violent rhetoric

Two Million Bikers Fall 99.9% Short

The group Two Million Bikers to DC organized its second annual rally on the National Mall yesterday, which, like its predecessor, fell far short of the goal expressed in the group’s name. Organizers said the event was meant to honor people killed in the 9/11 attacks as well as first responders and veterans – presumably that’s how they sold it to corporate sponsor Budweiser – but rally speakers also used the event to rail against President Barack Obama, Congress, and an array of right-wing targets, including gun control, Common Core educational standards, the EPA, regulation of small businesses, the destruction of free enterprise, the Bundy Ranch standoff between the BLM and armed protestors, and Obama’s purportedly fraudulent re-election.

Although organizers got pre-event press promising “thousands” of bikers – not 2 million – descending on the nation’s capital, I didn’t see more than a couple hundred at the event’s peak. Fewer than 50 were left to hear the final speakers. More than one speaker took note of the dispiritingly small crowd.

Those who made it to the Mall did get to hear some personal remembrances of 9-11 from a New York firefighter, a paramedic, and a clergyman who worked at Ground Zero, and a mother whose son joined the military in the wake of 9/11 and was killed overseas.

But uniting them and other speakers was hostility toward the Obama administration and anger at the perception that the president will not clearly identify Islamist extremism as the nation’s enemy. Among the conspiracy theories heard from the podium were the claim from Second Amendment activist and self-described “gun chick” Jan Morgan that the U.N. small arms treaty was about disarming Americans, and the assertion by “Pope” Dan Johnson that “NATO came together in a meeting and this administration signed that NATO pact to tell Christians or to tell any religion what they can and cannot do.” Morgan said she didn’t believe Obama had actually won re-election because she knows about votes counted in Barcelona, Spain, and dead people who voted six times.

Johnson, a Kentucky coordinator for the biker group, contrasted his remarks with Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. “I have a nightmare,” he yelled. America, he said, is living a nightmare at Ground Zero and a nightmare in the White House. The mother of a fallen serviceman said of President Obama, “We must get rid of him…we must get him out of our White House before he takes this nation down.”

Right-wing pundit Wayne Dupree railed against the media, which he said has given Obama a pass for six years. He complained that conservative activists have been demonized as racists. “This administration is racist,” he said. “Everybody in there is racist.”

“Entertainment” was provided by Madison Rising, a metal band that played songs they describe as patriotic. One in their first set contained the chorus, “We don't want to have to bring out guns but we're ready if it goes there.” That sort of rhetoric mirrors the theme of Larry Klayman’s failed revolutionary rally in D.C. last year, at which Two Million Bikers organizer Belinda Bee spoke. Manny Vega, a Marine vet and self-described “Three Percenter” also spoke at both rallies.

Vega, who as one of the final speakers faced a very sparse crowd, seemed bummed out by the small turnout. “There should be millions of people,” he said, recalling photos of Vietnam War protests filling the entire mall. “What are we doing? A couple patriots out here.” Vega said more truck drivers, waitresses, bikers, and mechanics need to get involved and get elected.

“I’ll be damned if I am 30 years old and I’m cursing the politicians in that Capitol Hill. My son’s going to be 30 years old gearing up, buying weapons, buying their armored vests. Who’d have thought that we’d live in a country where the American citizens are arming up to fight a tyrannical government, ‘cuz that is what it is. Who’d have thought? How many people here have aligned themselves with militias or are already prepping to go to war with the federal government? [Someone shouted ‘don’t raise your hands,’ but some folks did] To go to war? Who should go to war?  No American citizen should go to war. I’ll tell you something, it’s changed. The relationship between the people and those bastards over there that are supposedly supposed to represent us. And they are not doing it.”

The event was also sponsored by Dinesh D’Souza’s “America: Imagine the World Without Her.” The day before the rally, D’Souza tweeted, “On 9/11 anniversary tomorrow I am speaking at huge biker rally on the national mall in Washington DC.” He sold some books -- nothing close to the huge number that his optimistic publisher had brought– and took pictures with fans. Unfortunately, I missed D’Souza’s comments when I took a break, but based on the speaker who followed him, part of D’Souza’s speech was spent slamming President Obama’s recent remarks about ISIS/ISIL.

GOP Candidate Michael Peroutka Fails To Shake Extremist Label With ‘Not a Racist’ Press Conference

For Republicans who would like to “rebrand” the party to reach more voters, Michael Peroutka is a nightmare.  Peroutka won the Republican primary for a county council seat in Anne Arundel County, which includes Maryland’s state capital. As we have been reporting, Peroutka is a Christian Reconstructionist who believes “It is not the role of civil government to house, feed, clothe, educate or give heath care to…ANYBODY!” He is an ardent supporter of the white nationalist League of the South, which promotes the secession of southern states, and whose leader recently wrote about “Fourth Generation Warfare” in which citizen hit squads would target “political leaders, members of the hostile media, cultural icons, bureaucrats, and other of the managerial elite without whom the engines of tyranny don't run."

Last week, Larry Hogan, the Republican nominee for governor, disavowed Peroutka over his extremist positions. Yesterday, Peroutka held a press conference in which he repeatedly claimed he is not a racist, vowed that he would not play the “race card game,” and produced two African American Republicans, Eric Knowles and Robert Broadus, to vouch for his not-racism.

But if the press conference was meant to dispel the notion that Peroutka is an extremist, it failed miserably. Peroutka repeatedly refused to disavow the League of the South, on whose board he has sat. He would not say it was a mistake to have called Dixie the national anthem at a League of the South convention. And he refused, in spite of repeated questions, to disavow the idea that the southern states should secede. In response to the suggestion that the Civil War settled the question of secession, he said “No moral issue is really ever settled by the point of a sword.” He repeatedly stated that secession is “a historical fact” and “a political reality.” The American Revolution was an act of secession, he said.  And it is a kind of secession when people move out of Maryland to escape its high taxes.

Huffington Post blogger Jonathan Hutson has video of the entire press conference. Unfortunately, nobody asked Peroutka about his belief that Maryland’s General Assembly is “no longer a valid legislative body” because it has passed laws he thinks are in violation of God’s law. Or about his participation in Larry Klayman’s “revolutionary” rally last year, whose goal was to force President Obama out of office. Or why state Republicans should support Peroutka, a former Constitution Party presidential candidate, given that it was less than a year ago that he wrote this:

“Anyone, including those who identify with the ‘Tea Party’, who loves America and desires real reform, would do well to disengage themselves from the Republican Party and their brand of worthless, Godless, unprincipled conservatism.”

Michael Peroutka Supporter Discusses Guerilla War Against Political, Cultural Elites

We’ve been covering the candidacy of Michael Peroutka, the southern secessionist and Christian Reconstructionist who won a primary to become the Republican nominee for a county council seat in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

This morning the Republican nominee for governor Larry Hogan renounced Peroutka, while Joe Cluster, executive director of the state Republican Party, is scheduled to meet with him today. African American leaders in the state have called on the GOP to disavow Peroutka. 

Meanwhile, Huffington Post blogger Jonathan Hutson reports more information on Michael Hill, who heads the white nationalist League of the South, on whose board Peroutka once sat and whose support Peroutka has sought for his candidacy.

Hutson reports on an essay published by Hill on the League of the South’s website on July 15 called “A Bazooka in Every Pot,” in which Hill argues that the Second Amendment allows private citizens to own any weapon system the government has, including bazookas, rocket launchers, tanks, and, if they could afford it, warships — a position that happens to be shared by GOP congressional nominee Jody Hice and right-wing Republican activist David Barton.

Hill went even further in his July 15 post, however, describing a scenario in which armed citizens wage “Fourth Generation Warfare” – guerilla warfare – against political and cultural elites who support “tyranny.” Hutson summarizes Hill this way:

…on July 15, Hill wrote an essay for the League's website titled "A Bazooka in Every Pot," in which he outlines a program of "guerrilla war," marked by "three-­to-­five-­man" death squads which would target government leaders, journalists, and other public figures for assassination, in order to advance the League's goals.

"To oversimplify," writes Hill, "the primary targets will not be enemy soldiers; instead, they will be political leaders, members of the hostile media, cultural icons, bureaucrats, and other of the managerial elite without whom the engines of tyranny don't run."

Talk on the far right about a possible armed revolution against the U.S. government is increasingly common. As Miranda reported this morning, Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt has reasserted his belief that members of Congress should live “in constant trepidation” that they could be shot by “sovereign” citizens if they “attempt to disarm Americans the way the British crown tried 240 years ago.”

Klayman's 'Peaceful' Revolution Comes With Hints Of Violence

At last week’s Reclaim America Now rally, a placard next to the speaker’s podium featured a Thomas Jefferson quote that many speakers cited: "When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." But there is apparently no evidence that Jefferson ever said this: the website of Monticello, Jefferson’s home, lists it among “spurious” quotations attributed to him.

Larry Klayman repeatedly described the Second American Revolution he is launching in nonviolent terms. He says massive peaceful civil disobedience will lead to the downfall of the current government and patriots from across the country will convene in Philadelphia to convene a new one. In recent weeks, though, Klayman has repeatedly warned that if the nonviolent approach doesn’t work, the people and the military will rise up and resort to “another recourse.” He has said that “violent revolution…looms on the horizon, if we cannot find a way to peacefully settle the score with the political establishment…”

A similar theme was heard at last week’s rally from speaker Manny Vega, who was identified as a retired marine and a Three Percenter. Three Percenters take their name from their belief that during the American Revolution only three percent of colonists took up arms against the British. The Anti-Defamation League reported a few years ago that Three Percenters, like the Oath Keepers, “promote the idea that the federal government is plotting to take away the rights of American citizens and must be resisted. The two groups are apparently trying to make inroads in the U.S. military.”

Vega, who said he served multiple tours in Iraq, said he thinks war is “abhorrent” and he wants peace to prevail. But he also said the Virginia Three Percenters are “planning and getting ready to mobilize if anything comes down.”

“But I’ll tell you what. There are a lot of men and women across this country who are willing to give it all, ok? Our forefathers, they fought for less. I am willing to fight today, ok? And, God, we don’t want violence, but if it should ever come to that, I can tell you what. I was willing to give my life in Iraq, over there, today I am more than willing to give my life over here, and I hope the president of the United States understands that. There are many more men and women like myself who are more than willing to give their lives here at home. Spread the word.”

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