Malkin et al. Admit That “Conservatives” Are Right-Wing Extremists and Potential Terrorists

Timothy McVeigh

Timothy McVeigh

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.

Bombed Abortion Clinic

Bombed Abortion Clinic

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.

Where Matthew Shepard Died

Where Matthew Shepard Died

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.

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 —

Tbogg, It’s all fun and games until they start looking at the white man

Tim F., The Point (You’re Never Gonna Get It)

Glenn Greenwald, The ultimate reaping of what one sows: right-wing edition

23 thoughts on “Malkin et al. Admit That “Conservatives” Are Right-Wing Extremists and Potential Terrorists

  1. I remember, hopefully correctly, that human beings go through (and grow through) various stages of development and most pass from one to the next rather painlessly. However, some people get stuck in a ‘stage’ and now I’m trying to figure out which ‘stage’ extreme righties are stuck in because their behavior is definitely not adult behavior. Off the top of my head, they seem to be about three-years-old developmentally.

    Any psychologists on this site?

  2. The stupidity of this post is astounding. Malkin was saying that DHS is trying to include those who have legitimate concerns and who express those concerns in a legal fashion under a big umbrella with actual (for real, not just made-up-by-the-SPLC) hate groups and with those who engage in violence.

  3. Well, who would have ever guessed the words “right wing extremists” and “fertilizer “would come up in the same post ?….

    All snark aside, this report, it is my understanding was sent to state and local law enforcement …I am guessing so that they can be on the lookout for explosive(NO pun intended) situations brewing on a local level.?

    It has been my experience that in small communities here in my part of the world that the police know well and good about the fringe groups in their communities and their members.

    Michelle makes me wonder about how large the pile of fertilizer must be (equal to the gun pile no doubt) that she would be worried.And it also explains where she gets her material everyday.

    I remember Oklahoma.I remember it with the same heartache and sadness that 911 brought…Because it was senseless death of innocent people..I cannot forget . It didn’t matter if the victims had an R or a D or something else behind their names they still DIED and it broke my heart…I am so disappointed that they have forgotten. You would think that they would want to protect us all from ever knowing such heartache again.It is a shame they don’t wake up!

  4. felicity, google:

    “Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition”

    It’s a study done under the Bush Presidency oddly enough.

    It’s in PDF and it’s a great read.

  5. Here a quick rundown by the Guardian:

    “A study funded by the US government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in “fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity”.

    As if that was not enough to get Republican blood boiling, the report’s four authors linked Hitler, Mussolini, Ronald Reagan and the rightwing talkshow host, Rush Limbaugh, arguing they all suffered from the same affliction.”

  6. Shorter right-wing blogosphere: B-But – but – but we’re white!

    “It’s mostly saying that we’re facing conditions that historically have fomented right-wing extremism …”

    In other words, a Democratic president.

  7. 24AheadDotCom — I know that’s what Malkin claimed, but if you actually read the DHS document with a dispassionate eye you would know that she’s got nothing to scream about.

  8. THANK YOU MOONBAT for the link. E(s)plains a lot. Also in a way confirms what I’ve always thought about men and war. Just like the old buck feels the threat of the young bucks, and in that case has to fight them off one-on-one, old men feel the threat of young men but in our case – evolved as we are if one could call it that – old men make wars and send young men off to fight them, a more ‘advanced’ way of getting rid of the competition?

    And who can forget George’s swagger aboard the carrier, anchored 3 feet off Long Beach, as he announced the end of (his) war.

  9. If Malkin and her zombies and trolls want us to believe they’re merely defending innocent parties that have been unfairly lumped in with actual terrorists– well, to have any credibility at all, first they’ve got a lot of ‘splainin to do about their conspicuous silence over last eight years.

  10. Each of us has a relationship to authority that has developed as the result of the complex interplay between nature and nurture. Each of us has a developed a capacity for frustration tolerance, slight or substantial attributable to the same.

    When we reach a level of frustration that is high enough on our meter our retaliatory impulse is triggered. That impulse can be directed out to “the other” or inward to the self. Out towards the other produces the predisposition to hostility and aggression. Inward constricted retaliatory impulse is the behavioral fuel of depression.

    This is just one dimension of the tendency to be authoritarian and rigid. Also at play in the overall development is the primary dynamic in attachment pattern. There are four: secure, anxious-resistant, anxious-avoidant and disorganized. Attachment pattern will be a vehicle or not to evolving to a more maturative relational mode. The non-maturative is dominant/subordinate. In this mode there is more tendency to see any power differential as necessitating an “us against them” position. This will lead to the pattern of defining oneself self or primary group more by what you are against, rather than what you are for. This is good for cohesion and bad for getting along well with others.

    The more evolved relational mode is mutual/cooperative. In this mode the tendency is to look for ways to develop and maintain it for as long as the relationship is viable. The more intimate the relationship the more functional this modality can be.

    Of course all groups contain mixtures and composites of traits and patterns. In some instances the retaliatory impulse out to others and low tolerance of frustration serves when an adversary is truly a threat. The same is true for the other way; being less reflexively violent to idiotas who claim to have WMD sometimes prevents unnecessary escalation without first making a list of unexpected, unaffordable conflicts.

    That’s what I have off the top of my head; anybody else?

  11. Silly me! I’m a Harvard-educated lawyer who believes in curbing “federal authority in favor of state or local authority.”

    I helped win a Supreme Court case that did that. See United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000).

    According to the imbeciles at DHS, that is a sign of “right-wing extremism.”

    Maybe the idiots at the Department of Homeland Security need a remedial civics class in federalism and the Constitution (like the Tenth Amendment and the limits of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause).

  12. To see the right wing, which nearly uniformly exclaimed that surveillance was ‘good’ and ‘essential’ during these dire times, and that ‘as long as you weren’t doing anything wrong you had nothing to fear,’ suddenly complain about a carefully worded warning about right wing extremists potentially being violent, is a painfully typical illustration of right wing psychology: what’s good for others isn’t good for them.

    Good post, Maha. And thanks for the Greenwald link. Glenn always manages to boil down the absurdity of the right wing’s duplicitous fauxrage.

  13. Silly me! I’m a Harvard-educated lawyer who believes in curbing “federal authority in favor of state or local authority.”

    Some of my friends are lawyers, so I know they aren’t all intellectually dishonest, but I’ve yet to meet a conservative lawyer who wasn’t either intellectually dishonest or downright stupid.

    See, dude, the word used was not “curbing” federal authority, but “reject” federal authority. If you follow the extremist militia movement, you know this groups believes the federal government is illegitimate. THAT’S extremism.

    Honk! You’re wrong. You lose. Goodbye.

    (Trap door opens; intellectually dishonest lawyer drops out of sight.)

  14. Maybe the idiots at the Department of Homeland Security need a remedial civics class in… the Constitution.

    Hans, buddy, again I say: you’re about eight years too late with that.

    Never mind that “a Harvard-educated lawyer” can’t distinguish between the verbs “curb” and “reject.”

    Credibility: zero.

  15. Glenn Greenwald put it well (my emphasis in bold):

    It’s certainly true that federal police efforts directed at domestic political movements — even ones with a history of inspiring violence in both the distant and recent past — require real vigilance and oversight, and it’s also true that the DHS description of these groups seems excessively broad with the potential for mischief. But the political faction screeching about the dangers of the DHS is the same one that spent the last eight years vastly expanding the domestic Surveillance State and federal police powers in every area. DHS — and the still-creepy phrase “homeland security” — became George Bush’s calling card. The Republicans won the 2002 election by demonizing those who opposed its creation. All of the enabling legislation underlying this Surveillance State — from the Patriot Act to the Military Commissions Act, from the various FISA “reforms” to massive increases in domestic “counter-Terrorism” programs — are the spawns of the very right-wing movement that today is petrified that this is all being directed at them.

    When you cheer on a Surveillance State, you have no grounds to complain when it turns its eyes on you. If you create a massive and wildly empowered domestic surveillance apparatus, it’s going to monitor and investigate domestic political activity. That’s its nature. I’d love to know how many of the participants in today’s right-wing self-victim orgy uttered a peep of protest about any of this, in 2005…

    It just boggles my mind that these morons – and I use the word carefully and deservedly here – could not see this blindingly obvious point during the Bush years, when they were so rabidly cheering on the construction of the same police state they now claim they’re horrified by. These moral retards – and again, I am using this word word carefully, even clinically – so utterly lack a sense of fairness, and are so incapable of seeing the world from another’s viewpoint, that they couldn’t forsee that the day would come when their wonderful security state, which they themselves cheered on, would start to look at them. DUH.

  16. About a year after the Murrah building was bombed, I went to Oklahoma City on business, and was shown by a local resident the site the building once occupied.

    The remnants of the building had been removed, replaced by a chainlink fence which served as a memorial. It was covered with teddy bears, wreaths, photos, ribbons, etc.Heart wrenching does not begin to describe the scene.

    Few realize the scope of the blast damage, which extended far beyond the limits of the space the Murrah building once occupied.

    I was reminded of the damage in San Pedro, Ca., after the S.S.Sansenina exploded in the late 70’s; most of the windows in town were blown out, and the damage to the immediate blast area was intense. The diff was the explosion in San Pedro was due to static electricity while the blast in O.K. was caused by a psychotic asshole with a gun fetish.

    About a year before I visited O.K. city, I was working at Port Canaveral, Fl.
    There were three guys in the crew that had lunch together every day within earshot of my station. I overheard them talking about their militia training, how they hated Clinton and Janet Reno, that they were glad the BATF was hit in the O.K. city explosion.
    Their rant began with talk of how “Barney” the purple dinosaur was a liberal plot to force “hippy” values on our children.

    I can’t recall when I’ve seen a group of dumber men; they were talking trash against the federal govt while earning union wages on a federally funded project.
    I doubt any of them had any concept of what a blast of that scope did, not only to the BATF ones they hated, but to so many other innocents as well.

    George Carlin did a bit on how he thinks people are mostly o.k. until they form “groups”, I tend to agree………….

  17. It’s three am and I can’t sleep. I turn on MSNBC and Scarborough is ranting. According to him, if a Republican president, and DHS, were to pull what O/DHS has pulled, Dems would be foaming at the mouth – adding that Repubs don’t go on “witch hunts.” What the hell does he think HUAC was? Where was he when there was a lefty/communist/liberal behind every bush?

    Perhaps a crucial lobe in the brains of righties has suffered a trauma so accute as to affect their ability to reason, let alone remember the past?

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