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Will The Right Reject (Again) A Report on the Threat of Far-Right Extremism?

A new report from New America, released a week after a white supremacist gunned down nine people in a black church in Charleston, finds that since the September 11, 2001, attacks, “nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims.”

The New York Times reports that this threat is “familiar to police officers,” three-quarters of whom list antigovernment extremism as a greater threat to their communities than “Al Qaeda-inspired” violence:

If such numbers are new to the public, they are familiar to police officers. A survey to be published this week asked 382 police and sheriff’s departments nationwide to rank the three biggest threats from violent extremism in their jurisdiction. About 74 percent listed antigovernment violence, while 39 percent listed “Al Qaeda-inspired” violence, according to the researchers, Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina and David Schanzer of Duke University.

“Law enforcement agencies around the country have told us the threat from Muslim extremists is not as great as the threat from right-wing extremists,” said Dr. Kurzman, whose study is to be published by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security and the Police Executive Research Forum.

We haven’t heard any right-wing reaction to this report yet. But we aren’t incredibly optimistic that it will be reasonable.

Back in 2009, when the Department of Homeland Security issued a report on countering violent right-wing extremism, the Right went ballistic, with groups including the American Family Association, the American Center for Law and Justice and Concerned Women for America denouncing it as an attack on Christians and veterans.

Liberty Counsel, the Religious Right legal group, even went so far as to print out cards for its members to show their solidarity with the violent right-wing extremists supposedly attacked by this report:

Other right-wing groups started an ad campaign demanding that then-DHS chief Janet Napolitano resign for supposedly having labeled George Washington, Ronald Reagan, Mother Teresa and the pope as “the new terrorists”:

Under pressure, DHS ultimately retracted the report and cut back its team investigating non-Muslim violent extremism, infuriating the self-described conservative Republican analyst who had written the report.

Since then, conservative activists have repeatedly referred back to the report to claim that President Obama is treating all conservatives as potential domestic terrorists, a suspicion that has fed into a number of right-wing conspiracy theories about DHS. Liberty University’s Matt Barber even started defending violent extremists groups just because groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center reported on their activities.

As recently as February, Rep. Ted Poe, Republican of Texas, was complaining on the Family Research Council’s radio program that the Obama administration is “more aggressive toward Americans, Republicans, conservatives, Christians, and concerned about them being threats to the country, which they’re not, than they are about the real threats to our country.”

Never mind that the report focused exclusively on the actual threat of violent, far-right extremism — something that even their strongest detractors aren’t accusing groups like Liberty Counsel and the AFA of being involved in. The Right saw an opportunity to stir up a fake controversy in order to raise money, reinforce the narrative of conservative activists as victims and provoke animosity toward President Obama. In the process they helped make it harder for DHS to investigate a very real threat to American security. But they ended up with a meme that lives to this day.

Council Of Conservative Citizens Head Lashes Out At 'Perverts, Liars And Marxists' In Media

After it was discovered that the man who shot and killed nine people at a black church in Charleston last week cited the white supremacist group Council of Conservative Citizens in his racist manifesto, GOP politicians have been scrambling to return campaign donations from the group’s president, Earl Holt.

In response, CCC released a statement condemning the murders but defending the shooter’s “legitimate grievances” against African Americans. Holt released his own statement saying that the shooter had merely “gleaned accurate information” from the group’s website about “the seemingly endless incidents involving black-on-white murder.” (The Charleston murderer reportedly told his victims that “you've raped our women, and you are taking over the country.”)

But it turns out that the statement that Holt distributed wasn’t all he had to say. In an interview Saturday with the Political Cesspool, a white supremacist radio program hosted by CCC board member James Edwards, Holt read an early draft of the statement, which he said he was waiting for his webmaster to post online.

The statement Holt read on the Political Cesspool was virtually identical to the one that CCC ultimately distributed to the media, except for these paragraphs attacking the media for being “perverts, liars and Marxists,” which for some reason seem to have been removed before the statement was distributed to press:

The C of CC is hardly responsible for the actions of this deranged individual merely because he gleaned accurate information from our website … For the corrupt leftist media and its minions to suggest otherwise is why they are almost universally viewed as dishonest, biased, and irredeemably contemptable.

The C of CC does not advocate illegal activities of any kind, and never has. In fact, the CofCC has always scrupulously observed the law even when our leftist enemies have demonstrably and flagrantly violated it. I would gladly compare the honesty, integrity and law-abiding nature of our membership to that of any group, particularly the perverts, liars and Marxists who comprise the corrupt leftist media.

Listen to Holt read his full original statement:

Beck And Barton Warn That SCOTUS Gay Marriage Decision Will Legalize Pedophilia And Outlaw The Bible

Glenn Beck opened his television program last night by previewing the forthcoming Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage with David Barton of WallBuilders and Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Institute.  The three Religious Right activists warned that if gay marriage bans are struck down, churches will be stripped of their tax-exempt status, average citizens will be fired from their jobs simply for attending a church that opposes gay marriage, and the government may even attempt to strip Beck of his broadcasting license because his church won't perform gay marriages ...spectacular incidents that haven't occurred in any of the 37 states that already have marriage equality.

To kick things off, Barton flalsely claimed that 2009's hate crimes law protected pedophiles, which means that if the Supreme Court now legalizes gay marriage, pedophilia will also become legally protected.

Not to be outdone, Beck later chimed in to warn that anti-gay churches will lose their tax-exempt status, people will lose their jobs for attending such a church, and ultimately the Bible will be outlawed as a "hate book."

"Maybe right away, maybe not right away, but definitely it will happen," Beck declared.

The Religious Right's Council Of Conservative Citizens Connection

After the manifesto of the man who committed a mass murder at a black church in Charleston last week was found to contain material lifted from the white supremacist group Council of Concerned Citizens, formerly the White Citizens’ Councils, GOP politicians have been scrambling to erase their ties with the group, with several Republicans returning or donating to charity a total of tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the group’s president.

But it’s proving to be more difficult for some in the GOP and their allies in the Religious Right to brush over a long history of ties with the group. As the Southern Poverty Law Center has reported, dozens of elected officials have attended the group’s meetings, including former RNC chair and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and current Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker. Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott has also spoken to the group, as has former Georgia congressman and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr.

Lott and the late North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms even went so far as to provide endorsements of the CCC, according to its newsletter.

A number of prominent figures on the Religious Right have also spoken to or defended the CCC, in a sign of the uneasy and often hidden alliances between the Religious Right and racist groups.

Mike Huckabee

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, now a GOP presidential candidate, submitted a video presentation to the CCC’s 1993 national convention, which the group’s newsletter later reported was a smash it. TPM:

Then-Lt. Gov. Huckabee was invited to speak at the group's 1993 national convention by the its founder, Gordon Lee Baum, according to a 2008 Huffington Post report. Baum told The Huffington Post that Huckabee "sent an audio/video presentation saying 'I can't be with you but I'd like to be speaker next time'" because he was compelled to remain in Arkansas during the convention while then-Gov. Jim Guy Tucker (D) travelled out of state.

The group's 1993 newsletter, which was obtained by Edward Sebesta, who researches neo-Confederate groups, hailed Huckabee's videotaped address as a smash hit.

"Ark. Lt. Governor Mike Huckabee, unable to leave Arkansas by law because the Governor was absent from the state, sent a terrific videotape speech, which was viewed and extremely well received by the audience," the newsletter read.

Huckabee agreed to speak in person at the group’s convention the next year but canceled after a human rights group told him that he’s be sharing the stage with a white supremacist and Holocaust denier.

Tony Perkins

Back when he was a Louisiana state legislator, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins spoke to a 2001 meeting of the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens. When asked about it several years later, Perkins said he could not “remember speaking at the event.” Unfortunately for him, there’s a picture:

Perkins also has ties to David Duke, a Louisiana politician and Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Roy Moore

The Alabama chief justice, a Religious Right hero who is currently battling the federal courts in an effort to stop marriage equality in his state, addressed CCC’s national conference in 1995, reports Buzzfeed.

(Image courtesy of Buzzfeed)

This is hardly Moore’s only troubling racist tie. Much of his career has been financed by Michael Peroutka, a former board member of the neo-Confederate League of the South, who shares many of his views on the role of “biblical law.” (SPLC reports that the League of the South’s and CCC’s “membership rolls overlap a good deal” and that the two groups have collaborated on events.)

John Eidsmoe

John Eidsmoe is the intellectual godfather of a strain of Christian nationalism that takes to an extreme the idea that “God’s law” must always be put before “man’s law.” He is a former legal advisor to Justice Moore and now works for the Foundation for Moral Law, a group that Moore founded. He is also famously a mentor of former Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Eidsmoe spoke to the 2005 national convention of the Council of Conservative citizens. He defended himself to the New Yorker, saying he would speak “to anyone.”

Ann Coulter

Perhaps even more than the Religious Right, the anti-immigrant movement sometimes has a hard time drawing a line between itself and the explicitly racist white nationalist and white supremacist movements. For instance, the work of white supremacist Sam Francis, an editor for and enthusiastic endorser of the CCC, occasionally ends up cited in the work of more “mainstream” anti-immigrant activists.

The best example of this nexus may be Ann Coulter, the anti-immigrant pundit beloved of CCC spokesman Jared Taylor and who cites white nationalist Peter Brimelow as an intellectual influence, but who has also been welcomed at Religious Right events like the Values Voter Summit.

Coulter took it upon herself in her 2009 book “Guilty,” to defend GOP politicians who had spoken to CCC, writing that the group’s statements in opposition to “forced integration” and “efforts to mix the races of mankind” were in no way endorsements of segregation:

Republican politicians who had given speeches to a conservative group, the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), were branded sympathizers of white supremacists because some of the directors of the CCC had, decades earlier, been leaders of a segregationist group, the Citizen Councils of America, which were founded in 1954. There is no evidence on its Web page that the modern incarnation of the CCC supports segregation, though its “Statement of Principles” offers that the organization opposes “forced integration” and “efforts to mix the races of mankind.” But mostly the principles refer to subjects such as a strong national defense, the right to keep and bear arms, the traditional family, and an “America First” trade policy.

Roy Beck

Another prominent anti-immigrant activist with ties to CCC is Roy Beck, head of the influential lobbying group Numbers USA, who addressed the group in the late 1990s. The Center for New Community dug up this photo:

This post has been updated to add Roy Beck.

Pat Robertson: Wiccans 'Will Destroy Your Children'

Today on “The 700 Club,” Pat Robertson told one concerned viewer not to become friends with his Wiccan neighbors because they will “destroy your children.”

The televangelist said that Wiccans will “corrupt you,” warning the viewer not to be fooled even if his neighbors “seem to be very pleasant people.”

Robertson has previously advised a viewer to cut ties with her mother-in-law who “practices witchcraft and palm readings” because she is “Mrs. Devil” and also castigated feminists as supporters of “a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

Ted Nugent Praises Call To Arrest Obama From Coup-Supporting Former General

Last year, retired-general-turned-conservative-activist Paul Vallely told a Tea Party group that he would “certainly head” a revolution to topple President Obama, remarks he later denied making despite the fact that they were captured on audio. Imagine our shock, then, when Vallely told a fringe radio host last week that President Obama should be arrested for his “treasonous activities.

Vallely’s remarks even earned the praise of right-wing musician and NRA board member Ted Nugent, who wrote on Facebook: “Well listen everybody to what I gotta say, there's hope for tomorrow if we wakeup [sic] today!”

Calling on U.S. generals to stand up to Obama, Vallely told “The Real Side” radio program that it may soon be time to “arrest” Obama for “treasonous activities.” He cited the work of the conspiracy-theory-ridden Citizens Committee on Benghazi as evidence that there are grounds to arrest Obama for purportedly helping the Muslim Brotherhood.

“There’s a whole list we have put together at the Benghazi Citizens’ Commission on treasonous activities not only by him but by Kerry, by Clinton, the lying deceptions of Panetta, of General Dempsey, as well as Hillary Clinton,” Vallely said. “[He’s] tyrannical and that’s his communist upbringing because that’s the way they develop and take over countries and put in a tyrannical leader. We’ve seen that since World War II, all over Europe and now we have socialism gaining in South and Central America. I mean it is just unbelievable that we could let this country go down and commit national suicide that we’re doing.”

He added that Obama would have been arrested already if it wasn’t for the fact that “the Republicans are afraid of a black backlash” to such a step. “He’s black and white, he’s not just black, but they’re afraid of a black uprising, that’s the word I get,” he said.

Vallely once called for the “citizen’s arrest” of Obama.

While discussing the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theory, Vallely said that “Obama would declare martial law at the earliest opportunity if he could.” He also urged military officials to be ready to stand up to Obama to stop him once he imposes martial law.

Beck: God Will Punish America For SCOTUS Jerusalem Passport Ruling

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court issued a ruling declaring that Congress did not have the power to force the State Department to issue passports to American children born in Jerusalem and list them as having been born in Israel. The issue of Jerusalem and its position as the capital of Israel is a contentious international topic and the court majority ruled that the issue of "which governments are legitimate in the eyes of the United States and which are not" is something that is reserved for the Executive Branch and not Congress.

On his radio program last night, Glenn Beck declared that this decision has broken America's covenant with God and therefore God will punish this nation as a result.

"I think we're going to pay for this one," Beck said. "We are told that if we stand against Israel what will happen to us. This is the United States government. George Washington made a contract, we're in a covenant with God; us and the ancient nation of Israel, those are the only two that have this kind of a covenant. We will pay for this one. Things are going to get tough."

Gun Lobbyist Ties Charleston Shooting To Transgender Rights

In a radio interview on Monday, Gun Owners of America official Erich Pratt tied the mass shooting at a black church in Charleston to the transgender rights movement, saying both are products of a school system that teaches that “there is no absolute right or wrong.”

“Sadly, I think for a lot of the education that takes place in our country, the kids are being taught, ‘You decide, you decide your own morality.’” he said. “We’re being told that you decide everything from your gender to your own morality.”

This, he said, was the root of the thinking of the Charleston shooter and of Hitler: “Well, if you are in that position where you are autonomous and you decide what’s right and wrong, in this guy’s mind, as sick as it is, he might have thought he was actually doing society a favor. Certainly Hitler did, with his mass murders, he really thought he was doing society a favor. And that’s the problem, if there is no absolute right or wrong. And as we know, that’s not being taught.”

Just one day after the attack in Charleston, Pratt, publicly condemned the church’s slain pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, for his “anti-gun” activism as a state senator. Erich’s father, GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt also blamed Pinckney for leaving his congregation “defenseless” against an attacker.

Fox News Pundit Todd Starnes Has Meltdown Defending Confederate Flag And Monuments

Fox News pundit Todd Starnes has spent the past few days attacking pastors and elected officials, Republican and Democratic alike, who have called for the removal of the Confederate flag and other Confederate memorials from South Carolina state property following the Charleston church shooting.

Starnes, the network’s resident culture-warrior, who has lamented the South’s loss in the “War of Northern Aggression,” accused advocates of removing Confederate symbols of “cultural cleansing,” a common refrain of Confederate apologists.

“Maybe they could just paint a rainbow flag on top and call it the General Sherman,” Starnes wrote on Fox Nation yesterday. “He culturally cleansed the South, too.”

Starnes followed this article with a complete meltdown on Twitter, defending not only the Confederate flag but also statues honoring Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. He likened the removal of the Confederate flag to the violence and destruction of shrines perpetrated by ISIS, along with actions taken by Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

Alan Keyes Suggests Charleston Massacre Was Gay Rights Terrorism

Many right-wing politicians and pundits are still in denial that the Emmanuel AME church massacre was about racial hatred, despite the statements of witnesses and the shooter’s own manifesto.

Take, for example, Alan Keyes, who told Newsmax host Steve Malzberg yesterday that he does not believe that the shooting was racially motivated but was actually an incident of pro-gay, anti-Christian violence. Keyes, a Republican politician and conservative activist, said that he has personally experienced more animosity due to his religious beliefs than to his race, so concluded that the massacre must have been caused by religious hostility and thus is the latest example of the supposed “persecution” of Christians in America.

He said that the “storyline” focusing on the racial component of the Charleston shooting was “fabricated without much regard for the facts,” dismissing people who seek to “play the race card” and “play games with race” in wake of the shooting. Keyes then suggested that Dylann Roof, the shooter who left behind an extensive white supremacist manifesto, might actually have been committing a terrorist act on behalf of gay rights.

President Obama and people who want to “satisfy this or that sense of themselves and their sexual passions” created an anti-Christian climate which may have inspired the shooter, Keyes said, speculating that Roof may have been trying to “intimidate” people who oppose “the destruction of traditional marriage.”

E.W. Jackson, a Religious Right activist and Fox News contributor, similarly linked gay people and Obama to the shooting.