Category Archives: Hate

Demonization of Muslims


As Justin Ling the host of the CBC series Flamethrowers said, “The demonization of Muslims became a sport. One that would ensnare millions of Americans. And it was disgusting.”As one visitor to right-wing radio said, “The Moslems are fighting the Jews. The Moslems are fighting the Christians. The Moslems are fighting the Hindus. The Moslems are fighting the Buddhists. They’re slaughtering the blacks. Even the Moslem blacks in African Darfur. Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, wherever you want.”

The right-wing radio talk-show host made his point of view, and that of the right-wing in America when he commented to that: “well they certainly are adept at slaughter, I give you that.”

fter the 9/11 attack the right-wing attacks against Muslims escalated exponentially. As Ling said, “Every week brought a new terror alert. George W. Bush led the invasion of Afghanistan, launching the war on terror. And conservative radio is on it.”

The 9/11 incident electrified the American right. They had a new Satan to replace the presumably vanquished Soviet Russian Satan. The Muslims were the new Satan. it was time to unleash the hate, and American right-wing talk radio was up to the tast.



Glenn Beck and the Gospel of Hate


Following on the heels of Rush Limbaugh in the annals of right-wing talk radio in America, was Glenn Beck. In fact, Limbaugh took “credit” for Glenn Beck. “Glenn Beck is a result of my success,” claimed Limbaugh  And he might be right.

The September 11, 01 attack on America by Al Qaeda followed a couple of years later in 203 by an American led invasion of Iraq, together, supercharged the right-wing in America.  They had a new enemy for their gospel of hate.  And the pundits of right-wing talk radio were in heaven.  George W. Bush pushed the war as a “just war” to destroy weapons of mass destruction and to prevent another attack on America. He said that, and Americans believed it, despite the fact that Iraq had no such weapons and the United States had more of such weapons than the rest of the world combined. Only America and a select few other countries, has the right to such weapons. Everyone else’s use of them is somehow illegitimate.

Paranoia like that which has engulfed the United States leads to such magisterial leaps in logic.  And the American right wing feasted on such claims. They saw American acting in rightful defense from attack by a dangerous other. A follower of Satan. It was a battle of civilizations and religions against each other. The Americans also believed naively that the people of Iraq would immediately drop their weapons and turn on their own leaders as soon as they caught a glimpse of the righteous leaders of America.

As Glenn Beck, one right wing commentator said, “I truly believe that these Mullahs are far worse than Hitler. Hitler was crazy evil. I believe these guys are biblically evil.”  He also said, Nancy Pelosi and her acolytes want us to lose in Iraq. They want there to be chaos in Afghanistan. They want this. They’re rooting against their own country.

The Dixie Chicks (later called “the Chicks”), until then were one of the most successful bands in America but when their leader said they were “disappointed in the president of the United States,” they were cancelled around the country. Radio stations across the country banned their music. Some radio stations hired steam rollers to crush their CDs. Some set up fires to burn their CDs and they became a favoured villain on American talk radio. All that for saying they were disappointed in their president!

Yet thousands of people also protested against the war on terror launched by George W. Bush. Glenn Beck organized a rally against those who opposed the war and their perceived  “liberal” allies. He called these “rallies for America” and dozens were held across the country. Beck said Americans should pay more attention to the torture chambers organized by Iraq then spending so much time criticizing the American president. The rallies were huge in many America cities. There were more than 100 such events in America and Canada. Thousands of people waved little America flags. One of them at one of these rallies had a tattoo of the twin towers burned across his entire back.

The devoted followers of American right-wing extremists were ecstatic. They had a new enemy to replace the evil communists who had been successfully defeated, only of course to rise again in the form of right-wing populists or right-wing dictators.



Rush Limbaugh: The Father of Hate Radio



In his State of the Union address in February 2020 Donald Trump introduced a man he called “Beloved by millions of Americans, the greatest fighter and winner you’ll ever meet.” That is a pretty big endorsement from the President of the United States.


That man was Rush Limbaugh. He awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  The Republicans in the Congress that day jumped up for joy. The Democrats were horrified.  To Republicans, he was one of theirs.  He was one of their heroes and he was being rewarded by their President.  But who was Rush Limbaugh?


Limbaugh was the guy who helped propel Donald Trump to the US presidency. According to Justin Ling in his CBC podcast on Right-wing radio in the US, Limbaugh was the guy whose followers stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in part due to conditioning from Limbaugh.


Here is something Limbaugh said, “If any race should not have any guilt about slavery its Caucasians.”


Or this, “How many of you guys with your own experience with women, know that that ‘No” means ‘Yes” if you know how to spot it?”


According to Ling, “He is the guy who made the modern Conservative movement into what it is.” His great talent was to supercharge hate.  Sort of like modern owners of social media. Both knew that hate sells.


The moment Limbaugh was crowned, according to Ling, was “the moment right-wing politics cemented its central role in American politic.  And the role was the production of hate.  Right-wing radio shows were hate farms!



Hateful Words Matter


William Cooper, another frequent right-wing radio speaker or host,  later that year after the bombing in Oklahoma  said Timothy McVey had attended his offices seeking help, which he said he would not give. He did not care what they did, but he would not support them. He talked about how two people who looked like McVey and his partner Terry Nichols had vaguely tipped him off and gave his people a copy of The Turner Diaries which, among other things, talked about committing acts of violence to start a race war! This became a familiar trope among the far-right.


The FBI found a copy of that book inside McVey’s Ryder van. Added to that, as Justin Ling said on his CBC podcast about right-wing radio,


It is clear that Cooper did influence McVey and despite his insistence that he does not support violence and terrorism, he literally spent years calling his listeners cowards for not doing anything about Waco. And then one of his listeners did exactly what he was telling them to do!


One thing is clear from all of this: words matter. Particularly, hateful words have consequences, especially when they are frequently repeated to resentful people with grievances.


Many years later, Donald Trump learned valuable lessons from such right-wing commentators. He too was able to fire up his supporters. Bigly!


Unite the Right with Hate


A transformational event for the far-right occurred on August 11 and August 12 2017 in the US.  This was during the presidency of Donald J. Trump and  It happened in a  college town called Charlottesville Virginia. As Professor Jacob Ware described this event to his listeners at Arizona State University, this was “where a group of outspoken, explicit, proud, white supremacists, and Neo-Nazis, and anti-government extremists gathered in what they called a ‘Unite the Right Rally.’

Before the event, one of the main organizers, Jason Kessler, had been publicizing the event for months by his protests against the proposed removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee. This helped to fire up white supremacists and other right-wing extremists around the country. Even right-wing Canadians wanted to attend this event.

The trigger for the event was a threat to dismantle a Confederate statute in that community. A young woman, Heather Heyer, was killed during a domestic terrorist attack led by white supremacists. The attack was led by James Alex Fields Jr. who deliberately drove his car into a crowd of people who were peacefully protesting the right-wing rally that was being held in Charlottesville. Only one person, Heather Heyer, was killed but 35 others were injured. As Wikipedia reported,

“Fields 20, had previously espoused neo-Nazi and white supremacist beliefs, and drove from Ohio to attend the rally. Fields’ attack was called an act of domestic terrorism by the mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia’s public safety secretary, the U.S. attorney general, and the director of the FBI.”


Some witnesses reported that Fields’ vehicle sent protesters “flying through the air.” After the initial impact, Fields changed the car into reverse to target more people. He backed up at high speeds for several blocks with protesters chasing him.

Fields was subsequently convicted in a state court of the first-degree murder of Heyer, as well as 8 counts of malicious wounding and hit and run. He also pled guilty to 29  hate crime charges  presumably in order to avoid the death penalty. In typical America hyperbolic legal “justice,” Fields was sentenced to life in prison as well as 419 years for the state charges, with an additional life sentence for the federal charges.

As egregious an event as it was, it soon became an international sensation when President Trump entered the aftermath with his infamous tweets and statements. At first president Trump wavered about whether or not he should condemn the terrorists. Trump just could not bring himself to condemn outright the terrorism since the right-wing attackers did not look like terrorists to him. They looked like supporters, which many of them, of course were. How could be publicly criticize his base? That is not like him.

The marchers had been chanting repeatedly, “You will not replace us. Jews will not replace us.” as they carried their patio torches. This of course is a direct allusion to the common white supremacist trope that members of the American left are trying to replace whites with more compliant people from other races.  It was also clearly antisemitic. The closest he could come to criticism of his adoring fans was to say “I think there’s blame on both sides. You also had people, on both sides, who were very fine people.”  What was so fine about whites who mowed down protesters while chanting those racist memes? Recall, he did exactly the same thing on January 6, 2021when his staff insisted he tell the rioters to leave he did ask them to leave but first told them he loved them.

Trump has demonstrated a pattern of praising violent people who support his causes. He is always willing to do his best to unite the right with hate.

The reason this was such a pivotal event in the history of the rise of right-wing violent extremism is that those extremists realized they had a powerful friend and ally in very high places. In fact, they had an ally in the highest place in the land and this filled them with exuberance and confidence.


The Return of the Right and racism rekindled


After the Oklahoma bombing the FBI started to realize the significance of the militia movement and clamped down on the more extreme of them. For a while it seemed to the terrorist analysts that the domestic problem was not so serious. In my view, this is partly because to so much of law enforcement the right-wing looks like home to them. And terrorists never look like your friends and neighbours, until they do. As Professor Hoffman said during his Arizona State University talk that Chris and I listened to,


“the last thing I ever imagined in my career was returning to this particular threat. Then in 2020 with the rise of the pandemic, I was amazed at how quickly, literally within days of the lockdown in March, anti-Sematic, anti-immigrant, anti-Asian and anti-Asian-American and also racist tropes began to surface attempting to target these groups to blame for Covid.”


The election of Barack Obama as the first black President of the United States unleashed an ugly and powerful streak of backlash. The FBI suppression of the far-right movement after the Oklahoma bombing led to the movement lying dormant in the US for 8 or 10 years. It was dormant, but it was not dead. It was revived by the election of Barack Obama. Racial fear by whites of being replaced by blacks is part of the bedrock of the modern right-wing and white supremacist movement.

As Professor Jacob Ware said at that same ASU talk, the election of a black president “also led to a huge surge in hate crimes.” White supremacy and anti-government extremism also exploded after that election.

During his first election the volume of threats against Obama led to the greatest secret service protection so early in an election in the history of the country. There was a tidal wave of hate against him and his family. As Ware said. “this was a harbinger of things to come.

During his terms in office Obama faced two major terrorist attacks. The first was in Norway in 2011in Oslo and Utoeva island by a massacre by Anders Breivik. 77 people were killed the large majority of whom were children. It was a summer camp of the youth wing of the Norwegian labor party. He published a long Manifesto in which he called his victims cultural Marxists, a term since adopted widely in the American right. He said that by attacking the next generation of the left he would be cutting off the head of the snake of multi-culturalism. He saw what he thought was a movement to replace ethnic Norwegians, resembling of course, similar fears of replacement of white nationalists in other parts of the world such as New Zealand, America, and many other places.

In 2015 the Obama administration faced another attack by the right, this time in Charleston North Carolina. There a young white supremacist, Dylan Roof, who killed 9 people during a Bible Study in a black church.

According to Ware these were both highly significant events because “they both provided tactical and ideological inspiration.”

Hate Speech from both sides Now


Unfortunately, in the United States where we are now staying for 3 months, like Canada where we live permanently , hate speech is on the rise. The War between Israel and Hamas has helped to spike the numbers. Hamas leaders and even North American supporters have been heard echoing the phrase “From the river to the Sea Palestine will be free.” It sound innocuous. but is this hate speech? Many in Canada and the US have used this to generate hate against Jews. Many Jews consider it anti-Semitism. It is often interpreted as a wish by members of Hamas, or their supporters  to wipe Israel off the face of the map. That surely would certainly be anti-Semitism.

The original 1977 party platform of Likud one of Israel’s major political parties, stated that “between the Sea and the Jordan there will only be Israeli sovereignty.” The party has always emphasized the right of Jews to settle in this area, no matter what the declaration of the State of Israel said.  This has been a major influence on Zionist exclusionist policies.  Is this hate speech? How is it different from what Hamas or anti-Semite say? Palestinians see it the same way.

Here are my views: what is meant by such statements is a matter of context. To that extent, I agree with the statements made by the university presidents who were criticized for their feckless response to questioning by Republicans in the House of Representatives. Whether or not a statement is racist or antisemitic or not depends on what the person making the statement is really saying and really insinuating. It depends on who is saying it and what does he or she actually mean by saying it? Context is important.  On the other hand, sometimes such statements merely enunciate a political position which all of us are entitled to do. But such statements can be racist. Such statements can be hate.

With apologies to Joni Mitchell, I’ve looked at hate speech from both sides now and it’s just illusions I recall. All I know, is that hate speech is complicated and filled with illusions.

The Shortest History of Israel and Palestine


When the war between Hamas and Israel began I decided I must read a book about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.  I read such a book quite a few years ago. I certainly needed a refresher. The read certainly was not refreshing however.

As a result, I read the book, The Shortest History of Israel and Palestine by Michael Scott-Baumann. From the blurbs on the cover it seemed to be an impartial view of that conflict. I think I made a good choice. Its a very good book.

What have I learned as a result of reading that book?  One main thing has become absolutely clear to me. That is that I have no idea who started the war or who started the current conflict either for that matter. So I had not learned who is right. But I am sure about one thing I am sure about Iwho is wrong.  Both sides are wrong! And they have been wrong over and over again.

 Mainly, they have been wrong because both sides have repeatedly acquiesced with what their extremists are doing in their name. And the result of that is clear. Turning over “your side” to your extremists is so ensure that peace has no chance. You can’t give peace a chance when you turn your case over to the extremists. And the same goes for the other side. No moderation; no peace. The extremists will make sure of that. Over and over again it seems that is exactly what they extremists want.

And if no side is right then the Buffalo Springfield are right when they sang:


“There’s battle lines being drawn

Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong”


When Compromise is Heresy


People are calling for a cease fire in the war between Hamas and Israel. Israel says it won’t stop firing until all of its hostages are released.  Hamas has not offered to release the hostages it recently captured at great expense. It likely sees them as their only hope right now. Neither side seem inclined to compromise. I would love to see a ceasefire. How to get there?  I don’t know.

Here is what I do know. This bloody war is the consequence of turning states over to the extremists as both Gaza and Israel have done. Extremists, particularly when filled with religious zeal, even if they are not particularly religious, inevitably see compromise as heretical. Such groups are extremely unlikely to compromise. When two groups under the dominance or influence of extremists with such religious zeal, the end result is bound to be bloody. Don’t look for quick and easy ceasefires.

The tragedy of the Middle East is that both sides (or should I say all sides?) in this seemingly intractable dispute are chained to murderous theological ideologies that leave no room for compromise or resolution. Each side just wants to bludgeon the other side to death—to oblivion. How can you make a deal with the devil, both sides ask. The answer—of course—is that you can’t. Neither side can make a deal with the devil so they go on pummeling each other to death. That is the inevitable result when both sides have an unshakeable conviction that the other side is the side of the devil. Then your own side becomes the sole bearer of truth and justice for the only rightful god.

We can do better. To do that, murderous ideologies with their murderous certainties,  must be discarded.


Newt Gingerich Revolutionary


After the massive Republican victory in the American mid-term elections of 1994, Newt Gingerich  became the new Leader of the House, and he was obviously a firebrand. Nothing else would do. Moderates were scorned.  It was time for a new Tea Party.

The Atlantic magazine said that Gingrich “turned partisan battles into blood sport, wrecked Congress, and paved the way for Trump’s rise.” Polarization in American politics was jump started. American politics would not be the same for decades (or perhaps forever?). He called himself the “most serious systematic revolutionary of modern times.”

Here is one of his early incendiary remarks for which he became famous:

“You cannot make civilization with 12-year-olds having babies, 15-year-old shooting each other, 17- year-olds dying of AIDS, and 18-year-olds getting a diploma they can’t read.”


Interestingly, this also established Gingrich as part of the culture wars that have taken over American politics, both on the left and the right.

Justin Ling said this about Gingrich on The Flame Throwers podcast:


“What he really was, was a pugilistic bomb thrower who was willing to tear down the entire American political structure with his bare hands if he had to.”


These were the type of guys (usually they were all guys) that the American right-wing loved. And still love! They were bombastic; they were confident, and they mocked all the namby pambies of the liberal camp. Later they referred to them as “woke.” Gingrich was Rush Limbaugh’s kind of guy! This was a guy he could support, just like Donald Trump later was the kind of guy he could support.

Gingrich, again like Trump later, called Limbaugh for advice. They ascended together. They joined in hatred of  liberals, an in particular the Clintons, and dragged a nation of conservatives with them. According to Justin Ling, “together they remade the language of politics. Liberals are anti-flag, anti-child, traitors, thieves.” Together they helped create the astonishing polarization of American politics. Their extreme language helped establish extreme hatred for “the other party.” There was no room for moderation. This was a battle between Satan and Jesus. It was the beginning of a new age of extremism in which we are still living . Humility found no home in this new movement.

And it had American talk radio to thank.