Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Onward Christian Soldiers

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report, Summer 2010, militias and anti-government "Patriot" groups have rapidly expanded over the last year and a half.

This spectacular growth (see timeline) is the result of several factors, including anger over major political, demographic and economic changes in America, along with the popularization of radical ideas and conspiracy theories by ostensibly mainstream politicians and media commentators.

The SPLC provides 35 profiles of the current movers and shakers: Christian fundamentalist Chuck Baldwin, black Tea Partier Chris Broughton who likes to strut his stuff while carrying guns to rallies, WorldNetDaily Founder Joseph Farah, Al Garza who wants to keep Mexicans out of the U.S., and the Russian ditz who's so silly she really shouldn't be taken seriously - but is - Orly Taitz.

One reason*** the resurgent intergovernmental "Patriot" movement is taking off so quickly is the support for many of its central ideas that comes from ostensibly mainstream figures in politics and the media.

Four men and one woman have been on a mission to spread Patriot - as opposed to Patriotic - nonsense:
President Obama is a Marxist; he and other elites in the government are pushing a socialist takeover; the United States plans secret concentration camps and so on. "Whether these people tell such tall tales because they believe them or simply because they are willing to shamelessly pander for votes or ratings, is any one's guess; but the noxious effect on the body politic is the same."

Who's Leading the Marching Band?

U.S. Representative Michelle Bachman, 54, Minnesota

"They used the U.S. Census information to round up the Japanese and put them in the internment camps," she said during an interview with Fox News' Glenn Beck last year. "Americans were told that they wouldn't have their information used against them. They did."

Re The AmeriCorps community service program: "The real concern is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward," Bachmann warned. Forget that her son joined an AmeriCorps program.

"'I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?' she said during an interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews in 2008."

Glenn Beck, 46, Fox News Channel Host

He famously called President Obama a racist with a "deep-seated hatred for white people" and compared him to Adolf Hitler. He legitimized the right-wing conspiracy theory that FEMA was building concentration camps. After milking the theme for nearly a week, he then "proved" the theory false. launched a campaign to persuade corporations to pull their commercials from the former radio shock jock's show. They did – in droves. At least 80 advertisers have abandoned Beck, leaving the host to personally hawk less-than-mainstream products like investments in gold.

Beck's 9.12 Project states that it caters to "like-minded Americans looking for direction in taking back the control of our country." In the same statement, Beck claims that "this is a nonpolitical movement." But the project has spawned dozens of loosely affiliated chapters.

Beck has downplayed his political influence, calling himself a "rodeo clown." Few clowns, however, earn more than $20 million a year from radio, television and print products.

U.S. Representative Dr. Paul Broun, 64, Georgia

Saying Broun is a fierce critic of the president would be an understatement. Broun has alleged that a civilian reserve corps that Obama proposed, and the Bush administration endorsed, might be used to establish a dictatorship. "We can't be lulled into complacency. You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany," Broun said in 2008.

 A "birther," Broun has openly questioned Barack Obama's citizenship. When asked by a radio host whether Barack Obama was a U.S. citizen or a Christian, both established facts, Broun responded, "I don't know." Broun also calls Cuba's former dictator Fidel Castro Obama's "good buddy."

Andrew Napolitano, 59, Fox's "senior judicial analyst"

It seems the TV judge is vying to become a fixture on the far-right lecture circuit. He was also scheduled to address the 2010 New Hampshire Liberty Forum, a gathering of self-described "pro-liberty activists" who are striving to "cut the size and scope of government by about two-thirds or more."

Napolitano has joined other conspiracy theorists in falsely claiming that efforts to expand affordable housing through the Community Reinvestment Act were responsible for the crash of the economy in 2008. He called Sarah Palin's baseless accusation that Obama was trying to set up "death panels" a "legitimate concern." He falsely suggested that Obama bribed a congressman to change his vote on health care by appointing his brother to an appeals court.

Napolitano joined Fox in 1998.

Rep. Ron Paul (Dr. No and Father of Rand), 74, Texas

With his straight-shooting style and unwavering ideology, Paul represents an accessible brand of Patriot politics that helps validate and stoke fears of an overreaching government on the far right. Paul told Fox Business News earlier this year, for example, that the health care reform legislation "is immoral because it's based on government theft." On his congressional website, he warns that Census information has been used to intern Japanese Americans and find alleged tax evaders and draft dodgers. "It is not hard to imagine that information compiled by the Census could be used against people in the future, despite claims to the contrary."

Paul has encountered controversy over racially charged comments that surfaced during his 1996 congressional campaign. A March 15, 1993, issue of his newsletter, The Ron Paul Survival Report, included this nugget: "If there is one thing we don't need in this country, its [sic] more Haitians [sic] immigrants with AIDS. Congratulations to the Senate for stopping, at least temporarily, Clinton's plan to have the AIDSians move here to die at $100,000 a pop, courtesy of the taxpayers."

A May 15, 1995, newsletter delved into traditional Patriot paranoia, including an article about foreign troops training on American soil and President George H.W. Bush's "New World Order." An article about a botched raid by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is presented under the headline, "Jack-Booted Thugs."

Paul claimed in 2001 that ghostwriters had penned the newsletters that bear his name but acknowledged he bore "some moral responsibility." Paul, a physician who is often called "Dr. No" for his routine opposition to government programs, not only survived the controversy and won the election, he continues to build his popularity. He easily won the Conservative Political Action Committee's presidential straw poll this year.

While I'm certainly concerned with these propaganda ministers, I'm even more troubled that so many Americans accept this malarky as truth -- never questioning, never researching. If this is indicative of the state of education in our country, I shudder to think of the consequences after a year of Texas textbooks.

***This link isn't correct. Go to the main one under "35 profiles" in the third paragraph. On the right near the top is a link to The Enablers.
Thanks to BJ for sending me the FYI.


  1. Very good research,Leslie.

    What frustrates me the most with these people is everything they espouse is ideology based,not fact based. Their followers seem to mindlessly march in lockstep.

    So we on the left call them stupid and it seems to reinforce their sense of victimhood, rich liberal elitists calling them stupid.As if people like yourself and me are rich elitists, we're probably in the same basic lower middle class/upper lower class (is there such a thing as upper lower class?) economic group that many of the teabaggers are in. So I'm sure neither of us is rich, libraries are still free.

  2. I would add Dick Army and Newt. Republicans like to say some of these movements are grass roots. But Dick and Newt have been behind and financing a lot of it.

  3. Also Darrel Issa.. he has already started investigations into the Obama Administration and has stated he will do more when and if the R's regain control of Congress... I am convinced if they do win, there will be an impeachment over something.

  4. Thank BJ for us at Hen's Teeth, too. And thank you. I agree that Newt Gingrich must not be left out of the Top Ten List. I look forward to more of Meet The Patriots.

  5. Oso: "Upper lower class" would be one step away from middle class, don't you think? Yes, libraries are still free but I doubt if most of these people have been in one since HS, if then. Anyway I agree with you that calling them stupid probably does reinforce their sense of victim hood. I hadn't really thought of it. I don't like being called an elitist or commie, so . . .

    Now, as far as all those other names you good people - Tom, Annette and Loulou - have suggested. I don't know what the criteria were that the SPLC used for this study. Beck, Bachmann and Paul are extremely well known and are more often in the media - more so than Newt (always think of a Salamander) and even Issa (for the moment) and Armey. In fact I doubt if you asked most Buggers, they wouldn't even know who the latter two are.

    Napi is pretty well known but I'm not sure about Broun.

    Maybe someone else can come up with a better idea?

  6. Oh, Lord, don’t get me started!

    tnlib, I am reading both “The Patriots” and “The Enablers,” and you did a terrific job of capsulating this SPLC report.

    I would like to print both reports and ram them down the throats of complacent conservatives who really have no idea all this is going on.

    There is no doubt in my mind that this growth of hate groups is because there is an African-American in the White House.

    There is no other word for the people who buy into this propaganda but “stupid.” Unless, of course, it is “racist.” These are the people who forward all sorts of unsigned and undocumented crap via email – and believe every word of the propaganda. The Internet is a mighty “enabler.”

    You know of my editing project, so let me say one more time: there has never been a better time than the present to read William L. Shirer’s masterpiece, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany.” I am not suggesting a Hitler will arise in America. What can be learned from Shirer’s book is how people can be swayed by propaganda. Just recently on someone’s blog I read the quote by Goering about how easy it is to get people to go along with war.

    I follow polls, and the sad fact is: some of this hate-filled rhetoric is working.

    Aside to LouLou: I cannot comment on your “Hen’s Teeth” blog because I cannot see the “Word Verification Code” and the code AUDIO is not working on any blogs. I have reported the problem to Blogger. “Hen’s Teeth” is now on my “faves” list.


  7. Some many people are lemmings. Believe it or not I just realized how insanely big Fox news is. There everywhere. Because I'm cheap and don't want to pay for cable anymore,(180.00 per month) I canceled the cable and figured to get MSNBC over the internet.
    Not so much!!! Very selective..But Fox is everywhere.
    This brings me to the Fairness Doctrine. It's the only way I know to get a handle on the lies being spoon fed to the lemmings. Believe me, were the underdogs here. If we don't do something Sarah will be the next President.

  8. Great job Leslie! Yes there are alot of stupid people is this country, but Tim I still don't believe for one minute Palin could be elected president. With a slim list of candidates from the GOP I do believe she could be the nomination tho. Wouldn't that be a treat for us?!!

  9. "I still don't believe for one minute Palin could be elected president"

    Neither do I, but George W Bush wasn't elected president either.

    Ultimately you don't want the GOP to implode all the way to the worst lunatic core. You want them to reconnect to reality and play the game of improving America's lot, instead of sabotaging it.
    Conservatism used to stand for something reasonable, even if I wouldn't always have agreed with it. I would like to see sane conservatism in America again, to keep the country at long arm's length from the clutches of the people Leslie has just described.

    I fear it may be already be too far past tea for that.

  10. BJ: Thank you but yours was the tip that made all this possible. I'm not sure these people are stupid as much as they are ignorant, which fits the bill for unaware and uninformed. In the main body of the study, several of the patriots say they aren't racist. Now, that is stupid to expect people to believe such hogwash.

    Tim: Fox is the only cable news I can get on my basic plan, so yes, where is the fairness here?
    There are several FB sites for people to air their gripes about Comcast.

    Sue: I don't think Palin could be elected dog catcher at this point in her multi-million dollar career. Her polls are hitting rock bottom, which gives me hope that the MSM has done its job - for once.

    Magpie: "Conservatism used to stand for something reasonable, even if I wouldn't always have agreed with it. I would like to see sane conservatism in America again . . ."

    I would too but I'm afraid they've all turned tail and run. Once upon a time I knew some intelligent conservatives - was even married to one!

  11. I am enjoying this comment thread.

    Every time I mention polls I am met with skepticism about them, but I believe some of the established pollsters are a good way to keep a finger on the pulse of the nation. So, I have to agree with Tim.

    For example one this morning said 50 percent of Americans do not agree with the Justice Dept. suit against Arizona’s immigration law, while 38 percent agree with it.

    Polls are showing there is a “throw the bums out” mentality right now in America which will affect the November election.

    The outcome will depend on two things:

    1) Obama’s popularity at the time of the election
    2) Independents

    USA Today/Gallup poll of 7/7/10 shows only 38 percent of independent approve of the job Obama is doing – his lowest rating yet among independents.

    I don’t walk around with a cloud over my head, but I am a realist. Or, maybe it’s just because I am so familiar with the Bible Belt population and political perspective, being one of the few liberals in South Carolina. (Right LouLou and Beach Bum?)

    To see how far to the right the Republican Party has gone, look at its candidates in 2008 and look at its prospective candidates for 2012. Would we want a Palin – OR a Gingrich, Huckabee, Paul, Romney, Pawlenty, etc. in the White House?

    Is there a great leader who will rise and guide the GOP and its people back to sanity? I don’t see one on the horizon.

    If you have not taken the time to read the two SPLC reports, you really should do so.


  12. Despite the controversy? In Paul's district, it probably got him extra votes.

    BJ, I can't remember a time when the Republican presidential bench was so weak. Polls aside, I can't see any of those clowns beating Barack Obama unless unemployment hits 15%. I also think (hope, maybe) that even if Reps win the House this fall, taking center stage and trying to govern will remind voters of why they threw them out in the first place.

  13. we've been dealing with the Klan and Right Wing Extremist here in Kentucky for a long time. In 2008 I covered the Jordan Gruver (Southern Poverty Law Center) vs Imperial Klans of America trial with video and photos. Jordan Gruver (Southern Poverty Law Center) won a $2.5 million settlement. The videos I shot were disturbing. The links are below.

  14. So many stupid people messing things up in America these days, I think it would take years to post them all. But you definitely hit the big offenders..ESPECIALLY BACHMANN! What is that lady's problem?! She makes me embarrassed of my gender.

  15. Damn! I just erased every blasted thing I just wrote. Oh well, it's Friday night - what the heck do I have to do?

    BJ and K: Since you're on the same wave length, I'm going to address your comments together. I don't think there's a viable GOP candidate for president - not now nor lurking in the shadows (unless he's at an airport). And I feel it's a bit too early in the day to pay much attention to polls. So much can happen between now and then. God forbid that the unthinkable happens but at least the Democrats have a couple of potential candidates.

    K, I think the Republicans have given us a stunning display of how incompetent they are without being in control of the House. Just imagine how not having control for yet another election cycle will send them into the outer edges.

    Hillbilly, my northern neighbor. Thanks for stopping by. I can recommend your videos sight unseen - will get to them asap. Hillbilly Report is on my roll and gives this southerner hope and comfort from the enemy.

    And Veronica. A new blogger who proves very nicely that there are intelligent caring young people. Thanks. Obviously Bachmann has a few problems, but what about the people who elect her or others like her? What's their story?

  16. What a menagerie. If someone had told me 30 or 40 years ago that things would be as they are now, even being aware of George Wallace, George Lincoln Rockwell and some others, I would probably have said no way. Yet here we are, with a perverse dunce like Sharron Angle running ahead of Harry Reid.

    The country's current situation, with a black president, Democrats nominally in control of Congress, the economy in a mess and the BP disaster out of control, is perfect for bringing militia losers and fringe kooks out from under their rocks and holes in the wall. It's also prime time for the Republican Party to exploit all idiocy it can, any way it can. After all, the party's organizing philosophy since the late '70s has been anything to win.

  17. SW: You're such an optimist. ; ) Unfortunately, I think you're probably right. Not only are the Republicans in a prime time to exploit all the idiocy they can, they have the funding to screw the country out of existence.

  18. the stupidity of this country is something to behold = with the media leading the charge (they so love the fight - they could LESS about fixing anything) - we are going to put back the people who made the mess

    ps - Chris Matthews is a douchebag

  19. Distrib: I think we got the message. : -) Something has been screwed up off and on for several days with Blogger comments. Anyway, there's no excuse for how the media is conducting its self these days.

    Here are some sites a friend sent me:

  20. Good post! I have noticed a common denominator among relatives of mine who spout the crap you've outlined above. All of them, to a person, do not read books, newspapers, or even on-line news reports. But they all watch FOX news, Glenn Beck and tune in to Rush Limpballs. Disgusting.

  21. Excellent piece, Leslie. At one time or another, the entire leadership of the Republican party have assented to this Teabuggery.