Tag Archives: radical right

Resist those who would rewrite the history of civil rights

Resist those who would rewrite the history of civil rights: “I wish I was in the land of cotton, old times there are not forgotten… ” — lyric from “Dixie”

Actually, old times there are forgotten quite a bit.

For 145 years, ever since a grim-faced Robert E. Lee rode away from Wilmer McLean’s house in Appomattox, Va., where he had surrendered his army, apologists for the South have been trying to induce the rest of us to forget the causes of the Civil War, to imbue an act of treachery and treason with a nobility of purpose it did not, in fact, possess.

“States’ rights,” they say. “States’ rights to maintain a system of human slavery,” they do not say…. (via Seattle Times Newspaper.)

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Read This: Tea Party rhetoric twists the language of emancipation

Tea Party rhetoric twists the language of emancipation: “Tea Party rhetoric uses the language of civil rights to manipulate America’s white working class…” (via Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.)

‘Patriot’ Paranoia: A Look at the Top Ten Conspiracy Theories

The current issue of Southern Poverty Law Center’s publication Intelligence Report (available online) includes a fun and freaky “look at the top ten conspiracy theories” flourishing amongst America’s radical right.

‘Patriot’ Paranoia: A Look at the Top Ten Conspiracy Theories: Conspiracy theorizing has flourished as a virtual art form in all nations and across all political persuasions. But the American radical right has to be considered a strong contender for the title of modern conspiracy champion.

I was already familiar with most of the “top ten” – like the idea that some of the contrails of high-altitude aircraft are infect “chemtrails” being used to spread chemicals to aid the insidious agenda of the New World Order; or the one about FEMA being at the center of a planned police state and having plans for, or even having built, secret concentration camps to house dissidents (“patriots”). And of course 9/11.

But a couple were news to me. Like concerns that there is a secret plan to merge the United Steas with Mexico and Canada, or my favorite from the list – HAARP:

According to the U.S. government, the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program [HAARP] is a joint scientific research project of the Air Force and Navy, based in Gakona, Alaska, whose stated purpose is “studying the properties and behavior of the ionosphere, with particular emphasis on being able to understand and use it to enhance communications and surveillance systems for both civilian and defense purposes.”….

To the conspiracy-minded, HAARP is a government program tasked with creating secret directed-energy weapons, instruments for weather and mind control, and even potent new methods to cause earthquakes. Predictably, after January’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, some Patriot sites noted that the neighboring Dominican Republic was undamaged, leading them to speculate that the U.S. government was responsible and had targeted Haiti alone. (via ‘Patriot’ Paranoia)

Here’s the full list of the top ten:

  1. Chemtrails
  2. Martial Law
  3. FEMA Concentration Camps
  4. Foreign Troops on U.S. Soil
  5. ‘Door-to-Door’ Gun Confiscations
  6. 9/11 as Government Plot
  7. Population Control
  8. HAARP
  9. The Federal Reserve Conspiracy
  10. The North American Union

About the Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society.

Founded by civil rights lawyers Morris Dees and Joseph Levin Jr. in 1971, the SPLC is internationally known for tracking and exposing the activities of hate groups. Our innovative Teaching Tolerance program produces and distributes – free of charge – documentary films, books, lesson plans and other materials that promote tolerance and respect in our nation’s schools. (via Who We Are.)

Read This: Socialism in the US?

t r u t h o u t | Nine Myths About Socialism in the US.

“Glenn Beck and other far right multi-millionaires are claiming that the US is hot on the path toward socialism. Part of their claim is that the US is much more generous and supportive of our working and poor people than other countries. People may wish it was so, but it is not.”

read the rest here

A Song for Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Far Too Much of Texas and Arizona

Plus ca change, plus ce la meme chose…

John Prine, “Your flag decal won’t get you into heaven anymore” – from the album John Prine (1971)

Chorus:
But your flag decal won’t get you
Into Heaven any more.
They’re already overcrowded
From your dirty little war.
Now Jesus don’t like killin’
No matter what the reason’s for,
And your flag decal won’t get you
Into Heaven any more.

(via jpshrine.org.)

John Prine (born October 10, 1946, in Maywood, Illinois) is an American country/folk singer-songwriter. He has been active as a recording artist and live performer since the early 1970s… (via Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

Good News for People who Hate Bad News (ie, Fox News)

Panic Time at Fox News as Glenn Beck loses 50% of his Viewers: “The Beck fad appears to be over, and what Fox News has left is redundant, repetitive, one trick pony of a host…. (via Politicususa.com.)

BP Oil Spill: Real Cause and Culprits Revealed

After extensive investigation, and with the help of a courageous whistleblower, we can now reveal the true cause and real culprits behind the Deepwater Horizon / BP oil spill: right-wing extremists.

Home-grown terrorists with connections to neo-Nazi survivalists in Idaho and eastern Oregon and militia groups in Michigan and Texas deliberately sabotaged the oil rig, leading to the explosion and subsequent spill that is still gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. The sabotage was planned by an Alaskan sympathizer, a devotee of Sarah Palin with a background working in the oil industry, and was carried out by a member of the group from Texas who managed to get a job on the rig. It is not known at this time whether this individual is among the survivors, or if in fact he perished in the explosion he himself caused.

Originally, the act of sabotage was planned for April 19 – a day of great significance among American right-wing extremists, as the day of the fiery end of the Waco Siege and the Oklahoma City bombing (see, eg, here for some background). However, the group feared that this might make it too obvious not only that it was a deliberate act of sabotage, but also who was responsible – which would have interfered with their overall aims. The sabotage was therefore moved to April 20 – as Hitler’s birthday still a significant date, but it was felt the connection would not be made.

Their primary aim was to discredit President Obama with a Hurricane Katrina-scale disaster on his watch. To that end, members of the group infiltrated a number of disaster management organizations in the region, including FEMA, the Coast Guard and the Red Cross – planning to subtly disrupt and sabotage the emergency response to create a more widespread and damaging situation that would reflect badly on the Federal government in general, and the Obama administration in particular.

Another motive behind the attack, and the factor that determined the specific choice of targets, was concern about foreign control of what the group had come to see as a crucial component of national security: oil, and energy supplies more generally. The hope was that the spill would reflect so badly on BP – British Petroleum – that both they and Shell would be blocked from further oil extraction activities in America’s strategic energy reserves in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.

For these reasons, it was crucial that the true cause of the spill – deliberate sabotage – and the identity of those responsible be kept hidden. The Alaskan sympathizer’s study of the Deepwater Horizon facility made it clear that the safety systems in place were woefully inadequate, with a major lack of redundancy and backups; it seemed likely that only minor and almost certainly detectable sabotage would lead to an explosion and a major spill, as in fact proved to be the case…

Now…

As you may have guessed, this is a complete fabrication, a work of fiction. Nothing I’ve written here – beyond the issue of the inadequacy of the safety systems on the rig – has any basis in fact (as far as I know).

What I find interesting is that it is not really any less plausible than the conspiracy nonsense being spewed by people like Rush Limbaugh – who reportedly suggested that environmental extremists might have deliberately caused one of the worst environmental disasters in years.

In fact – stripped of the thriller aspects – my conspiracy theory actually seems a bit more plausible: that right-wing extremists might be behind it as an attempt to discredit Obama and/or foreign control of American oil, and that the date of the explosion was chosen deliberately.

The Great Kagan Supreme Court Debate

Barring any really surprising revelations, Elena Kagan will pass relatively unscathed (certainly by the standards of some past hearings) through the Senate confirmation hearings and take over the seat on the Supreme Court bench vacated by retiring Associate Justice John Paul Stevens. If and when this happens, she will become the third sitting female justice, joining Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and only the fourth in history, with Sandra Day O’Connor.

She would also bring the Supreme Court to a curious religious mix – 3 Jews and 6 Catholics – which is exciting commentary, and some bizarre speculations and conspiracy theories, on the right. All we need is some connection to the UN and the World Bank to have a set-up worthy of an X Files level conspiracy (Elders of Zion, Templars, Jewish bankers, the Vatican, etc.).

Perhaps Richard Branson has taken Colonel Sanders’ place…

For more reasoned discussion: Two leading legal experts debate the pros and cons of Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan. Lawrence Lessig knows Kagan well through their shared time at Harvard, while Glenn Greenwald is a regular commentator on the Supreme Court.

The Great Kagan Supreme Court Debate: “The following is a transcript of Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! interview on Wednesday with Glenn Greenwald and Lawrence Lessig. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Amy Goodman: If confirmed, the fifty-year-old Elena Kagan would be the Court’s youngest member. She would become the fourth female Supreme Court justice in US history and the third on the Court’s current bench. She would also be the first justice in nearly four decades without any prior judicial experience.  (via AlterNet.)

It’s good to hear some sensible analysis and critique of Kagan’s judicial perspectives – far too much of the discussion has involved a quite disturbing focus on her identity. Her Jewish identity has been the subject of a thinly- to not-at-all- veiled antisemitic screed by, surprise, surprise, Pat Buchanan:

Pat Buchanan Takes On the Kreplach Cabal: “If (Elena) Kagan is confirmed,” he wrote, “Jews, who represent less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, will have 33 percent of the Supreme Court seats.”

Gulp!

“If Kagan is confirmed,” he went on, “three of the four justices nominated by Democratic presidents will be from New York City: Kagan from the Upper West Side, Sotomayor from the Bronx, Ruth Bader Ginsburg from Brooklyn. Breyer is from San Francisco.”

Well, Katie bar the door before the kreplach cabal busts through the gates.

Buchanan didn’t say it but he didn’t have to: The real danger is that too many Jews will wind up sitting on the highest court in the land. And that would be a bad thing for the republic.  (via Coop’s Corner – CBS News.)

Pat Buchanan suggests: Too many Jews on U.S. Supreme Court bench: “Buchanan decried the lack of Protestants on the bench, saying that “If Kagan is confirmed, the Court will consist of three Jews and six Catholics (who represent not quite a fourth of the country), but not a single Protestant, though Protestants remain half the nation and our founding faith.”

Keli Goff: Elena Kagan, Pat Buchanan, MSNBC and Me: “why is a major network is continuing to provide a paying platform for someone engaged in hate speech? Pat argues, “If Kagan is confirmed, Jews, who represent less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, will have 33 percent of the Supreme Court seats.”

Buchanan Kagan Column Draws More Criticisms Today: “Syndicated Columnist Pat Buchanan’s controversial column from last week that essentially claimed too many Jews would be on the Supreme Court if nominee Elena Kagan joined the group received two more criticisms today.”

For some background on Pat Buchanan, and previous examples of his racism, antisemitism and all around demagoguery, check out Pat Buchanan in His Own Words for such tasty treats as this:

In a 1977 column, Buchanan said that despite Hitler’s anti-Semitic and genocidal tendencies, he was “an individual of great courage…. Hitler’s success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone. His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path.” (via Fair.org.)

(In a similar vein… while researching this, I came across Top 10 Craziest Things Ever Said By Pat Robertson | Ranker – A World of Lists. I’d love to get him and Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi – of the infamous “boob-quake” theory – together, wouldn’t you? Just imagine the hilarious theories and accusations they’d come up with.)

As the Coop’s Corner post above suggests, other right-wing commentators have complained that Kagan’s confirmation would leave the bench too weighted to “coastal” perspectives and in particular to a New York liberal perspective (and isn’t that really just a code phrase for “kike”?).

But Kagan’s ethnic background has not been the only aspect of her identity to come in for scrutiny, commentary and criticism. Her sexuality has been a frequent topic of discussion – with a sort of consensus seeming to emerge that she is a closeted lesbian, who has kept her sexuality as carefully concealed as her positions on constitutional issues. And as with her legal opinions, the issue of her sexual preferences has been raised both on the left and the right, albeit only with a mild and hopeful curiosity on the left, as opposed to the homosexual panic that is predictably gripping the right.

Oh No! Obama Picks Liberal, Jewish Woman Who May Or May Not Be A Real Live Lezzie As Next Supreme Bench Warmer: “Penetrating intellect, unwavering integrity, sound judgment, and prodigious work ethic??” Well, well no wonder Republicans can’t stand the gal.

It’s interesting to see how much more open – and crass – the speculations about and attacks on Kagan’s sexual identity are than when the issue came up earlier during Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s confirmation process. I share a mild curiosity about Kagan’s sexuality, but don’t see it as having any particular bearing on her performance, if confirmed, on the Supreme Court.

I am much more concerned about the fact that she has kept closeted pretty much any information that might help us to understand what sort of positions she might take on the Bench regarding a whole range of pressing legal and constitutional issues, such as the matter of executive power.

And as if all that crap wasn’t enough, controversy has also arisen over one of the few of Kagan’s constitutional opinions is public:

The defective Constitution – Ben Smith : “Michael Steele has opened up on Elena Kagan today with a particularly odd line of attack, going after her for quoting Thurgood Marshall to the point that the Constitution was “defective.”

Using the words “defective” and “Constitution” in the same sentence is what we call waving the red flag (socialism) in front of the bull(shit) of the right, embodied in people like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. What Kagan actually did was refer to a discussion by Thurgood Marshall of the way in which the Constitution finessed the issue of slavery, and in other ways undercut its most important principles: “On a matter so basic as the right to vote, for example, Negro slaves were excluded, although they were counted for representational purposes at three-fifths each. Women did not gain the right to vote for over a hundred and thirty years.”

Thurgood Marshall was  the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. He retired in 1991, unhappy that Bush would be picking his successor, who turned out to be Clarence Thomas – and a less  inspiring or appropriate replacement for one of the greatest legal minds in American history can hardly be imagined. Before becoming a judge, Marshall was a lawyer who, acting as the NAACP’s chief counsel, argued in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court in which he would later serve.

I’m nervous about Kagan’s nomination – obviously not because she might be a queer Jew from the Big Apple, which would suit me down to the ground, that being one of my personal favorite demographics – but because I feel that the little we do know about her perspective on pressing matters that are likely to come before the Court suggests that she will be too centrist for my tastes. Roe v Wade might be safe, but I am not so sure what would happen on issues like Patriot Act-style expansions of executive power and domestic surveillance or Guantánamo-like extraterritorial finessing of political and judicial oversight.

The Roots of Stalin in the Tea Party Movement

The Tea Party movement’s dirty little secret is that its chief financial backers owe their family fortune to the granddaddy of all their hatred: Stalin’s godless empire of the USSR.

read the full story at: The Roots of Stalin in the Tea Party Movement | AlterNet.

Comrade Obama

“there is overwhelming evidence that Obama is a Marxist that has been surrounded his entire life by Communists, Socialists, Marxists and Maoists. For example, Obama’s former spiritual leader for over 20 years, Rev. Wright, is a Marxist and so, too, is Obama’s current spiritual leader, Jim Wallis. Further, it is an indisputable fact that Obama has appointed Communists, Socialists, Marxists and Maoists to his administration. As a Marxist, Obama’s pledge to uphold the US Constitution is worthless, as evidenced by his words and his actions since his election.

Obama’s goal is to fundamentally transform America (to Socialism or Communism or worse). He is attempting to destroy America from the inside.”

and there’s more, at Velvet Revolution – Socialist, Communist, Marxist, Obama.

(I know I said I’d lay off posting about the Tea Party, but this isn’t directly about them… Just coming from the same space.)

Leaving the Tea Party for the Café

Tea is a more ecologically sound caffeine-delivery system (CDS) than coffee in that it requires 5x as much water to produce one cup of coffee as it does one cup of tea (here). Nevertheless, coffee has always been my preferred CDS, and I think over the last couple of weeks I have OD’d on tea – or rather on the Tea Party. So, now that the lead-up to April 15th – and April 19th – is coming to an end, I’m going to declare a temporary moratorium on Tea Party posts…. and go back to the café.

How Glenn Beck Helps Violent Right-Wing Militias | AlterNet

“Not only have the number of radical-right extremist groups exploded in the wake of President Obama’s election (more than 500 today, as compared to just 200 during the 1990s), but these militia members now have a proud sponsor in the person of Fox News’ Glenn Beck, who has done more than any other person to amplify and mainstream the movement’s hateful and foreboding anti-government message. Beck continues to give a voice, and national platform, to the same deranged, hard-core militia haters and self-style “patriots” who hounded the new, young Democratic president in the early 1990s in the wake of Waco.”

read the whole article: How Glenn Beck Helps Violent Right-Wing Militias | AlterNet.

Party foes plot vs. ‘racists, morons’ – BostonHerald.com [UPDATED]

Everyone’s going to crash the tea party:

“Tea Party foes, bent on making the conservative group’s members appear to be “homophobes, racists or morons,” say they’ll be crashing Tea Party demonstrations nationwide this week.”

via Party foes plot vs. ‘racists, morons’ – BostonHerald.com.

Even WikiPedia is crashing the party, with an exhaustively-referenced entry on Tea Party protests.

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Fox News Shocked by Conspiracy Theories and Right-Wing Extremism in the Tea Party Movement

“Sometimes the Tea Parties attract protesters whose ideas about Obama, Democrats and recent legislative battles aren’t fully substantiated by facts, Fox News is shocked to discover. As it turns out, these “fringe” elements, who for totally mysterious reasons have attached themselves to this particular movement, are making the Tea Parties look bad.”

One small step for a man, one giant leap for Fox News Shocked … « AlterNet.

Shocked? Really? This from the home of Glenn Beck…

Update: Responses to the Tea Party Movement [EXPANDED]

Mad Tea Party illustration by DREW FRIEDMAN - from The Nation

Drew Friedman - The Nation

Over on Infoshop News and elsewhere, there has some interesting comment and discussion on the Tea Party movement, and on the over-the-top response by Tea Partiers to the initial call on Infoshop for an anarchist response to their planned demonstrations (about which I wrote in an earlier post):

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