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Prognostications of the apocalypse, puritanical fools, and punditocratic blowhards. Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Rick Santorum

Erstwhile presidential candidate Rick Santorum has made clear that deeply felt dedication to the cause of religious liberty is strictly limited to establishing his own extremist brand of conservative Christianity as law. And his utter ignorance of Islam has not stopped him from implicating every Muslim wholesale in his condemnations of terrorism. (““Islam is not just a religion; it is also a political governing structure,” he said at the fifth GOP debate.)

The depths of his ignorance about Islam were neatly and rather pathetically laid bare recently in a confrontation with college student Hamzah Raza, which was captured on cell phone video (below). Santorum sounded his usual notes about the monolithic evils of “Sharia law,” but when asked to clarify exactly what that was — other than a convenient talking point — the former senator was unable to do so.

Raza wrote Monday in Alternet:

I asked Santorum to name the 5 foundations of Sharia, which he was unable to do. It was also difficult for him to fathom the fact that Muslim scholars across the religious spectrum have all condemned ISIS. And that ISIS does follow not a legitimate interpretation of Sharia, according to basically every Muslim in the world. Although he could not name a single Muslim scholar who supports ISIS, he still insisted that ISIS is very popular (a claim that is statistically untrue). Santorum also found it difficult to fathom the fact that religion is up to interpretation. 

Hat tip Raw Story

Next: Rick Wiles & Mark Taylor 

4. Rick Wiles & Mark Taylor

Perhaps the only thing more alarming than Donald Trump are his fans, who can count among their dubious ranks apocalypse prognosticator Mark Taylor. Taylor recently appeared in Rick Wiles’ TruNews program to enlighten listeners on his frankly insane visions of a cosmology in which Trump is an avatar of God himself, and his enemies are the armies of Satan.

Right Wing Watch’s Brian Tashman writes:

Naturally, Wiles was overjoyed by his “amazing” prophesy.

Taylor also alleged that God made Fox News host Megyn Kelly “violently ill” for asking Trump “gotcha” questions at the first GOP presidential debate: “God was firing a warning shot: Don’t attack my anointed. Period.”

“The kingdom of darkness is attacking this man like never before,” Taylor said. “God is using this man — he’s not rattling the gates, because when you rattle the gates you don’t make entry — this man is literally splitting the kingdom of darkness right open.”

He claimed that protests at Trump rallies are a sign that “the kingdom of darkness is actually noticing the authority that God has put on this man and those are demons manifesting at this man’s rallies.”

“God is using him to literally split hell right open and stop this New World Order,” he added.

Hat tip and audio courtesy of Right Wing Watch

Next: Bryan Fischer 

3. Bryan Fischer

If you are a conservative in favor of comprehensive tax reform, surely you can make a cogent argument without literally comparing income tax to the Dred Scott decision and literal slavery. Unless of course you are American Family Association (AFA) mouthpiece (and perennial, but richly deserving, TWIC piñata) Bryan Fischer.

In a post published this week on the AFA’s Stand blog, Fischer outlines his philosophy of how income tax is both “immoral and unconstitutional.”

(As a side note, it is awfully precious for Fischer to express any grievance over taxes since he operates — and spews his virulent, hateful garbage — from under the aegis of the AFA hate group, which enjoys non-profit status even as it militantly campaigns to erase people’s civil rights.)

He ends his screed thusly:

In essence, every wage earner is now in a state of involuntary servitude. We are obligated to pay an unjust and unconstitutional tax or face the full wrath and fury of the federal leviathan.

What the American people need is a second Emancipation Proclamation to free us from this bondage. Such an Emancipation Proclamation can be issued by Congress in the form of a law in line with the 16th Amendment that prohibits the federal government from collecting a tax on wages and salaries. Or an Emancipation Proclamation could be issued by the Supreme Court led by originalists who would issue a ruling that bound the federal government down by the chains of the Constitution and declared that it was not allowed to collect a tax on the wages and salaries of working Americans. Until that day comes, we will continue to be in the same condition as Dred Scott, slaves to an immoral, illegal, and utterly unconstitutional edict from the central government.

An Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863. There is no reason another cannot be issued in 2017. [emphasis added]

On a separate episode this week, Fischer claimed on the radio Wednesday that Reuters — yes, Reuters — had written an article disproving the Theory of Evolution and validating Fischer’s own brand of young earth creationism.

The only problem — as I pointed out to him on Twitter — was that his main source was not an article by the venerable news organization, but rather the heavily slanted Christian Times, which used a Reuters photo. Fischer, in effect, confused the photo caption for a byline, and so went on the air boasting that the secular media was writing articles confirming his unintelligent designs. “The Bible forbids evolution,” he said. “This book. This book does not lie.

He later tweeted that he was “Not perfect. Just forgiven.” By whom, he did not say.

Next: Brigham Young University

2. Brigham Young University

After a female student at the Mormon institution of higher learning Brigham Young University told police that she had been raped, her school busted her for violating the university’s bylaws.

BYU’s “honor code” — essentially a catalogue of puritanical, religion-inflected prescriptions — allows for the student to be punished for having had a member of the opposite sex in her home or for consuming alcohol.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the university is magnanimously allowing the student to complete her semester but has barred her from registering for future classes. The Tribune‘s Annie Knox writes:

[S]he filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, saying BYU denied her services available to victims under Title IX, a federal law barring sex discrimination at schools that receive funds from the U.S. government.

If a school is found to have violated Title IX, it usually reaches a settlement with the Office for Civil Rights and must show it is making new efforts to comply with the federal law.

She “is one of several students at the school, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who have said they were investigated by the school’s Honor Code Office after reporting a sexual assault.”

Next: Sean Hannity

1. Sean Hannity

The Fox News host is finally coming under fire from both within and without his network for treating Donald Trump with the breathless adulation of a fawning fanboy. (To cite just one example, Hannity teed up the exact same obsequious question, “Do you have a nickname for Hillary?” at both last week’s and previous week’s town hall.)

When the host lost his cool at Ted Cruz this week for playing politics with the delegates, he all but laid his bias for The Donald naked on the table. Hannity then went on a long Twitter tear, blasting his critics and asserting that any pro-Trump, anti-Cruz agenda was “BS.”

“Now let me go back to this other idea about the media,” he said on his radio show Wednesday. “The media has accused me of going soft in interviews on Republicans. I plead guilty. I absolutely plead guilty. You know why? Because I want one of them to win.”

Here he echoed remarks he had made last week, when he said: “If I’m interviewing Hillary Clinton, it’s gonna be a hundred times harder than any Republican, because I believe the Republicans represent, and have, a far better vision, one that I agree with.”

“I’m not a journalist,” he admitted. (No kidding.) “I’m a talk show host.”

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Check out previous editions of This Week In Crazy here. Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments! Get This Week In Crazy delivered to your inbox every Friday, by signing up for our daily email newsletter.

Blake Neff

Twitter screenshot

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

On July 10, CNN's Oliver Darcy reported that Blake Neff, the top writer for Tucker Carlson's prime-time Fox News show, had been anonymously posting racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and other offensive content on an online forum for five years. Neff used racist and homophobic slurs, referred to women in a derogatory manner, and pushed white supremacist content while writing for Carlson's show. Neff resigned after CNN contacted him for comment.

As Darcy reported, in an interview with the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, Neff claimed anything Carlson read during his show was initially drafted by him. Darcy also found instances where there was "some overlap between the forum and the show," as sometimes the "material Neff encountered on the forum found its way on to Carlson's show."

During a 2018 appearance on Fox's The Five to promote his book Ship of Fools, Carlson mentioned Neff by name, calling him a "wonderful writer." Carlson also included Neff in the acknowledgments of the book.


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Before joining Fox News, Neff worked at The Daily Caller, a conservative news outlet that Carlson co-founded. The outlet has published a number of white supremacists, anti-Semites, and bigots.


Carlson has a long history of promoting white supremacist content on his show. His show has featured many guests who have connections to white supremacy and far-right extremism. Carlson has regularly been praised by Neo-Nazis and various far-right extremist figures, and he's been a hero on many white supremacist podcasts. Users of the extremist online message boards 4chan and 8chan have repeatedly praised Carlson.

The manifesto released by the gunman who killed 20 people in El Paso, Texas, in 2019 was strewn with content that echoed talking points from Carlson's show. Days after the shooting, Carlson declared that calling white supremacy a serious issue is a "hoax" as it is "actually not a real problem in America."

Carlson has been hemorrhaging advertisers following his racist coverage of the Black Lives Matters movement and the recent protests against police brutality. Now that we know his top writer was using content from white supremacist online message boards for Carlson's show, it is more imperative than ever that advertisers distance their brands away from this toxicity.