The Path Toward Suppression of the Opposition

As Andrew McCarthy points out, government surveillance experienced a justifiable increase after “attacks that claimed more American lives than Pearl Harbor and capped a series of atrocities stretching back several years.” As many on the left and right have been deliberate in emphasizing, however, that enhancement bears close watching.
Indeed, the greatest argument against all such steps is that, while the official first requesting such authority may use it for the stated purposes, those who come after may take advantage of increased apathy and abuse the power, stretching it beyond intent. Mr. McCarthy suggests that we might not have to wait long to see that process in action:

For eight years, we’ve been treated to hysterical rhetoric from Democrats, including Barack Obama, about the scourge of “domestic spying.” Now that the Obama administration is openly calling for domestic spying — the real thing, not the smear used against President Bush — they’re suddenly silent.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in coordination with the FBI, has issued an intelligence assessment on what it calls “Rightwing Extremism.” It is appalling. The nakedly political document announces itself as a “federal effort to influence domestic public opinion.” It proceeds, in what it acknowledges is the absence of any “specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence,” to speculate that “rightwing” political views might “drive” such violence — violence, it further surmises, that might be abetted by military veterans returning home after putting their lives on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan. And for good measure, in violation of both FBI guidelines and congressional statutes, the Obama administration promises scrutiny of ordinary Americans’ political views, speech, and assembly.

“Appalling” is certainly the apt term. Among the ideas that might land one on a watch list is apparently a preference for “state or local authority” on various matters. And in keeping with the view that state and local governments are mainly organs for the insinuation of federal power, the Department of Homeland Security “will be working with its state and local partners over the next several months to ascertain with greater regional specificity the rise in rightwing extremist activity in the United States, with a particular emphasis on the political, economic, and social factors that drive rightwing extremist radicalization.”
If any of my fellow Rhode Islanders who happen to be of public employ — specifically those of the officious, wormy, power-grubbing sort — would like to bring the Anchor Rising contributors in for questioning, presumably you know where to find us.

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joe bernstein
joe bernstein
12 years ago

Every time I see Obama swapping spit with tyrants like the Castros and Chavez,and prostrating himself before medieval minded Arab princes who thik it’s okay for filthy old men to marry children I know the divide in this country will not soon,or perhaps ever be mended.
Listening to that silly fop Sheldon Whitehouse on Newsmakers was enough to induce vomiting.He let slip that they’re not going after guns”right now”in response to Ian Donnis’ question.He also sees no problem with the questionable practices of money grubbing from people who he may have helped get bailout funds.He also referred to the “little guy”.What an arrogant prick!!He thinks his sh*t doesn’t stink.
He accused the Federalist Society of “infiltrating’the judiciary with their “operatives”.How about ACLU turds like Ginsburg,Reinhardt,and the local version,McConnell the rainmaker?
This guy is a great example of the Peter Principle gone amok-he reached his leevl of incompetence when he got a high school diploma.
Don’t think for a minute that the Obamabots aren’t waiting for the chance to form their own government sponsored militia-Obama’s “Civilian Security Force”-he’s been quiet about that for awhile,but it’s like a cancer remission-it’s still festering beneath the surface.

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

C’mon Joe, tell us what you REALLY think.
The problem is that the right, while unafraid to use these mechanisms of power, never considered that someday they might lose them. The left would do well to keep that advice in mind, too – I don’t like abuse of power, period.
Aren’t you glad Bill Frist didn’t get his way re: simple majority for Supreme Court confirmations?

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
12 years ago

Yes,actually I am glad Frist was unsuccessful,because a political knife is always double edged in a free society.
Surprised?
I would never dream of shutting down leftist speech.The more you guys talk,the more you reveal about yourselves.
I am of the rightist persuasion that wants to be left the f*ck alone.Don’t come looking to disarm me or buttf*ck me on medical care after I put my life on the line for a stupid,neverending war.
You have no clue about the depth of anger you people on the left are stirring up.
Taxes aren’t my issue.I think I pay a fair amount of federal and local taxes.I think my state taxes are squandered but not in a left/right context-more in a waste/greed one.

Pragmatist
Pragmatist
12 years ago

Justin,
You really are becoming unhinged. There is nothing at all “appalling” about the DHS and FBI monitoring the KKK and the Aryan Nation. Citing Andrew McCarthy is hardly a strong argument.
Answer this Justin: do you believe that Obama ordered the FBI and DHS to cook up an intelligence assessment in order to suppress or threaten non-violent conservatives?

Ken M
Ken M
12 years ago

I disagree that democrats are supporting this as a whole. In fact, the blogs (especially Daily Kos and Americablog) have been quite critical of Obama – both BEFORE and AFTER the election – about his agreement with the Bush administration on wiretapping immunity and similar issues.
As for right-wing extremists being a threat, they are (to my recollection) the only domestic groups ever to commit terrorist acts on US soil. What about the Oklahoma City federal building bombing and abortion clinic violence? To the extent that these groups advocate and plan terrorist acts, they should indeed be monitored.
The same applies to left-wing groups that advocate such acts. Keep in mind, however, that the Bush administration had plants inside of Quaker and other pacifist churches! That is certainly not justified by any means.

Monique
Editor
12 years ago

Pragmatist, so you’re saying that all of the following people are members of the KKK and should be monitored?
– Opposed to abortion.
– Opposed to an overreaching federal government.
– All veterans.
– Everyone opposed to illegal immigration.
– Everyone who owns a gun or believes that it’s okay for citizens to own them.
See, the problem is that the report didn’t say, “Watch the KKK; everyone else is peachy”.

Monique
Editor
12 years ago

Those of us look at this stuff from a substantive point of view think that with this report, Napolitano has demonstrated herself seriously unqualified to be the head of Homeland Security because she sees enemies in all the wrong places. We believe, accordingly, that President Obama should ask her to step down.
Those who look at this with an eye towards 2012 want her to stay right where she is. By doing so, they believe that effectively, President Obama will have insulted 80%+ of the electorate, thereby making it much easier to defeat him.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
12 years ago

Ken M-are you serious?Were you around for the Sixties?There was a hell of a lot of domestic terrorism by the left extending into the Seventies,during which time the FALN continued the terrorist they had been carrying out since the Fifties.
Don’t forget the BLA and other such groups.There is plenty of blame to spread around vis a vis domestic terrorism.

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