The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Peddling Fear of Financial Collapse for Profit and Politics

By Chip Berlet on September 19, 2013 - 12:39 pm, Posted in Extremist Propaganda, New World Order, Patriot

Shocking news! By mid-October, President Obama plans to destroy the United States by creating federal regions that eliminate individual states.

Even in the overheated conspiracy world of the antigovernment Patriot movement this claim stands out as outlandish. “California to be absorbed into Mexico by October” is the headline on the advertising e-mail sent out this week by the Townhall website on behalf of Wall Street Daily, a financial publishing company. The far-right Internet tabloid WorldNetDaily sent out a similar e-mail titled “The America you know and love could look completely different in a matter of weeks.”

Townhall is a popular website where Tea Partiers and the Patriot movement intersect with conservative celebrities, media pundits and Republican Party operatives. WorldNet Daily is generously described as in a similar orbit, but the outlet typically features the more zany right-wing conspiracy theories.

The theme of the e-mails and the accompanying video is that as soon as mid-October the federal government will have a total financial meltdown with catastrophic consequences, including food riots and anarchy in the streets. The video features several experts interspersed with snappy text boxes sporting alarmist messages such as:

  • “When the Bubble bursts, the Feds will seize your retirement and savings accounts.”
  • “If anarchy prevails, grocery stores only have three days of food on the shelves.”
  • “The federal government has already scheduled 16 states for termination.”

In the video, Floyd Brown, the ultra-conservative political operative and co-founder of Citizens United, claims he “was pulled into an office on Capitol Hill where they showed me this map, and they told me about the plans that the United States already has for emergency procedures.” According to the video, the secret plan is to abolish individual states, divide up the United States into regions, and jettison financially unstable states, including California, from the Republic.

Brown is best known as the architect of the infamous Willie Horton television ad used to attack Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis in his 1988 campaign against George H.W. Bush – an ad condemned by civil rights groups as overtly racist. In 2010, Citizens United, the group he co-founded, won a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that overturned the government’s ban on corporate spending intended to influence political campaigns.

It’s all very confusing and difficult to tell what is actually being predicted in the video and online messages. Despite repeatedly referring to 16 states in text, 17 are shown on the map as being “eliminated” or “terminated” by the secret federal plot: Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Virginia and Wisconsin. Apparently, all except Hawaii are to be merged into larger regional entities. Hawaii is cast adrift. How California supposedly ends up joining forces with Mexico is not explained. Anyway, the set of maps is available to those who pay $49 to subscribe to Wall Street Insider’s daily update.

The scary video achieves two purposes: It attracts subscribers to the Wall Street Daily online publications and other fee-based financial information services, and it increases the already-palpable fears of right-wing Tea Party activists and others in the Patriot movement that the impending congressional budget deadline confrontation in mid-October is a pivotal moment in saving America from treachery.

The suggestion that California will merge with Mexico rings bells for those who believe in the conspiracy theory that claims the United States, Mexico and Canada will form a North American Union similar to the European Union. A clever numismatist even minted a series of Amero coins mimicking the Euro coins. The video could also trigger fears of the creation of a new Aztlán, an independent nation to be carved out of the states of the U.S. Southwest. Although an actual historic Chicano cultural reality, the idea of impending secession exists only in the conspiracy theories of anti-immigrant nativists. Some in the target audience will see a racist subtext of getting rid of Southwestern states with large populations of Latinos and other people of color. All of the “terminated” states are described as parasitic freeloaders on the national economy in the video.

The U.S. map featured in the video is similar to various federal regional planning maps that for decades have been fodder for right-wing conspiracy cranks who warn of a plan to split up the United States and destroy state sovereignty. This is sometimes portrayed as a step toward imposing tyranny and installing the dreaded New World Order – usually featuring jack-booted United Nations troops arriving in black helicopters. This was a major fear of the armed militia movement of the 1990s and has been revived in recent years as the Patriot and militia movements have reemerged since the election of Obama. According to the video narrator, “What you’re seeing is a post-collapse America …where following [a] default by the federal government not every state is able to survive.”

The video begins with a black helicopter sequence followed by scenes of rioting and looting.

October is just around the corner, so we will find out soon enough. And if the apocalypse doesn’t come to pass, will the Wall Street Daily issue a correction? Stay tuned.

  • Runic

    I am reporting in from the future space year of October 15, 2013 and I can confirm that this is full of shit.

  • MRJ

    @ Erika,

    You mean the extremely attractive (self admitted and unanimously concurred on these pages) and intelligent, skilled drivers?
    Maryland is for crabs.

    If you ever get there, pat the ponies on Assateague for me. They know me.

  • IludiumPhosdex

    Even takes exception to these claims, it will be worth noting duly.

  • Erika

    MRJ, don’t forget the extremely skilled drivers :)

  • MRJ

    @ Erika:

    And Virginia has some of the most beautifully designed and maintained roads on the Atlantic seaboard.
    It makes driving there a treat.

  • Sam Molloy

    Aadilia, I don’t have a closet full of MRE’s or a Bugout Bag or anything. Whereyagonnago? But, have you seen the debt clock? Just don’t be too shocked, that’s all I’m saying.

  • Charles Dan Austin

    I think most of the problems in the US over the last 50 years have been provoked by the US Chamber of Commerce and its conservative members. I think you should list them as a subversive group after all the only jobs they have created have been in China.

  • What?

    I don’t understand.

    Here is what should happen.

    Texas needs to become its own country.

    Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck can be President and Vice President of Texghanistan. The official religion could be some form of fundamentalist Christianity… but they can have a bloody civil war to figure out which one. Abortion will be illegal. The death penalty will be mandatory for all misdemeanors and felonies. There will be no speed limits. There will be regular public beatings for not speaking English 100% of the time. Of course all federal money and DoD contracts will be transferred elsewhere… promptly causing a complete and total economic failure.

    Everyone who wants to leave before this happens is granted asylum in the Sane States of America (Which will be the new name of the rest of the US.)

    Then, we can all get back to a functioning political environment, where there are no more useless attempts at repealing Obmacare . We sign a solemn oath never to go to war unless there is a popular vote to do so and there has been loss of American life on American soil.

    Free tacos for everyone in the Sane States of America on December 31st of every year to commemorate the jettisoning of Texas and all the racist teabaggers, which will happen at 12:01 AM on December 31st, 2013.

    The end.

  • aadila


    Don’t take this the wrong way, but, at this point, with your track record on monetary policy, if you said the economy was doing fine, it would probably start a run on the banks.

  • Sam Molloy

    Aron, I’d say our dollar is every bit as sound as Zimbabwe’s was a year or two ago.

  • Erika

    Aron, no he’s actually somewhat right about Virginia – we definitely bring in more federal spending than we contribute in federal taxes. Virginia is a wealthy state because of federal spending. A large percentage of our population works either directly or indirectly for the federal government. Our state government is largely subsidized through monies that comes from the federal government. Even most of the “private enterprize” in the Commonwealth ultimately depends upon federal monies. And even if it doesn’t many of the private enterprize in Virginia is located there because of proximity to the federal government.

    Of course conservatives tend to not complain about their tax dollars going to subsidize Virginia mainly because most of the spending is the “right” type of big government – that is to say military spending.

  • DrMJG

    If the prediction is wrong (sorry about even saying IF as opposed to WHEN), will theses same people publicly come out and say something along the line of “I guess we were just fear mongering fools and we will quickly send refunds to those of you who sent us money”?

    OK, I do know the answer to my question.

  • cb

    I don’t know if the collapse is coming in October however it is odd that there is FEMA regions that are very similar to the regions planned in agenda 21???? I’m just saying.

  • Kiwiwriter

    I have some reproductions of Confederate currency…I bet they’d love those…

  • Aron

    Kiwi, they will gladly accept any extra Kenyan farthings you have lying around. Or Yap giant stone wheels.

  • Kiwiwriter


    There are so many levels of crazy on this screed from the right-wing nutjobs, it’s hard to know where to begin.

    Let’s see…first off, I’ve been hearing this garbage about the imminent and immediate imposition of tyranny for only about 40 years, and it never seems to happen. The deadlines for disaster come and go, and Armageddon never takes place.

    Any of these clowns remember how Bill Clinton was going to impose total tyranny after Oklahoma City? Black helicopters, Soviet tanks, and Gurkha UN troops?

    How about after Y2K? Any of these folks still eating the canned tuna fish they hoarded in anticipation that the world’s computers would crash, followed by chaos?

    We were also supposed to descend into a dictatorship after 9/11. Remember the “Axis of Evil?” There were a good deal of abuses, but I don’t see any martial law.

    Then we were supposed to have a dictatorship during the economic collapse in 2008. Instead we had a presidential election, and in a massive turnout by the American people, we got our first African-American president.

    Ah! He was supposed to impose tyranny the moment he took office! And THAT didn’t happen, either. In fact, his opponents re-captured the House of Representatives in 2010 in peaceful, democratic, and orderly elections.

    But wait…the world was going to end in 2012. We saw the movie and read the books, remember? The Mayan calendar? The planets lining up? Roland Emmerich’s special effects slapping an aircraft carrier on top of the White House? Didn’t happen.

    Instead we had a presidential election, and wasn’t Obama supposed to cancel that, so he could maintain the tyranny? Instead, he nearly blew it to a Mormon opponent, sleeping through the first presidential debate..

    So here we go again.

    Let’s see…what else? Some of the states they say will be put out of business are the bluest of the blue, so I find it hard to believe that the tyrants will alienate their “base.” New Jersey? Massachusetts? Rhode Island?

    Notice that they’re vague on the date…sometime in October. Dang. During the World Series. I hope they get it in first, even if both of my teams are out of it.

    One thing they’re right about, “the America you love and know will look totally different in a few weeks.” Darn straight. After this season, Mariano Rivera will hang up his mitt, and the single most devastating weapon in the history of major league baseball will end his career, and start counting down to his first-ballot enshrinement in Cooperstown. I cannot imagine Yankee Stadium without that moment just before the top of the ninth, when they cut out of “Cotton Eyed Joe” or a spot for season tickets on the Diamond Vision, the first bars of “Enter Sandman” play over the PA system, the screen shows the live shot of Mariano Rivera jogging steadily out of the bullpen, eyes down, intent on his mission, and the 45,000 fans in attendance (including me) leap to their feat and start going crazy…

    It’s just hard to imagine I will never see that again as long as I live. Yeah…it’ll be a very different America.

    By the way, I note that the hawkers of this rubbish are very eager to take $49US from their suckers — I mean customers — in payment. I presume they take Paypal, checks, cash, and Master Card.

    Seems to me folks like these would be demanding gold bars. Or British pounds. Or New Zealand dollars. Or canned food. Or some other form of barter.

    I mean, if the banking system, the economy, and the whole financial structure has only weeks before it collapses, who’d want to take a check, a Master Card payment, or even US dollars, for that matter?

  • CM

    WSD Insider is published by a company known as Agora Inc., which was sued in 2003 by the U.S. Securites and Exchange Commission for allegedly selling its subscribers false “inside tips” on publicly traded companies. According to a Baltimore Sun story ( ), the company has a longstanding reputation for making sensational claims, and the SEC said the report that drew its attention was “filled with ‘baseless speculation’ and ‘lies.'” Unfortunately, I’m not currently able to track down the outcome of that lawsuit.

    The company also received a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration last year for using one of its websites to make unsubstantiated claims for some health-related products, including one called PureImmune Plus that the company suggested might help prevent cancer.

    “The therapeutic claims on your website establish that these products are drugs because they are intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. The marketing of your products with these claims violates the [Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic] Act,” according to the letter.

  • concernedcitizen

    I guess this is what idiots do with their free time. Let us all bow our heads and wish them into the corn field.

  • Sam Molloy

    So which Zombie gets the SPLC’s endorsement for President?

  • Aron

    Massachusetts, Illinois, Virginia, Rhode Island, and California are ‘parasitic freeloaders’ on the national economy? I think our tax numbers and brain trusts say otherwise.