Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A little right-wing extremist chatter

Here's some truly scary stuff, via Michelle Malkin. From a recently issued Department of Homeland Security assessment:
Many rightwing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use.
Shit...they've just described, at least in liberal terminology, just about every conservative voter in the country! If you're opposed to blanket amnesty for illegal aliens, redistribution of your earnings or infringement of your 2nd amendment rights, you're a right-wing extremist!

But DHS has issued similar reports on radical left-wing organizations, too, right? Here again, Michelle does our homework for us:
They were very defensive — preemptively so — in asserting that it was not a politicized document and that DHS had done reports on “leftwing extremism” in the past. I have covered DHS for many years and am quite familiar with past assessments they and the FBI have done on animal rights terrorists and environmental terrorists. But those past reports have always been very specific in identifying the exact groups, causes, and targets of domestic terrorism, i.e., the ALF, ELF, and Stop Huntingdon wackos who have engaged in physical harassment, arson, vandalism, and worse against pharmaceutical companies, farms, labs, and university researchers.

By contrast, the piece of crap report issued on April 7 is a sweeping indictment of conservatives. And the intent is clear. As the two spokespeople I talked with on the phone today made clear: They both pinpointed the recent “economic downturn” and the “general state of the economy” for stoking “rightwing extremism.” One of the spokespeople said he was told that the report has been in the works for a year. My b.s. detector went off the chart, and yours will, too, if you read through the entire report — which asserts with no evidence that an unquantified “resurgence in rightwing extremist recruitment and radicalizations activity” is due to home foreclosures, job losses, and…the historical presidential election.
Like the previous administration's monitoring of terrorist activity, the DHS report cites increased "chatter" among right-wing extremists:
Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived [How about actual? --ed.] loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures.
Wow. So if you're concerned about the economy, unemployment and foreclosed homes in your neighborhood and you don't think Obama's policies are working and you "chatter" about it on the Internet, you're a right-wing extremist!

Republican members of Congress, and whatever sane Democrats remain there, must call DHS secretary Janet Napolitano in to testify and defend this hit piece against the administration's political opponents.

Update: Charles at LGF and AJ Strata at Strata-Sphere are calling conservative bloggers nuts and kooks for getting worked up about this. I'm not sure they've really read the report or what bloggers are really saying about it. Charles even refers to "black helicopter territory" in the comments, while Strata points to real fringe right-wing groups as examples of why it's legitimate for DHS to flag such groups as dangerous.

There are problems with both of those positions. In Charles' case, none of the conservative blogs I've read covering this have claimed that this is evidence of the government monitoring and surveilling its political opposition. In Strata's case, the report doesn't mention a single right-wing group, but instead speaks in general terms about right-wingers' opposition to government policies.

The trouble we have with this report is its apparent efforts to smear people with legitimate opposition to confiscatory tax policies, open-borders immigration policy and other policies and positions which conservatives find objectionable.

As an advisory to law enforcement agencies, it's absolutely worthless. As a sly means of depicting honest conservatives as a radical fringe movement, it's brilliant.


Charles said...

Napolitano was Anita Hill's lawyer, what are to expect?

Eric said...

Kee-rist. I didn't know that about Napolitano.