Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

17 April 2009

Dept. of Homeland Security on Rightwing Extremism

The Washington Times ran an article by Audrey Hudson and Eli Lake on 14 April 2009 called "Federal agency warns of radicals on right." You can link from the article to the Office of Intelligence and Analysis assessment report itself, by the Extremism and Radicalization Branch, Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division. This is actually a rather vague and strange report, as noteworthy for those reasons as for any reasons some of us may have concerns that we are being targeted by government for simply believing in the Constitution of the United States. It has become clear that the government itself believes in very little of the Constitution.

In its discussion of Key Findings, the report starts off by saying, "The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence." What a curious statement. The rightwing terrorists are not currently planning acts of violence. If they were doing so in the past, shouldn't they be in jail now? If some group is free and is not planning acts of violence, then how is it called a terrorist group? Is it a terrorist group because someone in government is afraid of some group? If a grassroots mother's club called for a decrease in government power by calling for a transfer of secondary education from the public sector to the private sector, would this put the fear of God in this government branch and qualify the mother's club to be called a terrorist group even though it was not calling for acts of violence?

Apparently, this is not just a badly worded sentence, because the second paragraph says
Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts.
So, again I am puzzled. A violent antigovernment group is one which has no plans to carry out violent acts? What does this mean? It appears to mean that as an adjective, violent means anything that threatens a very expansive role of government. When the government has been taken over by socialists, as it now has, anyone who opposes socialism is now defined as "violent." This seems to be the criteria for the reporting by some reporters from CNN on the many local Tea Parties on 15 April. One woman CNN reporter was claiming that the protest she was at was no place for a family to be due to its threatening nature, though numerous people were there with their children and there were no acts of violence. Go figure.

A footnote at the bottom of this Key Findings page sort of defines "rightwing extremism." It says
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.
Now this is not actually a definition at all. It does give the impression that if someone hates some other group then they are rightwing. Does this mean that those who hate the rich are rightwing extremists, or would this government agency call them leftwing extremists? Or, rightwing extremists may simply favor state or local government or some concept of minimal government, much as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson did. So, are they trying to say that George, Tom, and I are rightwing extremists and that we should be watched with care because we are (or were) trying to convince others of our viewpoint? Do they have any interest in distinguishing those who oppose illegal immigration and those who simply do not want the U.S. to allow any immigrants to come legally to the U.S.?

There are repeated statements of concern that rightwing extremists continue "to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures." Heck, there are a lot of people discussing these things. Is there some reason to believe that discussing these topics makes one dangerous?

The report notes
Many rightwing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use.
WELL. I suppose that covers about everyone who did not vote for Obama, except perhaps for the curious reference to minorities. Most social programs for a very long time have been preferentially expanded for the sake of certain minorities. That is not a change at all.

There is a lot of concern that rightwing extremists, whatever they actually may be, are having discussions about important issues and that they are exercising their right to bear arms. It seems that just the act of exercising your right to bear arms is almost alone considered reason to classify someone as a rightwing extremist. This means you are an extremist if you do nothing in violation of the Constitution. Yes, this is a bit odd. Apparently, you are a rightwing extremist if you oppose gun restrictions such as the Brady Law or think that federal law enforcement mishandled the confrontations at Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

Then there is the section called "Disgruntled Military Veterans", which I have been since the Democrat Congress stopped supporting South Vietnam, leaving it to fall to North Vietnam and the lives of 56,000 Americans to go for nought, not to mention many more good South Vietnamese. We disgruntled returning soldier's need special watching as enemies of the state.

While "rightwing extremist" was not well-defined, it appears that I clearly am considered a rightwing extremist. Hopefully considered one who is not currently planning violence against the hugely arrogant and overblown federal government or state and local governments. I hope they recognize that I am simply executing my rights to freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, freedom of petition, and my property rights. But despite all that, I am to be watched closely as a rightwing extremist because racists and small government people are assumed by our government to be in a state of near kinship. Thanks government. I'm going to add that to my list of grievances! I sure do not trust you anti-Constitutionalist tyrant running dogs either.

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