Archive for Looniest Blogger Ever

SPLC Publishes Profile on Looniest Blogger Ever, Pamela Geller

Posted in Loon Blogs, Loon People with tags , , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by loonwatch
The SPLC has a report on the leadership of the Radical Right, including a profile of the queen bee of the looniverse, Pamela Geller. Most of what they document about Geller is well known, but it is good to see the SPLC be more persistent in cataloguing anti-Muslim hate.
Ideology: Anti-Muslim

Pamela Geller is the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead. She’s relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam and makes preposterous claims, such as that President Obama is the “love child” of Malcolm X. She makes no pretense of being learned in Islamic studies, leaving the argumentative heavy lifting to her Stop Islamization of America partner Robert Spencer. Geller has mingled comfortably with European racists and fascists, spoken favorably of South African racists, defended Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic and denied the existence of Serbian concentration camps. She has taken a strong pro-Israel stance to the point of being sharply critical of Jewish liberals.

In Her Own Words
“Islam is not a race. This is an ideology. This is an extreme ideology, the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth.”
— Pam Geller On Fox Business’ “Follow the Money,” March 10, 2011

“Obama is a third worlder and a coward. He will do nothing but beat up on our friends to appease his Islamic overlords.”
— Pam Geller, AtlasShrugs.com, April 13, 2010

“Hussein [meaning President Obama] is a muhammadan. He’s not insane … he wants jihad to win.”
— Pam Geller, AtlasShrugs.com, April 11, 2010

“I don’t think that many westernized Muslims know when they pray five times a day that they’re cursing Christians and Jews five times a day. … I believe in the idea of a moderate Muslim. I do not believe in the idea of a moderate Islam.”
— Pam Geller, The New York Times, Oct. 8, 2010

“Now do I see everything through the prism of Israel? No, I don’t, but I do think it’s a very good guide. It’s a very good guide because, like I said, in the war between the civilized man and the savage, you side with the civilized man. … If you don’t lay down and die for Islamic supremacism, then you’re a racist anti-Muslim Islamophobic bigot. That’s what we’re really talking about.”
– Pam Geller, The New York Times, Oct. 8, 2010

Background
Pamela Geller spent most of the 1980s working at The New York Daily News in financial analysis, advertising and marketing. Later, she became associate publisher of The New York Observer and stayed in that position until 1994. According to one online resume, she also served as senior vice president for strategic planning and performance evaluation at Brandeis University.

Married in 1990 to Michael Oshry, Geller spent the 1990s and most of the 2000s as a well-to-do Long Island housewife. After divorcing in 2007, she mostly busied herself rearing her four children, writing blogs and posting slam poetry-style videos trashing all things liberal on her YouTube channel.

Geller and Oshry were co-owners, along with Christ Tsiropoulous, of at least two car dealerships before the Gellers divorced in 2007. That was the same year Collin Thomas, one of their salesmen, was gunned down while closing their dealership, Universal Auto World, one evening.

The investigation into the murder uncovered an alleged fraud ring. According to the New York Daily News, employees enabled “underground characters,” including “known” drug dealers, to buy luxury cars using fake identities. Eleven people who worked for the dealership, including Tsiropoulous, were arrested, but Geller escaped the scandal unscathed. According to The New York Times, she received a $4 million divorce settlement, a portion of $1.8 million from the sale of the Long Island home and then a $5 million life insurance payment when Oshry died a few months after remarrying in 2008. The criminal case has not moved forward since the 2008 arrests.

In October 2010, Geller told The New York Times she was profoundly affected by the 9/11 attacks. After contributing essays to various websites that examined Muslim militancy, including Charles Johnson’s Little Green Footballs, she launched her own website. She named her website “Atlas Shrugs” in honor of right-wing hero and self-described objectivist author Ayn Rand, a Geller idol whose 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged celebrates pure capitalism unrestrained by government regulation or social welfare measures. The unvarnished anti-Muslim stridency of Atlas Shrugs won followers; Geller republished the 2005 cartoons of Muhammad from the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, for example, when most other media demurred.

Johnson, a moderate conservative, later broke sharply with Geller, calling her an anti-Muslim “hatemonger.” After Geller, who is Jewish, posted a critique of the Islamic halal practice of slaughtering animals for food in September 2010, Johnson pointed out that kosher practice is almost identical and observed, “My GOD she is stupid.”

Geller began her evolution from blogger to public activist in 2007 when she joined Stop the Madrassa, a project of a group of intense anti-Muslim activists determined to block the opening of a secular public Arabic-English school, the Khalil Gibran International Academy, in Brooklyn, N.Y. The campaign was intended as an early stand in a planned nationwide movement to counteract the efforts of American Muslims to meld into American society, according to one of its leaders, prolific anti-radical Muslim polemicist Daniel Pipes. Though the school ultimately opened anyway, Stop the Madrassa’s efforts to cast the school’s widely admired founding principal, Dhabah “Debbie” Almontaser, as a radical extremist succeeded in pressuring her to resign.

A proposal by a New York City imam and his financier partner to renovate an abandoned building in lower Manhattan into a 13-story mosque and community center would prove to be Geller’s ticket to anti-Muslim superstardom. Geller first blogged about the project, originally known as Cordoba House but later called the Park51 project, in December 2009. Four months later, she and longtime radical Muslim alarmist Robert Spencer joined forces, taking over the organization Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), then an unexciting adjunct of a Denmark-based group called Stop Islamization of Europe. One of SIOA’s first projects was to purchase controversial bus ads in New York and Miami inviting Muslims to reject Islam.

In June 2010, just two months after taking over SIOA, Geller and Spencer staged a rally in Lower Manhattan to oppose the Park51 project. It drew thousands of demonstrators, and plenty of media coverage. As had been done with Almontaser, Geller and Spencer led an effort to depict the project’s planners as radical extremists. They insinuated – with little to go on – that the project’s financing might be tied to terrorists. They absurdly described the project as an Islamic “victory mosque” to celebrate the 9/11 attacks, modeled after Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock, though no Muslim had ever suggested such a thing. Geller and Spencer were able to build SIOA into a propaganda powerhouse that the Southern Poverty Law Center listed as an anti-Muslim hate group in 2010.

By mid-2010, the telegenic Geller had become a virtual fixture on Fox News, invited to comment not only on the supposed threat posed by Muslims and Shariah law in America but even on popular unrest in Arabic countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Through her website, Geller has promulgated some of the most bizarre conspiracy theories found on the extreme right, including claims that President Obama is the love child of Malcolm X, that Obama was once involved with a “crack whore,” that his birth certificate is a forgery, that his late mother posed nude for pornographic photos, and that he was a Muslim in his youth who never renounced Islam. She has described Obama as beholden to his “Islamic overlords” and said that he wants jihad to be victorious in America. In April 2011, Geller accused Obama of withholding evidence in the then-upcoming trial of accused Fort Hood mass murderer Major Nidal Malik Hasan.

Geller uses her website to publish her most revolting insults of Muslims: She posted (and later removed) a video implying that Muslims practiced bestiality with goats and a cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad with a pig’s face (observant Muslims do not eat pork). Geller also has denied the genocide of Bosnian Muslims by Serbian forces in Srebrenica – calling it the “Srebrenica Genocide Myth,” even though the Serbian government itself issued a state apology for the massacre. She wrote, “Westerners are admitting to their role in something that didn’t happen, and digging their own graves.”

Geller will ally with virtually any individual or movement that expresses stridently anti-Muslim sentiments, no matter how otherwise repugnant. As a result, she has frequently rubbed shoulders with elements of white radicalism. In 2009, Geller was invited to address the German far-right organization Pro Köln [Cologne], described as a successor group to the neo-fascist German League for People and Homeland. Pro Köln at the time was under investigation by the German authorities because of its defamation of foreigners and suspected violations of “human dignity.” As of early 2011, Pro Köln was officially deemed a right-wing extremist group by the German authorities.

Geller is an enthusiastic fan of Dutch anti-Muslim extremist Geert Wilders. He was charged in 2009 with hate-incitement in the Netherlands, but not convicted. She invited Wilders to speak at the June 2010 “Ground Zero Mosque” rally. In June 2010, Geller spoke at an event in Paris put on by the Bloc Identitaire, which opposes race-mixing and “Islamic imperialism.”

Geller invited the notorious British anti-Muslim group English Defence League (EDL) to her September 2010 anti-mosque rally in New York. The previous May, a report by the British newspaperThe Guardian revealed the EDL as thugs who hold anti-Muslim protests intended to provoke violence. Because of its racism and history, the EDL’s leader, Tommy Robinson, was denied entry at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and sent back to England.

Yet Geller described the EDL in May 2010 as “courageous English patriots” when the group mobilized popular anger to oppose the construction of a mosque in the town of Dudley, near Birmingham, England. “There is nothing racist, fascist, or bigoted about the EDL,” she wrote. In February 2010, she wrote in her blog, “I share the E.D.L.’s goals. We need to encourage rational, reasonable groups that oppose the Islamisation of the West.”

In February 2011, she spoke favorably of Soviet leader Josef Stalin’s forced relocation and genocide of Chechen Muslims after World War II, arguing – wrongly – that they were allied with Adolf Hitler. Historians say Chechens were fighting to preserve their own freedom and culture.

Geller’s incendiary rhetoric and readiness to deny civil freedoms and the presumption of innocence to Muslims hasn’t prevented her from gaining a measure of mainstream acceptability. In late March 2011, she was even invited by the Alaska House of Representatives to testify on a proposed anti-Shariah bill.

Geller’s anti-Muslim stance has also drawn the admiration of white nationalist and even neo-Nazi proponents on the extreme right – a rather remarkable feat, considering she is Jewish. She has been the subject of positive postings on racist websites such as StormfrontVDAREAmerican Renaissance and the neo-Confederate League of the South.

Pamela Geller: American patriot or extremist firebrand?

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on May 17, 2011 by loonwatch

Robert Chalmers meets the right-wing blogger to find out

(cross-posted from The Independent)

Among the many new things I have learnt from the work of Pamela Geller is that President Obama reputedly used to knock around with a crack whore.

“That,” the author, blogger and broadcaster insists, “is not what I said. You are taking this out of context. The post [on her website atlasshrugs.com] was pointing out how people were reporting lie after lie about Sarah Palin. I said to myself, there is so much about Obama we don’t print. In his youth,” she continues, repeating a story for which there exists absolutely no foundation, “he supposedly liked a girl who was a crack whore. I never reported it as fact. They say all these vile things about Palin but do we ever talk about Obama and the crack whore?”

The incredibly libellous post, entitled: “IT’S TIME TO EXPOSE THE TRUTH ABOUT OBAMA” appeared on 1 August 2009. “Why not tell the truth about Obama and his reported strange sexual predilections?” Geller wrote. “It is well known that he allegedly was involved with a crack whore in his youth. Very seedy stuff … Find the ho, give her a show! Obama allegedly trafficked in some very deviant practices.”

You may not have encountered the writing of Geller, one of the more controversial ascending stars of the American extreme right. Politicised, as she says, by the events of 9/11, she inspired, then orchestrated, opposition to the construction of the planned Muslim cultural centre two blocks away from the former site of the World Trade Center, which Geller named the “Ground Zero Mosque”. A pivotal figure in the so-called “birther” movement, she has – in common with other robustly conservative figures such as Donald Trump, broadcaster Glenn Beck and her writing partner Robert Spencer – tirelessly queried details of President Obama’s ancestry, and hence his entitlement to office. Geller still has many questions in this area, despite the recent release of the “long form” of the president’s birth certificate, proving that he was born in the American state of Hawaii.

A glance at her voluminous blog reveals her disdain for institutions such as the UN (for employing “child-raping peacekeepers”) The New York Times (“Jew-haters”) and other famously subversive voices such as that of our own Sun newspaper (for whom “Jewkilling is OK, everything else is terror”) and Pope Benedict XVI (“Maybe Jew-hating,” she writes with reference to the German pontiff, “obliterates rational thought”). She didn’t like the way Campbell’s Soup went about producing a halal recipe and has described liberal Jews as “self-hating wretches”. An infamous post on Atlas Shrugs suggesting that Barack Obama was the love-child of Malcolm X was, Geller insists, not written by her. The image she posted of Obama urinating on an American flag was “a very well-circulated cartoon – so what?”

“I believe you once said that President Obama ‘wants jihad to win’.”

“I don’t know if he wants it to win, but he is certainly Islamophiliac. He is certainly aiding jihad.”

To help discourage him, Geller has provided a one-click link from her site to what she describes as “pornographic” photographs of Obama’s late mother. These are actually rather sad black-and-white pictures no more offensive than the images on hand-cranked peep-show machines from the early 20th century.

The Southern Poverty Law Centre, the US’s leading political watchdog group, has classified “Stop Islamization of America” (the group she founded with professional partner Robert Spencer) as a hate organisation. She continues to defend Radovan Karadzic, whose trial she has likened to the Nuremberg hearings. Geller speaks fondly of kindred spirits such as the far-right English Defence League (EDL) and the Dutch extremist Geert Wilders, whose rhetoric recently resulted in what she calls a heresy trial.

“Wilders is generally regarded as a racist lunatic, isn’t he?”

He is, Geller insists, a “lovely man. In Pakistan, you speak against Islam and you are put to death. Here in the West, your character is assassinated. You are a racistislamophobe-republicantimuslimbigot.” The speed, not to say pride, with which she delivers what has become a one-word catchphrase, is undeniably impressive. “You get called something enough times,” she smiles, “you say it plenty fast.”

The intensity, if not the ethnic focus, of her views on national identity, recalls the correspondence between H Rider Haggard and Rudyard Kipling, in the course of which they discuss “the Jewish problem” [ie there are Jews, some of them in England]. On the evidence of her writing alone, you might assume its author to be a male octogenarian in tweeds carrying a 12-bore.

But Geller (whose blog carries video of opponents, referring to what they perceive to be the results of cosmetic surgery, screaming: “whore – your face is melting”) looks younger than her 53 years. She arrives for our meeting at Manhattan’s Four Seasons Hotel wearing tight jeans, boldly luxuriant eyelash extensions and a quantity of mascara and eyeshadow that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the days when, as she recalls, she used to dance to the Cramps at clubs such as CBGB’s.

She occasionally records video blogs wearing a bikini. In one clip, which defends another prominent right-wing activist Ann Coulter, Geller performs an a cappella version of Morrissey’s “Some Girls are Bigger than Others” while stroking a small dog.

A practised and articulate guest speaker on TV channels including Fox News and CBS, she isn’t fond of the American media, dominated as it is by “Obama’s serfs”. Recently, Geller tells me, she declined an interview request from the BBC. She switches on a digital recorder. “Normally,” she says, “I don’t have to use this.” But she’s dealing with “a lefty newspaper” which carries reports by Robert Fisk.

Whatever you might think of Pamela Geller, you can’t accuse her of lacking courage. Her website reproduced cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, first published in 2005 by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which led to an attempt on the life of artist Kurt Westergaard.

“Going through my notes,” I tell her, “I find you quoted as asking: ‘Does Obama know anybody that isn’t wacky, radical, militant, Judeophobe, Socialist, Marxist and Paedophile?’ Next to which I appear to have written: ‘Possibly Diana Krall.’”

“Actually I didn’t say that but I did say something that echoes that, so I don’t have a problem. There is no one in his cabinet that is not radical.”

America, argues Geller (she uses the noun to apply to the United States rather than the whole continent), is at war with evil – a force whose most pernicious incarnation is Islam, or to be more precise, “creeping Sharia”. Towards the end of what turns out to be an animated two-hour conversation I will ask her whether, had her contributions been articulated on a public stage in the UK, she would have been arrested. Under British law, she says she doesn’t know. “In Holland,” she concedes, “probably.”

She recalls how Terry Jones, a fundamentalist minister, achieved international fame after he declared he was going to burn the Koran, an action he performed in Florida, in March. “Who cares if some fringe pastor is going to burn a Koran? You burn a Bible, nobody says ‘Boo.’”

“Can you think of any good Muslims?” I ask her. “Because reading your book – The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America [co-authored with Robert Spencer]– I can’t find any.”

“That’s not true. I love Muslims. I hate an extreme ideology that oppresses women… we have seen a 1,400-year history of 270 million victims of jihadi wars.”

Geller doesn’t mind, she insists, what anybody regards as sacred. “I don’t care if you worship a stone,” she says. “I don’t care if you worship a little rock.”

“How did you know about Gordon?” I ask her. “I left him in the hotel room.”

The writer, who is, remarkably, not without a sense of irony, permits herself a smile.

“I can think of one Muslim of my acquaintance – Yusuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens,” I tell her, “who I don’t believe would hurt a fly.”

“No. But he has said some things.”

“As he’s often explained, he was very naive at that time and he was entrapped by a British newspaper. He’s said that he would not repeat or endorse those statements as reported, and I believe him.”

“OK.”

“So who are the good Muslims that you know?”

“Secular Muslims.”

“Isn’t that a bit of an oxymoron?”

“No. If you adhere to the Koran… the last chapters are very violent.”

“Have you read Deuteronomy? Ask Saladin what he thought about Richard I.”

“But there was an enlightenment. Islam has had no enlightenment. You cannot criticise Islam. You cannot speak candidly of Islam…”

“You seem to be giving it a good go.”

“Listen, you think it’s easy being me, dear? I get threats. I have my contacts at law enforcement.”

Geller has even managed to fall out with former sympathiser Zuhdi Jasser, an Arizona-based critic of what he terms “political Islam”. Jasser, once a lieutenant commander in the US Navy and no shrinking liberal, is a regular guest on shows hosted by attack dogs of conservative broadcasting, such as Sean Hannity – a man who, even Pamela Geller concedes, “is right-wing”.

“Geller and Robert Spencer’s comments… show that they are against any solution from within the House of Islam,” wrote Jasser, who is of Syrian descent, earlier this year. “This only aids and abets all Islamists. But that doesn’t matter if their target includes all Muslims and their only viable solution is conversion of one-fifth of the world’s population.”

Everything in Geller’s motivation comes back to 9/11. One of the many ways in which the United States was changed forever by the atrocity was a more widespread acceptability of the kind of hateful diatribe that had previously been the preserve of a handful of shock jocks.

Five years ago, referring to 9/11 widows who opposed George W Bush, Ann Coulter told NBC’s The Today Show: “They believe the entire country is required to marinate in their personal agony. These broads are millionaires, lionised on TV, k revelling in their status. I have never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.”

In May 2010 Geller began her campaign against the project then called Cordoba House (a title she considered deliberately offensive in its evocation of the Moorish conquest of Spain) and now named Park 51. As currently planned, it would involve the construction of a 13-storey building on the site of a damaged factory a tenth of a mile away from the World Trade Center. Its advocates, such as chief organiser Imam Rauf, assert that – housing as it would a memorial, theatre, swimming pool and baseball court as well as a prayer site – it is neither at Ground Zero, nor a mosque.

The title of her blog on 6 May last year read: “MONSTER MOSQUE PUSHES AHEAD IN SHADOW OF WORLD TRADE CENTER ISLAMIC DEATH AND DESTRUCTION.” She raised funds for posters on New York buses, which depicted an image of the burning towers, with the slogan: “Why There?” Her campaign was supported by the New York Post and resolute conservatives such as Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.

Geller has recently completed work on a film called The Ground Zero Mosque: The Second Wave of the 9/11 Attack. “The Ground Zero Mosque is deeply insulting, deliberately provocative and offensive,” she argues. “To build a megamosque in a building that was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks is the height of insensitivity.”

Among the people likely to visit the facility, I suggest, “will be honest believers, some of whom lost relatives and fellow Muslims in the attack”.

“I don’t separate the Muslims that died from the non-Muslims. Many moderate Muslims,” she asserts, correctly, “are against it. It is an Islamic pattern to build triumphal mosques on the cherished sites…”

“Pardon?”

“Let me finish, sir. On the cherished sites of conquered lands. There has not been one mosque of reconciliation, ever, on the site of a jihadi attack.”

“Maybe this is a good chance to start.”

“I don’t think you are going to get it from Imam Rauf.”

Geller launches into a swift character assassination of the imam, who said recently: “If I’d known that this would happen; that the project would cause this kind of pain, I wouldn’t have done it.”

“No matter how [Geller mouths the word “fucking”] much we progress, the human condition never changes. The battle is eternal and the battle is between good and evil. I think the fundamental problem today is the inability, or reluctance, to distinguish between good and evil.”

She has carried the fight all over the world, from New York to the Black Country. Geller learnt of reports of clashes in April 2010 between right-wing demonstrators and West Midlands police in Dudley, during protests against an application to build what she blogged was a “Monster Mosque”.

“Senior EDL leadership,” she wrote in the 5 May 2010 issue of the conservative online magazine American Thinker, “informed me that thousands of Muslims began rioting in Dudley… showing the true face of Islam.” Muslims, she went on, in what may come as news to residents in Sue Lawley’s home town, “are policing the streets in cars… and the dhimmi [non-Muslim living under Sharia law] Dudley police are doing nothing about it.”

I tell Geller that I’d assumed that the experience of meeting her would be similar to an uncomfortable afternoon I once spent with Arianna Huffington. That was when the Greek-American thinker was in her right-wing, Newt Gingrich period, before she performed a remarkable volte face and established herself as a prominent liberal and founded the left-leaning news website The Huffington Post. Geller isn’t flattered by this at all, and it’s true that the two women could hardly be more different. Huffington always looked like a Republican vice-president’s wife, and seemed, at least back then, more driven by ambition than ideals. Geller, by contrast – quite amazingly, given the nature of her beliefs – has the ability to laugh at herself and, as I mentioned to a well-known journalist who has studied her ascent, has a strange habit, even at the most intense moments of disagreement, of flashing you a look of what I can only describe as girlish vulnerability.

“Pamela Geller is a Ground Zero in herself,” he replied. “Angry yet fragile. Just occasionally, that flash in her eyes that you mention betrays what I interpreted as a longing to be loved. I sensed a deep insecurity in her; the time I spent with her left me feeling deeply uncomfortable.”

Geller grew up in the affluent New York suburb of Hewlett Harbor, Long Island, the daughter of Reuben, a textile entrepreneur who she describes as “a tough guy from the old school”.

“Like John Wayne?”

“Well… from the Frank Sinatra era. Robert Mitchum. You know: masculine.”

Of her three sisters, two are doctors, one a teacher.

“Do they share your views?”

Politically, Geller says, “we are all on the same page”.

As a young woman, she was heavily influenced by Atlas Shrugged, the 1957 novel by Ayn Rand, which praised the virtues of individualism, as opposed to state intervention.

In the 1980s she worked in marketing at the New York Daily News, then became a senior executive at The New York Observer. Her enthusiasms back then were fashion and music. (Geller, who has four children, left the Observer in 1994 to look after her family.)

Before 9/11, she says, she was “more socially liberal”.

She began blogging on littlegreenfootballs.com, run by the professional musician and software expert Charles Johnson. Between 2004 and 2007, she posted thousands of entries. “She was always as reactionary,” he tells me, “as you see her now.”

Johnson, who, as that remark would suggest, does not share Geller’s opinions, is described as a “mental patient” on Atlas Shrugs.

“I know Pamela Geller often calls me crazy,” he told me. “But I’m not the one who talks about the president’s birth certificate being faked or says that he’s the illegitimate son of Malcolm X, and I’m not the one who defends a war criminal and makes alliances with white supremacist groups. That would be Ms Geller. She has a very long record of absolute lunacy, mixed with bigotry and racism and I am far from the only person to point this out.”

These days, she expresses a view of the superiority of her nation reminiscent of the more entrenched kind of British patriot in the golden age of Empire. “What would be the good,” Geller asks, “of subjecting America to international norms? America has always been a light to the world.”

There is no reason, in other words, for the United States to account for its actions to the International Criminal Court, or the UN.

“I can see how that’s a very attractive view of the world,” I tell her, “but I find it difficult to accept the USA as the embodiment of perfection that all other nations should aspire to” – a recurrent theme in Geller’s writing.

“I don’t care what other nations do. I don’t care about them. I care about America.”

In order to “get America”, she argues, “you have to grow up in America. Obama is missing the DNA of the USA. It’s just not in him,” she adds, like a missionary speaking of a heathen who has never heard the name of Christ. “Through no fault of his own.”

The USA, Geller believes, is unique and superior to any other nation. “America is not an ethnicity, it’s not a creed, it’s not a colour, it’s a shared value system. And in order to get it, you have to have grown up here, or yearn for it.”

“If I was from Bruges and talked like that about Belgium, what would you think?”

“All power to you.”

“I think you’d assume that I’d gone off my rocker.”

“Why?”

“Because I would be elevating respect for a nation beyond what most people would regard as sane.”

“Respect for an ideal is insane?”

“But what you mean by America and what [say] Steve Earle or Randy Newman mean by America are two very different things.”

“That’s the beauty of America.”

The day before we met, I’d entered the words “Pamela Geller” and “mad” into a search engine.

“You come in at 606,000 hits. That’s just behind King George III; he scores 771,000 and he talked to trees.”

“Yeah,” Geller replies, “but he was cured of that, wasn’t he?”

One American she does consider “crazy” is the legendary comedian Dick Gregory: role model for Richard Pryor, diet coach to Muhammad Ali and now a full-time civil-rights activist. “I talked to Gregory recently about Barack Obama,” I tell her, and he said: ‘Imagine what they’d have done to him if he’d been useless.’ Do you see Obama as evil, or stupid?”

“I don’t see him as either. I just don’t see him as a man who loves America. In my book I explain that here is k a man who was raised, from the ages of six to 12 [others say six to 10] in a Muslim country [Indonesia] and who,” Geller claims, “studied Islam. When he came to the States he went [back] to Hawaii, which had only become a state two years before his birth.”

She has asserted that Obama visited Pakistan in 1981 looking for “jihad or drugs”.

“That was a joke.”

On a more serious note, Geller has claimed that: “The only reason there is any semblance of peace around the world is because of the military presence of the US.”

Considering her nation’s recent military excursions to Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, can she point to any place where its intervention can be said to have worked? Libya, she says, was “a disaster. I don’t see what we’re doing there at all.”

“Would it bother you if the Americans had gone in there purely because of the oil?”

“Of course not. Why would it bother me?”

“Thousands of civilian dead?”

“They’re dying anyway. Isn’t that what we’re doing, saving them? Why not get oil at the same time? Why is China getting Iraq’s oil? Our blood,” she adds, in a phrase which might have come from the Crusades, or indeed The Sopranos: “our treasure.”

The phrase “war on terror” I suggest, has been a catastrophe in the way that it’s given carte blanche to any nation with enemies.

“It’s not [a war on] terror. It’s a war on jihad.”

“Where has it worked? In Iraq?”

“Iraq is now a fledgling democracy.”

“It’s a basket case. They have no fresh water; they have no electricity.”

“You telling me Iraq was the height of civilisation prior?”

“If you define civilisation by being able to turn on the tap.”

“Over there,” Geller replies, “maybe that is how they define it.”

“Is there anything Israel has done that you’re ashamed of?”

“Only Oslo,” she says (referring to the 1993 accord which allowed for the creation of the Palestinian National Authority). “And surrendering in instalments.”

“The Jenin Massacre” – a term commonly used to describe the Israeli Defence Force’s April 2002 entry into a West Bank refugee camp, in bulldozers – was, she believes, Palestinian “propaganda”.

“How about Tom Hurndall, the peace volunteer shot by the IDF while he was trying to pull an infant to safety?” Hurndall, who was wearing an orange fluorescent jacket, died in 2004 after spending nine months in a coma; the sniper responsible was sentenced to 11-and-a-half years for manslaughter, of which he will serve eight, by an Israeli court.

“I don’t believe that. I don’t believe the Israelis ever fire where there is no threat.”

Geller would like to see more settlers in the Occupied Territories (though neither of the last two nouns are ones she would recognise).

“It’s not ‘settlers’. It’s the Jewish homeland. Settler is an anti-semitic term.”

“How about Joe McCarthy [the senator responsible for the Communist witch trials of the 1950s]? How do you feel about him?”

“McCarthy was right. He went overboard, but he was right. The Communists were infiltrating and they have been very successful here in America.”

“Let’s talk about people who are white and racist.”

“I don’t know any.”

“[The South African white supremacist] Eugène Terre’Blanche? I’ve seen you described as a supporter of his.”

“He was viciously murdered. I never knew who he was, but when he was hacked to death, I condemned it. I have no interest in his ideology.”

“Can you think of any others, apart from Hitler?”

“No. Because I don’t travel in those circles.”

“I mean from history.”

“I guess the Ku Klux Klan.”

“I guess.”

“No, I’m saying that. But I don’t believe in white supremacism. Islamic supremacism is the threat I see right now.”

Pamela Geller, as you might expect for someone so powerfully attached to certain ideas and theories, has had to suffer her own conspiracy theorists.

“You married [car dealer] Michael Oshry in 1990?”

“Yes.” (The couple divorced in 2007; Oshry remarried, but died of a heart attack the following year.)

There are reports on the web concerning Oshry’s company, Universal Auto World, that offer a scenario worthy of a thriller writer such as James M Cain. A car salesman, Collin Thomas, was killed on the evening of 11 January 2007, with a single bullet, while closing one of the company showrooms, on Long Island. The subsequent police investigation revealed a large-scale fraud perpetrated by employees, who had used credit records of other individuals to obtain finance for luxury vehicles.

“My ex was a very good man,” Geller says. “He had a number of dealerships. In one there was a crook who was part of a gang. Michael was never arrested or indicted. When my ex-husband died, the whole thing was over. The guy went to jail. My ex-husband was a victim in this.”

Geller doesn’t want to say whether she is currently in a relationship. Her priorities are “working 20 hours a day, and raising my family”.

It’s noticeable that no recent developments – not even Obama’s recent tour de force of a satirical speech to the White House Correspondents Association, tormenting Donald Trump and other birthers with a self-deprecating wit and comic timing that would have done credit to Woody Allen in his prime – have diminished her zeal.

Where are Obama’s college records? asks Geller. Where are his medical records? Where is his law practice client list?

And the killing of Osama Bin Laden, on Barack Obama’s watch? “I am thrilled he signed off on it. Could Obama have said no to this operation, and gotten re-elected in 2011?”

Conversation with Geller, unless you share her world view, is invariably confrontational, and this is something you sense she enjoys. Her attitude to critics is that of a woman faced with someone who believes the world to be flat, and obstinately refuses to be persuaded otherwise.

Once she’s no longer speaking for publication, the mood lightens considerably. She sits for a while and enthuses about music: the Ramones, Al Green and Loudon Wainwright III.

There are two well-known songs, I tell her, that kept coming to mind while I was listening to her: Bob Dylan’s defiant hymn to Israel, “Neighborhood Bully” (“I love that”) and, especially, Nick Lowe’s “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding”.

“I used to love dancing to that,” she says.

“So what is so funny about it?”

“Nothing. But both sides have to want it.”

Our one point of firm agreement, in what has been an afternoon of sometimes tense discord, is that, given the current climate in America, the political tendency she represents is well-placed to advance. This belief is confirmed by the rising popularity of her blog – currently ranked 28 in the category of US politics – and a resurgence in interest in the novel Atlas Shrugged.

“If that’s all I ever achieved,” she says, in reference to Rand’s book, “I’d be happy.”

Does she see herself as a mirror reflecting pubic opinion, or a beacon for them to turn to?

“Neither. I’m happy that I am influencing the national dialogue, and disseminating information that the media refuses [to publish]. I believe I am providing a very important public service. I see myself as a quintessential American.”

Perhaps the best image of her place in the field of American politics would be as a magnifying glass capturing, focusing and intensifying the blinding prejudices of her compatriots (if such opinions can credibly be compared with sunlight) and directing them towards a pile of kindling. For a woman blessed with so many certainties in her life, you suspect that even she could be surprised at quite how fierce, alarming and widespread the eventual conflagration might be.

Andrew Bostom Takes on Mike Kruse–Loses

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon Sites, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2009 by loonwatch
Andrew Bostom and Robert Spencer
Andrew Bostom and Robert Spencer

Andrew Bostom (well over due for a LoonWatch piece), a close friend of Robert Spencer’s, and another self-proclaimed “Islamic scholar” is lauded on JihadWatch as having “taken on and crushed” Mike Kruse, the St.Petersburg Times reporter who has been covering the Fathima Rifqa Bary case.

It’s a popular tactic amongst Islamophobes, especially Robert Spencer to try and twist what is clearly a negative outcome for themselves into a self-declared victory with a peppering of congratulatory self-adulation. This was the case with Spencer in his confrontation with Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni, when his alter-ego Hugh Fitzgerald proclaimed “victory” for Spencer and “defeat” for Bassiouni.

The truth is Spencer and company are ever more becoming isolated on the fringes of an increasingly radicalized segment of the Right-Wing, the company he keeps consists of neo-fascists, birthers, conspiracy theorists, Glenn Beck types, etc.

kruse_michael_wp_10347a
Michael Kruse

In this recent episode Bostom says that Kruse was wrong for stating that Spencer believes that “Muslims are in America to take over,” which from the body of Spencer’s work and the company he keeps is more than likely an accurate presumption, in context it is also the impression that he was trying to give at the press conference outside the courtroom of the Fathima Rifqa Bary case.

A case which is proving to be very embarrassing for Spencer, as evidence after evidence keeps coming out that the charges made by bloggers such as him and Pamela Geller that Rifqa’s life was/had to be in danger and that she was abused by her parents turn out to be bogus. Spencer’s reputation has taken a big hit and he is doing everything in his power to try to salvage some face. Continue reading

Pamela Geller: The Looniest Blogger Ever

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2009 by loonwatch
Pamela Geller
Pamela Geller

What do you get when you combine the most outlandish gaffes of Anne Coulter, the most awkward monologues of Sarah Palin, the senility of the crazy McCain Lady, filter any remaining logic out of it and give it a keyboard in the Bronx?

The answer is the looniest blogger ever: Pamela Geller. If you are unaware of who Pamela Geller is then we apologize for bringing her being into your world, but she is all too familiar to those of us who browse the internet and have come across her shrill and plainly insane blogging on Atlas Shrugs. (Given the amount of hallucinations on that blog, Atlas Shrugs should properly be renamed Atlas Drugs).

What is it though that Pamela believes in? What does she blog about?

Pam has the distinction of being the originator and pusher of some of the most vile and obscene conspiracy theories on the internet. Continue reading