Alex Koppelman writes at Salon that the Department of Homeland Security has issued a report to federal, state and local law enforcement regarding the threat of terrorism from right-wing extremists groups.
In Koppelman’s words, the report says “the political and economic climate today is similar to the one that fueled the militia movement — and, eventually, the Oklahoma City bombing — during the 1990s.” The DHS has no specific information of plans being made by rightwing groups. However, the DHS says it has reason to believe there is a wave of right-wing recruitment going on.
Naturally this has elicited no end of victimized, hysterical shrieking from wingnuts. For example, Malkin: Confirmed: The Obama DHS hit job on conservatives is real.
According to Audrey Hudson and Eli Lake of the Washington Times, the DHS 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.”
Therefore, according to Malkin (who assumes “right-wing” is a synonym for “conservative”), conservatives are racist haters who reject federal authority. What many of us have been saying all along, in other words. It was big of Little Lulu to admit it.
Lulu argues that “conservatives” are being “targeted” as part of an Obama campaign to smear the “tea parties,” even though the report has been in the works for a year. The DHS has also issued reports about potential left-wing terrorism, but Malkin says it’s not the same thing, because these reports were about specific groups. That may be; I don’t have a catalog of DHS warnings at hand. The Pentagon was keeping track of Quakers for a while, but you know Quakers. Sneaky sorts.
You can read the document under discussion here. It’s mostly saying that we’re facing conditions that historically have fomented right-wing extremism, so the DHS “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.”
In other words, the DHS is saying it has good reason to think right-wing radicalism will be an increasing problem in the foreseeable future, so law enforcement agencies need to stay on their toes to ascertain where a specific threat might be taking shape. As long as we’re not talking about violating individual rights — warrantless wiretaps, say — this just seems prudent and sensible.
But I also think right-wing extremism in the U.S. is less confined to specific, easily delineated groups. It’s more likely to be a handful of guys who stockpile guns and fertilizer in their basements than an organized group with a name in the form of an acronym that has a website and sends out newsletters. But according to the Right, we’re not supposed to notice the guys who stockpile guns and fertilizer in their basements until they actually blow up a federal building. On the other hand, unarmed Muslims going about their lawful business are suspect, 24/7.
This goes along with the tendency of U.S. “conservatives” to take no responsibility for their own words and actions. Everything is always someone else’s fault.
Update: Great minds thinking alike — Dave Neiwert writes, “Conservatives indict themselves with shrieking over DHS report on right-wing terrorism.”
Malkin’s headline wails:
“The Obama DHS Hit Job on Conservatives Is Real”
So, I have a question for Malkin: Are you saying that mainstream conservatives are now right-wing extremists?
Because, you know, the report — which in fact is perfectly accurate in every jot and tittle — couldn’t be more clear. It carefully delineates that the subject of its report is “rightwing extremists,” “domestic rightwing terrorist and extremist groups,” “terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks,” “white supremacists,” and similar very real threats described in similar language.
Nothing about conservatives. The word never appears in the report.
Because, you know, we always thought there was a difference between right-wing extremists and mainstream conservatives too. My new book, The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right, does explain that the distance between them has in fact shrunk considerably, thanks to the help of people like Malkin.
Update: More links —
Glenn Greenwald, The ultimate reaping of what one sows: right-wing edition