Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #822 The Snowdenistas, the GOP and Violent Secession

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by 10/02/2014. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more) con­tains FTR #812.  (The pre­vi­ous flash dri­ve was cur­rent through the end of May of 2012 and con­tained FTR #748.)

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Lis­ten: MP3

Side 1   Side 2

The Turn­er Diaries and Hunter, pub­lished by Green­wald’s client, the Nation­al Alliance

Intro­duc­tion: This pro­gram high­lights polit­i­cal con­ti­nu­ity between “the Snowdenistas”–political defend­ers of “Eddie the Friend­ly Spook” Snow­den, the GOP and para­mil­i­tary advo­cates of legal and phys­i­cal seces­sion from the Unit­ed States. The essen­tial points made here build on analy­sis pre­sent­ed in FTR #771, among oth­er broad­casts.

(The GOP tri­umphs in the 2014 elec­tions were real­ized because two-thirds of eli­gi­ble vot­ers stayed home. In FTR #762, we not­ed that the Snow­den “op” appears to have alien­at­ed many of the young ide­al­ists whose sup­port was cen­tral to Oba­ma’s 2008 tri­umph. We feel that the Snow­den “op” did much to enable the GOP off-year elec­toral suc­cess. Our analy­sis of the Snow­den “op” might seem strange or alien­at­ing to new­er lis­ten­ers. Snow­den and those around him can be suc­cinct­ly sum­ma­rized and under­stood by Snow­den’s views on Social Secu­ri­ty. “. . . Snow­den wrote that the elder­ly ‘wouldn’t be fuck­ing help­less if you weren’t send­ing them fuck­ing checks to sit on their ass and lay in hos­pi­tals all day.’ ”)


In FTR #756, we not­ed the pro­found polit­i­cal con­nec­tions between the Snow­denistas and the neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment, an exten­sion of the white suprema­cist ide­ol­o­gy.

Green­wald’s new jour­nal­is­tic endeav­ors are being under­writ­ten by Pierre Omid­yar. Although super­fi­cial­ly iden­ti­fied with more “pro­gres­sive” polit­i­cal ele­ments, Omid­yar has been an active ide­o­log­i­cal and finan­cial sup­port­er of fas­cist ele­ments abroad, includ­ing the OUN/B heirs in Ukraine and the Hin­du nationalist/fascist polit­i­cal milieu of Naren­dra Modi abroad.

Domes­ti­cal­ly, Omid­yar’s Ebay firm is a sup­port­er of the ultra-reac­tionary ALEC orga­ni­za­tion, a strong sup­port­er of the most benight­ed ele­ments of the Repub­li­can Par­ty and a staunch oppo­nent of action on cli­mate change.

Cit­i­zen Green­wald was not par­tic­u­lar­ly dis­turbed by the recent pres­ence of  neo-Nazi Andrew Auern­heimer at a recent social gath­er­ing at which he and Lau­ra Poitras were present.

Were this an iso­lat­ed inci­dent, one might be more inclined to dis­miss it as hap­pen­stance.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this fits all too neat­ly into a pat­tern with Cit­i­zen Green­wald. In an ear­li­er pro­fes­sion­al incar­na­tion as an attor­ney, he spent years run­ning legal inter­fer­ence for Nazi mur­der­ers. (This is dis­cussed at length in FTR #754.)

Auern­heimer (aka “Weev”) is a strong advo­cate of the para­mil­i­tary right and express­es open sym­pa­thy for the vio­lent over­throw of the gov­ern­ment and is of the same cloth as the sup­port­ers of Cliv­en Bundy and sedi­tious ele­ments high­light­ed below. He views Tim­o­thy McVeigh as a hero.

Much of the pro­gram focus­es on issues rel­e­vant to the GOP takeover of the Sen­ate and strengten­ing of its con­trol over the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Par­tic­u­lar empha­sis is on the GOP’s pro­found links to the vio­lent­ly para­mil­i­tary seces­sion­ist milieu.

Para­mil­i­tary vig­i­lantes patrolling the Texas bor­der against “ille­gal aliens” were recent­ly dis­cov­ered to have amassed ammo­ni­um nitrate in quan­ti­ties suf­fi­cient to build a bomb sim­i­lar to that used in the Okla­homa City bomb­ing.

Of per­haps greater con­cern is the fact that Texas politi­cians have been sup­port­ive of those vig­i­lante groups, includ­ing Greg Abbott, the for­mer Texas Attor­ney Gen­er­al and now Gov­er­nor-elect.

Among the many GOP politi­cians embrac­ing far-right ide­ol­o­gy  is Joni Ernst, the new Sen­a­tor from Iowa. Ernst has been chat­ter­ing about “Agen­da 21,” an ide­o­log­i­cal tenet of the John Birch Soci­ety that imag­ines a nefar­i­ous glob­al con­spir­a­cy involv­ing the Unit­ed Nations and polit­i­cal lib­er­als.

For­mer Rea­gan and George H.W. Bush speech­writer Dou­glas MacK­in­non is preach­ing sedi­tion, advo­cat­ing that numer­ous states (includ­ing much of the for­mer Con­fed­er­a­cy) should secede from the Unit­ed States. MacK­in­non pro­pos­es call­ing the new state “Rea­gan.”

Mitch McConnell of Ken­tucky is the new Sen­ate Major­i­ty leader. Short­ly before the elec­tion, a ship owned by his father-in-law was bust­ed with 40 kilo­grams of cocaine on board.

Con­clud­ing with dis­cus­sion of arms deal­er Vik­tor Bout, we note that he has retained the law firm of for­mer Bush Attor­ney Gen­er­al John Ashcroft to rep­re­sent him in a bid for a new tri­al.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Okla­homa GOP Sen­a­tor Tom Coburn has pre­dict­ed vio­lence if Oba­ma imple­ments an exec­u­tive order on immi­gra­tion; Vik­tor Bout’s sup­ply­ing of arms to Al Qae­da; overview of the Snow­den “op;” review of the neo-Con­fed­er­ate and neo-seces­sion­ist move­ments; review of the Cru­sade For Free­dom and the gen­e­sis of the Nazi wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty; review of Omid­yar’s hands-on appli­ca­tions of neo-lib­er­al the­o­ry in his Third World ven­tures; Mitch McConnel­l’s reliance on his in-laws’ fam­i­ly wealth; Joni Ern­st’s espousal of the arrest of fed­er­al offi­cials attempt­ing to imple­ment the Afford­able Care Act; a GOP-ini­ti­at­ed inves­ti­ga­tion into Beng­hazi that cleared the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion of all the charges lev­eled by the GOP.

1. EBay chief Pierre Omid­yar is the finan­cial backer of Glenn Green­wald’s cur­rent media ven­tures. EBay is also a sup­port­er of ALEC, one of the most destruc­tive enti­ties in the right-wing polit­i­cal armory.

“What Pos­si­ble Rea­son Can eBay Have for Stand­ing by Ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive Cli­mate Change Deniers at ALEC?” by David Holmes; Pan­do Dai­ly; 10/07/2014.

The tech world’s strange love affair with ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive ALEC is unrav­el­ing.

Over the past two months, Google, Microsoft, Face­book, Yelp, and Yahoo have dis­tanced them­selves from the Amer­i­can Exec­u­tive Leg­is­la­tion Coun­cil (ALEC), a Koch Broth­ers-backed think tank that’s pushed just about every con­tro­ver­sial right-wing leg­isla­tive ini­tia­tive you can think of. Teach­ing cli­mate change denial in schools? Check. Advo­cat­ing for Vot­er ID laws that dis­en­fran­chise minori­ties? Uh huh. A nation­al “Stand Your Ground” law? Why not?

The break­ing point for ALEC’s sour­ing rela­tion­ship with so many high-pro­file tech firms appears to be the group’s denial of strong, wide­ly-agreed-upon evi­dence that cli­mate change is real and humans are mak­ing it worse. (ALEC recent­ly denied its, uh, denial, but ALEC’s own mod­el leg­is­la­tion direct­ly con­tra­dicts its claims of inno­cence). But despite the risks of align­ing your orga­ni­za­tion with anti-sus­tain­abil­i­ty inter­ests, there’s one high-pro­file tech firm that still hasn’t denounced the orga­ni­za­tion: eBay, along with its bil­lion­aire founder and chair­man Pierre Omid­yar.

Today, over eighty non-prof­its includ­ing the Sier­ra Club and Green­peace signed a let­ter urg­ing eBay to end its affil­i­a­tion with ALEC. eBay, like Google and Microsoft in the past, is a mem­ber of ALEC’s Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Tech­nol­ogy Task Force, an affil­i­a­tion that costs the com­pany $5,000 a year in mem­ber­ship fees and thus rep­re­sents a direct form of finan­cial sup­port for the con­tro­ver­sial orga­ni­za­tion.


eBay spokes­woman Abby Smith has final­ly respond­ed to the let­ter, say­ing that ALEC pro­motes issues that are “mate­r­ial to the suc­cess of eBay Inc and our cus­tomers” and that “our team of inter­nal stake­hold­ers meets reg­u­larly to assess the best approach for resolv­ing these issues.”

But would leav­ing ALEC real­ly have a neg­a­tive impact on eBay’s busi­ness?

Pos­si­bly. Yelp, for exam­ple, had a clear and legit­i­mate legal inter­est in align­ing itself with ALEC. The orga­ni­za­tion craft­ed mod­el leg­is­la­tion to fight SLAPP law­suits, which could be used against Yelp’s users who post bad reviews. Indeed, eBay is cur­rently rely­ing on an anti-SLAPP argu­ment in a law­suit that a patent troll filed against it. But user-gen­er­at­ed con­tent, which is usu­ally what anti-SLAPP leg­is­la­tion pro­tects, is not as fun­da­men­tal to its busi­ness as it is to Yelp. And again, even Yelp has cut ties with ALEC.

Anoth­er of the Task Force’s stat­ed areas of focus is “pro­mot­ing new forms of e‑commerce,” which is cer­tainly in eBay’s wheel­house. But Ama­zon, the largest ecom­merce site in the US, felt no need to stay aligned with ALEC past 2012. Then there’s ALEC’s and eBay’s shared sup­port of net neu­tral­ity. That’s the same jus­ti­fi­ca­tion Face­book made when it donat­ed $10,000 to an anti-gay politi­cian: We both sup­port a free and open Inter­net! But net neu­tral­ity has attract­ed sup­port among a very broad set of orga­ni­za­tions, and not all of them were just aban­doned by half a dozen of eBay’s peers.

What about eBay’s chair­man Omid­yar? Sure­ly, this “civic-mind­ed bil­lion­aire,” who through his Omid­yar Net­work has giv­en hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars to phil­an­thropic caus­es, wouldn’t dream of align­ing him­self with an orga­ni­za­tion like ALEC — an orga­ni­za­tion for whom social and envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice plays a dis­tant sec­ond fid­dle to the Koch Broth­ers’ fun­house mir­ror ver­sion of free mar­ket cap­i­tal­ism. Or would he? As Mark Ames and Yasha Levine have report­ed, Omidyar’s pol­i­tics are dif­fi­cult, though not impos­si­ble, to suss out:

Omid­yar Network’s phil­an­thropy reveals Omid­yar as a free-mar­ket zealot with an almost mys­ti­cal faith in the pow­er of “mar­kets” to trans­form the world, end pover­ty, and improve lives—one micro-indi­vid­ual at a time.

And yet, the Omid­yar Net­work is also one of the lead­ing back­ers of the upcom­ing film “Mer­chants of Doubt,” which seeks to expose the “sil­ver-tongued pun­dits-for-hire” spread­ing denial cam­paigns on seri­ous pub­lic health threats like tobac­co, tox­ic chem­i­cals, and yes, cli­mate change. Con­sid­er­ing that cli­mate change denial has become the pre­dom­i­nant force draw­ing tech com­pa­nies away from ALEC, eBay’s con­tin­ued mem­ber­ship con­sti­tutes a pret­ty sig­nif­i­cant con­tra­dic­tion for Omid­yar. And let’s not for­get that for many of the third world com­mu­ni­ties the Omid­yar Net­work wants to help, dev­as­ta­tion from cli­mate change isn’t just a well-sup­port­ed fore­cast — it’s already a real­ity.

Maybe eBay is too focused on its forth­com­ing Pay­Pal spin off to pay atten­tion to the out­cry over ALEC. Maybe eBay has already decid­ed to let its ALEC mem­ber­ship lapse and it sim­ply hasn’t approved the move with its share­hold­ers. In any case, com­pa­nies like Face­book learned the hard way what hap­pens when you align your­self with anti-sus­tain­abil­i­ty inter­ests that run counter to the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of your com­mu­nity or indus­try. And with the tide in the tech com­mu­nity clear­ly shift­ing away from ALEC and oth­er cli­mate change deniers, eBay needs to take con­trol of this nar­ra­tive before it spins out of con­trol, and peo­ple start accus­ing the com­pany of club­bing baby seals and cre­at­ing the hole in the ozone lay­er.

2a. While lam­bast­ing Bill Maher and oth­ers for crit­i­cal com­ments about Mus­lim fun­da­men­tal­ists, Cit­i­zen Green­wald was not par­tic­u­lar­ly dis­turbed by the recent pres­ence of Andrew Auern­heimer at a recent social gath­er­ing at which he and Lau­ra Poitras were present.

Were this an iso­lat­ed inci­dent, one might be more inclined to dis­miss it as hap­pen­stance.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this fits all too neat­ly into a pat­tern with Cit­i­zen Green­wald. In an ear­li­er pro­fes­sion­al incar­na­tion as an attor­ney, he spent years run­ning legal inter­fer­ence for Nazi mur­der­ers. (This is dis­cussed at length in FTR #754.)

Do note that the arti­cle below bad­ly under­states Cit­i­zen Green­wald’s pro-Nazi activ­i­ties.

In addi­tion, Wik­ileaks also tracks back to Nazi and fas­cist ele­ments. Eddie The Friend­ly Spook Snow­den is part and par­cel to the “Paulis­tin­ian” milieu. (To flesh out one’s under­stand­ing, do check out FTR #755, about Wik­ileaks and FTR #756 about the Paulis­tin­ian milieu. Wik­iLeaks and the Paulis­tini­ans are inex­tri­ca­bly linked with Green­wald and his asso­ciates.)

“iPad Hack­er Released From Jail, Par­ties with Glenn Green­wald, Pub­lishes Neo-Nazi Screeds” by Bob CescaThe Dai­ly Ban­ter; 10/09/2014.

Way back in 2010, a so-called “white hat” hack­er named Andrew Auern­heimer, known online as “Weev,” exploit­ed a secu­rity loop­hole on Apple’s iPad and acquired the names of 114,000 AT&T cus­tomers who sub­scribed to the iPad 3G data ser­vice. Fol­low­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion, Weev, who had “stolen” (his words) the user data was pros­e­cuted and con­victed. To his cred­it, Weev informed AT&T of the secu­rity flaw and the com­pany quick­ly but­toned it up. But back in April of this year, Weev’s con­vic­tion was over­turned because he was evi­dently tried in the wrong state (New Jer­sey). He was sub­se­quently released from Pennsylvania’s Allen­wood Fed­eral Cor­rec­tional Com­plex on April 11, 2014. The indict­ment remains, but the con­vic­tion no longer stands.

Dur­ing his time in jail, Weev appar­ently became a neo-Nazi, com­plete with a tat­too not unlike Edward Norton’s tat­too in Amer­i­can His­tory X — a giant swasti­ka on his right pec­toral. After his release, he post­ed a series of racist and anti-Semit­ic remarks on a web­site called The Dai­ly Stormer, a white-suprema­cist site not to be con­fused with The Dai­ly CallerThe Dai­ly Beast or The Dai­ly Ban­terVia Gawk­er, here are some choice pas­sages:

I’ve been a long-time crit­ic of Judaism, black cul­ture, immi­gra­tion to West­ern nations, and the media’s con­stant stream of anti-white pro­pa­ganda. Judge Wigen­ton was as black as they come. The pros­e­cu­tor, Zach Intrater, was a Brook­lyn Jew from an old mon­ey New York fam­i­ly.[...]

The whole time a yarmulke-cov­ered audi­ence of Jew­ry stared at me from the pews of the court­room. My pros­e­cu­tor invit­ed his whole syn­a­gogue to spec­tate.[...]

They took con­trol of our sys­tems of finance and law. They hyper­in­flated our cur­rency. They cor­rupted our daugh­ters and demand­ed they sub­ject them­selves to sex work to feed their fam­i­lies. These are a peo­ple that have made them­selves a prob­lem in every nation they occu­py, includ­ing ours. What’s sad­dest is that we are the enablers of this prob­lem. The Jews abused our com­pas­sion to build an empire of wicked­ness the likes the world has nev­er seen.

No gray area there. Weev clear­ly hates Jews, African-Amer­i­cans and any­one he per­ceives as “anti-white.”

Oh, and in addi­tion to his con­ver­sion to the neo-Nazi cause as well as his seem­ingly pro­lific online hate speech, Weev attend­ed a par­ty in New York soon after get­ting out of jail. The par­ty was held by none oth­er than Glenn Green­wald and Lau­ra Poitras to coin­cide with the cer­e­mony in which the duo received the Polk Award for their report­ing on Edward Snow­den and the Nation­al Secu­rity Agency.

Unless he crashed the par­ty, he was obvi­ously an invit­ed guest. But for a moment let’s assume Green­wald didn’t know Weev was invit­ed. Long before the par­ty, Green­wald had pre­vi­ously defend­ed Weev in The Guardian back in March, 2013, months before the author/reporter rose to inter­na­tional acclaim. Indeed, Green­wald named Weev as a “hack­tivist” who was being wrong­fully per­se­cuted by U.S. author­i­ties.

Just this week alone, a US fed­eral judge sen­tenced hac­tivist Andrew “Weev” Auern­heimer to 3 1/2 years in prison for exploit­ing a flaw in AT&T’s secu­rity sys­tem that allowed him entrance with­out any hack­ing, an act about which Slate’s Justin Peters wrote: “it’s not clear that Auern­heimer com­mit­ted any actu­al crime”, while Jeff Blag­don at the Verge added: “he cracked no codes, stole no pass­words, or in any way ‘broke into’ AT&T’s cus­tomer data­base – some­thing com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tives con­firmed dur­ing tes­ti­mony.” But he had a long record of dis­rup­tive and some­times even quite ugly (though legal) online antag­o­nism, so he had to be severe­ly pun­ished with years in prison.

For a moment, let’s set aside the whole neo-Nazi thing. Let’s also not re-lit­i­gate the past in which Green­wald, dur­ing his law-prac­tice days, defend­ed a com­pletely dif­fer­ent neo-Nazi. The fact that Green­wald con­tin­ues to blur the line between hack­ing and activism is utter­ly baf­fling. The man­ner in which he ratio­nal­ized Weev’s actions is a gross illus­tra­tion of gra­tu­itous spin and dan­ger­ous over­sim­pli­fi­ca­tion.

2b. Pan­do has an inter­view of ‘weev’ from his new home in Beirut.

” ‘Weev’ in Beirut: I Can’t Go Home Until ‘Most of the agents of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment are dead.’ ” by Dan Raile; Pan­do Dai­ly; 11/21/2014.

“The only hope I have of return­ing to the land I love, where I was kid­napped at gun­point and had my house bull­dozed, is if there is a such a con­sis­tent lev­el of change that most of the agents of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment are dead. I want to go home but I can’t.”

It’s late on a Tues­day evening and I’m sit­ting with Andrew Auern­heimer in the posh envi­rons of east Beirut’s Achrafieh neigh­bor­hood. The man most peo­ple know by his online han­dle, “weev,” is seat­ed across from me at a cozy cafe just down the street from the city’s flag­ship West­ern-style shop­ping mall. Auern­heimer, 29, is explain­ing why he’s been liv­ing in Beirut for the past month, and why he can’t return home to Amer­i­ca.

Weev’s road to Lebanon began in a New York City bar in May. He was just a few weeks out of fed­eral prison, sprung on appeal after 14 months of incar­cer­a­tion and years of legal and pub­lic spar­ring with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment over hack­ing charges. Weev want­ed to catch the tele­vised spec­ta­cle of NASCAR dri­ver Josh Wise rac­ing around the track at Tallede­ga in a car embla­zoned with the head of the celebri­ty Shi­ba Inu, Doge, and the name of its hon­orary cryp­tocur­rency, Doge­Coin. As a native of Arkansas and the inter­net, Auern­heimer says he couldn’t miss it.

We’ve tells me how he’d met his girl­friend that night. A Syr­ian Alaw­ite and a tat­too artist, she has intro­duced Auern­heimer into her cir­cle in Lebanon and cov­ered a sig­nif­i­cant amount of him with Norse sym­bol­ogy in per­ma­nent black ink.

The mass-mar­ket appeal of their whirl­wind mod­ern romance is com­pli­cated by the fact that one of those tat­toos is a painstak­ing roco­co swasti­ka over his chest. (Thank­fully, Gawk­er has already cov­ered that exten­sively – it got me off the hook when Auern­heimer offered to show it to me.)

The star-crossed love angle goes part of the way toward answer­ing the ques­tion that had com­pelled me to seek out Auern­heimer dur­ing a recent trip to Lebanon. Name­ly, why in hell would an avowed white nation­al­ist super-troll and hack­er be liv­ing in Beirut?

Inter­net con­nec­tiv­ity is pret­ty atro­cious in Lebanon, not to men­tion the fre­quent elec­tri­cal out­ages. I hard­ly need to men­tion that the Mid­dle East isn’t entire­ly rec­on­ciled to the idea of West­ern suprema­cy, or that the cur­rent vogue of right-wing nation­al­ist move­ments through­out Europe (which weev describes as “promis­ing”) is antag­o­nism toward immi­grants from the for­mer lands of the Ottoman empire.

Over the course of a cou­ple of hours, cof­fee, cig­a­rettes and a plate of french fries, the pieces of an expla­na­tion come togeth­er.

Auern­heimer describes him­self as the “point per­son for the press” for the loose­ly orga­nized crews of which he is mem­ber, and has writ­ten that “I make art… I see fed­eral courts, finan­cial mar­kets, world media and the very act of human per­cep­tion as the can­vas.” Per­haps by meet­ing Weev and report­ing our con­ver­sa­tion, I’m act­ing as a con­duit for the expres­sion of this sort of “art.” If so, I’m tak­ing in mind the words of one of my favorite authors, Oscar Wilde:

“We can for­give a man for mak­ing a use­ful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for mak­ing a use­less thing is that one admire it intense­ly. All art is use­less.”

By this token, the cyber-activ­i­ty of weev is either use­less art or unfor­giv­able, harm­ful provo­ca­tion and quite pos­si­bly both.

He says he’s encour­aged by recent mili­tia move­ments like that of Neva­da ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy, but that they don’t have their pri­or­i­ties straight. He tells me that he views Okla­homa City bomber Tim­o­thy McVeigh as a hero, and explained his vision of send­ing tiny drones laden with high explo­sives to the per­sonal res­i­dences of US fed­eral gov­ern­ment employ­ees.

“We are close to hav­ing atom­i­cally pre­cise engi­neer­ing for asym­met­ric war­fare. Cheap, 3D-print­ed drones. The tech is sim­ple. The drones that the US uses for airstrikes are crap. Sev­eral gen­er­a­tions behind. Pret­ty soon any­one who wants will be able to have some­thing bet­ter.”

“Some­how we need to get the ‘sol­dier types’ con­nected with the peo­ple who have the ideas about who should be tar­geted and how,” he says. “It’s about the ide­o­log­i­cal prepa­ra­tion of a seg­ment of the pop­u­la­tion.”

Auern­heimer was freed from prison when his con­vic­tion was over­turned as uncon­sti­tu­tional in vio­la­tion of his 6th amend­ment rights to a fair tri­al in the juris­dic­tion where an alleged crime takes place. But he doesn’t get misty-eyed about the ben­e­fits of America’s rule of law.

“I’m pro-con­sti­tu­tion. I think it’s prob­a­bly the great­est polit­i­cal doc­u­ment ever writ­ten. But it’s been total­ly and sys­tem­at­i­cally cor­rupted. It’s not rule of law, its rule by lawyers. The only lan­guage the gov­ern­ment under­stands now is fear and vio­lence. And if you’re will­ing to go far enough, they’ll lis­ten. There was no Waco after Waco. They blinked.”


Lebanon has no extra­di­tion treaty with the Unit­ed States. Weev says that was a cru­cial cri­te­rion for him in choos­ing a new home. Oth­er can­di­date coun­tries were Ser­bia and Andor­ra, which he says is still his first choice, if he can ever afford it. He also tells me that he would pre­fer to live in Syr­ia, but is wait­ing, con­fi­dently, for things there to “cool down.”

* * *

Of course, trolling doesn’t work unless it elic­its pro­found reac­tions of dis­gust, hate or anger. And weev is one of the internet’s most famous trolls. He is also, some­what uncom­fort­ably, a dandy of dig­i­tal civ­il lib­er­tar­i­ans due to his intran­si­gence in the face of fed­eral harass­ment, out at the bleed­ing edge of the first amend­ment.

Weev’s three-year scrap with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has been chron­i­cled in great detail in the media and through his ownchan­nels (here’s the 2010 Gawk­er arti­cle that start­ed it.) It’s a thorny sto­ry with no sym­pa­thetic pro­tag­o­nist, and all sorts of legal, tech­no­log­i­cal and social impli­ca­tions. It was a promi­nent bat­tle in the so-called “hack­er-wars,” and he has received sup­port, on civ­il rights grounds, from the EFFand Glen Green­wald.

Recent­ly, weev has jumped into the fray of the online brouha­ha around Pan­do reporter Yasha Levine’s report­ing on the ori­gins and fund­ing of Tor, a con­fus­ing mias­ma of alliances that has seen Tor evan­ge­lists claim­ing they are under­paid by the gov­ern­ment and a promi­nent ACLU Speech, Pri­vacy and Tech­nol­ogy Project staffer invok­ing the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion.

Auernheimer’s swasti­ka tat­too is not a rhetor­i­cal device. Nor is his relo­ca­tion to Beirut a sim­ple farce. I can attest that the sort of vit­riol weev reg­u­larly writes on the inter­net springs as read­ily from Auernheimer’s lips as his key­board.

“Amer­ica doesn’t have a gun vio­lence prob­lem, it has a minor­ity prob­lem,” he says.


One aspect of the cul­ture that weev obvi­ously enjoys is the con­cept of “wasta,” an entrenched orga­niz­ing prin­ci­ple in Lev­an­tine neigh­bor­hoods, economies and polit­i­cal life, which rough­ly means “clout” or “influ­ence” or “who you know.” It also sig­ni­fies pro­tec­tion.

“I’ve got some wasta,” weev says. “Enough to mit­i­gate a con­trolled kid­nap­ping sit­u­a­tion. But there is a much greater risk that the US gov­ern­ment could just kill me.”

He refers to wasta fre­quently through­out our talk, and clear­ly rel­ishes the idea of a net­work of pro­tec­tion that doesn’t cave to threats of pros­e­cu­tion or vio­lence. He says he owes his wasta to his girlfriend’s fam­ily ties in Beirut.

“In Arkansas, where I was born and raised and the only home I’ve ever real­ly known, no one was will­ing to step up for me,” he says.

Weev has writ­ten of his own par­ents, who coop­er­ated with inves­ti­ga­tors in his case, that they “are per­fect exam­ples of how sec­u­lar lib­er­al­ism destroys fam­i­lies and will rot out the foun­da­tions of our very civ­i­liza­tion,” and that he pities his moth­er as “a brain­washed drone of a state gone mad.”


3. Police have report­edly found a box filled with ammo­nium nitrate in the hotel room of the recent­ly arrest­ed leader of one of the mili­tia groups oper­at­ing on the US/Mexican bor­der, rais­ing the ques­tion of what this mili­tia may have had in mind. Fer­til­izer for a nice hedge fence along the bor­der, per­haps?

“Records: Bor­der Mili­tia Mem­ber Had Ammo­nium Nitrate, Thou­sands of Rounds of Ammu­ni­tion in Hotel Room” by Joshua Fechter; My Sanan­to­nio; 10/29/2014.

Fed­eral agents found a box filled with what appeared to be ammo­nium nitrate — which can cause major explo­sions — along with firearms and thou­sands of rounds of ammu­ni­tion dur­ing a search of the hotel room of mili­tia mem­ber Kevin Lyn­del Massey.

Agents with the fed­eral Bureau of Alco­hol, Tobac­co, Firearms and Explo­sives, who searched Massey’s hotel room in Brownsville after an Oct. 20 arrest, found an AK-47 with six loaded mag­a­zines, a loaded hand­gun, a bal­lis­tic hel­met and sev­eral cam­eras, as well as the ammu­ni­tion box filled with sus­pected ammo­nium nitrate and fuel, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments obtained by the San Anto­nio Express-News.

Ammo­nium nitrate can be a pow­er­ful explo­sive under cer­tain cir­cum­stances: a stock­pile of the sub­stance at a fer­til­izer plant in West caused the dead­ly April 17 explo­sion that killed 15 peo­ple and injured more than 160 oth­ers. It’s also the sub­stance used by Tim­o­thy McVeigh in the 1995 Okla­homa City bomb­ing that killed 168 peo­ple.

Massey was arrest­ed in con­nec­tion to an Aug. 29 inci­dent dur­ing which a Bor­der Patrol agent fired four shots at a man point­ing a weapon at the agent near the Rio Grande while pur­su­ing a group of immi­grants east of Brownsville, accord­ing to doc­u­ments from the U.S. Dis­trict Court for the South­ern Dis­trict of Texas in Brownsville.

Dur­ing the inci­dent, agents seized a pis­tol from the man, iden­ti­fied as mili­tia mem­ber John Fred­er­ick Foer­ster, and two firearms – a pis­tol and rifle – car­ried by Massey, who was in the vicin­ity with anoth­er mili­tia mem­ber.

Foer­ster was arrest­ed Oct. 21.

The court has ordered a psy­chi­atric eval­u­a­tion on Foer­ster.

U.S. Mag­is­trate Judge Ronald Mor­gan set Massey’s bond at $30,000 under sev­eral con­di­tions, includ­ing that Massey and his wife remove all firearms and ammu­ni­tion from their North Texas home.


4. Texas politi­cians are endors­ing the bor­der mili­tias.

Armed Right-Wing Mili­tias Amass­ing Along Texas Bor­der With State Lawmaker’s Bless­ing” by Ian Mill­hiser; Think Progress8/08/2014.

For much of the sum­mer, right-wing mili­ti­a­men have gath­ered near the Texas-Mex­i­co bor­der, many of them claim­ing that they are there as part of some­thing called “Oper­a­tion Secure Our Bor­der.” They include mem­bers of a move­ment that Pres­i­dent George W. Bush denounced as “vig­i­lantes,” and they also include mem­bers of even more rad­i­cal groups that pro­mote wild con­spir­acy the­o­ries and that explic­itly threat­en vio­lence against the gov­ern­ment.


Miller is not the high­est-rank­ing Texas offi­cial who has dis­missed crit­i­cism of armed vig­i­lantes patrolling the Texas bor­der. Late last month, the 12 Demo­c­ra­tic mem­bers of Texas’ con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion penned a let­ter to Greg Abbott, the state’s attor­ney gen­eral and the Repub­li­can can­di­date to be Texas’ next gov­er­nor. In it, the 12 law­mak­ers quote a mili­tia leader who said that You see an ille­gal. You point your gun dead at him, right between the eyes, and you say, ‘Get back across the bor­der or you will be shot.’ They also ask Abbott to “denounce the actions of these mili­tia groups and clar­ify the juris­dic­tion these mili­tia groups have to patrol along­side local law enforce­ment and Bor­der Patrol agents.”

A spokesper­son for Abbott dis­missed the let­ter as a “par­ti­san polit­i­cal stunt.”

The mili­tias Abbott would not denounce include a volatile mix of para­noid anti-gov­ern­ment groups and poten­tially vio­lent gun activists. Accord­ing to the Dal­las Morn­ing News, the ear­li­est wave of mili­ti­a­men com­ing to Texas includ­ed mem­bers of the Oath­keep­ers, a group which describes itself as an “asso­ci­a­tion of cur­rently serv­ing mil­i­tary, reserves, Nation­al Guard, peace offi­cers, fire-fight­ers, and vet­er­ans who swore an oath to sup­port and defend the Con­sti­tu­tion against all ene­mies, for­eign and domes­tic … and meant it.” Their web­site warns of gov­ern­ment offi­cials “disarm[ing] the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” “confiscat[ing] the prop­erty of the Amer­i­can peo­ple, includ­ing food and oth­er essen­tial sup­plies,” and “blockad[ing] Amer­i­can cities, thus turn­ing them into giant con­cen­tra­tion camps.”

The mili­ti­a­men also report­edly include mem­bers of the “Three Percenter’s Club,” a group which claims that its “mis­sion is give our mem­bers the capa­bil­i­ties and resources nec­es­sary to exe­cute Mil­i­tary Strate­gies to defend against for­eign and domes­tic ene­mies.” The Three Per­center move­ment takes its name from the “3% of the colonist [sic]” who alleged­ly “refused orders by the British Crown to sur­ren­der their firearms in the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion,” and it was found­ed by a con­ser­v­a­tive activist named Mike Van­der­boegh. On his per­sonal blog, Van­der­boegh explained that one of the Three Per­center movement’s core beliefs is a will­ing­ness to offer vio­lent resis­tance to the gov­ern­ment:

We intend to main­tain our God-giv­en nat­ural rights to lib­erty and prop­erty, and that means most espe­cially the right to keep and bear arms. Thus, we are com­mit­ted to the restora­tion of the Founders’ Repub­lic, and are will­ing to fight, die and, if forced by any would-be oppres­sor, to kill in the defense of our­selves and the Con­sti­tu­tion that we all took an oath to uphold against ene­mies for­eign and domes­tic.

We are the peo­ple that the col­lec­tivists who now con­trol the gov­ern­ment should leave alone if they wish to con­tinue unfet­tered oxy­gen con­sump­tion. We are the Three Per­cent. Attempt to fur­ther oppress us at your per­il.

To put it blunt­ly, leave us the hell alone.

Or, if you feel frog­gy, go ahead AND WATCH WHAT HAPPENS.

Last April, a sim­i­lar col­lec­tion of mili­tia orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing mem­bers of the Oath Keep­ers, gath­ered near the home of Neva­da ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy to offer armed resis­tance to fed­eral offi­cials seek­ing to enforce a court order pre­vent­ing Bundy from ille­gally graz­ing his cat­tle on fed­eral land. Bundy briefly became a hero among con­ser­v­a­tive media fig­ures such as Fox News’ Sean Han­nity, and Sen. Dean Heller (R‑NV) labeled Bundy and his sup­port­ers “patri­ots.” Bundy’s moment as a Repub­li­can folk hero end­ed fair­ly abrupt­ly, how­ever, after he made racist remarks about “the Negro.”

What sets Bundy’s armed sup­port­ers apart from the mili­tia mem­bers gath­er­ing in Texas, how­ever, is that Bundy’s mili­tia squared off against trained fed­eral law enforce­ment offi­cials. The mili­ti­a­men in Texas, by con­trast, have threat­ened to point their guns at des­per­ate and often help­less peo­ple cross­ing the bor­der.

5a.  As you might expect, the mili­tias might be rather fond of gov­er­nor Greg Abbott giv­en his refusal to denounce their antics while he’s still Attor­ney Gen­eral.

“Mili­tia Leader Posed with Greg Abbott Four Days Before Feds Found Ammo­nium Nitrate, Weapons at Hotel” by Joshua Fechter; San Anto­nio Express; 10/31/2014.

Four days before fed­eral author­i­ties arrest­ed him on fed­eral weapons charges and found ammo­nium nitrate in his South Texas hotel room, bor­der mili­tia leader Kevin Lyn­del “K.C.” Massey chat­ted and posed for a pho­to with Repub­li­can guber­na­to­r­ial can­di­date Greg Abbott at a cam­paign event in Brownsville.

The pho­to, tak­en at Brownsville restau­rant Cob­ble­heads on Oct. 16, shows Massey wear­ing an “Abbott for Gov­er­nor” stick­er on his mil­i­tary fatigues and shak­ing hands with the smil­ing can­di­date.

Video footage cap­tured by Fox 2 News in Brownsville also shows Massey tak­ing pho­tos of Abbott while wear­ing a GoPro cam­era on his head, which was lat­er con­fis­cated dur­ing the raid.

Massey post­ed anoth­er pho­to of him­self and Abbott at the event on his Face­book pro­file — since delet­ed, but snagged by ValleyCentral.com — with the cap­tion, “Try­ing to talk to Greg Abbott about the bor­der prob­lems. I gave him my num­ber we will see if he calls.”

Abbott deputy com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor Amelia Chas­se said Abbott and his cam­paign did not know who Massey was when the can­di­date posed with the mili­tia mem­ber. She declined to com­ment whether Massey posed a secu­rity threat to Abbott.

“This indi­vid­ual was part of a pho­to line at a pub­lic event and Greg Abbott took a pho­to with every­one who was in the line at that event,” Chas­se said, adding the two exchanged only “pleas­antries” dur­ing their brief encounter.

Agents with the fed­eral Bureau of Alco­hol, Tobac­co, Firearms and Explo­sives, who searched Massey’s hotel room in Brownsville after an Oct. 20 arrest, found an AK-47 with six loaded mag­a­zines, a loaded hand­gun, a bal­lis­tic hel­met and sev­eral cam­eras, as well as an ammu­ni­tion box filled with sus­pected ammo­nium nitrate — which can cause major explo­sions — and fuel, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments obtained by the San Anto­nio Express-News.

Chas­se declined to say whether Abbott sup­ports the group.

“Greg Abbott places his trust in the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safe­ty, bor­der sher­iffs, the Nation­al Guard and local law enforce­ment to do the job nec­es­sary to keep Tex­ans safe,” Chas­se said.

The cam­paign did not respond to a fol­low-up ques­tion regard­ing whether Abbott, an avid gun rights advo­cate, is con­cerned that some mili­tia mem­bers are alleged­ly patrolling the bor­der with weapons that, under fed­eral law, they are pro­hib­ited from car­ry­ing.

Abbott’s oppo­nent Demo­c­ra­tic guber­na­to­r­ial can­di­date Wendy Davis blast­ed Abbott in a state­ment for not con­demn­ing mili­tia groups’ activ­ity at the U.S.-Mexico bor­der.

“It’s hard to say what’s more dis­turb­ing: the fact that Greg Abbott met with a rad­i­cal mili­tia leader days before fed­eral author­i­ties found the same kind of explo­sives from the Okla­homa City bomb­ing in his hotel room or the fact that Greg Abbott is refus­ing to denounce his dan­ger­ous fringe group,” Davis said. “Mr. Abbott’s refusal to dis­close what they dis­cussed or con­demn this group shows a fright­en­ing lack of judg­ment from some­one who wants to be our gov­er­nor.”

In July, The Texas Demo­c­ra­tic Con­gres­sional Del­e­ga­tion, includ­ing U.S. Rep. Joaquin Cas­tro of San Anto­nio, called on Abbott to denounce mili­tia groups at the bor­der. At the time, Abbott spokes­woman Lau­ren Bean called the move a “par­ti­san polit­i­cal stunt.”

In a state­ment Fri­day, Cas­tro said the inci­dent “serves as a reminder that patrolling the bor­der should be left to the author­i­ties.”

“This is what hap­pens when you don’t stand up for the rule of law, and allow felons to ‘patrol’ the bor­der,” Cas­tro said. “Greg Abbott should take this oppor­tu­nity to denounce these groups.”

While the optics of the pho­to may be unwel­come for the Abbott cam­paign, it’s not like­ly to stir any major shake­ups four days from the Nov. 4 elec­tion, said Mark Jones, a polit­i­cal sci­en­tist at Rice Uni­ver­si­ty.

Jones point­ed out that can­di­dates take thou­sands of pho­tos with poten­tial sup­port­ers while on cam­paign­ing and are unable to vet each one.

“Cer­tainly for Abbott, it’s not some­thing you would like to see, but at the same time, polit­i­cal can­di­dates shake hands with peo­ple at polit­i­cal ral­lies and meet­ings on a dai­ly basis,” Jones said.


Ammo­nium nitrate has mas­sive explo­sive pow­er under cer­tain cir­cum­stances: a stock­pile of the sub­stance at a fer­til­izer plant in West caused the April 17 explo­sion that killed 15 peo­ple and injured more than 160 oth­ers and the sub­stance was also used by Tim­o­thy McVeigh in the 1995 Okla­homa City bomb­ing that killed 168 peo­ple. . . . .

. . . . Chas­se declined to say whether Abbott sup­ports the group.

5b. Okla­homa Sen­a­tor Tom Coburn is warn­ing that if Pres­i­dent Oba­ma issues an exec­u­tive order on immi­gra­tion peo­ple will sud­denly think “Well, if the law doesn’t apply to the Pres­i­dent ... then why should it apply to me?”
“GOP Sen­a­tor Warns of Vio­lence after Immi­gra­tion Order” by Susan Page; USA Today; 11/20/2014.

Okla­homa Sen. Tom Coburn warns there could be not only a polit­i­cal firestorm but acts of civ­il dis­obe­di­ence and even vio­lence in reac­tion to Pres­i­dent Obama’s exec­u­tive order on immi­gra­tion Thurs­day.

“The country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move out­side the author­ity of the pres­i­dent, and it’s going to be a very seri­ous sit­u­a­tion,” Coburn said on Cap­i­tal Down­load. “You’re going to see — hope­fully not — but you could see instances of anar­chy. ... You could see vio­lence.”

Coburn, 66, is a con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­can but one who has a per­sonal rela­tion­ship with Oba­ma. They entered the Sen­ate in the same class, elect­ed in 2004, and the new sen­a­tors from oppo­site ends of the polit­i­cal spec­trum and their spous­es imme­di­ately hit it off at an ori­en­ta­tion din­ner. Last year, the pres­i­dent wrote a trib­ute in Time mag­a­zine to Coburn as “some­one who speaks his mind (and) sticks to his prin­ci­ples.”

“I real­ly like the guy,” Coburn, 66, told USA TODAY’s week­ly video news­maker series Wednes­day. “I thought he’s neat, and I think Michelle’s a neat lady.”

That his­tory gives Coburn’s stark assess­ment a spe­cial sting. On immi­gra­tion, he accus­es Oba­ma of act­ing like “an auto­cratic leader that’s going to dis­re­gard what the Con­sti­tu­tion says and make law any­way.” He says changes in immi­gra­tion pol­icy require pas­sage by Con­gress, not just the president’s sig­na­ture — a charge the White House dis­putes and on which legal experts dis­agree.

“Instead of hav­ing the rule of law han­dling in our coun­try today, now we’re start­ing to have the rule of rulers, and that’s the total antithe­sis of what this coun­try was found­ed on,” Coburn says. “Here’s how peo­ple think: Well, if the law doesn’t apply to the pres­i­dent ... then why should it apply to me?”


6a. Back in August peo­ple were ask­ing if far right GOP Sen­ate can­di­date Joni Ernst’s “flir­ta­tion” with the fringe would hurt her in the gen­eral elec­tion. She won.

“Will Joni Ernst’s Flir­ta­tions with the Polit­i­cal Fringe Haunt Her in Novem­ber?” by Mered­ith Shin­er; Yahoo News; 8/13/2014.

In the weeks since her deci­sive June U.S. Sen­ate pri­mary win, Iowa Repub­li­can Joni Ernst has found her­self in the pre­car­i­ous posi­tion of being an estab­lish­ment-backed can­di­date who owes her shot at a nation­al office to some of the most con­ser­v­a­tive vot­ers in the coun­try. That means that while she’s now got the full sup­port of the Nation­al Repub­li­can Sen­a­to­r­ial Com­mit­tee, she is also being con­fronted by sym­pa­thetic remarks she made ear­lier on fringe top­ics before audi­ences far to the right of the Iowa gen­eral elec­torate.

The lat­est pri­mary com­ments that could haunt her Sen­ate bid are on the top­ic of Agen­da 21, a com­mu­nity plan­ning pro­vi­sion in a decades-old Unit­ed Nations treaty that’s become an object of fear and con­spir­acy the­o­ries on the right, and espe­cially in the com­men­taries and writ­ing of Glenn Beck.

Yahoo News has obtained video show­ing Ernst at a Jan­u­ary GOP forum in Mont­gomery Coun­ty, Iowa, warn­ing that Agen­da 21 could force Iowa farm­ers off their land, dic­tate what cities Iowans must live in, and con­trol how Iowa cit­i­zens trav­el from place to place.

“The Unit­ed Nations has imposed this upon us, and as a U.S. sen­a­tor, I would say, ‘No more. No more Agen­da 21.’ Com­mu­nity plan­ning — to the effect that it is imple­ment­ing emi­nent domain and tak­ing away prop­erty rights away from indi­vid­u­als — I don’t agree with that. And espe­cially in a place such as Iowa, where we rely heav­ily upon our agri­cul­tural com­mu­nity, our rur­al com­mu­ni­ties. We don’t want to see things like emi­nent domain come into play,” Ernst said in response to a ques­tion about Agen­da 21 at the forum.

“We don’t want to see a fur­ther push with Agen­da 21, where the Agen­da 21 and the gov­ern­ment telling us that these are the urban cen­ters that you will live in; these are the ways that you will trav­el to oth­er urban cen­ters,” Ernst con­tin­ued. “Agen­da 21 encom­passes so many dif­fer­ent aspects of our lives that it’s tak­ing away our indi­vid­ual lib­er­ties, our free­doms as Unit­ed States cit­i­zens. So I would adamant­ly oppose Agen­da 21. I don’t believe it is respon­si­ble, not for Unit­ed States cit­i­zens.”

It wasn’t the only time Ernst addressed the top­ic or raised such fears dur­ing her pri­mary cam­paign. “What I’ve seen, the impli­ca­tions we could have here, is mov­ing peo­ple off of their agri­cul­tural land and con­sol­i­dat­ing them into city cen­ters, and then telling them that you don’t have prop­erty rights any­more,” she told a crowd in rur­al Ida Grove in Novem­ber 2013, in response to a gen­eral for­eign pol­icy ques­tion and in remarks first report­ed by the Asso­ci­ated Press in June.

But with her pri­mary long in the rearview mir­ror and the gen­eral elec­tion less than 90 days away, Ernst now sounds more like a debunker of the con­spir­acy than an alarmist.

When asked by Yahoo News last week in Iowa about Agen­da 21 and her pre­vi­ous remarks on the issue — an issue so obscure that sev­eral out­side GOP cam­paign oper­a­tives approached for this sto­ry had nev­er heard of it — Ernst had changed her tune, and sound­ed more in sync with a gen­eral elec­tion audi­ence.

“I don’t think that the U.N. Agen­da 21 is a threat to Iowa farm­ers,” Ernst said in an inter­view in her Urban­dale cam­paign office. “I think there are a lot of peo­ple that fol­low that issue in Iowa. It may be some­thing that is very impor­tant to them, but I think Iowans are very smart and that we have a great leg­is­la­ture here, we have a very intel­li­gent gov­er­nor, and I think that we will pro­tect Iowans.”


Ernst has expressed out-of-the-main­stream views on a range of issues, from impeach­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­mato the issue of states act­ing to nul­lify fed­eral law, for which she was crit­i­cized by the edi­to­r­ial board of the Des Moines Reg­is­ter.

But her posi­tions on the 1992 U.N. rec­om­men­da­tions for coun­tries to become more envi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able — which Beckmade the basis of his nov­el “Agen­da 21,” about a “vio­lent and tyran­ni­cal gov­ern­ment” rul­ing “what was once known as Amer­ica”— are per­haps her great­est flir­ta­tion with the pol­i­tics of the con­spir­a­cy-mind­ed.

And unlike her impeach­ment remarks, the breadth and length of her response on the top­ic of Agen­da 21 seems to belie a deep knowl­edge of the con­spir­acy the­ory float­ed by con­ser­v­a­tive radio icons on an issue on which many can­di­dates would like­ly have no pre­pared talk­ing points or strong­ly held opin­ions. Many sources famil­iar with Iowa pol­i­tics note, how­ever, that the ques­tion of Agen­da 21 is more fre­quently dis­cussed in the Hawk­eye state’s agri­cul­tural com­mu­ni­ties than it is nation­al­ly.

The full audio of her Novem­ber com­ments, in response to a more gener­ic ques­tion about the Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions and “the erod­ing of Amer­i­can sov­er­eignty via the Unit­ed Nations,” was also obtained by Yahoo News:


For now, Ernst says she’s not con­cerned about Agen­da 21 or even people’s per­cep­tion of her pre­vi­ous remarks on the mat­ter.

“I don’t think so,” she said, when asked whether she was wor­ried about this. “Peo­ple will think what they want to think about Agen­da 21 — but again, going back to Iowa: The Iowa way is to take care of Iowans, and that’s exact­ly what we intend to do. I think the U.N. is a far reach away from Iowa. I don’t think it’s a threat.”

6b. Note that in addi­tion to push­ing for nul­li­fi­ca­tion of Oba­macare, Ernst has also backed the arrest of fed­eral offi­cials try­ing to imple­ment it.

GOP­er Ernst Backed Arrest­ing Feds over Oba­macare in a 2012 Sur­vey” by Daniel Strauss; TPM Livewire; 10/03/2014. 

 State Sen. Joni Ernst, the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee for U.S. Sen­ate in Iowa, once said she would sup­port leg­is­la­tion that would allow “local law enforce­ment to arrest fed­er­al offi­cials attempt­ing to imple­ment” Oba­macare.

Ernst voiced her sup­port for that, as well as sup­port­ing leg­is­la­tion that would “nul­li­fy” Oba­macare in a Iowa State Leg­isla­tive Can­di­dates sur­vey for Ron Paul’s lib­er­tar­i­an-aligned Cam­paign for Lib­er­ty in 2012. It can be viewed here.

The ques­tion was: “Will you sup­port leg­is­la­tion to nul­li­fy Oba­maCare and autho­rize state and local law enforce­ment to arrest fed­er­al offi­cials attempt­ing to imple­ment the uncon­sti­tu­tion­al health care scheme known as Oba­maCare?” Ernst answered that ques­tion as “yes.”

Cam­paign for Lib­er­ty Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor Megan Stiles told TPM on Fri­day that the “yes” answer is what the group is look­ing for in can­di­dates. Stiles, how­ev­er, cau­tioned that the group does not endorse can­di­dates.

“States nul­li­fy­ing fed­er­al laws is one way of a check on the bal­ance of fed­er­al pow­er,” Stiles said. “So that’s an addi­tion­al way to fight Oba­macare. That’s what we’re look­ing for.” . . . .

7. For­mer Rea­gan speech­writer Dougas MacK­in­non is advo­cat­ing the breakup of the Unit­ed States.

“Author Says South Should Form New Nation with­out Gays and His­pan­ics called ‘Rea­gan’ ” by Travis Get­tys; Raw Sto­ry; 10/22/2014.

A con­ser­v­a­tive colum­nist and for­mer aide to Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan called on south­ern states to secede and form an ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive new nation named after his old boss.

Dou­glas MacK­in­non, a for­mer speech­writer for Pres­i­dents Rea­gan and George H.W. Bush, appeared Tues­day on The Janet Mef­ford Show to pro­mote his new book,“The Seces­sion­ist States of Amer­ica: The Blue­print for Cre­at­ing a Tra­di­tional Val­ues Coun­try … Now,” report­ed Right Wing Watch.

He told the reli­gious con­ser­v­a­tive host that south­ern states – start­ing with Flori­da, Geor­gia, and South Car­olina – should leave the Unit­ed States so they can imple­ment a right-wing Chris­t­ian sys­tem of gov­ern­ment.

MacK­in­non envi­sions oth­er states join­ing, but he hopes to leave out Texas because “there have been a num­ber of incur­sions into Texas and oth­er places from some of the folks in Mex­i­co.”

“A grow­ing num­ber of our lead­ers seem deter­mined to erase our bor­ders,” he wrote in a recent syn­di­cated col­umn pro­mot­ing his book, “do away with the rule-of-law, expand the nan­ny state into a the­ol­ogy, bank­rupt or pun­ish Amer­i­can com­pa­nies in the name of fight­ing cli­mate change, do away with the 2nd Amend­ment, cen­sor or demo­nize the his­tory of west­ern civ­i­liza­tion and replace it with mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism, give every kid a tro­phy and turn them into wimps, con­tinue to sup­port the com­pletely unfund­ed pub­lic-employ­ee pen­sions which are destroy­ing the finan­cial sol­vency of cities, coun­ties, and states across our nation, add bil­lions every day to our $17 tril­lion in debt, destroy our health-care sys­tem to sub­sti­tute social­ized med­i­cine, vil­ify fos­sil fuels, and attack all faith in God with a par­tic­u­lar and unhinged bias against the Chris­t­ian faith.”

He argued on the radio pro­gram that the South had “seced­ed legal­ly” and “peace­fully” in the months pri­or to the Civ­il War.

“Pres­i­dent Lin­coln waged an ille­gal war that was, in fact, not declared against the South after the South basi­cally did what we’re talk­ing about in this book now in terms of peace­fully, legal­ly and con­sti­tu­tion­ally leav­ing the union,” MacK­in­non said.

How­ever, MacK­in­non brushed aside Mefford’s con­cerns that seces­sion would trig­ger anoth­er Civ­il War, say­ing only that “it wouldn’t remote­ly come to that” because news cov­er­age is faster and more thor­ough in mod­ern times.

He said the new coun­try should be called Rea­gan, at least until vot­ers there could decide on a per­ma­nent name.

MacK­in­non did not specif­i­cally address dur­ing the radio pro­gram whether slav­ery would be legal in the new seces­sion­ist gov­ern­ment, nor did he describe the sta­tus of black peo­ple liv­ing in Rea­gan.

But he made clear that LGBT peo­ple would be sec­ond-class cit­i­zens – or worse – say­ing that advances in their rights as cit­i­zens was a major fac­tor in his call to break up the Unit­ed States.

“If you do believe in tra­di­tional val­ues, if you are a Chris­t­ian, if you are evan­gel­i­cal, if you do believe in the gold­en rule, then you’re see­ing all of this unrav­el before our eyes dai­ly,” he com­plained.

MacK­in­non said he devised his plan with the help of a mil­i­tary vet­eran friend, along with a group that includ­ed “a con­sti­tu­tional law expert, two for­mer mil­i­tary offi­cers, two for­mer diplo­mats, a min­is­ter, anoth­er spe­cial oper­a­tor, and experts on bank­ing, ener­gy, farm­ing, and infra­struc­ture.”


8. Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader-to-be Mitch McConnel­l’s fam­i­ly is in the news for the wrong rea­sons. (Most of McConnel­l’s for­tune appar­ent­ly comes from his in-laws.) His father-in-law (James Chao) has pros­pered because of his found­ing and pro­pri­etor­ship of a ship­ping line, The Fore­most Group.

That com­pa­ny has an opaque struc­ture, with many of its ships reg­is­tered in coun­tries that make com­pli­ance with mar­itime reg­u­la­tions eas­i­er to skirt.

Now, one of Fore­most’s ships (the Ping May) has been bust­ed sail­ing from Colom­bia for Ams­ter­dam with 40 kilo­grams of cocaine aboard.

In the post accessed below, author Nathan Downes asks a rel­e­vant ques­tion: How much of Fore­most’s largesse (and, by exten­sion, the McConnell clan’s wealth) is derived from shady enter­pris­es?

“40 KG of Cocaine Found on Mitch McConnel­l’s Father-in-Law’s Boat” by Nathaniel Downes; Addict­ing Info; 10/31/2014.

James Chao, father of Mitch McConnell’s wife Elaine, has a lot of ques­tions to answer after 40 kilo­grams of cocaine (about $6.7 mil­lion worth) was found on the Ping May, a ship owned by the Fore­most Group, a com­pa­ny James Chao found­ed and led to a tidy for­tune. But was that for­tune built on hon­est move­ment of legit­i­mate bulk trade goods, or has Mr. Chao been trad­ing in less than legal goods?

The cocaine, found in 40 sep­a­rate pack­ages, was dis­cov­ered dur­ing a rou­tine inspec­tion hid­den among a load of coal bound for Europe from the port of San­ta Mar­ta, Colum­bia onboard the Ping May, one of 15 ships Fore­most cur­rent­ly oper­ates, with anoth­er 8 under con­struc­tion. The final des­ti­na­tion for the ship was to be the Nether­lands, like­ly one of the port cities sur­round­ing Ams­ter­dam. It is known that the Ping May has been wit­nessed at the port of Zaanstad, one of these cities, in the past.

Fore­most Group is the source of most of Sen­a­tor McConnell’s for­tune through gifts and inher­i­tance from his in-laws. It is a shad­owy cor­po­ra­tion, uti­liz­ing a com­plex scheme of shell com­pa­nies to skip out on mil­lions in tax­es annu­al­ly.

They fly their ships under the flag of Liberia, a west African nation known for its lax labor pro­tec­tions, allow­ing Fore­most the oppor­tu­ni­ty to exploit its ships’ work­force with lit­tle fear of recrim­i­na­tion. How­ev­er, this sta­tus as an employ­er-friend­ly anti-labor nation also allowed west­ern African nations, such as Liberia, to become one of the epi­cen­ters for drug smug­gling through legit­i­mate chan­nels. By work­ing to extract every red cent of prof­it at the cost of the labor­ers who make their for­tunes pos­si­ble, Fore­most may have sewn the seeds of its own down­fall.

It could be that some among the ships work­force, tired of being exploit­ed, decid­ed on being cre­ative with their income. It could be that the drug car­tels which dom­i­nate Colum­bia insert­ed the cocaine with­out any of the ships crew know­ing. Or it could be that Mr. Chao is in league with the drug car­tels, pos­si­bly for a very long time, and chose to fly under the Liber­ian flag for this very rea­son. We do not know.

It is most like­ly that Mr. Chao’s greed is the only crime for which he is guilty. By using this elab­o­rate scheme to not only defraud the US gov­ern­ment of owed tax­es but to exploit his work­force, Mr. Chao may have made such a sce­nario a fore­gone con­clu­sion. Now his com­pa­ny is under a micro­scope, the last place the very pri­vate man want­ed it.

9. Arms deal­er Vik­tor Bout has some unspec­i­fied “new­ly dis­cov­ered evi­dence” that he thinks will get him a new tri­al. He has hired for­mer Attor­ney Gen­er­al John Ashcroft’s law firm to rep­re­sent him. Bout had traf­ficked arms to, among oth­er groups, Al Qae­da.

“Arms Deal­er Bout Seeks New U.S. Tri­al, Hires Ashcroft Law Firm” by Jonathan Stem­pel; reuters.com; 11/03/2014.

Con­victed Russ­ian arms traf­ficker Vik­tor Bout believes he has evi­dence to jus­tify a new U.S. tri­al and has hired the law firm of for­mer U.S. Attor­ney Gen­eral John Ashcroft to help him pur­sue his case.

Bout, 47, is serv­ing a 25-year prison sen­tence fol­low­ing his 2011 jury con­vic­tion for hav­ing con­spired to kill U.S. sol­diers by way of his agree­ment to sell weapons to a Colom­bian rebel group.

Accord­ing to fil­ings on Mon­day with the U.S. Dis­trict Court in Man­hat­tan, Bout hired the Ashcroft Law Firm and Alex­ey Tarasov, a Hous­ton-based lawyer, to help him obtain a new tri­al based on unspec­i­fied “new­ly dis­cov­ered evi­dence.”

U.S. Dis­trict Judge Shi­ra Scheindlin on Mon­day grant­ed Bout until Jan. 1, 2015 to for­mally seek a new tri­al, allow­ing his new lawyers more time to exam­ine the issues.

Bout’s dead­line to seek a new tri­al had been Mon­day, but he said the office of U.S. Attor­ney Preet Bharara in Man­hat­tan was “not opposed” to a 60-day exten­sion.

Michael Sul­li­van, a part­ner at Ashcroft’s firm and for­mer U.S. attor­ney in Mass­a­chu­setts who would work on the case, declined to com­ment. Tarasov did not respond to requests for com­ment.

A spokes­woman for Bharara declined to com­ment.

Bout’s chal­lenge fol­lows the Sep­tem­ber 2013 refusal by the fed­eral appeals court in Man­hat­tan to over­turn his con­vic­tion, which he claimed fol­lowed a “vin­dic­tive” pros­e­cu­tion and his improp­er extra­di­tion from Thai­land to face U.S. charges.

Jurors con­victed Bout of hav­ing agreed to sell arms to infor­mants pos­ing as mem­bers of the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Armed Forces of Colom­bia, which the U.S. gov­ern­ment had deemed a for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion, and con­spir­ing to acquire and export anti-air­craft mis­siles.

Co-defen­dant Richard Chichak­li, a dual Amer­i­can and Syr­ian cit­i­zen, was con­victed of con­spir­acy charges last Decem­ber.

Bout is in a medi­um-secu­ri­ty prison in Mar­ion, Illi­nois, and is not eli­gi­ble for release until Dec. 15, 2029. He was the sub­ject of a 2007 book, “Mer­chant of Death.”

10. The end­less GOP drum­beat about Beng­hazi con­tin­ues, despite the fact that the lat­est [7th], GOP-ini­ti­at­ed inves­ti­ga­tion absolves Oba­ma and com­pa­ny of all of the GOP’s charges.

Eighth time’s a charm?

“GOP Intel Report Debunks Its Own Party’s Nut­ty Beng­hazi The­o­riesby Ken Dilan­ian [AP]; Talk­ing Points Memo; 11/21/2014.

A two-year inves­ti­ga­tion by the Repub­li­can-con­trolled House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee has found that the CIA and the mil­i­tary act­ed prop­erly in respond­ing to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplo­matic com­pound in Beng­hazi, Libya, and assert­ed no wrong­do­ing by Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion appointees.

Debunk­ing a series of per­sis­tent alle­ga­tions hint­ing at dark con­spir­a­cies, the inves­ti­ga­tion deter­mined that there was no intel­li­gence fail­ure, no delay in send­ing a CIA res­cue team, no missed oppor­tu­nity for a mil­i­tary res­cue, and no evi­dence the CIA was covert­ly ship­ping arms from Libya to Syr­ia.

In the imme­di­ate after­math of the attack, intel­li­gence about who car­ried it out and why was con­tra­dic­tory, the report found. That led Susan Rice, then U.S. ambas­sador to the Unit­ed Nations, to inac­cu­rately assert that the attack had evolved from a protest, when in fact there had been no protest. But it was intel­li­gence ana­lysts, not polit­i­cal appointees, who made the wrong call, the com­mit­tee found. The report did not con­clude that Rice or any oth­er gov­ern­ment offi­cial act­ed in bad faith or inten­tion­ally mis­led the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

The House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee report was released with lit­tle fan­fare on the Fri­day before Thanks­giv­ing week. Many of its find­ings echo those of six pre­vi­ous inves­ti­ga­tions by var­i­ous con­gres­sional com­mit­tees and a State Depart­ment pan­el. The eighth Beng­hazi inves­ti­ga­tion is being car­ried out by a House Select Com­mit­tee appoint­ed in May.






17 comments for “FTR #822 The Snowdenistas, the GOP and Violent Secession”

  1. Here’s an alarm­ing­ly illus­tra­tive reminder of the GOP’s bare­ly-cryp­to-embrace of far right rad­i­cal­ism: the incom­ing speak­er of the Neva­da State Assem­bly, Ira Hansen, just stepped down as speak­er. Why? Because of reports that high­light­ed the fact that Ira Hansen has been pub­licly employ­ing in remark­ably racist rhetoric for a long long time. It was both shock­ing and not real­ly all that shock­ing:

    Polit­i­cal Research Asso­ciates
    Racist Neva­da Assem­bly­man Ira Hansen’s Long Fam­i­ly His­to­ry of Reac­tionary Third-Par­ty Pol­i­tics
    By Rachel Tabach­nick, on Novem­ber 24, 2014

    Rep. Ira Hansen ® stepped down as speak­er-elect of the Neva­da Assem­bly on Sun­day, fol­low­ing nation­al pub­lic­i­ty of a report on his racist and misog­y­nis­tic columns in a local newspaper—including his label­ing of Black peo­ple as “sim­ple mind­ed dark­ies.” But giv­en that mem­o­ries are short, and politi­cians’ ambi­tions nev­er die, this may be a good time to dis­cuss the Hansen fam­i­lies’ 50+ year his­to­ry of right-wing third par­ty pol­i­tics, from George Wallace’s 1968 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign to the present.

    Hansen is denounc­ing the “orches­trat­ed attack” on his char­ac­ter, claim­ing that the inflam­ma­to­ry quotes are 20 years old and tak­en out of context—his use of the word “negro” in low­er case in ref­er­ence to Pres­i­dent Oba­ma is not two decades old—but it is true that nation­al press failed to pro­vide con­text for Hansen’s rapid rise to promi­nence in Nevada’s GOP.

    The Inde­pen­dent Amer­i­can Par­ty of Neva­da

    The Hansen clan, includ­ing Ira Hansen’s father, grand­moth­er, aunt, and uncles, and oth­er rel­a­tives, are prac­ti­cal­ly syn­ony­mous with the state’s third largest par­ty, the Inde­pen­dent Amer­i­can Par­ty (IAP). The IAP in Neva­da has includ­ed in its ranks Shar­ron Angle, who lat­er ran for Sen­ate as a Repub­li­can, and Cliv­en Bundy, who pub­licly aban­doned the GOP and signed his reg­is­tra­tion form at an IAP event held in his hon­or in May, 2014. The IAP is the fastest grow­ing par­ty in Neva­da, now with over 70,000 mem­bers and dou­bling in size since 2005.

    The Par­ty was found­ed by Ira’s father, Daniel Hansen, as part of an effort to get Alaba­ma Gov­er­nor George Wal­lace, a hard­core seg­re­ga­tion­ist, on the bal­lot in Neva­da for the 1968 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. (See the side­bar about the role of Daniel’s fel­low John Birch Soci­ety mem­bers and Mor­mon lead­er­ship in cam­paign­ing for Wal­lace in West­ern states.) The IAP of Neva­da was affil­i­at­ed with the Amer­i­can Inde­pen­dent Par­ty (AIP) in the 1960s and 70s, and lat­er with the theo­crat­ic Con­sti­tu­tion Par­ty.

    Daniel Hansen was the run­ner up in bal­lot­ing for the vice pres­i­den­tial slot on the tick­et with Gov. Lester Mad­dox in 1976, and would run unsuc­cess­ful­ly in Neva­da for Gov­er­nor and Con­gress before his death in a car acci­dent in 2002. The IAP would con­tin­ue, with Daniel’s sis­ter Janine and broth­ers Christo­pher and Joel, also run­ning as peren­ni­al IAP can­di­dates.

    The Hansens have been lead­ing cul­ture war­riors in the fight against women’s and LGBTQ rights. Led by Janine, the Hansens orga­nized the STOP ERA [Equal Rights Amend­ment] move­ment in the west­ern states. Janine con­tin­ues today as the leader of Nevada’s Eagle Forum and as the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Issues Chair­man of the nation­al orga­ni­za­tion found­ed by Phyl­lis Schlafly. Janine has pub­lished a vot­er guide since 1988 and lob­bies the Neva­da Assem­bly on behalf of Eagle Forum.

    Daniel Hansen wrote that homo­sex­u­als are “ter­mites of civ­i­liza­tion [who] have brazen­ly oozed out of their clos­et to pro­claim that they have a right to maim, molest and embar­rass soci­ety.” In 1994, the IAP pub­lished a 16-page adver­tis­ing insert for local papers titled “The Homo­sex­u­al Agen­da Exposed,” pro­mot­ing an amend­ment to the Neva­da con­sti­tu­tion that would per­ma­nent­ly legal­ize LGBTQ dis­crim­i­na­tion. Talk­ing Points Memo described it as includ­ing “vir­tu­al­ly every homo­pho­bic myth ever con­ceived” after obtain­ing a copy dur­ing inves­ti­ga­tion of Angle’s role in the IAP.

    By the 1990s, the Neva­da IAP affil­i­at­ed with the Con­sti­tu­tion Par­ty. Daniel served as West­ern States Chair­man for the nation­al par­ty, fol­lowed by Janine who rep­re­sent­ed Michael Peroutka’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign at the Alaskan Inde­pen­dence Par­ty con­ven­tion in 2004. She con­tin­ues as West­ern States Chair­man in the nation­al par­ty today. (Per­out­ka has been fea­tured in PRA arti­cles con­cern­ing his suc­cess­ful infil­tra­tion of the Mary­land Repub­li­can Par­ty and elec­tion to an influ­en­tial coun­ty coun­cil posi­tion.)

    Janine and Christo­pher Hansen were behind a 2006 schism in the Con­sti­tu­tion Par­ty. The Hansens are Mor­mon (LDS) and Christo­pher, as the IAP can­di­date for gov­er­nor, ran on a plat­form oppos­ing abor­tion with includ­ed the Mor­mon church’s sup­port of excep­tions for rape, incest, and the life of the moth­er, as doc­u­ment­ed in Janine’s vot­er guide. This was unac­cept­able to some of the Con­sti­tu­tion Par­ty lead­er­ship, since the par­ty adheres to a strict writ­ten pol­i­cy “oppos­ing abor­tion 100%, no excep­tions.” In the pow­er strug­gle that fol­lowed, the Hansens and IAP were not expelled from the nation­al par­ty, and nine state par­ties dis­af­fil­i­at­ed in protest. Iron­i­cal­ly, those states includ­ed Mary­land, result­ing in Per­out­ka being essen­tial­ly locked out of the par­ty which he had rep­re­sent­ed in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

    Ira Hansen him­self has expressed dis­dain for his rel­a­tives’ third par­ty efforts, com­plain­ing that “IAP can­di­dates can only be spoil­ers and nev­er win any major races them­selves.” Only Ira, run­ning as a Repub­li­can, has achieved suc­cess beyond a local office. “I don’t want any­one to think I have any­thing to do with the Inde­pen­dent Amer­i­can Par­ty,” stat­ed Hansen, accord­ing to the Las Vegas Sun, which described him as not want­i­ng his fel­low Repub­li­cans to won­der whether he belongs to the GOP just to get elect­ed. He claims dis­as­so­ci­ates him­self from his relative’s IAP activ­i­ty, even get­ting up from his seat and walk­ing out of the Assem­bly when his Aunt Janine was tes­ti­fy­ing.

    The Bat­tle for the Soul of the GOP

    But Ira Hansen wouldn’t be the first politi­cian to join the GOP out of expe­di­en­cy. Shar­ron Angle joined the IAP and worked with the Hansens in cir­cu­lat­ing peti­tions to the get the par­ty back onto the state bal­lot in 1992. Talk­ing Points Memo inter­viewed three IAP mem­bers, includ­ing Janine Hansen, who described Angle’s depar­ture in 1997 as a strate­gic move in order to run for office.

    Ira Hansen’s cri­tiques of the GOP sound much like those of his late father. In a 2014 inter­view, Ira claimed that it was Neva­da Repub­li­cans who doomed Shar­ron Angle’s run for the Sen­ate, and joined radio host Janet Mef­ferd in bemoan­ing what they described as the par­ty establishment’s “left­ward drift.”

    Ira Hansen also appears to share his relative’s views on state’s rights and their admi­ra­tion for Cliv­en Bundy—who gained noto­ri­ety after refus­ing to pay the fees for let­ting his cows graze on pub­lic land for decades, although the noto­ri­ety was short-lived after he made some incred­i­bly racist com­ments on Fox News.

    Janine Hansen wel­comed Bundy into the IAP and described him as “her hero” in May, at an event hon­or­ing him for his “courage in stand­ing up for state sov­er­eign­ty.” Bundy spoke for more than a half hour, call­ing for states to take over the fed­er­al land with­in their bound­aries, includ­ing nation­al parks.

    Ira Hansen joined sev­er­al oth­er Assem­bly mem­bers in call­ing for the Neva­da Attor­ney Gen­er­al to con­duct an inves­ti­ga­tion of the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment fol­low­ing its stand­off with Bundy. “What­ev­er Mr. Bundy’s unfor­tu­nate com­ments [address­ing the racist remarks] were, Mr Bundy is real­ly not the issue per se,” Hansen told local news. “It was the over­re­ac­tion by the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment.” He is a co-spon­sor of a bill in the Assem­bly cre­at­ing a task force to “con­duct a study address­ing the trans­fer of pub­lic lands from the Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment to the State of Neva­da.”

    Like Bundy, Ira Hansen has also been fight­ing author­i­ties for decades. He is a pro­fes­sion­al trap­per and refus­es to pay fines accu­mu­lat­ed for vio­la­tions to the Neva­da Depart­ment of Wildlife. In this, Hansen echoes his Uncle Christo­pher who touts his refusal to file income tax­es and made him­self “Pre­sid­ing Sov­er­eign” over a polit­i­cal-reli­gious enti­ty called “The First Chris­t­ian Fel­low­ship of Eter­nal Sov­er­eign­ty.” The orga­ni­za­tion of about 650 “patri­ot saints” uses their “Tes­ta­ment of Sov­er­eign­ty” to fight OSHA, the IRS, and oth­er coun­ty, state, and fed­er­al enti­ties.

    In 2008, Ira Hansen and sev­er­al rel­a­tives joined a local Neva­da camp of the Sons of the Con­fed­er­ate Vet­er­ans (SCV), adver­tised as the largest SCV camp out­side of the South. A 2009 SCV newslet­ter includes a reprint of a col­umn by Hansen titled “The Con­fed­er­ate Bat­tle Flag – Sym­bol of Man­ly Courage.” (The SCV newslet­ter points out that Hansen knows the Stars and Bars was not the Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flag, but that he’s try­ing to con­nect with those not aware of this dis­tinc­tion.)

    In the col­umn Ira Hansen reveals he does his writ­ing in a room adorned with a Con­fed­er­ate flag, but it’s the fol­low­ing para­graph that con­firms his alle­giance to state’s rights:

    “Any­one who has read the Con­fed­er­ate Con­sti­tu­tion, stud­ied the Vir­ginia and Ken­tucky Res­o­lu­tions, read Calhoun’s argu­ments on nul­li­fi­ca­tion and delved into the ide­ol­o­gy behind the attempts at seced­ing knows the South­ern posi­tion rep­re­sents the orig­i­nal intent of the major­i­ty of our found­ing fathers. The death of the Con­fed­er­a­cy was in fact the death of Fed­er­al­ism, the divi­sion of pow­er between the equal States with a com­mon, inten­tion­al­ly weak cen­tral gov­ern­ment han­dling pri­mar­i­ly the for­eign affairs and gen­er­al needs of this union of states known as the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca. By way of con­trast, today, as Nevadans know oh so well, the cen­tral ‘Fed­er­al’ gov­ern­ment is an almost unbri­dled and an increas­ing­ly dan­ger­ous pow­er, while the states have become prac­ti­cal­ly impo­tent.”

    Hansen also co-spon­sored a 2001 bill in the State Assem­bly claim­ing state sov­er­eign­ty under the Tenth Amend­ment, and demand­ing the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment “cease and desist, effec­tive­ly imme­di­ate­ly, man­dates that are beyond the scope of these con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly del­e­gat­ed pow­ers.”


    Note that when Ira Hansen express­es his admi­ra­tion for the Con­fed­er­a­cy, he was­n’t kid­ding.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 24, 2014, 8:23 pm
  2. For peo­ple won­der­ing why the NSA demands such deep pack­et inspec­tion, here’s one good rea­son. We are fight­ing three World Wars con­cur­rent­ly.

    World War 3: the Cold War, which has not yet end­ed, quite clear­ly.

    World War 4: war of self-defense against the Jihad.

    World War 5: Every­body against every­body fight­ing on the cyber­plane. This arti­cle is most­ly writ­ten in Cold War terms, but even NATO coun­tries are attack­ing oth­er NATO coun­tries to achieve cyber-suprema­cy. France, in par­tic­u­lar, is tar­get­ing pow­er plants.


    For­eign Gov­ern­ments Have Hacked U.S. Grid, NSA Head Says

    By Chris Strohm Nov 20, 2014 11:36 AM PT

    Sev­er­al for­eign gov­ern­ments have hacked into U.S. ener­gy, water and fuel dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tems and might dam­age essen­tial ser­vices, the top nation­al secu­ri­ty offi­cial said.

    Those intru­sions have left the U.S. vul­ner­a­ble to a cyber-attack that will cause sig­nif­i­cant loss of life or phys­i­cal dam­age one day, Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency Direc­tor Admi­ral Michael Rogers told the House intel­li­gence com­mit­tee at a hear­ing in Wash­ing­ton today. Rogers said such an attack will occur dur­ing his tenure.

    “This is not the­o­ret­i­cal,” Rogers said. Hack­ing attacks on U.S. net­works are “lit­er­al­ly cost­ing us hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars” and will have “tru­ly sig­nif­i­cant, almost cat­a­stroph­ic, fail­ures if we don’t take action.”

    Rogers is one of the high­est-rank­ing U.S. offi­cials to warn about loom­ing cyber-attacks. The warn­ing is sig­nif­i­cant because it demon­strates that hack­ing attacks against U.S. com­pa­nies and agen­cies are esca­lat­ing in seri­ous­ness despite aware­ness about them and efforts to com­bat for­eign intrud­ers.

    Law­mak­ers are aware of the seri­ous­ness, despite the inabil­i­ty of Con­gress to pass cyber­se­cu­ri­ty leg­is­la­tion that com­pa­nies and gov­ern­ment offi­cials have said is essen­tial to ward­ing off attacks.

    ’Under Attack’

    A Chi­nese mil­i­tary offi­cer indict­ed by the U.S. in May alleged­ly gained access to a utility’s com­put­ers while on a scout­ing mis­sion for infor­ma­tion that Chi­na could use to wage war. The breach was fol­lowed by a Home­land Secu­ri­ty Depart­ment warn­ing to util­i­ties in Octo­ber to be on the look out for mali­cious soft­ware that cyber­se­cu­ri­ty com­pa­nies have con­nect­ed to Rus­sia.

    “I ful­ly expect that dur­ing my time as the com­man­der, we are going to be tasked to help defend crit­i­cal infra­struc­ture with­in the Unit­ed States because it is under attack by some for­eign nation or some indi­vid­ual or group,” Rogers said today.

    “This will be tru­ly destruc­tive if some­one decides this is what they want to do,” he said.

    Hack­ers from the Chi­nese, Russ­ian and Iran­ian gov­ern­ments have gained access to vital U.S. com­put­ers and could launch destruc­tive attacks that include shut­ting down pow­er grids, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Rogers, a Michi­gan Repub­li­can and chair­man of the intel­li­gence com­mit­tee, said dur­ing the hear­ing.

    The NSA direc­tor didn’t iden­ti­fy any coun­tries but didn’t dis­pute that Chi­na, Rus­sia and Iran have infil­trat­ed U.S. crit­i­cal infra­struc­ture to car­ry out destruc­tive attacks. Rogers said he also sees a “trou­bling” trend in which for­eign gov­ern­ments hire crim­i­nals to car­ry out hack­ing attacks on U.S. net­works in order to obscure their involve­ment.

    Posted by Tiffany Sunderson | November 26, 2014, 3:54 pm
  3. Part of what makes things like Tom Coburn’s recent com­ments about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of vio­lence and anar­chy in response to Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s exec­u­tive actions over immi­gra­tion dis­turb­ing is that such com­ments com­ing from a Sen­a­tor are, alone, rather jar­ring. But it’s the fact that, these days, warn­ings of far right vio­lence and anar­chy have good chance of being eeri­ly pre­scient too that made Coburn’s warn­ings so wild­ly dis­turb­ing. Coburn-style clair­voy­ance is not OK:

    Wash­ing­ton Post
    Police: Austin shoot­er was a ‘home­grown Amer­i­can extrem­ist’
    By Abby Ohlheis­er and Ela­he Iza­di Decem­ber 1 at 5:46 PM

    Lar­ry McQuil­liams had “let me die” writ­ten in mark­er across his chest when he fired more than 100 rounds in down­town Austin ear­ly Fri­day morn­ing.

    McQuil­liams, who Austin Police offi­cials called a “home­grown Amer­i­can extrem­ist” with ties to a Chris­t­ian iden­ti­ty hate group, was shot dead on Fri­day by a police offi­cer out­side the department’s head­quar­ters.

    Austin Police Chief Art Aceve­do told reporters on Mon­day that offi­cers who searched the gunman’s home found a map with 34 tar­gets, includ­ing two church­es. McQuil­liams had fired bul­lets into Austin police head­quar­ters, a fed­er­al cour­t­house and the Mex­i­can con­sulate in down­town Austin on Fri­day. He also tried to set the Mex­i­can con­sulate build­ing on fire.

    Pre­vi­ous­ly, police said they had not yet deter­mined the motive for the shoot­ing, which left only the gun­man dead, but spec­u­lat­ed that the cur­rent immi­gra­tion debate could have been a fac­tor. On Mon­day, fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tors said the gun­man didn’t leave a note that out­lined his motive, but that he had pre­vi­ous­ly told friends he was upset he couldn’t find a job, even as immi­grants to the Unit­ed States receive assis­tance.

    On his bed, the gun­man left a note and laid out clothes, offi­cials said. A note left behind said the out­fit was for his funer­al.

    “Hate was in his heart,” Aceve­do said.


    Police believe McQuil­liams asso­ci­at­ed him­self with the Phineas Priest­hood, an anti-Semit­ic, anti-mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism affil­i­a­tion that oppos­es bira­cial rela­tion­ships, same-sex mar­riage, tax­a­tion and abor­tion. Author­i­ties found a copy of “Vig­i­lantes of Chris­ten­dom,” a book linked to the Priest­hood, in the rental van McQuil­liams used dur­ing the attacks. Inside of the book was a hand­writ­ten note that “dis­cuss­es his rank as a priest in his fight against anti-God peo­ple,” Aceve­do said.

    “If you look at what he did, he ter­ror­ized a city, he’s just an Amer­i­can ter­ror­ist try­ing to ter­ror­ize our peo­ple,” Aceve­do said.

    Law enforce­ment offi­cials will con­tin­ue to inves­ti­gate the gunman’s back­ground, the police chief said.

    Among oth­er things inves­ti­ga­tors need to deter­mine: How McQuil­liams got his weapons. He had been arrest­ed in 1998 for dri­ving under the influ­ence and in 1992 for aggra­vat­ed rob­bery, Aceve­do said. He also served time in prison for a bank rob­bery.

    Phineas Priest­hood affil­i­ates were tied to a string of 1996 bank rob­beries and bomb­ings in the state of Wash­ing­ton.

    Mark Potok, a senior fel­low at the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, told The Post that the Phineas Priest­hood is a “con­cept” that orig­i­nat­ed with “Vig­i­lantes of Chris­ten­dom,” which came out in 1990. The group takes its name from a sto­ry about the bib­li­cal fig­ure of Phineas in the book of Num­bers.

    In the sto­ry, Phineas slays an Israelite man and a Mid­i­an­ite woman who were togeth­er in a tent. “To the extreme right, this [sto­ry] is a bib­li­cal injunc­tion against race mix­ing,” Potok said. Phineas Priests would also use the pas­sage to jus­ti­fy vio­lent acts in the name of their beliefs. “It’s very much a self-call­ing,” Potok said of those who would iden­ti­fy as Phineas Priest­hood mem­bers. “If you com­mit a Phineas act…you can be con­sid­ered a Phineas priest.”

    In a back­grounder, the Anti-defama­tion league wrote that “the Phineas Priest­hood is not a mem­ber­ship orga­ni­za­tion in the tra­di­tion­al sense: there are no meet­ings, ral­lies or newslet­ters.” The ADL added that “extrem­ists become ‘mem­bers’ when they com­mit ‘Phineas acts:’ any vio­lent activ­i­ty against ‘non-whites.’” Potok not­ed that the affil­i­a­tion does not have a nation­al struc­ture.

    There is no orga­ni­za­tion that would deter­mine whether one is a “mem­ber” of the group or not. Its affil­i­ates, like McQuil­liams, would be self-des­ig­nat­ed.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 2, 2014, 9:46 am
  4. Yeah, that’s the tick­et!

    TPM Livewire
    Anti-‘Libtard’ Ex-Police Chief: I Was Under­cov­er For The Feds The Whole Time

    By Cather­ine Thomp­son
    Pub­lished Decem­ber 4, 2014, 10:17 AM EST 245 views

    An ex-police chief who had his 15 min­utes of fame last year a series of pro­fane YouTube videos is claw­ing his way back to the spot­light with some bizarre claims.

    Mark Kessler was fired from his post as the police chief of Gilber­ton, Pa. in Sep­tem­ber 2013. Ten­sions had risen between Kessler and the bor­ough coun­cil after videos that showed him fir­ing machine guns at an tar­get he called “Nan­cy Pelosi” and rant­i­ng against “lib­tards” went viral — but now he’s say­ing that he made the videos with a fed­er­al agency as a tool to root out anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ists.

    In a Tues­day inter­view with Fox News radio host Alan Colmes, Kessler said he did not actu­al­ly believe the views he expressed in the videos and was sim­ply act­ing as a “mag­net” for sov­er­eign cit­i­zens and the like.

    His claims, how­ev­er, were vague and offered with­out proof.

    “I was sent out for — well I can’t real­ly say exact­ly who — but I was sent out by agen­cies to go out and attract and inves­ti­gate, what­ev­er I can do to find out who’s who and what’s what among these groups,” he told Colmes. “When I say groups, I’m talk­ing about Sec­ond Amend­ment groups, patri­ot groups, alleged patri­ot groups, mili­tia groups, all kinds of groups.”

    Kessler repeat­ed­ly refused to say what fed­er­al agency he worked with, although he did say that he con­tact­ed one of the FBI’s joint ter­ror­ism task forces. He said that Gilber­ton offi­cials were not aware of what he was doing at any point in the process.

    Accord­ing to Kessler’s account, his videos helped take down “sev­er­al plot­ted attacks that did­n’t go through” in Geor­gia and Texas.


    “What was in it for you?” Colmes asked.

    “I got to save a lot of lives, I can tell you that,” Kessler respond­ed.

    The last we’d heard from Kessler back in Feb­ru­ary, he was found­ing a mil­i­tary-style mili­tia group of his own and had signed a devel­op­ment deal for a real­i­ty TV show. As for his alleged work for the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, Kessler told Colmes that some cas­es were still under inves­ti­ga­tion but his part in it was “fin­ished.”

    Who knows, maybe the rise of the far right wing of the GOP over the last 40+ years was just one giant inde­pen­dent trolling oper­a­tion designed to “out” and dis­cred­it vio­lent anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ists. Mis­sion accom­plished guys. You can stop now.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 4, 2014, 8:18 am
  5. Glenn Beck just made an almost sur­re­al video where he plays him­self from the year 2054, lament­ing the trag­ic fall of the Unit­ed States. The cause of this fall? ‘The dawn of pro­gres­sivism’, sym­bol­ized by the show­down at the Bundy Ranch:

    TPM Livewire
    WATCH: Glenn Beck­’s Warn­ing Of ‘The Dawn Of Pro­gres­sivism’ May Be His Strangest Yet

    By Nick R. Mar­tin Pub­lished
    Decem­ber 20, 2014, 6:09 PM EST

    Con­ser­v­a­tive pun­dit Glenn Beck took his bizarre the­atrics to anoth­er lev­el dur­ing his show on Thurs­day, dress­ing as an old man and offer­ing a dire warn­ing from the future about the 2014 “dawn of pro­gres­sivism.”

    Right Wing Watch post­ed a clip from the episode in which Beck appeared in a dim­ly lit room, wear­ing a robe and a large, gray beard. He por­trayed him­self speak­ing from the year 2054, and look­ing back 40 years in the past to the year he said every­thing began to fall apart.

    “Your his­to­ry books claim that was the year of the dawn of pro­gres­sivism, the dawn of a new begin­ning, the end of cap­i­tal­ism!” Beck said in the video, a fin­ger raised. “I’ll tell you now it was that. That this new era of equal­i­ty, and diver­si­ty, and tol­er­ance — I beg to dif­fer with your his­to­ry book!”

    As part of his the­atrics, Beck played clips about this year’s dis­ap­pear­ance of the Malaysian air­lin­er as well as the stand­off between Neva­da ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment over unpaid graz­ing fees.

    “I’m not crazy,” Beck said near the end of the clip. “I was naive, but I was not crazy.”


    A lot sure changed between the year 2050 and 2054.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 20, 2014, 7:59 pm
  6. Uh oh. Texas Gov­er­nor Greg Abbot­t’s push to pass an open car­ry law for Texas has run into a cou­ple of hur­dles. First, the sup­port does­n’t appear to be their amongst state leg­is­la­tors to pri­or­i­tize pas­sage of the law. Also, if the law isn’t passed soon, the open car­ry advo­cates might go vio­lent­ly insane:

    Abbott affirms sup­port for open car­ry, but urges civ­il dis­course
    By Peg­gy Fikac : Jan­u­ary 30, 2015

    AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott affirmed his sup­port for allow­ing open car­ry of hand­guns Fri­day but also urged “civ­il dis­course” on that issue and oth­ers fol­low­ing sev­er­al hot-but­ton inci­dents.

    “We must have civ­il, open debate of hot­ly con­test­ed issues in the state. Texas val­ues are strong enough that we can have a civ­il dis­course about issues like this, and it must be done civil­ly so that every­one has the oppor­tu­ni­ty to weigh in on their beliefs,” Abbott said when asked about the mat­ter after a speech to a Vet­er­ans of For­eign Wars con­fer­ence.

    Abbott’s com­ments came after a Texas Mus­lim Capi­tol Day gath­er­ing Thurs­day drew row­dy pro­tes­tors, and one Repub­li­can state law­mak­er said she had asked her staff to request that Mus­lim vis­i­tors to her office vow alle­giance ot the coun­try.

    “The House is in recess until Mon­day. Most Mem­bers includ­ing myself are back in Dis­trict,” Rep. Mol­ly White, R‑Belton, wrote in Face­book com­ments that drew atten­tion and con­cern. “I did leave an Israeli flag on the recep­tion desk in my office with instruc­tions to staff to ask rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty to renounce Islam­ic ter­ror­ist groups and pub­licly announce alle­giance to Amer­i­ca and our laws. We will see how long they stay in my office.”

    The gun issue also came to a boil this week after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Tues­day he didn’t think the open-car­ry idea had the votes to pass. Advo­cates accused him of going back on a cam­paign promise to fight for the issue. One of them, Kory Watkins of Open Car­ry Tar­rant Coun­ty, post­ed on Face­book, “I’m com­ing to his office Thurs­day. Tell them to get the pan­ic but­tons ready.”

    The pan­ic-but­ton ref­er­ence stemmed from an ear­li­er vis­it by Watkins and oth­er mem­bers of his group to the Capi­tol office of Rep. Pon­cho Nevarez, D‑Eagle Pass. The con­fronta­tion was so uncom­fort­able that the House said the state would pay for pan­ic but­tons for law­mak­ers’ offices.

    The some­times ugly nature of the debate on the gun issue hasn’t swayed sup­port for the issue from Abbott, who said ear­ly on that he’d sign open-car­ry leg­is­la­tion if it reached his desk.


    “I’m com­ing to his office Thurs­day. Tell them to get the pan­ic but­tons ready.” Well, at least Kory Watkins of Open Car­ry Tar­rant Coun­ty gave the Lt Gov­er­nor a warn­ing to “get the pan­ic but­tons ready”. Does that count as “civ­il dis­course”? If so, that Watkins fel­low seems quite civ­il since he just reis­sued the warn­ing:

    TPM Muck­rak­er
    Texas Gun Activist Warns Law­mak­ers ‘Trea­son’ Is ‘Pun­ish­able By Death’ (VIDEO)
    By Cather­ine Thomp­son
    Pub­lished Feb­ru­ary 4, 2015, 1:32 PM E

    The out­spo­ken leader of a open car­ry gun group warned Texas law­mak­ers on Wednes­day that putting restric­tions on an indi­vid­u­al’s right to car­ry firearms is “trea­son” and “pun­ish­able by death” under the Con­sti­tu­tion.

    A YouTube user named “CoCo Mars” uploaded video that appeared to show Kory Watkins, the leader of Open Car­ry Tar­rant Coun­ty, going on a lengthy rant about the need for Tex­ans to agi­tate for “Con­sti­tu­tion­al Car­ry,” or the legal car­ry­ing of a hand­gun with­out a gov­ern­ment per­mit.

    The YouTube user said the video had been pub­lished to Watk­in’s Face­book page and was tak­en down about 30 min­utes lat­er.

    “Going against the Con­sti­tu­tion is trea­son. And that, my friend, is pun­ish­able by death. That’s how seri­ous this is, and I think [law­mak­ers] have slipped away from that,” Watkins said on the video.

    He then appeared to ref­er­ence an inci­dent that took place last month in state Rep. Pon­cho Ner­vaez’s (D) Capi­tol office.

    Watkins had post­ed a video to YouTube and Face­book that showed him and a group of activists con­fronting Ner­vaez and his staff after the law­mak­er said he would­n’t sup­port an open car­ry bill. When Ner­vaez tried to ush­er the activists out of his office and close the door, one man kept his foot in the door and told Ner­vaez, “What are you gonna do?”

    In the video on Wednes­day, Watkins said there may be a need to go fur­ther.

    “Maybe a foot in the door got a friend­ly reminder, a Rosa Parks reminder, a peace­ful reminder of we’re not play­ing around,” Watkins appeared to say in the video. “I don’t think they want to mess with us too much longer,” he said. “They bet­ter start giv­ing us our rights, or this peace­ful non-coop­er­a­tion stuff is gonna be gamed up. We’re gonna step it up a notch.”

    “I want to put more than my foot in that door,” he added lat­er. “We should be doing way more than that, we should be demand­ing these peo­ple give us our rights back, or it’s pun­ish­able by death. Trea­son. Do you under­stand how seri­ous this is, Texas? We need to start doing more than stick­ing foots in doors.”


    And this is why decent peo­ple that hap­pen to feel the need to have an AR-15 with them wher­ev­er they go can’t sim­ply enjoy a meal at Chipo­tle in peace. *sigh*

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 4, 2015, 6:59 pm
  7. In today’s episode of “Painful Answers to Stu­pid Ques­tions” Rand Paul pledges to ‘look into it’:

    TPM Livewire
    Rand: I’ll Look Into Whether The Mil­i­tary Is Plan­ning To Takeover The South­west

    By Cather­ine Thomp­son
    Pub­lished April 30, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Sen. Rand Paul (R‑KY) said in a recent inter­view that he’d “look at” a planned U.S. mil­i­tary train­ing exer­cise that con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists believe may be a cov­er for the imple­men­ta­tion of mar­tial law..

    Des Moines, Iowa radio host Jan Mick­el­son asked the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date in an April 21 inter­view whether he was up to speed on the train­ing exer­cise dubbed “Jade Helm” that’s sched­uled to take place in sev­er­al south­west­ern states.

    “You know I’ve got­ten a few ques­tions about it on the road and I real­ly don’t—” Paul respond­ed. “I’m not sure about exact­ly what is going on with that.”

    “It’s mak­ing some peo­ple ner­vous, but it does­n’t take much to make peo­ple ner­vous nowa­days,” Mick­el­son said. “If you get a chance to, I’d like to know what the rest of the sto­ry is on that.”

    “We’ll look at that also,” Paul assured him.


    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ® on Tues­day asked the State Guard to mon­i­tor the exer­cise when it hap­pens in order to ensure “that Tex­ans know their safe­ty, con­sti­tu­tion­al rights, pri­vate prop­er­ty rights and civ­il lib­er­ties will not be infringed.”

    Stay tuned for the next excit­ing episode of “Pain Answers to Stu­pid Ques­tions”. There isn’t a pre­cise pro­duc­tion sched­ule but lots of new episodes are def­i­nite­ly going to be made.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 30, 2015, 2:40 pm
  8. Ted Cruz weighed in on the “Jade Helm 15” para­noia sweep­ing the GOP base: After inquir­ing with the Pen­ta­gon, Cruz sees no rea­son to assume it’s real­ly a plot to stage a mil­i­tary coup across the South­west US, but he total­ly under­stands the con­cerns because “when the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has not demon­strat­ed itself to be trust­wor­thy in this admin­is­tra­tion, the nat­ur­al con­se­quence is that many cit­i­zens don’t trust what it is say­ing”:

    Bloomberg Pol­i­tics
    Ted Cruz Says He Has Asked the Pen­ta­gon for Answers on Jade Helm 15
    May 2, 2015 10:52 AM CDT
    The sen­a­tor has heard the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about a mil­i­tary exer­cise.

    David Weigel

    COLUMBIA, S.C.—Republican pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ted Cruz said Sat­ur­day that he’d been hear­ing con­cerns about Jade Helm 15, a domes­tic mil­i­tary train­ing exer­cise that has become a fount of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, and that he want­ed ques­tions about it to be answered.

    “My office has reached out to the Pen­ta­gon to inquire about this exer­cise,” Cruz, a Texas sen­a­tor, told Bloomberg at the South Car­oli­na Repub­li­can Par­ty’s annu­al con­ven­tion. “We are assured it is a mil­i­tary train­ing exer­cise. I have no rea­son to doubt those assur­ances, but I under­stand the rea­son for con­cern and uncer­tain­ty, because when the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has not demon­strat­ed itself to be trust­wor­thy in this admin­is­tra­tion, the nat­ur­al con­se­quence is that many cit­i­zens don’t trust what it is say­ing.”

    The para­noia about Jade Helm, which start­ed on web­sites like Alex Jones’s InfoWars, had start­ed with famil­iar ful­mi­na­tion about a mass seizure of firearms or a cov­er-up for Amer­i­can “death squads.” This week, Texas Gov­er­nor Greg Abbott chan­neled the con­cerns of vot­ers in the South­west, ask­ing the Texas state guard to mon­i­tor the exer­cise for any vio­la­tions of free­dom. “It is impor­tant that Tex­ans know their safe­ty, con­sti­tu­tion­al rights, pri­vate prop­er­ty rights and civ­il lib­er­ties will not be infringed,” said the gov­er­nor.


    Cruz was more plugged in. “I have a great deal of faith and con­fi­dence in Gov­er­nor Abbott,” said the sen­a­tor. “He is a long-time friend and men­tor of mine. You know, I under­stand a lot of the con­cerns raised by a lot of cit­i­zens about Jade Helm. It’s a ques­tion I’m get­ting a lot. And I think part of the rea­son is we have seen, for six years, a fed­er­al gov­ern­ment dis­re­spect­ing the lib­er­ty of the cit­i­zens. That pro­duces fear, when you see a gov­ern­ment that is attack­ing our free speech rights, or Sec­ond Amend­ment rights, or reli­gious lib­er­ty rights. That pro­duces dis­trust.”

    Lat­er, in his speech to the con­ven­tion, Cruz told South Car­oli­na Repub­li­cans about his fights in Texas and Wash­ing­ton for reli­gious lib­er­ty. The back­lash to Indi­ana’s reli­gious-free­dom law, he said, was a “per­fect storm of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty and big busi­ness com­ing togeth­er.” Any­one who doubt­ed that gay-mar­riage sup­port­ers could declare cul­ture war on Chris­tians need­ed only look at the 2014 fight between Hous­ton pas­tors and a city that was try­ing to pass a gay rights ordi­nance.

    “Just because you’re para­noid,” said Cruz, “does­n’t mean they’re not out to get you.”

    Hope­ful­ly the “Jade Helm 15” par­tic­i­pants are going to have access to lots of water dur­ing their two-month long sim­u­la­tion. It’s going to be a long, hot sum­mer.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 3, 2015, 7:00 pm
  9. Texas Gov­er­nor Greg Abbott defend­ed his deci­sion to order the State Guard to mon­i­tor oper­a­tion “Jade Helm 15” and make sure it’s not, you know, part of a secret plot to mil­i­tar­i­ly take over the South­west US. As Abbott puts it, his actions were “sim­ple and non-inflam­ma­to­ry” and every­one is just over­re­act­ing:

    TPM Livewire
    Texas Gov. Defends Order­ing State Guard To Mon­i­tor Pos­si­ble Mil­i­tary Takeover

    By Ahiza Gar­cia
    Pub­lished­May 4, 2015, 4:55 PM EDT

    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ® on Mon­day stood by his deci­sion to order the state guard to mon­i­tor the U.S. mil­i­tary amid fears from con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists that an upcom­ing train­ing exer­cise is real­ly an attempt to take over the state, the Texas Tri­bune report­ed.

    Abbott, who last week issued a let­ter to the Texas State Guard order­ing it to over­see the U.S. mil­i­tary train­ing oper­a­tion known as “Jade Helm 15,” said his deci­sion was an attempt to func­tion as a “com­mu­ni­ca­tion facil­i­ta­tor” between the mil­i­tary and Tex­ans con­cerned about the pro­gram.

    Jade Helm 15 has been described by the mil­i­tary as a “stan­dard train­ing exer­cise”; how­ev­er, con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists have said the oper­a­tion may be an attempt by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to stage a mil­i­tary takeover of Texas.

    Abbott told the Tri­bune his actions were “sim­ple and non-inflam­ma­to­ry” and should­n’t be mis­con­strued.

    “I frankly think that there was an over­re­ac­tion to the sim­ple fact that some­one has to be in charge of gath­er­ing and dis­sem­i­nat­ing infor­ma­tion and we stepped in to play that role, which is a role to be applaud­ed,” Abbott told the Tri­bune.

    Aha! Gov­er­nor Abbott was­n’t pan­der­ing to junk con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. He was sim­ply act­ing as a “com­mu­ni­ca­tion facil­i­ta­tor” between the mil­i­tary and Tex­ans con­cerned about the pro­gram!

    That’s why every­one had bet­ter stop over­re­act­ing and let the Gov­er­nor do his job of ‘facil­i­tat­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion’. Because Abbott isn’t sim­ply work­ing to calm the nerves of fright­ened Tex­ans. He’s also undoubt­ed­ly calm­ing the nerves of all those sol­diers that are about to take part in Jade Helm 15. And why would the US mil­i­tary be con­cerned about all this hoopla? Well, would­n’t you be con­cerned too if you knew Chuck Nor­ris was on the scene and angling to kick some invad­er ass? Yes, you would be very con­cerned:

    TPM Livewire
    Chuck Nor­ris: Don’t Trust The Gov­’t On A Pos­si­ble Mil­i­tary Takeover Of Texas

    By Ahiza Gar­cia
    Pub­lished May 4, 2015, 1:44 PM EDT
    The actor who starred in the TV show “Walk­er, Texas Ranger” wrote on Sun­day that he thinks con­cerns about a pos­si­ble mil­i­tary takeover of Texas might well be jus­ti­fied.

    Actor Chuck Nor­ris, who has become a promi­nent con­ser­v­a­tive activist, pub­lished a col­umn on the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry web­site WND that told read­ers not to trust what the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has been say­ing about a mil­i­tary train­ing exer­cise known as Jade Helm 15.

    Some con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists have warned that the exer­cise, which is set to take place lat­er this year in Texas and six oth­er west­ern states, may lead to a covert takeover of some of those states. Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ® ordered the State Guard to mon­i­tor the oper­a­tion.

    “The U.S. gov­ern­ment says, ‘It’s just a train­ing exer­cise.’ But I’m not sure the term ‘just’ has any ref­er­ence to real­i­ty when the gov­ern­ment uses it,” Nor­ris wrote in his col­umn. “What­ev­er Jade Helm 15 actu­al­ly is, I think it is more than coin­ci­den­tal that the FBI direc­tor just con­fessed in Feb­ru­ary that the pres­ence of ISIS can be felt in all 50 states of the U.S. and that the Pen­ta­gon is sud­den­ly run­ning its biggest mil­i­tary train­ing exer­cise with every branch of the mil­i­tary across sev­en South­west­ern states.”

    He also praised Abbott, who he said had attend­ed a recent event for his karate char­i­ty. Nor­ris said he “laughed as some pro­gres­sives in the main­stream media tried to mock” Abbot­t’s deci­sion to mon­i­tor the exer­cise.

    The 75-year-old mar­tial artist empha­sized the impor­tance of ques­tion­ing the gov­ern­ment through­out his col­umn.


    Nor­ris wrapped up his lengthy rant about the true pur­pose of Jade Helm 15 by implor­ing Amer­i­cans to not accept things at face-val­ue when the gov­ern­ment is the one dol­ing out the expla­na­tion.

    “Friends, when it comes to free­dom, we must ques­tion, ver­i­fy and vet every­one and every­thing,” Nor­ris wrote. “We must nev­er check our brains or blind­ly trust, espe­cial­ly the gov­ern­ment. Rather, we must fight until our dying breaths for lib­er­ty, espe­cial­ly when it appears those in pow­er are try­ing to knock down Old Glo­ry.”

    Good luck “facil­i­tat­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion” Gov­er­nor Abbott. Your sooth­ing words are prob­a­bly the only thing stand­ing between Chuck Nor­ris and a total night­mare...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 4, 2015, 5:07 pm
  10. In case you had­n’t heard, Michael Sav­age, the fifth most pop­u­lar talk radio host as of Decem­ber, is now a radio “life coach”.

    But don’t wor­ry, he may have changed his show for­mat but he’s still the same Michael Sav­age he always was. So, actu­al­ly, some wor­ry is war­rant­ed:

    Right Wing Watch
    Sav­age: Oba­ma Will Arm The Crips And Bloods In the Com­ing Race War
    Sub­mit­ted by Bri­an Tash­man on Tues­day, 5/5/2015 1:20 pm

    Yes­ter­day on “InfoWars,” Alex Jones invit­ed con­ser­v­a­tive talk show host Michael Sav­age to dis­cuss his new nov­el “Count­down to Mec­ca,” but not before Jones asked Sav­age about Pres­i­dent Obama’s plot to destroy Amer­i­ca.

    “What’s the score right now: patri­ots vs. the French Rev­o­lu­tion cra­zies?” Jones asked. Sav­age had bad news to report: “The guil­lotines are ready, the guil­lotines are ready and they are greas­ing the blades. How much more suc­cess­ful can they be? Intern­ment camps? I mean, what is next with this group of mani­acs?”

    Sav­age told Jones that the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion is try­ing to purge the mil­i­tary of lead­ers “who could have led a move­ment against an ille­git­i­mate gov­ern­ment” in order to weak­en resis­tance to his social­ist plans. “One gen­er­al after the oth­er was purged like Stal­in purged them, only instead of shoot­ing them first they smeared the gen­er­als,” he said.

    The two agreed that Oba­ma is now degrad­ing the police by stok­ing a race war in which he will “dep­u­tize” gang mem­bers affil­i­at­ed with the Crips and the Bloods. Sav­age told Jones:

    Remem­ber my last book, ‘Stop the Com­ing Civ­il War’? Guess what, it start­ed. Has there been a civ­il war? Yea, it’s a slow burn­ing civ­il war. What do you think we are look­ing at here? It’s a race war. These are their shock troops, they don’t have the brown shirts yet, they don’t have the arm­bands, but soon Oba­ma could dep­u­tize them. Isn’t that a nat­ur­al army for him? Take the Crips and the Bloods, give them a green uni­form and give them a weapon and they’ll keep order in the streets. Won’t they?

    Lat­er in the pro­gram, Sav­age said that Oba­ma has “got the gangs on the streets on his side” and “he’s got them armed.”

    “You’re going to see more race war right up until the Labor Day of 2016 for an obvi­ous rea­son,” he said, allud­ing to the next elec­tion. He claimed that Oba­ma won’t declare mar­tial law or force peo­ple into intern­ment camps just yet because “they’re going to take the street garbage and they’re going to take the ille­gal immi­grants and they’re going to warp the entire elec­tion.”


    While it might be tempt­ing to sus­pect that being Radio’s “Boy who cried race war” year after year would actu­al­ly dam­age your race war prog­nos­ti­cat­ing cred­i­bil­i­ty, keep in mind that most of the boy’s audi­ence has already had their minds eat­en by a Fox. That helps with the street cred.

    Plus, there are a lot of oth­er cry­ing boys. That also helps with the street cred.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 6, 2015, 5:33 pm
  11. When Andrew ‘weev’ Auern­hiemer gave an inter­view from Beirut back in Novem­ber, he assert­ed that he was col­lect­ing $2000 per month in dona­tions through Bit­coin, explain­ing the Bit­coin is use­ful because many sup­port­ers don’t want to be linked to him by a paper tri­al. Imag­ine that:

    The Guardian
    Twit­ter blocks pro­mot­ed tweets by noto­ri­ous white suprema­cist

    Com­pa­ny acts to pre­vent fur­ther abuse by white nation­al­ist and inter­net troll after he pro­mot­ed two offen­sive tweets using Twitter’s ad plat­form

    Alex Hern

    Thurs­day 7 May 2015 10.27 EDT
    Last mod­i­fied on Thurs­day 7 May 2015 10.30 EDT

    Twit­ter has banned pro­mot­ed tweets that were being used to push white suprema­cist mes­sages on the web­site. The tweets were sent and pro­mot­ed through the company’s adver­tis­ing tools by Andrew ‘weev’ Auern­heimer, a for­mer pres­i­dent of the trolling group known as the “Gay Nig­ger Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­ca”.

    Among the tweets pro­mot­ed by Auern­heimer was one that read: “Whites need to stand up for one anoth­er and defend our­selves from vio­lence and dis­crim­i­na­tion. Our race is dying.” A sec­ond pro­mot­ed tweet read: “White pride, world wide. Do you know the 14 words?” – a ref­er­ence to the white nation­al­ist cre­do: “We must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and a future for white chil­dren.”

    But a fur­ther attempt to pro­mote the first tweet a day lat­er led to a rejec­tion from Twit­ter, which cit­ed a ban on ads deal­ing with hate con­tent, sen­si­tive top­ics and vio­lence.

    Auernheimer’s asso­ci­a­tion with white suprema­cist move­ments was fre­quent­ly writ­ten off as anoth­er form of provo­ca­tion from the noto­ri­ous troll, but after serv­ing a jail sen­tence for his role in hack­ing AT&T’s iPad billing sys­tem, he stepped up his involve­ment. In Octo­ber 2014, he gave an inter­view to white suprema­cist site Dai­ly Stormer in which he revealed a large chest tat­too of a swasti­ka, and spoke about his his­to­ry as “a long­time crit­ic of Judaism, black cul­ture, immi­gra­tion to West­ern nations, and the media’s con­stant stream of anti-white pro­pa­gan­da”. The site this week approv­ing­ly report­ed on his pro­mo­tion of white pride on Twit­ter.

    Note that the way Twit­ter’s “pro­mot­ed tweets” work is you only have to pay (like $0.50) every time some­one clicks on or retweets your pro­mot­ed tweets. And you can also tar­get it to spe­cif­ic groups. If the ‘weev”s intend­ed audi­ence was just oth­er neo-Nazis and fel­low trav­el­ers on twit­ter it may have a great way to raise more bit­coins.

    But if you read his descrip­tion of the whole thing it he was specif­i­cal­ly tar­get­ing peo­ple that would be reviled by his ’14 words’ world­view. So it was pret­ty suc­cess­ful from a trolling stand­point and because he was tar­get­ing the peo­ple the least like­ly to retweet his tweets it prob­a­bly cost him next to noth­ing.

    But it will be inter­est­ing to see if he tries it again because the non-neo-Nazi seg­ment of the twit­ter­sphere could have just retweet­ed all of that garbage back and forth as an inten­tion­al play to spend all of his bit­coins for him. At the time, if the ‘weev’ is sit­ting on a much larg­er pile of white suprema­cist-fund­ed bit­coins than he lets on, the next phase of his cam­paign could involve inten­tion­al­ly try­ing to cause a mass ‘let’s bank­rupt the weev’ retweet counter-cam­paign as an inten­tion­al, albeit more expen­sive, method of pro­mot­ing neo-Nazi ideas.

    So you have to won­der how much mon­ey he’s real­ly tak­ing in from secret donors each month to risk a poten­tial­ly expen­sive stunt like this. But now that he’s demon­strat­ed that you can pull off a twit­ter trolling stunt on the cheap, you also have to won­der how many more cheap trolling attempts of this nature we’re going to see going for­ward from the ‘weev’ or any­one else. Espe­cial­ly since, the more this hap­pens, the more peo­ple are going to know that every time they retweet a trol­l’s words, that troll pays Twit­ter.

    To retweet (the neo-Naz­i’s words and cost him some mon­ey) or not to retweet (the neo-Naz­i’s words and avoid pro­mot­ing his garbage). That is the (deeply unfor­tu­nate) ques­tion.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 7, 2015, 7:35 pm
  12. Glenn Beck­’s Chalk board of Doom appears to have giv­en him the fever sweats again:

    Right-Wing Watch
    ‘We’re Being Set Up’: Glenn Beck Warns His Audi­ence To Pre­pare For The Time When He Is Mur­dered In The Night
    Sub­mit­ted by Kyle Manty­la on Fri­day, 5/8/2015 10:21 am

    Glenn Beck closed out his radio pro­gram yes­ter­day with a 10-minute mono­logue warn­ing his audi­ence that every­thing that is hap­pen­ing in Bal­ti­more and Fer­gu­son and else­where is all a giant set-up, designed to cre­ate insta­bil­i­ty so that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment can take con­trol of police depart­ments all over the nation ... but nobody will lis­ten to him.

    “We’re being set up, guys. We are absolute­ly being set up,” Beck said. “And I don’t know — this is what I pray every night: ‘I don’t know how to do this, Lord. I don’t know what you want. I don’t know — I don’t know what you want.’ I can’t wake up any­one. Oh, if I had the voice of an angel. I can’t wake any­body else up. They’ve smeared me. I’ve helped them smear me. I don’t have any cred­i­bil­i­ty. Nobody is lis­ten­ing. I can tell you what’s com­ing. I’ve told you every step of the way. I know what’s com­ing next.”

    Link­ing a recent state­ment from Al Sharprton to an inten­tion­al mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s 2008 state­ment about cre­at­ing a civil­ian secu­ri­ty force, Beck warned that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is arm­ing local police depart­ments with mil­i­tary equip­ment in prepa­ra­tion for tak­ing them over while “grass­roots” agi­ta­tors are being brought in to cre­ate civ­il unrest in major cities for the pur­pose of pro­vid­ing an excuse for the gov­ern­ment to do just that.

    “This is the biggest show ever,” he warned. “That’s all that’s hap­pen­ing right now. This is a show. We’re watch­ing a script and a play play out in front of us. None of this stuff is real. Those riots in Bal­ti­more. That wasn’t real ... At some point, there will be a straw that breaks the camel’s back, and it will set the whole coun­try on fire. And what hap­pens? We will cry out for police help. The police will be over­whelmed. The DOJ will say, ‘We’re going to take over polic­ing, we’ll coor­di­nate it from here.’ And you’re done. It’s lights out, repub­lic.”


    Amaz­ing­ly, Beck was­n’t done, as he then went on to implore his audi­ence to pre­pare for the day when Beck and peo­ple like him are mur­dered in the night in order to silence their voic­es.

    “If you look back at his­to­ry, what hap­pens to peo­ple who have voic­es and can cob­ble togeth­er peo­ple and be a leader?” he asked. “If you go back to what hap­pened with the Armen­ian geno­cide, what is the first thing the Turks did? What is the first thing the Nazis did? You have a Night of Long Knives. The Armen­ian geno­cide. Any of the Arme­ni­ans that could lead, any may­or, any writer, any per­son that was a hero in war, in one day, in each city, they would kill about 1,000 peo­ple. They’d just slaugh­ter them. And they were all the lead­ers of the com­mu­ni­ty. Any­one that peo­ple would ral­ly around and fol­low. They were killed, day one. They just dis­ap­pear, or they’re killed.”

    “There are 10 mil­lion peo­ple that lis­ten to this show. They can­not kill 10 mil­lion peo­ple in one night. You were born for a rea­son, and you’re lis­ten­ing to this show for a rea­son,” Beck stat­ed. “Pre­pare for a time when voic­es like mine or oth­ers are no longer heard and yours is the only voice.”

    Seem­ing­ly sur­prised by what he just spent the last 10 min­utes say­ing, Beck final­ly fell silent before declar­ing “I can’t believe I just said all of that.”

    As Glenn Beck sput­tered at the end, “I can’t believe I just said all of that.” It’s not actu­al­ly that sur­pris­ing.

    But it is quite tan­gen­tial­ly inter­est­ing from a hor­ri­ble his­tor­i­cal unfun fact per­spec­tive. Why? Because Glen­n’s ide­o­log­i­cal god father, Cleon Skousen, who hap­pens to be the God­fa­ther or much of the con­tem­po­rary far-right/John Birch-esque con­spir­a­cy world­view, is basi­cal­ly one degree removed by an actu­al “Night of the Long Knives” sce­nario, if that.

    First, let’s take a look at Cleon’s role as the man with his fin­ger on God’s pulse:

    South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter
    Intel­li­gence Report, Sprint 2011, Issue Num­ber 141

    Fringe Mor­mon Group Makes Myths with Glenn Beck’s Help

    By Alexan­der Zaitchik
    Illus­tra­tion by Daniel Adell

    FAIRMONT, W. Va. — One fine Sat­ur­day morn­ing last year, around 60 most­ly mid­dle-aged con­ser­v­a­tives trick­led onto the oth­er­wise desert­ed cam­pus of Fair­mont State Uni­ver­si­ty. Clutch­ing note­books and cof­fee cups, they looked like grog­gy Con­tin­u­ing Ed stu­dents as they took seats in a mod­ern lec­ture hall on the ground floor of the school’s engi­neer­ing build­ing. In a sense, they were Con­tin­u­ing Ed stu­dents. The room had been booked months in advance for a one-day, intro-lev­el his­to­ry and civics sem­i­nar enti­tled, “The Mak­ing of Amer­i­ca.”

    But this was no ordi­nary sum­mer school. Ran­dall McNeely, the sem­i­nar’s kind­ly, awk­ward, and heavy-set instruc­tor, held no advanced degree and made no claims to being a schol­ar of any kind. He was, rather, a prod­uct of rote train­ing in a reli­gious and apoc­a­lyp­tic inter­pre­ta­tion of Amer­i­can his­to­ry that has roots in the racist right of the last cen­tu­ry. His stu­dents for the day had learned about the class not in the Fair­mont State sum­mer cat­a­log, but from the web­site of the obscure non­prof­it run by fringe Mor­mons. Found­ed as the Free­man Insti­tute in Pro­vo, Utah, in 1971, the out­fit now goes by the name Nation­al Cen­ter for Con­sti­tu­tion­al Stud­ies (NCSS), and works out of a remote farm­house in Mal­ta, Ida­ho (pop­u­la­tion 177).

    This hum­ble base of oper­a­tions, how­ev­er, con­strains nei­ther the out­fit’s nation­al ambi­tions nor its mis­sion­ary zeal. The NCCS has been tour­ing the coun­try and prop­a­gat­ing its ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive Mor­mon mes­sage for near­ly four decades. Yet its mes­sage has nev­er been in greater demand than in 2010. Since the rise of the Tea Par­ty cir­cuit, the all-vol­un­teer NCCS has expe­ri­enced explod­ing inter­est from Tea Par­ty-affil­i­at­ed groups such as the 9.12 Project and the Tea Par­ty Patri­ots. On any giv­en Sat­ur­day, sev­er­al of near­ly 20 “Mak­ing of Amer­i­ca” lec­tur­ers are giv­ing sem­i­nars across the coun­try in spaces like the rent­ed class­room in Fair­mont, with $10 tick­ets and NCCS book sales pay­ing for their trav­el and expens­es.

    Along with a busier sched­ule, the NCCS also has a grow­ing list of allies. In the media, it has found a pow­er­ful voice in the form of Fox News’ Glenn Beck, who is a Mor­mon him­self and has used his pul­pit to advo­cate for NCCS books and ideas. Through Beck­’s sus­tained and ener­getic advo­ca­cy, once-for­got­ten NCCS tracts of Mor­mon-fla­vored pseu­do-his­to­ry such as The 5,000 Year Leap have become unlike­ly online best­sellers. As a result, trav­el­ing vol­un­teer NCCS lec­tur­ers like McNeely today have no short­age of stu­dents eager to learn his ver­sion of “truth.”

    “In our time togeth­er, we’re going to learn the truth about Amer­i­can his­to­ry and what our gov­ern­ment is sup­posed to do—and not do,” said McNeely, after open­ing the August sem­i­nar in Fair­mont with a Chris­t­ian prayer and a patri­ot­ic song of his own author­ship. “We’re going to learn sound prin­ci­ples. Once we have pos­ses­sion of these sound prin­ci­ples, we can solve near­ly every prob­lem in Amer­i­ca, the way the Founders would have liked.”

    .As the morn­ing pro­gressed, it became clear that the NCCS world­view and pro­gram were based on three major pil­lars: under­stand­ing the divine guid­ance that has allowed the Unit­ed States to thrive; reject­ing the tyran­ni­cal, implic­it­ly sin­ful, nature of the mod­ern fed­er­al gov­ern­ment; and prepar­ing for a divine reck­on­ing that will bring down Amer­i­ca’s gov­ern­ment and pos­si­bly tear soci­ety as we know it asun­der, thus allow­ing those with sound prin­ci­ples — i.e., god­ly NCCS grad­u­ates — to rebuild the repub­lic along “sounder,” more pious lines.

    Amer­i­ca’s return to extreme­ly lim­it­ed gov­ern­ment, as they think God intend­ed, is des­tined to hap­pen, NCCS lec­tur­ers teach, because God has already shown an inter­ven­tion­ist role in Amer­i­can his­to­ry. Accord­ing to the NCCS, the found­ing of the Unit­ed States was noth­ing short of a “mir­a­cle” in the lit­er­al sense of the word. God is watch­ing, in oth­er words, and he is not hap­py. Teach­ing out of the sem­i­nar’s 131-page illus­trat­ed work­book, McNeely argued that the cur­rent fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is guilty of a “usurpa­tion of pow­er.” It is, there­fore, ille­git­i­mate, though McNeely nev­er actu­al­ly uttered that word. Gov­ern­men­tal pow­ers should be used spar­ing­ly, he explained, lim­it­ed large­ly to the com­mon defense and the elim­i­na­tion of “debauch­ery and vice.”

    In some ways, the NCCS world­view can sound remark­ably sim­i­lar to that of antigov­ern­ment “Patri­ots,” whose move­ment has explod­ed in the last two years. So it’s not much of a sur­prise that it has found a num­ber of new orga­ni­za­tion­al allies among “Con­sti­tu­tion­al­ist” groups such as the con­spir­a­cy-obsessed John Birch Soci­ety, the ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive “pro-fam­i­ly” group Eagle Forum, and the Oath Keep­ers, a group of ex-police and mil­i­tary per­son­nel who pub­licly promise to resist orders if they find those orders at odds with their under­stand­ing of the Con­sti­tu­tion. At the 2010 Nation­al Lib­er­ty Uni­ty Sum­mit, a pow­wow of far-right groups, NCCS pres­i­dent Earl Tay­lor deliv­ered the keynote address fol­low­ing speech­es by lead­ing Oath Keep­ers Richard Mack and Guy Cun­ning­ham.

    But most­ly, the NCCS focus­es on its sem­i­nars. And busi­ness has nev­er been bet­ter.

    “We’re try­ing to flood the nation,” NCCS pres­i­dent Tay­lor told The Wash­ing­ton Post in June. “And it’s hap­pen­ing.”

    Com­mu­nists, Cap­i­tal­ists and Jews
    Stu­dents of the Amer­i­can far right may not rec­og­nize the ano­dyne-sound­ing NCCS, but they no doubt know the name of its founder, the late W. Cleon Skousen. By the time Skousen found­ed The Free­man Insti­tute in 1971 (the name was changed to NCCS in 1984), the bespec­ta­cled for­mer police chief had become a minor leg­end in the annals of right-wing rad­i­cal­ism. Through­out the late 1950s and 60s, fol­low­ing 11 years of most­ly admin­is­tra­tive work in the FBI, Skousen toured the coun­try whip­ping up anti-com­mu­nist (and anti-civ­il rights) hys­te­ria under the ban­ner of the John Birch Soci­ety. Among the sto­ries in Skousen’s fan­tas­ti­cal arse­nal was the claim that New Deal­er Har­ry Hop­kins gave the Sovi­ets “50 suit­cas­es” worth of infor­ma­tion on the Man­hat­tan Project and near­ly half of the nation’s sup­ply of enriched ura­ni­um. When the John Birch Soci­ety came under attack for its founder’s claim that Dwight Eisen­how­er was a com­mu­nist agent, Skousen wrote a pam­phlet titled The Com­mu­nist Attack on the John Birch Soci­ety.

    In the 1970s, he penned an influ­en­tial tract of New World Order con­spir­acism, The Naked Cap­i­tal­ist, which described a cabal of schem­ing, inter­na­tion­al­ist-mind­ed bankers and gov­ern­ment offi­cials set on destroy­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion by manip­u­lat­ing left and lib­er­al groups around the world. The pur­pose of lib­er­al inter­na­tion­al­ist groups such as the Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions, Skousen believed, is to push “U.S. for­eign pol­i­cy toward the estab­lish­ment of a world-wide col­lec­tivist soci­ety.”

    Among the sources Skousen cit­ed to sub­stan­ti­ate this claim was is a for­mer czarist army offi­cer named Arsene de Goule­vitch, whose own sources includ­ed Boris Bra­sol, a White Russ­ian émi­gré who pro­vid­ed Hen­ry Ford with the first Eng­lish trans­la­tion of the Jew-bash­ing clas­sic, Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion, and lat­er became a sup­port­er of Nazi Ger­many.


    Skousen first laid out his views on the Con­sti­tu­tion in 1981, with the pub­li­ca­tion of The 5,000 Year Leap. Now the cen­tral text of Glenn Beck­’s 9.12 Project — the Fox host calls the book “divine­ly inspired” — Leap is an illus­trat­ed recipe for turn­ing the Unit­ed States into 50 lit­tle theoc­ra­cies, each dic­tat­ing moral­i­ty accord­ing to its own reli­gious ethics. These ethics, argues Skousen in Leap, should be trans­mit­ted through “exten­sive Bible read­ing” in pub­lic schools.

    The project of the book is clear, even if its author nev­er came right out and said it. Oth­ers would prove bold­er in explain­ing the impor­tance of Leap. In Ronald Man­n’s intro­duc­tion to Leap’s 10th-anniver­sary edi­tion, he prais­es Skousen for grasp­ing Amer­i­ca’s choice of “Christ or chaos” and for acknowl­edg­ing that its future depends on “accept­ing and demon­strat­ing God’s gov­ern­ment.”

    The project start­ed by Leap was fur­thered a few years lat­er with the pub­li­ca­tion of The Mir­a­cle of Amer­i­ca. After reduc­ing its con­tents to a small­er work­book suit­able for one- and sev­en-day sem­i­nars, Skousen again hit the road. Dur­ing the first “Mak­ing of Amer­i­ca” tour, he demo­nized the fed­er­al reg­u­la­to­ry agen­cies, argu­ing for the abo­li­tion of every­thing from the Occu­pa­tion­al Safe­ty and Health Admin­is­tra­tion to the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency. He want­ed to repeal the min­i­mum wage, smash unions, nul­li­fy anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion laws, sell off pub­lic lands and nation­al parks, end the direct elec­tion of sen­a­tors, kill the income tax and the estate tax, knock down state-lev­el walls sep­a­rat­ing church and state, and, of course, raze the Fed­er­al Reserve Sys­tem.

    Skousen’s rolling theo­crat­ic lec­ture tour ran into prob­lems in 1987, when out­siders start­ed exam­in­ing the con­tents of the book on which the sem­i­nars were based. The Mak­ing of Amer­i­ca, it turned out, pre­sent­ed a his­to­ry of slav­ery that could have been writ­ten by a pro­pa­gan­dist for the Ku Klux Klan. Skousen relied for his inter­pre­ta­tion of slav­ery on his­to­ri­an Fred Albert Shan­non’s Eco­nom­ic His­to­ry of the Peo­ple of the Unit­ed States. (1934). Quot­ing Shan­non, Skousen described African-Amer­i­can chil­dren as “pick­anin­nies” and described Amer­i­can slave own­ers as the “worst vic­tims” of the slav­ery sys­tem. He fur­ther explained that “[slave] gangs in tran­sit were usu­al­ly a cheer­ful lot, though the pres­ence of a num­ber of the more vicious type some­times made it nec­es­sary for them all to go in chains.” Shan­non and Skousen also cast a skep­ti­cal eye on accounts of cru­el­ty by slave mas­ters and expressed much more inter­est in the “fear” South­ern whites had while try­ing to pro­tect “white civ­i­liza­tion” from slave revolts.

    New­er edi­tions of The Mak­ing of Amer­i­ca lack the glar­ing racism of Skousen’s orig­i­nal ver­sion. But the cur­rent NCCS pres­i­dent, Earl Tay­lor, is not unknown to echo some of Skousen’s con­tro­ver­sial views. At a Mesa, Ariz., sem­i­nar ear­li­er this year, a Wash­ing­ton Post reporter heard Tay­lor argue that Thomas Jef­fer­son hes­i­tat­ed to free his own slaves because of his “benev­o­lence.” As Tay­lor often does, he defend­ed this inter­pre­ta­tion by ref­er­enc­ing his par­tic­i­pa­tion in a walk­ing tour. “If you’ve been to Mon­ti­cel­lo and you see how Jef­fer­son cared for them, they did­n’t want to leave,” the Post writer quotes Tay­lor as say­ing.

    Glenn Beck and the Apoc­a­lypse
    Defend­ers of the NCCS argue that the out­fit, run by the grand­fa­ther­ly Tay­lor, is mere­ly teach­ing good old-fash­ioned civics to inter­est­ed Amer­i­cans. But while there is a large amount of straight, accu­rate his­to­ry includ­ed in “Mak­ing of Amer­i­ca” sem­i­nars, the lessons are about much more than just the Con­sti­tu­tion. The orga­ni­za­tion’s larg­er mis­sion is to crude­ly pro­pa­gan­dize against Amer­i­ca’s sec­u­lar foun­da­tions and sow doubt over the legit­i­ma­cy of the mod­ern wel­fare and reg­u­la­to­ry state, using a text­book writ­ten by a noto­ri­ous con­spir­acist who adhered to apoc­a­lyp­tic folk­lore. And like Skousen, cur­rent NCCS lec­tur­ers believe that time is quick­ly run­ning out.

    There is a dark, often unspo­ken, sub­text to the NCC­S’s cru­sade to pro­mote the “sound prin­ci­ples” of prop­er Con­sti­tu­tion­al gov­ern­ment. That sub­text is a belief in the immi­nent col­lapse of civ­i­liza­tion. This col­lapse is inter­wo­ven in the bom­bas­tic teach­ings of NCCS friend and ally Glenn Beck, whose Dooms­day-drenched shows are prof­itably pro­mot­ed by fear-mon­ger­ing pur­vey­ors of every­thing from gold bul­lion to “cri­sis gar­dens” and emer­gency radios. The NCCS has done much to encour­age and spread a deeply apoc­a­lyp­tic world­view among far-right Mor­mons, of whom Beck is only the most famous.

    The NCCS views its edu­ca­tion cru­sade as cru­cial for rebuild­ing Amer­i­ca after a com­ing cat­a­clysm; thus, “The Mak­ing of Amer­i­ca” is best seen as a God-cen­tric civics class for the bomb shel­ter. Speak­ing last year in Mesa, Ariz., Tay­lor spoke cryp­ti­cal­ly of the need for “the Good Lord’s help” to take Amer­i­ca “into a much bet­ter phase of exis­tence last­ing for a thou­sand years.”

    Tay­lor’s remarks only make sense in the con­text of a cleans­ing, holy wrath, after which will emerge pure Con­sti­tu­tion­al defend­ers ready to build a new soci­ety on the ash­es of the old.

    “I fear that the Unit­ed States is going to have to go through the wringer,” said Tay­lor. “It’s gonna be rough.”

    “When the time comes, when the peo­ple who are in pow­er for the pow­er and the glo­ry, and there is no more pow­er and glo­ry left, they’ll prob­a­bly be look­ing around ask­ing, ‘Can any­body help?’ And you’ll say, ‘Yeah, I’ve got some ideas. Come on over and eat a lit­tle some­thing.’ Because there prob­a­bly won’t be much food any­way, but if you’re wise, you’ll have some.”

    At this depress­ing image of future Con­sti­tu­tion­al schol­ars dis­cussing the evils of the income tax and bat­tling “debauch­ery” amid the scarred ruins of a post-Apoc­a­lyp­tic Amer­i­ca, Tay­lor bright­ens up.

    “We’re gonna win this thing,” he said. “I’ve read the last chap­ter, like you have, and in the end, we’re gonna win this thing.”

    “Isn’t that great?”

    That’s right:

    Skousen first laid out his views on the Con­sti­tu­tion in 1981, with the pub­li­ca­tion of The 5,000 Year Leap. Now the cen­tral text of Glenn Beck­’s 9.12 Project — the Fox host calls the book “divine­ly inspired” —. Leap is an illus­trat­ed recipe for turn­ing the Unit­ed States into 50 lit­tle theoc­ra­cies, each dic­tat­ing moral­i­ty accord­ing to its own reli­gious ethics. These ethics, argues Skousen in Leap, should be trans­mit­ted through “exten­sive Bible read­ing” in pub­lic schools.

    Skousen’s words were “divine­ly inspired” and the cen­tral text of the of Glenn Beck­’s 9.12 Project. It’s the book that ‘woke Glenn up’.

    But Skousen’s influ­en­tial fan base isn’t lim­it­ed to Glenn Beck. Before Glenn was push­ing like The 5,000 Year Leap on Fox (and now hiw own 24/7 news net­work), Skousen was get­ting plen­ty of sup­port from anoth­er fel­low known for his “divine­ly inspired” words: The Rev­erend Sun Myung Moon. And the sup­port was mutu­al:

    Chica­go Tri­bune
    Pow­er For Sale
    From Green­peace To The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, How Pacs And Lob­bies Influ­ence Amer­i­ca.
    April 27, 1986|By Arti­cle by Ken­neth R. Clark, a Tri­bune media writer based in New York.

    “We pay them,“ he says. “They are not giv­en to us. We don‘t dis­crim­i­nate on reli­gious grounds. Nobody picks up our costs. We were offered not a large amount but some mon­ey, and we turned it down. As I told a reporter for the Wash­ing­ton Post a cou­ple of months ago when he said, ‘Why don‘t you take their mon­ey; do you see any­thing wrong with it?‘ ‘The rea­son I don‘t is that I don‘t want to be bugged by peo­ple like you.‘ “

    But the Uni­fi­ca­tion church has a broad­er agen­da than the mere fund­ing of var­i­ous con­ser­v­a­tive groups. Respectabil­i­ty by asso­ci­a­tion is equal­ly impor­tant, and to that end Moon reg­u­lar­ly stages, through his Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence of the Uni­ty of Sci­ences, his World Media Asso­ci­a­tion and CAUSA, elab­o­rate inter­na­tion­al and domes­tic “edu­ca­tion“ con­fer­ences that attract some of the biggest names in acad­e­mia, pol­i­tics and jour­nal­ism. Par­tic­i­pants and speak­ers at such con­fer­ences have includ­ed White House com­mu­ni­ca­tions chief Patrick Buchanan; AIM‘s Reed Irvine; Nation­al Review pub­lish­er William Rush­er; John Lom­bar­di, dean of inter­na­tion­al pro­grams at Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty; Claude A. Villee of the Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty med­ical school; Mor­ton Kaplan, Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go polit­i­cal sci­en­tist; and Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty Nobel lau­re­ate Eugene P. Wign­er.

    “We hold con­fer­ences on sci­ence and val­ues,“ says church pub­li­cist Noah Ross. “Reli­gious thought should con­nect to sci­ence. We believe that through free dis­cus­sion, peo­ple will come out with val­ue-based con­clu­sions.“

    Cer­tain­ly such con­fer­ences do not hurt their founder. There is no short­age of pic­tures show­ing Moon shak­ing hands and rub­bing elbows with his guests and speak­ers, who receive gen­er­ous stipends for their trou­ble.

    The most recent con­fer­ence, last Novem­ber in Scotts­dale, Ariz., was chaired for mem­bers of leg­is­la­tures in all 50 states by for­mer Mor­mon edu­ca­tor and FBI offi­cial W. Cleo Skousen, a high-rank­ing mem­ber of the John Birch Soci­ety and head of the Nation­al Cen­ter for Con­sti­tu­tion­al Stud­ies. Wes­ley McCune, who pub­lish­es the Wash­ing­ton newslet­ter Group Research, says invi­ta­tions to the event went out under the let­ter­head of the Ari­zona State Leg­is­la­ture, though the leg­is­la­ture was not spon­sor­ing the event, (McCune says the fact that the leg­is­la­ture was not the spon­sor­ing agent was made clear short­ly there­after by CAUSA, which paid all expenses–estimated at $750,000–for atten­dees.)

    Such activ­i­ties buy a very high pro­file for Moon, his church and his polit­i­cal agen­da, but noth­ing has put him on the nation­al map with such a pos­i­tive push toward respectabil­i­ty like the 13 months he served in a Dan­bury, Conn., prison fol­low­ing his con­vic­tion for tax fraud. The jail­ing of “the Mes­si­ah,“ in 1984, came just as ner­vous reli­gious lead­ers were wor­ry­ing over sev­er­al oth­er per­ceived incur­sions by gov­ern­ment into mat­ters of the soul, and when they ral­lied to the cause, they ral­lied to Moon‘s in the process.

    Sud­den­ly pas­tors who nor­mal­ly would avoid any­one per­mit­ting him­self to be called Mes­si­ah were defend­ing Moon from the pul­pit, on tele­vi­sion and at high­ly pub­li­cized ral­lies. The Rev. Jer­ry Fal­well, leader of the Moral Major­i­ty, charged the Jus­tice Depart­ment with “selec­tive prosecution,“snoting that Vice Pres­i­dent George Bush and vice pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Geral­dine Fer­raro did no prison time for their income tax irreg­u­lar­i­ties, over­look­ing the fact that unlike them, Moon was indict­ed for tax fraud involv­ing the fal­si­fi­ca­tion of records. (Bush and Fer­raro were nev­er indict­ed; their errors report­ed­ly were chiefly in book­keep­ing.) The Rev. Joseph Lowry, pres­i­dent of the lib­er­al South­ern Chris­t­ian Lead­er­ship Con­fer­ence, echoed Falwell‘s sen­ti­ments, and the Rev. Tim LaHaye, a promi­nent fun­da­men­tal­ist church activist and author, pub­licly offered to go to prison in Moon‘s place. Edi­to­r­i­al sup­port poured in from the Los Ange­les Times, the New York Times, the Nation­al Catholic Reg­is­ter, the Atlanta Jour­nal, the Jew­ish Times and, of all places, the Wash­ing­ton Post.


    As we can see, back in 1986, the Rev­erend Sun Myung Moon was DC’s ‘it girl’, and the good Rev­erend was lack­ing in sup­port (there’s just some­thing about theoc­ra­cy and pow­er). But it was Cleon Skousen that was chair­ing the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church’s “edu­ca­tion” con­fer­ences which is no sur­prise giv­en the num­ber of impor­tant roles Skousen played in the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church’s var­i­ous front groups like CAUSA. And as a key fig­ure in the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church’s glob­al net­work of pro­pa­gan­da out­fits and oth­er far-right orga­ni­za­tions, that puts Cleon, the guy that “woke up” Glenn Beck, not too far removed from the “Night of the Long Knives” sce­nario that played out when Klaus Bar­bi­e’s Nazi death squads butchered La Paz:

    The Con­sor­tium
    Dark Side of Rev. Moon (Cont.): Drug Allies

    By Robert Par­ry
    (Post­ed in 1997)

    Amid debates over the 115-year-old Pendle­ton Act and whether it cov­ers fund-rais­ing phone calls from the White House, a more sin­is­ter mon­ey-in-pol­i­tics issue con­tin­ues to go unno­ticed: the vast polit­i­cal influ­ence-buy­ing oper­a­tion of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. The Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion appears no more inter­est­ed in where Moon’s mys­te­ri­ous mil­lions orig­i­nate than was the Rea­gan-Bush admin­is­tra­tions which ben­e­fit­ed from Moon’s largesse.

    Our recent series, “Dark Side of Rev. Moon,” doc­u­ment­ed how Moon’s orga­ni­za­tion pur­chased influ­ence through secret pay­ments to key polit­i­cal fig­ures, includ­ing for­mer Pres­i­dent George Bush and Reli­gious Right leader Jer­ry Fal­well. Moon also financed cost­ly media out­lets, such as The Wash­ing­ton Times. Moon has built this U.S. net­work even as he tells his fol­low­ers that Amer­i­ca is “Satan’s har­vest” and vows to sub­ju­gate the Amer­i­can peo­ple under a Korea-based theoc­ra­cy.

    The series also revealed that Moon’s orga­ni­za­tion still engages in ques­tion­able finan­cial prac­tices. Accord­ing to court records, the Moon orga­ni­za­tion has been laun­der­ing mon­ey and divert­ing funds to buy per­son­al lux­u­ries for Moon’s fam­i­ly, includ­ing cocaine for Moon’s son, Hyo Jin. The finan­cial sleights-of-hand are rem­i­nis­cent of offens­es that led to Moon’s con­vic­tion for tax eva­sion in 1982.

    But since our series ran, more trou­bling facts about Moon’s inter­na­tion­al polit­i­cal con­nec­tions have been brought to our atten­tion. Most dis­turb­ing, giv­en Moon’s free-spend­ing ways, are his long-stand­ing ties to ultra-right­ists linked to Asian orga­nized crime and to the Latin Amer­i­can drug trade. These asso­ci­a­tions — and Moon’s deep­en­ing busi­ness oper­a­tions in South Amer­i­ca — under­score the need for the U.S. gov­ern­ment to ascer­tain exact­ly how Moon is financ­ing his U.S. polit­i­cal empire.

    Moon’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives refuse to detail pub­licly how they sus­tain their far-flung oper­a­tions. But they angri­ly rebut recur­ring alle­ga­tions about prof­i­teer­ing off ille­gal traf­fick­ing in weapons and drugs.

    In a typ­i­cal response to a gun-run­ning ques­tion by the Argen­tine news­pa­per, Clar­in, Moon’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ricar­do DeSe­na respond­ed, “I deny cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly these accu­sa­tions and also the bar­bar­i­ties that are said about drugs and brain­wash­ing. Our move­ment responds to the har­mo­ny of the races, nations and reli­gions and pro­claims that the fam­i­ly is the school of love.” [Clar­in, July 7, 1996]

    But Moon’s rela­tion­ships with drug-taint­ed gang­sters and cor­rupt right-wing politi­cians go back to the ear­ly days of his Uni­fi­ca­tion Church in Asia. Moon’s Korea-based church made its first impor­tant inroads in Japan in the ear­ly 1960s after gain­ing the sup­port of Ryoichi Sasakawa, a leader of the Japan­ese yakuza crime syn­di­cate who once hailed Ital­ian dic­ta­tor Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni as “the per­fect fas­cist.” In Japan and Korea, the shad­owy yakuza ran lucra­tive drug smug­gling, gam­bling and pros­ti­tu­tion rings.

    The Sasakawa con­nec­tion brought Moon both con­verts and clout because Sasakawa was a behind-the-scenes leader of Japan’s rul­ing Lib­er­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty. On the inter­na­tion­al scene, Sasakawa helped found the Asian Peo­ple’s Anti-Com­mu­nist League, which unit­ed the hero­in-stained lead­er­ship of Nation­al­ist Chi­na with right­ists from Korea, Japan and else­where in Asia. [For details, see Yakuza by David E. Kaplan and Alec Dubro]

    In 1966, the Asian league evolved into the World Anti-Com­mu­nist League with the inclu­sion of for­mer Nazis from Europe, overt racial­ists from the Unit­ed States and “death squad” oper­a­tives from Latin Amer­i­ca, along with more tra­di­tion­al con­ser­v­a­tives. Moon’s fol­low­ers played impor­tant roles in both orga­ni­za­tions, which also main­tained close ties to the CIA.

    South Amer­i­can Drugs
    Mean­while, after World War II, South Amer­i­ca was becom­ing a cross­roads for Nazi fugi­tives and drug smug­glers. Nazi war crim­i­nal Klaus Bar­bie, the so-called Butch­er of Lyons, earned his liv­ing in Bolivia by sell­ing his intel­li­gence skills, while oth­er ex-Nazis traf­ficked in nar­cotics. Often the lines crossed.m

    In those years, Auguste Ricord, a French war crim­i­nal who had col­lab­o­rat­ed with the Gestapo, set up shop in Paraguay. Ricord opened up French Con­nec­tion hero­in chan­nels to Amer­i­can Mafia drug king­pin San­to Traf­fi­cante Jr., who con­trolled much of the hero­in traf­fic into the Unit­ed States. Columns by Jack Ander­son iden­ti­fied, Ricord’s accom­plices as some of Paraguay’s high­est-rank­ing offi­cers.

    Anoth­er French Con­nec­tion mob­ster, Chris­t­ian David, relied on pro­tec­tion of Argen­tine author­i­ties. While traf­fick­ing in hero­in, David also “took on assign­ments for Argenti­na’s ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion, the Argen­tine Anti-Com­mu­nist Alliance,” Hen­rik Kruger wrote in The Great Hero­in Coup. Dur­ing Pres­i­dent Nixon’s “war on drugs,” U.S. author­i­ties smashed this famous French Con­nec­tion and won extra­di­tions of Ricord and David in 1972.

    But by then, pow­er­ful drug lords had forged strong ties to South Amer­i­ca’s mil­i­tary lead­ers. Oth­er Traf­fi­cante-con­nect­ed groups, includ­ing right-wing anti-Cas­tro Cubans in Mia­mi, eager­ly filled the drug void. Hero­in from the Gold­en Tri­an­gle of South­east Asia quick­ly replaced the French Con­nec­tion hero­in that had come most­ly from the Mid­dle East.

    Dur­ing this peri­od, the CIA active­ly col­lab­o­rat­ed with right-wing army offi­cers to oust left-lean­ing gov­ern­ments. And amid this swirl of anti-com­mu­nism, Moon became active in South Amer­i­ca. His first vis­it to Argenti­na was in 1965 when he blessed a square behind the pres­i­den­tial Pink House in Buenos Aires. He returned a decade lat­er and began mak­ing high-lev­el con­tacts in Argenti­na, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay.

    The far-right gained con­trol of Argenti­na in 1976 with a Dirty War that “dis­ap­peared” tens of thou­sands of Argen­tines. Michael Levine, a star under­cov­er agent of the Drug Enforce­ment Admin­is­tra­tion, was assigned to Buenos Aires and was struck how “death was very much a way of life in Argenti­na.” [See Levine’s Big White Lie]

    A Nazi Reunion
    In near­by coca-pro­duc­ing Bolivia, Nazi fugi­tive Klaus Bar­bie was work­ing as a Boli­vian intel­li­gence offi­cer and draw­ing up plans for a putsch that would add that cen­tral nation to the region’s “sta­ble axis” of right-wing regimes. Bar­bie con­tact­ed Argen­tine intel­li­gence for help.

    One of the first Argen­tine intel­li­gence offi­cers who arrived was Lt. Alfred Mario Min­gol­la. “Before our depar­ture, we received a dossier on [Bar­bie],” Min­gol­la lat­er told Ger­man inves­tiga­tive reporter Kai Her­mann. “There it stat­ed that he was of great use to Argenti­na because he played an impor­tant role in all of Latin Amer­i­ca in the fight against com­mu­nism. From the dossier, it was also clear that Alt­mann worked for the Amer­i­cans.” [For an Eng­lish trans­la­tion of Her­man­n’s detailed account, see Covert Action Infor­ma­tion Bul­letin, Win­ter 1986]

    As the Boli­vian coup took shape, Boli­vian Col. Luis Arce-Gomez, the cousin of cocaine king­pin Rober­to Suarez, recruit­ed neo-fas­cist ter­ror­ists such as Ital­ian Ste­fano del­la Chi­aie who had been work­ing with the Argen­tine death squads. [See Cocaine Pol­i­tics by Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Mar­shall] Dr. Alfre­do Can­dia, the Boli­vian leader of the World Anti-Com­mu­nist League, was coor­di­nat­ing the arrival of these para­mil­i­tary oper­a­tives from Argenti­na and Europe, Her­mann report­ed. Mean­while, Bar­bie start­ed a secret lodge, called Thule. Dur­ing meet­ings, he lec­tured to his fol­low­ers under­neath swastikas by can­dle­light.

    While the CIA was encour­ag­ing this aggres­sive anti-com­mu­nism on one lev­el, Levine and his DEA field agents were mov­ing against some of the con­spir­a­tors for drug crimes. In May 1980, DEA in Mia­mi seized 854 pounds of cocaine base and arrest­ed two top Boli­vian traf­fick­ers from the Rober­to Suarez orga­ni­za­tion. But Levine saw the bust dou­ble-crossed, he sus­pect­ed, for geo-polit­i­cal rea­sons.

    One sus­pect, Jose Rober­to Gasser “was almost imme­di­ate­ly released from cus­tody by the Mia­mi U.S. attor­ney’s office,” Levine wrote. (Gasser was the son of Boli­vian WACL asso­ciate Erwin Gasser, a lead­ing fig­ure in the upcom­ing coup.) The oth­er defen­dant saw his bail low­ered, let­ting him flee the Unit­ed States. Levine wor­ried about the fate of Boli­vian offi­cials who had helped DEA. [See Levine’s Deep Cov­er]

    On June 17, 1980, in near­ly pub­lic plan­ning for the coup, six of Bolivi­a’s biggest traf­fick­ers met with the mil­i­tary con­spir­a­tors to ham­mer out a finan­cial deal for future pro­tec­tion of the cocaine trade. A La Paz busi­ness­man said the com­ing putsch should be called the “Cocaine Coup,” a name that would stick. [Cocaine Pol­i­tics]

    Less than three weeks lat­er, on July 6, DEA agent Levine met with a Boli­vian traf­fick­er named Hugo Hur­ta­do-Can­dia. Over drinks, Hur­ta­do out­lined plans for the “new gov­ern­ment” in which his niece Sonia Ata­la, a major cocaine sup­pli­er, will “be in a very strong posi­tion.”

    Lat­er, an Argen­tine secret police­man told Levine that the CIA knew about the coup. “You North Amer­i­cans amaze me. Don’t you speak to your own peo­ple?” the offi­cer won­dered. “Do you think Bolivi­a’s gov­ern­ment — or any gov­ern­ment in South Amer­i­ca — can be changed with­out your gov­ern­ment and mine being aware of it?”

    When Levine asked why that affect­ed the planned DEA inves­ti­ga­tion, the Argen­tine answered, “Because the same peo­ple he’s nam­ing as drug deal­ers are the peo­ple we are help­ing to rid Bolivia of left­ists. ...Us. The Argen­tines ... work­ing with your CIA.” [Big White Lie]

    The Cocaine Coup Cometh
    On July 17, the Cocaine Coup began, spear­head­ed by Bar­bie and his neo-fas­cist goon squad dubbed Fiances of Death. “The masked thugs were not Boli­vians; they spoke Span­ish with Ger­man, French and Ital­ian accents,” Levine wrote. “Their uni­forms bore nei­ther nation­al iden­ti­fi­ca­tion nor any mark­ings, although many of them wore Nazi swasti­ka arm­bands and insignias.”

    The slaugh­ter was fierce. When the putschists stormed the nation­al labor head­quar­ters, they wound­ed labor leader Marce­lo Quiroga, who had led the effort to indict for­mer mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor Hugo Banz­er on drug and cor­rup­tion charges. Quiroga “was dragged off to police head­quar­ters to be the object of a game played by some of the tor­ture experts import­ed from Argenti­na’s dread­ed Mechan­ic School of the Navy,” Levine wrote.

    “These experts applied their ‘sci­ence’ to Quiroga as a les­son to the Boli­vians, who were a lit­tle back­ward in such mat­ters. They kept Quiroga alive and suf­fer­ing for hours. His cas­trat­ed, tor­tured body was found days lat­er in a place called ‘The val­ley of the Moon’ in south­ern La Paz.” Women cap­tives were gang-raped as part of their tor­ture.

    To Levine back in Buenos Aires, it was soon clear “that the pri­ma­ry goal of the rev­o­lu­tion was the pro­tec­tion and con­trol of Bolivi­a’s cocaine indus­try. All major drug traf­fick­ers in prison were released, after which they joined the neo-Nazis in their ram­page. Gov­ern­ment build­ings were invad­ed and traf­fick­er files were either car­ried off or burned. Gov­ern­ment employ­ees were tor­tured and shot, the women tied and repeat­ed­ly raped by the para­mil­i­taries and the freed traf­fick­ers.”

    The fas­cists cel­e­brat­ed with swastikas and shouts of “Heil Hitler!” Her­mann report­ed. Col. Arce-Gomez, a cen­tral-cast­ing image of a bemedaled, pot-bel­lied Latin dic­ta­tor, grabbed broad pow­ers as Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter. Gen. Luis Gar­cia Meza was installed as Bolivi­a’s new pres­i­dent.

    Moon & the Putschists
    Among the first well-wish­ers arriv­ing in La Paz to con­grat­u­late the new gov­ern­ment was Moon’s top lieu­tenant, Bo Hi Pak. The Moon orga­ni­za­tion pub­lished a pho­to of Pak meet­ing with Gen. Gar­cia Meza. After the vis­it to the moun­tain­ous cap­i­tal, Pak declared, “I have erect­ed a throne for Father Moon in the world’s high­est city.”

    Accord­ing to lat­er Boli­vian gov­ern­ment and news­pa­per reports, a Moon rep­re­sen­ta­tive invest­ed about $4 mil­lion in prepa­ra­tions for the coup. Bolivi­a’s WACL rep­re­sen­ta­tives also played key roles, and CAUSA, one of Moon’s anti-com­mu­nist orga­ni­za­tions, list­ed as mem­bers near­ly all the lead­ing Boli­vian coup-mak­ers. [CAIB, Win­ter 1986]

    After the coup, Arce-Gomez went into part­ner­ship with big nar­co-traf­fick­ers, includ­ing Traf­fi­can­te’s Cuban-Amer­i­can smug­glers. Klaus Bar­bie and his neo-fas­cists got a new assign­ment: pro­tect­ing Bolivi­a’s major cocaine barons and trans­port­ing drugs to the bor­der. [Cocaine Pol­i­tics]

    “The para­mil­i­tary units — con­ceived by Bar­bie as a new type of SS — sold them­selves to the cocaine barons,” con­clud­ed Her­mann. “The attrac­tion of fast mon­ey in the cocaine trade was stronger than the idea of a nation­al social­ist rev­o­lu­tion in Latin Amer­i­ca.”

    Accord­ing to Levine, Arce-Gomez boast­ed to one top traf­fick­er: “We will flood Amer­i­ca’s bor­ders with cocaine.” It was boast that the coup-mak­ers backed up.

    “Bolivia soon became the prin­ci­pal sup­pli­er of cocaine base to the then fledg­ling Colom­bian car­tels, mak­ing them­selves the main sup­pli­ers of cocaine to the Unit­ed States,” Levine said. “And it could not have been done with­out the tac­it help of DEA and the active, covert help of the CIA.”

    On Dec. 16, 1980, Cuban-Amer­i­can intel­li­gence oper­a­tive Ricar­do Morales told a Flori­da pros­e­cu­tor that he had become an informer in Oper­a­tion Tick-Talks, a Mia­mi-based inves­ti­ga­tion that impli­cat­ed Frank Cas­tro and oth­er Bay of Pigs vet­er­ans in a con­spir­a­cy to import cocaine from the new mil­i­tary rulers of Bolivia. [Cocaine Pol­i­tics]

    Years lat­er, Medellin car­tel mon­ey-laun­der­er Ramon Mil­ian Rodriguez tes­ti­fied before Sen­ate hear­ings chaired by Sen. John Ker­ry, D‑Mass. Mil­ian Rodriguez stat­ed that in the ear­ly days of the car­tel, “Bolivia was much more sig­nif­i­cant than the oth­er coun­tries.” [April 6, 1988]

    As the drug lords con­sol­i­dat­ed their pow­er in Bolivia, the Moon orga­ni­za­tion expand­ed its pres­ence, too. Her­mann report­ed that in ear­ly 1981, war crim­i­nal Bar­bie and Moon leader Thomas Ward were often seen togeth­er in appar­ent prayer. Min­gol­la, the Argen­tine intel­li­gence offi­cer, described Ward as his CIA pay­mas­ter, with the $1,500 month­ly salary com­ing from the CAUSA office of Ward’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive. [CAIB, Win­ter 1986]

    On May 31, 1981, Moon rep­re­sen­ta­tives spon­sored a CAUSA recep­tion at the Sher­a­ton Hotel’s Hall of Free­dom in La Paz. Bo Hi Pak and Gar­cia Meza led a prayer for Pres­i­dent Rea­gan’s recov­ery from an assas­si­na­tion attempt. In his speech, Bo Hi Pak declared, “God had cho­sen the Boli­vian peo­ple in the heart of South Amer­i­ca as the ones to con­quer com­mu­nism.” Accord­ing to a lat­er Boli­vian intel­li­gence report, the Moon orga­ni­za­tion sought to recruit an “armed church” of Boli­vians, with about 7,000 Boli­vians receiv­ing some para­mil­i­tary train­ing.

    Cocaine Stress­es
    But by late 1981, the obvi­ous cocaine taint was strain­ing U.S.-Bolivian rela­tions. “The Moon sect dis­ap­peared overnight from Bolivia as clan­des­tine­ly as they had arrived,” Her­mann report­ed. Only Ward and a cou­ple of oth­ers stayed on with the Boli­vian infor­ma­tion agency as it worked on a tran­si­tion back to civil­ian rule.

    Accord­ing to Her­man­n’s account, Min­gol­la met Ward in the cafe­te­ria Fontana of La Paz’s Hotel Plaza in March 1982. Ward was dis­cour­aged about the Boli­vian oper­a­tion. “The whole affair with Alt­mann [Bar­bie], with the whole fas­cism and Nazism bit, that was a dead-end street,” Ward com­plained. “It was stu­pid hav­ing Moon and CAUSA here.” [CAIB, Win­ter 1986] Ward could not be reached for com­ment about this arti­cle.

    The Cocaine Coup lead­ers soon found them­selves on the run. Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Arce-Gomez was even­tu­al­ly extra­dit­ed to Mia­mi and is serv­ing a 30-year sen­tence for drug traf­fick­ing. Rober­to Suarez got a 15-year prison sen­tence. Gen. Gar­cia Meza is a fugi­tive from a 30-year sen­tence imposed on him in Bolivia for abuse of pow­er, cor­rup­tion and mur­der. Bar­bie was returned to France to face a life sen­tence for war crimes. He died in 1992.

    But Moon’s orga­ni­za­tion paid lit­tle price for the Cocaine Coup. Fund­ing U.S. con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal con­fer­ences and found­ing the ultra-con­ser­v­a­tive Wash­ing­ton Times in 1982, Moon ingra­ti­at­ed him­self to Pres­i­dent Rea­gan and oth­er lead­ing Repub­li­cans. Moon also con­tin­ued to build a polit­i­cal-eco­nom­ic base in South Amer­i­ca.


    “The whole affair with Alt­mann [Bar­bie], with the whole fas­cism and Nazism bit, that was a dead-end street...It was stu­pid hav­ing Moon and CAUSA here.” Yes, it was stu­pid. And hor­ri­bly vio­lent. And aid­ed and abet­ted by the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church which Glenn Beck­’s “divine­ly inspired” theo­crat of choice, Cleon Skousen, worked close­ly with for years. Includ­ing the years fol­low­ing the “Cocaine Coup” of Bolivia.

    So giv­en all that, it’s a reminder that Glenn Beck­’s Chalk Board of Doom, Nazi ref­er­ences and all, needs some updat­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 9, 2015, 7:38 pm
  13. Isn’t this cute: Charles C. John­son, the Darth Vad­er of right-wing jour­nal­ism known for his James O’Keefe-esque rela­tion­ship with the truth, recent­ly dis­cov­ered a clever new way to over­come his most recent ban from Twit­ter so he could con­tin­ue pro­mot­ing his web­site and fel­low trav­el­ers. His sneaky trick? Get con­trol of the Rea­gan Foun­da­tion’s Twit­ter account. And it total­ly worked! Who knows how he got it, but he got it.

    Yes, Charles C. John­son was back on Twit­ter as “@RonReaganLives” recent­ly, chat­ting it up with John­son’s old Twit­ter pals and send­ing them links. Links to sites like VDare.com sent to pals like Andrew “weev” Auern­heimer. Just like all his old, now-banned Twit­ter account, except now it’s the Rea­gan Foun­da­tion tweet­ing it:

    Lit­tle Green Foot­balls
    Chuck C. John­son Sneaks Onto Twit­ter Again, Using an Account Claim­ing to Be Asso­ci­at­ed With the Rea­gan Foun­da­tion
    The return of a nasty troll

    By Charles John­son
    Mon­day, July 13, 2015 at 6:34 pm PDT

    Yes­ter­day I got a tip from a friend that cyber­stalk­er Chuck C. John­son had bragged on his pri­vate Face­book page that he now has “access” to a Twit­ter account with 23,000 fol­low­ers. A screen­shot:

    [see img ]

    As you may recall, Chuck C. John­son was recent­ly per­ma­nent­ly banned from Twit­ter, and tried to re-reg­is­ter sev­er­al accounts, all of which were imme­di­ate­ly sus­pend­ed as well.

    Well, he’s back again. Lo and behold — here’s a Twit­ter account with 23,000 fol­low­ers that has sud­den­ly start­ed tweet­ing about the same sorts of things that inter­est Chuck John­son, includ­ing attack­ing Der­ay McKesson and tweet­ing links to white suprema­cists and VDARE.

    @DeRay is already offer­ing to help #ElChapo ful­fill his threat to kill @realDonaldTrump.

    — Ronald Rea­gan (@RonReaganLives) July 13, 2015

    If Colum­ba Bush Can’t Con­verse in Eng­lish, Was Her Nat­u­ral­iza­tion Fraud­u­lent? http://t.co/wcqmHWWV2P via @vdare

    — Ronald Rea­gan (@RonReaganLives) July 13, 2015

    If you look through this person’s time­line you’ll see many of the same obses­sions for which John­son is infa­mous; for exam­ple, here are two tweets to white suprema­cist “weev” (Andrew Auern­heimer):

    Hey, sor­ry about being senile and sign­ing the law that wrong­ly jailed you, @rabite. My bad.

    — Ronald Rea­gan (@RonReaganLives) July 12, 2015

    @rabite most trans­par­ent admin­is­tra­tion ever and if you doubt it they’ll jail you.

    — Ronald Rea­gan (@RonReaganLives) July 12, 2015

    @RonReaganLives also recent­ly start­ed fol­low­ing Andrew Auern­heimer (@rabite) on Twit­ter. Auern­heimer has pub­licly acknowl­edged col­lab­o­rat­ing with John­son, and cur­rent­ly has this image for his avatar:
    [see #FreeChuck/#GingerRevolution img]
    Here’s a tweet sug­gest­ing that Oba­ma didn’t write his auto­bi­og­ra­phy — anoth­er con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry often float­ed by our boy Chuck:

    One of Ted Cruz’s friends told me he wrote his book, unlike our cur­rent pres­i­dent. I wrote my own speech­es (most­ly) so I approve.

    — Ronald Rea­gan (@RonReaganLives) July 13, 2015

    And here’s a tweet that actu­al­ly links to Chuck Johnson’s hor­ri­ble blog, to a post in which you’ll find sev­er­al tweets by… @RonReaganLives.

    Some­one is using my tweets! BREAKING: We Found Some Pret­ty Crazy Peo­ple At the Anti-#Don­aldTrump Ral­ly http://t.co/zNBVYmDyfU

    — Ronald Rea­gan (@@RonReaganLives) July 11, 2015

    This account claims to be offi­cial­ly affil­i­at­ed with the Ronald Rea­gan Foun­da­tion in Simi Val­ley, with a board of trustees that includes Rupert Mur­doch, Peg­gy Noo­nan, Nan­cy Rea­gan, and many oth­er well-known con­ser­v­a­tive fig­ures.

    I won­der how they feel about their name being used by some­one who retweets links to out­right white nation­al­ist web­sites, and holds con­ver­sa­tions with out­right white suprema­cists — all in vio­la­tion of Twitter’s Terms of Ser­vice?


    This does seem like a pret­ty good ques­tion:

    This account claims to be offi­cial­ly affil­i­at­ed with the Ronald Rea­gan Foun­da­tion in Simi Val­ley, with a board of trustees that includes Rupert Mur­doch, Peg­gy Noo­nan, Nan­cy Rea­gan, and many oth­er well-known con­ser­v­a­tive fig­ures.

    I won­der how they feel about their name being used by some­one who retweets links to out­right white nation­al­ist web­sites, and holds con­ver­sa­tions with out­right white suprema­cists — all in vio­la­tion of Twitter’s Terms of Ser­vice?

    Hand­ing Charles C. John­son the pass­word to your orga­ni­za­tion’s Twit­ter account does seem like a rather ques­tion deci­sion. Maybe it was sort sort of per­for­mance art designed to teach the pub­lic about some of the more sen­si­tive aspects of Rea­gan’s lega­cy that are oth­er­wise dif­fi­cult to com­mu­ni­cate.

    Either way, the show’s over. The ghost of St. Ron­nie just got banned from Twit­ter:

    Lit­tle Green Foot­balls
    BREAKING! EXCLUSIVE! Cyber­stalk­er Chuck C. John­son Sus­pend­ed by Twit­ter Again
    Ba da boom

    By Charles John­son

    Fri­day, July 17, 2015 at 1:35 pm PDT

    As we report­ed exclu­sive­ly a few days ago, infa­mous cyber troll Chuck C. John­son was bla­tant­ly using the account of @RonReaganLives to sneak back onto Twit­ter and pro­mote his awful blog.

    And now, Johnson’s lat­est Twit­ter account has been sus­pend­ed too. Looks like this real­ly is a per­ma­nent ban for the Chuck­ster. I won­der who he’ll blame this time?

    These are some of the accounts used by John­son that have now been sus­pend­ed (and I’m prob­a­bly for­get­ting one or two):


    Yes, Charles C. John­son killed the ghost of St. Ron­nie and now https://twitter.com/RonReaganLives lives no more. At least for now.

    Could this the end of the Chuck John­son’s adven­tures on Twit­ter? Prob­a­bly not. It has­n’t stopped him before.

    But one thing is for cer­tain: this is not the end of Charles C. John­son’s empire. There’s only one way that’s going to hap­pen.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 20, 2015, 6:22 pm
  14. Fol­low­ing Microsoft­’s pan­icked removed of “Tay”, its new arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence twit­ter bot that was con­vert­ed into a neo-Nazi short­ly after being exposed to the world, one of the unfor­tu­nate new ques­tions in tech­nol­o­gy is now “which piece of hard­ware goes neo-Nazi next?” Giv­en that state of affairs, should your print ran­dom­ly start­ed spew­ing out adver­tise­ments for The Dai­ly Stormer, it prob­a­bly did­n’t become a neo-Nazi print­er, although a neo-Nazi is prob­a­bly using it:

    Vice Moth­er­board

    A Hack­er Made ‘Thou­sands’ of Inter­net-Con­nect­ed Print­ers Spit Out Racist Fly­ers

    Writ­ten by Loren­zo Franceschi-Bic­chierai
    Staff Writer

    March 27, 2016 // 10:39 AM EST

    The noto­ri­ous hack­er and troll Andrew Auern­heimer, also known as “Weev,” just proved that the Inter­net of Things can be abused to spread hate­ful pro­pa­gan­da. On Thurs­day, Auern­heimer used two lines of code to scan the entire inter­net for inse­cure print­ers and made them auto­mat­i­cal­ly spill out a racist and anti-semit­ic fly­er.

    Hours lat­er, sev­er­al peo­ple start­ed report­ing the inci­dent on social media, and even­tu­al­ly a few local news out­lets picked up on the sto­ry when col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties all over the Unit­ed States found that their net­work print­ers were spilling out Auernheimer’s fly­er.

    Auern­heimer detailed this “brief exper­i­ment,” as he called it, in a blog post on Fri­day. Lat­er, in a chat, he said that he made over 20,000 print­ers put out the fly­er, and defend­ed his actions.

    “I did not hack any print­ers,” he told me in a online chat. “I sent them mes­sages, because they were con­fig­ured to receive mes­sages from the pub­lic.”

    The hack­er explained that all he did was cre­ate a script that would scan the whole inter­net to find print­ers that had port 9100, a com­mon port used by net­work print­ers, open. Then, the script made them print the fly­er.

    “It’s a big inter­net, I did­n’t have to ‘dis­cov­er’ the print­ers were vul­ner­a­ble, I knew there were going to be a whole lot of them on the inter­net,” he added. “That’s like an obvi­ous fact, of any device, if you search for it some­where on the inter­net you’re going to find it. There were less than I expect­ed there to be real­ly. Still a lot though!”

    This inci­dent shows, once again, that the appar­ent­ly bright future of the so-called Inter­net of Things has a dark side too: hack­ers can creep out babies tak­ing advan­tage of inse­cure baby mon­i­tors, expose kids’ iden­ti­ties thanks to inter­net-con­nect­ed toys that col­lect and leave their data exposed online, or send a hate­ful white suprema­cist fly­er all over the coun­try with two lines of code.

    Auern­heimer him­self said this “exper­i­ment” is “a les­son in how pos­i­tive­ly hilar­i­ous the [Inter­net of Things] will be in the future.”

    Sev­er­al col­lege author­i­ties are report­ed­ly inves­ti­gat­ing these inci­dents, appar­ent­ly along with the FBI as well. (The FBI did not respond to a request for com­ment.)

    Despite that, Auern­heimer, who was con­vict­ed of hack­ing crimes in 2012, told me that he’s not wor­ried.


    “This inci­dent shows, once again, that the appar­ent­ly bright future of the so-called Inter­net of Things has a dark side too: hack­ers can creep out babies tak­ing advan­tage of inse­cure baby mon­i­tors, expose kids’ iden­ti­ties thanks to inter­net-con­nect­ed toys that col­lect and leave their data exposed online, or send a hate­ful white suprema­cist fly­er all over the coun­try with two lines of code.”
    Well, at least the Weev has­n’t got­ten around to hack­ing baby mon­i­tors and chil­dren’s toys to spew out white suprema­cist pro­pa­gan­da to impres­sion­able young minds, although it sounds like it’s just a mat­ter of time giv­en the ease of hack­ing such devices and the Wee­v’s insa­tion­able appetite for Nazi tolling. So if you’d like to avoid expos­ing your kids to an unin­vit­ed “imag­i­nary friend” liv­ing in your toys and house­hold prod­ucts (a friend who does­n’t seem to approve of your kid’s non-white friends), you’ll prob­a­bly want to ensure your inter­net-con­nect­ed devices aren’t one of the super eas­i­ly hack­able brands. There’s no short­age of rea­sons for secur­ing your inter­net-con­nect­ed devices, but you can now add “pre­vent­ing the Weev from Nazi trolling my fam­i­ly” to the list.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 29, 2016, 6:29 pm
  15. @Pterrafractyl–

    Aueren­heimer is a bud­dy of Cit­i­zen Green­wald, or at least a fel­low (ahem) par­ty ani­mal!

    Keep up the great work!

    Posted by Dave Emory | March 29, 2016, 8:51 pm
  16. Here’s a pair of arti­cles that are, on the sur­face, just kind of amus­ing. But they’re also a reminder that the threat of seces­sion is very much some­thing the Amer­i­can far right is hap­py to stoke and fall back on if they lose polit­i­cal pow­er:

    First, here’s an AP arti­cle from a cou­ple of weeks ago about how a res­o­lu­tion was intro­duced to the West Vir­ginia leg­is­la­ture by Repub­li­can Charles Trump that sim­ply reminds the res­i­dents of Fed­er­ick Coun­ty, Vir­ginia, that the coun­ty has a stand­ing invite by the state of West Vir­ginia to secede from Vir­ginia and join West Vir­ginia. The invite goes back to 1862, when West Vir­ginia broke off from Vir­ginia dur­ing the Civ­il War. Accord­ing to Trump, a vote was nev­er actu­al­ly held by Fred­er­ick Coun­ty on whether or not to secede so it remains an open issue:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    WVa to Vir­ginia coun­ty: Come join us. Vir­ginia coun­ty: Nah

    Jan­u­ary 13, 2020

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Vir­ginia is for lovers, so West Vir­ginia is reviv­ing a 158-year-old pro­pos­al to ask one of its coun­ties on a date.

    The answer, appar­ent­ly, is still no.

    The West Vir­ginia Sen­ate adopt­ed a res­o­lu­tion by voice vote Mon­day to remind res­i­dents of Fred­er­ick Coun­ty, Vir­ginia, that the coun­ty has a stand­ing invite — from 1862 — to become part of West Vir­ginia. It now goes to the House of Del­e­gates.

    The res­o­lu­tion was intro­duced by Mor­gan Coun­ty Repub­li­can Charles Trump, whose dis­trict bor­ders Fred­er­ick Coun­ty. Trump was born in Win­ches­ter, the seat of Fred­er­ick, which is Virginia’s north­ern­most coun­ty.

    A mes­sage left for Fred­er­ick Coun­ty Board of Super­vi­sors chair­man at large Chuck DeHaven wasn’t imme­di­ate­ly returned Mon­day. But he told the Her­ald-Mail of Hager­stown, Mary­land, last week that Fred­er­ick Coun­ty has no inter­est in becom­ing part of West Vir­ginia.

    Fred­er­ick was formed in 1743, and much of it lat­er was carved out to cre­ate sev­er­al oth­er coun­ties. It remains much clos­er to Rich­mond, at 136 miles, than West Virginia’s state capi­tol of Charleston, at 268 miles.

    West Vir­ginia, born in 1863 dur­ing the Civ­il War, is the only state to be formed by seced­ing from a Con­fed­er­ate state. Some Vir­ginia bor­der coun­ties were giv­en the choice to become part of the new state if their res­i­dents approved. Berke­ley and Jef­fer­son coun­ties gave their nod, sid­ing with the Union. Trump said a vote was nev­er tak­en in Fred­er­ick Coun­ty, which end­ed up near­ly sur­round­ed on three sides by the north­ern neigh­bor.



    “WVa to Vir­ginia coun­ty: Come join us. Vir­ginia coun­ty: Nah” By JOHN RABY; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 01/13/2020

    “A mes­sage left for Fred­er­ick Coun­ty Board of Super­vi­sors chair­man at large Chuck DeHaven wasn’t imme­di­ate­ly returned Mon­day. But he told the Her­ald-Mail of Hager­stown, Mary­land, last week that Fred­er­ick Coun­ty has no inter­est in becom­ing part of West Vir­ginia.”

    Not inter­est­ed. That was the response from the chair­man of Fred­er­ick Coun­ty’s Board of Super­vi­sors. All in all, a rather light­heart­ed sto­ry, as long as its treat­ed as just a joke.

    Now here’s a less light­heart­ed fol­lowup sto­ry: Vir­ginia-based Jer­ry Fal­well Jr. — who was Pres­i­dent Trump’s first choice for edu­ca­tion sec­re­tary and pro­motes the idea that Trump is being guid­ed by Bib­li­cal prophe­cy — and the Repub­li­can gov­er­nor of West Vir­ginia, Jim Jus­tice, are now open­ly encour­ag­ing local gov­ern­ments in Vir­ginia unhap­py with the Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol of Vir­ginia to secede to West Vir­ginia. And the pitch did­n’t appear to be lim­it­ed to Fred­er­ick Coun­ty. Beyond that, Gov. Jus­tice did­n’t lim­it the offer to Vir­ginia. He also men­tioned Mary­land (which also bor­ders West Vir­ginia) and even Cal­i­for­nia. And while the idea of parts of Cal­i­for­nia seced­ing to West Vir­ginia is obvi­ous­ly pret­ty absurd, the fact that we have Repub­li­cans encour­ag­ing rur­al coun­ties to secede in response to Demo­c­ra­t­ic is trag­i­cal­ly not real­ly absurd and instead mere­ly the kind of divide-and-con­quer approach to pol­i­tics we should expect from Repub­li­cans at this point:

    Talk­ing Points

    Fal­well Ral­lies Rur­al Vir­ginia Coun­ties To Secede And Join West Vir­ginia

    By Matt Shuham
    Jan­u­ary 28, 2020 5:26 p.m.

    The gov­er­nor of West Vir­ginia and the pres­i­dent of the Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty came togeth­er on Tues­day and urged con­ser­v­a­tive coun­ties and cities in Vir­ginia to leave that state and join its west­ern neigh­bor.

    “If you’re not tru­ly hap­py where you are, we stand with open arms to take you from Vir­ginia or any­where you may be,” Gov. Jim Jus­tice said.

    “I think it makes sense,” Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty Pres­i­dent Jer­ry Fal­well Jr. added lat­er. “I would vote for it.”

    In a 30-minute press con­fer­ence on the issue, the pair cit­ed the recent Demo­c­ra­t­ic wave that swept state gov­ern­ment in Vir­ginia, leav­ing the Repub­li­can Par­ty out of pow­er in the governor’s man­sion and both leg­isla­tive cham­bers for the first time in near­ly three decades. The Democ­rats have pushed a gun reform pack­age that’s led to calls in some coun­ties to resist efforts to enforce new gun laws, and to a tense pro-gun ral­ly last week that left the state on edge.

    “Sounds like it’s an elec­tion year in West Vir­ginia,” Vir­ginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s press sec­re­tary Ale­na Yarmosky told TPM, asked about the Fal­well-Jus­tice pro­pos­al.

    Flanked by gyrat­ing robot­ic arms at BlueRidge Com­mu­ni­ty and Tech­ni­cal Col­lege in Mar­tins­burg, West Vir­ginia, the pair called for local gov­ern­ments in the Vir­ginia to pur­sue peti­tion dri­ves, get non-bind­ing res­o­lu­tions on the bal­lot, and extract their com­mu­ni­ties from Old Domin­ion to join the Moun­tain State — but only after approval from the Vir­ginia Gen­er­al Assem­bly, an uncer­tain propo­si­tion to say the least.

    Ken­tucky and West Vir­ginia were both once part of Vir­ginia, Fal­well not­ed; Ken­tucky split in 1792 and West Vir­ginia in 1863. He urged Vir­gini­ans “to make his­to­ry in our time by push­ing back against tyran­ny in Wash­ing­ton and in Rich­mond.”

    “I hope his­to­ry will also record, one day, how Vir­ginia divid­ed once again in our decade — because the inter­ests of those in Rich­mond were so diver­gent from those of us to the west, just as they were for Ken­tucky and West Vir­ginia,” Fal­well said.

    The press con­fer­ence revealed some con­fu­sion about the law. Fal­well admit­ted he was not aware of whether the U.S. Con­gress would have to approve the re-draw­ing of state lines he pro­posed.

    “We don’t know that yet. Last time it split, we weren’t part of the Unit­ed States, we were part of the Con­fed­er­ate States of Amer­i­ca,” he said.

    And Jus­tice, who treat­ed the press con­fer­ence as a long infomer­cial for his state, said at one point that the offer to join West Vir­ginia “extends to Mary­land, it extends to Cal­i­for­nia, it extends to any­where and every­where!”

    Fal­well did some quick clean-up work.

    “On Mary­land — it is true, Vir­ginia and West Vir­ginia are the only states that have had this his­toric rela­tion­ship and this his­toric flu­id bor­der,” he said. “So it might be tougher with oth­er states, I don’t know.”

    Still, even Falwell’s endorse­ment of redraw­ing the two states’ bound­aries seemed some­what rushed.

    After all, it was just two weeks ago that sev­er­al del­e­gates in the West Vir­ginia House intro­duced a res­o­lu­tion “for the admis­sion of cer­tain coun­ties and inde­pen­dent cities of the Com­mon­wealth of Vir­ginia to be admit­ted to the State of West Vir­ginia.” The state’s Sen­ate heard a sim­i­lar res­o­lu­tion. Fal­well said he’d only “recent­ly” learned about the West Vir­ginia res­o­lu­tion from his son, Trey.

    And just last Thurs­day, Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty came out against a Northam bud­get pro­pos­al that would block online stu­dents from receiv­ing the Vir­ginia Tuition Assis­tance Grant, a state-fund­ed check for enrollees at pri­vate insti­tu­tions that came out to $3,400 per under­grad­u­ate per year last year, and could rise to $4,000 this year.

    “Two thou­sand of those stu­dents [affect­ed by the pro­pos­al] are Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty online stu­dents,” Fal­well n0ted Tues­day, com­par­ing the pro­pos­al to the gun leg­is­la­tion and oth­er lib­er­al efforts in Vir­ginia. (Yarmosky told TPM the pro­gram is intend­ed to off­set the “brick and mor­tar costs asso­ci­at­ed with attend­ing col­lege.”)

    The press con­fer­ence, Fal­well said Tues­day, was “all put togeth­er on a tight times­pan” after night­ly phone calls between him­self and the gov­er­nor “for at least a week.”



    “Fal­well Ral­lies Rur­al Vir­ginia Coun­ties To Secede And Join West Vir­ginia” by Matt Shuham; Talk­ing Points; 01/28/2020

    “In a 30-minute press con­fer­ence on the issue, the pair cit­ed the recent Demo­c­ra­t­ic wave that swept state gov­ern­ment in Vir­ginia, leav­ing the Repub­li­can Par­ty out of pow­er in the governor’s man­sion and both leg­isla­tive cham­bers for the first time in near­ly three decades. The Democ­rats have pushed a gun reform pack­age that’s led to calls in some coun­ties to resist efforts to enforce new gun laws, and to a tense pro-gun ral­ly last week that left the state on edge.”

    West Vir­gini­a’s gov­er­nor and far right theo­crat Jer­ry Fal­well Jr. just held a whole 30-minute press con­fer­ence focused on this issue. Local gov­ern­ments in Vir­ginia, not just Fed­er­icks Coun­ty, that don’t like the Democ­rats sweep at the state-lev­el in Vir­ginia should secede. Just a gener­ic mes­sage to Vir­gini­ans that if they don’t like Democ­rats they should secede. That hap­pened.

    But the polit­i­cal stunt was­n’t lim­it­ed to Vir­ginia. Gov­er­nor Jus­tice made the offer to any Amer­i­can any­where, from Mary­land to Cal­i­for­nia. Now, it would be one thing if Jus­tice was mak­ing a pitch for peo­ple to actu­al­ly move to West Vir­ginia. But the fact that Fal­well appeared to be treat­ing Jus­tice’s pitch to “any­where and every­where” as a seces­sion pitch sug­gests that’s Jus­tice was­n’t just mak­ing a pitch for peo­ple to move. He seemed to actu­al­ly be call­ing for local­i­ties any­where to join up with West Vir­ginia:

    “If you’re not tru­ly hap­py where you are, we stand with open arms to take you from Vir­ginia or any­where you may be,” Gov. Jim Jus­tice said.

    “I think it makes sense,” Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty Pres­i­dent Jer­ry Fal­well Jr. added lat­er. “I would vote for it.”


    And Jus­tice, who treat­ed the press con­fer­ence as a long infomer­cial for his state, said at one point that the offer to join West Vir­ginia “extends to Mary­land, it extends to Cal­i­for­nia, it extends to any­where and every­where!”

    Fal­well did some quick clean-up work.

    “On Mary­land — it is true, Vir­ginia and West Vir­ginia are the only states that have had this his­toric rela­tion­ship and this his­toric flu­id bor­der,” he said. “So it might be tougher with oth­er states, I don’t know.”

    Hope­ful­ly this was all just a cheap stunt to grab atten­tion. Yet it’s hard to dis­miss this as pure­ly just a joke giv­en the extent to which seces­sion sen­ti­ments explod­ed on the right under Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma. One of the few pos­i­tive aspects of Don­ald Trump win­ning the elec­tion in 2016 is that it took some of the wind of the sails of the seces­sion­ist move­ments that would have like­ly explod­ed if Hillary Clin­ton had won instead. But as this stunt reminds us, those seces­sion­ist sen­ti­ments are still very much alive and there’s no rea­son to assume they won’t explode again the next time there’s a Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­dent. And now, thanks to Gov. Jus­tice we have the con­cept of ‘remote seces­sion’, like parts of Cal­i­for­nia seced­ing to West Vir­ginia. Any­where can secede to any­where else. That’s a thing now.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 30, 2020, 1:25 pm
  17. Why does Gov­er­nor Ron DeSan­tis — arguably the like­li­est non-Trump GOP can­di­date for the White House in 2024 — want a new ‘state guard’ mil­i­tary force that’s out­side the fed­er­al chain of com­mand? It’s a ques­tion we’re forced to ask fol­low­ing the announce­ment of a new Flori­da State Guard, reestab­lish­ing a unit that was dis­band­ed after WWII.

    State guards aren’t unprece­dent­ed and a num­ber of states already have them. So it’s not like a com­plete­ly out­landish move by DeSan­tis. The stat­ed pur­pose is emer­gency response. And yet, when we hear about the pro­pos­al, which is just to cre­ate a new unit of 200 peo­ple, com­pared to Flori­da’s 12,000 Nation­al Guard mem­bers, there’s a ques­tion of just what DeSan­tis could pos­si­bly want to do with this force in the first place.

    So what’s the use of a tiny state guard? Polit­i­cal antics, of course. The­atrics and antics aplen­ty. As the fol­low­ing arti­cle reminds us , back in 2015, Gov­er­nor Abbott used
    the Texas State Guard to mon­i­tor the “Jade Helm” fed­er­al mil­i­tary exer­cis­es amid fer­vent far right scare­mon­ger­ing about it being the pre­text for a fed­er­al takeover. And that, right there, is almost cer­tain­ly what DeSan­tis has in mind. Polit­i­cal antics. So at this point, the real ques­tions are what will those antics be and how many oth­er Repub­li­can gov­er­nors will start copy­ing him:


    DeSan­tis pro­pos­es a new civil­ian mil­i­tary force in Flori­da that he would con­trol

    By Steve Con­torno
    Updat­ed 9:47 AM ET, Fri Decem­ber 3, 2021

    St, Peters­burg, Flori­da (CNN)Florida Gov. Ron DeSan­tis wants to reestab­lish a World War II-era civil­ian mil­i­tary force that he, not the Pen­ta­gon, would con­trol.

    DeSan­tis pitched the idea Thurs­day as a way to fur­ther sup­port the Flori­da Nation­al Guard dur­ing emer­gen­cies, like hur­ri­canes. The Flori­da Nation­al Guard has also played a vital role dur­ing the pan­dem­ic in admin­is­ter­ing Covid-19 tests and dis­trib­ut­ing vac­cines.

    But in a nod to the grow­ing ten­sion between Repub­li­can states and the Biden admin­is­tra­tion over the Nation­al Guard, DeSan­tis also said this unit, called the Flori­da State Guard, would be “not encum­bered by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.” He said this force would give him “the flex­i­bil­i­ty and the abil­i­ty need­ed to respond to events in our state in the most effec­tive way pos­si­ble.” DeSan­tis is propos­ing bring­ing it back with a vol­un­teer force of 200 civil­ians, and he is seek­ing $3.5 mil­lion from the state leg­is­la­ture in start­up costs to train and equip them.

    States have the pow­er to cre­ate defense forces sep­a­rate from the nation­al guard, though not all of them use it. If Flori­da moves ahead with DeSan­tis’ plan to reestab­lish the civil­ian force, it would become the 23rd active state guard in the coun­try, DeSan­tis’ office said in a press release, join­ing Cal­i­for­nia, Texas and New York. These guards are lit­tle-known aux­il­iary forces with ori­gins dat­ing back to the advent of state mili­tias in the 18th cen­tu­ry. While states and the Depart­ment of Defense share con­trol of the Nation­al Guard, state guards are sole­ly in the pow­er of a gov­er­nor.

    The pro­pos­al from DeSan­tis comes on the heels of Defense Sec­re­tary Lloyd Austin’s direc­tive warn­ing that Nation­al Guard mem­bers who refuse to get vac­ci­nat­ed against the coro­n­avirus will have their pay with­held and barred from train­ing. Okla­homa Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Repub­li­can, had request­ed an exemp­tion for guard mem­bers in his state, which Austin denied.

    Democ­rats in Flori­da imme­di­ate­ly expressed alarm at DeSan­tis’ announce­ment. US Rep. Char­lie Crist, who is run­ning as a Demo­c­rat to chal­lenge the gov­er­nor in 2022, tweet­ed, “No Gov­er­nor should have his own hand­picked secret police.”

    State Sen. Annette Tad­deo, anoth­er guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date, wrote on Twit­ter that DeSan­tis was a “wannabe dic­ta­tor try­ing to make his move for his own vig­i­lante mili­tia like we’ve seen in Cuba.”

    The Flori­da State Guard was cre­at­ed in 1941 dur­ing World War II as a tem­po­rary force to fill the void left behind when the Flori­da Nation­al Guard was deployed to assist in the US com­bat efforts. It was dis­band­ed after the war end­ed, but the author­i­ty for a gov­er­nor to estab­lish a state defense force remained.


    State guards are typ­i­cal­ly deployed to respond dur­ing a dis­as­ter, though gov­er­nors have found oth­er rea­sons to call them into action.

    In 2015, Repub­li­can Gov. Greg Abbott used the Texas state guard to mon­i­tor fed­er­al mil­i­tary exer­cis­es in his state, respond­ing to what was at the time a fast-grow­ing con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment was using Wal­mart park­ing lots to pre­pare for a future state of mar­tial law. Abbott said the guards were just col­lect­ing infor­ma­tion to keep Tex­ans safe dur­ing the mul­ti-week exer­cis­es.

    Flori­da law autho­rizes the gov­er­nor to main­tain a defense force as “nec­es­sary to assist the civ­il author­i­ties in main­tain­ing law and order,” mean­ing DeSan­tis would have anoth­er force to respond to unrest that may erupt in the future. DeSan­tis swift­ly deployed the Flori­da Nation­al Guard to major cities after protests and vio­lence broke out in response to the mur­der of George Floyd in Min­neso­ta.

    DeSan­tis has also sta­tioned Flori­da Nation­al Guard troops at the Texas-Mex­i­co bor­der and sent them to Wash­ing­ton, DC, to help pro­tect the US Capi­tol dur­ing the inau­gu­ra­tion of Pres­i­dent Joe Biden.

    The announce­ment on Thurs­day came dur­ing a broad­er roll­out of DeSan­tis’ plan to bol­ster Flori­da’s Nation­al Guard, which includ­ed $100 mil­lion in fund­ing pro­pos­als to estab­lish three new armories, build a new head­quar­ters for the Nation­al Guard Counter Drug Pro­gram and pro­vide sup­port for Flori­da Nation­al Guards­men seek­ing high­er-edu­ca­tion degrees.


    “DeSan­tis pro­pos­es a new civil­ian mil­i­tary force in Flori­da that he would con­trol” by Steve Con­torno; CNN; 12/03/2021

    But in a nod to the grow­ing ten­sion between Repub­li­can states and the Biden admin­is­tra­tion over the Nation­al Guard, DeSan­tis also said this unit, called the Flori­da State Guard, would be “not encum­bered by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.” He said this force would give him “the flex­i­bil­i­ty and the abil­i­ty need­ed to respond to events in our state in the most effec­tive way pos­si­ble.” DeSan­tis is propos­ing bring­ing it back with a vol­un­teer force of 200 civil­ians, and he is seek­ing $3.5 mil­lion from the state leg­is­la­ture in start­up costs to train and equip them.”

    Just 200 peo­ple. There must be lots of ran­dom emer­gen­cies that require rel­a­tive­ly small respons­es. Either that or DeSan­tis just wants 200 lack­eys for pho­to ops and the­atri­cal antag­o­nism with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment:

    States have the pow­er to cre­ate defense forces sep­a­rate from the nation­al guard, though not all of them use it. If Flori­da moves ahead with DeSan­tis’ plan to reestab­lish the civil­ian force, it would become the 23rd active state guard in the coun­try, DeSan­tis’ office said in a press release, join­ing Cal­i­for­nia, Texas and New York. These guards are lit­tle-known aux­il­iary forces with ori­gins dat­ing back to the advent of state mili­tias in the 18th cen­tu­ry. While states and the Depart­ment of Defense share con­trol of the Nation­al Guard, state guards are sole­ly in the pow­er of a gov­er­nor.


    State guards are typ­i­cal­ly deployed to respond dur­ing a dis­as­ter, though gov­er­nors have found oth­er rea­sons to call them into action.

    In 2015, Repub­li­can Gov. Greg Abbott used the Texas state guard to mon­i­tor fed­er­al mil­i­tary exer­cis­es in his state, respond­ing to what was at the time a fast-grow­ing con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment was using Wal­mart park­ing lots to pre­pare for a future state of mar­tial law. Abbott said the guards were just col­lect­ing infor­ma­tion to keep Tex­ans safe dur­ing the mul­ti-week exer­cis­es.

    And as the fol­low­ing Dai­ly Beast arti­cle reminds us, DeSan­tis isn’t just doing this to appeal to Flori­da vot­ers. The guy has nation­al ambi­tions. If he does­n’t run from the White House in 2024 it’ll be 2028. So when we’re try­ing to under­stand the impli­ca­tions of this sto­ry, we have to under­stand that he’s plan­ning on mak­ing these kinds of ‘fight with the feds’ pitch to the nation:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    The Dis­gust­ing Real­i­ty Behind Ron DeSan­tis’ New ‘Army’


    The Flori­da gov­er­nor has no plans to pro­tect any­one with his pro­posed state mil­i­tary. The real goal is much dark­er.

    Michael Daly
    Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent
    Updat­ed Dec. 04, 2021 2:48AM ET / Pub­lished Dec. 03, 2021 7:54PM ET

    As gov­er­nor of Flori­da, Ron DeSan­tis is under­stand­ably big on gators.

    He had a gator logo along with the words “Don’t Tread on Flori­da” sten­ciled onto a sign he unveiled in Octo­ber when call­ing for a spe­cial ses­sion of the leg­is­la­ture to counter fed­er­al COVID-19 vac­cine man­dates.

    And his office had that gator’s twin on anoth­er sign with the words “Let Us Alone” affixed to the podi­um at a nation­al guard armory in Pen­saco­la on Thurs­day. The stag­ing was com­plet­ed with a huge Amer­i­can flag and a dozen nation­al guards­men who stood at atten­tion as DeSan­tis entered.

    “At ease,” he qui­et­ly told them.

    The sol­diers imme­di­ate­ly obeyed, for they are under his com­mand unless nation­al­ized by pres­i­den­tial order. He was there to announce increased fund­ing for the Flori­da Nation­al Guard.

    But he also made known a plan to revive a state mil­i­tary unit whose uni­forms will say FLORIDA rather than U.S. ARMY like those worn by the sol­diers who stood at ease behind him as he now took to the podi­um. No mat­ter what the pres­i­dent might want, the Flori­da State Guard will answer only to the governor—meaning DeSan­tis.

    Call it Ron’s army.

    “The Flori­da State Guard will act as a civil­ian vol­un­teer force that will have the abil­i­ty to assist the nation­al guard in state-spe­cif­ic emer­gen­cies,” DeSan­tis said.

    It will num­ber only 200, so it is hard to see what actu­al dif­fer­ence it could make beyond the 12,000 guard mem­bers.

    But that is not the real mis­sion of Ron’s Army.

    Back at the start of World War II, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment autho­rized the states to form mil­i­tary units to fill in for the Nation­al Guard, which had been incor­po­rat­ed into the U.S mil­i­tary to fight in Europe and the Pacif­ic. The Flori­da Guard was formed in 1941. Its mot­to, “Let Us Alone,” invoked feal­ty to Flori­da, not to Amer­i­ca, even though this was a time that called for nation­al uni­ty against a com­mon ene­my.

    Those same three words had appeared on a flag that Florida’s first gov­er­nor, William Mose­ley, flew at his inau­gu­ra­tion in 1841. But, per­haps because Florida’s lead­ing busi­ness peo­ple were active­ly engaged in trade with folks from beyond its bor­ders, the state sen­ate took excep­tion to the words and nev­er offi­cial­ly approved the flag.

    The words reap­peared on April 8, 1861, when mem­bers of the Flori­da mili­tia took con­trol of Fort Clinch in Fer­nan­d­i­na Beach. That was four days before the Bat­tle of Fort Sumter in South Car­oli­na marked the start of the Civ­il War.

    “Hur­rah for Flori­da, Let Us Alone,” this ban­ner read.

    Armed con­flict might have bro­ken out three months ear­li­er when anoth­er banner—a mod­i­fied Amer­i­can flag with only one big star mod­eled after the stan­dard of the Texas navy—was hoist­ed by a Flori­da mili­tia led by a plan­ta­tion own­er over a fort in Pen­saco­la. Hos­til­i­ties were tem­porar­i­ly avert­ed when the mili­tia agreed not to attack if the fed­er­al actors promised not to rein­force.

    Flori­da then had a pop­u­la­tion of 140,000, just under half of whom were slaves. Some 14,000 Florid­i­ans fought for the Con­fed­er­a­cy in the ensu­ing war. And 5,000 died.

    The con­flict was resolved only by force, and a state-before-nation resent­ment of fed­er­al con­trol endured through the gen­er­a­tions among some whites in Flori­da. It was evi­dent in the state guard’s mot­to even though their unit was formed to stand in for those off fight­ing for the nation.

    But fol­low­ing the return of the Flori­da Nation­al Guard, the state guard was dis­band­ed in 1947. Most states did the same, but two dozen state guards were revived in the ear­ly 1980s dur­ing the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion. The Utah state guard was purged in 1987, after jour­nal­ist Jack Ander­son report­ed that it was said to be “pep­pered with neo-Nazis, felons and men­tal patients.” The Vir­ginia state guard was inves­ti­gat­ed amid rumors that some of its mem­bers were seek­ing to raise enough mon­ey to pur­chase a tank. And the New York Guard was said to have secured fund­ing for its oper­a­tions by award­ing gen­er­al­ships to influ­en­tial politi­cians, some of whom had nev­er been in the mil­i­tary.

    Even so, the New York Guard was one of 12 state boards that respond­ed dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic to assist the fight against the virus. DeSan­tis has not indi­cat­ed that Ron’s army will be sim­i­lar­ly step­ping up if his state suf­fers anoth­er dead­ly surge.

    Actu­al­ly, DeSan­tis him­self is not doing much of any­thing to fight the virus besides boast­ing that Flori­da present­ly has the low­est infec­tion rate in the nation. Nev­er mind that as of Thurs­day it had racked up the third-high­est num­ber of infec­tions, 3,730,395. It also had the third-high­est num­ber of deaths, 52,647.

    DeSan­tis has respond­ed to that body count—more than four times Florida’s loss­es dur­ing the Civ­il War—by hir­ing Dr. Joseph Lapa­do as his sur­geon gen­er­al. Lapa­do has per­pet­u­at­ed false­hoods about masks and about the vac­cines. The truth is that the jab and face cov­er­ings save lives. And to dis­suade peo­ple from seek­ing those pro­tec­tions places them in need­less dan­ger.

    So, DeSan­tis clear­ly did not decide to revive the state guard in response to a new vari­ant that com­pli­cates a con­tin­u­ing nation­al emer­gency that has left 786,000 Amer­i­cans dead and hun­dreds of thou­sands more dis­abled. He told the crowd at the armory on Thurs­day that Biden should also essen­tial­ly do noth­ing, not even some­thing so sim­ple as restrict­ing air trav­el.


    All that rais­es the ques­tion of what DeSan­tis intends to do with some­thing so small as Ron’s Army.

    Not for noth­ing were “Let Us Alone” and the gator affixed to that podi­um. Not for noth­ing were the gator’s twin and “Don’t Tread on Flori­da” on those signs.

    The real mis­sion of Ron’s Army is to appeal to that state-before-nation sen­ti­ment, along with the indi­vid­ual-before-feds feel­ings that fill the MAGA base. Ron’s Army sure looks like part of a long-term DeSan­tis plan to become the com­man­der-in-chief of the whole coun­try.

    At that prospect, nobody should be at ease.


    “The Dis­gust­ing Real­i­ty Behind Ron DeSan­tis’ New ‘Army’” by Michael Daly; The Dai­ly Beast; 12/03/2021

    The real mis­sion of Ron’s Army is to appeal to that state-before-nation sen­ti­ment, along with the indi­vid­ual-before-feds feel­ings that fill the MAGA base. Ron’s Army sure looks like part of a long-term DeSan­tis plan to become the com­man­der-in-chief of the whole coun­try.”

    Appeal­ing to state-before-nation sen­ti­ment, in antic­i­pa­tion of a White House bid so he can lead the nation. Take a moment to digest that. The ‘Dis­unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca’ is emerg­ing as the win­ning con­ser­v­a­tive theme going for­ward.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 4, 2021, 5:09 pm

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