The Transformation of the American Conservative Movement into Fascism

Fascist Palin and Tea Party

Crusading to restore a holy social order, Tea Partiers have promoted disorder. Claiming to protect democracy, they smashed windows of elected representatives.

Editor’s Note: The following is the new epilogue from Max Blumenthal’s book, Republican Gomorrah, now out in paperback (Basic/Nation Books, 2009).

“He will tell you that he wants a strong authority to take from him the crushing responsibility of thinking for himself. Since the Republic is weak, he is led to break the law out of love for obedience. But is it really strong authority that he wish? In reality he demands rigorous order for others, and for himself disorder without responsibility.” — Jean-Paul Sartre, “Anti-Semite and Jew”

I am not sure when I first detected the noxious fumes that would envelop the conservative movement in the Obama era. It might have been early on, in April 2009, when I visited a series of gun shows in rural California and Nevada. Perusing tables piled high with high-caliber semi-automatic weapons and chatting with anyone in my vicinity, I heard urgent warnings of mass roundups, concentration camps, and a socialist government in Washington. “These people that are purchasing these guns are people that are worried about what’s going on in this country,” a gun dealer told me outside a show in Reno. “Good luck Obama,” a young gun enthusiast remarked to me. “We outnumber him 100 to 1.” At this time, the Tea Party movement had not even registered on the national media’s radar.

In September 2009, I led a panel discussion about this book inside an auditorium filled with nearly 100 students and faculty at the University of California-Riverside. Beside me sat Jonathan Walton, an African-American professor of religious studies and prolific writer, and Mark Takano, an erudite, openly gay former Democratic congressional candidate and local community college trustee.

In the middle of our discussion, a dozen College Republicans stormed the front of the stage with signs denouncing me as a “left-wing hack” while a hysterical young man leaped from the crowd, blowing kisses mockingly at Takano while heckling Walton as a “racist.” Afterward, university police officers insisted on escorting me to my ride after the right-wing heckler attempted to follow me as he shouted threats.

Who was this stalker? Just a concerned citizen worried about taxes? His name was Ryan Sorba and he was an operative of a heavily funded national conservative youth outfit, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Besides founding dozens of Republican youth groups across the country, Sorba has devoted an exceptional amount of energy to his interest in homosexuals. His intellectual output consists of a tract titled The Born Gay Hoax, arguing that homosexuality is at once a curable disease and a bogus trend manufactured by academic leftists. Adding to his credentials, Sorba has a history of run-ins with the law, he explained when I called him about the order.

My encounter with this aggressive right-wing cadre seemed a strange, isolated event. But the hostility turned out to be symptomatic of the intensifying campaign to delegitimize President Obama and his allies in Congress. The Right’s days of rage were only beginning.

Through his first year in office, Obama seemed oblivious to the threat of the far right. He campaigned against partisanship, declaring that there were “no red states” and no “conservative America.” Apparently, he thought it was merely a contrivance or myth that there were people who rejected science, demonized gays, assailed minority and women’s rights — or that they genuinely believed in what they said. Speaking of changing Washington, Obama seemed to think that the entire history of politics since the rise of Reagan and the Right and their strategies of polarization was not deeply rooted but a superficial problem attributable to certain “divisive” personalities, easily wiped away with gestures toward bipartisanship. His view of the parties was that they were simply mirror images sharing fundamental beliefs but separated by “partisans.” The skilled and devoted community organizer could bring them together.

Many of his supporters in the media, often part and parcel of political wars over the years, reinforced and amplified his innocence, proclaiming he was the one at last who could “bridge the partisan divide.” Andrew Sullivan, a disaffected conservative who once called critics of George W. Bush policies “fifth columnists” but now fervently supported Obama, wrote that the new president was destined to become “a liberal Reagan who can reunite America.” This optimism pervaded the Obama White House as the president and his aides sought out Republicans willing to vote for his programs. After all, why couldn’t we all just get along?

In his autobiographical book The Audacity of Hope, Obama highlighted a key component of his political strategy: “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” Once he was elected, conservatives concluded that they could reverse Obama’s strength by transforming him into a human tableau for the most fearsome images they could conjure.

Obama’s multiracial background was crucial in cultivating resentment among the shock troops. Those who rejected Obama’s legitimacy to serve as president on the basis of his background gave birth to the “Birther” movement that sought to challenge his citizenship. The movement’s most visible figure, and therefore the most eccentric, was Orly Taitz, a dentist and self-trained lawyer who had immigrated from the former Soviet republican of Moldova to Israel before settling in the conservative bastion of Orange County, California. Convinced by claims on the far-right Web site WorldNetDaily that Obama planned to create a “civilian national security force,” Taitz told me she “realized that Obama was another Stalin–it’s a cross between Stalinist USSR and Hitler’s Germany.”

After becoming transfixed by online conspiracy theories claiming Obama’s family had forged his birth certificate in Hawaii, Taitz snapped into action. She filed a lawsuit in November 2008 with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen demanding an investigation into Obama’s eligibility to serve as president. Taitz’s plaintiff in the case was Wiley Drake, an Orange County radio preacher and former second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention who once publicly prayed for Obama’s death. While her lawsuit went nowhere, and subsequent suits earned her angry rebukes from judges, Taitz became an instant media sensation, delivering heavily accented screeds against Obama before friendly interviewers from Sean Hannity to CNN’s Lou Dobbs, who Taitz called her “greatest supporter” and who was eventually fired as an indirect result of his hosting of her.

In March 2009, Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer signed on to a Birther bill proposing that future presidential candidates must prove their citizenship before becoming eligible to campaign. The Birther movement had found its voice in government and made an indelible impact on the Republican grassroots. By June 2009, 28 percent of Republican respondents to a Kos/Research 2000 poll said they thought Obama wasn’t born in the United States, while 30 percent “weren’t sure.” “Obama should be in the Big House,” Taitz shrieked to me, “not the White House!”

When Obama announced health care reform as the first major initiative of his administration, the conservative movement activated a campaign of demonization — transformational politics — designed to turn Obama into the “Other,” making him seem as unfamiliar, and therefore as threatening, as possible. When the president urged the Congress to deliver a health care reform bill in 2009, the Right staged a living theater of political hatred, Obama’s dream of bipartisanship transformed into a nightmarish version of “Marat/Sade.” On September 12, 2009, tens of thousands of far-right activists belonging to a loose confederation of anti-government groups called the Tea Party Patriots converged on Washington’s National Mall for a giant protest against the Obama health care plan. The date was significant: Fox News’s top-ranked talk show host Glenn Beck had declared the birth of the “9-12 Project” to restore the sense of unity — and siege mentality — that Americans experienced on September 11, 2001. But this time, Obama — not Osama — was the enemy.

While covering the rally, I witnessed sign after sign declaring Obama a greater danger to America’s security than al-Qaida; demonstrators held images that juxtaposed Obama’s face with images of evildoers from Hitler to Pol Pot to Bin Laden; others carried signs questioning Obama’s status as a U.S. citizen. “We can fight al-Qaida, we can’t kill Obama,” said an aging demonstrator. Another told me, “Obama is the biggest Nazi in the world,” pointing to placards he had fashioned depicting Obama and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi in SS outfits. According to another activist, Obama’s agenda was similar to Hitler’s: “Hitler took over the banking industry, did he not? And Hitler had his own personal secret service police. [The community-organizing group] ACORN is an extension of that.”

The seemingly incongruous Tea Party propaganda recalled signs waved by right-wing Jewish settlers during rallies against Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and his support of the peace process, portraying him as an SS officer and as the French collaborator Marshall Petain. In 1995, amid the provocative atmosphere, a young right-wing Jewish zealot assassinated Rabin. The Israeli tragedy was a cautionary example of targeted hatred leading to violence.

Members of the Tea Party “Patriots” did not seem to care that their rhetoric was irrational, or that comparing Obama to Hitler and Stalin was contradictory and obviously hyperbolic. Their motives were entirely negative. By purging government of the multicultural evil that had seized power through illicit means (several activists told me they believed ACORN helped Obama steal the election), they were convinced that a mythical golden American yesteryear would return. They had no interest in building anything new or even articulating an agenda, much less discussing the merits of policies. The Tea Party’s primary concern was cultural purification — freedom from, not freedom to. Against the dark image of the president and his liberal allies, Tea Party activists defined themselves as the children of light. The racial subtext was always transparent.

The Tea Party’s strategy rested on a guerrilla campaign of chaos and sabotage designed not only to intimidate Democrats but also to disorient independent voters who might have supported health care reform. The Tea Partiers were convinced this would be an easy feat, since they believed the majority of the country was on their side — that they represented the “Real America.” At the 9-12 rally Matt Kibbe, one of the march organizers, told the crowd that ABC News was reporting that 1 million to 1.5 million people were in attendance, something ABC denied, saying “ reported an approximate figure of 60,000 to 70,000 protesters.” he name of a corporate-funded Beltway advocacy group, not the battle cry of Mel Gibson William Wallace in Braveheart.

Contrary to its image as a grassroots movement mobilized to stifle the machinations of Washington elites, the Tea Party movement was the creation of a constellation of industry-funded conservative groups with close Republican ties. The movement’s leading puppet-master was Dick Armey, who directed resources and talking points to the Tea Party “Patriots” from his Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, FreedomWorks. Among the corporate clients of Armey’s lobbying firm, which he was forced to leave as a result of his involvement in the Tea Parties, was the pharmaceutical giant Bristol Myers Squibb, a company with a clear interest in defeating health care reform. (Armey’s other “real American” clients included the Marxist terror cult, People’s Mojahedin of Iran, which received funding and assistance from Saddam Hussein in order to launch terrorist strikes throughout the 1990’s against Iranian civilian targets.) Armey collected a consulting fee of $250,000 directly from FreedomWorks and $300,000 from allied astroturf front groups. FreedomWorks paid out much of its money to an assortment of Republican political consultants.

If Armey was the Tea Party king, Sarah Palin was eager to be crowned the Tea Party queen. Just days after Obama’s inauguration, Palin abruptly quit her job as Alaskan governor to vie for the honor. Palin’s motives for quitting became clear when she inked a lucrative deal to write her political memoir Going Rogue, signed on as a regular contributor to Fox News, and received $1 million an episode for a reality show on cable television, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” Palin’s book tour, which sent her through Middle America in a luxuriously outfitted bus, resembled both a presidential campaign and a traveling carnival.

Whether or not Palin intends to run for president, her growing media presence has magnified her influence within the Republican Party. Yet the ever-expanding Palin phenomenon was greeted with hostility by Republican politicos desperately seeking to expand the party’s base after the drubbing in 2008. Former McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt warned that Palin’s nomination in 2012 would be “catastrophic” for the GOP. His doomsday prediction was backed by an October Gallup poll revealing her as one of the most polarizing and unpopular political figures in the country with a disapproval rating of over 50 percent. Unfortunately for Schmidt and other party pragmatists, those who approve of Palin represent the heartbeat of the Republican Party, its most fervent activists, and cannot be dissuaded from following her, even if she is leading the party off a cliff.

A November 2009 special congressional election in New York’s heavily Republican 23rd district was the first major test of Palin’s power. Along with a parade of nationally recognized conservatives, Palin endorsed Doug Hoffman, an unknown far-right third-party candidate closely allied with the Tea Party, helping to force a popular moderate Republican politician, Dede Scozzafava, from the race. In the end, Palin’s ideological purge in upstate New York led to an improbable Democratic victory, the first in that district in more than 100 years. After the disaster Palin and her allies claimed victory, insisting they had at least hastened the purge of ideologically impure Republicans from the party. She went on to endorse Rand Paul, the son of right-wing libertarian Rep. Ron Paul and a candidate in Kentucky’s GOP senatorial primary, while Dick Cheney went out of his way to endorse Rand’s regular Republican opponent, Trey Grayson, the Kentucky secretary of state.

Following the Tea Party script of avoiding social issues like abortion and gay marriage in order to obscure the large presence of the Christian Right within the movement’s ranks, the self-described “hardcore pro-lifer” Palin recast herself as a libertarian concerned primarily with issues of “economic freedom.” She claimed the Democratic “cap and trade” plan to limit carbon emissions would harm the livelihood of blue-collar workers, and she assailed health care reform as a Trojan Horse for “socialism” (though she admitted her family “used to hustle over the border” to take advantage of Canada’s single-payer health care system). But no Palin attack had as much effect as the one she blasted out on her Facebook page claiming the Obama health care plan included a provision for “death panels” that would recommend euthanasia for severely ill patients like her Down syndrome-afflicted son, Trig. With the click of a button, Palin transformed the tone of the health care debate from rancorous to poisonous.

The source of Palin’s “death panels” smear was a practiced propagandist, former New York Lieutenant Governor Betsy McCaughey. When President Bill Clinton introduced health care reform during his first term, McCaughey falsely claimed in an article published in the New Republic and widely circulated by Republicans, that the plan would force consumers to drop their private plans and buy into the government’s program (the article would go on to win a National Magazine Award and then be retracted years later by the New Republic’s editors). Now she was back in the spotlight, pushing a rumor that would be voted by the non-partisan fact-checking Web site as “the lie of 2009.” McCaughey’s latest innuendo was boosted by the cult of political crank Lyndon LaRouche, which mobilized to push the rumor into the mainstream.

In June 2009, one of LaRouche’s top lieutenants publicly confronted Ezekiel Emanuel, the National Institute of Health’s chief bioethicist and brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, accusing him of seeking to reintroduce Hitler’s T-4 program to kill the handicapped through health care reform. “President Obama has put in place a reform apparatus reviving the euthanasia of Hitler Germany in 1939, that began the genocide there,” LaRouche staffer Anton Chaitkin charged. Soon, LaRouche’s followers were on street corners around the country with posters depicting Obama with a Hitler moustache. At a town hall forum on health care reform hosted by Democratic Rep. Barney Frank, a LaRouche follower waved one of the Obama-as-Hitler posters and demanded, “Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy, as Obama has expressly supported this policy?”

Two months later, after Palin whispered the rumor on Facebook, prominent conservatives from former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to ranking Senate Finance Committee member Charles Grassley parroted her claims before audiences of indignant Tea Partiers. Not to be outdone, Glenn Beck devoted an extended rant on his show to the reality of death panels. Echoing the LaRouche cultists, Beck accused Ezekiel Emanuel of “the devaluing of human life, putting a price on each individual.” He thundered, “The death panel is not a firing squad. Rationing is inevitable and they know it!”

The death panel rumor served a variety of functions, all useful to the movement, but not necessarily to the Republican Party. Most importantly, the rumor resonated both with hard-core libertarians who resented the very existence of the federal government and Christian Right activists who viewed the legalization of abortion as a slippery slope to government-sponsored euthanasia. The hysteria it engendered helped repair the rift exposed by the Terri Schiavo charade in 2005, when the evangelical conservative James Dobson publicly clashed with Armey, the libertarian leader, over the right of the government to interfere in a private family matter of life and death.

The slurring of Obama as a sort of sleeper agent crypto-Muslim helped bring the neoconservatives back into the fray. The new neo-con generation was led by Dick Cheney’s daughter, Liz, who founded an anti-Obama advocacy group, Keep America Safe, by leveraging donations from pro-Israel sources. Asked by CNN’s Larry King about the Birther movement that was challenging Obama’s status as an American citizen, Liz Cheney remarked, “One of the reasons you see people so concerned about this is people are uncomfortable with having for the first time ever, I think, a president who seems so reluctant to defend the nation overseas.” With the libertarians, Christian Right, and the neo-cons seated around the same table, united in resentment of the alien president, the conservative movement was whole again.

The experiments in “Terror Management Theory” of Sheldon Solomon, professor of psychology at Skidmore College, Jeff Greenberg, professor of psychologist at the Unviersity of Arizona, and Tom Pyszczynski, professor of psychology at the University of Colorado, have demonstrated the connection between fear of death and intensification of conservative attitudes. The findings help explain the effectiveness of the death panel rumor and insinuations by conservative figures that Obama was not truly American and somehow sympathetic to Islamic terrorists. Indeed, these seemingly irrational smears were guided by tactical reasoning, calculated to agitate voters with constant reminders of their own mortality. Whether or not Independents responded, the rhetoric of death kept the Tea Party crowd in a persistent state of panic and rage, ensuring a standing army ready to fan out to rallies and town halls at the first sign of liberal malfeasance.

Obama’s first year in office was marked by more than raucous protests; there were several disturbing murders committed by far-right extremists. In April 2009, a 22-year-old neo-Nazi wannabe named Richard Poplawsi mowed down a SWAT team of Pittsburgh cops, killing three. Poplawski’s best friend told reporters the young killer “grew angry recently over fears Obama would outlaw guns.” Later it was discovered that Poplawski had posted a video clip to a neo-Nazi Web site portraying Fox’s Glenn Beck contemplating the existence of concentration camps. (After a characteristically thorough investigation, Beck conceded they were not real.) On another occasion, the killer posted a video promoting Tea Party rallies. A month after the Pittsburgh bloodbath, Scott Roeder, a supporter of the militant anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, shot Dr. George Tiller to death while he prayed at his church in Wichita, Kansas. Tiller was declared fair game by the anti-abortion movement because of his role as Kansas’s only late-term abortion provider. During at least 28 episodes of Bill O’Reilly’s “O’Reilly Factor,” O’Reilly had referred to Tiller as “Tiller the baby killer,” a criminal guilty of “Nazi stuff.” “I wouldn’t want to be [Tiller] if there is a Judgment Day,” O’Reilly proclaimed.

In August 2009, a middle-aged professional named George Sodini walked into a health club in suburban Pittsburgh and gunned down three women. The mainstream press explained Sodini’s motives away by homing in on passages in his online diaries describing his loneliness, inability to convince women to have sex with him, and descent into chronic masturbation. Nearly every major media outlet omitted or ignored a long deranged entry in which Sodini projected his sexual frustration onto Obama, whom he seemed to view as a symbol of black male virility and predation.

The day after Obama’s election victory, Sodini wrote: “Good luck to Obama! He will be successful. The liberal media LOVES him. Amerika has chosen The Black Man. Good! In light of this I got ideas outside of Obama’s plans for the economy and such. Here it is: Every black man should get a young white girl … Kinda a reverse indentured servitude thing. Every daddy know when he sends his little girl to college, she be … real good. I saw it. ‘Not my little girl’, daddy says! (Yeah right!!) Black dudes have thier [sic] choice of best white?? [ellipses in original].”

In another posting to an anti-Clinton forum in 1994, during the height of the Republicans’ Whitewater investigation, Sodini revealed that he had purchased a bumper sticker reading, “Stop Socialism, Impeach Clinton,” from a National Review ad. A year later, Sodini ranted on an anti-government militia site, “I am convinced that more drastic action is required to bring the country back to the Constitutional order that it was 200 years ago. I don’t think any group of political leaders will achieve this for us.” Whether or not Sodini’s murder spree was motivated by his political passions, he was pathologically death-driven and fixated on the phantasmagoria of right-wing imagery. In his final diary entry, Sodini proclaimed, “Death lives!”

More than any other media figure of the Obama era, Glenn Beck encouraged the campaign of racial demonization and conspiracy that consumed the Tea Party “Patriots.” During a broadcast of “Fox and Friends,” Beck opined that Obama “has exposed himself over and over and over again as a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture.” As evidence, Beck pointed to White House green-jobs czar Van Jones, an African American former community organizer who was eventually forced to resign as a direct result of Beck’s crusade. From there, Beck targeted another black Obama adviser, Valerie Jarrett, highlighting her ties to ACORN while upholding her and Jones as evidence of Obama’s “socialist” agenda. In another broadcast, Beck played an audio clip of unidentified African Americans referring to “Obama money” as they collected welfare checks in Detroit. Then he showed footage of members of a Kansas City-based youth group practicing a step show, a traditional African-American group dance apparently unfamiliar enough to Beck and his transfixed audience that he felt at liberty to claim the footage as evidence that “Obama’s SS” was being trained across inner-city America.

In September 2009, Beck relentlessly targeted ACORN, the Right’s new favorite hobgoblin, admitting that he intended to use the poor people’s advocacy group to distract his viewers from the health care debate. “Trust me,” Beck said, “Everybody now says they’re going to be talking about health care. I don’t think so.” (His statement was reminiscent of Rush Limbaugh’s scandal-mongering remark during the early Clinton administration: “Whitewater is about health care.”) Beck promptly cued up a series of hidden camera videos shot by conservative youth activists James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles inside ACORN field offices. In the videos, O’Keefe baited African-American staffers into making statements explaining that Giles, who claimed she was a prostitute, could obtain low-income housing.

O’Keefe edited in images of himself clad in an outlandish pimp costume to create the impression that he was dressed that way during the meetings with ACORN; however, Giles later admitted her partner had lied about wearing his costume to further incriminate ACORN. In the end, ACORN was exonerated of all criminal wrongdoing while in a separate incident O’Keefe was arrested and charged with a federal crime after he and several conservative pals disguised themselves as telephone repairmen and attempted to wiretap phone lines in the office of Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. Like Ryan Sorba, O’Keefe and his posse were movement cadres paid and directed by well-funded conservative outfits; O’Keefe had been trained by the Leadership Institute, the right-wing youth group that nurtured leading lights like Jack Abramoff, Karl Rove, Ralph Reed, and Jeff Gannon.

While O’Keefe and his buddies plea-bargained with prosecutors, Beck basked in his formula for success. His show earned the highest ratings at Fox News, topping network franchises like O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. In the process, Beck’s opinions became firmly implanted in the nervous systems of Tea Party activists. “Glenn Beck has taught us everything we know,” a demonstrator at the 9-12 rally told me. “He’s opened our eyes to so much.”

But unlike the right-wing radio warhorses who helped usher in Newt Gingrich’s Republican counter-revolution of 1994, Beck was not an authentic product of the movement. When Rush Limbaugh first began dominating the AM airwaves, Beck was mired in the world of mid-level commercial radio, delivering corny yarns about lesbians and celebrity trash in hopes of becoming the next Howard Stern. By night, as he has tirelessly recounted, he medicated his anxiety with cocaine and alcohol, destroying his first marriage in the process. “We remember Glenn from the womanizing, the drinking, the drugs. Everybody who knew him at the time saw what a complete mess he was,” a shock jock from Tampa, Florida, who called himself Bubba the Love Sponge remarked to me during a broadcast of his nationally syndicated show.

Like Dusty Rhodes, the pseudo-populist demagogue of Elia Kazan’s 1957 film, A Face in the Crowd, Beck was a self-destructive drifter who might have been crumpled up with a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 in an alleyway or been locked away in a prison cell had fame not found him first. Beck was only able to stabilize his life when he made his escape from freedom, marrying a conservative Mormon, converting to her religion, and transmuting his urge to abuse drugs into conservative radio diatribes. When Beck first broke into television on CNN’s Headline News Channel, he struggled to articulate a coherent political worldview.

If he distinguished himself from other big-time conservative hosts in any way, he did so through strained and often snide attempts at humor, remnants of his failed radio career. Nevertheless, with help from his liberal agent, Matthew Hiltzik, Beck snagged a primetime slot at Fox News in early 2009. Around this same time, Beck began promoting the work of an arcane Mormon conspiracy-peddler named W. Cleon Skousen, whom he described as his political lodestar. Suddenly, Beck had something more to offer than irritable mental gestures.

Thanks to Beck’s designation of Skousen’s pseudohistorical tract The 5000 Year Leap as “required reading” on the Web site of his 9-12 Project, and his promotion of the book on his show, the previously obscure Skousen became the Hidden Imam of the Tea Party movement. By the summer of 2009, Skousen’s Leap was among the top 10 books on and a fixture on literature tables at Tea Party gatherings. It went from selling a puny couple of thousand copies in 2007 to selling over 200,000 copies in 2009.

Just why the book generated such an instant appeal is difficult to understand. It is little more than a slapdash of quotes from the Founding Fathers, often taken out of context and deliberately oversimplified, to explain why America is the greatest nation in history. In the process, Skousen claims that church and state separation is un-American, that “coercive taxation” is communist, and that marriage is the underpinning of a free society. Benjamin Franklin, who wrote at length on the merits of “amours” with “old women,” and who famously solicited prostitutes and fathered a son of out of wedlock, was the ultimate authority Skousen quoted on the importance of marriage.

Though Skousen claims the Founders as the world’s foremost source of eternal wisdom, he buttressed his points with fringe sources like the conspiracist Norman Dodd’s screeds about the Illuminati. According to Skousen, Dodd claimed that “powerful influences congregating in the United States” like the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds had forced the United States into World War I. Skousen published Dodd’s manifestoes in his obscure journal Freemen’s Digest, which he founded for the express purpose of propagating conspiracies.

Skousen’s paranoid politics were an outgrowth of his participation in extreme anti-communist groups during the 1950s. He boasted of a close friendship with then-FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and said he provided him with research on communist plots, claims disputed by FBI historians. (During a recent interview, Skousen’s son, Paul, told me that contrary to rumors of Hoover’s cross-dressing and homosexual dalliances, he would set the top cop up on blind dates with live women.)

Skousen was fired from his job as Salt Lake City’s police chief for, in the words of the city’s conservative Mormon mayor, “conduct[ing] his office as chief of police in exactly the same manner in which the communists operate their government.” From there, Skousen sailed off to the far shores of the Right-peddling conspiracy tracts like The Naked Communist, and earning condemnation from his beloved FBI, which accused him in an internal memo of “promoting [his] own anti-communism for obvious financial purposes.”

Skousen’s vocal support for the far-right John Birch Society’s claim that communists controlled President Dwight Eisenhower cost him the support of the corporate backers who had paid for his Red-bashing lecture tours. He went off the radar for several years, returning during the late 1960s to accuse the Jewish Rothschild family of secretly bankrolling everyone from Ho Chi Minh to the civil rights movement. By the late 1970s, even the Church of Latter Day Saints distanced itself from Skousen and his conspiracy theories.

His work fell through the margins and might have disappeared entirely had Beck not revived it, turning The 5000 Year Leap into the bible of the Tea Party movement. Journalist Andrew Zaitchik observed in his authoritative profile of Skousen on that Skousen’s renewed influence through Beck and the Tea Party “suggests that the modern base of the Republican Party is headed to a very strange place.”

Besides influencing Beck, Skousen’s teachings inspired one of the Tea Party movement’s most visible grassroots celebrities, retired Sheriff Richard Mack. I met Mack in February at a far-right rally just outside of Montgomery, Alabama. On a makeshift stage towed into the middle of a rodeo arena by a pickup truck, Mack recalled with reverence his mentorship by Skousen, who he said taught him everything he needed to know about the Constitution. Mack urged his spellbound audience to stockpile ammo and store food. “If you control the food supply,” Mack warned, “you control the people. And that’s the first step to slavery.”

Already a hero to conservatives for successfully suing the Clinton administration over the provision in the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act requiring law enforcement to conduct criminal background checks of gun purchasers, Mack reemerged in the Obama era as the archetypal local lawman who vowed to resist the tyrannical federal government. Along with a few dozen former and active military and law enforcement personnel, Mack helped form a self-styled Tea Party militia called the Oathkeepers.

Galvanized by their fear of creeping socialism, the Oathkeepers solemnly swore to refuse tyrannical federal orders such as cooperating with foreign troops and forcing Americans into concentration camps. Because the group’s members trained for combat, the vow came with suggestion of armed resistance.

Besides Mack, the Oathkeepers attracted a coterie of militia movement retreads into its ranks. The most well-established figure was Mike Vanderboegh, a longtime militia fanatic who published a booklet in the mid-1990s entitled Strategy and Tactics for a Militia Civil War, calling for sniper attacks on “war criminals, secret policemen, rats.” With Obama in office, Vandeboegh churned out anti-government screeds on right-wing blogs with renewed passion and supported his efforts by cashing in the $1,300 in federal disability compensation he received each month.

For all the energy the far right exerted in its campaign to strangle Obama’s agenda, it was a Democrat who posed the greatest threat to the passage of health care reform. Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan had been in office since 1993, placing him among the senior leadership of the so-called centrist Blue Dog Democrats. When health care reform was introduced in Congress, Stupak became the leader of an informal caucus of anti-abortion Democrats, making him the de facto swing vote on the House version of the bill. By extension, Stupak was the point man in the campaign to ensure that the bill would not allow federal funding for abortion for low-income women.

But after close consultation with leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Stupak went a step further. He introduced a draconian amendment to block women from paying for abortions from even their own private insurance plans. The amendment, which passed the House but was shut down in the Senate, became a key sticking point in health care negotiations. “He’s a big hero now in the pro-life community,” former Bush Catholic issues adviser Deal Hudson told me in November 2009. “Thanks to him, this is the first time I can remember the pro-life Democrats having any power.”

To the chagrin of the Republicans, Stupak entertained offers of compromise from the Democratic leadership. According to Hudson, the Catholic Bishops were keen to see health care reform pass, but only if the bill contained a clear provision forbidding patients from spending federal money on abortion. Finally, in March, after pressure from House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Obama agreed to sign an executive order forbidding the federal funding of abortion. Stupak had been mollified.

Now he and his anti-abortion caucus pledged to deliver the swing votes the Democrats needed to pass the bill. As soon as reports seeped out declaring the imminent passage of health care reform, major right-wing blogs like churned out virulent denunciations of Stupak, calling him a traitor and sellout. The blog comment sections filled up with dozens of diatribes referring to Stupak in language previously reserved for Dr. George Tiller: “Bart the Baby-Killer.”

On March 20, thousands of Tea Party activists surrounded the Capitol’s Longworth Building in expectation of Obama’s pep talk to the House Democrats and the health care vote. Democratic Representative John Lewis, a hero of the civil rights movement, and Representative Barney Frank, the first openly gay member of Congress, passed through the crowd on their way inside the Capitol. “Nigger!” a demonstrator barked at Lewis. Another called Frank a “faggot,” eliciting laughter and cheers from nearby protesters. Meanwhile, as another African-American Democrat, Representative Emanuel Cleaver, ascended the Capitol steps, a protester who had been screaming at Lewis and Frank spat on his face.

With the demonstration carried on into the night, cries of “Kill the bill!” drifted into calls for violence. “I would gladly stand with any of you men here and take these fascists down,” a man in camouflage battle dress uniform proclaimed in front of an amateur videographer, pointing toward the Capitol. “You haven’t heard the last of me!”

The next day, Republican members of Congress emerged from the Longworth Building to salute the Tea Partiers. The demonstrators cheered wildly for their proxies on the inside. Finally, after hours of impassioned speeches on the House floor, the bill passed. But the drama was hardly over.

Republican Representative Joe Pitts, an anti-abortion Catholic who co-authored Stupak’s original amendment, demanded a motion to bring it back to the floor for a vote, a transparent exercise in grandstanding that was certain to fail. In response, Stupak rushed to the podium with a stinging rebuke to Pitts and the Republicans. “The motion to commit does not support life,” Stupak declared. “It is the Democrats who have stood up….” Heckling from the Republican side interrupted his statement.

As Stupak looked around the House chamber, Rep. Randy Neugebauer, a right-wing Republican from Texas who openly supported the Birther movement, began shouting at him from the backbench, “Baby killer!” Other Republicans joined in, parroting base insults.

While the Republicans sank their heads in defeat, some more militant devotees of the Tea Party movement called for a right-wing Kristallnacht. “If you wish to send a message that Pelosi and her party cannot fail to hear, break their windows,” Vanderboegh of the Oathkeepers wrote on a far-right blog hours after the bill passed. “Break them NOW. Break them and run to break again.” Within three days, windows and doors at Democratic Party headquarters in New York, Kansas and Arizona had been shattered.

Meanwhile, at least 10 Democratic members of Congress reported receiving death threats. Images of nooses were faxed to the offices of Stupak and James Clyburn, an African-American congressman from South Carolina. Representative Anthony Weiner, an especially vocal proponent of health care reform, received a menacing letter filled with white powder.

The brother of Representative Tom Perriello, another health care supporter, had his home gas line deliberately sabotaged after a local Tea Party organizer posted his address online (he had meant to post the congressman’s) and encouraged activists to “drop by” to express their anger about Perriello’s recent vote. In Tucson, Arizona, the windows of Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords’ office were shattered by shots from a pellet gun. And a brick was thrown through the window of Representative Louise Slaughter’s office in New York as her voicemail filled with threats of impending sniper attacks.

After the passage of the health care bill, the Tea Party floated into a gray zone between authoritarianism and anarchy. Crusading to restore a holy social order, they promoted disorder. Claiming to protect democracy, they smashed windows of elected representatives. Warning of death panels, they called in death threats. With the atmosphere of violence thickening, Palin took to her Twitter account to issue a battle cry: “Don’t Retreat, Instead–RELOAD!” Thus concluded the first phase of the Obama era that was to usher in a peaceable kingdom of bipartisanship.

Max Blumenthal is the author of Republican Gomorrah (Basic/Nation Books, 2009).

The views expressed herein are the views of the author exclusively and not necessarily the views of VT, VT authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, technicians, or the Veterans Today Network and its assigns. LEGAL NOTICE - COMMENT POLICY

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108 Responses to "The Transformation of the American Conservative Movement into Fascism"

  1. joe attenhofer  August 29, 2010 at 8:52 pm


    You quote Sinclair Lewis about facism wrapping itself in the flag, post a picture of some look-alike and you yourself wrap your sorry self as a veterans affair post and spew progressive s—.


  2. Dantes  August 27, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Is this “Mad Max” Blumenthal, son of “Sid Vicious” Blumenthal, one of Clinton’s chief apologists?

    Like father like son! I have to congratulate him…he is the prototype statist masquerading as a journalist. What a bunch of twaddle.

  3. Rick H.  August 27, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I am pretty sure this moron doesn’t know the definition of the word “fascism”.

  4. Lem G.  August 19, 2010 at 12:48 am

    Paranoia, fear mongering and desperation are a volatile mix.

  5. Mark  August 18, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    The article is too shrill. The Tea-Party movement is political not paramilitary and like all political movements they paint with a broad brush and hope that something sticks. They are not the enemy. They are just ordinary people who are angry and scared by a government that is immune to the popular will and bought and sold by lobbyists. The Tea Partiers are allies. They are Americans who want a fair society. If the real left wing realized this, they could come together with these people and then at long last, the country might have a chance at a new direction.

    • -  August 19, 2010 at 5:55 am

      “The Tea-Party movement is political not paramilitary and like all political movements they paint with a broad brush and hope that something sticks.”
      yeah, it appears hugest majority of baggers are noisily threatening, but likely few are *actually* members of those wakked out “militias” whom they revere.

      “The Tea Partiers are allies.”
      they *hypothetically* could be allies. they remain the “enemy” because they’re too obsessively plugged into the arses of the msm (el rushblow, worldnutdaily, et al) they claim they’re “revolting” against.

  6. Gaelic Gal  August 18, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    The quote in the poster is misattributed to Sinclair.

  7. David A. White  August 15, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    I don’t think the tea baggers are a threat to the United States. I don’t think that they are smart enough to do any damage. I think the real threat to our Republician form of government is the elites that make up congress and the justice system. The elites control the financial system of the US and have raped this country for years. They manipulate world events to their advantage and answer to no one. They come out of the Ivy League colleges with no responsibility to their fellow man and have control over most of the world’s wealth.

    • fixthefuture911  August 18, 2010 at 1:37 am


    • -  August 19, 2010 at 5:47 am

      but since the baggers *are* the reagan-through-gwb generation, I don’t think they’ll *stop* voting for “our betters”.

  8. Dallas  August 15, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Do you SWISH, or do you SWALLOW
    your flouride laced tapwater?


  9. Donny  August 13, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    The world has seen this kind of movement before.

    I would watch for some sort of major violent act of terrorism, an Reichstag type on incident, which, it will be discovered, was orchestrated by the Tea Party, or agents thereof, and the scapegoats will be Islam, Mexicans, Blacks, Liberals, or all of them.

  10. Bob  August 13, 2010 at 5:24 am

    I think this man explains Palin’s tweets very well…

    I haven’t joined the dogpile on Sarah Palin’s response to the health care reform vote — she set up a page of vulnerable Democrats that displayed target signs on their districts — because Palin’s been using this rhetoric for her entire career in national politics. This tweet, for example, has quickly become infamous:

    But that’s a reference to what, according to Palin, is a family witticism. The final chapter of “Going Rogue” begins with a quote from her father, Chuck Heath:

    Sarah’s not retreating; she’s reloading!

    I think Palin’s gotten tripped up by the same thing flummoxing other conservatives this week — in the context of angry threats against pro-health care Democrats, the revolutionary rhetoric of the GOP this last year sounds… well, revolutionary…

  11. Go11bravo  August 12, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Reading the comments, I am once again amazed at the lack of historical and global perspective. Hitler? Stalin? Obama is just the guy the “banksters” needed to save their asses and the system. A Republican would never have been able to bail them out without popular revolt as it is the Republicans, in great part with their Chicago School economics, who got us into this mess.

    It has always been the case that the Bourgeoisie concedes some things to workers to stay off revolt and Health Care is one of them. Unfortunately, the US did not get the public option which all Europeans have. Even poor Rwanda has it. Insurance companies in Europe learned to live with the public option and still make money. 5 and 6 weeks of paid vacation is another concession which did not break the system in Europe.

    They also need to keep a section of the population on the sidelines (welfare lumpins) to distract the anger and attention of hard working tax payers and to keep a pool of cheap labor should they need it to the detriment of unionized labor. Some tough love could fix the welfare problem but it would take at least three generations to change the menatlity 7 generations on the dole have given them.

    Obama is not Hitler and he is not Stalin. He is the good cop in the “good-cop-bad-cop” game”. The goal is the same. Preserve the system.

    • -  August 19, 2010 at 5:42 am

      ok, though I don’t think the “bipartisan” most-protected “class” consists only of bankers. also, even though demos whore out for smaller investments, bailing out our betters is nearly obligatory for repugs. (though joe barton should have known to do his bowing and kissing to/of foreigners in private)

      the infamous “welfare mentality” suffered an abrupt bruising in the late 1990s when employer desperation motivated them to hire some from the designated “unemployable” caste. Many did well (as stated by some employers at the time), but the dotbomb allowed employers the luxury of returning to their ego/status-blinded prejudices.

  12. fixthefuture911  August 11, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    EVERYONE! It makes perfect sense to me that this was planned for us based on where we find ourselves at this point in time!! This may be just some more scare tactics…??


    Article as is it originally appeared on the web site on 21 June 2002:

    THE SECRET COVENANT. Full version, rated R !

    An illusion it will be, so large, so vast it will escape their perception.

    Those who will see it will be thought of as insane.

    We will create separate fronts to prevent them from seeing the connection between us.

    We will behave as if we are not connected to keep the illusion alive. Our goal will be accomplished one drop at a time so as to never bring suspicion upon ourselves. This will also prevent them from seeing the changes as they occur.

    We will always stand above the relative field of their experience for we know the secrets of the absolute.

    We will work together always and will remain bound by blood and secrecy. Death will come to he who speaks.

    We will keep their lifespan short and their minds weak while pretending to do the opposite.

    We will use our knowledge of science and technology in subtle ways so they will never see what is happening.

    We will use soft metals, aging accelerators and sedatives in food and water, also in the air.

    They will be blanketed by poisons everywhere they turn.

    The soft metals will cause them to lose their minds. We will promise to find a cure from our many fronts, yet we will feed them more poison.

    The poisons will be absorbed through their skin and mouths, they will destroy their minds and reproductive systems.

    From all this, their children will be born dead, and we will conceal this information.

    The poisons will be hidden in everything that surrounds them, in what they drink, eat, breathe and wear.

    We must be ingenious in dispensing the poisons for they can see far.

    We will teach them that the poisons are good, with fun images and musical tones.

    Those they look up to will help. We will enlist them to push our poisons.

    They will see our products being used in film and will grow accustomed to them and will never know their true effect.

    When they give birth we will inject poisons into the blood of their children and convince them it’s for their help.

    We will start early on, when their minds are young, we will target their children with what children love most, sweet things.

    When their teeth decay we will fill them with metals that will kill their mind and steal their future.

    When their ability to learn has been affected, we will create medicine that will make them sicker and cause other diseases for which we will create yet more medicine.

    We will render them docile and weak before us by our power.

    They will grow depressed, slow and obese, and when they come to us for help, we will give them more poison.

    We will focus their attention toward money and material goods so they may never connect with their inner self. We will distract them with fornication, external pleasures and games so they may never be one with the oneness of it all.

    Their minds will belong to us and they will do as we say. If they refuse we shall find ways to implement mind-altering technology into their lives.

    We will use fear as our weapon.

    We will establish their governments and establish opposites within. We will own both sides.

    We will always hide our objective but carry out our plan.

    They will perform the labor for us and we shall prosper from their toil.

    Our families will never mix with theirs. Our blood must be pure always, for it is the way.

    We will make them kill each other when it suits us.

    We will keep them separated from the oneness by dogma and religion.

    We will control all aspects of their lives and tell them what to think and how.

    We will guide them kindly and gently letting them think they are guiding themselves.

    We will foment animosity between them through our factions. When a light shall shine among them, we shall extinguish it by ridicule, or death, whichever suits us best.

    We will make them rip each other’s hearts apart and kill their own children.

    We will accomplish this by using hate as our ally, anger as our friend.

    The hate will blind them totally, and never shall they see that from their conflicts we emerge as their rulers. They will be busy killing each other.

    They will bathe in their own blood and kill their neighbors for as long as we see fit.

    We will benefit greatly from this, for they will not see us, for they cannot see us.

    We will continue to prosper from their wars and their deaths.

    We shall repeat this over and over until our ultimate goal is accomplished.

    We will continue to make them live in fear and anger though images and sounds.

    We will use all the tools we have to accomplish this.

    The tools will be provided by their labor.

    We will make them hate themselves and their neighbors.

    We will always hide the divine truth from them, that we are all one. This they must never know!

    They must never know that color is an illusion, they must always think they are not equal.

    Drop by drop, drop by drop we will advance our goal.

    We will take over their land, resources and wealth to exercise total control over them.

    We will deceive them into accepting laws that will steal the little freedom they will have.

    We will establish a money system that will imprison them forever, keeping them and their children in debt.

    When they shall ban together, we shall accuse them of crimes and present a different story to the world for we shall own all the media.

    We will use our media to control the flow of information and their sentiment in our favor.

    When they shall rise up against us we will crush them like insects, for they are less than that.

    They will be helpless to do anything for they will have no weapons.

    We will recruit some of their own to carry out our plans, we will promise the eternal life, but eternal life they will never have for they are not of us.

    The recruits will be called “initiates” and will be indoctrinated to believe false rites of passage to higher realms. Members of these groups will think they are one with us never knowing the truth. They must never learn this truth for they will turn against us.

    For their work they will be rewarded with earthly things and great titles, but never will they become immortal and join us, never will they receive the light and travel the stars.

    They will never reach the higher realms, for the killing of their own kind will prevent passage to the realm of enlightenment. This they will never know.

    The truth will be hidden in their face, so close they will not be able to focus on it until it’s too late.

    Oh yes, so grand the illusion of freedom will be, that they will never know they are our slaves.

    When all is in place, the reality we will have created for them will own them. This reality will be their prison. They will live in self-delusion.

    When our goal is accomplished a new era of domination will begin.

    Their minds will be bound by their beliefs, the beliefs we have established from time immemorial.

    But if they ever find out they are our equal, we shall perish then. THIS THEY MUST NEVER KNOW.

    If they ever find out that together they can vanquish us, they will take action. They must never, ever find out what we have done, for if they do, we shall have no place to run, for it will be easy to see who we are once the veil has fallen. Our actions will have revealed who we are and they will hunt us down and no person shall give us shelter.

    This is the secret covenant by which we shall live the rest of our present and future lives, for this reality will transcend many generations and life spans.

    This covenant is sealed by blood, our blood. We, the ones who from heaven to earth came.

    This covenant must NEVER, EVER be known to exist. It must NEVER, EVER be written or spoken of for if it is, the consciousness it will spawn will release the fury of the PRIME REATOR upon us and we shall be cast to the depths from whence we came and remain there until the end time of infinity itself.

    The Bankindex editorial staff thanks you for all your e-mails regarding this piece, but we do NOT know who he or she is. The piece came in through one of our forms and the Author left an unusable e-mail address.

    • Donny  August 13, 2010 at 1:40 pm

      Oh the GOP charter… big deal…

    • american woman  August 19, 2010 at 12:56 am

      donny, u r a moron. there is no right or left. & believe thats from “the elders of zion.” but, who else..

  13. deltamike67  August 11, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Mr Blumenthall’s definition of Facism can only be “those who disagree with me”. The Progressive elite has been working overtime to discredit the surge of middle America who oppose their agenda of “change”. This piece is a prime example.

  14. Airborne  August 11, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    I couldn’t disagree more with this DNC slanted article. I have been a tea party patriot since March 2009, and have helped organize and participated in over a dozen rallies and other events.
    Our focus is on educating the public on the constitution, sponsoring debate and townhall discussions among candidates, and legal-peaceful demostrations against what is morally wrong.
    We are not allied with any political party although we have members from from probably all of them.
    Remember, political disagreement is not racism.

    • ellid  August 11, 2010 at 5:40 pm

      “I couldn’t disagree more with this DNC slanted article.”

      – You’re certainly free to disagree with Max Blumenthal, but he isn’t affiliated with the Democratic National Committee. Perhaps you should check your facts.

      “I have been a tea party patriot since March 2009, and have helped organize and participated in over a dozen rallies and other events.”

      – In which case, please explain why you have not kicked the racists, birthers, and lunatics out, and why you tolerate such abominable spelling and grammar on the signs carried by your little friends.

      “Our focus is on educating the public on the constitution,”

      – I have seen no evidence that anyone affiliated with the Tea Party has even READ the Constitution, let alone is qualified to teach on the subject.

      “sponsoring debate and townhall discussions among candidates,”

      – Sorry, but screaming insults at politicians, heaving rocks through windows, spitting on Congressmen, and waving around signs comparing the President to the most evil dictator of the 20th century is neither a “debate” nor a “townhall [sic] discussion.” I also have yet to see a single Tea Party rally that included a Democratic candidate. Perhaps you should leave actual debates to the League of Women Voters, who do so without being partisan?

      “and legal-peaceful demostrations against what is morally wrong.”

      – Please state how comparing the President to Hitler, a witch doctor, and a pimp is morally right. Ditto Photoshopping a picture of the First Lady to resemble a gorilla, calling Barney Frank and John Lewis vile pejoratives, and referring to an eleven year old child as “ghetto trash” who would surely have her first abortion by age 15. Thank you.

      “We are not allied with any political party although we have members from from probably all of them.”

      – Not according to every single poll on the subject. The Tea Party is overwhelmingly white, largely male, largely retired, and almost completely Republican.

      “Remember, political disagreement is not racism.”

      – In which case I expect you to disavow the signs of Obama in beads and fangs immediately, and a public apology to Representatives Clyburn and Lewis.

  15. John Blair  August 11, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    How ignorant can you get…………the tea party members are the backbone of America. That is why you have this kind of garbage coming out attacking the tea party members. The FAR LEFT is afraid of mainstream Americans.

    • Dr. Forrester  August 11, 2010 at 4:26 pm

      Yes, keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better.

    • ellid  August 11, 2010 at 5:32 pm

      The Tea Party is a bunch of retired Republican white men who are terrified of everyone and everything that doesn’t look like them. That’s not the America I live in, and I doubt it’s where you live either unless you’re in a sundown town like Darien, Connecticut.

    • -  August 19, 2010 at 4:19 am

      “why don’t those (“hippie”) protesters go get a job!?”

  16. James Terhune  August 11, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    who has the time read all this bs! Some of us have to work for a living.

  17. MK  August 11, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    I don’t trust either party at this point. Both of them are working for the same banksters. Obama is not a legitimate President, but worse, he has been taking orders from Bush Sr. who is a criminal.
    Vote out all the incumbents and let’s start over.


    • ellid  August 11, 2010 at 5:30 pm

      And your proof of this is which little smear site? Please, enlighten us as to how George HW Bush is encouraging a politician of a different party to undermine everything his son accomplished in eight years. America wants to know!

  18. Matt  August 11, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Michael Leon trying once again to protect the “status quo”.
    Amazing how easy it is to buy people off isn’t it?!

    • ellid  August 11, 2010 at 5:29 pm

      What status quo? Obama is trying to change the status quo that George W. Bush and his vile little cronies left behind them. Are you really that stupid?

  19. Jim Starowicz  August 11, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Led by the very real ‘American Taliban!’!

  20. norris hall  August 11, 2010 at 11:57 am

    We’ve had 46 white presidents in our history. All of them where white.
    None of these white presidents were questioned about their citizenship or asked to provide documentation showing they had a right to be here.
    Along comes the first dark skinned president and conservatives are demanding to see his papers.
    Racial Profiling?

    • ellid  August 11, 2010 at 12:04 pm

      43 white Presidents, not 46.

    • Franklin T. D.  August 11, 2010 at 12:47 pm

      Do your research. Quite a few presidents and presidental candidates were questioned about their Citizenship. Including John McCain who was born in the Republic of Panama. This dislike for Obama has nothing to do with skin color. Only to a true racist does skin color even become a factor. Obama is just as much white as he is black. Racist much?

      Everyone who allows their hatred and dislike for the otherside to play a part in politics needs to quit voting. Both sides of the aisle are full of politicians who since the beginning of time have done what they always do. Look out for themselves, gain power and wealth for themselves and their friends and put the people last. Lies and half truthes are bounced around like a nontstop Wimbledon match today. The oil companies were to the Republicans what the Health and pharmaceuticals are to the Democrats. There is no difference. Quit reading polarizing online rants and go read the bills.

      Just look at some of the crazy laws in all of these bills going through congress. Most of which have nothing to do with main stated intent of the bill. No party should be in complete control of congress. Anyone who believe the Govt can run anything productive and efficiently needs to open their eyes. Because it’s never happened before. The laws usually end up having the negative effect of their intention. The health bill will reduce the amount of people with insurance and reduce the quality of health care while the Stimulus will bankrupt the future and keep our economy flat for years to come.

      While the working class suffers the feds and unions continue to get enormous raises, benefits, pensions, healthcare etc. And just like in Europe when the Govt can’t pass the debt forward anymore and they’ve printed so much money that the dollar you hold now is worth 2c. These people will strike and riot over their lost benefits.

    • Jim  August 11, 2010 at 3:01 pm

      Wow, with your opposite day logic we should just suspend all religious/political freedom, start random wars with people, and spend like we’ll never run out of money. Then we’ll all be free, there will be world peace, and we’ll all have lots of money FOREVER!

      Cant we just have a dictator come in and start shooting political dissidents already?

    • ellid  August 11, 2010 at 5:27 pm

      Please stop spouting right-wing talking points and watch something besides Fox, okay? That is, unless you *enjoy* being a puppet of a nasty Australian reactionary like Rupert Murdoch….

    • LTC rand  August 18, 2010 at 2:26 pm

      maybe because because 46 white presidents did not have grandmothers who said thier grandsons were born in kenya. p.s. the whole birther thing? it seems that it was folks trying to get hillary elected that got that ball rolling.

    • -  August 19, 2010 at 4:17 am

      one of the benefits of primaries is that candidates attack others of their own party.

      a little trivia:
      Van Buren was the first president born a citizen of the United States, as all previous presidents were born before the American Revolution. …

  21. A. Nuran  August 11, 2010 at 1:27 am

    When a friend asked Mark Twain if he wanted The War Prayer published Twain replied “No, I have told the whole truth in that, and only dead men can tell the truth in this world. It can be published after I am dead.”

    You, sir, have the privilege of telling the whole truth while you still live.

  22. Nash  August 10, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Does this author not remember how the Left actively, for YEARS, likened Bush to Hitler, demonstrated with signs calling for his assassination, and suggested he was responsible for everything from 9/11 to the Tsunami?

    • Ann  August 11, 2010 at 1:13 am

      It wasn’t the left, it was conspiracy theorist. And it was the WORLD that characterize Bush as Hitler. The World loves Obama.

    • SMaj  August 11, 2010 at 10:42 pm

      Thats right, he keeps putting down this country even the countries like Iran and N Korea will like him, you know, i.e., bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia, covorting with the left wing dictator in S. America. Does Obama have a knack for speaking,….yes,….leadership and judgement,….no.

    • Ellid  August 11, 2010 at 11:12 pm

      Please provide evidence that you protested when George W. Bush kissed the King of Saudi Arabia on the lips.

      Otherwise, shut up.

  23. ErnestPayne  August 10, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Very erudite article. Might I suggest the author view America as a “foreigner” and utilise more of the international media. Frankly the “agenda” of the american right has been obvious since the Nixon regime and blatantly obvious since the Raygun regime. Unfortunately the American media (npr/pbs and Christian Science Monitor) have been abject failures in their duty to investigate and inform. America is on the slope to irrelevance since Raygun turned you from the world’s largest creditor nation to the world’s largest debtor nation. The US is the only currency of reserve to fail without the involvement in major conflicts. The “fall” of Great Britain began in the 1870’s with an (approximately) 25 year failure of growth. The two world war’s put paid to the dominance of sterling.

    • Dan  August 11, 2010 at 9:55 am

      It’s worth pointing out as you do that it was under Reagan that the national debt went exponential. It was also Nixon who listened to the devil in the form of Arthur Burns who took the dollar completely off the gold standard, setting in motion the ultimate theft of wage earner’s income and savings through inflation. The real tax on Americans should always be calculated to include the loss of purchasing power due to inflation. has it currently running over 8% despite the government’s outright lies that it is about 1.5%. This stealth tax will turn into outright confiscation, possibly within two years if the Fed does as its critics say it will and inject another $5 trillion into the money supply via Quantitative Easing, now dubbed QE2. This comes down to Treasury issues being bought by the Fed with money created out of thin air. What can reasonable people conclude other than that our federal government and most state governments are immoral, criminal enterprises?

    • Michael Leon  August 11, 2010 at 10:20 am

      We as a country faced this fiscal prospect after Bush was granted the presidency by a corrupt U.S. Supreme Court.

      Budget surplus after budget surplus made zero national debt likely within 10 years. Well, here we are now almost 10 years later.

      In 2001, Fed Chair Alan Greenspan testified before the Senate Budget Committee on the potential dangers of having no federal debt, a fiscal legacy of the Clinton administration that Bush, Cheney and his rightwing ideologues were desperate to avoid.

  24. john  August 10, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Why is it that leftists define everything in America. No one has even bothered to point out that Mr. Blumenthal has connection to the Tea Party, nor does he have any connection to the GOP or the conservative movement.
    From his bio: “Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author whose articles and video documentaries have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Daily Beast, The Nation, The Huffington Post,, Al Jazeera English and many other publications. He is a writing fellow for the Nation Institute.”
    Take him for what he is: a profiteer out to make a buck off the Tea Party Movement. He feeds the left what they want to hear so they buy his stuff and he keeps his job.

    • ellid  August 11, 2010 at 10:24 am

      A reasonable person might think that having connections to a movement would preclude writing about it objectively….

  25. Andrew  August 10, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes BTW, not Dusty Rhodes…if you will.
    Someone watched a little NWA

  26. ernie1241  August 10, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Questions for Birthers Like Orly Taitz:

    (1) Birthers claim that the Obama birth certificate which is posted on-line (see link below) is unacceptable as “proof” of his American citizenship

    QUESTION #1 = If I lived in Hawaii and I attached to my passport application the exact same type of birth certificate as shown in the link above — would my application be denied?

    QUESTION #2 = Do Orly Taitz and other Birthers contend that Obama obtained his passport through some illegal process or did he follow normal customary procedures to obtain his U.S. passport?

    In addition:

    Linda Lingle, the conservative Republican Governor of Hawaii (who previously chaired the Hawaii Republican Party) stated during a May 2, 2010 interview on WABC Radio in New York City that:

    “It’s been an odd situation…This issue kept coming up so much in the campaign, and again I think it’s one of those issues that is simply a distraction from the more critical issues that are facing the country. So I had my health director, who is a physician by background, go personally view the birth certificate in the birth records of the Department of Health, and we issued a news release at that time saying that the President was, in fact, born at Kapi’olani Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii. And that’s just a fact and yet people continue to call up and e-mail and want to make it an issue and I think it’s again a horrible distraction for the country by those people who continue this.”


    OR How about the comparable July 2009 statement by the Director of the Hawaii Dept of Health??

    “I, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, Director of the Hawaii State Department of Health, have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American. I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago.”

    • John Hedtke  August 11, 2010 at 11:21 am

      In addition, let us not forget that John McCain was born in Panama. Granted, he was born of American parents and was IIRC at an American military base, but although he’s unquestionably an American citizen, that does not constitute being born inside the US. I don’t hear the birthers bringing this Constitutional issue up; it certainly didn’t arise during the election that I recall.

  27. ernie1241  August 10, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    (1) Skousen was not, as the article claims, “a close friend” of J. Edgar Hoover.

    (2) Skousen did not, as the article claims, associate himself with any Birch Society assertion that “Communists controlled President Eisenhower”. Skousen did, however, endorse the JBS as an effective anti-communist organization.

    • dv-ous  August 10, 2010 at 5:06 pm

      Article says Skousen claimed the friendship – also points out that FBI historians deny it. Article attempts to discredit Skousen.

  28. James M Joiner  August 10, 2010 at 11:49 am

    I won’t hit you with any of numerous links but under Bush it became proven, demonstrated, undeniable fact. Odd or not Obama is pretty darn close to the new American Fascist party!

  29. Dan  August 10, 2010 at 10:14 am

    “Who was this stalker? Just a concerned citizen worried about taxes? His name was Ryan Sorba and he was an operative of a heavily funded national conservative youth outfit, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.” After reading this bald-faced, brazen lie, I merely skimmed over the rest of this paranoid screed for a laugh.

    This sickeningly dishonest characterization of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, which would disavow political violence in every one of its publications, shows either that (1) Mr. Leon is a leftist ideologue for whom lies and smears are intended to displace reasoned discussion, or, (2) he is simply a miseducated useful idiot for posting this paranoid hysteria from the far left.

    • Tea Partier  August 10, 2010 at 10:25 am

      Leon’s a good guy. He’s just worried about the upcoming elections less than 90 days away so, he’s trying to do anything to stir up the far-left base. Brains are not involved in his operation, just emotions.


    • Michael Leon  August 10, 2010 at 11:01 am

      I’ll bet you a case of Wisconsin-brewed beer v. a case of whatever you brew in Texas that the Democrats retain control of the Senate and House this November.

      You game?

      I ran Max Blumenthal’s piece because it reveals the authoritarian psychology behind the GOP and Tea Party movement, as does his book, Republican Gomorrah.

    • Dan  August 10, 2010 at 11:49 am

      Michael, the “humanitarianism” of the left, which always seems to benefit only its promoters, was responsible for the murder of one hundred million of our fellow human beings during the last century. These people have no less in store for your family and mine. Collectivism in all its forms means power to the sociopaths. Don’t buy into the rhetorical ploy of bemoaning the inequality, prejudice, and injustice in the existing order, bad as they are, without considering what these paranoid sociopaths intend to replace it with.

      I don’t know what periodicals or websites Sarah Palin reads, but I would assume her thoughts are not her own, making her uniquely unqualified for national office. Newt Gingrich, who does know what he’s saying, strikes me as a straightforward fascist, so we’d probably agree on that.

    • Michael Leon  August 10, 2010 at 12:16 pm


      You equate the Soviets and China (I imagine) with say Bob LaFollette, Eisenhower (expansion of MediCare and Social Security) and progressive democrats generally?

      You do see the problem wiht your analysis?

    • Rob  August 11, 2010 at 11:56 pm

      Canada and much of Europe have managed to offer socialized medicine (and university tuition) without uncontrollably erupting into pogroms.

    • -  August 19, 2010 at 4:05 am

      “blah blah blah collectivism”. you can’t even conceive of escaping the terminology of your brainwashers. you remind me of someone (almost always barely past their teens) who talks like a marx disciple.

    • -  August 19, 2010 at 4:03 am

      i wouldn’t predict whether dems will retain majority this nov, but historically the party of recent presidential winner loses *some* seats.
      however, history pushes hard against the repugs winning 2012. that *is* unlikely unless some hugely destabilizing event occurs. (ww3)

    • ellid  August 11, 2010 at 10:23 am

      Sorry, but you’re wrong about Ryan Sorba. He’s a professional right-wing gay basher and provocateur who nearly caused a riot at *Smith* last year spewing poison. He’s a deeply, deeply hate-filled young man, and I would be willing to bet that he’s outed as gay himself within 10-15 years, tops.

  30. Brook  August 10, 2010 at 9:26 am

    The fascist label is so overused now — it means nothing. This guy doesn’t know what a fascist is. A few people have acted inappropriately — and it’s highly likely the left staged these incidents — just so pseudo intellectuals could try and stir up controversy.

    Obamacare is overwhelmingly unpopular. The polls show it over and over. Are all of these people violent radicals or are they figuring out the shell game Obama and his minions are playing with our health care?

    • V  August 10, 2010 at 2:25 pm

      I see you have swallowed Jonah Goldberg’s Kool-Aid. You *ARE* saying that the left are Fascists, but as this article details the true Fascism from the far-right, you’re claiming that it’s all about liberal plants. You’re just like the Holocaust deniers – you keep talking about how you’re gonna kill all your enemies, and when the bodies are being counted, “Oh no, we didn’t do it.”

      Personal responsibility. OWN IT, Freepers.

    • Overfiend  August 10, 2010 at 5:13 pm

      Obamacare is unpopular, and the majority of Americans did not want it. That is fact.

      Your comment about conservatives being like holocaust deniers shows your ignorance. And that is part of the problem. Its hard to have a rational discussion with someone who has the mentality of a teenager.

    • John  August 10, 2010 at 5:36 pm

      And the majority of Americans don’t believe in evolution but believe a magical man in the sky waved his magical wand. Moral of the story: the average American is as thick as two short planks.

    • Adam  August 10, 2010 at 5:40 pm

      Obamacare, as branded by the GOP and the Tea Party, is hovering around 50% unpopular, meaning people who are for it number just as many.

      When polls broke down the law into its component parts (high risk pools, no denial of service for pre-existing conditions) support for the law shot up into the 70% range.

    • PhillyChief  August 11, 2010 at 7:35 am

      What’s a fact is your sole source for fact checking appears to be Fox News, because that’s the only place where you’ll find that universal healthcare is unwanted by the majority of Americans.

    • SMaj  August 11, 2010 at 10:34 pm

      Do you really find that amazing? Does MSNBC, CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC are so far into and admire our president they fail to see any side except that Obama can do no wrong. If you really believe the majority of American want Obama’s 2,000 plus healthcare you are full of it up to your neck. You must be really prepared to pay for all of the money going out to the various program he doesn’t have money for.

    • ellid  August 11, 2010 at 10:20 am

      Sorry, but the recent polls show that the healthcare reforms are increasingly popular as people start to realize what they mean. The “unpopularity” was because most people (75% accordingly to a poll last spring) wanted a public option and were upset that it wasn’t included.

      Check your facts next time, skippy.

    • Yorkie  August 25, 2010 at 7:55 pm

      The people do not want this healthcareless, the oil spill(unaddressed for 50 days), the shutdown of the oil rigs in the gulf(injury on top of insult – compliments of the thief in chief), more taxes-and alot more taxes(compliments of Nancy “creditcard” Pelosi), apologies to everyone in the entire world for our selfishness, violent nature, and our oppressive cases of acne! Please -give it a rest!
      We have enough enemies in the world, we really don’t need our Government bankrolling terrorists and sending them around the world to trash us while traveling on our dime-and plotting to erect a shrine to the 911 hijackers.
      We have had our fill Thank You Very Much!!

    • VoodooIdol  August 11, 2010 at 10:34 am

      The only reason the majority of Americans didn’t want it is because it didn’t have a single payer health care provision. This reason alone caused many Democrats and other left wingers to be opponents of the bill instead of proponents.

    • taranong sarasong  August 11, 2010 at 12:02 pm

      In Thailand we have a national health care system everyone who need medical care can get it.
      I know several Americans who have to come to Thailand because they can’t afford hospital in America.
      It is so sad for Americans.
      Please come to Thai hospital if you have no money in America.
      America is now a poor country.

    • 123  August 19, 2010 at 3:51 am

      actually, it was “popular” enough to pass, then became more “popular”. that, only based on polls. but nobody has anything better to measure.

    • Eric  August 11, 2010 at 11:17 am

      “Scholars generally consider fascism to be on the far right of the conventional left-right political spectrum.” That does not make them right wing!

      “Fascists believe that a nation is an organic community that requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong.[15] They claim that culture is created by the collective national society and its state, that cultural ideas are what give individuals identity, and thus they reject individualism.[15] Viewing the nation as an integrated collective community, they see pluralism as a dysfunctional aspect of society, and justify a totalitarian state as a means to represent the nation in its entirety.”

      This article is the lefts attempt to label their enemies what they really believe in and misdirect/confusion everyone.

    • ellid  August 11, 2010 at 12:02 pm

      If you’re quoting Jonah Goldberg, don’t. His book is historically worthless.

    • Tom P.  August 12, 2010 at 11:16 pm

      V, your so right except he not only swallowed the Kool-Aid but is “Drowning” in it!!! Incredible..

    • fixthefuture911  August 18, 2010 at 1:22 am

      We are done with having history re-written & made up to fit the agenda of

    • american woman  August 19, 2010 at 12:53 am

      exactly right.

    • anon  August 10, 2010 at 4:57 pm

      “and it’s highly likely the left staged these incidents…” LOL

      Wow, Brook, are you real? Life imitates Art, in this case a pretty funny, scary and on point op piece.

    • Johnski  August 10, 2010 at 5:10 pm


      It’s not reasonable to pin the ‘inappropriate’ actions of people like the Kanes, who murdered policemen, on ‘the left’. The Kanes had a well documented history of activity on the far right, confirmed by their family and friends.

      Great article by the writer.

    • fred  August 10, 2010 at 9:02 pm

      Polling as of two weeks ago shows HCR as:

      favorable: 50%
      unfavorable: 35%
      undecided: 15%

      The “unfavorable” was in the 40’s the previous month. As more people begin to see the benefits of HCR — the ability to get insurance when they couldn’t before; the ease of paying for prescriptions — the reality outweighs the echos of the “death panels” and other propaganda.

      If you want HCR to be repealed, do everything you can to spread the “death panel” meme. But you need to hurry.

    • James  August 11, 2010 at 4:07 am

      “and it’s highly likely the left staged these incidents — just so pseudo intellectuals could try and stir up controversy.”

      Seek help.

    • 123  August 19, 2010 at 3:58 am

      yep. someone might suggest a ‘conspiracy’ to fake the other side look bad, for one (or very few) incident(s), but there have been *too many* incidents.
      Also, it’s reasonable to apply ‘Occam’s razor’ when the side that does (by far) most of the wakked out nutso screaming& threatening is the side that appears (“appears” “allegedly”) to be acting crazily.
      the supporting framework is also there, examples: palin “reload” type encouragements… all of the rwanda radio “pundits”.

    • ellid  August 11, 2010 at 10:21 am

      As for Ryan Sorba staging these events on behalf of “the left” – 100% wrong. He’s making an ass of himself all on his own, and coming across as an obnoxious twat to boot.

    • Donny  August 13, 2010 at 1:28 pm

      Fascism may have been both wrongly and over used by the Tea Partiers lately, but that doesn’t mean that the author doesn’t know what fascism is. Fascism is, and has always been, a conservative political view.

      The Tea-Party definition of fascism is not correct. It is ironic to me that the group trying to push a fascist agenda onto America doesn’t know what fascism is…

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