DHS documents picking a fight? UPDATED

Boy, I don’t like that header, and hope it won’t come to that, but who knows anymore?

I really did not want to get back into politics so soon – I have other things on my mind – but I’ll just throw these out and you guys make your own stew.

Item:

Gov. Rick Perry joined state Rep. Brandon Creighton and sponsors of House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 50 in support of states’ rights under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state,” Gov. Perry said. “That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states’ rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential 10th Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union.”

Perry continued: “Millions of Texans are tired of Washington, DC trying to come down here to tell us how to run Texas.”

I don’t disagree that the Federal Government is too big, and encroaching too broadly on state’s rights. Anyway, here is something for the secessionists.

Item: The DHS goes broad and unfocused in a document that Ed Morrissey calls execrable, one that could seriously infringe on the civil rights of ordinary conservatives and those who are center-right.

Far-right extremism is certainly something to be concerned about, just as we should be concerned about the sort of far-left extremism we saw in Europe during the G-20. But this doc certainly does seem like the fed is taking liberties with how they are defining “extremism”. Or, more precisely – in the language of the document, itself, how they “may” be defining extremism down the road.

Yes, it’s the job of the DHS to consider possible threats to the nation, and yes, the far right has already demonstrated that there is a need to be aware of them. But this document does not seem to see any threat at all from the “far” left. Therefore, it strikes me as unbalanced, especially when some on the far-left seem amenable to aligning with islamofascism if it serves their anti-Israeli goals. (see my update; I don’t know everything)

The DHS has few specifics; I’d frankly like it better if it did. I have no illusions that this bit from Napolitano is not exactly what it seems to be, which is a blueprint for the eventual (not immediate) re-defining of what constitutes extremism in America. The fact that this document only sees threats from the right is precisely what makes it suspect. (checking on that, see below)

Dissent – normal, healthy political dissent – which was “patriotic” just six months ago, and expressed without encumbrance throughout our history (until now) seems to be under attack. This document is just a vague beginning. Once the larger targets are disabled, the smaller targets will come into focus. (since the document was leaked while “similiar” reports on leftist activities were not, I’ll stand by that)

As some of us have noted, everything that was projected on to the Bush administration is finding real expression in the Obama administration. I’m still waiting for the part where those who predicted that “Bush will declare martial law and never allow another election” pooh-pooh the right who say it of Obama. You know it will happen.

So, you see…we’re in a bad place, in these United States.

Expect this: while the left is busy cheerleading, they won’t notice the erosion of their own rights (the ones they were so hyper-vigilant about and imagined losing constantly in the last 8 years), so they will be useless in a pushback. Meanwhile the right will simply be so distracted with it’s usual infighting – those “pure” conservatives busily wagging their fingers at “impure” conservatives, who will increasingly walk away from them – that it will be divided and conquered.

The arena is teeming with activity and everyone is very, very loud, and too many are completely earthbound in their thoughts about it all. A few years ago, I wrote:

We are going to have to turn away from our distractions – the television, the radio, the magazines, the talkshows, the films, the fashions, the escapist entertainment, even the internet. We will have to turn away from these empty things – to make them smaller in our lives, where they and the popular culture now loom so large – and we are going to have to get quiet.

A good musician knows that music is not created only by playing notes, but by understanding the spaces between the notes, and their value. Just so, it will not be enough to simply repeat what is true – if that is all we do, it will only add to the din – there must also be silence, in which to do our other, more powerful work.

I keep saying it – and it makes a lot of my Christian friends unhappy – but in order for some things to happen, other things must be allowed to happen first. If you don’t let the crucifixion happen, you get no resurrection. Too many are forgetting it; they’re looking at all of this through thoroughly earthbound eyes, relying on utterly earthbound tactics, and forgetting the mystical and the supernatural component that is essential in all of this. Without that, faith is just ideology with a Holy Bible wrapper, and that is a road to idolatry.

It’s something we have to think about. No matter how urgently we want America to be what we have always known it to be. Sometimes things have to happen, so that other things may happen. That’s all I am saying, just now.

I told you I didn’t want to start talking about this stuff. (And I think I have whiplash from jumping into this fray too quickly)

UPDATE I: When you see how the mainstream press is reporting this document it seems pretty clear that its (the leak’s) purpose is meant to create a narrative. That narrative will be used to excite and frame legislation. One quote:

DHS spokeswoman Sara Kuban said Tuesday the report was one of an ongoing series of threat assessments aimed at “a greater understanding of violent radicalization in the U.S…A similar assessment of left-wing radicals completed in January was distributed to federal, state and local police agencies at that time.”

I’ve been googling and don’t see any similar reports on “left wing radicals” and extremists. The must exist, but perhaps the press did not any such report “newsworthy”? I’ll keep looking.

UPDATE II: AJ Strata has updated his own piece, which (I think wisely) urges some cool-headed review of the document but (I think unwisely) stoops to name-calling while he does it. In any case he has some comments that are worth reading. Also, Little Green Footballs is urging some deep breathing here, and I think that’s probably wise, too.

For my part, I will say again that I believe extremists and zealots on all sides need DHS assessing from time-to-time, but the leak of this document – and the press’ immediate embrasure of it – all stink to high heaven as a move to create a useful narrative.

There. Can I be more balanced?

To paraphrase President Obama,can’t I just enjoy my Easter – which is still going on for the next 48 days?”

UPDATE III: Rand Simberg replaces “rightwing” with “leftwing” and makes a few other changes, and presents a document that would have the press and the Democrats howling. Double standards. Go figure.

More:
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  • http://thecatholiclibertarian.blogspot.com amcalabrese

    For someone who claims not to want to talk about politics, you seem to be talking a lot about politics! ;)

    While I think there has been a lot of hyperbole of late, I do think the left wing cheerleading is somewhat funny.

    As for the whole “dissent is patriotic” two notes:

    1. Back when I was in law school, I discovered quickly that when left wingers say “question authority” that does not give you license to question left wingers IN authority (such as tenured professors).

    2. I currently live in a very left wing, yuppie neighborhood of Brooklyn. Someone was standing next to his car, which had all the usual and expected bumper stickers, including one that said “Dissent is patriotic”. I said to him that since Obama was now president I suspected he would not need the sticket anymore and asked if I could use it. He was not amused.

  • http://dailywoof.wordpress.com Kensington

    The bad faith with which this administration deals with its opposition is very distressing.

    On a side note, I want to take slight issue with this statement, Anchoress:
    “…those “pure” conservatives busily wagging their fingers at “impure” conservatives, who will increasingly walk away from them…”

    I suppose that I’m a “pure” conservative, insofar as I’m not willing to compromise when it comes to protecting the unborn or redefining marriage to include same-sex couplings, but I fail to see why that makes me the bad guy who’s causing the “impure” to walk away.

    Why aren’t they given any responsibility for driving off those of us who aren’t willing to let these matters go, because I guarantee that I, too, will walk away if the GOP drops these principles.

    In other words, finger wagging is not the sole province of the “pure.”

    I tried the McCain way once. Never again.

    [You know, Kensington, I belong to a newsgroup of people who span the right from just off-center, like me, to pretty far right (although I don't think there are any extremists among us), and I see the infighting all the time. I am trying to make a point that that people whose inclinations run conservative will allow themselves to be torn apart by their insistence in conformity. I differ from many on the right about illegal immigration. For that I get told I am no "real" conservative (okay, I am not; I'm a classical liberal) and that I hate America (most demonstrably untrue). I lost a lot of readers because I did not measure up to their idea of "perfect" conservatism. I have had pro-lifers tell me I don't love Jesus or babies enough, because I am not up in arms about Obama speaking at Notre Dame. The thing is, I have already accepted the fact that the coup has happened; it's a done deal. We're already entering the next phase. At this point the GOP is irrelevant. I'm taking the long view, because I feel an urgent need not to labor under an illusion. You didn't think the event to which all of our longings are connected could come without there being serious upheaval in the last, and most "worldly" power-spot on earth, did you? ;-) admin]

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  • Gayle Miller

    I love how liberals have been protesting, violently, for the last 50 years and we are supposed to view them as freedom fighters. The conservatives want to protest once, and all of a sudden we are terrorists to the state. The president refuses to call radical Islamists who blow themselves up terrorists, but now people who want the constitution upheld are terrorists. I thought that Hillary said that it was patriotic to voice your opinion against the government. What happened to that? It’s patriotic to voice dissent against a republican, but to do so against a sociali… democrat makes you a terrorist. People need to wake up and watch the “change” we are getting. 53 Million of my fellow citizens voted in this abortion-loving, leftwing naif whose every action takes us closer to extinction as a Republic. Maybe we deserve to lose this little piece of heaven called America because we have ill-served her over the years.

  • http://agangershome.blogspot.com Subvet

    When I first read the POS document I had doubts it was an authentic government report. The suspicion of a putup job was in my mind. To call it shoddy and vague is being kind.

    Only when I come across posts like your own do I start believing this thing is the real deal.

    We are so screwed.

  • http://www.rigoletto.com/blogger.html ZZMike

    There are some things that have to get everybody’s attention, and this is one.

    “At this point the GOP is irrelevant.” I’m reluctantly inclined to believe you’re right.

    One troublesome aspect of the DHS paper is their take on veterans:

    “The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.

    Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists. DHS/I&A is concerned that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities.”

    There’s a whole section titled “Disgruntled Military Veterans”.

    Another quote:

    “A prominent civil rights organization reported in 2006 that “large numbers of potentially violent neo-Nazis, skinheads, and other white supremacists are now learning the art of warfare in the [U.S.] armed forces.”

    Does anybody have to ask who that “prominent civil rights organization” is?

    They also cite single examples, like McVeigh

    Veterans groups should certainly be up in arms over this.

    We are at a tipping point. Forget peak oil; worry about peak liberty.

  • http://www.madtasty.com Misogynist

    They wouldn’t be flagged as dangerous extremists if they would just stick to protesting in their designated free speech zones.

    [Didn't the "designated free speech zone" used to be called America? -admin]

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  • tim maguire

    Dissent – normal, healthy political dissent – which was “patriotic” just six months ago, and expressed without encumbrance throughout our history (until now)

    Sadly, the DHS document does have a precursor, which it will probably come more and more to resemble as time goes on–The Alien and Sedition Acts.

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  • cathyf

    I’m still waiting for the part where those who predicted that “Bush will declare martial law and never allow another election” pooh-pooh the right who say it of Obama.

    It won’t be martial law. It will be ACORN taking the census, and giving us a veto-proof and filibuster-proof congress forever.

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  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com/ Bender B. Rodriguez

    As far as being branded an enemy of the Obama state –

    Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America.

  • Portones

    So, will those of us who cling to our religion, believe in healthy families, a work ethic, life, liberty, and the pursuit of hapiness … be tagged as dangerous? I am an engineer who travels frequently to consult and trouble-shoot for (gasp!) refineries, and oil companies. When refused entry to airport flight gates, should I go John Galt? This seems like one more event working to further depress the economy and expand government control of our lives.

    I did not vote for Barak Obama, yet I am proud that this nation could elect a non-white president. I just wish Mr. Obama was not the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate, had never worked a job that relied on generating any kind of profit, and has so little faith in individual initiative, self-interest and morality.

  • tim maguire

    I found A.J.Strata’s piece a bit of a waste of time. In his efforts to talk everyone down from the ledge, he ignores the sections of the document that have everyone on the ledge in the first place and excuses the DHS without addressing what they need to be excused for. The big problem with this document is detailed well at Legal Insurrection:

    http://tinyurl.com/cezfm4

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  • http://www.therextras.com Barbara

    “the Federal Government is too big, and encroaching too broadly on state’s rights”

    Got that right.

    Good thing I re-read your sentence – missed the double negative the first time.

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  • newton

    I’m so glad that Gov. Perry is taking a stand for the Tenth. It’s about darned time!

    I told my husband about the DHS report this morning, and about the jab at war veterans: he thought I was kidding. I told him I found the PDF online and that it’s on our computer desktop. Then he heard it on the radio, and of course, there are a lot of links on the Web he could look at. He’s as angry as I am. We are just a couple of nobodies here in TX with a house, a job and two girls, but because we’re pro-life, pro-self-defense, pro-freedom of conscience, etc, plus one who was on active duty during the Persian Gulf War of 91, we’re a threat?!?

    He’s now talking about it to his parents, who live in CT. I’m sure they will not be happy about it, either.

    It’s very likely that we’ll show up at one of the Tea Parties in the Houston area.

  • http://sthubertsrosary.com/default.aspx ShanaSFO

    TEA party at the 300 block of Market Street in Steubenville OH. 3-4 pm rain or shine.

    I’m going. And if I am deemed a terrorist by a dishonorable band of cowardly self-serving politicians, so much the better. Me and a whole lot of Americans of every stripe will be out to remind them that there are many many more of us than there are of them.

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  • http://opinionatedcatholic.blogspot.com lsusportsfan

    Anchoress I have not been able to find that report issued in January either

    However I saw a important piece over at the Corner by Jonah that compared a report the Govt did on Left wing extreme groups in April 2001. (Recall this pre 9/11 so there is DHS) but done for the energy department

    One cannot help but note the remarkable difference. There is history ,there is names , there is research, there is reference to actual plots. In other words the Govt did not make everyone to the left of Center some potential terrorist.

    I think that is very well worth reading and comparing the trash we got today

    My main complaint is that it gins up paronoia which these extrmeist and possibily violent “right wing” groups use. I have no doubt some are dangerous and my main complaint in recent years is that conservatives and legit people of the right wing have not been wary enough of some people that come in under cover of polticial activity and causes of the right.

    For instance when he had the various citizens groups on the borders not everyone was just average patrotic joe wanting to protect the border. That is just one example.

    However this report is trash.

    Please compare what the DHS released today and what the Govt issued on Left room groups in 2001

    THe current DHS report names no groups and even states there is no evidence of any plans.

    In effect it will do just the opposite of what it hopes to prevent. That is it will increase paronoia on the left and right. Some groups and must be remembered will being on the poltical “left” or Political “Right” often have simiar fears in some regards.

    Anyway thought you be interested in a comparison

    [Thank you. Edited to insert link - admin]

    [Here is the report - http://hotair.com/archives/2009/04/15/the-vaunted-left-wing-extremism-report/ - admin]

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  • http://www.marchhareshouse.blogspot.com March Hare

    “I keep saying it – and it makes a lot of my Christian friends unhappy – but in order for some things to happen, other things must be allowed to happen first.” ~A

    I was thinking of that yesterday when I heard that Goldman Sachs and other banking groups are trying to repay their TARP funding b/c of the new rules regarding salaries and bonuses. And when I heard about several state governors refusing their “stimulus” funds (alas, Gov. Schwarzenegger is not among them). And now, Average Joes and Janes are organizing protests, reminding the “Beltway Pirates” who they work for and whose money it is they are spending.

    And now a “Tenth Amendment” Commission.

    Perhaps President Obama is the wake-up call/reminder many of us needed. A reminder that “free” enterprise means “free to fail” as well as “free to succeed.” That government money comes with government rules. That D.C. doesn’t always know best. That “let George do it” means George gets to decide how “it” is done.

    Jimmy Carter was President a generation ago. That’s a long time in politics. People forget; some never knew.

    Mr. Obama is my president and will be at least until 2012. I will pay him the respect the office deserves, including peacefully protesting and voting for those whose values are more closely aligned with my own–on the local, state, and national level!

    (BTW, Hubs is currently attending his first protest. Lots of American flags & service banners along with the protest signs.)

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  • Joseph

    Oh now come on! You no more know that Obama will declare martial law than I “knew” that George W. Bush would. You fear it. Heaven knows why, since, as far as I can see all that has happened is that somebody wrote a report that treads on your [collective] sensitive toes.

    I’m also more than a little astonished [and very pleased] to read that good conservative lawyer actually quoting and analysing what the report says. Nothing disturbs conservatives of lesser fiber more than a request for direct evidence to support their assertions. I don’t find the analysis astonishing, but I do find it flawed. Let’s put the evidence back on the table:

    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.

    I am bewildered that neither you nor he seem to know the difference between “may” and “must”. Particularly that you don’t. Your source is merely a lawyer and a professor, both of which trades thrive on the distortion of plain and straightforward English. But you’re a professional writer.

    It is a matter of ordinary logic. “Some people who are making a political point throw tea bags.” does not mean that “All people who throw teabags are doing it because of politics.” I throw tea bags myself on occasion, practicing my jump shot on the kitchen trash can. But I don’t do so from political motives.

    Eric Rudolph opposed abortion. He also happened to have shot people or blown them up because he opposed abortion. I think that’s a little “extremist”. But that doesn’t mean that Father Flannigan of my local parish is making bombs in the rectory basement. Lots of law abiding people think the Federal Government is too big. But not all of them refuse to file and pay taxes, and then hole up on the ranch defying the Sherriff to come and get them.

    There also are many Texans who oppose any Federal regulatory activity in Texas and are perfectly law abiding about it. The mere fact that they never seem to oppose Texas receiving more federal funding than Texans contribute to the tax base doesn’t make them “extremist” in the least. It merely makes them fools.

    But I’m wise enough in the ways of the world to know that few Americans ever consider finding out what government does for them before they complain about what government is doing to them. This is very convenient since then you don’t have to confront the equasions taxes=services and regulation=public safety and examine whether they are valid or not.

    Also, the same folks who are so exercised about the DHS eroding all our rights by writing reports had no trouble in the least with DHS doing wholesale warrentless searches, seizures, and eavesdropping, at least when under Republican administration and control. Surely this is straining at a knat after having swallowed a camel.

    By the way I must applaud your general return to what you do so well–writing on religious life and popular culture. And you shouldn’t be to hard on yourself. A little politics never hurt anyone.

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