Free Markets, Free People

Militias and Right-Wingers and Race, Oh My

You know I’ve watched the Southern Poverty Law Center’s rise over the years as the self-proclaimed expert on “extremist hate groups”. But what I’ve also deduced over those years, mostly by observing when and what we hear from them, is it is primarily an organization that sees the “right-wing” as the primary threat to America.

They’d most likely deny that and point to their “Hate Groups Map” and its inclusion of black separatist organizations, but they even put a caveat on their inclusion of them:

Although the Southern Poverty Law Center recognizes that much black racism in America is, at least in part, a response to centuries of white racism, it believes racism must be exposed in all its forms. White groups espousing beliefs similar to Black Separatists would be considered clearly racist. The same criterion should be applied to all groups regardless of their color.

Other than a mention of what the organization is, i.e. Nation of Islam or New Black Panther party, and a short description of their beliefs, you’ll not find much on the SPLC’s website about what would be considered “leftist extremist” hate groups.

And you’ll find nothing in their legal docket where they’ve ever taken one of these groups on in court. One would think the voter intimidation by two New Black Panthers in Philadelphia that occurred in the last presidential election would be right in their sweet spot, but there is no indication whatsoever that such activity even caught their attention.

So it stands to reason that the SPLC loves it when a Democratic administration comes into being because it naturally plays into their primary focus and that elevates their importance (because gullible media outlets will naturally buy into what they’re selling) and we see the “rise of the right-wing militias” nonsense begin again.

Today’s featured gullible media outlet is ABC News, which breathlessly repeats, er, reports that, yup, those right-wing militias, they’re rising again:

Experts who track hate groups across the U.S. are growing increasingly concerned over violent rhetoric targeted at President Obama, especially as the debate over health care intensifies and a pattern of threats emerges.

Any guess as to what “experts” they’re talking about?

And you have to love the examples ABC News uses to transition into tarring the right as a bunch of racists:

The Secret Service is investigating a Maryland man who held a sign reading “Death to Obama” and “Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids” outside a town hall meeting this week. And in New Hampshire, another man stood across the street from a Presidential town hall with his gun on full display.

Los Angeles police officers apprehended a man Thursday after a standoff with him inside a red Volkswagen Bug car in Westwood, CA – the latest disturbing case even though officials said the man had mental problems.

Ya think? Tell me, thinking back, did John Hinckley represented the “extremist left” when he shot Ronald Reagan? I don’t believe that question was ever raised by the SPLC at the time.

We have a guy legally carrying a gun (although admittedly doing so at an inappropriate time and at an inappropriate place) and one sign among thousands which is inappropriate all included with one mentally whacked individual in CA and we’re ready to conclude that right-wing hate-mongers – violent right-wing hate-mongers (or “evil-mongers” if you’re a Harry Reid fan) – are on the rise.

There’s another bit of “mongering” going on here – fearmongering.

“I don’t think these are simply people who are mentally ill or off their rocker,” Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told ABC News of those behind the threats. “In a very real sense they represent a genuine reaction, a genuine backlash against Obama.”

Notice the substance of the SPLC’s accusation. He’s speaking of townhall protesters in general and essentially saying while the three in question may actually include one real a whack job, they represent the true feelings of the protesters – this is all about Obama.

And the inference of making it “all about Obama”? Say it with me now – he’s a black man. And that, dear reader, makes it all about racism.

If you don’t believe that’s what they’re suggesting, you might want to read their website. From the short description of their “special report” on “The Return of the Militias”:

After virtually disappearing from public view a decade ago, the antigovernment militia movement is surging across the country – fueled by fears of a black president, the changing demographics of the country and fringe conspiracy theories increasingly spread by mainstream figures.

Anyone remember why the militia movement began back then? Well it had nothing to do with a “black president” and everything to do with what appeared to be a expansion of government to include another health care grab.

From the first article in the “special report”, two things to note. One, it’s all anonymous “reports”:

Authorities around the country are reporting a worrying uptick in Patriot activities and propaganda. “This is the most significant growth we’ve seen in 10 to 12 years,” says one. “All it’s lacking is a spark. I think it’s only a matter of time before you see threats and violence.”

Frankly this is akin to National Enquirer reporting and shades of the recent DHS “intelligence” report.

Two, it is all about Obama being a “black man’.

A key difference this time is that the federal government — the entity that almost the entire radical right views as its primary enemy — is headed by a black man. That, coupled with high levels of non-white immigration and a decline in the percentage of whites overall in America, has helped to racialize the Patriot movement, which in the past was not primarily motivated by race hate.

Nothing to support this at all, simply an assertion that fits the agenda of those writing the “special report”. Who is spreading fear now?

The second “report” of the SLPC’s “special report” by Larry Keller:

One big difference from the militia movement of the 1990s is that the face of the federal government — the enemy that almost all parts of the extreme right see as the primary threat to freedom — is now black. And the fact that the president is an African American has injected a strong racial element into even those parts of the radical right, like the militias, that in the past were not primarily motivated by race hate. Contributing to the racial animus have been fears on the far right about the consequences of Latino immigration.

Sound familiar? Yup, it doesn’t take a literary critic to understand that Larry wrote not only his own screed, but the first unattributed screed as well. So essentially, what we have to this point is Larry Keller’s opinion, unsourced and undocumented, as to what is going on.

What’s pitiful is in the 4 paragraphs leading up to the paragraph above, he gives not one scintilla of support for the premise he lays out there – it’s all about Obama because he’s black. The people he’s talking about haven’t been mentioned in any news reports as being attendees at a single townhall protest that I’ve seen. But that doesn’t stop him from inferring that they’re the primary movers in this protest movement

Apparently, about half way through, he had a momentary attack of conscience and takes a swipe at some factual objectivity:

It’s not 1996 all over again, or 1997 or 1998. Although there has been a remarkable rash of domestic terrorist incidents since Obama’s election in November, it has not reached the level of criminal violence, attempted terrorist attacks and white-hot language that marked the militia movement at its peak.

Again, he makes an unsupported assertion (“… there has been a remarkable rash of domestic terrorist incidents since Obama’s election in November” – really? Where?), but admits this is nothing like the supposed golden age of militias in the ’90s (which led to what? Not much of anything.).

And you have to love this:

At the Jacksonville, Fla., July tea party, some protesters carried signs that compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler.

Gasp! I’ll bet Keller was all over the “Bush/Hitler” comparisons for the last 8 years, wasn’t he? Uh, no. But to help him in his research, should he read this, I’ve googled it for him.

The last of the “special reports” is by David Holthouse. It’s all about “Camp Vigilance”, a Minute Man community in San Diego. You’re left with the impression that this boiling, seething, ready-to-explode community has arisen rather recently and is representative of the growing threat. You’re certainly left to assume it has arisen since the recent presidential election. And you’re also left to extrapolate this one place as typical of all those now protesting (why is never clear).

It was, however, established in 2006, well within the Bush administration and, apparently, despite Mr. Holthouse’s attempt to make this new and fresh, it seems it’s the same collection of whack jobs that have been out there pushing conspiracy theories about the Illuminati and global bankers since I’ve been alive. It should also be noted that up to now, they’ve apparently done nothing at Camp Vigilance to bring law enforcement down on them.

The point of all this is the left, with the media’s obvious help, is bound and determined to turn this political disagreement into something about race and hate.

“I think the president has, in effect, triggered fears amongst fairly large numbers of white people in this country that they are somehow losing their country, that the battle is lost,” Potok told ABC News. “The nation that their Christian white forefathers created has somehow been taken from them.”

Yup – without “fairly large numbers of white people” available to blame this twisted message on, Potok and SPLC are out of a job, aren’t they?

Oh, and thanks, ABC – great job of fearmongering there.


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27 Responses to Militias and Right-Wingers and Race, Oh My

  • I’m so glad to see that President Obama has brought us altogether in a national “Kumbaya moment” Everybody sing …
    (special note: the above line(s) got me banned from a Progressive site this week)

    I’ll leave you with this …

    “I am in this race because I don’t want to see us spend the next year re-fighting the Washington battles of the 1990s.  I don’t want to pit Blue America against Red America; I want to lead a United States of America.”

    … Obama has failed to do this on oh so many levels.

  • That whole militias thing in the 90’s wasn’t what it was cracked up to be anyway. It came down during a time before many tubes had been constructed for the internet. So the major media, sympathetic to justify the Clinton’s DoJ actions and rules, played into the idea unchallenged.

  • Fear for Obama’s Safety Grows…

    Bart: [low voice] Hold it! Next man makes a move, the n….. gets it!

    Olson Johnson: Hold it, men. He’s not bluffing.

    Dr. Sam Johnson: Listen to him, men. He’s just crazy enough to do it!

    Bart: [low voice] Drop it! Or I swear I’ll blow this n…..’s head all over this town!

    Bart: [high-pitched voice] Oh, lo’dy, lo’d, he’s desp’it! Do what he sayyyy, do what he sayyyy! [Townspeople drop their guns. Bart jams the gun into his neck and drags himself through the crowd towards the station]

    Harriet Johnson: Isn’t anybody going to help that poor man?

    Dr. Sam Johnson: Hush, Harriet! That’s a sure way to get him killed!

    … is ABC trying make this happen ?

  • Reading the various “reports” about nasty ol’ hate-filled white racist bigot militia rednecks, it seems to me that I see a lack of (to borrow a phrase) intellectual rigor.

    These people are morons. Why, oh WHY does anybody listen to them???

  • Only a racist would doubt the Southern Poverty Law Center.
    So send in your check or we will taunt you a second time.

  • Fine, yes I’m a racist, whatever you want.

    Now we have that out of the way, what else do you got?

  • Can’t have demonization without some demons.  Unseen, unknown, undetectable, lurking in the hedges outside the White House. 
    Largely right wing, largely white, probably Southern, mostly of low educational background (Be on the lookout for half the country… that is all…)
    We don’t really know who they are personally, but we have a pretty good idea that they don’t like the President, and we KNOW they’ve now suddenly realized…he’s black.  And to top it all off they’re worried he’s going to take away their cozy relationship with Big Insurance and Big Pharma, and Big Corporations (it’s completely unclear why uneducated right wing white Southerners would have connections to Big Insurance, Big Pharma and Big Corporations though) and they’re very much against a National Health Care plan!

  • (although admittedly doing so at an inappropriate time and at an inappropriate place)
    Who the hell are YOU to say when its appropriate for someone to possess their own property?
    Its none of your business or anyone elses when or where he carries his gun.
    Look, I could be standing right next to that guy with my 28 oz wafflehead Estwing in its holster and no one would raise an eyebrow or even notice but in less time than it takes for that guy to pull his piece and rack the slide he’d could be mincemeat from that Estwing and 10 or more other people in the immediate vicinity as well.
    Get a grip already jesus christ.

    • Who the hell are YOU to say when its appropriate for someone to possess their own property?

      Because the guy showing in full view his firearm then becomes the story.  It takes away from the legitimate arguments behind the protestations.
      That’s why it’s inappropriate.
      It’s not the subject of the debate.
      If this was a rally against gun control, then it might be appropriate.
      Get it?

      • No, Pogue.
        If there is a right to bear arms, it is not a right to bear arms except when protesting a Presidential proposal.  Get it?

        • No, Rick.  I don’t think that McQ’s arguing that he doesn’t have the right to bear his arms, just that it’s inappropriate to do so in this manner.  Just because one has the right to do something, doesn’t mean they should do it whenever they want.

          Besides, in McQ’s post, he lays out why it’s ridiculous to fear “right-wing extremists.”
          Yet this guy shows up at a rally, or whatever, bearing his gun when he clearly doesn’t need to (I mean, it’s not south central LA or something) while carrying a sign making reference to Jefferson’s famous quote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

          You see, this just gives ammunition to those that insist there are dangerous right-wing extremist out there who want to overthrow the government.  It allows the Chris Mathews and others to focus on this guy who just seems to be taunting.

          It’s inappropriate.

          I mean, does this guy carry his firearm to the company picnic?  Screaming, “I have a right to carry this gun!!”
          Do you?

          I doubt it.  But maybe.  You just might be that kind of nutbag that no one wants to be around.

          There is a time and a place for just about everything.

          Get it?

          Probably not though.

    • Who the hell are YOU to say when its appropriate for someone to possess their own property?

      Well, A) he wasn’t on his own property he was at a political meeting, and B) such a display could reasonably be considered a threat by the Secret Service and C) as Pogue points out, then the gun becomes the story and not the protest which sort of defeats the purpose of being there, doesn’t it?

      So D) it’s you who needs to get a grip and use a little common sense. I said “inappropriate” which it clearly was, not “deprive him of his property”.

      • Everything, including tap water, seems to be viewed as a threat by the secret service. I am sure they were also examining the facial expressions of everyone in sight.

        • Everything, including tap water, seems to be viewed as a threat by the secret service.

          Umm… What!?
          Wait a minute… Is this about Joe and his coffee????

  • I’ve been showing how the SPLC gets things wrong or smears for years, including harping on something about them that no one else will mention. So, it’s good to see this site finally get around to even a useless blog post like this.

    However, it might be better if this site would admit that its (more or less) support for a “free movement of people” would give even more power to the SPLC. I.e., the SPLC would become more powerful if this site had its way.

    • Really? Want to point out where “this site” has come out for the “free movement of people” across borders? I assume that’s what you’re talking about. We’re all for free movement of people within the US. And, in a perfect world where government wasn’t running a welfare state, free movement of people across borders wouldn’t be much of a problem – as we proved early in our history. But, and although I may be mistaken I believe it was Milton Friedman who said, you can have a welfare state or free movement across borders, but not both.

      Instead of assuming to know what this “site” has said when it is obvious you’re clueless, it might be worth your while to actually find out. Otherwise, you come off as an uninformed idiot. And, in your particular comment, you’ve managed that quite handily.

  • The SPLC is a very interesting group of people. They are the most conspiratorial bunch I have seen, second only to the 9/11 truthers. McQ has often said that leftists are blind to irony and in the case of SPLC he has mined the mother lode. Go to their web site, if you have a Spartan constitution, and see them dance around the overt racism of LaMechca and The New Black Panthers. I have never seen such an astonishing display of twisted logic and hypocrisy. I am not sure how one even begins to deal with monsters like Morris Dees and this Potok character without being infuriated beyond words. Thanks for speaking out, McQ.

  • “But what I’ve also deduced over those years, mostly by observing when and what we hear from them, is it is primarily an organization that sees the “right-wing” as the primary threat to America.”
    You say this as though you don’t believe it makes you look retarded.
    Who should they see as the primary threat to America if not those who have had planned and either carried out or had disrupted, hundreds of domestic terrorist plots since 9/11 ? The Mormons ? Insurance salesmen ? Single-parent golf coaches ? Tell us, you spectacularly ignorant man. Tell us what demographic beats out those guys.
    Or more to the point, who takes that title because you’ve given these people’s domestic terrorist attacks a pass.
    The premise of this meme appears to be that we can now pretend the SPLC is making all these claims up, because we’ve been so good at ignoring them all in the first place. It’s a pretty good system. Whackjob right-wing extremist builds dirty bomb for domestic terrorist attack, you ignore that news because he’s a right-winger, SPLC reports on it, they must have made it up.
    It does of course leave a few loose threads in terms of other media, law enforcement, the DOJ and judges all saying the same thing, but you know, all conspiracy theories have those little coverup/complicity problems.
    A little same-old, same-old though isn’t it ? I mean we did this with the Homeland Security report dedicating a whole paragraph to vets being involved in white supremacist and militia groups. Came as a huge surprise and outlandish accusation to everyone who had strenuously ignored the 14 page FBI report dedicated to that single trend published by the Bush administration 6 months earlier.
    I tell you, I can’t imagine how pissed you’re gonna be when a baseballer finally tests positive to steroids. It’s just gonna shatter your world.

  • “A key difference this time is that the federal government — the entity that almost the entire radical right views as its primary enemy — is headed by a black man.

    “Nothing to support this at all, simply an assertion that fits the agenda of those writing the “special report”. Who is spreading fear now?”
    Well, to be fair, he certainly *appears* to be a black man.
    Again, the glibness would serve you better if you were doing something other than making yourself just look spectacularly ignorant.
    Perhaps we’ll see an argument for why this is an unfair accusation against those who want to bomb government buildings to stop the Jew-controlled government. That they may be a bit racist against blacks as well. LOL

  • Again, he makes an unsupported assertion (”… there has been a remarkable rash of domestic terrorist incidents since Obama’s election in November” – really? Where?)
    Well, how about you start with the locations specified in the most recent editorial by this man, in the publication you’ve named that he publishes ? The bullet-pointed list of domestic terrorism incidents since the election would appear to be rather tailored to your question.
    But that’s not what you were asking, now was it. Yours was the rhetorical question. “Well I don’t see any domestic terrorism incidents being published around here”. Touche.
    After all, there was a listing in the other report you linked to here, quoted from and have clearly already read. Way to illustrate the “if I pretend I can’t see them then I can pretend they’re made up” principle for us there, without even being asked to. LMAO.
    but admits this is nothing like the supposed golden age of militias in the ’90s (which led to what? Not much of anything.).
    Again, nah nothing major if you dismiss what did occur. Largest terrorist attack on US soil, what’s that count for really. After all, not like that’s been a major issue given any attention here over the past few years was it. Mostly golf statistics around these parts.
    BTW, I don’t think linking to a page that says this is really helping your narrative here:
    “In February, the FBI launched a national operation targeting white supremacists and “militia/sovereign citizen extremist groups” after noting an upsurge in such organizations, The Wall Street Journal reported. ”
    Wasn’t it supposed to be just this one guy making up this trend, just the left-media buying it and there no suggestion that race was a factor ? Well what an efficient sentence that was.

    • Morris Dees, is that you? Jump up and down real hard a few times, maybe you can get the sand out . . .

  • I think the media and the Left are creating this scenario so it will happen.  They want to get rid of Obama just as much as everyone else but are too proud to admit it!  The guy holding a sign about the wife and kids at a townhall is most likely a DNC plant following Alinsky’s rules….I’m sure most people don’t hate Obama because he is black only because he is a Socialist!  And in case anyone is wondering Socialist is not a code word for N…

  • The worst thing that could happen to the right, right now, would be for something bad to happen to Obama. Obama is going to be the gift that keeps giving.

    If something does happen, likely it will some fringe group of Nationalist Socialists secretly funded by Soros.

    The Kennedy assasination was another significant blow to our republic. Not because Kennedy was such a great man, but because he couldn’t push his agenda through congress. When LBJ took over, the country was seriously screwed.

    SPLC is an interesting group of leftist morons. They were very much on the anti-gun bandwagon in the 90s, wonder if they still highlight their unconstitutional tendencies?

  • Actually, Kilo, after living in Montgomery AL for 35 years, I know the SPLC makes shit up whenever it needs more money.

  • If you’ve lived for 35 years in AL, you could tell us if the SPLC’s listing of extremist/racist groups for that state is in any way not representative of the actual left-vs-right composition of those groups.
    You could explain to the author here whether the bias in extremist groups identified in AL by the SPLC is due to the SPLC or the people of your state. Do that.

  • I’ve lived in Alabama all my life and personally know militia members. The SPLC is bullshit and always has been. They are far worse than simple liars. Real militias don’t put up with racist members – they are kicked out. Real militias don’t put up with members who even talk about bombing federal buildings and killing innocent people – they are kicked out, or worse. Real militias are not “hate groups” any more than real liberals are guilty of the things many conservatives accuse them of.

    The militia members I know may call themselves conservative, but they are not really very concerned with politics. The word “conservative” has basically lost all meaning. Most of them live by the ZAP, even if they don’t call themselves libertarians.

    The bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City was not “a key moment” for militias, as the SPLC claims. In fact it is easy to see that it was a key moment for the SPLC, and especially for those in power who lead both the “left” and “right” around by their ignorant noses.

    Kilo, you imply that militias had something to do with the “Largest terrorist attack on US soil”. You are obviously filled with hate for reasons you yourself do not understand, and are striking out at any convenient target. Don’t feel bad my friend, you are not alone.