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
Ah, 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 currentTexas 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.
4. Pat Robertson
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.'”
3. Matthew Hagee
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.
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.
1. Sandy Rios
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:
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Photo above: Tom Small via Flickr