Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Rise In Militias: Palin's "Rallymen" Coming Home To Roost!

According to, a town hall meeting is "an informal public meeting derived from the traditional town meetings of New England. Similarly to those meetings, everybody in a community is invited to attend, voice their opinions, and hear the responses from public figures and elected officials, although attendees rarely vote on an issue."

It sounds so...civilized, doesn't it? Certainly the furthest description from some of the meetings occurring this month. The rhetoric is misinformed and extremely crude, the people unabashedly unruly and the discourse has turned into a scream-fest against something. (Sidenote: ever noticed that the screamer is always against something, but never for anything?).

I'm afraid to say this, but these meetings are beginning to look like Sarah Palin's old campaign rallies. And from her latest rhetoric, it looks like she's enjoying the honor: her take on health care gave her the chance to coin the phrase "death panel." She also stated:
Rep. Michele Bachmann highlighted the Orwellian thinking of the president’s health care advisor, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel..."
What she really proved to the public, however, was that she didn't write her statement. Can you imagine Sarah Palin (much less Michele Bachmann) using the term "Orwellian"?

No. I didn't think so either.

Of course, she's got the GOP's clown (sorry) crown prince Michael Steele in her corner, she has the conservative seal of approval:
When you’re talking about panels that are going to be imposed, that will be making life and death decisions, that will be making decisions about whether or not you get health care or don’t receive health care. I think that’s perfectly appropriate. (On Fox News with
So what hath Sarah Palin and her "Rallymen" (hey, I can coin a term too!) wrought? The feeling is something akin to a Pandora's box of hatred and bigotry: idiotic "birthers," Christofascists and now - militias.

From Southern Poverty Law Center:
One federal agency estimates that 50 new militia training groups have sprung up in less than two years. Sales of guns and ammunition have skyrocketed amid fears of new gun control laws, much as they did in the 1990s.

The situation has many authorities worried. Militiamen, white supremacists, anti-Semites, nativists, tax protesters and a range of other activists of the radical right are cross-pollinating and may even be coalescing. In the words of a February report from law enforcement officials in Missouri, a variety of factors have combined recently to create "a lush environment for militia activity."

"Variety of factors," like an African American President who "pals around with terrorists" and proposes a health care plan that is "downright evil."

Yesterday, a town hall scene was broadcast of a woman being taken away by security from a town hall meeting. However, according to the cameraman of this video:

This is what actually happened at the event. The news only showed the woman being escorted away by the police. What happened was the women walked in with signs, the crowd booed and yelled at the women. The women rolled up their posters and put them down. A photographer/reporter approached the woman on the end and wanted to see what the poster was. As the woman went to show the photographer/reporter what the poster was, a man from the bleachers stood up and snatched the poster from the woman and photographer/reporter. As the woman went to retrieve her poster the police stepped in and escorted the woman and the man from the building.

The poster was not of Obama, it was not pro health care, the poster that was taken from the woman and wrinkled up into a ball was of Rosa Parks.

From an argument over an unknown poster to the rise of militias, the country is witnessing a path to civil war, riots, or anarchy.

Who will fire the first shot? My money's on a wacked out right-wingnut.

The Best Offense: Bankrupt The Hate

Not to Equate FOTF with the KKK, but...

Just how much money does it cost to hate someone? Hate groups large and small - all of them - have bills to pay. From printing fliers at Kinko's, to slick commercials with actors talking ominously about a "coming storm," groups trying desperately to discriminate against someone have to pay money that could be put to better use. Most groups fostering discrimination depend upon the kindness of their members for donations and budget accordingly. Unexpected expenditures, however, can be ruinous.

Just ask Ron Edwards of the IKA - Imperial Klans of America.

The Southern Poverty Law Center launched a suit against them for their brutal assault of a teenager at a Kentucky county fair. The jury awarded the SPLC and their client $2.5 million. (See video below)

Looks like Kinko's won't be getting the IKA's business for a while.

On to other groups not as violent, but more powerful. James Dobson's Focus On The Family is evidently losing money.

Silver lining of the recession:
Focus on the Family is broke

Monday, August 10, 2009 at 2:03:00 PM EDT
These are hard economic times. Jobs are scarce, health insurance rates are skyrocketing, and many companies and organizations are hemorrhaging money.
Fortunately, one of those organizations is Focus on the Family. Here's a letter I received in the mail this weekend:
"Right now we're facing a serious budget shortfall that threatens our ability to reach out to parents, families and married couples who count on our help. Income is down nearly $6 million from what we expected and planned for this year."
$6 million!! Will Dr. Dobson have to sell his "special" pink velour sports jacket, the one he wears EVERY Christmas and has displayed behind glass (of course!) at the FOTF Center?

Hardly. Focus On The Family's income is approximately $180 million per year. But thank you, Joe, for pointing out that FOTF feels threatened financially. That feeling - of financially shaky ground - should continue for a long time. Now, it might be unseemly to wish anyone financial ruin, but there are certainly worse ways to wage a war. Dobson has declared war on America's progressives for over three decades, surviving most battles with its armaments: the Bible ...and money.

Ditto the Mormon Church (LDS)

But sooner or later, the money has to run out. Debts have to be paid. And in tough economic times, fewer corporations are able to donate or give "in kind" services. How many Prop 8 battles will there be before LDS members say "Enough! We're not made of money!" Another view: while the Catholic Church was also tied to Prop 8, it was for far less an amount ($3 million) than LDS ($30 million).Perhaps $1 billion in child abuse lawsuit payouts had something to do with that. Fifteen years ago, they could have given far more financial support to "save" marriage.

DinsoauradvenenenEven the support for "Creationism" is losing money: seeing dinosaurs romp with Adam and Eve is no longer on the "to do" list for the Christian family. Kentucky's famous Creation Museum (Answers In Genesis Foundation) is battling creditors and the Dinosaur Adventure Land*, a creationist theme park in Florida, has closed its doors.

the Pensacola News Journal:

[Kent Hovind] was found guilty in November 2006 on 58 counts, including failure to pay employee taxes and making threats against investigators.

The conviction culminated 17 years of Hovind sparring with the IRS. Saying he was employed by God and his ministers were not subject to payroll taxes, he claimed no income or property.

Does it take money to make hate groups and Christofascists lose money? Some money, yes, but not quite as much as people think. As the situation with Southern Poverty Law Center proves, courage and tenacity are just as necessary as lawyers' fees. Keeping the battles going, speaking out, protesting, emphasizing (and, yes, publicizing) every death, every bashing, every form of discrimination will keep them spending money in their defense.

Okay, so what's the tie-in? So these groups are losing money. Will their bankruptcies help win the culture war and stop the hate, stop the discrimination, stop them from proselytizing against us?

Maybe. Just remember: when it comes to money, anything's possible.

* Wikipedia: Kent E. Hovind (born January 15, 1953) is an American Young Earth creationist and conspiracy theorist famous for his creation science seminars that aim to convince listeners to reject modern theories of evolution, geophysics, and cosmology in favor of biblical creation. Hovind's views are criticized by the scientific community at large and even some fellow Young Earth creationist organizations like Answers in Genesis.