The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
In the wake of last week’s black riots in Ferguson, Mo., conspiracy theorists from the far-right antigovernment movement have whipped themselves into a frenzy over the prospect of a nationwide “race war,” though it is difficult to tell whether they fear such a prospect or are actively hoping for it.
In truth, the notion that Obama is inciting a race war in America has been floating around the extremist right almost since the beginning Obama’s presidency. Right-wing pundit Wayne Allyn Root theorized along similar lines when the situation in Ferguson first erupted this summer. Gun-rights extremist Larry Pratt has argued for some time that Obama’s immigration policies are intended to provoke a race war. Some anti-immigration extremists accused Obama of intending to spark such a conflict with his executive order on immigration.
But leading the parade has been Alex Jones, whose radio broadcasts for the past week have focused on the civic unrest erupting nationally after a grand jury ruled not to indict a white police officer for the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson this summer.
Jones’ theory is that President Obama and the media are combining forces to stir up so much racial unrest that it will give them a pretext to declare martial law and impose a dictatorship. Joining Jones in this theory have been right-wing pundits such as Austin Miles at Renew America; radio host Rick Wiles; onetime presidential candidate Alan Keyes; and Glenn Beck, who has been pitching a version of the theory for over a year now.
Jones laid out his version of the theory for listeners on Monday, noting that he had been issuing warnings about this possibility for some time:
They [globalists] want to cause a civil war in order to go confiscate the guns, and then we are forced to defend ourselves and then it kicks off, and the police and military get taken out, along with the Patriots, in a civil war against each other. … This is the grand game. This is divide and conquer. This is what I have warned you about thousands of times, no exaggeration.
Jones, citing a Time magazine op-ed piece justifying riots as an expression of civic anger, explained that the media has been complicit in this conspiracy, using race to attack Obama’s critics while whipping up anger in the black community:
That’s what’s going on: Media nationwide is pushing race war. That’s all they’ve got. Don’t like Obamacare, you’re a racist. Don’t want to turn your guns in, you’re a racist. Michael Moore – ‘if you own guns and you’re white, it’s because you’re scared of black people.’ That’s a quote from CNN. This is all they’ve got, while these big foreign banks that own the country loot the treasury with bailout money, Obamacare scamming everybody, Obama opening the borders up, giving free welfare to tens of millions of people, all these unconstitutional scams happening. And all they’ve got is getting us to fight with each other.
Jones has frequently attacked law enforcement around the nation for their supposed attacks on American civil liberties, typically in cases involving gun owners and right-wing extremists. At the same time, most of his reporting about Ferguson has focused on the supposed violent depravity of the demonstrators and the need for police intervention.
Indeed, the most popular stories at Jones’ InfoWars website so far have featured such headlines as “Blacks Screamed ‘Kill the White People’ Before Brutal Murder of Zemir Bergic” and “Rap Star ‘Jokes’ About ‘Killing Crackers’ in Their Sleep.” The effect of this barrage of dubious information is to whip up fear of an imminent civil war featuring hordes of rampaging black people.
And there are others with variations of the idea.
- Miles’ theory includes the idea – also promoted by would-be presidential candidate Ben Carson – that Obama intends to cancel the 2016 election: “If all works according to plan, there will be no further presidential elections. Obama will declare a crisis (he can pick from a large number of those) so he can use Executive Privilege to declare himself President for Life, which he fully intends to do.” Miles contends that Obama is the product of a long-running Communist conspiracy (indicated by his “lack” of a birth certificate) to control America. “The Communists are scheming for the Ferguson, Missouri incident to be the fuse that explodes into a national race riot,” he said. “That is what Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are hoping to accomplish since this would put citizens at war with themselves in a new civil war while at the same time sapping the strength out of America, making her easier to control.”
- Wiles used one of Alex Jones’ pet concepts—the “false flag” operation in which a violent incident is actually a government-fabricated media event—to explain the situation in Ferguson: “I was thinking how easily something like this could get out of control and there’s gunfire in the cities, if they go into the suburban neighborhoods and begin burning buildings and upsetting cars, homeowners are going to come out with their firearms and begin defending their property,” he said. “And that sets the stage for Emperor Obama to say, ‘We have to get guns off the streets and this Congress has refused to implement my gun control legislation, therefore by executive order I am doing this, this and this.’ ”
- Keyes, meanwhile, has accused Obama of “exploiting this situation by way of threatening the Republicans, saying that there will be massive unrest if they don’t knuckle under to his will and trying to prove that he’s got the power to turn our cities into powder kegs that will explode in the face of anybody who opposes him.” He went on to describe it as “a Hitlerian situation.”
Antigovernment activist Bernard von NotHaus was convicted three years ago of counterfeiting for making and selling his own silver coins. Now he gets to create his own jail.
The 70-year-old antigovernment activist – called a numismatic gadfly by some – was sentenced this week to six months of home detention and three years of probation by U.S. District Judge Richard L. Voorhees of the Western District of North Carolina.
Despite claiming its success this election cycle came from expunging extremists from its ranks, the GOP managed to let a fair number of candidates with extremist views rooted in conspiracy theories and far-right fears slip through the cracks.
“Little was left to chance,” The New York Times reported earlier this week. “Republican operatives sent fake campaign trackers — interns and staff members brandishing video cameras to record every utterance and move — to trail their own candidates. In media training sessions, candidates were forced to sit through a reel of the most self-destructive moments.”
But when all the ballots were counted, not even that was enough to stop the GOP from embracing candidates with fringe views, extremist connections and embarrassing backgrounds.
Consider Michael Peroutka, the onetime Constitutional Party presidential candidate and a former board member of the neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS). Peroutka, running as a Republican, was elected to the Ann Arundel County Council in Maryland, garnering 15,531 votes against Democratic candidate Patrick Armstrong’s 13,638.
Peroutka is an avid Southern secessionist and radical Christian Reconstructionist, as he made clear during his presidential campaign for the Constitution Party in 2004. He has long been an active figure in the LOS, serving on its board until recently. However, as the Capital Gazette in Annapolis noted, Peroutka campaigned almost entirely on local issues, emphasizing his desire to repeal the county’s storm water fees, dubbed by local critics as “the rain tax.”
Peroutka eventually renounced his LOS membership, telling reporters he had discovered that the organization held racist views “contrary to my beliefs.” In spite of that mea culpa, Peroutka has continued to share his extremist views in far-right media outlets. In one media appearance, Peroutka warned that the “gay deathstyle” was intent on recruiting the nation’s children. In another interview, he made clear that his extremist politics will color how he conducts county policy, proclaiming nondiscrimination laws a plot to replace God with government “idolatry.”
While it might be easy to say that Peroutka is alone on the Republic roster with his extremist ideology, there were many other candidates elected Tuesday with similar baggage.
- Joni Ernst, U.S. Senate, Iowa: Ernst has supported state nullification of federal laws, claimed the president is a “dictator” who should be impeached, and given credence to Agenda 21, a right-wing conspiracy theory that claims the United Nations is building a blueprint for the “New World Order” intent on taking away U.S. citizen’s land and possessions.
- Jody Hice, U.S. House of Representatives, Georgia, 10th District: The anti-Islam Hice (who is also a radio talk show host) has said that Muslims shouldn’t get First Amendment protections, has claimed that a satirical piece written in the 1980s is “proof” of a “gay agenda” and said in 2004 that it was okay for a woman to run for office as long as she’s “within the authority of her husband.” He also said on his radio show that “blood moons” are a sign of world-changing. Strangely, Hice’s radio shows have been scrubbed from the Internet.
- Gordon Klingenschmitt, Colorado state legislature, District 15: Best-known for his claims of casting demons out of LGBT people, Klingenschmitt heads up the anti-LGBT hate group The Pray in Jesus [sic] Name Project. He was court martialed by the Air Force in 2006 for disobeying an order. He has claimed that gay people sexually abuse their own children and they should be discriminated against because they’re not going to heaven and only people who go to heaven are entitled to equal treatment.
- Gary Glenn, Michigan state legislature, District 98: Glenn, the author of Michigan’s amendment banning marriage equality, is a former director of AFA-Michigan, an affiliate of the American Family Association, an anti-LGBT hate group. Glenn has expressed desire to recriminalize homosexuality, which he claims is a “proven threat to health and human safety.” He has expressed reservations about businesses hiring LGBT people because of the “severe medical consequences” of homosexuality, which indicates they’re “not the best and the brightest.”
Ryan Lenz, David Neiwert and Evelyn Schlatter contributed to this article.
A scheduled appearance by retired Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin, a noted conspiracy theorist who has called President Obama a “Marxist” and warns incessantly of a “Muslim threat,” this morning at a civic “prayer breakfast” in Washington has stirred controversy.
Muslim-American community leaders in Seattle last week raised concerns about Boykin’s appearance, saying he is an “anti-Muslim bigot” with a history of hateful remarks about both Muslims and President Obama.
“While Mr. Boykin has the right to hold extremist anti-Muslim views, his un-American bigotry should not receive the endorsement of elected officials who serve citizens of all faiths,” said Arsalan Bukhari, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations for Washington, based in Seattle. ( continue to full post… )
In recent weeks, it has seemed as if the American Family Association—already listed by the SPLC as an anti-LGBT hate group—has been on a mission to transform its public image from that of ordinary family-values advocates to a pack of wild-eyed radicals foaming at the mouth about their perceived enemies.
AFA spokesperson Bryan Fischer has been leading the way. In recent weeks on his radio program, Fischer has:
- Declared it will be “the end of America” if Congress does not impeach President Obama.
- Denounced anyone who uses the word “racist,” then insisted that Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are “racists.”
- Sided with radical Islamists in Iraq in calling Obama a “devil worshiper.”
- Suggested on Twitter that accepting homosexuality leads to people to commit acts of necrophilia.
- Said that LGBT people are inherently disqualified from holding public office.
- Written an article in which he wonders if Robin Williams will go to heaven and insults Williams’s mother’s belief system (she was a Christian Scientist, Fischer says, and that is “a counterfeit form of religion that is neither Christian nor scientific”)
It’s not just Fischer, though. A couple of AFA analysts recently decried the recent editorial direction of Archie Comics, saying they now promoted “the occult and homosexuality.”
But as absurd as all these declarations might be, Fischer may not be the only one from AFA making such spurious claims. Kevin McCullough, a fellow AFA pundit who contributes at the organization’s commentary site, The Stand, recently published the following headline and article:
The ALS Challenge is a wildly popular fundraising stunt for the ALS Association in which people are encouraged to pour a bucket of ice water over their heads, record it on social media and then challenge other people to otherwise join them or make a donation to the association.
The stunt has become an Internet sensation, with participants including movie stars, pop singers and politicians, as well as a wide range of others. It has also inspired some moments of accidental low comedy on the Web.
But according to McCullough, the fun and frivolity is overshadowed by his view that “this very challenge is contributing to the on going destruction of human life – intentionally.”
The ALS association is actively now funding embryonic stem cell research and admitting that they likely will continue to do so in the future.
The funding of embryonic stem cell research means that children are created and at their earliest stages of life they are destroyed so that the stem cells (from usually the base of the brain) can be harvested to perform tests with.
Embryonic stem cell research has proven zero percent effective in combating diseases like ALS and other neurological degenerative diseases.
Stem cell research has proven to be a controversial issue for years, with many conservative Christians, including the Southern Baptist Convention, viewing it as akin to abortion. The embryos used for the research are fertilized in the laboratory, and there has never been a baby born or created in such conditions.
The ALS Association also claims to have produced substantial scientific research that, contrary to the AFA’s claims, indicates progress toward finding a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, the progressive and fatal neuromuscular malady commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”
ALS afflicts about 30,000 Americans, with about 5,600 new cases diagnosed annually. More than 5,000 people die each from the disease. The ALS Association reports that so far more than $31 million has been raised by the ice-bucket challenge.
Joseph Francis Farah, a leading ‘birther’ who runs the right-wing, conspiracy website WorldNetDaily, was reportedly caught by TSA agents on Sunday with a loaded .38-caliber revolver in his carry-on bag as he passed through security at Dulles International Airport outside Washington.
Farah, who denounced TSA screening practices in a 2010 column, faces a class 1 misdemeanor charge for carrying a gun in an airport terminal, according to a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. He was released pending a summons.
The Washington Post first reported the incident yesterday but described the individual in question as Joseph Farah, 49, of Centreville, Va. Hatewatch confirmed with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority today that in fact Joseph Francis Farah, who is 59, was cited for the weapon charge.
Farah founded WorldNetDaily with his wife in 1997 and serves as publisher and editor-in-chief. The site is a leading platform for far-right, fringe conspiracy theories, particularly about President Obama.
Farah and arch-birther Jerome Corsi have used the site to spin wild conspiracies about the president. Corsi not only claims that Obama was born overseas but that he’s gay and Muslim and may have orchestrated the murder of his former gay lovers.
WorldNetDaily, among other things, has blamed gays for the Holocaust, promoted the idea that white Americans should gather together and secede, predicted Obama would meet in person with Osama bin Laden if elected and said that LGBT people seek the “active recruitment of children.” Notably, Farah argued last year that Obama’s proposals to fight gun violence could lead to “mass-murdering tyranny.”
And in a 2010 column entitled “My own little TSA mini-nightmare,” Farah denounced what he described as TSA’s “systematic violations of Americans’ constitutional rights.” He described pat-downs as “gate rape” and said the full body scanners perform “virtual strip searches.”
Farah, who said at the time that he was avoiding flying until TSA changed its procedures, had purchased a “brand new, expensive rolling bag” and was outraged when he saw that “the zipper had been broken off.” He found two TSA inspection notices inside the bag from TSA. And get this, they didn’t even sort and repack his clothes just so:
I had carefully folded my clothes before placing them in my bag. I had carefully separated the clean clothes from the dirty clothes. But what I found in my bag was that someone had pulled everything out and then stuffed it all back in with little regard for my future cleaning and laundering bills.
Farah apparently takes packing very seriously and has thought a great deal about TSA’s screening practices. One wonders then what he was doing with a loaded revolver in his carry-on luggage. Regardless, he just illustrated why we have TSA screenings in the first place.
Alex Jones thinks the federal government is training military personnel to round up Americans and put them in concentration camps and could launch this dastardly plan at any moment.
Of course, he’s been saying that for a long time. It’s just that now, he says, they really are doing it. Really.
Almost since the very beginning of the “militia” movement in the 1990s, antigovernment “Patriot” movement followers have avidly subscribed to the theory that the United States government, under the grasp of the nefarious New World Order, was on the verge of swooping down on middle America with guns and SWAT teams, imposing martial law, rounding up conservative dissidents and gun owners, placing them in concentration camps, and imposing a dictatorship on the country.
Even back in the ‘90s, this conspiracy theory had been around for awhile, having first originated in the 1980s with the Posse Comitatus movement. And although no such plot or roundup has ever come to pass in the thirty years or so that the paranoia about it has been around, it has remained one of the most popular and enduring “Patriot” theories. Moreover, one of its most popular and steadfast progenitors has been Jones, the Texas-based radio talk show host, and his “Infowars” media organization. Jones has been spinning tales about FEMA concentration camps since the 1990s, and he continues doing so today, drawing in a large audience from the far left as well.
This spring, however, he has picked up the pace of his rhetoric about “martial law” and its imminent imposition on an unwitting American public. The impetus for their frenetic coverage was the construction of a “fake city” within an Army training center in Virginia, designed to give troops the chance to practice urban warfare in a realistic setting. Such urban-warfare centers are nothing new, and have been incorporated into military training for American soldiers, as well as others around the world, for many years.
Right-wing activist Larry Klayman, founder of Freedom Watch, has hinted in the past at support of “birther” conspiracy theories, such as when he helped WorldNetDaily sue Esquire for satirizing “birthers.” Last week, in a radio interview, Klayman made his support explicit.
“We have a president who was elected fraudulently who wasn’t even a natural born citizen,” Klayman asserted during an interview Friday on Fox News Radio with liberal host Alan Colmes, who shook his head at this remark and asked Klayman if he thought the president was born in Hawaii.
“I believe he was born in Kenya, the evidence points to that,” Klayman replied.
Colmes noted that in fact Obama’s birth was recorded in contemporaneous notices published in two separate Hawaii newspapers. Klayman explained that those were “ads” placed by his parents in attempt to claim citizenship for their son.
“Alan, I’m not still a birther, these are the facts,” Klayman said. “Even if he was born in the United States, many people in Hawaii place these ads in to try to get permanent residency or citizenship. Hawaii is the most corrupt state in the United States….”
“American citizenship is valuable,” he continued. “Wouldn’t your kid want to be an American citizen rather than a Kenyan?”
In reality, of course, those birth notices published in the Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin weren’t advertisements at all. Rather, they were standard newspaper birth announcements, common during this era, collected by newspaper staff reporters who gathered birth records from local hospitals (a practice that has gradually vanished from most newspapers today). In other words, these newspaper announcements stand as independent corroboration that Obama was born in a Honolulu hospital. ( continue to full post… )
It certainly made for a startling video: police, lights ablaze, pull up to local churches. Once inside, they march up to the pulpit and place the pastor preaching there under arrest, in front of the congregation. The men of the cloth are perp-walked out of the church with handcuffs on.
This very scenario created a brief uproar – first at the Akron, Ohio, churches where the “arrests” took place, and then around the country as word spread on social media – among Christians concerned that they were witnessing modern-day persecution.
It was, however, all fake – except for the uniforms of the arresting officers. Those were real enough – and that fact has raised eyebrows in the Ohio precincts where it all took place.
In fact, the mock arrests had been arranged ahead of time by the pastors themselves, who persuaded the Summit County Sheriff’s Department to participate in the stunt as a way of dramatizing and publicizing an upcoming community event called “Defending The Faith,” in which the pastors will face a mock trial and be forced to defend their Christianity. ( continue to full post… )
Tyler Smith seemed to want to stand out among his fellow “Doomsday Preppers” – at least, that was the impression the Buckley, Wash., man gave in his Nov. 12, 2013, appearance on the National Geographic TV series that examines the efforts of fearful survivalists to prepare for a possible social and economic meltdown. Unlike most of the show’s participants – who often seem eager to assure viewers that they intend no one any harm and their efforts are merely defensive in nature — Smith, a large 26-year-old man with close-cropped hair and a red goatee, seemed eager to strike fear into the audience.
“We’re not in it to stockpile,” he proclaimed in a segment that was used to promote the show. “We’re in it to take what you have, and there’s nothing you can do to stop us. We are your worst nightmare, and we are coming.”
It was language such as this that got the attention of local law-enforcement authorities – especially after they ascertained that Smith, who was featured firing all kinds of weapons he and his friends had stockpiled, in fact was a convicted felon forbidden to own or use weapons. He was arrested by Pierce County deputies on Wednesday.