Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gee, I'm sorry that I fired the shots at the Holocaust Museum...

... by arguing (with real facts) that the DHS Rightwing Extremism report was politically slanted and horribly flawed.

This is apparently the case that DelawareDem seeks to make by including my name in a thread in which I was not commenting:

Steve Newton, I am so relieved you that you and other right wingers saved us from the hellfire known as the DHS Report.

Yeah, right wing extremists are not violent at all.

OK, asshole, I've had enough.

You want to make the charge that I ever said there were no rightwing extremist groups, or that law enforcement should not investigate legitimate leads on groups or individuals? Back it up.

Here's the link to virtually everything I have written since the DHS report came out.

Find it, or have the stones to admit you're wrong.

Here's what I actually said:

Don't get me wrong: there are violent, nasty people out there: skinheads, black separatists, eco-terrorists, Muslim honor-killers, fag-bashers, beltway snipers....

There are also blowhards like Glenn Beck, Chuck Norris, and any drunk Texian who will boast about secession with a couple of beers in him whether he's the governor or not....

But what's going on now--and our local blogging community gets it quite well--is primarily an exercise in selective outrage, faux paranoia, and partisan politics as a contact sport.

It has damn-all little to do with real law enforcement activities which will keep any of us any safer.

And this...

Now, I'm going to tell you carefully--and in bold type--that the existence of extremist groups of African-Americans in no way minimizes nor exculpates anybody who advocates or participates in political violence.

And this...

From one perspective, there are a lot of volatile issues that people can feel passionate, legitimate differences about, and which may be exploited for recruiting purposes by some groups, even though the primary domestic terrorist threat remains the lone wolf individual.

The other perspective shifts several inches further along of the paradigm of laying the groundwork for denying the legitimacy of some political arguments, and asserting the existence of certain conditions (an African-American president and debate over gun control issues to name but two) as sufficient in themselves to spark major, group-organized, aggressive violence.

The result is a report that, quite frankly, is almost as useless to law enforcement officials as that Missouri Militia report, because it tells them absolutely nothing they didn't already know, and it is ambiguous enough to support any interpretation those LEOs would like to place on it. It is a piece of bureaucratic double-speak that hedges virtually every single statement it makes.

I am not sure if the poor quality of the report bothers me more or less than the intimation that within the homeland security apparatus there are obviously some pretty powerful voices willing to tie anybody with an anti-immigrant, anti-gun control, anti-big government point of view very closely to white supremacists, hate groups, and militias.

The Missouri report told us those folks were around, and in positions of some power. This tells us that their reach is probably much higher than we previously thought.

Or this...

In one sense, I cannot fault Missouri law enforcement for some of its anxiety. Missouri has seen militia violence, anti-abortion violence, and has the misfortune to have the utter nutcases of the Westboro Baptist Church in nearby Kansas ("God Hates Fags!).

Or this about the MO MIAC report on miltias:

Here's the unfortunate dynamic set up in this case:

On the one side: the law enforcement mandate to prevent domestic terrorism and the legitimate survival instincts of every police officer in Missouri, added to which there is a real history of anti-abortion and anti-government violence in the Show Me State.

On the other side: increasing reliance by law enforcement on secret databases, about which we have significant evidence that (a) they are often used for purposes of tax collection rather than law enforcement; and (b) that Missouri law enforcement has a documented history of placing illegal private information into such databases--information that once is entered cannot be deleted or challenged because the databases themselves are secret. Add to that the fact that law enforcement officers in Missouri and other areas has already been primed to examine items like bumper stickers or anti-government signs as direct evidence that their lives are in danger whenever they approach such a vehicle ("You are the Enemy" the MIAC report reminds them).

This is an unhealthy situation, a dangerous situation to say the least, before we even get into privacy and civil liberties issues.

Regardless of the intent of the authors of this report, there is at least a considerable body of circumstantial evidence to suggest that it will be interpreted by some if not many individual police officers in exactly the way that Libertarians fear it will be interpreted.

This is a serious issue, reaching into other states and involving whole homeland security apparatus that we have allowed to be set overtop of this nation since September 2001.

So when an 89-year-old white supremacist anti-semite with a prison record who has been at his "work" since 1981 goes nuts at the Holocaust Museum, you explain to me DelawareDem how a single thing I have written, a single point of view I have expressed regarding the DHS Rightwing Extremism Report, the Missouri MIAC Militia Report, or any of the other shoddy pieces of work by DHS and allied LEOs (which have been condemned by the obviously right wing Boston Globe, numerous academic experts on civil liberties, and veterans' groups around the country) in any way suggested that law enforcement should not be watching individuals with violent track records.

Show it to me.

Otherwise, keep your mouth shut so that people will only assume you make stuff up.


a most peculiar nature said...

Yeah, right wing extremists are not violent at all.

Right wing extremists, left wing extemists....there is no difference except in their particular ideology. They are just whackos.

Some can't seem to see this, and I'm not sure why....maybe it is time constraints, where a flippantly outrageous statement seems to serve just as well as a reasoned argument. That's just being lazy.

downwithabsolutes said...

I wouldn't be too concerned, Steve. There is a contingent of bloggers at DL who do their best to mischaracterize ones thoughts and opinions on a regular basis.

I see no difference between the report on POSSIBLY right-wing extremists from the DHS and the infiltration of POSSIBLY left-wing anti-war extremists that the Bush Administration Justic Department committed back in 2002-2003 during the run-up to the war.

The only difference is guys like DelDem were UP IN ARMS when he heard about the Bush Administration infiltrating anti-war groups, but he has no problems with the justice department broad brushing and stereotyping an entire group of people whose political thought he disagrees with.

Some consistency.

Hube said...

You said it, Steve -- Del Dem is an asshole. Period. And he's a fucking lawyer?? Fucking ambulance chaser, probably, given his pathetic tools of logic.

Oops, I'd better be careful. He may round me up and have me shot.

Anonymous said...

It comes as no surprise that the amoral Limbaugh-wannabe Mike Mathews cannot distinguish between the ACTUAL INFILTRATION of avowedly non-violent, non-threatening, anti-War PEACE groups by the Bush government (and they were also put on terrorist watch lists) and a REPORT on right-wing white supremacists and anti-abortion groups who advocate for violence daily.

Clearly, you actually have to have some sense of morality and understanding of the First Amendment to make such a distinction, and Mathews shows once again that he has neither.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and here is part of what that terrible DHS report had to say:

"Rightwing 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 religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."

What we have seen in the last two weeks is exactly what the report was warning about.

Does this mean the government should infiltrate or intimidate non-violent and non-threatening groups? Absolutely not. Should the government at least be aware of the threat that groups and individuals (right or left) who advocate for violence represent? You bet.


Steven H. Newton said...

Congrats, A1

You managed to cherry pick a truism out of a flawed report, without making reference to the methodological, professional, or political flaws that caused it to be condemned by the ACLU, the Boston Globe, the DHS internal civil rights review panel, and legitimate scholars across the country.

Now answer the question I posed in the post: where do you find me saying that extremist groups that advocate violence don't exist, or that those which can be identified should not become targets for law enforcement organizations?

Unless you consider critiquing a government document to be prima facie evidence that I support violent extremism.

Put up or shut the hell up. I'm tired of all of you either implying or outright lying about what I have said.

downwithabsolutes said...

Also interesting. In his litany of sins committed by those "profiled" in the DHS report, DelDem leaves out the murderer who took down the Army recruiter. Why isn't THAT included on DelDem's list?

I have no interest in answering coward A1's attack. He is what he is: an individual who continues to lob missiles while lounging in the comforts of anonymity.

Anonymous said...


I never said or implied that you said "that extremist groups that advocate violence don't exist, or that those which can be identified should not become targets for law enforcement organizations."

Please don't confuse my comments with comments from others.


Anonymous said...

As usual, Matthews has no defense for his inane and amoral positions other than to call names and make up pathetic excuses about anonymity.



downwithabsolutes said...

I have no "defense" because your "offense" was so patently weak that it doesn't even deserve a response.

You're still a coward. I've said it before: There can be no true understanding until we've sat down and broken bread. You are nothing more than an anonymous blowhard who thinks said anonymity gives you the right to say anything with impunity. Granted, this isn't one of your bigger humdingers, but you still don't deserve the courtesy of a rational response. Not at this juncture.

Anonymous said...

DWA wrote:
"You are nothing more than an anonymous blowhard who thinks said anonymity gives you the right to say anything with impunity."

Did you know that "impunity" means "exemption from punishment or freedom from the injurious consequences of an action"?

So you still think that commenters and bloggers should be personally punished or suffer injurious consequences for their comments? Your consistent argument against anonymity seems to come down to your dislike of people speaking with impunity.

Too bad.


Unknown said...

So you still think that commenters and bloggers should be personally punished or suffer injurious consequences for their comments?

Yes, I believe people should take responsibility for their words and actions. Part of that whole libertarian thing.

Yes, I think that attacking someone's character ("amoral" Mike Matthews, for example) leaves one's own character open to dissection.

Yes, I believe that if one is about to say or write something that could cause "injurious consequences", then perhaps that person should temper his or her words.

No, I do not believe that anonymity grants one free irresponsibility.