Jun 12 2009

More Reasons To Dial Down The Rhetoric On The Fringes

Published by at 9:58 am under All General Discussions

If the political debate stays overheated there is a real chance violence could climb. Why do I say that? because sadly it has been happening right in front of us. And I am not talking about the murders of Dr Tiller, Pvt William Long or the shoot out at the Holocaust Museum this week. The hot rhetoric has been building hate among Americans for a while:

“Right across the board, extremist groups are thriving right now,” says Mark Potok, Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project.

The SPLC has been tracking hate groups for almost 30 years. In its spring 2009 Intelligence Report, they found that 926 hate groups are currently operating in the U.S., an all-time high. These groups include the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, racist skinheads and Black separatists.


The immigration backlash has led to a surge in hate crimes against Hispanics, up 40 percent between 2003 and 2007, according to FBI statistics.

Last November, 37-year-old Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero, a 16-year resident of the U.S., was attacked while walking near his home in Patchogue, New York. Prosecutors say a group of seven teens taunted Lucero with racial slurs, beat him, and fatally stabbed him in the chest. The reason? According to prosecutors they were “beaner hopping”: attacking Hispanics for sport. All of the defendants have pled not guilty.

If people refuse to dial it back, then they should be shunned. Conservatives use to complain that liberals set up groups which were based on being victims. But the truth is there are ugly areas in the conservative side which attack groups such as immigrants, Arabs & Muslims as with the Dubai Ports debacle, etc. We have serious challenges ahead of us. Now is the time for good people of good will to band together and stop some of the madness. That includes taking on what’s wrong with the left and right, and acknowledging what is good on both sides. We need to stop painting politically diverse views as enemies.

If we continue to do so, America will have been destroyed from within. And it will have happened on OUR watch.

Update: Ugh – I find myself in partial agreement with Paul Krugman:

Back in April, there was a huge fuss over an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security warning that current conditions resemble those in the early 1990s — a time marked by an upsurge of right-wing extremism that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing.

But with the murder of Dr. George Tiller by an anti-abortion fanatic, closely followed by a shooting by a white supremacist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the analysis looks prescient.


Now, for the most part, the likes of Fox News and the R.N.C. … ut they have gone out of their way to provide a platform for conspiracy theories and apocalyptic rhetoric, just as they did the last time a Democrat held the White House.

And at this point, whatever dividing line there was between mainstream conservatism and the black-helicopter crowd seems to have been virtually erased.

Sadly, this happened when way too many conservatives came out after the DHS report and declared themselves rightwing extremists. To this day Hannity swears DHS is out after people like him. Up until that point I considered myself a conservative. I knew damn well the DHS report had nothing to do with me. Just as I knew the NSA was not listening in on my phone calls (the extreme liberal drama queen canard). The left under bush swore the government was not after terrorists, and I fought that silliness for years from the day the New York times produced its tissue of liberal lies on the matter (see here).

When conservatives claimed allegiance to the DHS threats, claiming brotherhood in essence, they blurred the line. And now they whine because people cannot separate the mainstream from the rightwing extremists? That is a self inflicted wound. Playing drama queen rarely pays off, as Krugman painfully notes:

Exhibit A for the mainstreaming of right-wing extremism is Fox News’s new star, Glenn Beck. Here we have a network where, like it or not, millions of Americans get their news — and it gives daily airtime to a commentator who, among other things, warned viewers that the Federal Emergency Management Agency might be building concentration camps as part of the Obama administration’s “totalitarian” agenda (although he eventually conceded that nothing of the kind was happening).

You would think the right would have figured that out after the NSA issue blew up on the liberals. And these people want to be taken seriously? How does Lame Beck differ from the 9-11 Truthers who think Bush and Cheney orchestrated 9-11? From my perch there is no difference.

12 responses so far

12 Responses to “More Reasons To Dial Down The Rhetoric On The Fringes”

  1. Frogg says:

    I didn’t follow this story on Glenn Beck as it developed; but, I did watch the great “debunking of a conspiracy theory” segment Beck did. In that segment it sounds like he reported this as a “conspiracy theory” from day one….and, did a great job debunking it to get out the truth. Did he? If so, shouldn’t Krugman be commending Beck?

    Glen Beck: “No, FEMA isn’t running concentration camps”

  2. Frogg says:

    Jonah Goldberg’s article is much better than Krugman’s:

    A Silly Game of Connect-the-Dots

  3. MerlinOS2 says:

    For these types of people they are long standing and firmly held beliefs not formed or triggered by what anybody likely said recently left or right.

    The possibly could not even frequent many of the places of the most objectionable,but I will remind all , still protected speech.

    I have only heard of a sight that the latest went to but regardless of that , whatever the level of the speech around you the person has to make a choice to perform an action or set of actions.

    For some people perhaps even just watching the broadcast news may be enough. You don’t know the trigger level for people to move to action.

    To stifle speech ,no matter how foul, is not the correct approach.

  4. sherman50 says:

    The DHS memo was an excuse for the Left-wing media to politicize any nut who goes on a s hooting rampage and immediately blame the Right. It’s to intimidate people into silence, it’s got nothing to do with terrorism.

  5. gary1son says:

    This is an incredibly transparent attempt on the part of the media and others on the left to falsely paint broad swaths of “the right” as being somehow responsible for this and any other incident that fits their self-serving definition of “right wing” — to score political points. It’s reminiscent of when Bill Clinton tried to blame Rush for Oklahoma City.

    Their eagerness to jump on this angle with a vengeance contrasted with their almost complete reluctance to cover the murder of the recruit by the Keith Olbermann brain-twin, by the same standard, is all you need to know when it comes to their integrity and agenda.

    Jonah Goldberg has been incredibly enlightening on this subject. I’ve learned so much from him and I haven’t even read his book yet, although I have it. Thanks for the link, Frogg.

    And yes, Krugman is fundamentally wrong in his characterization of Glenn Beck regarding that issue. Beck in fact was suspicious of the concentration camp theory from day one, but had an open mind about it and promised to research it and either confirm it or deny it once and for all. In the end, he had a guy on from Popular Mechanics who completely destroyed the theory in an incredibly effective way, the same guy incidentally who contributed greatly to the debunking of the ridiculous 9/11 conspiracy theories. He didn’t “concede”, he was in fact very glad and proud to have simply provided the truth on the mater. If only I’d listened to Beck’s prescient words on the economy years ago, even before Obama when all the “experts” thought things were rosy — I would have saved myself tens of thousands of dollars.

    And Jonah’s been on Beck’s show numerous times. Thank God for shows like Beck’s who are able to provide a venue for folks who are vital to countering the overwhelming otherwise left-dominated media, which is the greatest obstacle to ever moving this government back where it belongs. They simply need to be confronted and put in their place. Liz Cheney comes to mind.

  6. AJStrata says:


    they list only extremists, and include some on the left (Black Separatists).

    Why does any sane conservative jump into the pile with these lunatics?

  7. sherman50 says:

    “Why does any sane conservative jump into the pile with these lunatics?”

    Conservatives are not jumping in with extremists. Conservatives are resisting the Left from trying to lump them with extremists. For some bizarre reason you are doing the same.

  8. AJStrata says:


    That is pure BS. When that DHS report came out a lot of people on the right declared themselves “rightwing extremists”.

    They did it to themselves.

  9. gary1son says:

    Yes, some jokingly declared themselves extremists, but only to illustrate the wrong-headed nature of that report, which was rightfully apologized for. I wonder how much time and money was wasted monitoring the vast blocks of potential evil-doers outlined therein.

    The left-wing media is capitalizing on others’ misfortune and misery to advance their politics in a very dishonest and one-sided way. Whatever the DHS report said or whatever they meant, the media is using it as cover and justification for vilifying ANY political opposition that dares to raise its volume to a level necessary to be heard. Their brush is broad, but their paint is transparent. They need to be called on their shameful opportunism, not quoted approvingly.

  10. sherman50 says:

    “Yes, some jokingly declared themselves extremists, but only to illustrate the wrong-headed nature of that report, which was rightfully apologized for.”

    Exactly. AJ, you continue to ignore that the report was withdrawn, and a group like the American Legion criticized it.

  11. AJStrata says:

    LOL. And Sherman, every idiot that decided they were right wing extremists are now complaining that they are confused with rightwing extremists.

    yeah, that impressed me no end!

  12. AJ,

    I share your worries about the fringes. However, Glenn Beck is NOT one of them. The transcript of his show looks very much like he was DEBUNKING the FEMA concentration camp myth:

    Also, when you look at von Brunn’s embrace of 9/11 truth theories, his anti-Semitic rants, and his raving against neocons, he seems to be far more aligned with the Left (anti-Semitism is far more common among the likes of Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan than it is among Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh).