The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Gun Owners of America: USDA Buying Guns, Armor to Prepare for ‘Confrontation with American Citizens,’ Dictatorship
There have been a number of conspiracy theories in recent years about ammunition shortages. More often than not, these theories lay the blame for the low ammo supplies at the feet of, you guessed it, President Obama.
Now a spokesman for Gun Owners of America (GOA), a far-right gun lobby organization, has a new twist on these theories: The government, notably the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is buying up ammunition in preparation for a “confrontation with American citizens,” the next step in establishing an Obama dictatorship.
“We suspect that the federal government is anticipating and preparing for confrontation with American citizens,” Mike Hammond, GOA’s legislative counsel, told the American Family Association website OneNewsNow. Hammond then wondered aloud “if President Obama is preparing for a dictatorship.”
“What are the characteristics of a dictatorship?” Hammond said. “An individual who is bound not by the law, but by his own desires and his own goals. And that may be where we are now.”
According to OneNewsNow, Hammond wondered “if the USDA closely watched the Cliven Bundy confrontation in Nevada” and questioned ammo purchases by the U.S. Postal Service and the Social Security Administration (both of which employ investigators and special agents who work with law enforcement agencies to fight theft and fraud).
Hammond also falsely claimed that “the Obama administration is making it increasingly difficult for American citizens to obtain ammunition,” a claim that was recently discussed at length by conspiracist website Newsmax – in an article featuring GOA.
“There is no doubt that the president’s anti-gun agenda has driven the sale of guns and ammunition through the roof,” Erich Pratt, spokesman for Gun Owners of America, told Newsmax. “President Barack Obama can truly be known as the gun salesman of the decade.”
Indeed, increased sales of both guns and ammunition have been closely associated with Obama’s election in 2008 – though not, from the evidence, due to any action on the part of the president, who generally avoided discussion of gun violence issues prior to the horrific massacre of schoolchildren at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut in December 2012.
Instead, the National Rifle Association and other gun-lobby groups, abetted by right-wing pundits such as Glenn Beck, began claiming even before Obama became president that he intended to take their guns away. That immediately resulted in a huge spike in sales of both weapons and ammunition. ( continue to full post… )
How did a bipartisan set of education standards developed by the National Governors Association and state school superintendents get to be one of the most hotly contested issues in public life? A new report out today from the Southern Poverty Law Center – “Public Schools in the Crosshairs: Far-Right Propaganda and the Common Core State Standards” – takes a hard look at the extremists behind the right-wing effort to destroy the Common Core, which they’ve dubbed “Obamacore.”
Common Core is being implemented in 44 states and has widespread backing among Republicans, Democrats, educators and big business. Notwithstanding legitimate concerns and questions from many corners, there is a level of consensus around the standards that is virtually unheard of in contemporary politics. But extremists on the far right are fast at work dismantling it. And their ultimate goal is dismantling public education itself.
Common Core sets standards for literacy and math skills that all children in public school should achieve at every grade level – nothing more, nothing less. Contrary to the claims by right-wing pundits, the standards don’t mandate any particular texts or courses of study.
But to the far right, the standards are a Trojan horse intended to set the stage for mass indoctrination of America’s children and the destruction of traditional values. The goal, they say, is to separate children from their parents and communities, render them unable to think for themselves and put them on a path to dependency on big government for the rest of their lives.
The right-wing propagandists have created an alternate universe of lies and deceptions, and not for the first time. Obamacare had “death panels,” and now Obamacore has “government indoctrination camps” to turn children into “green serfs” who will serve the “New World Order.”
It may all sound crazy – and it is – but the anti-Common Core propaganda could have real political consequences. In late March, Indiana became the first state to pull out of Common Core. And roughly 100 bills have been introduced around the nation that would slow or reverse adoption of the standards.
It’s a crucial moment in the political debate over Common Core, and you can’t make sense of it without understanding the lies and distortions coming from the far right as well as their true goal – the dismantling of the public education system itself. Be sure to check out the full “Public Schools in the Crosshairs” report.
After a raucous and jam-packed City Council meeting last night, the mayor of Marionville, Mo., officially resigned early this morning. Dan Clevenger was under fire for making anti-Semitic remarks shortly after his old friend, neo-Nazi Frazier Glenn Miller, was arrested for allegedly killing three people at two Jewish community facilities in suburban Kansas City on the eve of Passover.
Clevenger, 59, announced his resignation as the leader of the largely white city of 2,200 residents in southwestern Missouri last night as the Marionville City Council voted 4-to-1 to begin impeachment procedures.
“I’m very proud of my city,” John Horner, a high school teacher and a leader of the effort to remove the mayor, told Hatewatch today. “The meeting was a little bit chaotic because people were so emotionally charged about Marionville being portrayed by the mayor’s comments as a racist place and that’s not who we are.”
Two days after Miller, who is also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, was arrested for the deadly April 13 shooting spree, Mayor Clevenger told television station KSPR that he “[k]ind of agreed with him on some things, but I don’t like to express that too much.”
“There are some things that are going on in this country that are destroying us,” he added. “We’ve got a false economy and it’s, some of those corporations are run by Jews because the names are there. The fact that the Federal Reserve prints up phony money and freely hands it out, I think that’s completely wrong. The people that run the Federal Reserve, they’re Jewish.”
Those words set off a firestorm.
For a typical Marionville City Council meeting, maybe half a dozen residents attend. Last night, according to the deputy city clerk, there were between 75 and 100 residents crowded into the council chambers. There also was a heavy police presence.
“Supposedly people have been getting death threats on both sides,” Horner said. “People are scared of retaliation, of violence.”
Horner has not received any threats. But if he does, he said he would not back down. “I’m a homosexual man in my 40s,” he said. “I have been bullied my entire life. I am like, ‘Bring it.’”
While most who spoke at the council meeting last night asked for the mayor’s resignation or impeachment, he did have some supporters, defending his First Amendment right to say whatever he wanted.
“I have seen a lot more hatred from some of you people than I have seen out of Dan Clevenger,” resident Gene Smith said, pointing at the mayor’s critics, according to the Springfield News-Leader. “I thought we had free speech in America.”
Clevenger mostly sat quietly while the city debated his fate. When asked by the News-Leader if he was hurt by the criticism and calls for his resignation, Clevenger simply said, “Yes, it does.”
The former mayor, who also runs a local repair shop, has known Miller for years. Miller, 73, lives just outside of Marionville.
About a decade ago, according to the television station, Clevenger wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper in a nearby town in support of Miller. ( continue to full post… )
It wasn’t the flood of scorn and derision, which Kyle Hunt says he fully expected last month when he announced his nationwide “White Man’s March” – in which small clusters of white supremacists popped up in various locales bearing banners with the slogan “Diversity = White Genocide” – that most discouraged him. No, it was the astonishingly vicious reaction by his would-be allies within the white power movement that really rocked his world.
Either way, Hunt announced this weekend at the White Man’s March blog that he was handing off the reins of the “White Man’s March” to…no one in particular. He’s just resigning:
Of course animosity was to be expected from the anti-White media, but sadly many alleged pro-Whites have been launching vicious assaults upon me, trying to discredit the message and methodology of the White Man March by attacking my character and reputation. Sure, the aspersions are being cast by cowards and incompetents, but such tactics still help to discourage others from joining the cause. At this point, I consider having myself as a “leader” to be more of a hindrance to our cause than a help. I do not want to be a liability. I previously wrote that this is not an organization and there is no leader and now I am just making it official.
It’s not clear how, but Hunt apparently believes the concept will now continue anyway:
Now that the White Man March has taken off, you really do not need me anymore. You are your own leader. I look forward to seeing all of the things that you will accomplish.
Hunt is right about one thing: His ex-Google-guy-with-a-ponytail schtick went over like Malmolm X at a cross burning among the longtime white supremacist factions to whom he was a complete newcomer and stranger. One leading white power activist, who himself claims credit for the “Diversity” banner, called Hunt’s campaign “a hijack,” and numerous white nationalists denounced his efforts as a sideshow.
None of that seemed to have bothered Hunt until very recently, as far as we can tell. Earlier this month he published a long, cheery post titled “Game Planning for Future Marches” that included, among other bright ideas, invading children’s Easter celebrations by planting white supremacist messages in their plastic eggs: “You could buy some of those really cheap plastic Easter eggs, maybe put in something for a little bit of weight, and include a small strip of paper in there with some of our material printed on one side, with your favorite websites printed on the back.”
Hunt does make a disclaimer of sorts – “Since we are not targeting children, think of some ways to get these eggs into the hands of adults” – that overlooks the fact that Easter eggs are in fact targeted to children.
Retirement was probably a good idea for Kyle Hunt.
White supremacists began pointing fingers almost immediately after the lethal rampage at two Jewish community centers in Kansas by longtime white supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller (aka Frazier Glenn Cross). Some supported Miller or blamed Jews for the attack, while others disavowed him.
Meanwhile on the mainstream right, several leading conservatives attempted to blame liberals for the massacre. Specifically, they pinned the blame on a single liberal journalist, Max Blumenthal, because Miller on a handful of occasions praised Blumenthal’s against-the-grain reporting on the right wing in Israel. From there, they blamed liberal organizations more broadly for the incident, including one for whom Blumenthal has not worked for since 2009.
Leading the charge was Rush Limbaugh, who on his widely syndicated radio show Monday cited a column by Ron Radosh at PJ Media – headlined: “Who Inspired the Nazi Klan Leader’s Actions in Kansas? The Answer Here” – that detailed a handful of Miller’s characteristcally expletive and hate-filled rants that approvingly cited Blumenthal’s criticism of Israeli policies.
Working off Radosh’s piece, Limbaugh attacked not just Blumenthal and his well-known father (Clinton confidante Sidney Blumenthal) but also Media Matters, the liberal organization that monitors right-wing media:
LIMBAUGH: Max Blumenthal is the son of Sidney Blumenthal, who is, of course, Hillary Clinton’s confidant. But Max Blumenthal, if I’m not mistaken, works at Media Matters for America. And Max Blumenthal is one of a cabal of left-wing journalists that despise Israel, and this guy found his way to things that these people had written, and he was inspired. He admits he was inspired by all this, and that’s why he took action against the three Jewish people in Kansas City.
This is preposterous and blatantly false. Where to begin? ( continue to full post… )
As part of Fox News’ eager coverage of the recent “range war” showdown over Cliven Bundy’s cattle grazing rights in Nevada, the network broadcast a segment from the scene Monday that was remarkable both for the reporters’ seeming embrace of the far-right antigovernment “Patriot” movement and for its subjects’ startling clarity on their strategy for confronting federal agents: using women as human shields.
Richard Mack, the erstwhile Arizona sheriff and longtime figure in the Patriot movement, was at the scene. He told Fox reporter William LaJeunesse that the people who gathered there to stop law enforcement from rounding up the illegally grazing cattle – which had grown to hundreds by the time the Bureau of Land Management caved in and returned many of the cattle – were prepared to lay their lives on the line in standing up to the government. Or more precisely:
We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front. If they’re going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers.
Mack’s radical Posse-Comitatus-based ideology, which claims that county sheriffs are the higest constitutional level of law enforcement, lines up nicely with Cliven Bundy’s antigovernment views. That explains why Mack has taken a lead role in helping promote Bundy’s cause in far-right media circles. ( continue to full post… )
Mainstream media coverage of the showdown in southern Nevada over Cliven Bundy’s cattle has so far been scrupulously balanced. Most outlets – including local TV stations from nearby Las Vegas, as well as cable news outlets CNN and MSNBC – have presented Bundy’s belief that the U.S. government has no jurisdiction over the land on which he grazes his cows as well as the government’s explanation of how it is enforcing land use rules fairly for everyone.
The same cannot be said for right-wing media outlets, led by Fox News, which have steadily characterized the Bundy family as heroic patriots standing up to a tyrannical government. A number of far-right pundits have even been urging people to go to the scene in Clark County to make their presence known.
Fox’s Sean Hannity led the parade of Bundy boosters on Fox, featuring a segment on Tuesday night that included an interview with Bundy and a narrative that presented his claims at face value. Indeed, Hannity himself repeated Bundy’s favorite question: “Why do they own all that land?” (Hannity reportedly plans to devote an entire show to the situation on Monday.)
Fox’s Greta Van Susteren also featured an interview on Thursday with Cliven Bundy and his adult son, Ammon Bundy, who was hit with a Taser during a ruckus on Wednesday. Again, it was a sympathetic report, featuring no countervailing information, and it included an interesting explanation from the father and son regarding their attitudes towards the courts:
VAN SUSTEREN: There’s a court order that says that the federal government can do this. So what’s your response to that.
CLIVEN BUNDY: My response is it’s the wrong court. I’ve never had my due process in a Nevada state court, a court of competent jurisdiction.
AMMON BUNDY: Hey, uh – I like my Dad’s little story he uses to explain the situation. If someone came in and busted into my house and abused my children, and I call the cops, they don’t respond. And then I take them to court, I show up in the courtroom, look on the stand, and it’s the very person that abused my children looking down at me in a black robe. How in the world are we going to get justice in that court?
The rhetoric from right-wing pundits concerning Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s showdown with federal authorities over cattle grazing rights has quickly grown overheated. But talk show host Pete Santilli – who has a notable history of extremist statements – has reached an entirely new level of hysteria.
Santilli devoted more than an hour of his Internet radio broadcast on Monday to interviewing Bundy. As the interview progressed, Santilli became increasingly incendiary, calling on members of militias in the region to show up and defend the ranchers. At the end of the exchange, Santilli concluded with a rant that veered close to suggesting that federal law enforcement officers at the scene should be treated like enemy terrorists waging “jihad” against ordinary Americans:
We talk of, ladies and gentlemen, the American Dream. We talk of it. We talk of the pride that we have in what our Founding Fathers put forth for us, our U.S. Constitution. The flag – all the men and women that have given their lives to defend what this man is standing and defending. Right now. And it’s now a matter of determining: Are our domestic enemies, right now, more of a detriment to the survival of our nation than these foreign enemies that we get so energized to go and kill?
Do we need to dress these federal agents up as a bunch of brown people and say that they came from the desert and they want to wage jihad against us, or are we going to call it jihad, just about, against the American people at this point?
The federal government, ladies and gentlemen, has become so out of control, so tyrannical, to the point where they do it swiftly, silently, to the point where the American people don’t even recognize what tyranny is.
As he wrapped up the rant, Santilli became even more explicitly violent, characterizing the Nevada showdown as a “fight to the death”:
Is it time now, at this point in time – if this is not THE issue, right now! Where we stand and fight to the absolute, and I say, death! There is no other option! The federal government must get out of the state of Nevada, with respect to that 600,000-acre ranch – they must leave. We want that to be done peacefully. If they don’t want it to happen peacefully, it is gonna be by their choice.
Santilli’s solution: Militiamen and “patriots” need to bring their guns:
Ladies and gentlemen, when I say, I’m calling upon every single American anywhere in the vicinity of Clark County, pool your money together, fill up your gas cans, get your cameras. If you’re in Nevada and you can legally carry, get weapons out there, OK? We’re going to stand and fight in Clark County, Nevada! They will leave or else!
Of course, if gunfire actually does break out, one can rest assured that he will almost certainly be nowhere in the vicinity himself.
If it wasn’t clear from the pronouncements that Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy made in TV interviews this past week – most notably his assertion that “I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing” – the confrontation in the Nevada desert that has drawn a horde of antigovernment ‘Patriot’ movement supporters and militiamen out of the woodwork is a classic example of the conflict between so-called Patriots and the real world in which bureaucracies like the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) operate.
That’s especially clear after a review of remarks Bundy made previously in the media, including threats to start a “range war” and “do whatever it takes” to keep his cattle grazing freely on public land. The most notable of these was an appearance at a cattle owners convention in South Carolina in 2012 at which he trumpeted his refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the government; speaking at the same gathering was noted Patriot movement leader Richard Mack.
Bundy has been outspoken in promoting his antigovernment beliefs, including during an interview with far-right radio host Pete Santilli earlier this week. Santilli has a colorful and sordid record of saying extreme things on the air, most infamously his wish that someone would shoot Hillary Clinton in the vagina. In recent weeks he has explicitly aligned himself with the Patriot movement.
Much of the interview revolved around Bundy’s belief that the U.S. government can’t possibly own the open public lands of the interior West:
Who owns this land? Who has title to this land? Is it the state of Nevada? Or is it the federal government? And if it’s the federal government, then I want to understand, I know I’ve asked this question: How does the federal government own 90 percent of the state of Nevada? How does that happen?” […]
The other question I bring forth, according to our Constitution, how could this possibly be? We claim the Constitution is the law of the land, and so how could this happen here in America? How could this happen that the United States could own this vast amount of land – not only in Nevada, but in the Western United States? So this is an issue that I bring forth.
How time flies when you’re spreading hate.
It’s hard to believe – and more than a little sad to realize – that the National Socialist Movement (NSM), currently the largest and most prominent neo-Nazi organization in the United States, has been around now for 40 years, although it started life under a different name.
Notable for its violent anti-Jewish rhetoric and its racist views, the Detroit-based NSM is scheduled to celebrate its anniversary with a rally on the steps of the Hamilton County Courthouse in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Saturday, April 26. The occasion will also mark the 20th anniversary of the leadership of Jeff Schoep, who renamed the Nationalist Socialist American Workers Freedom Movement when he took over in 1994.
Besides marking its four decades of white supremacy and anti-Semitism, the purpose of the rally is to oppose illegal immigration, according to its successful permit application, the Times Free Press reported today.
NSM has been on an anti-immigrant kick – or goose step – for some time. In November, the group held an anti-immigration rally in Kansas City on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht. The neo-Nazi rally in Chattanooga comes the day before Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, on April 27.