What Fresh Hell Is This?

April 15, 2009

The Trib Editorial Board Spins. Again.

This time it's on the DHS Report on the rise of Right-Wing extremism. Not surprisingly, they call it "sick and unacceptable."

You can read (for yourself - no need to depend on DickieCougarMellonScaife's editorial board) the report here.

The Trib's tsouris:

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security in an April 7 memo to police and sheriff departments across the nation warned of an increase in "right-wing extremist activity." Included among its generic rogue's list of "extremists" -- groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority, reports The Washington Times.

Yes, you read that correctly. Your federal government considers the concept of federalism -- the palladium of republican government -- to be "extremist."

Let's take a look at that Washington Times article, shall we? The part latched onto by the board is this passage:
The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in "rightwing extremist activity," saying the economic recession, the election of America's first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines "rightwing extremism in the United States" as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

Oy vey! All this kvetching about a footnote? Let's go to the 9 page report and see it (bottom of page 2, if you're following at home):
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.
See what the Trib's editorial board did? Starting from a footnote (and I still chuckle that they're fixated on a footnote in a 9 page report) regarding the underlying ideologies of "rightwing extremism", they conflate those ideologies with the extremism itself and claim that DHS is saying that any one who's a "federalist" is an "extremist."

The board doesn't seem to realize that an extremist group is still extremist regardless of underlying ideology. Does the fact that a great many Americans call themselves "pro-life" change the fact that Eric Rudolph was a domestic terrorist?


Some of the other stuff left out of the Trib's editorial:
DHS/I&A assesses that a number of economic and political factors are driving a resurgence in rightwing extremist recruitment and radicalization activity. Despite similarities to the climate of the 1990s, the threat posed by lone wolves and small terrorist cells is more pronounced than in past years. In addition, the historical election of an African American president and the prospect of policy changes are proving to be a driving force for rightwing extremist recruitment and radicalization.
— (U) A recent example of the potential violence associated with a rise in rightwing extremism may be found in the shooting deaths of three police officers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 4 April 2009. The alleged gunman’s reaction reportedly was influenced by his racist ideology and belief in antigovernment conspiracy theories related to gun confiscations, citizen detention camps, and a Jewish-controlled “one world government.”
Yea, I thought so.

Meh keyn brechen, doncha know.

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