MSNBC only has the ability to smear Republicans with this kind of paleoconservative nuttery because we allow them to by continuing to tolerate it within the movement. Every time a conservative says nice things about Ron Paul’s anarchist plans to shrink the federal government back to Articles of Confederation-era size while politely distancing themselves from “his foreign policy ideas” they further enable attacks like these which damage the whole field in guilt by association:
A Super PAC supporting Paul has pledged to monitor the vote in all the remaining states, using an army of exit pollsters to fight what it calls results that are “outrageous, unacceptable and patently un-American.” The group, called Revolution PAC, has spent half a million dollars supporting Paul with videos, webcasts, online ads, direct mail, billboards and radio ads in primary and caucus states.
We first noticed Revolution PAC last week, when it told the Federal Election Commission that it couldn’t meet the deadline to identify its donors, because of an error by its bank. Now Revolution PAC has filed its report.
The leader of the group, its founder, chairman and treasurer, is Gary Franchi, a promoter of conspiracy theories and sophisticated social-media entrepreneur in the resurgent movement known as the Patriots.
The 34-year-old political activist from the Chicago suburbs told msnbc.com that his goal is a “non-violent intellectual revolution, which results in a full restoration of the federal Constitution.”
BTW, good luck with a “non-violent intellectual revolution” when you’re up against what you imagine to be a tyrannical government who regularly murders, manipulates, and lies to its own citizens as it prepares your FEMA prison cell. That really makes sense.
But see what MSNBC is able to delight in doing here? They’re able to not only associate craziness with Republicans, but with patriotism. I’ve spent a decade observing and studying the conspiracy culture and never have I heard this strand of paleo, Alex Jones paranoia labeled “a resurgent Patriot conspiracy theory.” (The more accurate, common descriptor would be “New World Order conspiracy theory.”) Yet this is how MSNBC chooses to describe Franchi’s activities (emphasis mine):
- Franchi has supported the 9/11 Truth Movement, which supports the idea that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were an inside job to create a pretext for a reduction in American liberty, or at least involved a cover-up, with the World Trade Center brought down by a planned U.S. demolition, instead of terrorist-controlled airplanes. Franchi founded the Lone Lantern Society (a reference to Paul Revere indicating that foreign enemies are on American soil). The group supports “the birth of freedom and the death of the New World Order,” a secretive elite that is supposedly trying to set up a world government. Lone Lantern has held street demonstrations on the 11th of every month in Chicago and elsewhere, demanding an investigation of 9/11. In New Hampshire in 2008, a video shows Franchi asking Tom Ridge, the former secretary of Homeland Security, who was campaigning for Sen. John McCain, whether Ridge would support an investigation of the “controlled demolition” of the World Trade Center. Ridge was having none of it, saying, “I just don’t buy into that. That’s a conspiracy theory that has no basis in fact. It’s almost out of the Twilight Zone.”
- According to a 2010 report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks domestic fringe groups, “Gary Franchi is one of the leading promoters of a resurgent Patriot conspiracy theory that alleges the government is creating concentration camps for U.S. citizens.” In 2009 he co-wrote and co-produced the video “Camp FEMA: American Lockdown,” which claims that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is creating concentration camps on air bases and in vacant buildings to house political dissenters when the federal government proclaims martial law. “Your church may have already signed a deal with the devil,” reads promotional material for the film. The film questions whether Census data will be used to round up Americans. Clips from Franchi’s film on YouTube show Hitler youth marching while the narrator ominously describes President Obama’s plans to expand AmeriCorps and the USA Freedom Corps, the volunteer initiative launched by the Bush administration after 9/11.
- Franchi operates Restore the Republic, which opposes the Federal Reserve, the IRS and the income tax, decries the control of the economy by the Rockefellers and the “banking cartel,” and warns of government plans to plant RFID microchips into all Americans. The group was founded by Franchi and filmmaker and Libertarian presidential candidate Aaron Russo, and has been operated by Franchi since Russo’s death from cancer in 2007. RTR shares an address with Revolution PAC in Northbrook, Ill. The group, which describes itself as a social media platform for like-minded individuals, promotes Russo’s film, “America: Freedom to Fascism,” in which Ron Paul declares, “If that’s the definition of a police state — that you can’t do anything unless the government gives you permission —we’re well on our way.” In a YouTube video interview with Franchi in 2008, Paul credited the Russo video with bringing a lot of people to his presidential campaign. The group has also placed billboards fueling the bogus claim that Obama is not an American citizen, asking, “Where’s the REAL birth certificate?”
Unsurprisingly, MSNBC is using terminology and narratives invented by the radical Southern Poverty Law Center, a fake hate crimes information clearing house designed by its direct-mail entrepreneur founder Morris Dees as a vehicle to make himself rich (as reported in Harper’s by Ken Silverstein in 2000.)
It’s a common lament in Tea Party circles that candidates don’t confront the media with the facts about what Obama’s radical associations really mean. We’ve got great books like Stanley Kurtz’s Radical-In-Chief that lay the documents on the table and demonstrate the unbroken continuity of our President’s Marxist ideology and his continued unconstitutional goals.
But all of Stanley’s hard work is nullified as a political weapon because the GOP won’t keep its own house cleaned. It doesn’t matter that Republicans’ links to radicalism are of little consequence, whereas the President appointed people like Van Jones to positions of unchecked power. What matters is the media narrative of Tea Partiers as insane radicals that MSNBC and other outlets are able to create — which conservatives still remain mostly impotent in combating. (Note in the article how MSNBC is sure to report that Franchi said, “his parents, thinking he was mentally ill, had him heavily medicated for 10 years. But he continued his reading, particularly about the implantation of RFID microchips by government, and formed the Lone Lantern Society to tell people that ‘the enemies are here.'”)
And that’s why we have to keep talking about Ron Paul. More than a decade ago Pat Buchanan and his cohort abandoned the GOP for the Reform Party. With this being Fearless Leader’s final presidential run isn’t it about time for the Paulastinians to do the same?