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ACT! For America’s Empty Promises

ACT_For_America

By Emperor

The 2016 presidential election season has been punctuated by the implosion of the Republican party, decimated by the long nurtured hatred and xenophobia that it has thrived upon for decades. The Republican elite have for some time either looked the other way or actively pandered to and supported bigoted organizations, hoping to reap electoral dividends.

One such cog in the Conservative movement’s wheels has been ACT! For America. ACT! For America is one of a plethora of Islamophobic hate groups whose shady practices and links have been exposed repeatedly over the years. ACT! is led by Brigitte Gabriel and has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from leading donors of the Conservative movement.

In July 2014, we reported Brigitte Gabriel’s announcement that ACT! For America was launching university campus chapters. ACT!’s purported goal in establishing these university chapters was to counter Muslim Student Associations (MSA), which, in line with the conspiratorial messaging of Islamophobes was a supposed “Muslim Brotherhood” front. ACT! claims that their “goal is for Students Who ACT to be recognized as an official student group on at least 100 campuses by the end of 2016!”

Students Who ACT claims the following platform.:

“As the only group on college campuses focused on promoting national security and defeating terrorism, “Students Who ACT”:

  • Lead the way in encouraging student participation in the defense of American values and liberties in their communities and on the state and federal level;
  • Further their peers’ education of ACT for America’s core issues including raising awareness of global Christian persecution;
  • Combat extreme bias and intimidation by encouraging students to respond and exercise their Constitutional right to free speech;
  • Promote patriotism among fellow students.

Students help raise awareness through group activities such as holding educational events, staying active on campus with like-minded groups, attending the ACT for America National Conference, participating in social media campaigns, and working with the local ACT for America chapters.” (ACT! For America Students)

It’s been two years, so how far along is Brigitte Gabriel and ACT! For America in achieving the establishment of “100 chapters” on University campuses?

By using the good ole’ google maps list, ACT!’s official “Find a Chapter” map, and Facebook we see that only four universities supposedly should have an ACT! For America student group on campus. These are Murray State University, Liberty University, Tulane University, and Oklahoma State University- Stillwater.

However, looking at the most up-to-date list of student organizations at all four universities, neither ACT! For America nor Students Who Act are listed as student organizations at these universities. The student life coordinator at Oklahoma State University-Stillwater, and Evan Frejo confirmed that they do not have a student organization related to ACT! For America on the list of student organizations.

Therefore, it’s apparent that ACT For America does not actually have a single official student organization at any American university. Indeed, the goal of 100 chapters by the end of this year is not only unattainable but in the past two years they have opened a grand total of zero chapters! Money well spent for an Islamophobia machine that is funded to the tune of over $200 million dollars!

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  • JD

    Muslims surpass atheists as most unpopular group in U.S.

    http://www.sltrib.com/lifestyle/faith/4354334-155/muslims-surpass-atheists-as-most-unpopular

    Maybe atheists should just embrace it as a slogan: “Atheists: The group Americans love to hate.”

    About 40 percent of Americans say atheists “do
    not at all agree” with their vision of America, according to a new study
    from sociologists at the University of Minnesota who compared
    Americans’ perceptions of minority faith and racial groups.

    But the study marks a grimmer milestone —
    Americans’ disapproval of Muslims has jumped to 45.5 percent from just
    over 26 percent 10 years ago, the last time the question was asked.

    And “nones” — those who say they have no
    religious affiliation, but may also have spiritual or religious beliefs —
    are also unpopular. This is significant because nones now make up a
    third of the U.S. population.
    The study found:

    • Almost half those surveyed — 48.9 percent —
    said they would disapprove of their child marrying a Muslim, up from
    33.5 percent in 2006.

    • The spiritual but not religious are
    mistrusted by 12 percent of Americans, while almost 40 percent of
    Americans say the rise of the “nones” is “not a good thing.”

    • Disapproval rates for several minority groups
    have grown — Jews, Latinos and Asian-Americans experienced 10-point
    jumps in disapproval, while recent immigrants, conservative Christians
    and African-Americans grew about 13 percent each.

    The new study also attempts to find out why
    atheists are so reviled by what its authors call “dominant group
    members” — aka religious Americans. The findings pinpoint three things:
    Religious Americans associate atheists with “criminality,” materialism
    and “a lack of accountability.”

  • Awesome

    It probably also helped the American fascist movement come this far by the fact that the alternative to them is made to look worse than they do.

  • Khizer

    True, all societies are flawed, as they are comprised of humans, who are also flawed. The notion that one’s society is perfect or ‘better’ than another is a ridiculous idea since all societies have many problems (though each have different problems compared to each other, even the most ‘civilised’ ones).

    Occupying yourself with other societies and bitching about the problems of that society is counterproductive, as one should focus to improve his/her society instead of belittling others.

  • Khizer

    I find it ridiculous that these type of people hound Middle Easterners to change (there are problems in the different Middle Eastern societies, no doubt about that) but fail to realise that their governments’ foreign policies is HINDERING that change through destabilisation and violence.

    ‘We will exclude you for not being inclusive’, whoah, I know gaming is enjoyed by many different types of people (from the smart professor to the retarded troglodyte), but man, that statement is just dumb (and arrogant).

    Thanks Illisha for sharing your opinion.

  • Khizer

    Illisha, I would like to hear your opinion on these statements:

    “Pretty much this. Middle east is ignored as people from civilized wont go there to watch tournaments and pay for tickets. Also most of the middle east culture is you know what and you know how they treat women.. so no tournaments for you as you don’t deserve it .. Period. And do not sell me this political correctness that i am youknowhatphobic or somth.. Just NO is an simple answer.”

    “Despite the sarcasm this is a good point. There are very serious issues culturally in those parts of the world. Gaming is diverse and crosses many cultural lines. Truthfully, professional gaming is a small part of the many things that those cultures will miss out on due to their lack of acceptance and inclusion.”

    “Every time the west tries to fix a problem in the middle east, it turns out even worse.
    How about you learn how to fix your own problems for a change? Maybe put gaming pings on a lower priority than some of the others you have, like tyranny, fundamentalism, misogyny and general human rights issues. When you got those all nicely fixed, I promise I will personally pay for a server in your area. As if that would ever happen.”

    I know this is not related to topic at hand but I would like to hear your opinion on these statements.

    These statements were from a gaming subreddit of a specific game that I usually frequent. One Middle Eastern gamer was asking why there were no Middle Eastern servers and lag issues in the Middle East Internet. Many were simple replies regarding infrastructure and such but there were the occasional smug comments like above (although they are complaining about thing not related to the servers).

    I would like to hear your opinion on these, since you are one of the more well balanced moderators on this web site.

  • Khizer

    They won’t stop the holier than thou attitude, if women’s rights really mattered to such people they would oppose this ban on women’s clothing. Women to many of these idiots are just political tools to make themselves pound their chests in pride or in outrage.

    What do you expect from fools who have not achieved anything worthwhile, so they defend whatever dumb decision their country’s government makes, so that they can feel like heroes, ‘defending’ their country’s pride and making sure to whack you on the head if you do not agree with them.

    Here is another example of western fools’ pride:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/Doylech/status/768381467382677505

    Ju…just read these replies….

  • JS

    As a university student right now, I would love to see them attempt to set up an ACT chapter at ANY university. That kind of shit isn’t tolerated anywhere and students of all stripes would shun it.

    Also just shows that loonies like Bridgette and the rest rely on the older generation for their fearmongering paychecks.

  • Khizer

    Lol read these replies to this tweet, the true ‘heroes’ of secularism.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/OmarBaddar/status/768472876202663937

    Comply or Leave your home country, always a wonderful choice, eh?

  • (((Reynardine)))

    They never believe it.

  • Khizer

    I have noticed that on the Internet the people who champion themselves as politically incorrect heroes of freedom (New Athiests,right-wing/republican,etc.), have become just as toxic as the politically correct (Extreme third wave feminists, SJWs,etc.).

    The politically correct (at least on the Internet) tend to be needlessly aggressive to speech they consider ‘offensive’, while the politically incorrect tend to be needlessly aggressive to (I guess) everyone (who they perceive as ‘sensitive’). Ironically I have seen aggressive secularists trying to support bans on niqabs or other female religious Muslim clothing on basis of stereotypical ‘oppressive’ Muslim men and that Islam along with Muslims are ‘savage’ and ‘cruel’. Trying to argue otherwise with them would lead them to accuse you of being a politically correct regressive social justice warrior (who hates freedom) who is too ‘sensitive’ and can’t take ‘criticisms’ (didn’t know banning religious garb and being dehumanised was ‘criticism’), although their inherent disgust at seeing a woman wear modest religious clothing shows that they were the ones being to sensitive/easily offended and that they were trying strip a woman’s right to practise her religion.

  • Just_Stopping_By

    “Politically Correct” is a bit of a Rorschach test: it means what people want it to mean.

    The positive view is that it means not to be offensive. The negative view is that it demonizes acceptable terms or views into offensive ones.

    As an example: a well-known charity is the United Negro College Fund. The word “Negro” was accepted when the charity was founded, but usage has changed and the word is now generally considered offensive. Telling people not to use that word outside of historical context would generally be considered a positive form of political correctness, though people may not use the term there. On the other hand, insisting the people refer to pets as “nonhuman companions” is generally mocked as the negative form of political correctness.

    In its negative form, a claim of “political correctness” is meant to argue that someone is trying to turn an acceptable idea or term into something offensive. It’s probably used more when claiming that discussion of an idea is being ruled out of bounds by making even discussion of the concept the equivalent of using the N-word.

  • Khizer

    ‘Hence all the rage towards the ‘Politically Correct’ culture.

    I have seen racist/prejudiced fools on the Internet (especially in gaming/other forums) insult other by calling them ‘politically correct’ cowards when people dare try to argue against lies misconceptions of Islam and Muslims, when the topic is about either.

    What the hell does ‘Politically Correct’ mean?

  • Khizer

    Bu…but why do they hate us? – French politician

  • Just_Stopping_By

    From Amazon: Drawsting [sic] bag To Fight Islamophobia – Text on bag reads as: “This text has no other purpose than to terrify those who are afraid of the Arabic language.”

  • Solid Snake

    Lol. What is that graphic supposed to be though? A pillow?

  • Just_Stopping_By
  • Dr.S

    ..

  • Solid Snake

    I don’t know either. This is just how I’m interpreting everything. I could be wrong, and I probably am.

    For the record, I don’t think that all or even the majority of GOP politicians are racist or bigoted themselves. My point, which admittedly I did not state as clearly as I had wanted to, was that they had to pander to the base with racist or racism inspired rhetoric just to get in office even if the politician was not racist themselves. That is why there is such a difference in response to Trump between many GOP politicians and the GOP base.

    I think that even if Trump loses, it is too late to roll back the tide. Public discourse has changed for the worse. And it will look bad for the GOP either way. Either they supported him and his ideas or they let their party get hijacked by white supremacists. Bannon hates the GOP establishment, he is politically dangerous and it wont end well for them.

  • Just_Stopping_By

    An interesting analysis. I don’t agree with everything, but it is incisive and I agree with a lot.

    One thing I would say is that the GOP was not monolithic. I think there were some who quietly shared the beliefs that Trump now espouses openly, and they are thrilled. Others really believed in the genteel image of the party, and they are splintering into those grudgingly supporting Trump, those trying to be noncommittal, and those coming out against Trump. The final two groups are in many ways genuinely shocked at what their party has become, though they have very different ways of dealing with it.

    As for the shifting of the Overton Window, a lot may depend on how the election turns out and how it is interpreted. If Trump loses, will the GOP blame the loss on his message or his personality? And the third group that I mentioned above–those that openly rejected Trump–will they be viewed as traitors or as the true conscience of the party? Only time will tell.

  • Solid Snake

    I don’t think we should underestimate the power of naked bigotry. The devolution and destruction of the modern Republican party should be a case study for the gradual widening and eventual smashing open of the Overton Window.

    I want to get this out of the way first, I don’t believe Trump is some sort of mastermind who recognized a winning strategy and exploited it to sweep the field during the Republican Primary. I refuse to believe that, all evidence points to the contrary. This was a buffoon who, with a ton of luck and a ton of money from his family, stumbled into a few good deals and many bad deals throughout his life. Trump is about Trump, about publicity, about brand recognition, and about building a facade of wealth, luxury, and, most recently, strength. He went up there thinking that running would net him a ton of publicity and he can put “ran for highest office in the land” on his resume, again another brick in the facade.

    But something else happened…He found that, surprisingly, the Republican base was receptive to his extremist rhetoric. So he kept on talking and they loved it. I think the warm reception to his unthinking extremism by the Republican base made him misjudge the country as a whole. He thought this would work in the general and he was wrong. He is going to lose and he knows this.

    While this cartoonish buffoon stands in the spotlight, far sinister forces are standing backstage, watching carefully. Here is what they learned and what we learned.

    The decades of mainstream GOP political rhetoric, the dog-whistles like “thug”, “welfare Queens”, and “bankers”, and the racist driven opposition to the first black president had planted and nurtured the seeds of racism, xenophobia, white nationalism, antisemitism, and Islamophobia. Its there, its always been there. It was just hidden because mainstream GOPers led by example. When they spoke they dog-whistled, they were careful with their words and that signaled to the base that it wasn’t acceptable to say it openly. Hence all the rage towards the ‘Politically Correct’ culture. The more these people were forced to keep it within, the more it grew. Fox News and right wing talk radio helped this toxic stew ferment for years.

    Enter Trump, someone who ditched the dog-whistle for a bullhorn. This signaled to the base that it is once again okay to be openly racist and hateful.

    So far you are right, naked racism wont get you far. The polls tell us as much, we know that. But do you know who also knows that? Bannon and Ailes.

    Steve Bannon isnt stupid. He is successfully running a right wing website filled with Neo-Nazi and white supremacist talking points that is growing more popular as we speak. This is a white supremacist who hates the GOP for being too moderate. This is the type of person who would have been relegated to the far fringes of the political spectrum a decade ago. Now hes in charge of the GOP.

    I suspect Bannon knows that this is unwinnable. But Bannon doesn’t care about winning this election. When your ideas have failed to qualify for preliminaries for years, you will be more than satisfied with making it to the finals and coming in second. The most important thing is you were seen, you got your ideas out, and most importantly, those ideas were taken seriously.

    You are correct in saying that there is a ceiling for his support. Bannon and Ailes are looking to raise that ceiling.

    The Old GOP is dead. The new fascist GOP will move to the extreme right and the base that the Old GOP cultivated for years will follow. That leaves the Old GOP in the middle, they will have to reform or die.

    So how will Ailes and Bannon raise this ceiling? Through media. Breitbart, maybe a new Trump Brand channel. They don’t have to win now, nor next election, or even this decade. The point is to gradually feed the public propaganda. Desensitize the public to fascist language and ideas. Bombard them day and night for years.

    Basically, they know that naked racism wont get you far in this environment. Their job is to create the environment in which it will. And the key ingredient for all of this? Terrorism and fear. Where do you think people will flock to when the next terrorist attack happens? Naturally they will want to see what former Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump thinks about this on Breitbart . com or Trump News Network.

    Basically, the American Fascists have their own party and a solid base of support. And all it took was incompetent Republicans, a buffoon, and two wily experienced media veterans.

    Honestly, I think the genie has been let out of the bottle. This wont go away for a long time. It will get worse and more poisonous. I fear the only thing that will remind us that this is wrong is another catastrophic event. I for one will not underestimate the power of hate and naked racism.

    I’m sorry, I know this rant had nothing to do with ACT! but I think in the environment that Bannon and Ailes are trying to create ACT! will be much more successful.

  • Tighe McCandless

    I believe the expression we’re looking for is that when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    I get what you’re saying, though: obviously ACT!’s goal first and foremost is to appeal to the people who already feel a particular, negative way about Islam and get them to join together. It’s the point of all student organizations/interest groups/what have you. But their issue comes down to the fact that, regardless of the wisdom of trying something like this (college/university campuses and towns are notoriously liberal places where this kind of thought is going to be frowned on, and even besides, I doubt many administrators would want the reputation of being home to a chapter such as this; too much bad publicity), is that there’s an eventual ceiling that can be expected as to who is joining up.

    …Though the fact they apparently might not even be able to muster four is probably the most pathetic part.

  • Just_Stopping_By

    “I’m not sure if it would have been greatly effective but it’s a better
    fig leaf for their purposes other than ‘ISLAM BAD, WE SMASH.'”

    This was an interesting thought. I suppose that one possible answer is that at least part of ACT!’s agenda is indeed to get people to think “Islam Bad.” Politicians may often want to get elected more than to push particular positions (though there are some who have a realistic shot at election who do indeed openly support unpopular positions). To the extent that Act! is more interested in pushing an ideology than in setting up student chapters for the sake of that, then perhaps its non-fig-leaf, non-dog-whistle approach makes sense.

    Also, to be clear, I imagine that ACT! does try to get all kinds of funding as well. But, I imagine they are “true believers” who think that the funding (less whatever they spend on themselves personally) is a means toward the goal of pushing their ideological beliefs, and that doesn’t work well if they can’t push their ideological beliefs pretty strongly and openly often.

  • AJ

    What’s wrong with that?

  • AJ

    I would wear a full body swimsuit with a cover-up and a swim cap – all regular body wear. How will these bozos ban me then? Will they then ban Muslims that wear the full ‘secular’ body wear??? Silly French!

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