Free Markets, Free People

Does anyone in the media remember the “Weather Underground”?

Why is it suddenly fashionable to pretend that “antigovernment” is synonymous with “right-wing extremist?” Here’s the Christian Science Monitor:

John Patrick Bedell, whom authorities identified as the gunman in the Pentagon shooting on Thursday, appears to have been a right-wing extremist with virulent antigovernment feelings.

If so, that would make the Pentagon shooting the second violent extremist attack on a federal building within the past month. On Feb. 18, Joseph Stack flew a small aircraft into an IRS building in Austin, Texas. Mr. Stack left behind a disjointed screed in which, among other things, he expressed his hatred of the government.

Bedell was a truther – not a conspiracy theory popular with the right-wing. It is conspiracy theory popular with such “righties” as Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopie Goldberg and Van Jones.

Bedell’s apparent plan was to attack and kill military members in the Pentagon. Again, not the usual territory of right-wing extremists. However, the Pentagon was the target of left-wing antigovernment groups in the ’60s such as the Weather Underground. In fact, some of that group blew themselves up preparing a bomb for an army post.  Ever hear of the Black Liberation Army?  M19CO?  Black Panthers?  Revolutionary Action Movement?  United Freedom Front?  All left-wing extremist groups and all were virulently antigovernment.  Has that all gone down the media memory hole?

Patterico points to a quote from Bedell’s online ranting that casts a different light on the Monitor’s claim:

This criminal organization would use its powers to convert military, intelligence, and law enforcement bureaucracies into instruments for political control, and the domination and subjection of society, while discrediting, destroying, and murdering honest individuals within those services, that work to root out corruption, and faithfully serve their fellow citizens. This organization, like so many murderous governments throughout history, would see the sacrifice of thousands of its citizens in an event such as the September 11 attacks, as a small cost in order to perpetuate its barbaric control. This collection of gangsters would find it in their interest to foment conflict and initiate wars throughout the world, in order to divert attention from their misconduct and criminality. The true nature of such a regime would find its clearest expression in the satanic violence currently ongoing in Iraq.

The “criminal organization” to which he’s referring is the Bush administration. This paragraph is the bread and butter of left-wing truther conspiracy theories. Does anyone remember the leftist claim that the World Trade Center destruction would be the basis for the Bush administration to impose martial law? Which side of the ideological spectrum consistently referred to the Bush administration as “criminal” and “war criminals”?

How then does a man who attacks the Pentagon, is a truther and uses the common language of the extreme-left of the past 8 years suddenly become a “right-wing extremist?”  What is driving that rewriting of history?


The Pentagon attack and the destruction at the IRS building in Austin, Texas, come at a time of explosive growth in extremist-group activism across the United States, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks such organizations.

The number of US extremist paramilitary militias grew from 42 in 2008 to 127 in 2009, according to a just-released SPLC annual report.

So-called “Patriot” groups, steeped in antigovernment conspiracy theories, grew from 149 in 2008 to 512 in 2009 – an increase that the SPLC report judges as “astonishing.”

We’ve covered this. And this excuse for “journalism” by the Christian Science Monitor has twisted the Bedell attack into one from the right-wing as a pretext to further pimp the SPLC report. If it isn’t right wing extremism, the author can’t use the report as “proof” of the SPLC’s report’s validity. Apparently, that was the point of the article, not whether or not Bedell actually was a right-wing extremist.  Pretty pathetic in my estimation.



13 Responses to Does anyone in the media remember the “Weather Underground”?

  • If so, that would make the Pentagon shooting the second violent extremist attack on a federal building within the past month.

    Wouldn’t that be true regardless of the circumstances behind the attacks?  I can’t imagine that either of those attacks could be characterized as ‘moderate’ after all.
    I’m not sure what good it does to try to associate these guys with the right.  Won’t those evil people at neo-conservative Fox News just point out his truther and anti-Bush leanings in order to promote their right-wing agenda and smear the good center-moderate people of America?

  • The IRS guy, Stark, was a flaming loon left winger, as was Dr. Bruce Ivins, Mr. Anthrax Man. These two and the Pentagon shooter all hated Bush, or Cheney, or were 9/11 Truthers. That is about as left wing as you can get without being Van Jones.
    Now, check this out:  Obama feels that he is not UNPOPULAR enough…he wants to shoot next for – you got it – legalizing illegal immigrants!

    • With actual unemployment at @16.2% I think officially adding more people to the potential labor pool at this time is an act of sheer genius!  GENIUS I tell you!
      Listen, from what I can see Imeme’s actions are analogous to  Tweetybird peeling Sylvester’s ‘piddies” off the flag pole, counting them down 1 by 1 until we plunge to disaster.  He thinks he knows exactly what he’s doing…no one can be this clueless, no one.

    EMID 15324137
    STATESOURCE California
    DATAACQUIRED 20080121  — this is 13 month old information
    PrefixTitle MR
    DATEOFBIRTH 5/20/1973
    REGDATE 20051006
    PARTY Democrat
    LASTDATEVOTED 20051108

    • Right – see, the stereotypical image of a RIGHT WING EXTREMIST!  He even has 3 names! John Patrick Bedall,  John Wilkes Boothe, Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan…uh….Sirhan Sirhan, Edgar Rice Burroughs!

  • Normal lefties rarely go on about “satanic” violence, though. (I’ve run into the type online more than once, and they’re just crazy, not left, nor right, by any normal use of the terms.)
    I’d say he’s more of a LaRouchie type, registered Democrat or not.
    That’s consistent with trutherism, Bush-hating, crazy shit about satanic conspiracies, and not really being a “right-winger”, just plain ol’ crazy.
    Really, there’s a time to transcend the left/right dichotomy, and that time is when you’re dealing with crazies like that.

    • I’m willing to call the guy an extremist whackjob without worrying which ‘side’ he played for.  Unfortunately the dishonorable opposition is not.   Since they insist on making it an issue, we should insist on the issue being truthful.

      • Good point.  I also suggest that the left’s mania for trying to pin every horror that they can on the “right wing” contributes to all that nasty polarization and partisanship that they claim to abhor.  It’s not enough to disagree with their opponents: they must outright demonize them.

        I guess it’s a measure of how terrifying the Tea Parties are to the left, how frustrated they are with Imeme’s failure to advance their agenda, and how much they fear getting shellacked in November, that they’ve got to create a right-wing boogeyman out of whole cloth.  It’s also useful to deflect attention away from the thugs, crooks, and kooks that fill their own ranks.  “Charlie Rangle?  Never heard of him.  But what about that rightwing nutjob who shot up the Pentagon???  SIEU?  Isn’t that the rightwing militia that sponsored that attack on the IRS builing in Texas?”

  • I guess the Unibomber was also a right winger?

  • Way back in the 70’s, during my first student career, I was informed in my Sociology class that political violence was a right-wing phenomenon. That included Sirhan Sirhan and Arthur Bremer. I was also informed of a lot of other things, which is why I can’t take the ‘social sciences’ seriously.

  • It’s not like Bedell spent most of his adult life listening to and praising a raving America-hating, racist, Marxist preacher, so his influences remain somewhat obscure.