Pieces of a Semi-Conspiracy Theory:
Contraception, Immigration, Murder, and More
The rambunctious Republican Primary is over, and there’s time to ponder whether anything occurred that’s really worth thinking about. I keep returning to the politically counterproductive Republican assault on contraception. Why did this become an issue? Who benefits? Is there a long-term agendum that trumps the short-term electoral losses of championing such a broadly unpopular cause?
In the past few weeks, some seemingly random things caught my attention.
--A disturbing TV ad claiming that illegal immigrants were a leading cause of pollution, sponsored by ‘Californians for Population Stabilization’ (CAPS). Actually, I first thought it was a parody. Mexicans crossing the border leaving huge carbon footprints like El Sasquatcho? Once I realized it was not a parody but a ‘serious’ advocacy ad, I experienced a visceral (as opposed to a rational or intellectual) queasiness. There’s something profoundly wrong with claiming that a population sector causes ‘pollution.’ It’s the claim about Jews that Hitler made in Mein Kampf, and that Nazi ideologues like Julius Streicher continued to make until they were silenced for good. Poking around on the internet, I found that CAPS based its ad on ‘research’ by the Center for Immigration Studies, founded by John Tanton, a man with strong connections to contemporary White supremacist, anti-Semitic, and eugenic movements.
--A multiple murder/suicide in Arizona. On May 2, 2012, in Gilbert, Arizona, J. T. Ready shot his girlfriend, her daughter, the daughter’s boyfriend, and their baby, then shot himself. Unfortunately common domestic violence? Probably so. But because of the magnitude of the slaughter, the story has been reported nationally. And some interesting things have been revealed about J. T. Ready.
***One. J. T. Ready was a proud and loud Neo-Nazi. Congruently, he was virulently anti-Semitic.
***Two. J. T. Ready reorganized his followers into the ‘U.S. Border Guards’ (not affiliated in any way with official U.S. or Arizona law enforcement), with the self-appointed mission of protecting Arizona from the unwashed and distressingly fertile hordes threatening his home state.
***Three. J. T. Ready was active in Arizona Republican politics.
***Four. J. T. Ready believed that the Aryan/White ‘race’ in North America was threatened with extinction because the non-Aryan/White ‘race’ bred prolifically. Projected demographics spelled doom.
--The Arizona ‘Papers Please’ law that’s now before the Supreme Court. No one can deny that the purpose of this law (Arizona SB 1070) is to harass Spanish-speaking people, no matter what the Supreme Court ultimately decides about its constitutionality. The desired outcome of this law, then, is to make it easier (1) to deport south-of-the-border types; or (2) to create such an oppressive atmosphere that prospective immigrants (legal or illegal) would stay (or return) home. In both cases, the result would be fewer Latinos in Arizona, thus retarding the ‘browning’ of the state’s complexion.
The power behind this law was Russell Pearce, then the state’s House Majority Leader.
--Arizona Republican Politics. Last year, Russell Pearce was recalled, the first such state office-holder to be so chastised. His punishment: assuming the Vice Chairmanship of the Arizona Republican Party. And despite being ingloriously booted out of the legislature, he’s running again for the Arizona State Senate. Last week, the J. T. Ready massacre/suicide happened, as did news exploration of connections between J. T. Ready and Russell Pearce.
These connections include:
***Many Republican Party events that featured both of them (and often Republican Sheriff Joe Arpaio, of pink-pantsuited prisoner, presidential birth certificate ‘investigation,’ and extreme anti-immigrant-measures fame). There are pictures!
***Pearce’s support of Ready’s candidacy for Mesa City Council in 2006.
***Pearce’s sponsorship of Ready into the Mormon Church in 2004. Under Pearce’s imprimatur, Ready was accepted as a Mormon elder.
***Pearce’s statements, last week, that he didn’t really know J. T. Ready, they weren’t friends, any allegation to the contrary was a smear tactic, yadda yadda.)
--Democratic National Strategy. Arizona is now one of the states ‘in play.’
--ALEC. As the Trayvon Martin case has exposed, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been behind many reactionary initiatives in now-Republican-dominated State houses. These initiatives include anti-immigration measures and anti-contraceptive measures (such as the ‘personhood’ laws, which would effectively outlaw most common forms of contraception). They also include ‘stand your ground’ laws, voter restriction laws, and educational ‘reform’ bills, among which are some containing what appear to be eugenically motivated exclusions of physically, emotionally, and mentally disabled students. ALEC has been extremely active in drafting legislation for Arizona, among which are the ‘Papers Please’ law and the bill authorizing employers to pry into workers’ sexual lives in order to exclude contraception from health insurance, a bill sponsored by Rep. Debbie Lesko, who is also the ALEC Arizona State Chair. Stochastic aggregate? (Sorry – can’t resist a new vocabulary word!)
--The NRA. The NRA supports everything possibly connected to gun ‘rights.’ That means it supports – with lots and lots of money – almost every group that espouses the sacrosanct nature of the 2nd amendment, no matter what sort of odious baggage the group drags in its wake. The NRA has funded ALEC, it has supported Arizona’s ‘Papers Please’ legislation, it has supported ‘personhood’ measures, and it has supported individual political candidates on the far, far fringes of ‘political’ thought. Including Russell Pearce, at least as implied by his website.
So these are some Conspiracy Theory pieces. If there were a gun to my head (thanks, NRA, for seeing that scenario as an imaginable possibility), I’d be tempted to put them together this way:
My Tenuous Semi-Conspiracy Theory
A significant (not dominant, thank God) number of ‘White’ Americans seem seriously threatened by changing demographics. Ways to counter this threat? Purge the nation of non-whites. Because this is difficult to do vis-à-vis African Americans, many of whom can trace their families’ ‘American’ roots as far, or farther, than can most ‘White’ Americans, the purgation target now centers on Latinos. On another front (and just go onto Neo-Nazi or Aryan Nation sites to confirm [if you have a strong stomach]), ‘White’ Americans should ‘breed’ prolifically in order to outstrip the uninhibited breeding of ‘Non-Whites.’ And it goes without saying that all law-abiding (read: White) citizens should have tons of guns to protect themselves from marauding immigrants and people of color in general.
Anything (such as accessible contraception or minority populations’ voting rights) that impedes this demographic race-to-dominance is anathema. Because of the snaky coils of organizations such as ALEC and the NRA, the reasons for opposing accessible contraception are blindingly obscured. And many people/organizations that support this or that conservative idea may honestly not know what they’re backing, as has been the case, evidently, with a good number of ALEC ‘s corporate sponsors and with Mississippi’s defeat of its initially popular ‘personhood’ amendment.
Does a connecting thread sew together race fears, gun rights, anti-immigrant measures, anti-contraception initiatives, voter suppression efforts, denial-of-women’s agency bills, ‘modern eugenics,’ and Republican far-right politics?
Conspiracy theories are not my thing except for their use in providing plots for TV shows. I do accept that U.S. astronauts walked on the moon. I don’t believe that aliens laid out the Nasca lines or that extra-terrestrial corpses are preserved in Area 54. I don’t think that the Bush II administration planned and carried out the 9/11 attacks in order to create a pretext for invading Iraq.
Neither do I think that there’s a single evil mastermind or cabal (The Protocol of the Elders of White Supremacy?) orchestrating recent and current right-wing Republican politics. I suspect it’s more like a multi-dimensional Venn diagram, in which there’s just enough intersection of various interest groups and ideologies to form a dangerously toxic kernel of convergence. And yet . . .
Acknowledging that the six-degrees-of-separation principle can link just about anything with anything, I’m seriously troubled by the tangled web I’ve attempted to piece together here. Does it trouble you as well? Do these pieces seem to fit together? Or am I just journeying into tin-foil-hat land? I seriously welcome your feedback.
Stephen Lemons, “Russell Pearce Lies Again About Ties to J. T. Ready,” Phoenix New Times, May 3, 2012
Meet the National Rifle Association Leadership, “Ken Blackwell (Board Member),” Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, 2012
Michael Muskal, “Border guard founder J. T. Ready blamed in Arizona murder-suicide,” L.A. Times, May 3, 2012
Maia Newley, “Mssrs. Eugenics and Indoctrination Are Visiting Florida,” Daily Kos, Feb. 4, 2012
Emily Osborne, “Arizona’s ALEC Leader Wants Your Boss to Make Decisions About Your Contraception Coverage,” PR Watch, March 19, 2012
Pearce for Arizona website, “Past Endorsements.” (2012).
John Rudolf, “JT Ready, Arizona Border Vigilante Blamed for Mass Murder, Had State Republican Party Ties,” Huffington Post, May 3, 2012
Felicia Sommez, “Russell Pearce, Arizona immigration law author, says Romney’s ‘policy is identical to mine,’” The Washington Post, April 5, 2012
Southern Poverty Law Center, “John Tanton,” SPLC website, 2010.
Southern Poverty Law Center, “The Nativist Lobby: Three Faces of Intolerance,” SPLC website, Feb. 2009.
Vanessa, “Connection between HB 462 Mandatory Ultrasound Bill and ALEC: Delegate Kathy Byron,” #f29/Occupy Virginia, February 20, 2012.
[I have not linked to any Neo-Nazi or White supremacist sites, for obvious reasons. But I did (gag) look at (too many of) them.
I realize that some of the links included here are not what one would call ‘unbiased’ sources. But honestly, mainstream sites usually play it safe and, if anything, have embedded links to less mainstream sites that they’ve vetted as acceptable sources. I’ve tried to follow those links – in other words, starting research with mainstream sites, then drilling down (plus doing a variety of Google searches in various key term combinations).
Just as I’d welcome feedback about the substance of this blog entry, I’d welcome feedback about best practices re internet research for current events. As an academic, I was trained in actual-paper research, and this is what I still am most comfortable with. But trying to comment upon breaking news in a non-academic environment makes internet research not only convenient but also necessary. At this point, I try to rely on internet sources I know and, relatively, trust; cross referencing as much as possible, and; having at least two (preferably more) confirming sources.
In this particular blog entry, I’ve listed only the sources I found most information-useful. Behind each listed source are more websites that confirm ‘facts’ presented in the included references.]