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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

ISIS is on the rise in American schools! The only ones who can stop them are Texas biker gangs! But then who will defend the Lone Star State when the feds invade? Only God can say. Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the wildest attacks, conspiracy theories, and other loony behavior from the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Rick Perry

Rick PerryAh, Jade Helm 15. Depending on your point of view (and level of sanity), it’s either a military training exercise or the first shot in the federal government’s cunning plan to surreptitiously invade Texas and declare martial law. Among the people in the latter camp: radio shock jocks, gun-clutching paranoids, presidential candidates, the current Texas governor, and now the former Texas governor, Rick Perry.

Perry spoke on Glenn Beck’s radio show Tuesday, and neither man would exactly confirm or deny whether he thought the feds were invading Texas — Beck, for his part, acknowledged that the idea was more than a little nuts — but considering the current administration, they agreed that it sure was easy to understand why people feel this way. (This is more or less the same line Ted Cruz toed when he was asked about Jade Helm; it’s a tricky balancing act to appease paranoiacs afraid of the White House, while asking them to vote you into it.)

Although he has not yet announced a run for the Oval Office, Perry stated, “If I were to become President of the U.S., I think there would be a clearly changed attitude towards that office. […] I hope people always question government. They should.”

Take note, voters. When Perry is president, nobody need be afraid of him.

Via Raw Story and Right Wing Watch

Next: Pat Robertson

4. Pat Robertson

MadPatPat Robertson, noted crackpot for Christ, sees demons everywhere. Including, apparently, in eating disorders.

On Tuesday’s edition of The 700 Club, Robertson got to discussing those who have struggled with anorexia and other eating disorders (including Karen Carpenter, who Roberston said “had a marvelous sound”).

Mad Pat has a reputation for applying his unique perspective to a variety of topics: He has warned us in the past that God is planning to unfriend America and that marriage equality would force everyone into having gay sex. But as near as I can tell, nobody ever turned to him for advice about anorexia. Which is probably good, because his tack is to treat it like a case of demonic possession and dispel the insidious disorder as one would exorcise a malevolent spirit.

“This can be treated as a demonic possession thing,” Robertson said. “It is like a demon and it needs to be rebuked and cast out.”

He continued: “It’s not something you can just pat ’em on the back and say ‘well, hey hey, why don’t you eat? I’ve got you a nice steak.'”

Via Right Wing Watch

Next: Matthew Hagee

3. Matthew Hagee

HageeIt must be nice to have all the answers to everything. Especially when the answer is always: “God.”

It gives you such a leg up when trying to understand senseless acts of violence — such as the recent gun battle in a Waco, Texas, parking lot, which cost nine people their lives, and apparently was the result of longstanding conflicts between rival biker gangs.

Now, you could try to unpack the tangle of issues at play here, maybe open up another conversation about violence and American culture, or discuss the underlying social factors that drive men to shoot each other over a parking space.

Or you could just… you know…say “God.” As Texas-based pastor Matthew Hagee did Tuesday on his “Hagee Hotline” program, an evangelical web series that offers “unedited commentary on the state of our nation and current geopolitical events from a Scriptural perspective.”

“I believe it’s important to consider these facts,” Hagee said after noting that the parking lot bloodbath was very likely a sign of the End Times. “The Bible tells us we are to fear God.”

He continued: “One of the things I’ve noticed in the world is that the less we fear God in heaven, the more we fear each other. […] Right now, law enforcement is fearful of what a rival gang might do […] Right now, citizens are fearful about what’s going to happen in their city next […] When a simple fear of God and a reverence for his Word could cure a lot of problems.”

Glad we solved that one.

Via Right Wing Watch

Next: Rachel Campos-Duffy

2. Rachel Campos-Duffy 

Fox News’ Outnumbered sunk to a new, hitherto unsunk-to low Thursday morning when co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy blamed American schools’ embrace of diversity and multiculturalism for ISIS’s success at recruitment.

How do you square that with the ethos of the decidedly un-inclusive, affirmatively unicultural Islamic State?

Campos-Duffy’s comments came on the heels of a story about FBI agents and local police warning U.S. high schoolers against joining ISIS. According to the report, ISIS recruitment videos have become increasingly sophisticated at manipulating young minds.

And how did the youth of America become so vulnerable?

It seems that by recognizing other cultures, conceding that the U.S. is not perfect, and downplaying American exceptionalism, what we have actually done is not broaden children’s perspectives, but instilled in them an “anti-American, anti-Western ideology” that has poisoned them against their own homeland and made them easy pickings for ISIS.

Campos-Duffy laid it out thus:

What’s happening in the culture that would actually make this seem attractive? […] And I’ve thought about it a lot. And I think that what’s happening is that, you know, think about, there’s not very much assimilation, and then once kids go to school, we have removed any kind of positive celebration of our culture, of our founders. And so there’s this vacuum. […] These kids from elementary to secondary to college… they’re buying into this multicultural “we’re the imperialists, we’re the bad guys,” and so we have created a system that doesn’t reinforce and make people feel like they belong to this country.

Via Media Matters

Next: Sandy Rios

1. Sandy Rios

Screenshot/Youtube

Both the police handling of the Waco shootout and the subsequent media coverage have drawn criticism for demonstrating some glaring double standards.

When rival gangs turned a public parking lot into a scene from a John Woo film, it seems that very few in the press thought to call it an “act of terror,” or the people spraying bullets at each other “thugs.”

Sandy Rios, Director of Governmental Affairs for the anti-gay outfit American Family Association (AFA), has an answer for why that is.

It turns out that the Bandidos and Cossacks — two of the rival gangs involved in the fight — are not who we need to be afraid of. Because these roaming gangs of heavily armed men who run drugs, and engage in organized crime, are not the “real” enemies.

Rios clarified her position on her radio show Monday: “Police have their hands full fighting our real enemies,” she said. “The cartels, the Islamists. And now they’re fighting motorcycle gangs?”

This senseless violence, Rios said, could be avoided if only these “motorcycle gangs” could refocus their energies more constructively. She continued: “Let’s have a little retraining… for motorcycle gangs and put them on our side, fighting our enemies.”

Rios distorts the very real threats posed by these biker gangs by likening them to unruly children that can be turned around.

(Remember last August, when she called a reporter who got arrested covering the protests in Ferguson, Missouri a “punk”?)

In fact, as NBC News notes, the Bandidos are “one of the most dangerous gangs there, on par with the Bloods, Crips and the Aryan Brotherhood,” and have been responsible for a significant amount of crime in Texas.

Recall that just last week Rios criticized the media for failing to mention that the engineer on the Amtrak train that derailed outside Philadelphia, was gay, saying it was an interesting factor in the story and deserved attention.

Well Sandy, most of these biker boys are career criminals who went on a violent rampage in a public place with little regard for bystanders — I think that is an interesting factor too. You might even call them… “punks.”

Right Wing Watch has the audio:

Via Crooks and Liars and Right Wing Watch

Photo above: Tom Small via Flickr

Poll: Most Parents Oppose Rapid School Reopening

Numerous local school systems around the country are plowing ahead with plans to resume in-person instruction despite growing evidence that children are just as capable of spreading the coronavirus as adults.

Classes were set to begin on Monday in Baker County, Florida. Masks for students will be optional, not required. "It looks like it's back to normal this morning, honestly," a local television reporter observed as parents dropped their kids off in the morning. Many students wore no face coverings.

The Trump administration and the GOP have pushed for full reopening of schools for months."Schools in our country should be opened ASAP," Donald Trump tweeted in May. "Much very good information now available."

"SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" he reiterated on July 6.

"The science and data is clear: children can be safe in schools this fall, and they must be in school this fall," demanded Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Aug. 1.

"I believe our schools can, and should rise to the occasion of re-opening for in-person education this fall," agreed Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) two days later.

"The CDC and Academy of Pediatrics agree: We can safely get students back in classrooms," tweeted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) last Tuesday.

But while Scalise, Mike Pence, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have all cited the American Academy of Pediatrics in their arguments for reopening, a new study by the group and the Children's Hospital Association raises red flags about how safe that will be.

Their report found 338,982 reported coronavirus cases in children as of July 30 in the United States. Between July 16 and July 30, the nation saw a 40% increase — 97,078 new infected children.

Last week, a high school student in an Atlanta suburb posted a photo online showing few students wearing masks in a crowded school hallway. Since that time, at least six students and three adult employees in the school have reportedly contracted the coronavirus, and the school temporarily has switched to online classes.

Another Georgia school district has already seen at least 13 students and staff members test positive since reopening a week ago.

A recent study in South Korea found that children aged ten and older spread the coronavirus at the same rates adults do. A separate study in Chicago suggested young kids might also be effective spreaders.

These contradict the false claims made by Trump and his administration that kids have an "amazing" near immunity to COVID-19.

"If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely, but almost immune from this disease, so few. They've got stronger, hard to believe, and I don't know how you feel about it, but they have much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this," Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.

"You got to open the schools. They have a stronger immune system even than you have or I have," he told Barstool Sports on July 23. "It's amazing. You look at the percentage, it's a tiny percentage of one percent. And in that one case, I mean, I looked at a couple of cases. If you have diabetes, if you have, you know, problems with something, but the kids are in great shape." Children have made up nearly nine percent of all cases, even with schools mostly closed.

And DeVos incorrectly said in a July 16 interview, "More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don't get it and transmit it themselves."

In early July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for how schools could operate more safely during the pandemic.

Trump publicly ridiculed the guidelines, dismissing them as "very tough & expensive" and "very impractical."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.