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Suit filed over Dept. of Homeland Security Memo/"Policy" on Right-wing Extremists:

The Thomas More Law Center has filed suit in the Eastern District of Michigan regarding the infamous Department of Homeland Security "Intelligence Assessment," Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment. The Assessment states "The information is provided to federal, state, local, and tribal counterterrorism and law enforcement officials so they may effectively deter, prevent, preempt, or respond to terrorist attacks against the United States."

Critics of the Assessment object to passages such as the following:

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....

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....

Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans likely would attract new members into the ranks of rightwing extremist groups, as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for violence against the government. The high volume of purchases and stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by rightwing extremists in anticipation of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary concern to law enforcement.

Debates over appropriate immigration levels and enforcement policy generally fall within the realm of protected political speech under the First Amendment, but in some cases, anti-immigration or strident pro-enforcement fervor has been directed against specific groups and has the potential to turn violent. [DK: The implication here seems to be that being against "the vast tide of illegal immigration" is protected by the First Amendment, but being against "the vast tide of illegal immigration by Central Americans" is not, and is characteristic of "right-wing extremism." Even though, patently, Central Americans are by far the largest groups of illegal aliens currently in the United States.]

Notably, there are passages that recognize that certain behaviors or beliefs are in themselves not proof that a person is a "right wing extremist." For example:

Both rightwing extremists and law-abiding citizens share a belief that rising crime rates attributed to a slumping economy make the purchase of legitimate firearms a wise move at this time.

Weapons rights and gun-control legislation are likely to be hotly contested subjects of political debate in light of the 2008 Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller in which the Court reaffirmed an individual's right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but left open to debate the precise contours of that right. Because debates over constitutional rights are intense, and parties on all sides have deeply held, sincere, but vastly divergent beliefs, violent extremists may attempt to co-opt the debate and use the controversy as a radicalization tool.
But even the above sets up a dichotomy between "rightwing extremists and law-abiding citizens." There is nothing illegal about holding and expounding extremist, irrational, and even hateful political views, whether those views are left-wing extremist or right-wing extremist.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the Center for Bioethical Reform (a group which chacterizes its mission as "graphically exposing the injustice of abortion"); an Iraq War veteran who lives in the Eastern District of Michigan; and Michael Weiner (a talk-show host who uses the on-air name "Michael Savage").

The suit alleges that the DHS Intelligence Assessment "is designed to deter, prevent, and preempt activities that government officials deem to be in opposition to the policies advanced by the Obama administration. Such activities are considered harmful, dangerous, and a threat to national security. By deterring, preventing, and preempting such activities, federal officials seek to influence domestic public opinion in support of the favored policies of President Obama."

It is further alleged that the Intelligence Assessment (which plaintiffs characterize as DHS "Rightwing Extremism Policy") "is a tool of intimidation for federal, state, and local government officials. It provides a basis for government officials to abuse their positions of power to stifle political opinion and opposition. It also provides political adversaries with a basis for making official complaints and allegations against 'rightwing extremists' to government officials, thereby empowering the 'heckler' with a 'veto' over controversial political messages."

Thus, plaintiffs allege an effort to chill the exercise of their First Amendment rights, and a denial of their Fifth Amendment right to Equal Protection. (Which well-established precedent has declared to be implicit in the Fifth Amendment's Due Process clause.)

Now, on some websites, comments would consist of ugly arguments between people who love or loathe Michael Savage, or trolling by people claiming, "You only complain about civil liberties infringements when Democrats do them." But well-informed VC readers know that many VC authors were vocal opponents of what they considered to be civil liberties infringements by the George W. Bush administration, and some of the older VC writers were also critics of alleged civil liberties infringements during the George H.W. Bush administration, and the Reagan administration.

Accordingly, commenters should offer intelligent analysis of whether the Thomas More Center lawsuit can, on its face, survive a motion to dismiss. If so, should the case proceed directly to summary judgement, or is there a need for discovery? Presumably discovery, if permitted, might reveal information about the motives ("design") of the Assessment's authors, and the sources on which they relied in forming the Assessment, which says that it is based on open source information. (BTW, the Thomas More Center has also filed a FOIA request for the latter information.)

And yes, it is ironic that Thomas More himself, when he exercised government power, was a staunch persecutor of religious dissenters; he was neither the first nor the last lawyer to better serve the cause of civil liberty when he was out of government favor than when he was in.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Frivolous:
  2. Suit filed over Dept. of Homeland Security Memo/"Policy" on Right-wing Extremists:
Oren:
What exactly is a "civil rights action brought under the 1st and 5th amendments"? Is there an equivalent to Bivens here?
4.16.2009 6:53pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):
Huh. Wonder where they were in April 2001 and Jan 2009 when similar reports were published about left-wing extremists.
4.16.2009 6:56pm
Nick B (mail):
re: Ruuffles
Lacking standing?
4.16.2009 7:08pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Prof. Kopel:
And yes, it is ironic that Thomas More himself, when he exercised government power, was a staunch persecutor of religious dissenters....
It's more ironic that the Thomas More Law Centre filed an amicus brief in Newdow v. Elk Grove in favour of quasi-compulsory loyalty oaths ... when More himself lost his head rather than submit to such forced fealty.

Cheers,
4.16.2009 7:08pm
Le Messurier (mail):

Huh. Wonder where they were in April 2001 and Jan 2009 when similar reports were published about left-wing extremists.

2001? Homeland Security? Similar reports? (citations are nice)
4.16.2009 7:08pm
Guest Poster (mail):
This will immediately be tossed for lack of standing. There is no concrete harm caused by the memo. The contention that the memo will "cause government officials to abuse their power" is speculative. The contention that it will "cause official complaints" which will cause DHS to suppress their speech is speculative squared. Another case of lawsuit-as-publicity-stunt.
4.16.2009 7:09pm
New Pseudonym:
@ruuuuuffffles
And those reports would be . . . ? (no specific threats permitted, just general left wingers are bad, or people who oppose my policies are bad allowed)

I vote for discovery, just because it would be so much fun. I think surviving a motion to dismiss is easy. Motions for summary judgement without discovery are beyond the cojones of most judges. Lotsa motions for protective orders (many of which should be granted) on bases that would make Bush partisans chuckle.
4.16.2009 7:09pm
Gordo:
I wouldn't object to similar warnings or reports about left-wing or religious-based (Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or whatever) potential for terrorist acts. It's the job of the Department of Homeland Security to issue such reports, and figure out where potential terrorist actions may come from.

And I certainly agree with their concern about the allegedly large increase in gun purchases since the election of Obama. Whatever your opinion of gun rights, large stockpiles of weapons are inherently dangerous, either in the hands of the person owning them, or the hands of a person who steals them.

The problems will come not with this report, but the actions of any law enforcement organization that decides, based on this report or any other information they have for that matter, to actively investigate, initiate surveillance upon, or harass a "right-wing extremist" group absent credible, definable evidence justifying the investigation.

Therefore, I believe the Thomas More suit should fail and be dismissed or receive an adverse summary judgment verdict. I would feel differently about a suit alleging specific actions by a law enforcement agency that violate the Constitution or federal law, and at that point the existence of this report is appropriate to be entered as evidence and used during the discovery process to elicit additional information from the defendants.

But until that happens, I believe this suit is meritless.
4.16.2009 7:10pm
cboldt (mail):
Who/why redact Savage's given name?
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This is nothing more than a publicity / nuisance suit. Given the centers of attention (DHS rightwing wingnut report &rightwing wingnut Savage), I think it's a hoot. It won't survive a motion to dismiss, but it'll earn it's keep as a form of publicity. Expect a countersuit on the basis of "frivolous complaint," seeking fees, costs, and Rule 11 sanctions.
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Pass the popcorn!
4.16.2009 7:11pm
OrinKerr:
Isn't this frivolous? As I understand it, the complaint argues that it's a violation of the Constitution for the government to criticize certain people who the government thinks are threatening, on the ground that it will chill the criticized group. Last I checked, though, there is no constitutional right not to be criticized.
4.16.2009 7:13pm
R Gould-Saltman (mail):
David:

You characterize the report as "infamous"; considering the usual associations Americans have with "infamy", isn't that just a bit of an overstatement for "which has been the subject of a week's worth of hand-wringing and moaning by right-wing bloggers"?

Am I much more offended by the report, which I admit appeared poorly thought-out and supported, than I am by, say, the FBI's files on Norman Mailer, my current favorite example because they included literary analysis of his works by various FBI field agents? Nah...


r gould-saltman
4.16.2009 7:17pm
cboldt (mail):
-- The problems will come not with this report, but the actions of any law enforcement organization that decides, based on this report or any other information they have for that matter, to actively investigate, initiate surveillance upon, or harass a "right-wing extremist" group absent credible, definable evidence justifying the investigation. --
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Some truck driver in Wisconsin alleges he was stopped by the police for flying a Gadsen flag. That is, the claim is that the reason the cop gave for stopping the truck was the flag.
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Even if the allegation is true, the truck driver doesn't have a case. Flying the Gadsen flag is prima facie (specifically defined) evidence. It represents a "don't tread on me" anti-government mentality that is potentially dangerous; certainly sufficient to justify a traffic stop.
4.16.2009 7:18pm
Specast:
It looks to be entirely without merit, to me. Doesn't almost any law "provide a basis for government officials to abuse their power"? And this isn't even a law!

But I guess it does get some traction as a publicity stunt (which, let's face it, is the whole point): if they get enough blogs and media to quote the allegations you quote above, it will be will worth their money. Rather like the lawsuit to prevent Obama from becoming president because he was born outside the US.
4.16.2009 7:19pm
zuch (mail) (www):
12(b)(6) time, anyone?

See claim 3. Hell, if what "Savage" wants is a "declaration", I'll give him one: "Hey, Michael, you were an eedjit when I stomped you in the '90s and made you sputter, and your alcoholic overindulgence hasn't helped things in the meanwhile...."

Anyone keeping score of how many lawsuits the "Savage" Weiner has lost?

Cheers,

P.S.: And then there's the outright lies in the filing:

"7. Plaintiff Michael Savage, [a/k/a Michael Weiner] is an adult citizen of the United States."
4.16.2009 7:23pm
Steve V (mail):
It's a joke of a lawsuit. It will be annoying when they complain that they were dismissed on a 12(b)(6) by a left-wing fascist activist judge (undoubtedly a Reagan appointee), but it's all too predictable.
4.16.2009 7:24pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Guest Poster:
This will immediately be tossed for lack of standing. There is no concrete harm caused by the memo.
More to the point, there is no claim under which judicial relief can be granted.

Cheers,
4.16.2009 7:26pm
martinned (mail) (www):
Isn't there some way to make this case stick? How about as a defamation suit? Or is there some sovereign immunity bar to that?
4.16.2009 7:27pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
I would be surprised if this complaint survived a motion to dismiss under 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, for two reasons: 1. plaintiffs have not pleaded any concrete injury flowing from the report that would confer standing on them to bring such a lawsuit. They allege something that is broadly felt by many many people; 2. plaintiffs have not pleaded a claim for relief, because the government has not done anything to deprive them of their First Amendment rights (they can continue espousing their views on abortion, and gun rights) and the government has not taken any concrete action against them that amounts to a violation of their right of equal protection under the law of the United States.

Very frivolous, if you ask me.
4.16.2009 7:29pm
NTB24601:
New Pseudonym: And those reports would be . . . ? (no specific threats permitted, just general left wingers are bad, or people who oppose my policies are bad allowed)

Here's a link to the January 2009 DHS Report: Leftwing Extremists Likely to Increase Use of Cyber Attacks over the Coming Decade.

I don't think this suit is frivolous enough to merit sanctions, but I doubt that it survives a motion to dismiss.
4.16.2009 7:33pm
zuch (mail) (www):
In fact, you law perfessers out there, this suit might well be a good teaching exercise as to what is a properly pleaded claim (and what is asking for moonbeams or a pat on the back) in your CivPro classes. Even the slowest 1Ls ought to grasp the concept in extremis from this (if you ignore the case where the guy sought to have the courts order the Devil to leave him alone).

Cheers,
4.16.2009 7:33pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Prof. Kopel:
Accordingly, commenters should offer intelligent analysis of whether the Thomas More Center lawsuit can, on its face, survive a motion to dismiss. If so, should the case proceed directly to summary judgement, ...
You neglect the obvious 12(b)(6) dismissal.

Cheers,
4.16.2009 7:36pm
NTB24601:
Le Messurier: 2001? Homeland Security? Similar reports? (citations are nice)

The April 2001 document was produced for the Bush Administration by the Department of Energy. You can find it here: LEFT-WING EXTREMISM: The Current Threat.
4.16.2009 7:38pm
cboldt (mail):
-- 1. plaintiffs have not pleaded any concrete injury flowing from the report that would confer standing on them to bring such a lawsuit. --
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The complaint states that listeners, sponsors and volunteers will be deterred from listening, sponsoring and/or volunteering. I suspect that specific affidavits can be produced to create this effect, in fact. So, reason "1", without more, is not enough in the way of rationale.
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-- 2. plaintiffs have not pleaded a claim for relief, because the government has not done anything to deprive them of their First Amendment rights --
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Exactly right. Even if advertisers, listeners and volunteers RUN away in droves, there is no claim. OrinKerr has it above, there is no right to be free of criticism by/from the government; and the report doesn't even constitute anything in the nature of particular criticism. The report is a political statement of leftwing paranoia, disguised (albeit not very well) as objective concern.
4.16.2009 7:39pm
Jer:
I assume these same parties howled in in protest when the government issues an analogous report on left wing extremism last January...
4.16.2009 7:43pm
Matthew Carberry (mail):
Note that the 2001 report features details on actual threats and names currently active threat groups.

It is not, unlike the current report, just a broad-brush indictment of so-called "anti-government" mindsets. The current DHS report deliberate equivocates those beliefs with active current propensity for violence.

The earlier report is useful for law enforcement in terms of connecting individuals to known threat groups, the latter, containing no actionable information, is merely a slam on limited government types as potential threats.
4.16.2009 7:47pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
cboldt,

Even if the allegation is true, the truck driver doesn't have a case. Flying the Gadsen flag is prima facie (specifically defined) evidence. It represents a "don't tread on me" anti-government mentality that is potentially dangerous; certainly sufficient to justify a traffic stop.

You don't really mean that. Do you?

Obviously this suit is nonsense; but then so is the report. It's not so much insulting to its targets as insulting to its intended readers. Did we actually pay people to produce this thing?

Beware of people who dislike Federal power, or own guns, or oppose abortion or illegal immigration. And watch out for all those servicemen soon coming home from Iraq, because we know how right-wing the military is, and after all, they have been trained to kill, and we all know that they'll probably have PTSD or be otherwise unstable and have trouble "integrating back into their communities," and next thing you know they'll form terrorist cells and start blowing up more Federal buildings.

Really, is there anything in there that a HuffPost junior staffer couldn't have conjured out of his own head in the course of an afternoon? If that's a sample of DHS at the top of its game, I think the fact that we haven't been attacked since 2001 is sheer dumb luck.
4.16.2009 7:48pm
cboldt (mail):
-- I assume these same parties howled in in protest when the government issues an analogous report on left wing extremism last January... --
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That wouldn't make sense, as the current suit is by rightwing wingnuts who claim the rightwing wingnut report impugns and "unpopularizes" them (and thinking about it, this DHS tour de force in paranoia will probably improve Savage's ratings, not diminish them); and the rightwing wingnuts would NOT be so affected by a report about lefwing wingnuts.
4.16.2009 7:50pm
Steve:
You neglect the obvious 12(b)(6) dismissal.

I believe you'll find that the sentence in question asked what would happen if the complaint survived a motion to dismiss, which is of course the same thing as a 12(b)(6) motion.

My question is more along the lines of whether it would violate the plaintiffs' constitutional rights to impose sanctions on them. Just think how it would chill future litigants from exercising their right to access the courts.
4.16.2009 7:50pm
NTB24601:
cboldt: The report is a political statement of leftwing paranoia, disguised (albeit not very well) as objective concern.

If that's true, then the 2009 DHS report is a political statement of rightwing paranoia, disguised (albeit not very well) as objective concern. Apparently, DHS is paranoid about everyone. I suppose that's their job.

(I'm still searching for the DHS Report: Centerwing Extremist Likely to Increase Use of Mediocrity Attacks over the Coming Decade.)
4.16.2009 7:52pm
cboldt (mail):
-- You don't really mean [flying the Gadsen flag = probable cause]. Do you? --
.
No. But it has that ring of plausibility. Maybe next year we'll get into traffic stops for bumper stickers, etc. (just the rightwing kind, of course LOL!)
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Led Zeppelin Bumper Stickers Now Probable Cause ... (The Onion)
4.16.2009 8:02pm
Wahoowa:
I count myself on the right-wing half of the legal profession, but even I will admit that the Thomas More Law Center has a history of filing completely groundless, totally b.s. publicity stunt lawsuits.
4.16.2009 8:06pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
NTB4601,

If that's true, then the 2009 DHS report is a political statement of rightwing paranoia, disguised (albeit not very well) as objective concern. Apparently, DHS is paranoid about everyone. I suppose that's their job.

Except that the 1/2009 report contains what looks to this layperson like useful information, about specific groups, their likely targets, and their likely methods. This more recent report doesn't do anything of the kind.

(The only interesting thing in it is the repeated mention of coming restrictions on firearms. The more careful Lefty bloggers have emphasized that it's only the unsubstantiated rumors of such legislation that have caused people to run out and stock up on guns & ammo, but the report itself seems to treat pending restrictions as fact rather than speculation.)
4.16.2009 8:09pm
cboldt (mail):
-- If that's true, then the 2009 DHS report is a political statement of rightwing paranoia, disguised (albeit not very well) as objective concern. --
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Oh contrare. I've read the two reports, so you can't fool me with your BS. The leftwing wingnut report names specific identifiable groups (ELF being one), where said groups both advocate and successfully practice targeted acts of violence. Being aware of those groups is not paranoia.
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But this sort of jumping to conclusions (without naming names) ...

... have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts. Nevertheless, the consequences of a prolonged economic downturn--including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit--could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing extremists

.
... is comically blindered on its face, and as a practical matter, utterly useless. God bless those leftist extremists. They won't be provoked by the consequences of a prolonged economic downturn. Puhleeze.
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OTOH, I can see leftwing nut taking the most recent DHS report seriously. Janet Napolitano thinks it's actually informative and helpful to LEOs.
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Read this hypothetical version for perspective.
4.16.2009 8:16pm
cboldt (mail):
-- the report itself seems to treat pending restrictions as fact --
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You can bank on Congress passing a stupid and useless ban, and perhaps introducing (and maybe passing) broad registration regimes (e.g., all handguns - all centerfire of certain calibers).
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Anybody who believes denials from the "gun grabbers" is naive. "Reasonable restrictions" is on THEIR terms, not on objectively reasonable terms.
4.16.2009 8:24pm
rosetta's stones:
The report is frivolous, and political red meat for the partisan Left (hard to see another reason for it but this), so we shouldn't be surprised at a frivolous and political response.

It was a foolish decision to publish this report, as it gains Barrack nothing he doesn't already have, and may alienate him from voters he'll need later.

Thing is, Barrack can't allow a cabinet sidebencher to degrade his own political stature... and lightweights like this DHS woman can easily do that. He needs to apply the muzzle here.

The blame starts with Bush, here. DHS creation was a mistake. In my community and I'm sure thousands of others, the feds paid for the hiring of an extra public employee for this new, special security function. Fresh bureaucracy, with shelflife, feverishly checking their email for nuggets of DHS wisdom like this useless report.
4.16.2009 8:24pm
NTB24601:
@cboldt: I think the difference has more to do with the eye of the beholder than any "BS" from me. Your attempt to distinguish the two reports strikes me as strained. I am confident that we would see more, not less, outrage from the rightwing if the report had named specific identifiable groups.

@Michelle Dulak Thomson: The report mentions "proposed" gun control legislation (which could be proposed by anyone) and state legislation. I doubt that DHS has inadvertently tipped off a federal initiative from the administration.
4.16.2009 8:56pm
NTB24601:
rosetta's stones: ...and political red meat for the partisan Left....

As a proud member of the partisan Left, I can assure that I don't see this report as "red meat." My only response to this is amusement at the rightwing's over-reaction.

If this report is red meat for any group, then I suspect its meat for rightwing organizations who are certain to use it as a talking point and a fundraising tool, which brings us back to the lawsuit. The notion that this report will "deter, prevent, and preempt" rightwing organizations seems silly to me. If anything, I think the release of this report will help them.
4.16.2009 9:05pm
ANON46213:

As a proud member of the partisan Left, I can assure that I don't see this report as "red meat."


Extreme left, then?
4.16.2009 9:13pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
NTB
Organizations may be aided in the short run by the report. People sign up to combat an injustice.
Question is what individuals feel about putting their thoughts--however reasonable--in writing, or in pixels.
I know the left will hoot at such cowardice, until it's themselves trying to get some advantage by claiming to be chilled.
4.16.2009 9:16pm
Waldo (mail):
IANAL but I can't see any real damages here. What exactly would the plaintiffs ask the court to rule? They can hardly ask that the report be un-published.
4.16.2009 9:17pm
cboldt (mail):
-- Your attempt to distinguish the two reports strikes me as strained. --
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Of course it does. I'm not trying to change your point of view. You probably see the two reports as equally valuable. I also disagree with your conclusory speculation that the rightwing wingnuts would be more "outraged" if the report named Arayan Nation and other groups, instead of coming off as trying to make suspects out of all those who are pro-life, all those who object to additional firearms laws, all discharged veterans, etc.
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-- If this report is red meat for any group, then I suspect its meat for rightwing organizations who are certain to use it as a talking point and a fundraising tool --
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I agree. Paranoid ranting by powerful leftists is not helpful to leftist causes.
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But at this point, Janet Napolitano is standing by the report as being objectively accurate. Bully for her.
4.16.2009 9:18pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
NTB24601,

Had the report named "specific identifiable groups" that were credibly plotting terrorist attacks, I think almost everyone would be glad to know that they were being watched. Very few people actually want to see their fellow-citizens murdered.

The thing is, the actual report is practically useless. There's no information in there, only speculation that itself is so vague as to be essentially mindless. The 1/2009 report at least identifies possible actors, possible strategies, possible targets. This one merely lists the usual categories of bogeymen (opponents of abortion and of illegal immigration, gun nuts, Federalists, crazed veterans, &c.) and warns you to watch out for them. With the added fillip that this is a "historical" (why not "historic"?) presidency, so better keep a special eye on the racist crazies too.

Forget for a moment that tens of millions of people fall into one or more of these categories. Or, rather, don't; remember it, and put yourself in the shoes of the hapless LEO who has to try to find some use for this document and is forced to suspect every veteran, every conservative Catholic or evangelical, everyone unhappy about illegal immigration, everyone who owns firearms, everyone who complains about Federal government. I don't doubt that, on those terms, there are entire towns where every resident over the age of ten is a potential rightwing terrorist. Never mind whether it's true; is it useful to say it even if it is true?
4.16.2009 9:30pm
PC:
Beware of people who dislike Federal power, or own guns, or oppose abortion or illegal immigration.

Silly Feds.
4.16.2009 9:30pm
Castalone:
I'm with Wahoowa, as another conservative, and as a lawyer who sees that there is a need to protect religious expression.

I have yet to see any TMLC lawsuit that has any significant political or legal merit. None of its activities have done anything to advance the cause of religious freedom. Instead, they invariably come off as a bunch of crackpots.

Contrast Jay Sekulow's American Center for Law and Justice. I don't always agree with his positions, but he is consistent and usually effective in his advocacy.
4.16.2009 9:38pm
PQuincy1:
Another word on this allegedly "infamous" report. Lest anyone think this reveals only Mr. Kopel's political leanings, I want to add a word: "infamy" is actually quite a serious matter, at least in the history of law (which one would expect posters at this blog to be familiar with.)

To call this an infamous report is to assert that a broad consensus exists that it is morally reprehensible to a degree that requires public disapprobation. A person characterized as infamous in Roman law lost many public or citizen rights. It's not a word to sling around carelessly.

To the rest of the post, I have no objection, and appreciate the discussion of whether the legal action involved has any merit; but the gratuitous insertion of "infamy" in the introduction poisons my perception of the other issues raised, I confess. That someone trained in the law would so casually insert derogatory language that pre-judges the issue is notable...or, thinking about the training that American attorneys all too often get, maybe not.
4.16.2009 9:57pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Steve:
[zuch]: You neglect the obvious 12(b)(6) dismissal.

I believe you'll find that the sentence in question asked what would happen if the complaint survived a motion to dismiss, which is of course the same thing as a 12(b)(6) motion.
You are right, and my apologies to Prof. Kopel ... although a motion to dismiss is more general than a 12(b)(6) motion; it may be based on any of the reasons in 12(b), such as jurisdictional objections, etc.. But my feeling is that a 12(b)(6) motion is eminently deserved here, because there's nothing he's asking for that is within the power of the court to grant ... and the "Savage" Weiner should see yet another harassing lawsuit of his get shot down in flames ... hopefully with costs assessed against him and/or Rule 11 sanctions for retained 'attorneys' as incompetent as the TMLC ones.

Cheers,
4.16.2009 11:06pm
zuch (mail) (www):
cboldt:
... instead of coming off as trying to make suspects out of all those who are pro-life,...
Come off it. We've have a number of outright murders by people unarguably motivated by anti-abortion passion. To say there's potential for violent extremism there is not just simply factual ... it's an understatement.

Cheers,
4.16.2009 11:12pm
cboldt (mail):
-- Come off it. We've have a number of outright murders by people unarguably motivated by anti-abortion passion. --
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Izzat you, Charlie Manson? "Come off it?" Sheesh. The DHS report certainly recites some truths, as you do. But the sweeing conclusions it (and you) invite don't follow.
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Cheers? Buzz off. Again.
4.16.2009 11:18pm
Floridan:
Fortunately for the right, one in ten thousand Americans will ever know about this suit. It is another indication that the right is flailing around without any sense of direction.
4.16.2009 11:29pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
zuch,

Come off it. We've have a number of outright murders by people unarguably motivated by anti-abortion passion.

We have a number (a biggish number, come to think of it) of outright murders by people unarguably motivated by their particular understanding of Islam. Nonetheless, we have (quite rightly) decided not to treat every last Muslim as a terrorist threat.

There are many tens of millions of Americans who regard themselves as "pro-life." Keeping an eye on all of them will be rather a big job.
4.16.2009 11:48pm
zuch (mail) (www):
cboldt:Izzat you, Charlie Manson? "Come off it?" Sheesh. The DHS report certainly recites some truths, as you do. But the sweeing conclusions it (and you) invite don't follow.My statement was and is that the anti-abortion extremists have demonstrated (to the satisfaction of juries even) an undisputed propensity for violence. This is undisputable. Some anti-abortion people think it is justified to kill people simply because they do not do what the anti-abortion people think they should (you know, ideologues). Those that are violent (or have such tendencies) do tend to make themselves know in various ways amenable to investigation. Do you seriously think that the law enforcement authorities should ignore such propensitites, any more than a greater propensity for extremism in some Muslim groups/communities? This doesn't mean "infiltrating" every 'pro-life family planning clinic' ... any more than in means casing every mosque. But to ignore this is to ignore reality. And to watch OR people carefully is hardly unwarranted persecution.

Cheers,
4.17.2009 12:20am
zuch (mail) (www):
Michelle Dulak Thomson:
We have a number (a biggish number, come to think of it) of outright murders by people unarguably motivated by their particular understanding of Islam. Nonetheless, we have (quite rightly) decided not to treat every last Muslim as a terrorist threat.
OK, feel free to point out where either I or the DHS report has said that every anti-abortion person should be treated as a "terrorist threat".
There are many tens of millions of Americans who regard themselves as "pro-life." Keeping an eye on all of them will be rather a big job.
Not really. Just a matter of good investigative work to find out the likely violent ones. Just as not every ASPCA contributor is an undercover ELF vigilante, and good police work requires that the non-threats be sorted, investigated if needed, and dropped as warranted ... just as suspects for a crime are....

Cheers,
4.17.2009 12:27am
~aardvark (mail):
There is a certain irony here, as much of the background for this report was laid on Bush's watch. These reports are not generated overnight, unlike frivolous lawsuits. If the report only made disparaging remarks about Rightwing Extremists, this bunch (Savage et al.) makes all rightwingers look foolish (of course, they are being aided and abetted by FNC reporting that makes the same or similar idiotic claims). Anyone who does not want to look like a fool--or to make it sound that "conservative" is synonymous with "rightwing extremist"--should immediately distance himself from this nonsense.

As for merit, how does "failure to state a claim" grab ya? Lack of standing is second best.
4.17.2009 12:29am
cboldt (mail):
-- OK, feel free to point out where either I or the DHS report has said that every anti-abortion person should be treated as a "terrorist threat". --
.
Just above.
.
cboldt: ... instead of coming off as trying to make suspects out of all those who are pro-life,...
zuch: Come off it.
.
Granted, the exchange doesn't literally and directly "say it," but your insinuation is as clear as the finest crystal.
4.17.2009 12:40am
Joe McDermott (mail):
If this suit works, then drug legalization supporters should file a similar suit seeking to enjoin the activities of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, particularly its mandate to lobby against state an local legalization legislation and initiatives.
4.17.2009 1:15am
Mike McDougal:

Who/why redact Savage's given name?

Would you like to be named Weiner?
4.17.2009 1:33am
iawai (mail):
I don't mind being IDed as an "extremist", its almost a badge of honor.

But "right-wing"? That's defamation right there.
4.17.2009 2:23am
zuch (mail) (www):
cboldt:
[zuch]: -- OK, feel free to point out where either I or the DHS report has said that every anti-abortion person should be treated as a "terrorist threat". --
.
Just above.
.
[cboldt]: ... instead of coming off as trying to make suspects out of all those who are pro-life,...
zuch: Come off it.
.
Granted, the exchange doesn't literally and directly "say it," but your insinuation is as clear as the finest crystal.
I still don't 'see it'. How do you think that my objection ("come off it") to your assertion ("trying to make suspects out of all those who are pro-life") is negated by the statement of fact immediately following ("We've have a number of outright murders by people unarguably motivated by anti-abortion passion. To say there's potential for violent extremism there is not just simply factual ... it's an understatement.")? Do you deny the fact? Or do you think I'm asserting something other than the fact I did assert? Remember the rules of logic; the statements:

"All anti-abortion-crazed killers are anti-abortion" and "the anti-abortion-crazed killers set is a non-empty set"

is not the same as the converse assertions:

"All anti-abortion-crazed people are killers" and "the anti-abortion-crazed people set is a non-empty set"

much less:

"All anti-abortion people are killers" and "the anti-abortion people set is a non-empty set"

Cheers,
4.17.2009 6:58am
cboldt (mail):
-- I still don't 'see it'. --
.
You cherry picked a fragment of the following ...

I also disagree with your conclusory speculation that the rightwing wingnuts would be more "outraged" if the report named Arayan Nation and other groups, instead of coming off as trying to make suspects out of all those who are pro-life, all those who object to additional firearms laws, all discharged veterans, etc.

.
... to justify/springboard your "come off it" insinuation that holding a pro-life position is per se sufficient to find potential for violent extremism.
.
My reaction was (and is) to take you as wrong and as an ass. Simple, fini, buzz off (again). I'm not going to take time to address your adolescent logic game. It answers itself in your favor, but avoids the point.
4.17.2009 8:40am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
zuch:

We've have a number of outright murders by people unarguably motivated by anti-abortion passion.


Not just that. We also have a major figure in the GOP who refuses to say that Eric Rudolph is a a terrorist. And we also have the fact that Rudolph managed to hide from hundreds of FBI agents chasing him because he had the support of a community that was sympathetic to him. A community that strongly supports the GOP, of course. Failing to take serious note of conditions like this is foolishness.

And the people who are attacking the DHS report should take their complaints to that famous liberal, Charles Johnson.
4.17.2009 9:12am
zuch (mail) (www):
cboldt:
-- [zuch]: I still don't 'see it'. --
.
You cherry picked a fragment of the following ...

"I also disagree with your conclusory speculation that the rightwing wingnuts would be more "outraged" if the report named Arayan Nation and other groups, instead of coming off as trying to make suspects out of all those who are pro-life, all those who object to additional firearms laws, all discharged veterans, etc."

... to justify/springboard your "come off it" insinuation that holding a pro-life position is per se sufficient to find potential for violent extremism.

It was you that were getting conclusory. You presented this conclusion that "all" those that are pro-life are suspects. Neither the report nor I said so, and that was my original complaint. I noted that it is indisputable that some such have been violent, even murderers, and that such behaviour seems to be tied (at least in part) to extremely strongly held beliefs concerning abortion; something that law enforecement might well take note of. Those that are more ambivalent concerning abortion are not going about shooting either health care workers or fundie preachers.

Cheers,
4.17.2009 9:15am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Those that are more ambivalent concerning abortion are not going about shooting either health care workers or fundie preachers.


The problem is that there are some number of people who are not willing to be an Eric Rudolph, but who are nevertheless willing to help an Eric Rudolph hide in the woods. And that 'help' can be active, or it can consist of simply not being very forthcoming when being asked questions by the FBI.
4.17.2009 9:27am
wfjag:

And yes, it is ironic that Thomas More himself, when he exercised government power, was a staunch persecutor of religious dissenters; he was neither the first nor the last lawyer to better serve the cause of civil liberty when he was out of government favor than when he was in.


"UPDATE: It is also even more ironic that the post that immediately preceeds this one is:

'University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Chancellor on the Thuggery at the Tancredo Speech'"

There, fixed the most glaring omission from the post.
4.17.2009 10:51am
rosetta's stones:
...or, they can hold their first campaign kick-off event in their living room, like Barrack did with his Chitown terrorist bomber buddy, eh box?
4.17.2009 10:56am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
The number of folks who won't drop a dime on their more energetic brethren is certainly a concern. A serious concern.
That's why you see the issue of Rudolph and not of some other group I could name but won't for fear of being accused of islamophobia.
Although, happy thought, possibly the local yokels picked up at various places (Goose Creek Two, Lackawanna Six, and so forth) are really being narked by their co- religionists. Nice if it were true, or if it weren't, if it were believed anyway.
Unfortunately, at this point we're unlikely to know.
4.17.2009 11:28am
INALbutHaveQuestions:
Hi, I'm no lawyer but my daughter wants to be a judge when she's an adult. I was going to go to the local April 15 event but had too much work to do.

I have a few questions;

1. Will the plaintiffs be offered an opportunity to amend their complaint?
2. Does the apparent 'override' of the DHS 'civil-rights' functional concerns change the balance re; frivolity?
3. Does Napo's ~specious public rationalization (that McVeigh learned his bombing skills from DOD, ergo, veterans are suspect) offend any of the naysayers here?
4. Among the many possible radicalization targets, where do veterans rank among such notables as the imprisoned and those young men of recent Somali citizenship?
5. Is anyone concerned about the timing of the release of this DHS document?

and finally,
6. What alternate (more legitimate?) avenue of attempted regulation of our (rapidly expanding) government power would be more effective at this juncture?

Big thanks to the VC for the insightful articles.

INALbutHaveQuestions
4.17.2009 12:00pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
rosetta:

they can hold their first campaign kick-off event in their living room, like Barrack did with his Chitown terrorist bomber buddy


That's a popular talking point. Too bad it's not exactly true.
4.17.2009 12:17pm
cboldt (mail):
-- 1. Will the plaintiffs be offered an opportunity to amend their complaint? --
Most likely yes.
.
-- 2. Does the apparent 'override' of the DHS 'civil-rights' functional concerns change the balance re; frivolity? --
IMO, No. The suit is "frivolous" because a generalized report cannot create a cause of action to every particular individual who is swept into the descriptive categories mentioned in the report.
.
-- 3. Does Napo's ~specious public rationalization (that McVeigh learned his bombing skills from DOD, ergo, veterans are suspect) offend any of the naysayers here? --
Speaking only for myself, I am not offended by ham-fisted remarks from idiot politicians.
.
-- 4. Among the many possible radicalization targets, where do veterans rank among such notables as the imprisoned and those young men of recent Somali citizenship? --
Calls for lots of speculation. I figure that both groups present capabilities and sentiments that are potentially dangerous. Veterans for their knowledge about weapons, tactics, etc. have "capabilities," and some immigrants may harbor entitlement beliefs they are willing to assert violence over.
.
-- 5. Is anyone concerned about the timing of the release of this DHS document? --
I am not, but I have read others express that they found the timing "suspiciously coincident with April 15 and the anti-government tea party protests."
.
-- 6. What alternate (more legitimate?) avenue of attempted regulation of our (rapidly expanding) government power would be more effective at this juncture? --
The government is self regulating. Our role, as the public, is to wring out of the government what it says it is going to give us. Hope and change. I'm still waiting for my bailout.
4.17.2009 12:37pm
AndrewK (mail):
If this does survive a motion to dismiss, I should HOPE it would proceed immediately to discovery. The only reason it should survive would be if there were allegations of INTENT to chill speech. In a case like this, with the causal mechanism so attenuated and the harmed group so amorphous, letting such a suit survive a motion to dismiss absent intent seems to call into question ANY declaratory action of the executive.

Now I'd be all for that sort of expansion (and using the 1st Amendment to severely limit governmental action), but let's be clear that that's what we would be doing. I'm as annoyed by the memo as the next guy, but we have a formalistic 1st amendment jurisprudence for a reason. I'm sure EVERY government act implicates speech concerns at some level.
4.17.2009 1:06pm
FWB (mail):
The report was written by LeftWing Extremists!
4.17.2009 1:27pm
Steve P. (mail):
A minor point — I had read that the implication that military veterans were prized recruits to these factions was offensive. Actually, it's not really an implication, since the report says it. I just don't see what's offensive about it.

I would expect people with military experience to be prize catches for any militant group, right- or left-wing. Am I missing something obvious?
4.17.2009 1:39pm
cboldt (mail):
-- I would expect people with military experience to be prize catches for any militant group, right- or left-wing.
Am I missing something obvious?
--
.
Probably not. As to sharing the wealth between the opposing sides, the way the report is taken (in isolation and in combination with the counterpart leftwing wingnut report) is to insinuate that renegade veterans are all and only right-leaning, none of them are inclined to go left, and no leftwingnut outfit would attempt to recruit a veteran. "See Tim McVeigh, QED." sort of (il)logic.
.
The veterans groups are upset that the report would identify veterans as a risk group. Hell, I'd add into that professors, airline pilots and crew, and public works engineers.
4.17.2009 1:53pm
CleverScreenName:
We all better stock up on colloidal silver.
4.17.2009 1:57pm
INALbutHaveQuestions:
Thanks for the thoughtful responses.
I somehow think that DHS has a special duty to watch their step regarding civil liberties. I can see that the broad sweep of the implicated parties is an interesting strategy to inoculate the authors from liability; i.e., it's OK for DHS to label all [veterans, single-issue advocates, etc.,] as possible suspects. because the injury is too diffuse for action. Try substituting "illegal aliens" throughout the report and imagine the plaintiff (and et amicii ) parties list...


I find little substance in the suggestion that this is a routine threat assessment; it seems remarkable vacuous and non-quantitative.

Are the vets an easy mark because they are not organized under a common religious banner?

I do take umbrage at the implicit suggestion that veterans are trained in tactics for violent assault on unarmed victims. This is only true in Hollywood.
INALbutHaveQuestions
4.17.2009 1:59pm
cboldt (mail):
-- Try substituting "illegal aliens" throughout the report and imagine the plaintiff (and et amicii ) parties list... --
.
They'd have the same problem as to obtaining a win in court, and the political rhetoric would be about the same - they'd howl like stuck pigs. It's what they do.
.
-- I find little substance in the suggestion that this is a routine threat assessment; it seems remarkable vacuous and non-quantitative. --
.
I agree as to it being vacuous. Even called it "Paranoid vacuous crap" somewhere along the line. I think it's a political statement of sorts, not a useful threat assessment. "Watch out for righties, they can be violent." Maybe the intention of the report is to incite a reaction, thereby proving the premises, contentions and conclusions in the report. "Let no crisis go to waste."
.
-- Are the vets an easy mark because they are not organized under a common religious banner? --
.
Vets are in fact potentially dangerous on account of their capabilities. Some join the military with the intention of improving their performance in criminal gangs. Other knowledge and skill based groups have their own sets of danger capability.
4.17.2009 2:21pm
Steve P. (mail):
I do take umbrage at the implicit suggestion that veterans are trained in tactics for violent assault on unarmed victims. This is only true in Hollywood.

Are we reading the same report? I didn't pick up on any such suggestion.
As to sharing the wealth between the opposing sides, the way the report is taken (in isolation and in combination with the counterpart leftwing wingnut report) is to insinuate that renegade veterans are all and only right-leaning, none of them are inclined to go left, and no leftwingnut outfit would attempt to recruit a veteran.

That makes sense, but I think you're reading too much into it. If you take the two reports together, they may insinuate that veterans are more likely to join a right-wing extremist organization than a left-wing one. That doesn't mean that they can't join a left-wing organization, and there is nothing in either report that indicates that veterans are, by default, right-wing extremists.

It's an interesting theory — if it turns out to be factually accurate (that vets are more likely to join extremist right-wing organizations rather than extremist left-wing ones), would that still be offensive?

For what it's worth, I read the quote "The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today" as attempting to show impartiality.
4.17.2009 2:30pm
cboldt (mail):
-- if it turns out to be factually accurate (that vets are more likely to join extremist right-wing organizations rather than extremist left-wing ones), would that still be offensive? --
.
Of course not. But I think the drawing a line based mostly on rightwing/leftwing is a political exercise, not a threat-assessment/reaction exercise.
.
What was that organization that John Kerry was in, that discussed assassination of US Senators? The anti-war bunch. Only point being that wingnuttery is an equal opportunity affliction.
4.17.2009 2:46pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Steve P.
The nineties were remarkably free from war, for our side. We had Desert Storm, ground fighting over in 96 hours. Somalia--not that many guys not there that long.
Don't know where the psychological effects of war came from in that decade.
Either ignorance or BS.
Problem with this is not that it's merely a misguided statement.
It's advice to all law enforcement agencies. It tells them what to watch for.
Some will ignore it, some will be overenthusiastic, some will do what they wanted to do all along with this as an additional excuse.
4.17.2009 2:50pm
Steve P. (mail):
Only point being that wingnuttery is an equal opportunity affliction.

Undeniable. But if military veterans were more likely to join right-wing extremist groups rather than left-wing extremist groups, it seems like something valid to include in a report on right-wing extremist groups. I'd just prefer to have numbers to support that kind of argument.

Aubrey — it's an extraordinarily broad and vague 10-page report. I've written longer book reports in high school. I think you may be overestimating its impact.
4.17.2009 3:28pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Steve.
I expect the shorter the paper, the more impact it will have. Easier to read, caveats not included. Simplifications necessary.
But the paper isn't merely an inanimate object. People actual people with brains, are going to look at it. Some will react one way, some another, and some will take it too seriously.
I suppose we could suggest that our protection from such numbnuttery lies in the fact that law enforcement will ignore it. Hope so.
4.17.2009 3:34pm
cboldt (mail):
-- But if military veterans were more likely to join right-wing extremist groups rather than left-wing extremist groups, it seems like something valid to include in a report on right-wing extremist groups. I'd just prefer to have numbers to support that kind of argument. --
.
I find the "rightwing/leftwing" partitioning to be political in nature (and bloody good sport in that venue), but useless as a legitimate threat assessment activity. If the goal is to identify and neutralize impending domestic violence, I'd skip the "which side has more wingnut veterans" analysis altogether. YMMV.
4.17.2009 4:44pm
INALbutHaveQuestions:
McVeigh had contact with both diesel fuel and fertilizer in his formative years;

yet no one suggests that this led to his acquisition of truck-bombing terroristic skills.



I do take umbrage at the implicit suggestion that veterans are trained in tactics for violent assault on unarmed victims. This is only true in Hollywood.


Are we reading the same report? I didn't pick up on any such suggestion.


I see a lot of conflation in the report; juxtaposition of historic terroristic events, with statements regarding military training. But soldiers are NOT trained to inflict terroristic casualties on non-combatants! They work very hard to automatically avoid hurting civilians, at risk of court-martial.

I admit that I was influenced by an interview with Ms. Napo,
wherein she said that ~McVeigh was trained by the military to do the thing he did.
Here,

There's a fairly explicit version of the conflation at about 4:46, she says ~'Unfortunately, (McVeigh) was a Vet. That's where he got his training.'


I think she said something similar in another venue, after claiming great respect for veterans, and wishing to avoid insult.

For me, her subsequent justification ( that Vets are trained {e.g. terroristic killers} renders her 'apology' moot.

She's swallowed the hook, and doesn't even know it, IMHO



.


"Vets are in fact potentially dangerous on account of their capabilities. Some join the military with the intention of improving their performance in criminal gangs. Other knowledge and skill based groups have their own sets of danger capability."


These purported facts are not in evidence, counselor...

i think a lot of folks have ready association among these 3 words; violent, rightwing, and extremist.

Did you happen to hear (on oreally) that apologist for the guy who killed 4 police in oakland? Somehow zealous violent leftwing extremists are virtuous in Modern American Society, at least as portrayed on TV.

Just for laughs, keep count of the 'bad guys' on a week of TV shows. How many are evil CEO's, doctors, Veterans, 'right-wing' kooks, etc (caricatured Righties) vs 'left-wing' versions of the same?

Am I correct that the Klan was originally affiliated with the D party?

INAL
4.17.2009 5:24pm
INALbutHaveQuestions:
'Vile Claim'

probably I've gotten far afield from the intended discussion;
but point 1 of this letter seems to capture my issue, rather more succinctly;
Show Us the Data...

Back to work...
INAL
4.17.2009 5:35pm
cboldt (mail):
-- These purported facts are not in evidence, counselor... --
.
It's self-evident. Knowledge and skill is power. Those who know how to make firearms or chemicals have capabilities that those who lack that knowledge ... etc.
.
-- i think a lot of folks have ready association among these 3 words; violent, rightwing, and extremist. --
.
I agree. And they vote! And they are a source of money donations! Sheep!
.
-- Am I correct that the Klan was originally affiliated with the D party? --
.
I'm no expert, but this indicates the KKK's history covers more than one incarnation. But the political parties of today are shells of their history. Both parties have been co-opted. As an unfair broad-brush, the DEMs are Socio/Communist/Fascist, and the GOP is similar, but lighter in weight. Neither major party represents the values expressed in the US Constitution.
4.17.2009 5:47pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
INALbutHaveQuestions:

Did you happen to hear (on oreally) that apologist for the guy who killed 4 police in oakland? Somehow zealous violent leftwing extremists are virtuous in Modern American Society, at least as portrayed on TV.


Was this something recent? What are you talking about? Are you sure you're not thinking of the guy who killed 3 police in Pittsburgh? Because Poplawski looks like a violent rightwing extremist, not a violent leftwing extremist.
4.18.2009 10:01am
Kenno (mail):
The problem with the report is that it is likely to be hugely effective at what it intends: the isolation of vets, who already are isolated enough. Most young people today support genocide against all traditional Americans, and every word they say has this as an undertone. They are united in universal bisexual group sex in their gleeful embrace of their own perverted desires, and in those moments when they get bored from their own pursuit of instant pleasure they seek to assuage their boredom by destroying the lives of those who had the courage to sacrifice, particularly veterans of the military. Vets are persecuted enough already, but this is the final step toward sending us to the gas chambers.
4.18.2009 10:57pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
"Was this something recent?'

Tells you a lot.
4.20.2009 8:24am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Tells you a lot.


OK, I finally found the story. I missed it when it happened. But I still don't understand this statement:

Did you happen to hear (on oreally) that apologist for the guy who killed 4 police in oakland? Somehow zealous violent leftwing extremists are virtuous in Modern American Society, at least as portrayed on TV.


Where is the evidence that Lovelle Mixon was "leftwing?" Is every black person assumed to be "leftwing," by default? Or just the ones who are criminals?
4.20.2009 8:46am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
juke.
Ask the guy who defended him.
4.20.2009 10:49am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Who is "the guy who defended him," and what did "the guy who defended him" say?

Are you having lots of fun playing this guessing game? That makes one of us.
4.20.2009 11:34am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
juke.
Two items.
One-third more cops were killed in Oakland. But not enough ink to come to your attention. That's one thing. Some reason that it didn't come to your attention when the other one did. What do you think that was?

The reason I suggested you find out how the defender characterized the murderer is that nobody out here is defending him, nor, for that matter, characterizing him as left-wing murderer. He was an ex-con with a bad record before and after what he was jailed for.
The demonstration--reported to be about sixty people from th neighborhood--defended him by attacking the cops and the usual us vs. them stuff.
All of this is basic daily news stuff when it happened, but the followups differed.
Nobody calls that left-wing, except if you're nuts. But the defender was nuts enough to start defending him.
See the post to which you objected. On O'Reilly.
Make your own judgment.
4.20.2009 12:06pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Some reason that it didn't come to your attention when the other one did. What do you think that was?


It might have something to do with the fact that there is a long history of similar events in Oakland (this kind of shooting in both directions). "In the past five years, more than 600 people have been murdered in Oakland and only a small percentage of the cases have been solved" (link). So although this event is more extreme, to a great extent it's still dog bites man.

It also might have something to do with the fact that the Pittsburgh event involved a 4-hour standoff (and the Oakland event did not). That in itself is inherently unusual, dramatic and newsworthy.

It also might have something do to with the fact that Poplawski had no prior record (compared to Mixon, who had an extensive record). So Mixon ending up in a gun battle with police is not surprising. Poplawski ending up in a gun battle with police is surprising, newsworthy and dramatic.

It also might have something do to with the fact that Mixon was a garden-variety hoodlum. There was nothing particularly noteworthy to distinguish him from lots of other hoodlums just like him. In particular, we knew nothing about his political views, or if he even had any. On the other hand, Poplawski's political activities and interests are indeed noteworthy and unusual. Like the fact that he "spent hours posting racist messages on an extremist right-wing Web site, decrying blacks and Latinos and warning of forthcoming economic collapse fueled by the 'Zionist occupation' of America."

Jews and others are rightfully quite interested in any news regarding anti-Semites who shoot people. It might remind them of certain aspects of Jewish history.

Hopefully that answers your question. By the way, I notice that National Review covered the Oakland story, but not the Pittsburgh story. Why do you think that was?

nobody out here is defending him, nor, for that matter, characterizing him as left-wing murderer … Nobody calls that left-wing


I'm confused. A poster in this thread did indeed describe Maxon as a 'zealous violent leftwing extremist.' Why are you pretending otherwise?
4.20.2009 2:11pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
The poster, as far as I can see, characterized the defense of the Oakland shooter as giving him a break because he was a left wing type.
The demo defending him had some of the usual left-wing tropes, racism and cops vs. picked-upon poor black young men and so forth.
I don't think the number of people murdered in Oakland is responsible for muting the response to four murdered cops.
But if that's what you need to claim, go for it.
4.20.2009 3:44pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
The poster, as far as I can see, characterized the defense of the Oakland shooter as giving him a break because he was a left wing type.


OK, I get it. The person above who described Maxon as 'leftwing' was supposedly quoting (or paraphrasing) an unnamed guest on the O'Reilly show. I guess if no one can point to a record of what that person actually said, there's no way to know if that paraphrase is accurate. I have a feeling it isn't.

I don't think the number of people murdered in Oakland is responsible for muting the response to four murdered cops.


What do you think is responsible for National Review muting the response to three murdered cops in Pittsburgh? And that's "muting" as in "no mention whatsoever."

But if that's what you need to claim, go for it.


If continuing to evade this question is what you need to do, go for it.
4.20.2009 10:18pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Juke.
You are boring. You know that?
4.20.2009 10:55pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Why do you read and respond to someone who's boring? Is it that you have no self-control, and you have an overwhelming desire to make a fool of yourself?

And if you're going to cowardly evade a fair question (something you do routinely; a few of the current examples are here and here), don't you think you should do it by simply disappearing (as you usually do, as demonstrated in those other examples)? Instead, you're choosing (in this instance) to make it even more painfully obvious than usual. Must have something to do with that overwhelming desire.
4.21.2009 8:37am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
By the way, one of the many things you haven't done is demonstrate what you have implied: that our so-called liberal press gave more attention to Poplawski than it did to Mixon. So let's take a look at some evidence, in that regard.

NYT ran five stories about Mixon (here, here, here, here and here). They ran three stories about Poplawski (here, here and here). They ran two columns that mentioned both (here and here). So the actual evidence doesn't just fail to support your claim. It tends to prove the opposite of your claim.

And here's another reason why in certain places there might be more stories about Poplawski than there are about Mixon: the former is alive, and the latter is dead. Because there are legal proceeding underway regarding Poplawski, there is a steady stream of stories reporting on those proceedings (example).

And here's why I knew about the Poplawski story, and not the Mixon story: I get a lot of my news via memeorandum. They prominently featured the former story. They gave this much attention to the latter story: none. Why? Because they cover politics. The former story has a strong political element (which I explained). The latter does not.

So your insinuation that someone or something is "responsible for muting the response to four murdered cops" is, like most of your claims, complete bullshit. Because "the response to four murdered cops" was not 'muted.'

On the other hand, National Review ran plenty of ink regarding dead cops in Oakland (example, example), and this much ink regarding dead cops in Pittsburgh: none. So the one who needs to explain bias isn't me. It's you. We'll be waiting patiently.

And I'm sure you find this really "boring," because I think nothing is more boring to you than actual facts. You greatly prefer your own speculations, delusions and fantasies. This instance is just the latest of many such examples.
4.21.2009 9:32am

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