Saturday, March 01, 2003

Soft on white supremacy

Here's a story no longer available on the Web, from the Merrillville, Ind., Post-Tribune of Feb. 28:

Bill would prohibit prison guards wearing racist insignia
INDIANAPOLIS — State prison guards would be barred from wearing racist insignias under a bill that passed the House this week.

The bill by Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, would prohibit guards from wearing clothing, jewelry or tattoos with racial insignia.

The original idea for the bill emerged two years ago, when inmates began to complain about a ring, worn by prison guards, that appeared to have the initials KKK entwined in a series of ribbons that surrounded the stone.

The state Department of Correction barred the ring and issued a new version without the questionable markings.

“They took steps to correct the problem, but they never addressed the whole issue of racial markings in the prison,” Smith said.

Here's the text of the bill. Of course, the question that springs to most people's minds is: You mean this isn't state policy already? And the answer is: In most states, probably not. In some where the Aryan Brotherhood is recognized as a problem, the matter may in fact be addressed through corrections-department regulations; in cases like Indiana's, a statutory requirement sometimes ensures that any such rule isn't overlooked, something to which wardens are sometimes prone.
A legislative study commission determined there were other problems with guards wearing racist material in the prison. Guards in downstate prisons were wearing tattoos to show their affiliation with a group called the Brotherhood, which was shown to be a white supremacist group, Smith said.

The bill passed the House 90-7 and now moves on to the Senate. The handful of lawmakers who spoke against the measure said the General Assembly was taking on a job best left to prison administrators.

Sure. Just as lynching and segregation were best handled by local folks in the South.

I was curious about the seven legislators who voted against the measure. Here are their names. See if you can spot a trend:

Rep. Timothy Brown, R-Dist. 41
Rep. Jim Buck, R-Dist. 38
Rep. Woody Burton, R-Dist. 58
Rep. Eric Gutwien, R-Dist. 16
Rep. Dennis Kruse, R-Dist. 51
Rep. Cindy Noe, R-Dist. 87
Rep. P. Eric Turner, R-Dist. 32

You'll also note the (highlighted) third name down. That's none other than the brother of noted moral paragon Rep. Dan Burton, R-Indiana.

Welcome to the 19th century

And here I thought Idaho was a backwards state:

Ohio Senate decides 14th Amendment OK after all
The Senate voted unanimously to pass the amendment, 135 years after most of the country did, and sent the resolution to the House.

The legislature passed the amendment Jan. 11, 1867, but a year later rescinded ratification as "contrary to the best interests of the white race."

Coble calls

Democratic chairman calls for Coble to resign chairmanship
"U.S. Rep. Coble is not fit to lead our country on security and constitutional matters and must resign from the chairmanship," the statement said.

Finally, at least one faction among the Democrats showed some spine. Where are you, Nancy Pelosi?

In any case, the calls are starting to mount up: The NAACP. The JACL. CAIR. Even the op-ed page of the Charlotte Observer..

The worst part of all this is that Coble so far refuses to admit he was wrong.

Are there any Republicans out there who think he was? Just wondering.

A Divine Regular Guy

A little more on the downright inspirational Bush presidency, from Alabama columnist Gene Owens (who will never be mistaken for Gene Lyons):

Bush talks to friends off the cuff
"I feel the comfort and the power of knowing that literally millions of Americans I'm never going to meet ... say my name to the Almighty every day and ask him to help me," he said. "My friend, Jiang Zemin in China, has about a billion and a half folks, and I don't think he can say that. And my friend, Vladimir Putin, I like him, but he can't say that."

All of which should make clear to any good Christian that when Bush makes a decision, it's being made with the full guidance of our Lord and Savior Himself.

Of course, no Bush remarks would be complete without pointing out that he pays no attention to his detractors:
"I don't listen to this noise that goes on around here, and I don't pay much attention to those people who want to stay here, he said. I came from Texas, and I'll go back to Texas. And in Midland, Texas, when I grew up, there were more signs saying Get us out of the UN' than there were saying God Bless America.' And there were plenty of God Bless America' signs."

As it happens, of course, those anti-U.N. signs were erected by members of the John Birch Society.

This is the kind of remark I'm referring to when discussing the gestures Bush makes in the direction of right-wing extremists. It plays no small role in the wide support he enjoys among so many of them.

Friday, February 28, 2003

Rush, Newspeak and fascism: Part 6

I'd like to apologize to everyone who's been following the series on fascism; I've kind of dropped the ball since Part 5 appeared nearly three weeks ago. These posts require a great deal of focus and I've been distracted by other issues. I'll try to catch up in the coming days with more regular installments in the series. (I've put links to the previous five parts at the bottom of this post.)

I left off talking about how -- left-wing hyperbole notwithstanding -- our current state couldn't be called fascist per se. We are, however, in danger of a real manifestation of it, particularly if the identifiable proto-fascist elements form a power alliance with the corporatist elements; and secondarily, if this alliance is effected under the aegis of a singular charismatic personality. I mentioned that I would try to tackle the key role of "transmitters" in this process, but a couple of things have happened in the interim that have forced another important component to the fore, and I'd like to tackle it this week: Namely, the role of Bush's professed religiosity and the image, promoted by himself and by the White House, of W. as an instrument of God.

As I mentioned, the Bush regime is clearly comprised of corporatists. A couple of readers wrote in to point out that Mussolini himself described fascism as corporatism in control of the state -- though of course, this is a typically self-serving (for Il Duce) and incomplete definition of fascism, as I've explained previously. Nonetheless, as Matthew Davis wrote in an e-mail:
Any reasonable definition of 'fascism' should incorporate a corporatist component--both Mussolini and Franco (and certainly Hitler, who's not really a pure Fascist) were big on running their country for the benefit of corporate elites, at the expense of labor (sound familiar?). They occupied a grey area where industry wasn't the direct property of the state, but maintained a hand-in-glove symbiosis. The U.S. under Bush isn't quite as tight with industry, but it ain't that far off, either.

However, I think it's important to point out that much of what prevents the current regime from being defined by any reasonable measure as 'fascist' is the extent to which it resorts to thuggery and street violence, or any of the other tactics of threatening initimidation that are associated with genuine fascism -- which so far is not to any great or really appreciable degree. That may, however, be changing.

It's worth observing, of course, that these tactics are favored by the kind of denizens that normally made up the identifiable proto-fascist element in America: namely, the Patriot/militia movement and associated manifestations of right-wing extremism, especially including anti-abortion extremists. And unfortunately, the Bush campaign's apparent alliance with some of these thuggish elements in the Florida debacle indicates that, when push comes to shove, they may be precisely the kind of corporatists who wouldn't hesitate a moment to form an alliance with, and unleash the latent violence of, the Patriots and their ilk. And when that occurs, we will have full-blown fascism on our hands.

Certainly, as I've already pointed out, much of this element clearly identifies with Bush now and could be considered fully part of the Republican electorate, instead of the maverick Reform Party-type voters they may have been eight years ago. The extent to which this identification deepens in the coming years may well determine whether or not this proto-fascist element will blossom further inside the mainstream. Certainly it is clear that it is already deepening in the administration's response to the antiwar protests, and the coalescence of the footsoldiers of the far right behind Bush on this front.

These folks are one of the more significant components of right-wing extremism, because they represent its largest component. Most militias and right-wing extremist organizations typically enjoy a kind of hierarchy: the leaders, the True Believers, and the footsoldiers. The leaders and the True Believers, who remain relatively small in numbers, are unlikely to have shifted over to Bush's camp (though again it's worth noting that even noted white-supremacist leaders announced their support for Bush's candidacy in 2000). On the other hand, it's also become clear that the footsoldiers -- the followers who signed up for militia duty when Clinton was in office, but who don't see the threat now that Bush is running the show -- are fully in the Republican camp now.

The meeting ground of so much of this far-right ideology with mainstream conservatism has for the previous eight years been mostly in the Clinton-hating pursuit of the last duly-elected president. But now, with Bush in office, the field is shifting. The new meeting ground is fundamentalist Christianity, and particularly its role in the post-Sept. 11 environment and the Bush presidency.

Most Patriot footsoldiers I encountered were fundamentalist Christians of some kind. (True Believers, on the other hand, had a tendency toward either a military background or a fetish about all things soldierly, and were actually more likely to be agnostic, though of course they could provide great lip service to fundamentalist sentiments.) In some cases, the brand of religion they practiced was white-supremacist Identity, which actually is a particularly virulent strain of fundamentalism. Indeed, I've argued elsewhere that Identity in many ways is the logical outcome of the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy that in so many ways forms the core of fundamentalism.

In most cases, though, Patriot followers tended to subscribe to various forms of more generic fundamentalism, especially the culturally conservative style favored by Southern Baptists, as well as the Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells out there evangelizing on television. Of course, Robertson himself is noted for promoting Patriotesque "New World Order" conspiracy theories himself, and Falwell's "Clinton Conspiracy" ventures were extraordinarily popular among the militia set as well.

The ties binding President Bush in with this sector have seen some significant developments in recent weeks:

-- First were the reports that came leaking out of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Crystal City, Va., earlier this month:
Rev. Lou Sheldon, the founder of the Traditional Values Coalition and sworn enemy of homosexuality, put it best. Asked if Bush was in sync with his agenda, he replied, "George Bush is our agenda!"

It's important to note what the atmosphere was like at the CPAC gathering: The Clinton-hate remains palpable and is an important trigger topic, but the focus has shifted to two topics: first, the utter demonization of all things liberal, with a rising quota of eliminationist rhetoric; and an exaltation of all things Bush, with a heavy emphasis on the Christian aspect of his "character" and the clear implication of divine Providence in his presidency.

CPAC is an important conjunction of the mainstream and extremist right, so it's very instructive to see the commingling of ideologies at its gathering. Back when I was posting on the conference earlier, a skeptical reader wrote to pose a pertinent question:
My secretary took a couple of days off last week to go to the CPAC convention and she's not particularly religious, not a theocrat by any means or Patriot-type, just a mainstream conservative, so I am more than a little confused by your claims about CPAC.

This is, of course, the entire point: Gatherings like CPAC give a broad range of extremists, posing as ordinary Joes or Limbaughite loudmouths, the opportunity to spread their radical ideas among the whole sector of mainstream conservatism. Unassuming conservatives go to these gatherings and come away at least exposed to, if not outright converted to, some of these extremist beliefs. That's how these ideas eventually gain circulation among the broader population, often dressed up in a nice Republican cloth coat.

-- Next was Bush's relatively mundane appearance before the National Religious Broadcasters in which he touted his 'faith-based initiatives.' What was noteworthy was that at the same conference, the NRB's president, Glenn Plummer, delivered a scathing attack on Islam, denouncing it as a 'pagan religion' -- which is the kind of talk the Bush team has, up till now, done an admirable job of countering. (Recall that Bush chastised both Falwell and Robertson for similar loose talk in early December.) After all, much of the president's war coalition depends upon Islamic allies, and moreover, an Islam-vs.-West cultural conflict is precisely the trap Osama bin Laden has laid for us. But Plummer's remarks received neither rebuke nor demurral from the White House.

-- Then, there have been a spate of stories describing Bush's religiosity, notably this one from the Baltimore Sun:

Christ-centered course of faith-based president worries some
At the same time, Bush's stepped-up efforts to express his faith coincide with a White House drive to court religious conservatives in advance of the president's 2004 re-election campaign.

The president's top political adviser, Karl Rove, has concluded up to 4 million Christian conservatives who probably would have voted for Bush instead stayed home in the 2000 election. Rove said a year ago that "we have to spend a lot of time and energy" drawing them back into politics.

Of course, we've discussed previously Bush's predilection for seeing himself in a messianic light. I was particularly struck by the passage from ex-speechwriter David Frum's book about Bush, mentioned in the Progressive piece at the last link:
That Bush believes he was assigned the Presidency from on high comes through in another passage of Frum's book. After Bush's September 20, 2001, speech to Congress, Gerson called up the President to compliment him: "Mr. President, when I saw you on television, I thought--God wanted you there," Gerson said, according to Frum.

"He wants us all here, Gerson," the President responded, according to Frum.

It's clear that not only does Bush see himself as a man on a divine mission, but he actively cultivates this view of his importance among his staff. Moreover, the White House similarly promotes this image to the public, particularly among conservative Christians.

It's important to note that the White House has been very secretive about the nature of Bush's relationship with the religious right. Indeed, his pre-election overtures to the fundamentalists were specifically kept under wraps. It was something that should have been noticed and uncovered at the time, but everyone was too busy unearthing Al Gore "lies."

I'm thinking specifically of Skipp Porteous' work at the (apparently now-defunct) Institute for First Amendment Studies. Skipp attempted to find out just what Bush was saying at one of the meetings where many of us suspect he was promising to carry out their agenda once elected -- specifically, a meeting of the Council for National Policy in 1999:
To find out what the Republican candidate for president had to say to such a group, the Institute for First Amendment Studies (IFAS) ordered a set of audiotapes of the sessions. Using an approach that had worked several times in the past – tapes are available to members only – the tapes finally arrived, sans the Bush speech.

IFAS contacted Skynet Media, the recording company hired to record CNP meetings. IFAS then learned that it wasn't the fanatically secretive CNP that decided to delete the Bush tape from the package – the deletion was done on direct order from the Bush campaign. When asked if they actually have the Bush tape, Skynet spokesperson Curt Morse said, "We do," and also noted it wasn't available at any price.

When asked about Bush's speech at CNP, Scott Sforca, a press officer for the George W. Bush for President campaign office, claimed that the meeting "doesn't ring a bell" with him.

When contacted by The New York Times, CNP executive director Blackwell put it as follows: "[T]he Bush entourage said they preferred that the tape[s] not go out, though I could not see any reason why they shouldn't." Blackwell claims that it was a standard speech that he had heard before and since.

Ari Fleischer, a Bush campaign spokesman, told The Times that if anyone was "hoping to hear something that the governor would say that he hasn't said publicly, then they're on a wild goose chase." Fleischer declined to characterize the speech, but said, "When we go to meetings that are private, they remain private." He added, "As far as we know, there is no tape."

Of course, any reporter worth their salt would recognize that Fleischer is baldly lying. If it's only a mundane speech, then what's the secrecy? Why not just let journalists listen to it?

[Sure. I know the answer. The same one you get to the question: Why doesn't he just release his military records?]

The sum of all this identification of Bush with a Divine Agenda -- which has reached such heights that now they're even organizing fasts for Bush -- is especially troubling in light of the presence of a proto-fascist element within the ranks of those who openly and avidly support him. While Bush himself may not be charismatic in any kind of classic sense, his adoption of this image may be an effective substitute for rallying a fanatical following, especially in a time of war.

This has been driven home in the past week as the rhetoric identifying antiwar dissent as "treason" has reached new levels, as has the open use of thuggery to silence dissent.

The essence of this mindset is the concept, described by John Burns in his excellent letter, of "a law beyond the law":
Even without the threat of punishment, every violation of the goals towards which the community is striving is wrong per se. As a result, the law gives up all claim to be the sole source for determining right and wrong. What is right may be learned not only from the law but also from the concept of justice which lies behind the law and may not have found perfect expression in the law.

This very concept is now being circulated by none other than Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The upshot, I'm afraid, is that the Supreme Court itself is in danger of aligning itself explicitly with the open use of such thuggery as may be necessary to maintain power.

Dave Johnson really brought this to my attention with this post at Seeing the Forest, which directed us to a May 2002 piece by Scalia:

God's Justice and Ours

As Johnson correctly sums up:
Scalia appears to think that the way to identify legitimate God-chosen leaders is when they seize power in conflict, demonstrating that God chose them over others. He writes,

"These passages from Romans represent the consensus of Western thought until very recent times. Not just of Christian or religious thought, but of secular thought regarding the powers of the state. That consensus has been upset, I think, by the emergence of democracy. It is easy to see the hand of the Almighty behind rulers whose forebears, in the dim mists of history, were supposedly anointed by God, or who at least obtained their thrones in awful and unpredictable battles whose outcome was determined by the Lord of Hosts, that is, the Lord of Armies. It is much more difficult to see the hand of God—or any higher moral authority—behind the fools and rogues (as the losers would have it) whom we ourselves elect to do our own will. How can their power to avenge—to vindicate the “public order”—be any greater than our own?"

Scalia's formula invites all kinds of mischief, including particularly the overthrow of democracy itself. Notably, of course, Scalia reveals an open hostility to democracy anyway, contending that it tends "to obscure the divine authority behind government."

Under the legal theory Scalia now seems to advocate, a Bush administration that saw itself on a divine mission might find some justification for refusing to relinquish the reins of power to a Democratic election winner in 2004. With the backing of Patriot thugs who shout down political dissenters, and a devotedly pro-Bush military, it would not be hard to imagine who would be most likely to lay claim to being the "hand of God" and thereby winning Scalia's proclamation as the nation's true ruler, mere democracy notwithstanding.

This is not to suggest that such an unthinkable scenario is being plotted by the administration. But when the rhetoric starts inviting thuggery, the equation changes dramatically. And events have a way of piling upon themselves inevitably. After all, who could have foreseen the sequence that brought us Bush v. Gore?

That ruling was, in many ways, a harbinger, in that it represented a similar capitulation to thuggish, proto-fascist elements. Recall, if you will, that it is a unique ruling in that it has virtually no defenders or supporters outside of a tiny clique centered around the arguments offered by Richard Posner. And the essence of Posner's defense of Bush v. Gore is that, yes, legally it may have been a thoroughly unsound ruling, but the court was acting in a practical sense by settling the election decisively, because otherwise incipient social chaos threatened. It was, you see, justice, not the law.

Of course, as it happened, the only sector of the country that was likely at the time to enact any widespread social chaos was the extremist right -- the same Freepers and Patriots who are now threatening to string up anyone who questions the Divine President's war plans.

I promise: Next I will discuss how "transmitters" like Rush Limbaugh and the Free Republic make this all happen. They're the straws who stir the pot.

Here's the rest of the series:

Rush, Newspeak and fascism: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

From the horse's, er, something

Finally: Someone is transcribing Rush Limbaugh and putting his words down in black and white, so that at long last he may be called to account for them:

Rush Transcript

[Note the attractive template.]

Grand salami

[Click for full cartoon.]

Tom Tomorrow knocks one out of the park. Here is the Salon link.

Be sure to visit his blog too: This Modern World

The War on Dissent: Goosestepping Along

Some fresh salvoes in the ongoing war against any criticism of the Bush administration:

Michael Savage, soon-to-be MSNBC talk-show host, has proposed the following law:

The Sedition Act

Read its sickening contents for yourself. At his Web site, his basic pitch is this:
Time to Arrest the Leaders of the Anti-War Movement,
Once we Go To War?
We Must Protect Our Troops!

Via Media Whores Online, we also have the latest offerings from that Faux journalist, Bill O'Reilly:
"Once the war against Saddam Hussein begins, we expect every American to support our military, and if you can't do that, just shut up.

"Americans, and indeed our foreign allies who actively work against our military once the war is underway, will be considered enemies of the state by me.

"Just fair warning to you, Barbra Streisand and others who see the world as you do. I don't want to demonize anyone, but anyone who hurts this country in a time like this, well. Let's just say you will be spotlighted."

Hell, Bill. Why not just urge them to start building the concentration camps now?

Finally, Atrios bring us this startling account of what befell an antiwar protester recently in Atlanta:
I never chanted, raised my voice, confronted anyone or was disrespectful to those around me. I simply held my sign and stood my ground. The abuse came first from a small group of homemakers standing near me, their small children dressed in red, white and blue.

"Go home! You don't belong here," they said.

All around me folks began to speak up, and it wasn't long before a large group of people crossed the street with banners and flags and began aggressively yelling "Go USA!" Bob, a young man with a ball cap and a sign reading "Drop Bush, Not Bombs" came and stood with me for support.

The really frightening stuff began when a television cameraman stopped and asked me why I was there. As soon as the crowd saw the camera pointed at me, they went wild. I was trying to express myself and they screamed at me and over my voice. A man stood behind me making obscene gestures as I spoke.

The reporter tried three times, unsuccessfully, to get a picture without obscenity. One woman spat in my hair. The journalist gave up and moved on. The mob did not. Men and women violently screamed in my face and Bob's.

It stopped just long enough for the president's motorcade to pass by and then erupted again. We were told to " Get the f--- out of the country," had obscene gestures pushed in our faces. An elderly man told me to "Go to hell!"

Some months ago, I opened up a thread at Salon's Table Talk:

The war on dissent: Will the far right silence criticism of Bush?

Its basic predicate was my theory that as the Bush administration faced more difficulty acheiving its agenda, it would be more likely to resort to unleashing the reactionarism of the extremist right, particularly those jingoes who equate dissent with treason. As I've noted on multiple occasions, such views are innately anti-democratic, because their essence is intimidation, not debate. And the end result would be increasingly violent confrontations between Bushevikis and protesters opposed to his policies.

I predicted that the administration would make the necessary wink-and-nudge remarks that would loose these particular dogs -- and indeed, just before this most recent spate, we saw Vice President Cheney similarly equating dissent with treason.

What I didn't anticipate was the extent to which the mass media -- particularly the Fox News/Limbaugh/Savage axis -- would play a prominent role in whipping up this jingoism. But it's clear this is occurring at a brisk pace now. As the propaganda volumes rise, look for things to become increasingly worse.

And if the Democrats make a serious run in 2004 at the Bush regime's grip on power, don't be surprised if it becomes downright dangerous to be a liberal.

Flaming trousers

Did Karl Rove commit perjury? As Sam Heldman at Ignatz suggests, it's difficult to read this Dana Milbank piece and not come away with that clear impression:

The Political Mind Behind Tort Reform
Rove's claim of responsibility for the tort reform issue is somewhat at odds with a deposition he gave during the tobacco lawsuit. Asked whether he discussed overhauling civil liability law with then-Gov. Bush, he replied: "I can't say that I did. But I can't say that I didn't. I do not recall. I know that tort reform was a significant part of his legislative agenda but it was not my area."

The question is: Is he lying now, or was he lying then?

Or perhaps the more pertinent question: When doesn't this man lie?

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Some bedtime reading

Editha, by William Dean Howells.

Alone, but not alone

From the New York Times:

Agencies Warn of Lone Terrorists
"Lone extremists represent an ongoing terrorist threat in the United States," the bulletin said. "Lone extremists may operate independently or on the fringes of established extremist groups, either alone or with one or two accomplices."

This story is certainly worthwhile, and points up a trend among the far right we have in fact been seeing in recent years. But there is an underlying thesis here that's not quite correct: Namely, since these acts are idiosyncratic they are therefore only peripherally associated with ideology; thus, there's no real point worrying about those links to right-wing extremism.
"Many lone extremists have no links to conventional terrorist groups," the bulletin of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said. "In fact, F.B.I. analysis suggests that psychological abnormalities, as much as devotion to an ideology, drive lone extremists to commit violent acts."

There is of course some truth to this, but it is hardly the whole picture. Moreover, the desire to cast these terrorists as "lone nuts" is unfortunately part of the same view that would pretend Tim McVeigh's long ideological associations with right-wing extremists were unimportant. Or that Benjamin Smith's affiliations with the World Church of the Creator were insignificant. In other words, they are succumbing to the entire purpose of so-called 'leaderless resistance' strategies.

Even more important, creating "lone wolf" terrorist actors is specifically a strategy being promoted heavily by right-wing extremists. This trend has been noted many times by groups that monitor the far right. See, for example, this report from the ADL:

Alex Curtis and 'Lone Wolf' Extremism
He envisioned a two-tiered hate movement in which "divisive or subversive" propaganda would be widely distributed and would guide a revolutionary underground. The underground would consist of "lone wolves" - racist warriors acting alone or in small groups who attacked the government or other targets in "daily, anonymous acts." Curtis saw himself as a propagandist sowing the seeds of a racist revolution, and he predicted that "lone wolves" would reap the harvest.

In a diary entry from 1993, later obtained by police, Curtis wrote, "I plan to make it my life's goal to rid the Earth of the unwanted un-Aryan elements, by whatever means necessary and possible." Curtis openly discussed assassination as a realistic and desirable possibility. Borrowing from former Klan and Aryan Nations leader Louis Beam, who had first promoted the idea, Curtis posted to his Web site a "Lone Wolf Point System" that awarded scores to would-be assassins based on the importance of their victims; the goal was to help readers "intelligently judge the effectiveness of proposed acts against the enemy." Few possibilities for attacking "the enemy" escaped Curtis's attention: he contemplated illegal drug sales as a way to further a racist revolution and even postulated the use of biological weapons.

The reality is that a 'lone wolf' terrorist is highly likely to have been inspired to some degree by right-wing extremists, many of whom have openly proclaimed Sept. 11 as the turning point in their would-be revolution to overthrow democracy. It may not always be the case, but the probability remains high.

Brotherhood on the right

Evidently, the coalescence of white supremacists and Middle Eastern terrorists we've been predicting here is starting to occur north of the border:

Extremists joining forces, CSIS warns: Unlikely partners: White supremacists allying with Islamists, document claims
Experts say Canada's extreme right has been largely in disarray since the 1994 collapse of the Heritage Front, a Toronto-based white supremacist group that united the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations and a U.S. criminal terrorist group called The Order.

But such hate groups have found a common cause recently with Muslim extremists in the Arab world who have been promoting Jewish conspiracy theories and attempting to deny the legitimacy of Israel, experts say.

"The threat from the far right has not disappeared, though it's been overshadowed by the threat from Islamism and Arabism," said Manuel Prutschi of the Canadian Jewish Congress. "And indeed, in some ways, they have re-energized each other. It's a bizarre alliance, but nonetheless there it is."

A source familiar with Canada's extreme right agreed, saying: "The people in leadership of the right wing are always looking for opportunities."

I've been trying to stress this all along: That white supremacists and neo-Nazis clearly view the havoc wreaked by 9/11 as a prime opportunity to "piggyback" on the violence and spread even more chaos. Indeed, that has been their agenda for the past 20 years: To convince the public that their democratically elected government cannot keep them safe; at which they intended to present their authoritarian alternative as the answer. The entire purpose of Oklahoma City, lest anyone forget, was of a piece with this agenda. And it is appearing increasingly likely that the October-November 2001 anthrax attacks were part of the "piggybacking" strategy as well.

Now, remind me again: Who comprises the real "fifth column" in this country?

More Republican racial sensitivity

Ex-GOP chairman sues N. Idaho paper over quote
He was quoted in the newspaper article as saying, "You probably cannot find an African-American male on the street in Washington, D.C., that hasn't been arrested or convicted of a crime."

A day later, Clark said his words should have been: "I know of no African-American males in Washington, D.C., who don't have at least a couple of friends who have been arrested or convicted of a felony."

The strange thing about this suit is that Clark doesn't seem to have a leg to stand on, while the Spokesman's reporters are noted for taking copious notes and recording their interviews.

I used to encounter this kind of tactic from Idaho Republicans all the time: Even if you're wrong, cover for it with threats and legal bluster. Ex-Sen. Steve Symms and Helen Chenoweth on various occasions threatened me with similar actions, to which my response uniformly was: 'Bring it on. We'll see you in discovery.' At which point they went away. Clark must have even more chutzpah.

Gibbering jingoes

Well, CPO Starkey over at Sgt. Stryker's blog has posted a response of sorts to my earlier critique of his work, which to his ears apparently was a mere rant.

Perhaps that explains why there isn't much 'there' there. Indeed, the peculiar thing about this "response" is that it responds to only one of the five points I raised regarding the afactuality of the "history" he has presented so far. Moreover, while that single response was reasonably adequate in disputing a peripheral point I had raised, it in fact served to once again underscore the central point I was making, and which evidently continues to elude Sparkey: Namely, that the "Magic" cables no more justified the internment of the entire population of Japanese-Americans on the Coast than it would have justified rounding up all African-Americans or all Caucasians in the same areas.

Indeed, not only has Sparkey rather abjectly failed to respond to the remainder of the issues, he also has so far been unable to address the issue of the utterly false assertions he made at the Stryker blog, which were contested not only by myself but by Eric Muller at Is That Legal?. (Heaven forfend that he should once again try to assert that "race wasn't a major issue back then," considering the wealth of material that has been posted here already that would reveal that claim for the utter rubbish it is.)

Much of the rest of Sparkey's response is devoted to playing up an irrelevant mistake I made in my earlier posts and for which I did apologize. (I guess I must be the only one confused by Stryker's blog; for all I could tell, since there is zero information about the contributors to the blog, the names at the tops of the individual posts could have merely represented whatever voice was screaming to get out of Stryker's head that morning.) He also devotes considerable conjecture to my mental state as I write, most of which is pretty hilarious and unintentionally revealing, since anyone with a smattering of psychology can recognize projection when they see it. Ah well. I guess such straws are important to grasp when the rest of your argument is being blown away.

And can anyone explain to me exactly which link I contained in my posts that didn't take the reader to a relevant post? If it's a broken link, I'd be glad to fix it. However, my strong suspicion is that these remarks are more likely related to a reading-comprehension problem on Sparkey's part. (Lord knows I shouldn't look to Sparkey himself for any coherence on this point.)

As for the remainder: I normally prefer not to dignify juvenilia like this with a response, but for the disinterested readers out there who may be wondering about his imputations regarding my honesty, I'll only say this: Please review the links in this post. Please review Sparkey's posts as well. Then judge for yourself who is being intellectually honest here:

-- The person who is citing the direct words of the principals involved; the actual newspaper files from the period; the government records; and fully accredited (and properly published) academic studies of the relevant history.

-- Or, the person who not only is posting false information in this debate, but who is moreover pulling the vast majority of his material from an unaccredited, self-published pseudo-history text that belongs in the same genre as David Irving's work.

I rest my case.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

A brief break

I'm off to the wilds of Idaho for a few days and not taking a laptop, so my ability to post will be limited. I'm talking to some J school students at my alma mater in Moscow. I should be back in the saddle on Wednesday.