John Birch Society

Right Wing Round-Up - 1/21/14

Jesse Lee Peterson: Immigration Advocates 'Trying to Appease the Hispanics' With Citizenship 'They Don't Want'

The New American, the online outlet of the John Birch Society, published an interview yesterday between two prominent attendees of last month’s anti-immigrant rally in DC, Jesse Lee Peterson and Stephen Broden.

Peterson, who calls himself a “proud member” of the John Birch Society, told Broden that the American dream is “fading” because pro-immigration elected officials are “trying to stay in power, so they’re trying to appease the Hispanics.”

And anyways, Peterson argued, undocumented immigrants don’t even want citizenship. “I even personally know some illegal aliens who have been here for a long time, Hispanics, and they don’t want amnesty, because they’re saying, ‘Oh, it’s gonna mess with our jobs,’ you know, at the car wash and places like that,” he said.

“It’s not that they love the illegals, they’re bringing them in because they know that a lot of these people will become Democrats, and that’s going to give them a path to power.”

What immigration reform is, the two agreed, is a “malicious” attempt to put African Americans under government control.

“What we’re perhaps looking at is a deliberate attempt to put them on the government dole,” said Broden. Peterson agreed: “Yes, sir, it’s to put them on the government, because you hook them to the government, then you can control them.”
 

Peterson: Barack and 'Angry Black Female' Michelle Obama Trying 'To Take Power Away From the White Man'

Jesse Lee Peterson is one of the right-wing extremists who helped organize this month’s “DC March for Jobs,” an anti-immigrant rally featuring Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Jeff Sessions, Rep. Mo Brooks and former Rep. Allen West that included the usual mix of racism and hyperbole.

As one of the key figures in the Black American Leadership Alliance, which staged the March for Jobs, Peterson has emerged as one of the nativists’ favorite critics of immigration reform.

In a speech to the conspiratorial, anti-Semitic John Birch Society last year, Peterson expanded on his claims that President Obama is racist and demonic, charging that “Barack Obama hates white Americans” and represents “evil.”

He also took issue with First Lady Michelle Obama: “We have an angry black female in control and if you want to know what an angry black female can do to you, go to the Post Office.”

Later, Peterson claimed the president “wants to take power away from the white man and give it to people who [want] handouts, with socialism mentalities.”

He encouraged the John Birch Society members to push back against Obama’s black “mission” against white people by acting like parents who sometimes have to punish rebellious children: “if you don’t stand up to your kids they will take over your household and they’ll put you out if you allow them to have their way.”

Peterson wasn’t just a speaker at the event. He also said he is a longtime member of the John Birch Society and considers the organization to be like family.

“Whenever I come to speak at the John Birch Society I feel like I am coming home to family,” Peterson said. “I am a proud member of the John Birch Society, I have been a member I’ve forgot how long.”

Tennessee Republicans Copy John Birch Society Model Legislation on Agenda 21

The latest conspiracy theory sweeping the tea party movement is the fear that Agenda 21, a United Nations program focusing on sustainable development, is surreptitiously destroying the American way of life. Tennessee House Republicans recently passed a resolution, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brooks, condemning the plan, using almost identical language from a John Birch Society model bill. The Tennessean reports:

Tennessee lawmakers passed a resolution Thursday condemning a United Nations environmental plan as a “destructive and insidious” effort to advance a communist agenda through the guise of community planning.

The state House of Representatives voted 72-23 in favor of House Joint Resolution 587, which denounces the nonbinding Agenda 21 plan adopted by a United Nations environmental conference two decades ago.

The plan called on members of the United Nations to adopt sustainable development principles to alleviate poverty and combat global warming. But the resolution approved by Tennessee lawmakers on Thursday depicts it as a plan for the “socialist/communist redistribution of wealth” through energy conservation policies, zoning restrictions and forced abortions.

“It reads well. It has nice words like sustainability and helping the poor,” said state Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin. “But what these people want to do is they want to cap the number of people this planet can have. … So ladies and gentlemen, if that doesn’t bother you, if those words don’t scare you, we’ve got to talk.”



Two other states, Georgia and New Hampshire, have considered anti-Agenda 21 measures this year. Brooks said the resolution had been promoted by the RNC.

But the measure matches up nearly word for word with a model posted on the website of the John Birch Society, a conservative group that Republicans have largely shunned since the 1960s, Turner said.

Indeed, the text of the Tennessee resolution and the John Birch Society model bill is practically identical, with slight differences not in content but in the structure:

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 587

By Brooks K

A RESOLUTION relative to United Nations Agenda 21.

WHEREAS, the United Nations Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism, social engineering, and global political control that was initiated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992; and

WHEREAS, the United Nations Agenda 21 is being covertly pushed into local communities throughout the United States of America through the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) through local “sustainable development” policies such as Smart Growth, Wildlands Project, Resilient Cities, Regional Visioning Projects, and other “Green” or “Alternative” projects; and

WHEREAS, this United Nations Agenda 21 plan of radical so-called “sustainable development” views the American way of life of private property ownership, single-family homes, private car ownership and individual travel choices, and privately owned farms all as destructive to the environment; and

WHEREAS, according to the United Nations Agenda 21 policy, social justice is described as the right and opportunity of all people to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment which would be accomplished by socialist/communist redistribution of wealth; and

WHEREAS, according to the United Nations Agenda 21 policy, national sovereignty is deemed a social injustice; now, therefore,


BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING, that the General Assembly recognizes the destructive and insidious nature of United Nations Agenda 21 and hereby exposes to the public and public policymakers the dangerous intent of the plan.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that neither the U.S. government nor any state or local government is legally bound by the United Nations Agenda 21 treaty in that it has never been endorsed by the U.S. Senate.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the federal government and state and local governments across the country be well informed of the underlying harmful implications of implementation of United Nations Agenda 21 destructive strategies for “sustainable development,” and we hereby endorse rejection of its radical policies and rejection of any grant monies attached to it.

From the John Birch Society:

A MODEL STOP AGENDA 21 BILL FOR STATE LEGISLATURES

AN ACT relative to the United Nations Agenda 21 and the non-governmental organization International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives, also known as ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability.

WHEREAS, for the purposes of this act, a “political subdivision” means all state, county, incorporated city, unincorporated city, public local entity, public-private partnership, or any other public entity thereof; and

WHEREAS, the United Nations Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism, social engineering, and global political control that was initiated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992; and

WHEREAS, neither the U.S. government nor any state or local government is legally bound by the United Nations Agenda 21 treaty in that it has never been ratified by the U.S. Senate; and

WHEREAS, the United Nations Agenda 21 is being covertly pushed into local communities throughout the United States of America through the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), now calling itself “Local Governments for Sustainability,” through local "sustainable development" policies, such as Smart Growth, Wildlands Project, Resilient Cities, Regional Visioning Projects, and other "Green" or "Alternative" projects; and

WHEREAS, this plan of radical so-called "sustainable development" views the American way of life of private property ownership, single-family homes, private car ownership and individual travel choices, and privately owned farms all as destructive to the environment; and

WHEREAS, according to the United Nations Agenda 21 policy, social justice is described as the right and opportunity of all people to benefit equally from the resources afforded by society and the environment which would be accomplished by a socialist/communist-style redistribution of wealth; and

WHEREAS, according to the United Nations Agenda 21 policy, national sovereignty is deemed a social injustice; and


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the state of ___________ and all political subdivisions are prohibited from implementing programs of, expending any sum of money for, being a member of, receiving funding from, contracting services from, or giving financial or other forms of aid to ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability, or any other organization promoting the implementation of the United Nations Agenda 21, sustainable development, or smart growth.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the members of this body recognize the destructive and insidious nature of the United Nations Agenda 21, endorse rejection of its radical policies and of any grant monies attached to it, and recommend exposing to the public and public policymakers across the country the dangerous intent of the plan.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Think Progress: Tonight’s GOP Debate Sponsored By Extremists: John Birch Society And The Oath Keepers
  • Daily Kos: A Democratic President kills Bin Laden And The GOP World Turns Upside Down.

CPAC To Allow GOProud, John Birch Society to Continue Sponsorship

For the last few weeks, Religious Right groups have been pressuring CPAC organizers to drop the gay conservative group GOProud for the list of event co-sponsors and threatening to boycott next year's conference if GOP was allowed to participate.

The pressure prompted the American Conservative Union, which organizes CPAC, to put the issue before board members for a vote ... and CPAC has decided to allow both GOProud and the John Birch Society to participate:

Several socially conservative organizations have threatened to boycott one of the largest gatherings of conservative activists of the year if a group of gay Republicans is allowed to serve as a participating organization at the event.

Social conservatives, including the National Organization for Marriage among others, staged a walk-out at a meeting of board members of the Conservative Political Action Conference, according to multiple board members, to protest CPAC's decision to allow GOProud to join the event as more than just a vendor organization.

Those groups put enough pressure on the American Conservative Union, which runs CPAC, that officials put GOProud's fate, along with that of the ultra-conservative John Birch Society, up for a vote. Results made available to board members on Wednesday showed the board voted to allow both groups to continue their affiliation with CPAC.

That could send socially conservative groups packing and cause a rift in the CPAC board. GOProud has its enemies on the board of directors. Board member Cleta Mitchell is stridently opposed to allowing the gay group to participate and has led the charge to kick them out of the event, according to other board members.

This move will undoubtedly anger the many Religious Right groups who regularly participate in CPAC ... but that doesn't seem to particularly concern organizers:

CPAC organizers strongly suggest that this is overplayed. NOM, for example, is neither a board member -- there are only three of those, David Keene, Millie Hallow, and Cleta Mitchell -- or a participating organization of CPAC. "2010 was the first and only year they participated in CPAC," said CPAC director Lisa De Pasquale. "They have not registered for 2011 and have not attended any planning meetings." Participating organizations do not actually get votes on speakers, and while NOM has looked for help from the American Conservative Union's board, it's got only one like-minded GOProud critic -- Mitchell -- on the CPAC board.

More Religious Right Groups to Boycott CPAC, Compare GOProud to John Birch Society

Last week the American Principles Project announced that it would boycott the next CAPC convention if organizers allowed the gay conservative group GOProud to participate.

Now, the APP has gotten other Religious Right groups to sign on to a letter to announcing their intent to likewise withdraw from the event:

A coalition of conservative groups led by the American Principles Project today sent a letter to David Keene, Chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and his fellow board members announcing their withdrawal from participation in the 2011 CPAC.

The letter, signed by leaders of American Values, Capital Research Center, the Center for Military Readiness, Liberty Counsel, and the National Organization for Marriage, cites the decision to allow GOProud to participate in CPAC, explaining that the inclusion of this group that stands in diametrical opposition to a core principle of conservatism made it necessary to take action.

“This is the line in the sand,” stated Frank Cannon, President of the American Principles Project, an organization dedicated to upholding our most fundamental American Principles. “True conservatives and conservative organizations are rejecting the efforts to destroy conservatism from within by those attempting to marginalize social conservatism. And if that means rejecting CPAC, these conservative leaders have the courage to stand by their principles.”

In the letter, the leaders of these organization actually compare GOProud to the John Birch Society:

Exclusion of GOProud would not be without precedent in the modern history of conservatism. In 1962 William F. Buckley, Jr., called on the Republican Party and the conservative movement generally to dissociate themselves from the John Birch Society. There was no doubt then that the Birch Society embraced such principles as anti-communism and limited government. Yet Buckley and others rightly recognized that there were views its founder and leader possessed, and transmitted to the organization, that, as he wrote in the pages of National Review, were “far removed from common sense.” Buckley concluded, “We cannot allow the emblem of irresponsibility to attach to the conservative banner.”

A political generation ago, the John Birch Society embraced conspiracy theories about President Eisenhower, challenging his anti-communist credentials. Today GOProud describes Jim DeMint’s culturally conservative views as “bizarre.”

You know what is the greatest thing about this comparison? 

Last year, the John Birch Society was a co-sponsor of CPAC.

Taking the Tea Party Seriously

 In less than two years, the Tea Party movement emerged with an angry shout, became a major player in the national debate over health care reform, toppled incumbent senators and defeated candidates backed by the GOP establishment, and pushed radically right-wing views about the role of government into public debate. And they’re about to see a number of their candidates elected to Congress.

For a while last year, journalists and other political observers weren’t sure whether to take the Tea Party movement seriously as a force in American politics. But Lawrence Rosenthal, head of the Center for Comparative Study of Right-Wing Institutions at the University of California Berkeley, and his colleague Christine Trost decided it was worth a serious look. Last Friday, the Center hosted Fractures, Alliances and Mobilization in the Age of Obama: Emerging Analyses of the Tea Party Movement, the first academic conference on the topic.  It was an interdisciplinary event, featuring historians, sociologists, political scientists, political theorists, scholars of race and gender, and journalists, each taking a look at the movement from a different angle. As a senior fellow at PFAW Foundation, I made a presentation on the connections between the Tea Party and the Religious Right at the leadership, activist, ideological, and political levels.
 
In his introductory remarks, Rosenthal emphasized the “emerging” nature of the work being presented. The Tea Party is new to the political scene, and the upcoming elections and their aftermath will tell us a lot more about its impact.  It’s impossible to do justice to a day-long conference in a short blog post, so  I’ll mention just a few of the presentations that struck me as particularly interesting.   If you’re interested in more, you can find the conference agenda here, and Berkeley folks expect video of the presentations to be available online shortly at the Center’s website. A volume of conference papers is planned for next year.
 
A few items from my notes, with apologies to any scholar who feels I’m off-point with any of these hyper-condensed items:
  • From Rosenthal’s opening remarks, a comparison of the role Fox News has played in the Tea Party’s rise with the role of Berlusconi’s media empire in his rise to political power in Italy.
  • From the keynote address by author Rick Perlstein, a reminder that angry reaction to liberal political ascendancy is a regular part of our history, and that the lack of a robust left-wing populism opens the door to the dangers that are particular to right-wing extremism.   
  • Several scholars reporting that one-or-the-other descriptions of the movement (grassroots or Astroturf?) are usually too simplistic; at this point the movement is a fluid mixture not easily categorized.
  • Professor Christopher Parker from the University of Washington presented polling data showing that supporters of the Tea Party movement are more likely to harbor negative attitudes toward Blacks, Latinos, and gay people.
  • Professor Martin Cohen from James Madison University presented a fascinating look at another movement that built power within the GOP: he analyzed the effectiveness and impact of the Religious Right’s “first wave” – think Falwell and Moral Majority – and its “second wave” – think Ralph Reed and the Christian Coalition. He suggested that the Tea Party movement currently sounds more like the first wave in the level of public anger and hostility to compromise, and argues that the movement would have a bigger impact if it takes some lessons from the second wave. (Lessons, by the way, that Reed himself is happily imparting through his new Faith and Freedom Coalition)
  • Professor Alan Abromowitz from Emory University presented evidence that the increasing partisanship of recent decades set the stage for the kind of no-compromise politics of the Tea Party crowd.  Since the 1970s, Republicans have had steadily smaller regard for Democratic presidential candidates, with the biggest fall among the most active.
  • Charles Postrel, San Francisco State University historian and award-winning author, challenged the use of the term “populism” in connection with a movement that is drawing inspiration from the likes of the John Birch Society and right-wing author Cleon Skousen, who is being heavily promoted by Glenn Beck.
  • Chip Berlet, who analyzes right-wing movements for Political Research Associates, discussed ways that right-wing populists use demonization, scapegoating, and conspiracy theories to justify "apocalyptic aggression."
  • Lisa Disch, a University of Michigan professor of political science and women’s studies, gave a fascinating “contrarian” analysis that described the Tea Party and the racial resentments evident in the movement as an outgrowth of the New Deal rather than a rejection of it.
  • Devin Burghart, Vice President for the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, discussed the group’s recent report, Tea Party Nationalism, and its findings about the infiltration of local Tea Party groups by racist and anti-immigrant activists.
The Berkeley conference raised a lot of questions that will provide scholars with avenues for additional research, including greater analysis of the relationships between the grassroots and grasstops of the movement.
 
One journalist who has done serious investigative work along those lines is AlterNet’s Washington Bureau Chief Adele Stan (full disclosure – I have written articles for AlterNet and Stan). Stan and AlterNet’s Don Hazen have edited Dangerous Brew: Exposing the Tea Party's Agenda to Take Over America. Dangerous Brew is an anthology of writing from AlterNet contributors on the Tea Party movement.  
 
On Monday night, Stan was joined by Sarah Posner, associate editor at online magazine Religion Dispatches (more disclosure: I serve on the advisory council and have written for RD) and Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones magazine for a conversation about the book and the movement at Washington, D.C.’s Busboys & Poets.  Their conversation touched on some of the same themes discussed in Berkeley, including the outsized role played by News Corp, the impact of economic and cultural anxieties, and the need for progressives to stop being surprised when the far right rises from its dormancy whenever liberals gain political power. 
 
Posner discussed the interconnections between the Religious Right and Tea Party movements. Mencimer, who has spent a lot of time on the road getting to know Tea Party members, encouraged progressives to recognize that, whatever the motivations and machinations of the corporate interests and GOP strategists who are working to hijack the movement to their own purposes, many Tea Party activists are individuals motivated by love of country and excited about their first intense experience of democratic participation. Stan encouraged members of the diverse crowd, representing many strains of the progressive movement, to introduce themselves to others in the room, because the energized Tea Party movement is going to give progressive activists a lot of reasons to get to know each other in the coming years.

2010 Right Wing Candidates Weekly Update 9/22

Your update on the right-wing candidates running for US Senate for 9/15-9/22.

Sharron Angle

Radical Right: Speaks at John Birch Society and Oath Keepers-sponsored event in Utah, describes crowd as “mainstream America” (Salt Lake Tribune, 9/20).

Tea Party: Planned Las Vegas convention featuring Angle quietly cancelled (TPM, 9/20).

Health Care: Claims that pre-existing conditions coverage can be “addressed very well by the free market” (Huffington Post, 9/21).

Poll: Fox News poll shows Angle and Reid running neck-and-neck (Washington Times, 9/21).

Ken Buck

Ads: New Democratic ads hit Buck over the 17th Amendment and reproductive health (CNN, 9/21).

Civil Rights: Left-leaning group holds rally protesting Buck’s views on contraception and choice (Denver Westward, 9/21).

Economy: Favors extending all of the Bush tax cuts (Colorado Independent, 9/17).

Carly Fiorina

Poll: New poll shows Fiorina trailing Boxer by 8% (Public Policy Polling, 9/21).

Ad: Boxer blasts Fiorina’s performance as CEO of HP (Daily Kos, 9/18).

Tea Party: Wins endorsement from Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks PAC (WaPo, 9/21).

Economy: Supports extending tax cuts for the wealthy (AP, 9/20).

Campaign: WSJ profiles Fiorina’s focus on the San Joaquin Valley (WSJ, 9/21).

Joe Miller

Government: Big-Government critic received farm subsidies (AP, 9/21).

GOP: Knocks Murkowski for running as a write-in candidate (CNN, 9/21).

Poll: Rasmussen poll shows Miller leading with 42% (Rasmussen, 9/21).

Economy: Changes position on unemployment benefits after criticism (ThinkProgress, 9/21).

Tea Party: Receives endorsement from Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks PAC (Business Wire, 9/20).

Christine O’Donnell

Campaign: Used $20,000 of campaign money to pay rent for house and served as her own campaign’s treasurer (Christian Science Monitor, 9/21).

Religious Right: Journalist unearths 2008 comment where she called homosexuality an “identity disorder” (ABC News, 9/20).

Poll: Fox News poll shows Chris Coons leader 54-39% (Fox News, 9/21).

Bewitched: Reactions to “dabbled into witchcraft” comment vary (Yahoo News, 9/20).

Ad: DSCC slams O’Donnell in new ad on finances (DSCC, 9/17).

Rand Paul

Government: AFL-CIO mailer condemns Paul’s views on Social Security, workplace safety (Politico, 9/20).

Media: Criticized by journalists for not speaking to press about views (WHAS, 9/20).

Palin: Sarah Palin fundraises with Paul and joins him for Fox Business interview (Mediaite, 9/18).

Education: Knocked for supporting Dept. of Education’s elimination (McClatchy, 9/21).

Dino Rossi

Economy: Stimulus-critic Rossi visits shipyard that benefited from Stimulus funding (Seattle Times, 9/17).

Government: Rossi hammered for views on government subsidies for refueling tanker competition (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 9/21).

Poll: Patty Murray leads Rossi by 5% in new poll (Rasmussen Reprots, 9/16).

Immigration: Opposes both a path for citizenship and deportation of illegal immigrants in the US, offers no alternatives (Seattle Times, 9/20).

Marco Rubio

Tea Party: Speaks to “Forward with the Constitution Rally” in St. Augustine (St. Petersburg Times, 9/19).

Ad: Crist disparages Rubio for earmarks in new ad (TPM, 9/20).

Pat Toomey

Fundraiser: Scott Brown (R-MA) to fundraise in Philadelphia for Toomey (Boston Globe, 9/21).

Poll: Leads Joe Sestak 48-40% in Fox News poll, 50-43% according to Quinnipiac (PA2010, 9/21).

Economy: Signs pledge to back Estate Tax repeal (CBS21, 9/20).

Wall Street: Ties to Wall Street banks come under scrutiny (LA Times, 9/17).

Cliff Kincaid Defends The Conservative Movement's Good Name

Every time I write a post about something Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid as written (which seems to be happening quite frequently lately) I marvel at his consistency.  While most of the people we write about frequently occasionally write uninteresting or irrelevant things that don't really warrant any sort of coverage, Kincaid seems able to produce pieces so chock-full of craziness that they are impossible to ignore.

Case in point is his latest column, which is built around refuting this Politico article by Kenneth Vogel claiming that the conservative establishment is finally trying to distance itself from the "movement’s extremist elements."

Now, I don't buy Vogel's claims for a minute ... and neither does Kincaid, but for completely different reasons.  For instance, Vogel cites as evidence of his premise the fact that Ryan Sorba was jeered at CPAC for attacking GOProud from the stage, but Kincaid sees it differently, claiming that it was those who were booing Sorba who are extremists who don't represent the conservative movement:

What he ignores is the evidence that the "jeering" came mostly from non-conservatives, many of them libertarians, and that the "anti-gay activist," Ryan Sorba of Young Americans for Freedom, was rebutting a pro-gay speaker, a leader of a group who told me he wasn't a conservative in the first place.

To clear things up for Kenneth Vogel and others in the media, let us make it clear that a true conservative like Howard Phillips, who has been a leader in the conservative movement for several decades, understands that conservatism means traditional moral and religious values, a strong national defense, and economic freedom. There is nothing complicated or confusing about it. The homosexual movement, founded by a member of the Communist Party by the name of Harry Hay, simply doesn't qualify for admission, no matter how many libertarians in the CPAC audience may applaud for GOProud or jeer Ryan Sorba.

In order to purge the conservative movement of its extremists, CPAC will have to remove its own organizers who let them in.

The story ignores the real problem of how the "conservative establishment"-in the form of the CPAC organizers--picked actual and real extremists to co-sponsor their event. And those were the self-described "gay conservatives" who reject the social conservatism that has been an essential part of the conservative movement. The well-established and well-known Family Research Council pulled out of CPAC because CPAC organizer David Keene decided to allow GOProud, a relatively new organization that works for the election of "centrist" and liberal Republicans, into the event. But this mistake is overlooked by Vogel.

[Does anybody have any idea what Kincaid is talking about when he says that the Family Research Council pulled out of CPAC?  I know the Liberty University Law School did so, but I don't recall FRC ever following suit.]

Kincaid then goes on to dispute Vogel's claim that some conservatives were uneasy about the fact that the John Birch Society was allowed to co-host CPAC ... and does so by defending the John Birch Society:

Communism was and is a conspiracy. Without commenting on every charge made by the JBS or its leaders over the years, its central claim--that U.S. leaders are working with the communists and others to lay the groundwork for world government--cannot be dismissed out of hand. Objectively speaking, one has to admit that talk of global taxes and world government is frequently in the news and cannot be said to be the fantasies of the "black helicopter" crowd. Even the Pope has stated his belief in a "World Political Authority." His own Vatican newspaper published a favorable review of Marxist theory.

At this late date, no one can seriously doubt that a "New World Order" of some kind is coming into being. The real questions are to what extent it is being deliberately designed to subvert America's standing in the world and the American way of life, and what role President Obama is playing in it.

Critics of the JBS have to concede the organization has been on the right track about an emerging world government.

Kincaid finally wraps up his piece by defending the Birthers and attacking the "so-called 'conservatives'" who spoke to Vogel for his Politico piece, accusing them of giving the conservative movement a bad name.

I can hardly wait for Part II of Kincaid's piece, which he promises will focus on the conservative movement's relationship with "Alex Jones, Russian Television, and the Oath Keepers."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Joseph Farah vows never to give up his Birtherism.
  • Why does Janet Porter's embrace of Suzanne Somers' quackery not surprise me at all?
  • The Alliance Defense Fund is seeking a stay on Washington DC's marriage equality law.
  • Why exactly do VA Gov.  Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli think that Planned Parenthood should not get funding from proposed "Trust Women/Respect Choice" license plates when anti-choice groups get funding from the state's "Choose Life" plates?
  • Finally, did Focus on the Family really grant an interview for an article on the John Birch Society website?  I can't find any evidence that the quote used first appeared somewhere else, so it sure looks like it.

If You Boycott WND, You Boycott Everyone

Yesterday Jon Henke over at The Next Right wrote a post blasting the sort of nonsense spewed by WorldNetDaily as well as those organizations and individuals who "choose to support WND through advertising and email list rental or other collaboration":

In the 1960's, William F. Buckley denounced the John Birch Society leadership for being "so far removed from common sense" and later said "We cannot allow the emblem of irresponsibility to attach to the conservative banner."

The Birthers are the Birchers of our time, and WorldNetDaily is their pamphlet. The Right has mostly ignored these embarrassing people and organizations, but some people and organizations inexplicably choose to support WND through advertising and email list rental or other collaboration. For instance, I have been told that F.I.R.E (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) - an otherwise respectable group that does important work - uses the WND email list. They should stop.

No respectable organization should support the kind of fringe idiocy that WND peddles. Those who do are not respectable.

As Terry Krepel of Media Matters quickly pointed out, one of the organizations that has rented WND's mailing list is the Republican National Committee.

I'd like to add a few more: what about Mike Huckabee and Representatives Michele Bachmann, Tom Price, and Steve King who will all be appearing at the upcoming How To Take Back America Conference, which features WND among its sponsors and has WND founder, editor and CEO Joseph Farah serving on it host committee?

Or what about the 2007 Values Voter Debate featuring GOP presidential hopefuls like Huckabee, Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, and Ron Paul, where Farah served as a moderator?

Or, for that matter, what about CPAC, where Farah has been a speaker and panel participant?

Henke is threatening to "boycott any of those organizations that will not renounce any further support for WorldNetDaily" ... but if he did that, he'd literally have to boycott the entire right-wing political movement.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Michael Steele just might luck out - meanwhile he's getting support from Sarah Palin ... and being mocked by Dana Milbank.
  • Two people arrested during the protests at Notre Dame are still sitting in jail, refusing bail and vowing to remain there until their hearing in three weeks.
  • Tony Perkins insists that his Call 2 Fall is not political, but Adelle Banks notes that his emails to supporters seem to suggest otherwise.
  • Speaking of FRC, they and Americans United for Life are sponsoring a pre-ALEC event for state legislators in July just before the annual ALEC Conference in order to inform legislators "about the key life and family issues affecting your state" and "discuss the latest legislative initiatives and state legislative trends."
  • The John Birch Society rips into the Religious Right for turning Carrie Prejean into a movement hero.
  • Finally, allow me to apologize for the lack of posts today, but I was having various computer problems.  Also, I'll be on vacation until next Wednesday ... so don't let the Right do anything crazy  while I’m gone.

How I Almost Became a Bircher

I grew up in Appleton, WI and when I was seeking employment after I graduated from college, I diligently searched through the local newspaper for possible positions.  One day, I saw a listing for an organization needing a political researcher and immediately submitted my resume.  A few days later, I received a call asking me to come in for an interview with a local organization whose name I had heard before but didn’t know much about, so I headed to the library to do a bit of research about them and quickly realized that I was probably not what they were looking for but I still went to the interview nonetheless, open-minded and hopeful.

Needless to say, it did not go well and degenerated into a bit of a shouting match, after which I was escorted from the building.  Today, that same newspaper where I first saw the job listing, The Post Crescent, has profiled that very organization and you can probably understand why I didn’t get the job:

The young couple sipped chocolate milkshakes in a front-window booth at Culver's, unaware that the low-slung brown office building across the street was command central in the war to save America from a godless conspiracy.

By summer, the leafy lower branches of a maple tree will obscure some of the building's silver letters, but on this spring evening the sign was clearly visible.

"The John Birch Society," it read.

20 years ago this spring, when the John Birch Society moved its headquarters to the current location west of Appleton, home of then-chief executive officer G. Allen Bubolz, the group was hard to overlook — its unassuming small-town base notwithstanding.

In Grand Chute, the society's new headquarters shared a hometown with one of its best-known heroes, U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Like McCarthy, the Birchers achieved notoriety for an obsession with exposing communist infiltrators during the Cold War.

The organization is named for John Birch, a missionary and Army Air Force surveillance officer killed by communists in China 10 days after the end of World War II, making him the first American casualty of the Cold War.

During the Cold War, the John Birch Society branded President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican, as a "dedicated, conscious agent of the communist conspiracy."

Years later, the group derided President Ronald Reagan, also a Republican, as a "lackey" of the perceived communist conspiracy.

Communist agents infiltrated or manipulated every level of the American government, John Birch Society founder Robert Welch claimed.

Art Thompson, the organization's 70-year-old chief executive officer, believes the John Birch Society saved America.

Eventually I moved to Washington DC and ended up here at People For the American Way.  So now, instead of helping the Birchers save America from a “godless conspiracy,” I became part of that very godless conspiracy that is, to hear them tell it, resolutely seeking to destroy this great country.

Go figure.

Keeping The Gay Pastor's Prayer Off the Record

Last week, we pointed to an article regarding Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern's appearance at a John Birch Society conference during which he proclaimed that she had discovered the gay agenda in a book called “After the Ball" and calling for a spiritual awakening in America, saying that "only then does our nation have a chance of overcoming the scourge of AIDS, HIV and the devastating destruction that the homosexual lifestyle is bringing on your children and our grandchildren."

Now, via Pam's House Blend, we see that, in response to Kern's statements, Scott Jones, pastor of the Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, penned an op-ed explaining that what gays really want is equal treatment, nothing more:

There are more than 1,100 civil rights heterosexuals enjoy that are denied to those of us who are LGBT. Most of those rights heterosexuals don’t even realize they have and would not be aware of until they were denied access to them — rights like visiting your loved ones in the hospital or inheriting the home that you and your spouse share when one of you dies. LGBT couples have to spend about $10,000 in legal fees to create the various legal arrangements to get around some of these inequalities, but others can’t be gotten around.

Jones was invited by Rep. Al McAffrey, who is also gay, to deliver a prayer before Wednesday’s House session and that is when things got interesting as conservatives in the House tried to prevent Jones' prayer from being recorded in the House record:

The Rev. Scott Jones thanked his legislator, Rep. Al McAffrey, who asked him to pray to open Wednesday’s House session and acknowledged several in the gallery – "dear friends, my wonderful parents, and my loving partner and fiance, Michael.”

When McAffrey, D-Oklahoma City, asked in the session’s closing minutes that Jones’ prayer be made part of the House journal, the chamber’s official record, Rep. John Wright objected and called for a vote.

With 16 members having already left, the House voted 64-20 to include Jones’ prayer in the House journal.

Among those voting no was Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, who a year ago called homosexuality the biggest threat facing the United States.

"I’m sure that because most of Scott’s congregation are gay people and Scott is gay himself, I’m sure that’s the reason why there were negative votes on it,” McCaffrey said.

Other than Jones introducing his male partner, McCaffrey said he couldn’t’ see how anyone could have a problem with his prayer.

"I don’t know what was controversial over that.”

Contacted later, Wright, R-Broken Arrow, said the practice of including a minister’s prayer in the House journal usually is reserved for Thursdays, the last workday for legislators.

"It has not been the practice to put every day’s prayer in the House journal,” he said.

He conceded he didn’t concur with comments made by Jones, who except for his opening comments, gave a generic prayer to a "holy and everliving God” and paraphrased the prophet Isaiah.

"I don’t know if it’s important to create an inflammatory issue out of something because that is not my intent,” he said.

Wright said his motion was "not meant to be derogatory nor divisive nor in any way trying to cause diminishment of someone’s sense of self-worth.”

"My actions were motivated by the faith, so now if you want to take it and cause the public to be inflamed about it, well, that’s at your feet,” Wright said.

McAffrey, the Legislature’s only openly gay member, said he’s never heard a legislator object to a prayer being made part of the House journal during his three years there.

Things That Make You Go "Wow"

Every once in a while I run across things that are just so bizarre that there is nothing I could possibly add.  This article by Ben Fenwick from the OK Gazette about Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern’s appearance at the John Birch Society’s recent “Clouds Over America” conference is one of those things:

The crowd in the banquet hall at the Character Conference Center, housed in an old Holiday Inn in downtown Oklahoma City, sat packed, rapt with attention as Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, told them she’d found it: the gay agenda.

Kern said the agenda is in a book called “After the Ball,” by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, a book named after a musical adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan.” She recounted the bullet points of a secret public relations campaign to have gays accepted by the general public — step by step — with the final goal being not just acceptance of gays by heterosexuals, but eventual triumph of homosexuality as a superior lifestyle.

Among the items in the agenda, Kern said, was getting the public to view homosexuality as a matter of taste, like a preference for strawberry or vanilla ice cream. She quoted the text: “The masses should not be shocked and repelled by premature exposure to homosexual behavior itself.”

“You know,” Kern said. “I’ve done a lot of reading on this. I wish I could describe to you their behavior. I will not because I would be redder than this suit. It’s their behavior that we oppose.

“This theme of equality and freedom is the approach that the homosexuals are using today — totally perverting the true intention of what our Constitution meant. … The homosexuals get it — it’s a struggle between our religious freedoms and their right to do what they want to do.”

Around the banquet hall, Kern’s speech met with applause and calls of “Amen!” from a crowd stoked in a crucible of conspiracy and intrigue. For the whole day, the “Clouds Over America” conference, run and organized by the John Birch Society, held lecture after lecture Jan. 23 and 24 dedicated to explaining their various conspiracy-laden tenets. Here’s one — that a godless secret society, the Illuminati, has been battling against the founding of the United States of America and decent citizens to live in peaceful, worshipful freedom.

Kern called for a new “Great Awakening,” referring to a period of religious revivals from the 18th century considered precursor to the American Revolution.

“The solution is another Great Awakening, folks,” Kern said. “We need a spiritual revival, and that will only come if God’s people, especially you pastors, will stand in your pulpits and vocally preach the word of God and thus declare the Lord this sin, and preach it in love, only then does our nation have a chance of overcoming the scourge of AIDS, HIV and the devastating destruction that the homosexual lifestyle is bringing on your children and our grandchildren.”

Be sure to read the whole thing, because it just gets crazier from there, with speakers explaining that America is not really at war with Islamic fundamentalists, but rather a vast Communist conspiracy that includes the Council on Foreign Relations, the World Trade Organization, the Federal Reserve, the United Nations, and every US Secretary of State.

The Far Right’s Newest Boogeyman: Environmentalism

Back in July, we wrote about the then-upcoming 9th Annual Freedom21 National Conference where a bevy of second, third, and fourth string right-wing activists were gathering to blow the top off the nefarious plot behind the idea of sustainable development.

Now, the SPLC has published an account of the gathering … and it was apparently every bit as unhinged as one would expect:

"Environment is not about saving nature," the founder of Freedom Advocates, Michael Shaw, sternly warned an audience of antigovernment "Patriots" and far-right conspiracy theorists during a mid-July conference. "It's about a revolutionary coup in America. [Environmentalism] is to establish global governance and abandon the principles of Natural Law." Sustainable development policies, Shaw argued, will require "a police state" and ultimately "turn America into a globally governed homeland where humans are treated as biological resources."

Shaw's fearful call to arms against environmentalism was sucked in whole hog during the Ninth Annual Freedom 21 conference held in a Dallas-area Crowne Plaza hotel. Co-hosted by the Texas Eagle Forum, a hard-line Christian Right organization, and the anti-"New World Order" American Policy Center (APC), the three-day convergence included such right-wing heavyweights as the error-prone conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, gay- and feminist-hating Phyllis Schlafly, and the far-right Constitution Party's presidential candidate, Chuck Baldwin.

One former popular Freedom 21er was disinvited. Bob Barr, a former conservative Republican congressman from Georgia, was asked not to return by the head of APC, Tom DeWeese, because Barr had talked to Al Gore about global warming. "This is not some nice little debate," DeWeese said he told someone in Barr's office. "This is war."

The SPLC recounts that while Phyllis Schlafly was content to deliver her anti-judges stump speech, the other speakers were committed to exposing how instituting sustainable development policies was the ultimate goal of those shadowy one-world government figures who are behind the (non-existent) efforts to create a so-called North American Union so that they can institute a new worldwide false religion based on “earth worship”:

Michael Coffman, executive director of the United Nations-hating Sovereignty International, took on something called Agenda 21, which was drawn up in 1992 for the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. Agenda 21 is a comprehensive blueprint of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the UN, governments, and major groups in every area in which humans impact on the environment (21 refers to the 21st century). In Coffman's eyes, Agenda 21 is a menace.

"An anti-human document, which takes aim at Western culture, and the Judeo-Christian and Islamic religions," is how Coffman referred to it. Coffman also alleged that Agenda 21 would lead to a kind of communist reallocation of property rights and redistribution of assets. Using a big word, Coffman labeled the proposed changes "usufructual," which he said means the government would own everything. Michael Chapman of Ed Watch, a group that opposes public education, reiterated Coffman's allegations that Agenda 21's real aim is to redistribute wealth. Coffman added that economic development is not being restricted in order to protect the environment, but rather to give power to the government.

"The new world theology is pantheism," Coffman said, "Nature is God."

The John Birch Society (JBS), a group that once insisted that President Eisenhower was a Communist Party member but now focuses on immigrant-bashing, agrees with Coffman. JBS was on hand to warn that environmentalists are really out to get your children. The JBS handed out cards featuring a strange depiction of a group of children holding hands under a large, glowing, balloon-like mockup of the earth that warned of "The New False Religion, Worshipping the Earth." "Advocates of a UN world government have drafted an Earth Charter, which they compare to the Ten Commandments and keep in an 'Ark of Hope,'" warns the JBS without any apparent reference to reality. "Will you let the United Nations or any other group undermine the faith of your family?" The JBS is so concerned with this that is has created a new website, www.getusout.org/earthworship, to battle "Earth Worship."

It should be noted that Rep. Michelle Bachmann was initially listed as scheduled to appear, but the SPLC article makes no mention of her being in attendance, nor does the official conference webpage.

John Birch Society Launches 'Freedom Campaign'

Against immigration, “North American Union.”
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John Birch Society Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 01/21/2014, 6:33pm
Paul @ PFAW Blog: Report on Judge Cebull Shows Why Courts Matter. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: When conservative isn’t conservative enough. Rachel Tabachnick @ PRA: The John Birch Society’s Anti-Civil Rights Campaign of the 1960s, and Its Relevance Today. Jeff Tietz @ Rolling Stone: Love and Death In the House of Prayer. Evan McMurry @ Mediaite: GOP Candidate Calls for Obama to Be Hanged; Quotes Jesus in Defense. Hannah Groch-Begley @ Media Matters: Conservative Media Can't Talk About Wendy Davis Without Demeaning Her. Jeremy Hooper: Hiding behind... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Friday 08/02/2013, 11:10am
The New American, the online outlet of the John Birch Society, published an interview yesterday between two prominent attendees of last month’s anti-immigrant rally in DC, Jesse Lee Peterson and Stephen Broden. Peterson, who calls himself a “proud member” of the John Birch Society, told Broden that the American dream is “fading” because pro-immigration elected officials are “trying to stay in power, so they’re trying to appease the Hispanics.” And anyways, Peterson argued, undocumented immigrants don’t even want citizenship. “I even... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 07/24/2013, 3:35pm
Jesse Lee Peterson is one of the right-wing extremists who helped organize this month’s “DC March for Jobs,” an anti-immigrant rally featuring Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Jeff Sessions, Rep. Mo Brooks and former Rep. Allen West that included the usual mix of racism and hyperbole. As one of the key figures in the Black American Leadership Alliance, which staged the March for Jobs, Peterson has emerged as one of the nativists’ favorite critics of immigration reform. In a speech to the conspiratorial, anti-Semitic John Birch Society last year, Peterson expanded on his... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 03/16/2012, 10:45am
The latest conspiracy theory sweeping the tea party movement is the fear that Agenda 21, a United Nations program focusing on sustainable development, is surreptitiously destroying the American way of life. Tennessee House Republicans recently passed a resolution, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brooks, condemning the plan, using almost identical language from a John Birch Society model bill. The Tennessean reports: Tennessee lawmakers passed a resolution Thursday condemning a United Nations environmental plan as a “destructive and insidious” effort to advance a communist agenda through... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 05/05/2011, 6:45pm
Think Progress: Tonight’s GOP Debate Sponsored By Extremists: John Birch Society And The Oath Keepers Daily Kos: A Democratic President kills Bin Laden And The GOP World Turns Upside Down. Andrew Sullivan: No, Torture Was Irrelevant. Pam’s House Blend: NC: Congressman Patrick McHenry: GOP Redistricting Is All About Race. Minnesota Independent: Anti-Gay Groups To Boost Spending, Activity Through 2012. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 12/09/2010, 6:05pm
For the last few weeks, Religious Right groups have been pressuring CPAC organizers to drop the gay conservative group GOProud for the list of event co-sponsors and threatening to boycott next year's conference if GOP was allowed to participate. The pressure prompted the American Conservative Union, which organizes CPAC, to put the issue before board members for a vote ... and CPAC has decided to allow both GOProud and the John Birch Society to participate: Several socially conservative organizations have threatened to boycott one of the largest gatherings of conservative... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 11/23/2010, 2:08pm
Last week the American Principles Project announced that it would boycott the next CAPC convention if organizers allowed the gay conservative group GOProud to participate. Now, the APP has gotten other Religious Right groups to sign on to a letter to announcing their intent to likewise withdraw from the event: A coalition of conservative groups led by the American Principles Project today sent a letter to David Keene, Chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and his fellow board members announcing their withdrawal from participation in the 2011 CPAC. The... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 10/27/2010, 1:16pm
 In less than two years, the Tea Party movement emerged with an angry shout, became a major player in the national debate over health care reform, toppled incumbent senators and defeated candidates backed by the GOP establishment, and pushed radically right-wing views about the role of government into public debate. And they’re about to see a number of their candidates elected to Congress. For a while last year, journalists and other political observers weren’t sure whether to take the Tea Party movement seriously as a force in American politics. But Lawrence Rosenthal,... MORE >