The rock group Poker Face received some national attention in 2010 when the Anti-Defamation league reported that it had licensed a song to and defended the violent wingnut Hutaree militia terrorist group. Not a very savory collection of people in other words, and the band’s frontman (the others are Dennis Beidler and Brett Griffiths), Paul Topete, is known as an unabashed anti-Semite who, according to the ADL, once called the Holocaust “one of the largest if not THEE [sic] largest scam every played on humanity”. Continued Topete: “.. Yes that right... the HOLOHAUX aka holocaust. 1985 and 1988 Ernst Zundel DESTROYED the Myth known as the cult of holohauzianity. In a canadien court of law, Ernst zundel took on the biggest frauds in the SHOAH Industry, and showed them to be the frauds that they were.” (More Topete quotes here).
Now, Topete and his group were not particularly happy about the ADL’s coverage of them, and released a response saying that “[w]e are not anti-Semitic, but, we will shine the spotlight on those of Jewish faith who use their heritage to escape criticism, especially when it comes to crimes against this country, but also against their own people” before doubling down on speculations that Israel was behind the 9/11 attacks: “Was Israel involved? It’s not beyond the scope of reasonable doubt.” Topete has also claimed that “the Rothschilds set up the Illuminati in 1776 to subvert the Christian basis of civilization.”
Now, Topete’s views are sufficiently extreme that his band has “been kicked off venues at Rutgers University in 2006 and a Ron Paul campaign event in 2007.” However, when he hosted his “Freedompalooza” event in southern Pennsylvania in 2013 (primary sponsor: the American Free Press), its list of speakers included people like Gun Owners of America head Larry Pratt, convicted felon Jim Traficant and former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. And previously, in 2010, the Colbert Report reported that now-Sen. Rand Paul attended a gun rally at which Topete threatened an armed revolt against the government.
Other speakers at the Freedompalooza event, in addition to several writers for the American Free Press, were:
- Jim Condit, jr., perennial candidate for Congress in Ohio who primarily used his candidate status as a platform to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories
- Merlin Miller, the 2012 presidential candidate of the white supremacist American Freedom Party
- Cynthia Steele, wife of the late white supremacist attorney Edgar Steele (who was then serving a 50-year sentence for conspiracy to murder Cynthia, a charge she claims is false).
- Various militia group representatives
- An Oath Keepers representative
- Jeff Christopher, a Delaware sheriff with ties to Michael Peroutka
Diagnosis: And again, we have an illustration of how difficult it is to distinguish deranged and dumb, on the one hand, and evil, on the other. And yes, it is scary that they seem to have as many connections as they do, and – notably – both on the left and the right on the political spectrum.