Sweden's 2014 Elections: The rise of the far-right Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden Democrats) should frighten everybody
sometimes tumblr’s US-centric social justice makes me so fucking frustrated. Right now sweden’s third biggest party are literally neo-nazis and our elections couldn’t even get onto trending tags today, goddamit.
Okay, so the post is gaining notes and people are confused, so to explain what the hell is going on:
Swedish elections held were on last Sunday, 14th September. We’ve had a right-leaning government the past eight years and after this there will be a change of power. The new party, Socialdemocrats (S) gained a total of 31% percent. The old party, Moderaterna (M) gained 21%.
Sverigedemokraterna (SD) gained a total of 12.9%. Their policy is racist, Islamophobic, anti-immigration, anti-refugee, anti-diversity, anti-LGBT+, and anti-feminist. Basically, they tick every box on the douchebag lottery.
If you’re here to argue that they’re ~not actually~ Nazis: 1) Fuck you. 2) Fuck the horse the you rode in on. 3) I hope you get stepped on by a moose, you ignorant asswipe.
- they literally started as neo nazis. They have used a Neo-Nazi movement as campaign slogans,
- party members have assaulted immigrants with iron pipes (tw for racialised violence),
- worn Nazi symbols
- supported and helped build Neo-Nazi group SvP.
There’s probably more, but I don’t have links on hand.
They’ve been having rallies and demonstrations all over Sweden, and people have shown up just to turn their back on them and protest (this post explains it better).
In the 2010 elections, SD were pretty much considered no better than neo-Nazis and only got 5.7% votes - it put them in 6th place and was just enough to get them into parliament. In the elections before that, they got about 2.9%. In the past four years, they’ve grown exponentially in Sweden.
They’ve also run extremely extensive PR campaigns, appealing to the youth, kicking out members “exposed” of being racist, (note: these members often end up in SvP) and picking up buzzwords from the Socialdemocrats’ ideology.
29% of votes they gained this year were from swing voters who previously voted M, and the biggest gain have been in the south, in small towns and the countryside:
This is not something that’s just going on in Sweden. Europe has seen an influx of extreme-right parties over the last decade or so, often thinly disguised as a party that puts ‘traditional values’ and ‘national interest’ first.
In Greece and Hungary they’ve already been in power. In Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Finland France and UK, extreme-right-wing parties have been voted into the EU.
Because here’s the thing: we’ve forgotten what it looks like. We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve turned Nazism into a cartoonish lampoon of goose-stepping, uniforms and moral lessons that “we’ll never be like them~”, ignoring the fact nationalism is not as cut-and-dry two ends of an extreme but exists on a scale.
People have been apologising for SD’s actions for a while now because they’re not considered “extremist enough” to be neo-Nazis, because they don’t share the same beliefs, because they’ve “publicly denounced” SvP.
But the same people still get hurt. Still SD has the institutional and systematic power and privilege to oppress, degrade and humiliate people of colour, which they already have done. Stop making excuses for them. Stop making leeways for right-wing-extremists because that is how they gain tract.
Please spread this.
It was the same with the UK eu seats elections earlier in the year. We had UKIP, the uk independence party and as close to the tea party as we’ve ever seen in this country, get a majority of seats.
They once said that gay people cause bad weather, for a frame of reference, because i’m too tired to get all the relevant sources.
The Bundy Ranch Standoff Was Only the Beginning for America’s Right-Wing Militias
For two decades the US government has tried to get Cliven Bundy to remove his cows from federal land, and for two decades the Nevada rancher has steadfastly refused, defying court orders and attempts to negotiate a settlement for the $1.1 million he owes in federal grazing fees. Finally, last week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) took matters into its own hands and started seizing cattle that had been illegally grazing on government property. Things went downhill from there.
What began as an arcane land dispute rapidly escalated into an armed standoff in the desert. A ragtag band of anti-government militants, Tea Party politicians, and Old West ranchers descended on the area, responding to a call to arms posted by the Bundy family on their blog and circulated throughout the internet by conservatives and libertarians. Spurred on by YouTube videos of physical altercations between federal agents and the Bundys, the protesters aggressively confronted law enforcement, which in turn escalated things by gathering a huge force of armed BLM rangers and FBI agents. On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration placed a month-long flight restriction over the ranch after the Bundy family posted aerial photos of the assembled authorities.
For right-wing militias and paramilitary groups founded around a collective paranoid belief that the federal government is just looking for an excuse to impose martial law, images of armed federal agents forcibly seizing cows basically means it’s DEFCON 1. By Saturday, as many as 1,000 anti-BLM protestors from as far away as Virginia, New Hampshire, and Georgia had set up camp in Bunkerville, an arid patch of land where the BLM was rounding up the Bundy cattle. Packing handguns and assault rifles, the protesters carried signs featuring slogans like “Tyranny Is Alive,” “Where’s the Justice?” and “Militia Sighn In [sic],” and many said they were prepared for a shoot-out with the federal government. The mood was such that even Glenn Beck was wary of the crowd, announcing on his show that “there’s about 10 or 15 percent of the people who are talking about this online that are truly frightening.”
Source: Vice Magazine
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced today that it was ending its effort to seize Cliven Bundy’s herd of cattle that has been illegally grazing on federal land. The reason the BLM suspended the cattle round up was to protect the safety of federal employees and members of the general public. Bundy and a smattering of his right-wing supporters have threatened to wage a range war if the government continues with its effort to enforce the law. Let that sink in for a minute. The government is halting their efforts to enforce the law because of the threats being made by Bundy supporters.
BLM Director Neil Konze issued a statement arguing that:
Based on information about conditions on the ground and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public.
In other words, the threat of violent opposition to the federal government enforcing current law, caused the government to back down and yield to the demands of domestic terrorists.
Cliven Bundy has refused to comply with the law since 1993 when he stopped paying for permits to have his cattle graze on federal lands. Unlike other ranchers in the region, he is a freeloader who defiantly refuses to pay for grazing permits and who rejects the authority of the federal government to enforce the law.
While conservative bloggers, media personalities, and even some politicians are treating Bundy as some sort of folk hero, they should be careful about the precedent Bundy is setting. “Patriot” groups are quick to rally to Bundy’s cause, but his rhetoric and behavior is eerily reminiscent of the violent insurrectionist behavior of past domestic terrorists like Gordon Kaul, an anti-tax “sovereign citizen” who murdered two federal agents in North Dakota in 1983. When anti-government extremism reaches the point where it is used to justify murdering police officers and federal officials, it undermines the rule of law and puts people’s lives needlessly in jeopardy.
Turning anti-government ranchers who advocate waging war on the federal government into heroes simply emboldens domestic terrorists to feel justified in murdering federal officials with self-righteous zeal. Right-wing pundit and bloggers who hail Bundy’s political grandstanding as some sort of victory for liberty should bear in mind that Bundy is a supremely selfish individual who refuses to recognize the rule of law because he does not want to pay his fair share. Furthermore, they should recognize that by embracing the tactics of Bundy and his supporters who threaten armed violence against federal law enforcement officials, they are fanning the flames of domestic insurrection.
The leap from the rhetoric of Cliven Bundy to providing aid and comfort for the next Gordon Kaul or the next Timothy McVeigh is not much of a jump. Responsible citizens and journalists should not applaud Bundy’s actions or those of the “Patriot” groups that armed themselves on Bundy’s behalf. Americans should the reject anti-government violence Bundy and his supporters espouse and instead defend the rule of law.
More reasons why Cliven Bundy IS NOT A HERO!!
Fox News’ Sean Hannity is increasingly — and dangerously — taking on the role of PR agent for a Nevada rancher defying the federal government with violent threats.
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy has quickly become a darling of right-wing media over his decades-long refusal to pay federal government fees required to allow his cattle to exploit public lands. In July 2013, a federal court ordered the rancher to remove his cattle from the public property or they would be confiscated and sold to pay off the $1 million in fees and trespassing fines Bundy owes. When that confiscation began this month, the rancher took his battle to conservative media, who held him up as a folk hero battling big government invasion into private property rights and states’ rights.
Bundy’s defiance has been marked by violent and revolutionary rhetoric toward the federal government, hints of a bloody confrontation cheered on by the right-wing fringes who have repeatedly compared the situation to notorious and deadly standoffs like Ruby Ridge and Waco. For example, when Bundy appeared on his radio program, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones posited that if Bundy’s supporters confronted federal agents at the auction for Bundy’s confiscated cattle, which the rancher encouraged, it “could be how the shot heard round the world happens in this case.” Jones warned that “this could turn into 1776 very quickly.”
But such dangerous hyperbole isn’t confined to the fringes. Increasingly, Sean Hannity’s promotion and defense of the rancher’s actions and threats is starting to resemble that of far-right extremists.
Hannity interviewed Bundy on his Fox program on April 9, sympathizing with the rancher’s claims and arguing that allowing Bundy’s cattle to graze on public lands “keeps the price of meat down for every American consumer.”
His rhetoric had noticeably escalated two days later when he invited Bundy onto his radio program The Sean Hannity Show. Hannity argued that federal agents have “drawn the wrong line in the sand here,” praising Bundy because he “like[s] anybody that’s willing to fight.”
He went on, “I’m just afraid of what this government is capable of doing. I mean we saw what happened in Waco,” to which Bundy responded, “We have to have faith that America will stand. You know we would never won any of these wars from the Revolutionary War on up if we didn’t have faith and courage and fighting for something.”
Throughout the program, Hannity repeatedly pushed violent predictions, saying, “This can spiral out of control. You get one wrong person out there, this can spiral out of control really fast,” and “If it keeps going, this is going to end very, very badly.” He even demanded, “The government needs to stand down” because “this is only a symptom of how one person, standing up to the government, I’m telling you, [it is] my opinion that this crisis could come to a head, and lives could be lost.”
Hannity promised to bring Bundy back onto his Fox program that night, and discussed the possibility of traveling to Nevada to visit the ranch.
At this point, Hannity is perhaps Bundy’s most prominent supporter, and his role as PR agent for a man openly defying federal law and hinting at violent retaliation against federal agents appears to only be increasing. Words are one thing, but Hannity’s public hyperbole is particularly worrisome given the fact that armed militia group members are reportedly heading into Nevada to take on the government with Bundy, who’s placed armed guards at his gates.
The core of the dispute is Cliven Bundy’s ongoing claim to the right to graze his cattle on a sensitive piece of southern Nevada’s Mojave Desert known as Gold Butte. Bundy’s family had grazed cattle in the area for generations, but in 1993 Cliven Bundy stopped paying his fees on the land, claiming that the United States government was not the legitimate landlord.
In 2013, a federal judge enjoined him from continuing to graze his cattle on the federal lands, an order he has studiously ignored. So this week, federal authorities moved into the area and began sweeping up Bundy’s trespassing cattle.
Bundy threatened a “range war” if Bureau of Land Management agents took custody of his stock, calling them “cattle thieves.” But, initially at least, the threats appeared to fizzle as the roundup of Bundy’s cattle proceeded apace, accompanied by a heavy law enforcement presence at the scene, while Bundy sputtered helplessly on the sideline. On Sunday, another adult son, 37-year-old David Bundy, was arrested after getting into a confrontation with the federal officers; afterwards, Bundy and his compatriots described for reporters their alleged ordeal the hands of federal officers.
BLM officials, meanwhile, defend the crackdown on Bundy’s activities by noting that he is the only rancher in the region who refuses to acknowledge or heed the federal permit system for grazing rights. “Cattle have been in trespass on public lands in southern Nevada for more than two decades. This is unfair to the thousands of other ranchers who graze livestock in compliance with federal laws and regulations throughout the West,” the BLM website noted.
It’s unfair to all the rest of us to allow one rancher to let his cattle trample upon the habitat of an endangered species (the desert tortoise). It’s especially unfair to let that rancher let his cattle run rampant and ruin land that belongs to all of us. And it’s particularly unfair to let this one rancher let his cattle run rampant when he’s refused to pay the fee that all area ranchers must pay to use that public land. (After all, the BLM has to maintain this land for everyone.)
Hey, someone had to do it. And since hardly anyone else is discussing the real reasons for outrage regarding this Cliven Bundy “scandal”, we figured we might as well wade into this hot mess. So to recap, some G-O-TEA politicians are screaming at the BLM because the BLM is enforcing existing law. A rancher is willfully violating the law and encouraging armed rebellion against the federal government because he doesn’t like the law. And meanwhile, the land itself and the original inhabitants of this land are reeling because we’ve allowed the land to be mistreated by the likes of Bundy… While we threaten the climate that’s supposed to sustain this land.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Sen. Dean Heller disagree with the Bureau of Land Management’s recent actions.
"No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans," Sandoval told FoxNews.com.
Bureau of Land Management Kirsten Cannon told FoxNews.com that contracted agents on Saturday and Sunday rounded up 134 cattle along the 1,200-square-mile stretch of rangeland as a last resort. They used helicopters, vehicles and temporary pens.
All of this is a reminder that the only good Bundy out there is Married… With Children's Al Bundy and that Cliven Bundy is NOT a “hero,” but a traitor who's actively harming America who should be in jail!!
[Cross-posted at Hatewatch.]
Richard Mack, the former sheriff of Graham County, Ariz., and an antigovernment “Patriot” movement figure who leads the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, has a long history of promoting the theory that county sheriffs, not federal law enforcement, represent the supreme law of the land. This radically decentralized vision of government was first promoted by the old far-right Posse Comitatus movement.
Mack shot from obscurity to right-wing stardom in the mid-1990s when he challenged the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and won a victory in the U.S. Supreme Court that weakened the law. For the past two years, he has zigzagged across the country spreading conspiracy theories about the federal government and promoting his organization as a “line in the sand” against government agents.
Sunday night, France was shocked—yet again—by appalling polling numbers: voters had been called to cast their ballot throughout the country for the first round of the nation-wide municipal elections, and their response screamed distrust, distress and disunion. First came the bad news: the turnout had reached a historical low of 63.5 percent—a number unheard off in France when it comes to electing mayors and municipal counselors, the last political figures whom French people seem to still trust. Then came the ugly news: Marine Le Pen’s party, the far-right National Front, had come in first in seventeen cities of over 10,000 inhabitants, leading the race with an impressive 45 percent of the votes in Béziers (a town formerly known for being the birth place of Resistant fighter Jean Moulin), 42.5 percent in Saint-Gilles, 40 percent in Fréjus, 39 percent in Tarascon, 34 percent in Perpignan (a city of 120,000) and 29 percent in Avignon.
Moreover, the National Front managed to win from the onset the symbolic city of Hénin-Beaumont, a mining town in the north that had been faithfully communist, then socialist for over sixty years: 41-year old Steeve Briois, himself the son of a miner with over twenty years of political activism on the ground under his belt, got elected in the first round with 50.2 percent of the votes, topping the score of his chef Marine Le Pen in the last Presidential elections by fifteen points. And then there are the 323 cities where the National Front scored high enough to remain on the ballot for the second round of the elections next Sunday: on average, it scored 18 percent in these cities, becoming if not the actual winner, at least the king-maker. There is little doubt that come the results next Sunday, the National Front will have fulfilled its bet to get over a thousand municipal counselors, plus a few cities as cherry on the cake.
One wonders what is more bewildering: that in spite of numerous warning signs the Socialist Party and the Hollande administration seemed surprised by the rise of the far right and their own demise, or that Marine Le Pen managed to implement from A to Z the political strategy she had publicly announced more than a year ago without encountering any push back? Instead of crying wolf and waving the red flag of fascism (to which the National Front cannot be seriously compared), it is vital to understand what motivates those who voted National Front and to address the sometimes legitimate concerns they have thus expressed.
A number of factors can help explain the National Front’s breakthrough. These being municipal elections, some are local factors: the far right party scores the highest in towns with unemployment above the already high national rate of 11 percent (for instance Hénin-Beaumont, with an unemployment rate of almost 18 percent; or Béziers, with 16.8 percent unemployment) and in cities plagued by corruption (Hénin-Beaumont’s former mayor, Dalongeville, was indicted with embezzlement; Fréjus’ Elie Brun ran for reelection in spite of having been found guilty of illegal conflicts of interest). The southeast of France, which vividly experienced the aftermath of decolonization when repatriated Algerians settled in, has a long history of leaning towards the National Front. But there are also national factors: people voted to send a punishing message to the government. President Hollande ran in 2012 on the slogan “Change is Now.” Nothing came. “Now is the time to change elected officials,” voters seem to have replied.
On top of these socio-economic factors, the National Front itself has done a tremendous job of recruiting new, respectable candidates, of canvassing the electorate on the ground, and of adroitly channeling the distrust and dissatisfaction felt by so many. The party has also played down its ideological extremism in favor of down-to-earth city management measures, from filling in potholes to fixing city lamps. Far from running on polarizing agendas, its candidates have “played nice,” posing as prudent managers of cities in disarray rather than revolutionaries. Marine Le Pen herself made it very clear that her candidates would not try to implement at the local level her national platform of “national preference,” a set of anti-immigrants discriminatory measures that would cut social and health services to immigrants (this would have been illegal anyway, but this is what the National Front tried to do when it conquered three cities in the south of France in 1995). By adopting a low profile at the local level, she hopes to build a bond with a wider base of voters and sneak in her more poisonous ideas later on once trust on less controversial, day-to-day issues has been established.
A few weeks ago, we explained how Marine Le Pen was in the process of winning over France’s public opinion, thanks to her sharp political acumen and a careful media strategy. Now she has the popular vote to attest that her party has truly become a serious, credible alternative for an increasing number of citizens. What is worrisome is that more elections are to come.
Some point that the National Front is “just” back to its 1995 levels, when it won the three southern towns of Toulon, Marignan and Orange, followed by Vitrolles in 1997. That alone would be cause for concern. But this time around, the National Front has launched a much more comprehensive national campaign: it canvassed the whole territory systematically, including towns that had been until now reluctant to cast their vote in its favor. To put this into context, when he was head of the National Front until 2011, Jean-Marie Le Pen focused his attention on national elections only: he showed no interest in local elections. After the 1998 secession from his second-in-chief Bruno Mégret, he even consciously avoided creating local strongholds, fearing competition from would-be rivals. On election night last Sunday, Marine Le Pen was right to assert that the National Front “is now a great, independent political force not only nationally, but also locally.”
This is an important first step in a much more far-reaching strategy to rise to power. Sylvain Crépon, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Nanterre who has covered the National Front on the ground since 1995, particularly in Hénin-Beaumont, explained it to me this way: “A number of staff members of the National Front admitted, on condition of anonymity, that they feared to take over too many cities because they lack a cadre of competent personnel to manage them efficiently. This is why the National Front wants to invest massively into municipal counselors so that they can learn on the job and become local nobilities. Then [the party] will capitalize on this new political personnel with strong local ties for the upcoming elections. The strategy is essentially mid- and long-term.”
Marine Le Pen is counting on a snowball effect that would push her to the top in the upcoming European Elections, then the elections to the Senate, and the Presidential and Parliamentary elections in 2017. Short of a long overdue wake up call, she is well positioned to surprise us a few more times.
Austin Ruse Says Left-Wing University Professors 'Should All Be Taken Out And Shot' | Right Wing Watch
RWW’s Brian Tashman:
While filling in today for American Family Radio host Sandy Rios, Austin Ruse commented on the media frenzy surrounding a Duke University freshman who announced that she is a porn actress.
Ruse, who leads the ultraconservative Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-Fam), promptly blamed the college’s women’s studies department and said that “the hard left, human-hating people that run modern universities” should “all be taken out and shot.”
PIJNP's Klingenschmitt: "Any Judge Who Rules For Marriage Equality 'Is A Domestic Enemy'" | Right Wing Watch
Gordon Klingenschmitt is aghast at the recent federal court rulings across the country in favor of marriage equality, telling members of his Pray In Jesus Name Project that “this is way beyond the point where it’s gotten out-of-hand.”
He calls on Congress to impeach and remove from office any judge who sides with pro-gay rights plaintiffs, since any such judge is “a domestic enemy of the Constitution.”
“These lawless judges replace Democracy with dictatorship, abrogate the U.S. Constitution, flaunt the laws of God and nature, assume jurisdiction they don’t have, and overturn the overwhelming vote of good people,” Klingenschmitt writes. “May God have mercy on these tyrants’ souls, when they are judged in eternity.This is way beyond the point where it’s gotten out-of-hand. The lawlessness on the federal bench requires a house-cleaning. We need a new President to appoint new judges. But until that happens, we MUST pressure Congress to intervene.
Christians do not lose their right to vote simply because they are religious. These lawless judges replace Democracy with dictatorship, abrogate the U.S. Constitution, flaunt the laws of God and nature, assume jurisdiction they don’t have, and overturn the overwhelming vote of good people. May God have mercy on these tyrants’ souls, when they are judged in eternity.
There is NO mention of sexual orientation in the Constitution, and any judge who imagines one is a domestic enemy of the Constitution, and should be impeached and removed from office. We must demand Congress hold the line, and protect the traditional definition of marriage FEDERALLY, like the Oklahoma people did by state.
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW
Kansas set off a national firestorm last week when the GOP-controlled House passed a bill that would have allowed anyone to refuse to do business with same-sex couples by citing religious beliefs. The bill, which covered both private businesses and individuals, including government employees, would have barred same-sex couples from suing anyone who denies them food service, hotel rooms, social services, adoption rights, or employment—as long as the person denying the service said he or she had a religious objection to homosexuality. As of this week, the legislation was dead in the Senate. But the Kansas bill is not a one-off effort.
Republicans lawmakers and a network of conservative religious groups has been pushing similar bills in other states, essentially forging a national campaign that, critics say, would legalize discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Republicans in Idaho, Oregon, South Dakota, and Tennessee recently introduced provisions that mimic the Kansas legislation. And Arizona,Hawaii, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Mississippi have introduced broader “religious freedom” bills with a unique provision that would also allow people to deny services or employment to LGBT Americans, legal experts say.
"This is a concerted campaign that the religious Right has been hinting at for a couple of years now,” says Evan Hurst, associate director of Truth Wins Out, a Chicago-based nonprofit that promotes gay rights. “The fact that they’re doing it Jim Crow-style is remarkable, considering the fact that one would think the GOP would like to be electable among people under 50 sometime in the near future.”
Several of these measures have sprung up within a short period of time. The Kansas bill wasintroduced by Republican state Rep. Charles Macheers on January 16. On January 28, Idaho state Rep. Lynn Luker (R-Boise) introduced a bill that would prohibit the state from yanking the professional licenses of people who deny service or employment to anyone (including LGBT customers) on the basis of their religious beliefs. (There’s an exception for emergency responders.) Luker has since pulled that bill back into committee, to address concerns about the language being discriminatory.
On January 30, a coalition of Republican senators and representatives in South Dakota introduced a bill that would have allowed a business to refuse to serve or people due to their sexual orientation, or be compelled to hire someone because of their sexual orientation. Under this measure, a gay person who brought a lawsuit charging discrimination based on sexual orientation could have faced punitive damages of no less than $2,000. The bill also declared that it is protected speech to tell someone that his or her lifestyle is “wrong or a sin.” The bill was killed this week by the state Senate judiciary committee.
On February 5, Republicans introduced legislation in both chambers of the Tennessee Legislature allowing a person or company to refuse to provide services such as food, accommodation, counseling, adoption, or employment to people in civil unions or same-sex marriages, or transgender individuals, “if doing so would violate the sincerely held religious beliefs of the person.” (Government employees are excluded.) State Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) tells Mother Jones that he sponsored the bill because “a person shouldn’t get sued for choosing not to participate in a person’s wedding.” But this week, the bill’s lead sponsor in the Senate, Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), shelved the measure until next year after facing heavy criticism. And in Oregon, voters could have the opportunity this year to vote on a ballot initiative that would also allow people to refuse on religious grounds to support same-sex couples.
In addition to these bills, lawmakers in Arizona, Hawaii, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Mississippi have recently introduced Religious Freedom Restoration Acts with a provision that could also allow discrimination against LGBT Americans. These state-sponsored RFRAs, which aim to stop new laws from burdening religious exercise, are nothing new—29 states already have some kind of RFRA in place through legislation or court action. But legal experts say that these particular bills are unique in that they allow individuals—and in some states, businesses—to cite religion as a defense in a private lawsuit. In the past, courts have been split on the issue. But in 2012, in New Mexico, a photographer tried to use religion in court as grounds for refusing to photograph a same-sex wedding. Last year, the photographer’s studio lost its discrimination lawsuit. The bills are a direct reaction to that lawsuit, say multiple legal experts. “The Kansas bill is more obvious, but some of these RFRAs will have similar effects…they’re just as bad,” says Maggie Garrett, legislative counsel for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.
"This seems to be a concerted Hail Mary campaign to carve out special rights for religious conservatives so that they don’t have to play by the same rules as everyone else does," says Hurst, from Truth Wins Out. "In this new up-is-down world, anti-gay religious folks are ‘practicing their faith’ when they’re baking cakes or renting out hotel rooms to travelers. On the ground, [these bills] hurt real, live LGBT people."
Jim Garrow brought his tall tale about President Obama trying to murder him to The Pete Santilli Show on Friday, where he also plugged the anti-Obama Operation American Spring. Santilli, the radio host who called for the murder of Obama and for Hillary Clinton to be “shot in the vagina” and has advocated for violence against the government, said that a national strike and even a military coup is necessary to bring down the Obama administration.
“I’m not calling for — well, yes I’m calling for the military to restore our Republic. Is it a military coup? I would say that it’s probably the most orderly fashion to do this,” Santilli told Garrow, who responded that it would take just “three percent of the population to rise up” and “control the country.”Santilli: That change that we’re referring to, and I do have hope that it could be done if we have the numbers and we do have the numbers, if 300 million people who we could potentially get to rise up and if we had them all standing in the streets, standing still with a national strike and shut the economic system down, it cuts off the lifeblood of the elite, they no longer have that wealth flow. But that change, because we’ve spent decades ignoring this, they’ve been preparing for this for tens of years, for the past thirty or forty years internally to use all of these tactics that we’ve used to save the entire world, to police the world, to spread freedom throughout the world, now all of these tactics are being used against us by domestic enemies. But I think that that change must come forcefully, it has to happen in a short period of time. I say forcefully in that we need to abruptly let Obama know, it is time for you to go, you need to resign, you need to leave.
We have an opportunity here where our military commanders can affect arrests on these criminals. Do we not? Do you think that’s going to happen? I’m not calling for — well, yes I’m calling for the military to restore our Republic. Is it a military coup? I would say that it’s probably the most orderly fashion to do this. But don’t you agree that it must be a forceful, abrupt change. It can be peaceful but it has to happen in a short period of time, doesn’t it?
Garrow: I believe it should, I believe it could, I believe it may, but I also believe this: three percent of the population, that’s all it took at the very beginning of this Republic. It was only three percent that actually fought for freedoms and the Republic and the new nation, only three percent. All we need is three percent of the population to rise up now and we can control the country.
Santilli agreed with Garrow’s call for guerilla warfare against Obama and urged Americans to participate in Operation American Spring, a rally calling for the president’s overthrow through potentially violent means.
While he alleged that it is actually government officials who want violence in order “to use all of their ammunition and equipment they’ve been building up for decades now,” Santilli urged people to “take care of business,” just like the Marines.
Garrow said that that Operation American Spring is “expecting 30 million people” to gather in Washington D.C. to demand Obama’s ouster, an event he said is necessary because the president is murdering people.
Garrow: It’s called Operation American Spring and it springs from that whole notion of what was going on with the Egypt groups, the people in Egypt rising up and saying ‘hey we want a return to freedom and not to a repressive Muslim regime.’
Santilli: Where is this going to take place? It’s on May 16.
Garrow: It’s on May 16 and it’s going to be in the Mall. They’re expecting 30 million people. There’s never been a gathering as large as they’re predicting for this event.
Santilli: Wow. That’s something that we can—actually we all need to get behind. We have no choice at this point and time. We have no choice, no alternative. As a former United States Marine, we Marines that are trained to lash out in a very special way, like in Fallujah. If you send the Marines in, they take care of business and it’s not by throwing potpourri everywhere. But I’ve learned my way through this that we have to take and exhaust every possible peaceful means to take back our Republic, we must do that because they want nothing more than for us to fire a first shot because that will allow them to use them to use all of their ammunition and equipment they’ve been building up for decades now. I think that we can, if we have a grand awakening such as the May 16 event, this Operation American Spring, that we have an opportunity to really just stand in the Mall, stand in the streets, let our voices be heard and tell them to vacate their offices.
Santilli: Guerrilla warfare is the potential that may come about if they try to test our resolve, isn’t it? They need to know that we’re prepared and they probably will test us, won’t they?
Garrow: Well the Second Amendment right is clearly that area where they’re going to push, push the wall as it were and see, will this wall crumble or will this be a strong wall? Will the public react one way or will they react another? They’ve already done some testing and frankly we have not done well. Unfortunately, they’ve come in and they’ve shot people, they’ve killed people.
From the 01.03.2013 edition of The Pete Santilli Show:
Blogger, author, troop-hater, and rape apologist, and all-around good guy “Reverend” Michael Crook feels there is a rape problem in America. The problem? The problem is that we think it exists. Oh, and atheists and gays should die. -
Crook may be remembered for his website that demonized the troops for their choice to fight for their country, claiming that they are overpaid for their work (among a number of other awful things). Shortly following, he posed as an eighteen year old girl on Craigslist and, after learning prospective men’s personal information, proceeded to harass them–even posting their information on a web site dedicated to shaming men who sought sex on Craigslist. After being thoroughly embarrassed by Sean Hannity of all people, Crook waged war on bloggers who posted screenshots of what must have been an overwhelmingly embarrassing experience for him–filing false DMCA complaints in an effort to take down anyone who spoke in any way ill of him. As part of a lawsuit settlement, Crook issued a public apology for his harassment.
Crook, who has referred to rape as “surprise sex,” said of the Steubenville rape victim, “She wore clothing that could, in my opinion, be reasonably perceived by those in her age bracket as inviting sexual contact, and by others as just plain “slutty,” which is an element that conveniently seems to exist in many accusations of “rape.” After her assailants received a slap on the wrist for their actions, Crook lamented that two young men’s lives are ruined.
It was once reported on his now-defunct blog that he had died, but rumors of his death were greatly exaggerated.
But what is he doing now?
Crook is still around, maintaining a Twitter feed with a whopping roughly-150 followers in which he spews his hatred–and if this is the first time you’ve heard of him, you’re going to be amazed that one human body can contain this much malice for humankind!
Crook covers a wide variety of topics in his veritable barrage of bigoted ramblings: from how rape isn’t real, to how atheists are worse than child molesters. Please enjoy (read: try not to vomit while looking at) what is quite possibly the most high-speed spewing of hateful garbage on the internet!
h/t: John Prager at AATTP
WATCH: Ted Cruz's Dad Rafael Calls US a "Christian Nation," Says Obama Should Go "Back to Kenya" | Mother Jones
In April, Rafael Cruz, the father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), spoke to the tea party of Hood County, which is southwest of Fort Worth, and made a bold declaration: The United States is a “Christian nation.” The septuagenarian businessman turned evangelical pastor did not choose to use the more inclusive formulation “Judeo-Christian nation.” Insisting that the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution “were signed on the knees of the framers” and were a “divine revelation from God,” he went on to say, “yet our president has the gall to tell us that this is not a Christian nation…The United States of America was formed to honor the word of God.” Seven months earlier, Rafael Cruz, speaking to the North Texas Tea Party on behalf of his son, who was then running for Senate, called President Barack Obama an “outright Marxist” who “seeks to destroy all concept of God,” and he urged the crowd to send Obama “back to Kenya.”
omments uttered by a politician’s parent may have little relevance in assessing an elected official. But it’s appropriate to take Rafael Cruz into account when evaluating his son the senator. Ted Cruz, the tea party champion who almost single-handedly spurred the recent government shutdown, has often deployed his father as a political asset. He routinely cites his Cuban-born father, who emigrated from the island nation in 1957, when he discusses immigration and justifies his opposition to the bipartisan reform bill that passed in the Senate. (Ted Cruz hails his father as a symbol of the “American dream” who came to the United States legally—though Rafael Cruz began his career in the oil industry in Canada, where Ted was born.) Moreover, Ted Cruz campaigns with his father; he had him in tow on a recent trip to Iowa (where the evangelical vote is crucial in GOP presidential primaries). Rafael Cruz regularly speaks to tea party and Republican groups in Texas as a surrogate for his son; during Ted Cruz’s 2012 Senate campaign, his father was dispatched to events and rallies across the state to whip up support. And thanks to Ted Cruz’s political rise, Rafael has become a conservative star in his own right. He has been prominently featured—and praised—at events held by prominent right-wing outfits, such as FreedomWorks and Heritage Action. What Rafael Cruz says—especially when he is speaking for his son—matters.
The elder Cruz is a North Texas-based pastor who directs a small outfit called Purifying Fire Ministries.* Rafael Cruz’s inflammatory remarks and fundamentalist views have recently started to attract increased media attention. A few weeks ago, he sparked headlines when he told a gathering of Republicans in Colorado that Obama has vowed to “side with the Muslims,” that Obamacare mandates “suicide counseling” for the elderly, and that gay marriage is a plot to make “government your god.”
A sermon Rafael Cruz delivered in August 2012 at an Irving, Texas, mega-church has also come under scrutiny. At that event, he asserted that Christian true believers are “anointed” by God to “take dominion” of the world in “every area: society, education, government, and economics.” He was preaching a particular form of evangelical Christianity known as Dominionism (a.k.a. Christian Reconstructionism) that holds that these “anointed” Christians are destined to take over the government and create in practice, if not in official terms, a theocracy. Rafael Cruz also endorsed the evangelical belief known as the “end-time transfer of wealth"—that is, as a prelude to the second coming of Christ, God will seize the wealth of the wicked and redistribute it to believers. But, Cruz told the flock, don’t expect to benefit from this unless you tithe mightily. Introducing Cruz at this service, Christian Zionist pastor Larry Huch offered this bottom line: In the coming year, he predicted, "God will begin to rule and reign. Not Wall Street, not Washington, God’s people and his kingdom will begin to rule and reign. I know that’s why God got Rafael’s son elected, Ted Cruz, the next senator." (In July, several prominent Dominionist pastors at a ceremony in Iowa blessed and anointed Ted Cruz, rendering him, in their view, a “king” who would help usher in the kingdom of Christ.)
During his sermon at this church, Rafael Cruz preached that men, not women, are the spiritual leaders of their families: “As God commands us men to teach your wife, to teach your children—to be the spiritual leader of your family—you’re acting as a priest. Now, unfortunately, unfortunately, in too many Christian homes, the role of the priest is assumed by the wife. Why? Because the man had abdicated his responsibility as priest to his family…So the wife has taken up that banner, but that’s not her responsibility. And if I’m stepping on toes, just say, ‘Ouch.’”
As Rafael Cruz recounted at the Hood County tea party event, he had a powerful role in shaping his son, introducing Ted, when he was in middle school, to the Free Enterprise Education Center, where the young Cruz was flooded with Austrian School libertarian economics and archly conservative interpretations of US history. Cruz excelled in this setting and went on to become part of a traveling road show of teens called the Constitutional Corroborators. They appeared at Rotary Club luncheons across the state to extol the wonders of the free market and the US Constitution. While the Rotarians ate lunch, the whiz kids transcribed from memory the articles of the Constitution on easels placed at the front of the room.
At the Hood County gathering, Rafael Cruz, in full sync with his son’s political stance, attacked RINOs—Republicans In Name Only. He noted that the “wicked” were now ruling the United States. He insisted that “those death panels are in Obamacare,” and that the US government wants “to take all of your money” and confiscate “our fortunes.” He asserted that the Democratic Party promotes “everything that is contrary to the word of God.” He also exclaimed, “Social justice is a cancer. Social justice means you are ruled by whatever the mob does. What social justice does is destroy individual responsibility.”
Pastor Cruz is a fiery speaker whose rhetorical red meat is well-received by hardcore Republican and tea party audiences. He regularly has compared Obama to Fidel Castro and routinely echoes the no-surrender calls of his son. At a “freedom rally” at the Alamo in 2012, he vowed, “We’ve had enough compromise…enough of Establishment Republicans that don’t stand for anything.” Speaking to Houston Republicans in September, he decried John McCain and Mitt Romney, blasting both of the former presidential candidates for having “played dead” when challenging Obama. He blasted McCain for refusing to slam Obama regarding the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright. He asserted that the elderly would be harmed by Obamacare, claiming that “everywhere in the world when socialized medicine has been instituted it takes 12 to 18 months to get any kind of medical proceeding.” (That is not the case with Medicare, a form of socialized health care.) He also declared, “I haven’t heard Obama ask us for our consent when he’s trying to ram Obamacare down our throats”—without noting that Congress voted for the Affordable Care Act. At the Hood County event, Rafael Cruz, a fervent foe of gay rights, vowed that he would be speaking “across this country to support constitutional conservatives to retake the Senate.”
Whether he’s at a prayer breakfast or a tea party rally, Rafael Cruz easily and enthusiastically mixes religion and politics. At an event hosted by the National Federation of Republican Assemblies in September, he contended that after the 2012 election, God told him, “If we could blame one group of people for what happened in the last election, it is the pastors.” By that he meant that, for decades, too many Christian leaders have remained on the political sidelines, declining to do combat with liberals and Democrats. Consequently, he explained, prayer has been removed from schools, legalized abortion has continued, and gay marriage has come to pass in several states. He insisted that the advancement of Christianity (his fundamentalist version of it) depends on political battle, noting the need not just for a “spiritual savior” but a “political savior.” (The idea of states’ rights, he said, was based in the bible.) Obama, Cruz proclaimed, believes “government is your god.” When Cruz was a keynote speaker at a tax day rally hosted by Texas tea partiers in April, he told the crowd that conservative Christians need to take over “every school board in this nation.” At a Texas tea party rally in September 2012, he claimed that Obama has “a clear agenda…to destroy American exceptionalism”—and “to achieve a “worldwide redistribution of wealth” and “make us subject to the United Nations.”
The United States as a “Christian nation”; death panels; social justice a cancer; gay rights a conspiracy; the “wicked” in charge in Washington; women inferior to men as spiritual leaders; Obama a Muslim-favoring, God-hating, Marxist Kenyan; End Times; a UN worldwide dictatorship; states’ rights; free markets over all—Rafael Cruz blends the far reaches of extreme conservatism and Christian fundamentalism. He embodies the full synthesis of the tea party and the religious right. In fact, he has noted that the rise of the religious right in Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign “was the precursor of the tea party.” Rafael Cruz may well be key to understanding the ideas, desires, and long-term aims that drive Ted Cruz—a politician who is exerting an outsized influence on the GOP.
At the least, Cruz ought to have to explain whether he shares the more extreme views of his No. 1 surrogate. Asked to comment on Rafael Cruz’s remarks—particularly his statement that the United States is a “Christian nation” and his call for Obama to be shipped back to Kenya—Sen. Cruz’s office requested citations for these quotes. After receiving the citations, Sean Rushton, a spokesperson for Cruz, replied, “These selective quotes, taken out of context, mischaracterize the substance of Pastor Cruz’s message. Like many Americans, he feels America is on the wrong track.” Rushton added, “Pastor Cruz does not speak for the senator.”
"People here are trying to figure out Ted Cruz," a Democratic senator recently told me. "And a lot of them are saying, ‘He went to Princeton, Harvard Law—he doesn’t really believe what he says.’ But I think he does. All you have to do is look at his father. So much of our life is mirroring. And Ted Cruz is mirroring his father."
On August 5, 2012, just before 10:30 in the morning, Wade Michael Page pulled up outside the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisc., took out his semi-automatic handgun and started killing worshipers. An Army veteran and an avid bass player in a neo-Nazi rock band, Page killed two Sikhs outside the house of worship and then made his way inside. There, he reloaded and killed four more, including the president of the temple who was shot while trying to tackle Page. Three more were critically wounded in the massacre.
When local police descended, Page opened fire and shot one officer nearly ten times. When the authorities returned fire and shot Page in the stomach, he took his 9mm pistol, pointed it at his own head, and pulled the trigger.
According to acquaintances, the 40-year-old killer hated blacks, Indians, Native Americans and Hispanics (he called non-whites “dirt people”), and was interested in joining the Ku Klux Klan. Immersed in the world of white power music, Page’s band rehearsed in front of a Nazi flag.
Note that back in August 2012, Fox News didn’t care very much about Wade Page and the wild gun shootout he unleashed in an act of domestic terror in the Milwaukee suburb, nor did Fox suggest the event was connected to a larger, more sinister terror trend. In fact, in the days that followed the gun massacre, there were just two passing references to Page during Fox’s primetime, one from Bill O’Reilly and one from Greta Van Susteren. No guests were asked to discuss the temple shooting, and after one day the story was completely forgotten.
In one rare occasion when the conversation did turn to Page’s motivations, Fox’s opinion hosts were quick to criticize the notion that he was a far-right extremist. (He clearly was.) On The Five, after co-host Bob Beckel referred to Page as “right-wing skinhead,” he was quickly shouted down by his colleagues. Co-host Andrea Tantaros stressed that the killing was an isolated event that didn’t have any larger implications. “How do you stop a lunatic?” she asked. “This is not a political issue.”
Fox’s guarded response to an extremist’s killing spree was striking, considering that in the wake of the Boston Marathon bomb attack Fox News has gone all in (again) with its war on Islam as the channel fights its latest bigoted chapter in the War on Terror. It’s striking as Fox tries to blame a larger community for the act of two madmen because it’s the same Fox News that often can’t find time to even comment, let alone report, on what’s become regular, and often deadly, right-wing extremist attacks in America.
From neo-Nazi killers like Page, to a string of abortion clinic bombings, as well as bloody assaults on law enforcement from anti-government insurrectionists, acts of right-wing extreme violence continue to terrorize victims in the U.S. (“Fifty-six percent of domestic terrorist attacks and plots in the U.S. since 1995 have been perpetrated by right-wing extremists.”) But Fox News is not concerned. And Fox News does not try to affix collective blame.
It’s clear that Fox is only interested in covering and hyping a single part of the War on Terror; the part that targets Muslims and lets Fox wallow in stereotypes. The part that lets Fox accuse Obama of being “soft” on Islamic terrorists and perhaps sharing a radical allegiance. The part that lets Fox advocate for bugging mosques and eliminating other Constitutional rights, and lets it unleash a collection of anti-Islam crusaders onto the cable airwaves.
Most importantly, Fox covers a War on Terror that lets it uniformly blame Muslims.
Keep in mind though, there’s been no reported evidence that anyone in the Cambridge, Mass., Muslim community knew about, condoned or helped plan the bombing perpetrated by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. In fact, it’s possible the bomber brothers told nobody of their plan because local Muslims would have reported them to the police, the way a local imam tipped off Canadian officials who made arrests this week and thwarted an alleged rail bombing plot. (And the way local Muslims in Virginia and New York have helped prevent terror plots.)
Fox’s ugly religious attacks represent a brazen display of bigotry and bullying. The hypocrisy is that Fox News routinely downplays acts of political, and religious, violence from far-right extremists, while making sure not to condemn those indirectly associated with them.
Such acts have been legion. During a robust period of political violence last decade, women’s health clinics were attacked in January, May, and September 2003, January and July 2004, January, May, and July 2005, as well as May and December 2007, according to the National Abortion Federation.
Then in 2009, five clinics in Florida were the target of acid attacks.
More recently, two antiabortion firebombings occurred in 2011. And last year a woman’s health clinic in Wisconsin was damaged when a homemade bomb was set off on the building’s windowsill.
Of course, in May 2009, antiabortion extremist Scott Roeder shot and killed Dr. George Tiller while he attended church in Wichita, Kan.
And then there are the right-wing hate extremists who have plotted attacks against the government and minorities. Below is a partial list of attacks, or planned attacks, unleashed by radicals in recent years. The descriptions are taken from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s 2012 report, “Terror From the Right: Plots, Conspiracies and Racist Rampages Since Oklahoma City.”
The right-wingers have been in full-on gloat mode since the capture of the Boston Marathon bombers — not because it turned out that they were right about the nature of the perpetrators (they weren’t), but because speculation that they might be right-wing extremists was wrong. Only wingnuts can convert a sigh of relief into an attack on their opponents.
The problem is that all they’re really doing is attempting, yet again, to whitewash away the very real existence of violent extremists on their own side.
Leading the charge is William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection, who published a post over the weekend titled"Add Boston Marathon Bombing to pile of Failed Eliminationist Narratives":
Yet there was a theory behind the madness, the Eliminationist Narrative created by Dave Neiwart of Crooks and Liars about an “eliminationist” radical right seeking to dehumanize and eliminate political opposition. It was a play on the over-used narrative of Richard Hofstadter’s “paranoid style” in American politics.
The Eliminationist Narrative was aided and abetted by an abuse of the term “right-wing” to include groups who are the opposite of conservatism and the Tea Party movement.
In the case of Sparkman, the accusations were just Another Failed Eliminationist Narrative. And the Eliminationist Narrative would fail time and time again:
The Cabby Stabber
The “killer” of Bill Sparkman
The Fort Hood Shooter
The IRS Plane Crasher
The Pentagon Shooter
We can now add the Boston Marathon Bombing to the pile. The wild speculation that there was a Tea Party or “right-wing” connection proved false.
Of course, it would always help if people like Jacobson managed to review the posts of the people he’s attacking — since neither I nor anyone at Crooks and Liars ever speculated in print that the perps were white right-wing extremists. Others did, however — and frankly, we discussed it among ourselves. But we knew that it was irresponsible to speculate publicly until we knew more, and so we waited — unlike a few progressives, and even many, many more conservatives. (More about that in a moment.)
The fact, however, is that the speculation about right-wing extremism’s potential role was entirely rational, considering that in the past four years, there have been nearly 70 acts of domestic terrorism committed by right-wing extremists in the United States, compared to just over 30 such acts committed by Islamist extremists here. (I have prepared a report on this that Mother Jones will be publishing soon.)
Trust me on this, Mr. Jacobson, as a person who has attended their gatherings and spent time observing their ideology up close and personally: There is nothing remotely left-wing, or anything other than right wing, about the ideology promoted by people like the Aryan Nations and the Ku Klux Klan and American Renaissance and a whole bevy of other hate groups out there operating in America today. The notion that they are not from the political right is simply risible.
It just depends where on the very real spectrum of right-wing thought each happens to fall. You see, the reason they call these people right wing extremists is that they begin with simple, perhaps even mainstream, conservative positions and extend them to their most outrageous and illogical extreme.
Conservatives are, for instance, skeptical of the power of the federal government to intervene in civil-rights matters; right-wing extremists believe it has no such power whatsoever, but it has been usurped by a Jewish conspiracy that is imposing its will on white people.
Conservatives are skeptical of internationalism and entities like the United Nations. Right-wing extremists believe the U.N. represents a diabolical plot to overthrow American sovereignty and impose totalitarian rule.
Conservatives believe that abortion is murder of a living being and oppose its use on demand. Right-wing extremists believe that this justifies committing murder and various violent crimes in order to prevent it.
Conservatives believe affirmative action is a form of reverse discrimination. Right-wing extremists believe it is part of a plot to oppress white people.
Conservatives oppose taxation, and tax increases in particular, on principle. Right-wing extremists believe that the IRS is an illegitimate institution imposed on the body politic by the aforementioned Jewish conspiracy.
Conservatives oppose increased immigration on principle and illegal immigration as a matter of law enforcement, and believe the borders should be secure. Right-wing extremists believe that Mexicans are coming here as part of an “Aztlan” conspiracy to retake the Southwest for Mexico, and that we should start shooting border crossers on sight.
You get the idea.
Moreover, the claim that right-wing extremists have nothing to do with the Tea Party is just flatly risible. I have two simple words regarding that claim: Oath Keepers.
But the conspiracist Oath Keepers are hardly the only extremist element that has been absorbed within the ranks of the Tea Party. The list is long, but it’s headed up by the Minutemen who have become Tea Party leaders. Moreover, as I explored in an investigative piece for AlterNet, the movement became a functional extension of the Patriot/militia movement in many precincts, especially in rural areas, away from the television crews.
Jacobson’s limitations on what constitutes “right wing” are not only ahistorical, afactual, and fully at odds with reality, they’re also predictably self-serving. So it’s not surprising that, given his criteria, even his list of “failed eliminationist narratives” is fatally flawed.
Most of the examples he provides, notably the Bill Sparkman episode, were never discussed by me or by anyone at C&L as instances of right-wing violence, because we never considered them such. However, there are three cases here that we did indeed describe as involving right-wing extremists. And you know what? We still do.
We realize, for instance, that the post-shooting narrative favored pretending that Jared Lee Loughner was somehow not a terrorist because he was mentally ill (a claim they for some reason do not make when it comes to Nidal Hasan, the mentally ill gunman in the Fort Hood shooting rampage). They also found other mitigating factors, such as Loughner’s youthful liberalism, to claim that he was not a right-wing extremist, despite the obvious liberal-ness of his targets. However, none of that can overcome the reality that at the time he acted, Loughner was carrying out what he saw as a mission on behalf of his now-adopted right-wing beliefs involving a global monetary conspiracy. He was indeed a right-wing extremist, and other experts on the subject who have examined the record have reached the same conclusion.
Similarly, we found that the IRS plane bomber was indeed a terrorist, and that he was acting on behalf of the very same extremist anti-tax ideology we described above. And the Pentagon shooter, John Patrick Bedell, was acting out on his beliefs derived from Alex Jones’s conspiracy theories — and Jones, despite many efforts to pretend otherwise, is clearly a classic right-wing conspiracy theorist and extremist from the old John Birch mold.
Yes, we recognize very much that there is a significant difference between mainstream conservatives and right-wing extremists, as we’ve outlined above — but those differences, frankly, keep diminishing, and the ideological distances keep shrinking.
We would love nothing more than to report that conservatives were bravely standing up against extremists on the right and doing their part as citizens to bring an end to their toxic contributions to our society. Believe me, as a onetime moderate Republican from a conservative state, I would love nothing more than to see mainstream conservatives stand up against right-wing extremism, as they once did in the 1980s when Idaho became one of the first states to pass a hate-crimes law.
But those days are long gone. There are still a handful of thoughtful and decent conservatives remaining who will stand up to confront this problem, but they are tiny in number and nil in influence. Instead, conservatism is dominated by the likes of Michelle Malkin and Jonah Goldberg and Glenn Beck and William Jacobson (not to mention nearly everyone at Fox News), who instead of taking the problem of right-wing extremism seriously, dismiss its presence, downplay its influence and spread, and otherwise look the other way while viciously attacking anyone with the nerve to point it out.
Conservatives have instead made a cottage industry out of whitewashing away their extremists, most notably when decrying any efforts by law enforcement to confront the issue, and this latest effort in the wake of the Boston bombing is just the latest chapter.
In the meantime, of course, the tide is rising as the number of extremist groups in America reaches record proportions. And mainstream conservatives are aiding and abetting them — first by pretending that they don’t exist while attacking anyone who points out that they do, and second by silently giving them a warm embrace into the ranks of the Tea Party. It bodes ill for us all.