The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Editors’ Note: This article will appear in our forthcoming Intelligence Report.
It was two years ago today that President Obama was sworn in for a second term.
My, how the world has changed.
The economy is purring like a kitten after years of growling like a sour tummy. Jobs are coming back, wages are beginning to rise. The stock market is way, way up.
The war in Afghanistan is finally over. Finally.
More than 10 million previously uninsured Americans now have health insurance.
Did I mention the price of gas? I could go on. But I won’t, because this isn’t an article extolling the policies and virtues of our commander in chief.
No, this is a look back at what, two years ago, we called the paranoid prophecies of the right’s most rabid Obamaphobes — the most frightening predictions of the doom that awaited all of us if Obama were to be reelected in 2012. You remember: real end-of-the-world stuff.
Just for fun, let’s review.
Joseph Farah, the proprietor of WorldNetDaily, the supermarket tabloid of the black helicopter crowd, seemed to have a firm grasp of his fate in a second Obama term. The scribe had already reported drones surveilling his Northern Virginia property. “If [Obama is] re-elected, it’s gonna be war,” he said. “We will be hunted down like dogs.”
Anyone seen signs of war on American soil? Nope. Not real war, anyway.
We believe that if Obama wanted to round up Farah, he could find him. And if, say for dramatic effect, he wanted to send in the hounds to chase him like a fox, he would do just that. Perhaps he’s just waiting for the right moment.
Let’s move on. A motivational speaker and self-help author named Robert Ringer (it’s OK if you haven’t heard of him) predicted the “Marxmeister” would quickly unleash the “dictatorial full monty”: instant citizenship for all Third World immigrants, a new sedition act criminalizing criticism of the government, forced equalization of income, suspension of habeas corpus, the end of fossil fuel production, and more.
Not yet — though Obama has been exercising his executive powers. We don’t know where that will lead!
Next up: Wayne LaPierre, the NRA chieftain who makes nearly $1 million a year scaring the bejesus out of gun lovers, claimed Obama would take away our firearms and “erase” the Second Amendment. His first term was, of course, a clever ruse “to ensure re-election by lulling gun owners to sleep.”
We don’t know if Obama’s veto pen has an Amendment eraser on it, but he still has two more years. So, we’ll see. For now, guns abound!
Not to be outdone (which would make him irrelevant), the former Clinton aide Dick Morris prophesied to Fox’s Sean Hannity that the president’s “big focus” would be to make the U.S. a “vassal state to a globalist entity.” To make it even worse, he would sign a treaty so that we’d need permission from Russia and China just to launch a new war. (But what if we wanted to attack Russia and China? They’d probably say no.)
We’ll put this one in the too-soon-to-tell category, though if vassal-ness (vassalitude?) is the president’s “big focus,” we’ve seen no sign of it. Yet.
In Texas, some county judge named Tom Head called for a property tax INCREASE to help defend his county during the coming civil unrest.
Here’s what he told a TV station: “He’s going to send in U.N. troops. I don’t want ‘em in Lubbock County, OK? So I’m gonna stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say, ‘You’re not coming in here.’”
Two years later, we’ve seen no sign of UN troops invading Lubbock County. Or any other of Texas’ proud (but militarily vulnerable) counties.
Finally, we reach our favorite prediction.
The actor Chuck Norris and his wife, Gena, posted a video on YouTube warning of “socialism or much worse.”
All right. That’s fair. You could argue we have all sorts of socialism built into our system: Social Security, the Post Office, etc.
But then Gena quoted a 1964 speech by Ronald Reagan: “We will preserve for our children this last best hope for man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into 1,000 years of darkness [emphasis ours].”
A full millennium. Of darkness!
Now that would take an act of Congress.
Crooks and Liars: Bill O’Reilly’s history lesson on the Ku Klux Klan lacking in facts.
Talking Points Memo: White survivalist shoots small-town Oklahoma police chief, then released from custody.
Dallas Morning News: Amid barrage of hateful messages and protesters, Islamic conference on tolerance proceeds anyway.
Raw Story: KKK group in Pennsylvania celebrates Martin Luther King Day by distributing flyer bearing his mug shot.
U.K. Progressive: A conversation with the leader of the reconstituted version of the Michigan Militia.
Montana Cowgirl: Anti-tribal landowners’ group getting advice from extremist ‘birther’ on demands for water pact.
Right Wing Watch: CIS official wonders why ‘Black Lives Matter’ protesters aren’t protesting immigrants.
Spokesman Review: Restaurant’s ‘Shorty Can’t Breathe Either’ sign evokes racial comparisons.
The small city of Springville, Al., got an early Martin Luther King Jr. Day present this week.
On Wednesday, an anti-diversity billboard, apparently paid for by a group of anonymous segregationists calling themselves the White Genocide Project, was removed just five days after it went went up along I-59.
Talking Points Memo: No, sorry, you’re not a ‘constitutional conservative’ – you’re pretty much the opposite.
Omaha World-Herald: Nebraska governor condemns school-board member’s blog post describing President Obama as a ‘half breed.’
Right Wing Watch: Tony Perkins doesn’t want any religion in government, unless it’s his religion.
Warren Throckmorton: Far-right Institute on the Constitution to share stage with Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Rick Santorum.
Media Matters: The Daily Caller tries to smear Bill Clinton based on the word of a Holocaust denier, and it all falls apart.
Imagine 2050: Texas lawmaker kicks off new year with a whole slate of anti-Muslim legislation.
Birmingham News (AL): ‘White genocide’ billboard comes down, Springville mayor denounces message.
Pacific Standard: Don’t believe the FBI’s latest hate-crime numbers – they’re far too low.
It’s been a bad couple of weeks for homegrown domestic terrorism suspects, who can’t seem to get it into their troubled heads that plotting murderous mayhem on the Internet is not the best way to stay out of jail.
On Wednesday, federal agents swooped in and arrested a 20-year-old Ohio man in connection with a plot to attack the U.S. Capitol in an apparent act of jihad he allegedly discussed and planned with an informant on an instant messaging platform.
Last week in an unrelated case in Georgia, three alleged antigovernment militia members pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, according to the Rome News-Tribune. During several online conversations last winter, the men allegedly discussed using guerilla war tactics and bombings, targeting government buildings and offices, hoping to trigger an uprising of other militia groups and the overthrow of the government.
In the Ohio case, Christopher Lee Cornell and the informant first made contact with each other, according a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Ohio Wednesday, on Twitter in August 2014. The informant, seeking leniency in an unrelated criminal case, contacted the FBI in the fall of 2014 and told the authorities that Cornell had “posted comments and information supportive” of the Islamic State on Twitter.
On the Twitter accounts, Cornell used the name Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, and, according to the complaint, “voiced his support for violent jihad, as well as support for violent attacks committed by others in North America and elsewhere.”
Cornell allegedly wrote to the informant on a separate messaging platform in late August that he had been in contact with people overseas but did not think he would receive the green light to conduct a terrorist attack in the United States. Nevertheless, he allegedly told the informant he wanted to “go forward with violent jihad and opined that this would be their way of supporting” the Islamic State.
During a meeting with the informant in November, Cornell allegedly said that he “considered members of Congress as enemies” and his plan was to “detonate pipe bombs at and near the U.S. Capitol, then use firearms to shoot and kill employees and officials” there.
Cornell, who lived with his parents in an apartment in Green Township, was arrested Wednesday as he was loading into a car two rifles and 600 rounds of ammunition he had just purchased from a gun shop near Cincinnati. He was charged with attempting to kill a federal officer and with possession of a firearm with the intent to commit a violent crime.
His father, John Cornell, told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he was skeptical of the charges against his son, a “momma’s boy who never left the house.”
“Everything you’re hearing in the media right now, they’re already painted him as some kind of terrorist,” the father told the paper. “They’ve painted him as some kind of jihadist. …(Christopher) is one of the most peace-loving people I know.”
The father said his son was a practicing Muslim and his son’s long beard and traditional Muslim dress made him a target for harassment. The father said once as his son was crossing a street “people driving by threw (objects) at him.”
In the Georgia case, which has not gotten much national attention, Brian Cannon, Cory Williamson and Terry Peace were arrested last winter. According to a nine-page federal criminal complaint, their goal was to force a declaration of martial law and spark a national uprising of militia groups by conducting a coordinated terror campaign that would create mass hysteria.
The men were originally arraigned last March on a charge of conspiracy to receive and possess a destructive device, according to the paper. But they have now been hit with a new indictment and a much more serious charge of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction as well as charges of conspiring to defraud the government. The new indictment and charges supersedes the previous indictment, the News-Tribune reports, adding that the weapons of mass destruction charge can carry up to a life term in prison.
The trio, the original complaint alleged, hatched much of the plot “in online chat discussions, which were monitored by [the] FBI, during which they chatted about carrying out an operation against the government.”
Police in the small northeastern Oregon city of Pendleton have arrested three suspected members of a nascent white supremacist gang believed to be responsible for a string of violence, including drive-by shootings and a bombing.
Jeremiah Jerome Mauer, 30, who is believed to be the founder of United Aryan Empire, was arrested last weekend on multiple charges of being a felon in possession of weapons, Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts told Hatewatch today.
Steven Ray Grangood, 22, was arrested at the same time and booked into the Umatilla County Jail on charges of illegally buying firearms and providing them to fellow gang members who are felons.
A third suspected member of the racist gang, Gregory Charles Tinnell, 43, was arrested Tuesday on charges of being a felon in possession of firearms.
The Pendleton police chief said an ongoing investigation suggests the United Aryan Empire is the brainchild of Mauer, a felon who was unsuccessful in his attempt to join European Kindred, a neo-Nazi skinhead gang with multiple members in Portland and others in the state’s prison system.
“We believe United Aryan Empire is a hybrid he (Mauer) created,” Stuart told Hatewatch. “I think it goes back to his desire to be somebody.”
The gang has been linked to at least three violent crimes. Now, with the three arrests gaining media attention, victims of other crimes linked to the group are coming forward and reporting other unknown incidents, Roberts said.
“We are now learning of other incidents that went unreported because the victims feared retaliation if they contacted police,” Stuart said. “This thing is big, quite frankly, in terms of what’s out there.”
Police became aware of the United Aryan Empire when members of the group, including Mauer, were involved in a large gang fight last October at a residence in Pendleton, Stuart said. Mauer sustained a serious head wound in that fight, while a member of a Hispanic gang suffered a severe knife wound in the abdomen.
On Nov. 23, members of UAE detonated an improvised explosive device outside another residence in north Pendleton before firing multiple rounds from a .45 caliber handgun into the occupied home, Stuart said. The home’s occupant was reluctant to cooperate with police, but officers did recover expended bullets from the walls of residence.
Then, on Christmas Eve, in another drive-by shooting, rounds from a .45 caliber handgun were fired into a third residence occupied by an excommunicated UAE who had refused to carry out an order from leaders of the gang, the police chief said.
No one was injured in that incident. Responding officers stopped and arrested Tinnell five blocks away from the shooting. He was carrying a .45 caliber bullet, a handgun ammunition clip and a holster, but he did not have a weapon. He was arrested on a weapons violation because he was carrying an illegal switchblade knife, Stuart said.
The investigation culminated with the serving of a search warrant last Saturday at Mauer’s residence in Pendleton, where police found five weapons, including a sawed-off shotgun and assorted “gang-related literature,” the chief said.
In recruiting members, the United Aryan Empire has said its goal is to rid the community of 17,000 of methamphetamine dealers. “They said, “We’re not about violence. We’re not about racism,’ but that is a total contradiction of the activities the group has carried out,” Stuart said.
The police chief said additional charges are possible after the Umatilla County District Attorney reviews the case and presents it to a county grand jury. Federal authorities, meanwhile, are aware of the investigation and monitoring developments, Stuart said.
IREHR: Despite dropping white nationalist speaker, South Carolina Tea Party gathering still features array of racists and bigots.
Vox: It’s not just Fox News, the Islamophobia is wildly out of control on all the cable news networks.
Last Best News: Here are the Montana legislators – or is that ‘lesser magistrates’? – who hosted extremist pastor’s sermon.
East Oregonian: Pendleton police chief reveals presence of white supremacist gang behind a spree of shootings, stabbings and fights.
Media Matters: Meet the extremists who are leading Fox News’ discussion of terrorism.
Talking Points Memo: The crazy, often racist things Bob Beckel has said on the air at Fox News.
Vice: Should Amazon still let white supremacists sell merchandise on its site?
Update: The RNC voted yesterday to censure its member Dave Agema for posting material on social media that is insensitive to gays, Muslims and African Americans. Ironically, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is working closing with a group, American Family Association, that could be described in the exact same way.
It’s only been a few weeks since we learned that majority whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) had spoken to a white supremacist group in 2002, and again the Republican Party has a scandal about race on its hands.
As the RNC gathers today in San Diego for its annual strategy meeting to draft plans for its future, particularly how it will improve its outreach to minorities, another prominent GOP lawmaker has been discovered to be a fan of white supremacist thinking.
Dave Agema, a member of the Republican National Committee from Michigan, republished an essay by the white nationalist publication American Renaissance in a New Year’s Eve Facebook post. The racist article, par for the course for American Renaissance, said “blacks are different by almost any measure to all other people. They cannot reason as well. They cannot communicate as well. They cannot control their impulses as well. They are a threat to all who cross their paths, black and non-black alike.”
Agema reportedly found it “very enlightening.” Can that possibly be true?
Agema has since pulled the piece down, but he refuses to apologize or resign from the RNC. And this isn’t his first racist rodeo.
According to the National Journal, Agema has a well-documented history of making inflammatory and false remarks, such as that President Obama is a Muslim. The Journal points to another Agema Facebook faux pas. He apparently shared what he called an “eye opening” essay that posed the question: “Have you ever seen a Muslim do anything that contributes positively to the American way of life?”
At least in this case, some in the RNC have reacted appropriately by calling for Agema to resign or be removed. They include RNC head Reince Priebus and Michigan’s entire GOP delegation. That’s all well and very good, but where’s the outrage from Priebus or other prominent Republicans over Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s plan to hold a prayer rally with the American Family Association (AFA)? Emails to Priebus’ and Jindal’s offices asking for comment were not returned.
On Jan. 24, Jindal, with AFA backing, will be praying at Louisiana State University in an event billed as “The Revival.” His partner, AFA, has defamed immigrants, the LGBT community and women. And just like American Renaissance, it has had horrible things to say about black people.
Let’s take a look at Jindal’s prayer partners.
- An AFA leader has said, “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.”
- The same staffer said African Americans “rut like rabbits” and women have no place in politics or the military.
- Another has argued that Hispanics are “socialists by nature” and come to the United States to “plunder” our country.
- And the group has repeatedly made the point that non-Christians are second-class citizens—“we are a Christian nation, and not a Jewish or Muslim one.” (Find a comprehensive look at AFA’s extremist statements and positions here).
Given a track record like that, I have to ask where’s the outrage from Jindal’s fellow Republicans? American Renaissance is clearly racist, but so are these statements about black people and Latinos. Shouldn’t they be condemned as well? And what about blaming gay people for the Holocaust?
So, if Agema is the big Republican elephant in the room stalking the GOP’s efforts to reach out to minorities, isn’t that true as well of any politician who is close to AFA?
Sadly the hypocrisy goes much deeper. As RNC Chair Priebus has berated Agema, rightly saying, “The tone and rhetoric from Agema is consistently offensive and has no place in politics or any rational conversation,” the chairman is also working closely with AFA.
At the end of this month, Priebus is leading an all expenses paid trip to Jerusalem for RNC members. So far, about 60 members (about 36 percent) of the RNC have accepted the offer, according to Haaretz.
And guess who is picking up the tab for this “incredible opportunity” Priebus is offering his fellow RNC members? You guessed right: the AFA.
Pacific Standard: Cross burning is more common than you think.
Think Progress: Anti-LGBT activists stage rally to demand the right to keep bigots on government payroll.
National Journal: RNC member Dave Agema’s racist Facebook post threatens GOP winter meeting in San Diego.
Right Wing Watch: American anti-LGBT activists play key roles in Moscow convention.
The Hill: Steve Scalise voted against a state apology for slavery, too.
Las Vegas Sun: A Metro detective’s racist rant on Facebook creates long-term divisions within police department.
Media Matters: How right wing scapegoating and stereotyping worsens the threat of terrorism and hurts the fight against it.
Even as same-sex marriage expands (36 states, as of last week) and even in the wake of numerous former leaders in the so-called ex-gay movement admitting they didn’t change (including former Exodus vice president Randy Thomas, who came out as gay with “bisexual tendencies” yesterday) and even after the closing of Exodus, the largest ex-gay ministry in the country, a hardline fringe continues to push for reparative therapy, a pseudoscientific practice that claims to change homosexuals to heterosexuals.
Case in point.
The Christian Post reported last week that Voice of the Voiceless, an ex-gay group that claims to “defend your rights and the rights of all who desire to fulfill their heterosexual dreams,” is planning to sue the District of Columbia over its ban of so-called reparative (or conversion) therapy of minors.
Challenges to similar bans in California and New Jersey have also been mounted. The Supreme Court rejected the California challenge last summer while the ban in New Jersey was upheld by a federal appeals court in September.
But that hasn’t deterred Christopher Doyle, founder and president of Voice of the Voiceless (VoV), who told The Christian Post that the group is in the process of seeking a plaintiff to bring a lawsuit against the government of D.C. over the ban, which became law in December. Upon the passage of that ban, Doyle, who is married to a woman and claims to be “ex-gay,” lamented that it was a “victory for gay pedophiles everywhere.”