Double Standard

Can you imagine the howls of outrage from all of the nation’s editorial pages, and the heads exploding on MSNBC, if the Bush administration DHS had put out a document that said things like this?

(U) Leftwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular economic classes, and religious groups, particularly Christianity), and those that are mainly pro-government, preferring federal authority and particularly federal judicial rulings over state or local authority. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to restrictions on abortion, immigration, or gay marriage.

(U//LES) Leftwing extremists are harnessing this historical election as a recruitment tool. Many leftwing extremists are antagonistic toward the Bush administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including treatment of prisoners in Guantamo and its Iraq policy, restricting affirmative action to minorities, and funding restrictions on abortions overseas and embryonic stem-cell research. Leftwing extremists are increasingly galvanized by these concerns and leverage them as drivers for recruitment. From the 2004 election timeframe to the present, leftwing extremists have capitalized on related racial and political prejudices in expanded propaganda campaigns, thereby reaching out to a wider audience of potential sympathizers.

(U) Exploiting Unhappiness With Iraq

(U//FOUO) Leftwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the Iraqi death toll, the perceived loss of civil rights and restrictions on abortion rights. Anti-Semitic extremists attribute these losses to a deliberate conspiracy conducted by a cabal of Jewish “financial elites” favoring Israel. These “accusatory” tactics are employed to draw new recruits into leftwing extremist groups and further radicalize those already subscribing to extremist beliefs. DHS/I&A assesses this trend is likely to accelerate if the war situation is perceived to worsen.

(U//FOUO) Over the past several years, various leftwing extremists, including socialist groups such as International A.N.S.W.E.R and Hispanic supremacists such as La Raza, have adopted the immigration issue as a call to action, rallying point, and recruiting tool. Debates over appropriate immigration levels and enforcement policy generally fall within the realm of protected political speech under the First Amendment, but in some cases, pro-immigration or strident anti-enforcement fervor has been directed against specific groups and has the potential to turn violent.

(U) Disgruntled Military Veterans

(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that leftwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the capabilities of extremists—including lone wolves or small terrorist cells—to carry out violence. The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.

(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A will be working with its state and local partners over the next several months to ascertain with greater regional specificity the rise in leftwing extremist activity in the United States, with a particular emphasis on the political, economic, and social factors that drive leftwing extremist radicalization.

It makes just as much sense as the nonsense that the Obama DHS just released.

[Update a few minutes later]

Ed Morrissey has more:

The first question we should ask is whether the DHS is reacting to any specific threats at all? Er … no (emphasis mine):

The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing* terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues.

This gets repeated over and over again during the report. They have no threat information. In fact, the report can’t even say definitively whether “extremists” are gaining “new recruits”. In order to find that, they’d have to identify the actual groups, note the recruiting patterns, and determine whether in fact they’re gaining recruits or losing members. Bottom line: DHS has no actual data. They’re pulling threats out of their collective arse and publishing them without any supporting research whatsoever.

DHS acts as though white-supremacist groups and militias believing in Zionist world conspiracies stopped existing between 2000 and 2008. Of course they didn’t; George Bush’s strong support for Israel fed those nutcase groups for eight years. Are those groups growing in the last five months, after what DHS assumes is the trigger for all this hate — the election of Barack Obama? They provide absolutely no evidence at all for it, and in fact repeat over and over again that they don’t have that data in a hail of May Bes.

This is shameful. And he makes the same point as this post:

Imagine, if you will, what the Left would say if we took this entire document and replaced all references to “military veterans” with “Muslims”, and all references to “abortion” with “universal health care”, and then predated this DHS report to 2008, during the Bush administration. They’d be screaming about being smeared as traitors for their political beliefs, and they’d be right to do so. That’s exactly what the Obama administration and Janet Napolitano has done here.

But it’s OK, because they’re just “rightwingers.”

[Update early evening]

Powerline has a fisking:

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this Homeland Security report is politically motivated, and reflects the authors’ political prejudices more than an objective evaluation of a significant terrorist threat. In that context, the report’s conclusion seems a bit ominous:

DHS/I&A will be working with its state and local partners over the next several months to ascertain with greater regional specificity the rise in rightwing extremist activity in the United States, with a particular emphasis on the political, economic, and social factors that drive rightwing extremist radicalization.


[Tax Day update]

The people who put together this little political hit piece couldn’t even get their facts straight.

81 thoughts on “Double Standard”

  1. Except of course the groups mentioned in the report do have a history of violence.

    Abortion opponents have shot people and blown things up. Timothy McVeigh, a disgruntled vet, did in fact blow up a building. And a number of anti-tax activitists have elected to shoot it out with the police.

    BTW, there are left-wing extremists. “Eco-terrorists” come to mind, as do their cousins, animal rights extremists.

  2. Except of course the groups mentioned in the report do have a history of violence.


    That doesn’t justify such a blatantly biased report, rife with leftist stereotypes. It reads like it was written by some Berkeley academic, rather than a federal professional.

    BTW, there are left-wing extremists.

    You mean like the ones I linked in the piece?

  3. That doesn’t justify such a blatantly biased report, rife with leftist stereotypes.

    What I’ve seen of the report was factual and accurate.

    Regarding the groups you linked to – the only one with a violent history I saw was Bill Ayers. Of course that was 30+ years ago.

  4. “The best way to lie is to tell the truth selectively.” The Left has perfected that as an art form.

    What’s bothersome is how fast this was produced, it’s less than three months since the Magic Teleprompter took office. Anyone who’s worked with non-politicized federal bureaucrats over the past few decades would consider getting anything like this done in 3 months a minor miracle. (Maybe He really is The Messiah?). Which makes me suspect that this report has been in the works since at least last summer, and show that places like so-called Homeland Security have been politicized and tilting Left long before the Big Zero took office. It’s just that now they feel confident enough to let everyone know the details of what “I won” really means.

  5. I’m sure it was written by a Berkeley academic. It’s probably warmed over from one of their campus committee reports about increasing “tolerance” and “diversity” by squelching any dissent on campus.

  6. Chris Gerrib, you wrote: “Regarding the groups you linked to – the only one with a violent history I saw was Bill Ayers. Of course that was 30+ years ago.”

    Have you ever heard of ELF, ALF, or PETA?

  7. Do you understand what the word “biased” means?

    It means a “tendency or preference towards a particular perspective, ideology or result, especially when the tendency interferes with the ability to be impartial, unprejudiced, or objective.”

    The problem is that the report is not biased. The report says that right-wing groups with a history of violence might react violently to the election of a left-wing President.

    Why this is any more controversial than saying “you might get wet in a rainstorm” is beyond me.

  8. Have you ever heard of ELF, ALF, or PETA?.

    Yes. ELF and ALF are eco-terrorists. I explicitly mentioned eco-terrorists in my first post.

    I am not aware that PETA has killed anybody or blown anything up. If they have, then they are also eco-terrorists.

  9. Chris, do you think that the DHS would put out a report like this talking about “leftwing” groups? And are you saying that the DHS is admitting that President Obama (despite all the protestations to the contrary throughout the campaign) is “left wing”?

  10. Go ahead, piss us off and find out ther really are more of us than there are of you.

    I will be at the election in november 2010 and I will drag at least a dozen of my friends and relatives along in a most righteous spite.

  11. Rand – my understanding is that DHS has put out reports about left-wing terrorist groups, so I would not be surprised to see another one.

    Obama is most certainly left of center, just not very far left. Certainly not “socialist,” but then we’ve had that argument.

    Mike P. – as long as we’re talking voting or other peaceful activities, come on down.

  12. Chris,

    Based on what’s posted here I envy your blissful freedom from the burden of historical evidence and facts.

    We’ve seen ELF, ALF and PETA mentioned.

    There’s ACORN with it’s voter fraud and intimidation racket including calling for people to attend tomorrow’s tea party’s to smear the attendees by inciting mischief.

    You have ANSWER who’s rallies tend to be belligerent in their calls to ‘action’.

    You have Greenpeace which has violated territorial waters, conducted piracy, and a whole host of other violent acts.

    You have Dr. James Hansen inciting a mob to seize a power plant because of his personal agenda.

    All of these above have committed actual behavior of which the DHS is instead transferring to people who have not. Not because they seek to alert to a threat but because their political masters seek to discredit people exercising the 1st Amendment.

  13. “Obama is most certainly left of center, just not very far left. Certainly not “socialist,” but then we’ve had that argument.”

    Chris Gerrib,

    And how do you know this? And how far left is “not very far left”? How ideologically leftwing might you call a guy who uncritically sat in church pews for 20 years listening to a frothy-mouthed, spittle-flecked nut job spew hatred of, and verifiable lies about, America? Where I come from, silence = agreement.

  14. Gee Chris, what else would I be referencing November 2010 for? The South Dakota Yak Festival?

  15. The definition in the text, which is the only definition meant to be used on context of all other portions of the text, is so broadly vague, that it isn’t a definition.

    Throughout the entire text, whenever “right wing enxtremism,” is to be understood in context of the text, the the definition that is to be used is the one in the text.

    Portions of the text might be vague enough to allow for interpretation, until you get to the parts of the paper, that actually clarify the definition, removing interpretation.

    Oddly enough, the definition offered is just as vague as the rest of the paper, making you wonder if the guy was painting with a broad brush, which they obviously were.

    It isn’t just bias, it allows for pretext in the future handling of “rightwing extremists,” which, as defined, is almost everyone I agree with politically.

    This isn’t a final solution paper, but it does show the indifference of the DHS to precisely define the threats they think they face, and that lack of precision says, in essence, “everyone who didn’t vote for Obama is a threat.”

  16. “my understanding is that DHS has put out reports about left-wing terrorist groups, so I would not be surprised to see another one.?

    Got cites?

  17. Remember the WTO protests in Seattle? Rioting, smashed storefronts, burning dumpsters, clashes with police? Right-wingers, all of them. Yep.

  18. I got one billy, but it doesn’t apply, all of the definitions are specific.

    can’t find the PDF, which I saw earlier.

    It’s at fox news and the reference isn’t made till the bottom of the article, if you want I might dig around a bit for the PDF.

  19. It’s also pre-911, so it’s not the DHS, and it was generated in response to an honest concern for domestic terrorism by leftists like ELF and stuff, because they were responsible for more damage and hazzards in 1998,1999, and 2000.

  20. “I got one billy, but it doesn’t apply, all of the definitions are specific.”

    Does this have a meaning? I know they’re English words, but do they convey anything when strung together in this particular order?

  21. No, no, no. A. J. Strata and Charles Johnson have spoken. This is just right-wing kookery. You know, deranged, scary Glenn Beck stuff.

    The preparations for the DHS report began a year ago, as Charles points out. When the report that says the extremism stems in part from the election of Obama, it just means the DHS has wicked precognition skills.

    And, as A. J. Strata says, the GOP will self-destruct over this the way it did over immigration, because we all know that amnesty was incredibly popular with the general public, which blames the GOP for killing it.

    And just because the Southern Poverty Law Center lied by claiming that 320 gang members were actually “white supremacists,” well , their intentions were honorable. They’re doing it for the children, you see.

  22. At least they are smart enough to not call leftists ‘liberals’ and ‘progressives’. Most conservatives are stupid enough to bestow these favorable terms onto leftists who happen to be very rigid, hateful, violent, illiberal, and regressive.

  23. It is shameful that one political party should specifically refer to policy positions of it’s opposition as radical concerns for homeland security. Opposition to abortion or states rights issues? Thank God that “the one” has moved us into post partisian period where legimate political concerns are targeted by the state as dangerous radicals, like those who have third party campaign stickers on their bumpers! Totally unAmerican, DHS are the radicals, to think that the left are ones always preaching tolerance. Absurd.

    Mike P. Are you the Mike P. that moved to Farmington Hills back in the late ’80s to open the CC engineering sales office on six mile road?

  24. “Except of course the groups mentioned in the report do have a history of violence.”

    So do Muslims. And if you mention it too loudly, they’ll cut your fool head off for you.

  25. I thought these groups would now be responsible for “man caused disasters” and not “terrorism” which was a bad term used by the evil Boosh Administration.

    It’s so confusing when the double speak starts.

  26. And don’t forget that the left is guilty of mass-murder – about 40 million abortions since 1973.

  27. Some observations about the report. First, it’s only 9 pages and pretty light on details. It’d be very easy to produce something of this meager quality in a weekend.

    Some things to note. First, the report title says “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”. But what evidence do they provide for this? To summarize, conditions are like they were in Clinton’s administration, plus we have a black president, so we might have a resurgence in said groups. In other words, they claim, with some reason I admit, that these groups might be increasing their membership and becoming more active, but the report’s author doesn’t actually provide evidence that this is occurring, aside from an unsubstantiated claim that some unamed militia groups are stocking up.

    Some other key points. No potential terrorist group or information source is mentioned by name. For example, the Southern Poverty Law Center is merely referred to as a “prominent civil rights organization” (I find myself echoing Power Line here who made the same observation). Even if you consider SPLC a genuine civil rights organization, Power Line found the SPLC report that alleges the above claim provided no proof of its accusation.

    Let me be blunt, I think we will see a resurgence in so-called “rightwing” terrorism. The report probably is correct to some degree on many of the assertions it makes in the body. But the report’s actual hard evidence is scarce. We have a few anecdotal crimes mentioned. It’d be a remarkably different world to not have any crimes of the appropriate political leaning.

    In conclusion, I see no evidence in the report that rightwing terrorism is the most dangerous form of domestic terrorism. Remember we still have the occasional domestic Islamic terrorist (and as Rand mentioned the leftwing terrorists as well) too. I’m sure with a little work, I could spin the report that way as well.

    This fits with the assertions that this report is biased. The title makes claims that aren’t backed by the report. Further, the report cites propaganda groups like the SPLC (I really don’t like these parasites) and a few anecdotal cases and rarely makes an assertion which supports the claim of the title.

    Finally, get this (bottom of page 2):

    (U) LAW ENFORCEMENT INFORMATION NOTICE: This product contains Law Enforcement Sensitive (LES) information. No portion of the LES information
    should be released to the media, the general public, or over non-secure Internet servers. Release of this information could adversely affect or jeopardize
    investigative activities.

    I guess someone didn’t pay heed. Can anyone spot the information, such as it is, in this report that would jeopardize any investigative activities?

  28. I see three possibilities here.

    Possibility # 1, roughly 40% possibility: the most obvious one, that rigidly ideological people high up in DHS let their own prejudices out unintentionally.

    Possibility # 2, roughly 35%: some evil fuck with a power trip, some cowardly Paul Begala type, DELIBERATELY is using his power to try to mess with veterans, envious of the fact that he rightly feels inferior.

    Then there’s the 25% chance of possibility # 3, worst of all.

    I find it all too easy to believe that this regime would like to make veterans feel trapped and against the wall, so they will strike out. Obama would LOVE a major domestic strike so he could declare a state of emergency, seize all firearms, and exterminate his opponents.

  29. Billy Beck – Fox News has a link to the January 2009 report on left-wing radicals here (bottom of page).

    Chad – I specifically mentioned left-wing radicals, although I did not give a complete list. Radicalism is not unique to the right. Having said that, I would like to know how many people ACORN has killed. Or ANSWER, for that matter.

    My define terrorism as “blowing stuff up and/or hurting people.” By that standard, people who shoot abortion doctors, blow up Federal buildings, or decide to kill local cops because “Obama might come for my guns” are terrorists. As are people who bust into animal research labs and torch the joint, or riot in the street.

  30. “They’d be screaming about being smeared as traitors for their political beliefs, and they’d be right to do so. That’s exactly what the Obama administration and Janet Napolitano has done here.”

    And why not. The tactic of demonizing conservatives, libertarians, law-abiding gun owners and other critics of big govt as incipient traitors and terrorists worked perfectly for the Clintons after the OKC bombing.

  31. chris,

    You are an idiot. The DHS just labeled every conservative small goverment individual as a potential terrorist. when you department labales 50% of the country as potential terrorists we have a problem. hitler did the same with the jews, stalin with his opposition.

    the DHS report should send a message to every intelligent person that this admin is a very dangerous animal and must be stopped. when you label your opposition as “crazy, evil, unhinged” it changes the way you interact with those people.

    Liberals and statists are not evil they are simply wrong and believe things that are not true because history tells us this.

    statists and liberals on the other hand with this report think conservatives are “nuts” “dangerous”, “unhinged” etc and therefore instead of trying to change those views by discussing and debating, they instead think it is fine to tell 50% of the population to “shut up and sit down”

    and if they do not it is PK with those same liberals to lock them up, “reeducate” and cure those people.

    this is a dangerous report that gives a glimpse into the minds in charge in DC and it is not a pretty picture.

  32. Chris Gerrib,

    The evidence is not on your side. Mass murderers have been in and of the Left and strongly in favor of consolidation of power to a strong federal government. The only government founded on the principle of separation of powers has been the greatest force of good in the history of the world. You can thank the Founding Fathers on your own schedule. But let’s put the lie to your claim that the Right (which advocates smaller government) and the Left (which advocates more federal government power) are somehow equal in the murdering.

    Death tolls from those who wish to consolidate power in a strong federal government (estimates from memory) in the last 100 years:
    Pol Pot — 1.5 million
    Hitler — 30 million
    Stalin — 30 to 50 million
    Mao — 50 to 100 million
    Idi Amin — ??
    Saddam Hussein — millions
    Castro — hundreds of thousands
    (I could go on for quite some time.)

    I’ll let you compile the list of death tolls from those who advocate power be disseminated broadly.

    And then we’ll see whose side killed the most.

  33. The knee-jerk reaction to the so-called classified document should be tempered with this thought. It’s about nothing, except to score points with higher up in the bureaucratic food chain in Washington. My guess that in the end, the decision to let “right-wing” slip through the editing process was a tactical move to bring attention to DHS’s efforts in bring light of domestic terrorism to the forefront. Just another example of Washington fighting the good fight to bring more money to DHS. Good enough reason to get rid of the department.

  34. The Right by advocating a smaller federal government has to claim as paternity the Slave States of the confederacy. Certainly states rights is about as clear a repudiation of federal power and morality as I can imagine.

  35. jack lee,

    History is not your friend. Most of the opposition to the CRAs came from Southern Democrats. Senators Strom Thurmond (who repudiated his earlier racist statements after he switched to the Republican Party) and Robert Byrd (who has not, remains a Democrat and used the term “white niggers” only a few years ago) were both Democrats.

    Republicans were on the correct side of both the Civil War (Thanks, President Lincoln.) and the CRAs.


    BTW, I admire the ability to conflate “federal power” and “morality” so easily. Federal power can only be obtained through threat of force. And somehow the use of that force is “moral” to your lights.

    One can only imagine the cruelty you would be willing to inflict on “the other” if given the chance.

  36. Nom De Blog – yes, the Left has produced a huge number of evil and murderous dictators. So has the right (Hitler, Franco, your typical Central American dictator with death squads).

    I’m not sure what relevance any of that has to do with terrorism in the USA in 2009. Advocating power be distributed broadly is fine. Blowing up buildings seen as a seat of power is not.

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  38. with the exception that hitler wasn’t right, nor are your “typical Central American Dictator with death Squads.”

  39. Chris Gerrib,

    Neither Hitler nor Franco can rightly be placed on the Right of any ledger. Their intellectual moorings place them firmly in the Left. They both advocated power be held by a strong centralized government.

    Meanwhile the Right (or modern day liberals) advocate power be distributed.

    You may spout your Leftist nonsense all day long. But until you see that consolidation of all power in ANY federal government will inevitably lead to much more death and destruction than the alternative, you will remain a useful idiot.

  40. How many people do you see parading around in t-shirts, caps, and hands extolling the “chicness” of said Right Wing murderers? And yet Hollywood and the popular culture is full of idiots parading about in Che t-shirts, handbags and thongs.

    People on the mainstream right do not go about making excuses for Hitler, Franco or Mussolini, but there are plenty on the Left who do so about their heroes Mao, Che, and Castro.

    You see, it has a HELL of a lot or relevance in 2009 America.

  41. Chris, Hitler wasn’t of the Left. He was a socialist, the head of the German National Socialist Workers’ Party.

    Your contention that Tim McVeigh demonstrates that “the groups mentioned in the report,” such as veterans, “do have a history of violence” is weak. Only a bigot could say McVeigh casts suspicion on tens of millions of law-abiding veterans. If a 1-in-ten-million case like McVeigh made you terrified of veterans, I can only imagine how you feel around black men (one in five thousand of whom have committed homicide) or Democratic Senators (of whom a whopping one in fifty have killed an innocent).

  42. Chris Gerrib,

    Nom de Blog (very cute handle) is correct, although there are those who would argue that Hilter, a facist, would represent the hard right (like bush :)). This of course shows the problem with trying to picture the political world as a one dimesional left vs right thing.

    He does hit the issue right on the nail, American right wingers are against a big brother type of government and for personal liberty, responsibility and freedom. These are the principles that this country was founded on and there are some of us who are getting pretty feed up with the direction that the left wants to head. They think that they have an enlightened view, but it’s the same old tyrarry repackaged. Every oppressive government starts out thinking that they are the elites who know “the new way forward”, but they find that those who value liberty must be repressed for the greater good.

    If you leave out Idi Amin and Saddam Hussein, everyone else on the list started out pretty much like Obama, people wanted “change” and were “hopeful” about the new leadership. The next thing you know they started finding enemies among the political opposition. It isn’t going to happen here. The DHS document is obscene.

  43. Why should we be surprised at a report like this after Waco and the Elian Gonzalez debacle?

    The Left loves putting on its jack boots and smashing its opposition. And we wonder where Germany recruited people to man the ovens when you have people like Chris the Gerbil.

    He represents the infantilization of thought that has become so popular in in faculty lounges today.

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