, multi-racial, fast-miscegenating, post-gay America, whose president looks like the future, not the past, you would indeed, at this point, be in a world-class, meshugganah, cultural panic.

When you add in the fact that the American dream stopped working for most working-class folks at some point in the mid 1970s, and when you see the national debt soaring from the Reagan years onward, made much worse by the Bush-Cheney years, and then exploded by the recession Bush bequeathed, you have a combustible mixture. It’s very easy to lump all this together into a paranoid fantasy of an American apocalypse that must somehow be stopped at all cost. In trying to understand the far-right mindset – which accounts for around a quarter of the country – I think you have to zoom out and see all of this in context.

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Many of us found in Barack Obama a very post-ideological president, a pragmatist, a Christian, and a traditional family man, and naively ;believed that he could both repair the enormous damage done by the Bush-Cheney administration and simultaneously reach out to the red states as well. I refuse to say the failure is his. Because he tried. For years, he was lambasted by the left for being far too accommodating, far too reasonable, aloof, not scrappy enough, weak … you know the drill by now. In fact, he was just trying to bring as much of the country along as he could in tackling the huge recession and massive debt he inherited at one and the same time, and in unwinding the 9/11 emergency, and in ending two wars and the morally and legally crippling legacy of torture (about which the GOP is simply in rigid denial).

Obama got zero votes from House Republicans for a desperately needed stimulus in his first weeks in office. So I cannot believe he could have maintained any sort of detente with the Republican right, dominated by the legacy of Palin, rather than McCain. But the healthcare reform clearly ended any sort of possibility of coexistence – and the cold civil war took off again. The first black president could, perhaps, clean up some of the mess of his predecessor, but as soon as he moved on an actual substantive change that he wanted and campaigned on, he was deemed illegitimate. Even though that change was, by any standards, a moderate one, catering to private interests, such as drug and insurance companies; even though it had no public option; even though its outline was the same as the GOP’s 2012 nominee’s in GOP Candidates Rick Perry And Michelle Bachmann Appear At Columbia, SC Veterans Day ParadeMassachusetts, this inching toward a more liberal America was the casus belli. It still is – which is why it looms so large for the Republican right in ways that can easily befuddle the rest of us.

But it is emphatically not the real reason for the revolt. It is the symptom, not the cause. My rule of thumb is pretty simple: whenever you hear a quote about Obamacare, it’s more illuminating to remove the “care” part. And Obama is a symbol of change people cannot understand, are frightened by, and seek refuge from.

That desperate need for certainty and security is what I focused on in my book about all this, The Conservative Soul. What the understandably beleaguered citizens of this new modern order want is a pristine variety of America that feels like the one they grew up in. They want truths that ring without any timbre of doubt. They want root-and-branch reform – to the days of the American Revolution. And they want all of this as a pre-packaged ideology, preferably aligned with re-written American history, and reiterated as a theater of comfort and nostalgia. They want their presidents white and their budget balanced now. That balancing it now would tip the whole world into a second depression sounds like elite cant to them; that America is, as a matter of fact, a coffee-colored country – and stronger for it – does not remove their desire for it not to be so; indeed it intensifies their futile effort to stop immigration reform. And given the apocalyptic nature of their view of what is going on, it is only natural that they would seek a totalist, radical, revolutionary halt to all of it, even if it creates economic chaos, even if it destroys millions of jobs, even though it keeps millions in immigration limbo, even if it means an unprecedented default on the debt.

This is a religion – but a particularly modern, extreme and unthinking fundamentalist religion. And such a form of religion is the antithesis of the mainline Protestantism that once dominated the Republican party as well, to a lesser extent, the Democratic party.

It also brooks no distinction between religion and politics, seeing them as fused in the same cultural and religious battle. Much of the GOP hails from that new purist, apocalyptic sect right now – and certainly no one else is attacking that kind of religious organization. But it will do to institutional political parties what entrepreneurial fundamentalism does to mainline churches: its appeal to absolute truth, total rectitude and simplicity of worldview instantly trumps tradition, reason, moderation, compromise.Francis Wilkinson has studied the scholarship of Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, authors of The Churching of America 1776-1990. He wrote a passage yesterday that resonated with me:

An important thesis of the book is that as religious organizations grow powerful and complacent, and their adherents do likewise, they make themselves vulnerable to challenges from upstart sects that “impose significant costs in terms of sacrifice and even stigma upon their members.” For insurgent groups, fervor and discipline are their own rewards.

Right now, the Republican Party is an object of contempt to many on the far right, whose adamant convictions threaten what they perceive as Republican complacency. The Tea Party is akin to a rowdy evangelical storefront beckoning down the road from the staid Episcopal cathedral. Writing of insurgent congregations, Finke and Stark said that “sectarian members are either in or out; they must follow the demands of the group or withdraw. The ‘seductive middle ground’ is lost.”

In other words, this is not just a cold civil war. It is also a religious war – between fundamentalism and faith, between totalism and tradition, between certainty and reasoned doubt. It may need to burn itself out – with all the social and economic and human damage that entails. Or it can be defeated, as Lincoln reluctantly did to his fanatical enemies, or absorbed and coopted, as Elizabeth I did hers over decades. But it will take time. The question is what will be left of America once it subsides, and how great a cost it will have imposed.

(Photos: from a Tea Party rally, Ken Cucinnelli, far right candidate for governor of Virginia, and Michele Bachmann, apocalyptic prophet, by Getty Images.)


WND Columnist: Prosecute Liberals, Journalists for Treason
Submitted by Brian Tashman

For years, conservatives have claimed that liberals seek to criminalize Christianity and conservative opinions through imaginary hate speech laws. But today, WorldNetDaily columnist Erik Rush writes that the government should prosecute liberals and members of the press… in order to defend freedom, of course. He accuses journalists of “treasonous collusion” with the Obama administration and said the Founders would have wanted journalists to be “found guilty of high crimes.” “Trials for treason and the requisite sentences would apply,” Rush says, “and I would have no qualms about seeing such sentences executed, no matter how severe.” He claims that progressives’ “seditious, anti-American” speech is “excepted from protection under the First Amendment,” hoping that “the political disenfranchisement of liberals, progressives, socialists and Marxists can begin in earnest, and in the open.”

Assuming that all goes well and that we are rid of Obama in January, there will be a nation to repair – but what about the causes for this necessity? Yes, many Americans are now cognizant of the fact that progressives have “progressed” America dangerously close to being a Marxist-socialist nation and that we are collectively responsible for not having checked that progress. But aside from grass-roots efforts toward electoral and political reform, there are other widespread, organized threats to America’s ongoing concern as a representative republic with guaranteed personal liberties, free speech foremost among them.

Here, I am speaking of the press, the conglomeration of national broadcast, digital and print media organizations that has been incrementally packed with ideological liberals and socialists, and so has disqualified itself as the impartial government watchdog it once was. During my lifetime, I have seen the press become an advance force for social engineering and global socialism. The degree to which they have deceived Americans and enabled the agenda of radicals in recent decades is beyond shame. As former Democratic pollster Pat Caddell said recently, the press has become an enemy of the American people. In the matter of this president, the press largely facilitated the ascension of Barack Obama. The instances wherein they have promoted, shielded and aided him are beyond enumeration.

This goes beyond such things as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and his man crush on Obama – I’m talking about treasonous collusion. One particularly scandalous incident occurred during the second presidential debate, when CNN moderator Candy Crowley made an interjection that appeared to have been as spontaneous as Ambassador Chris Stevens’ murder, and which led to a solid point scored for Obama. Most recently, after Mitt Romney brought up Obama’s 2009 “Apology Tour,” the press did their best to support Obama’s claim that this never happened, despite boundless reams of footage that exist chronicling the event.

It is improbable that the framers of the Constitution anticipated a situation in which the press were entirely given over to seditious, anti-American policies. If they had, it is likely that their modus operandi would be similar to that for any faction found guilty of high crimes. Trials for treason and the requisite sentences would apply, and I would have no qualms about seeing such sentences executed, no matter how severe.

This is not likely to occur, however. Radio personality and nascent media mogul Glenn Beck has the intention of putting the establishment press out of business. While I wish him every success, it doesn’t seem likely that he will accomplish this through his organizations alone. In addition to the advent of powerful alternative media sources, I believe it will be necessary to codify – or reaffirm – the nature of crimes against the Constitution and the American people. In this manner, we can thwart the designs not only of the press, but all global socialists operating in America.

Those whose speech and actions impinge upon the God-given rights set forth in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the Constitution are, by definition, excepted from protection under the First Amendment (as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment). This is a very important concept to consider, because it is based on these presumptions of protected speech and equal protection for all that progressives and socialists have engaged in their predation upon our liberties.

If these truths can be acknowledged and widely accepted as such (as opposed to progressives’ Orwellian interpretations), then the political disenfranchisement of liberals, progressives, socialists and Marxists can begin in earnest, and in the open.


Why I’m Voting to Re-Elect Barack Obama
Via:- Charles Johnson

I have to admit I’m making a deliberate effort to ignore the political world today, at least more than usual. I made up my mind a long time ago to vote for Barack Obama, and against anyone the Republican Party put up. I don’t agree with everything Obama has done, but overall he’s achieved quite a bit in his first term, despite ferocious and often deranged opposition from Republicans, and deserves a second term as much as any President I’ve ever seen.

The GOP is a serious danger to the future of this country The Republican Party … well, if you’ve been reading the site for the past couple of years you know what I think about them. They’re lost in cloud cuckoo land in so many ways and on so many levels, there’s just no doubt that they represent a serious danger to the future prosperity of this country — not just for their magical thinking on economics, but in their denial of many areas of modern science (based on either religious fanaticism or cynical political calculation for personal profit), their continuing, relentless attempts to roll back progress on women’s reproductive rights, and the shockingly prevalent racism and xenophobia that have bubbled up to the surface in a highly disturbing way since the election of our first black President.

At this point, it’s not even really about Mitt Romney, although he’s an especially cynical example of the Republican brand. Nobody the GOP could prop up and nominate would ever convince me to vote for a Republican in the foreseeable future, because of what the party as a whole represents: reactionary paranoia, manifesting as authoritarian rule whenever they gain power.

In my life, I’ve voted twice for Republican presidents, and Democrats every other time — and the second time I voted for a Republican (John McCain) it was with grave misgivings.

I’ll have no misgivings at all about casting my vote for Barack Obama.


A commuter walks past an anti-Muslim poster in New York's Times Square subway station.  A federal judge ruled that the advertisement is protected speech under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

America’s anti-Muslim ads backfire


NEW YORK // Anti-Muslim posters that have gone up in subway stations in New York and Washington, DC, have drawn muted reactions from Muslims, but Christian and Jewish organisations have countered with ad campaigns of their own.

antiislam

And a United States congressman even called for a boycott of the capital’s metro system. “The right to free speech is a right I will defend to my grave,” Mike Honda, a Democrat from California, said last week.

“The right to not support hate speech is also a right, which is why I encourage people to boycott, if possible, [the subways] until the ad buys are finished.”

Mr Honda, who was interned with his family in a US camp for people of Japanese descent during the second World War, added that, “We learn from history that hate speech and hysteria have dire consequences, the result of societal complacency, failed political leadership, and the lack of courage to stand up and speak out against hate.”

The advertisements, paid for by the American Freedom Defence Initiative (AFDI), a right-wing, self-described anti-jihad organisation that has been labelled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, read: “In any war between the civilised man and the savage, support the civilised man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.”

Authorities in both cities initially blocked the advertisements from running: in New York, on the grounds that they contained demeaning language, and in Washington because officials said federal agencies had warned them about terrorism threats. They also cited passenger safety if any fights broke out on subway platforms because of the posters.

The AFDI filed suits against the New York transport authority’s decision in July and in Washington in September, and federal judges in both cases ruled that the advertisements were protected by free speech laws and ordered that they be allowed to run. They were posted at 10 subway stations in New York at the end of September and at four metro stations in Washington on October 8.

Muslim groups and activists did not organise protests but instead responded to the AFDI’s campaign with ironic jokes on Twitter, using the hashtag “mysubwayad”.

“What’s been rewarding about this experience is seeing our interfaith partners and New Yorkers of all stripes rejecting these ads,” said Cyrus McGoldrick, a spokesman with the Council on American-Islamic Relations pressure group, after the court ruling in New York.

Christian groups and an alliance of Jewish rabbis have both taken out advertisements of their own in reaction to the AFDI campaign.

One of the Christian groups, United Methodist Women, placed ads in the same subway stations as the ads, sometimes next to them. They read: “Hate speech is not civilised. Support peace in word and deed.” And, in a nod to the Muslim activists’ Twitter response, ends with “#mysubwayad“.

Rabbis for Human Rights – North America posted their own adverts: “In the choice between love and hate, choose love. Help stop bigotry against our Muslim neighbours.”

“[Pamela] Geller thinks she is speaking for the entire Jewish community,” Rabbi Jill Jacobs, the executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights, told The New York Times, referring to the co-founder of the AFDI.

“We are a group of 1,800 rabbis and we want everyone to know that we have to work in partnership with the Muslim community and do not believe in dehumanising them.”

Activists not associated with any religious group have also defaced the advertisements.

The Washington Examiner reported that a school teacher covered one of them with notes that read: “If you see something hateful say something peaceful.” A spokesman for New York’s transportation authority told the Times that the advertisements had been defaced at least 15 times.

Mr McGoldrick said that when the AFDI ran a similar campaign in August on trains in suburban New York state that read, in part, “It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism”, commuters tore down many of them.

“Most of the anger wasn’t from the Muslim community,” he said. “It was a very interesting response.”


Science Committee Member Broun: Evolution, Embryology, Big Bang Are ‘Lies From the Pit of Hell’
The GOP puts young earth creationists in charge of science

Speaking in front of a wall of dead deer heads, here’s Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun explaining that evolution, embryology, and the Big Bang are all lies straight from the pit of hell.

From Rep. Paul Broun’s (R-GA) remarks at the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman’s Banquet on September 27, 2012, in Hartwell, Georgia:

BROUN: God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.

And what I’ve come to learn is that it’s the manufacturer’s handbook, is what I call it. It teaches us how to run our lives individually, how to run our families, how to run our churches. But it teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in society. And that’s the reason as your congressman I hold the Holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that.

Rep. Broun, like Missouri caveman Todd Akin, serves on the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

I’ll let that sink in for a second.

Paul Broun, Todd Akin — these are the people that the Republican Party puts in charge of science at the highest level of the government. Extreme right wing fundamentalists and young earth creationists who believe science is a tool of Satan.

(h/t: Benjy Sarlin.)


How The Right’s Latest Conspiracy Theory Might Unleash a Wave of Domestic Terrorism if Obama Wins
Some types of spin are more dangerous than others.
September 25, 2012  |

Two of the Fort Stewart soldiers charged with murder and conspiracy to assassinate Obama.

In a somewhat desperate attempt to maintain morale among a Republican base that disdains its standard-bearer, a number of conservative media outlets are pushing an alternate reality in which Mitt Romney is leading in the polls by wide margins and American voters have a decidedly negative view not of the challenger, but of Barack Obama.

It’s an exceptionally dangerous game that the right-wing media are playing. If Obama wins – and according to polling guru Nate Silver, he’d have a 95 percent chance of doing so if the vote were held today – there’s a very real danger that this spin — combined with other campaign narratives that are popular among the far-right — could create a post-election environment so toxic that it yields an outburst of politically motivated violence.

A strategy that began with a series of rather silly columns comparing 2012 with 1980, and assuring jittery conservatives that a huge mass of independents was sure to break for Romney late and deliver Obama the crushing defeat he so richly deserves, entered new territory with the bizarre belief that all the polls are wrong. And not only wrong, but intentionally rigged by “biased pollsters” – including those at Fox News – in the tank for Obama. (See Alex Pareene’s piece for more on the right’s new theory that the polls are being systematically “skewed.”)

Consider how a loosely-hinged member of the right-wing fringe – an unstable individual among the third of conservative Republicans who believe Obama’s a Muslim or the almost two-thirds who think he was born in another country – expecting a landslide victory for the Republican might process an Obama victory. This is a group that has also been told, again and again, that Democrats engage in widespread voter fraud – that there are legions of undocumented immigrants, dead people and ineligible felons voting in this election (with the help of zombie ACORN). They’ve been told that Democrats are buying the election with promises of “free stuff” offered to the slothful and unproductive half of the population that pays no federal income taxes and refuses to “take responsibility for their lives” – Romney’s 47 percent.

They’ve also been told – by everyone from NRA president Wayne LaPierre to Mitt Romney himself – that Obama plans to ban gun ownership in his second term. (Two elaborate conspiracy theories have blossomed around this point. One holds that Fast and Furious – which, in reality, is much ado about very little – was designed to elevate gun violence to a point where seizing Americans’ firearms would become politically popular. The second holds that a United Nations treaty on small arms transfers (from which the United States has withdrawn) is in fact a stealthy workaround for the Second Amendment.)

And they’ve been warned in grim, often apocalyptic terms of what’s to come in a second term. The film, “2016: Obama’s America,” offers a dystopian vision of a third-world America gutted by Obama’s supposed obsession with global wealth redistribution. His re-election would bring something far worse than mere socialism – it would be marked by Kenyan anti-colonialism, in which America’s wealth is bled off as a form of reparations for centuries of inequities between the global North and South.

These kinds of fringe views aren’t relegated to the fever swamps of the right-wing blogosphere – they’re often reinforced by elected Republicans. Reps Steve King, R-Iowa, Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, Louie Gohmert, R-Texas and others warn that the Obama administration has been infiltrated by Islamic Extremists. An elected judge in Texas advocated a tax increase – yes, a tax increase! – in order to better arm local sheriff’s deputies whom he claimed would serve on the front-lines of the civil war likely to come should Obama be re-elected. “I’m talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms, get rid of the dictator,” he said.

They’ve been hammered with the idea that while these facts are obvious for those whose eyes are open, the media is covering it all up. Rather than a Democrat with whom people tend to connect running a good campaign against a flawed Republican candidate, many on the far-right will see an illegitimate president colluding with an array of perfidious forces, both foreign and domestic, to deny them the right to finally ‘take their country back.’

Obviously, there’s no need to fear a massive rebellion from millions of engraged Glenn Beck fans in their Hoverounds; rather, the danger is that in the aftermath of such an election, a small number of dangerously unstable anti-government extremists will take matters into their own hands — and even a small number can do significant damage.

After the 2008 election, there was a run on weapons and ammunition, and gun sellers are expecting another bonanza if Obama wins a second term. We’ve seen a dramatic wave of right-wing domestic terrorism since Barack Obama’s election. Recently, four active-duty soldiers – and five others – based at Fort Stewart, Georgia, were arrested after murdering two compatriots they suspected of betraying their plot to assassinate Obama. The group had been “stockpiling weapons and bomb parts to overthrow the U.S. government.” With $87,000 in weapons and explosives — and combat training courtesy of Uncle Sam — this was a potentially devastating plot. Just think about the havoc that a few heavily-armed men with military discipline were able to wreak in Mumbai in 2008.

It’s a real threat, but political correctness keeps it in the shadows. At a senate hearing last week, a former Department of Homeland Security official named Daryl Johnson testified that “the threat of domestic terrorism motivated by extremist ideologies is often dismissed and overlooked in the national media and within the U.S. government.” He continued:

Yet we are currently seeing an upsurge in domestic non-Islamic extremist activity, specifically from violent right-wing extremists. While violent left-wing attacks were more prevalent in the 1970s, today the bulk of violent domestic activity emanates from the right wing…. Since the 2008 presidential election, domestic non-Islamic extremists have shot 27 law enforcement officers, killing 16 of them.

That the “unskewed” polls show Romney heading towards a blow-out win is likely to lead more disturbed people to see themselves as victims of a dark plot to undermine America’s “traditional values.” It’s not the only iteration of the alternate universe that the right has conjured up in recent years – just ponder, for a moment, that the creator of “Conservapedia” – a hilariously inaccurate right-wing version of Wikipedia – has undertaken to write a distinctly conservative version of the Bible (one in which Jesus presumably inveighs against taxes and regulation dragging down job creators, and doesn’t constantly blather about the poor).

But while those efforts are often laughable, the unintended consequences of offering the hard-right a Bizarro World analysis of the 2012 election may prove deadly serious if Obama pulls out a win.

Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet. He’s the author of The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy. Drop him an email or follow him on Twitter.


Actress Cindy Lee Garcia sues over Innocence of Muslims
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula with hat, scarf and glasses on being escorted from his home
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has gone into hiding since his name was linked with the film

Anti-Islam film protests

A US actress who appeared in an amateur anti-Islam video that sparked protests across the Muslim world is suing the film’s suspected director.

Cindy Lee Garcia accused Nakoula Basseley Nakoula of duping her into a “hateful” film that she was led to believe was a desert adventure movie.

She is also asking a judge to order YouTube to remove the film.

A clip dubbed into Arabic provoked widespread anger for its mocking portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad.

The film, Innocence of Muslims, which was made in the United States, has sparked protests across the Middle East, North Africa and as far away as Sri Lanka, with some demonstrations turning into destructive and violent riots.

Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stephens, were killed during an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

According to Ms Garcia, the script she received had made no mention of the Prophet Muhammad or made references to religion.

She claims she has received death threats since the video was posted to YouTube, and says her association with the film has harmed her reputation.

In a court filing lodged with Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, Ms Garcia alleged fraud, slander and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Dialogue dismay

Lawyers for Ms Garcia contend that changes in dialogue during post-production casts her in a false light.

Anti-US protest in Karachi, Pakistan, 19 Sep
Protests are continuing in the Muslim world, including in Pakistan

“[Garcia] had a legally protected interest in her privacy and the right to be free from having hateful words put in her mouth or being depicted as a bigot,” the lawsuit says.

“There was no mention of ‘Mohammed’ during filming or on set. There were no references made to religion nor was there any sexual content of which Ms Garcia was aware,” it adds.

Mr Nakoula denies being “Sam Bacile”, a pseudonym used by the person who posted the video online.

He has gone into hiding after telling US media he was the manager of a company that helped produce the film, but US officials believe him to be the director.

Mr Nakoula was convicted of fraud in 2010 and ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution. He was released in June 2011 with the provision that he did not access the internet or use any aliases without permission.

Authorities questioned him last week over whether he had violated any of those conditions.

YouTube has so far refused Ms Garcia’s requests to remove the film, according to the lawsuit, although it has blocked it in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt.

“This lawsuit is not an attack on the First Amendment nor on the right of Americans to say what they think, but does request that the offending content be removed from the Internet,” the complaint states.

Google, which owns YouTube, has blocked the film in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt.

A spokesman for YouTube said they were reviewing the complaint and would be in court on Thursday.