Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Southern Poverty Law Center’s ‘Enemies List’ a Fantasy
The Southern Poverty Law Center's new list of scary "Patriots" connects people as various as Alex Jones, Ron Paul, and Glenn Beck into a vast conspiracy. Robert Stacy "the Other" McCain tries — and fails — to make sense of it all
Catherine Bleish is a 26-year-old libertarian who was a Ron Paul delegate to the 2008 Republican National Convention. She is a leader of the Liberty Restoration Project which, among other things, opposes the federal “War on Drugs” and denounces the Patriot Act as “an assault against the civil liberties of Americans.” Perhaps you disagree with those views, but is Bleish dangerous?
The Southern Poverty Law Center seems to think so. In a special report called “Meet the ‘Patriots’” issued last week, the SPLC named Bleish as one of 35 people “at the heart of the resurgent movement.” The report — which also names WorldNetDaily publisher Joseph Farah and Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media — describes the movement thus:
“In the last year and a half, militias and the larger antigovernment ‘Patriot’ movement have exploded, accompanied by the rapid expansion of other sectors of the radical right. … [T]he so-called Patriots [are] people who generally believe that the federal government is an evil entity that is engaged in a secret conspiracy to impose martial law, herd those who resist into concentration camps, and force the United States into a socialistic ‘New World Order.’”
The SPLC’s scary references to militias and conspiracies and a “resurgent movement” very much echo Bill Clinton’s recent conflation of the tea party with Timothy McVeigh and, like Clinton, the Montgomery, Ala.-based organization singled out Rep. Michelle Bachmann, calling her an “enabler” of the Patriot movement. Also labeled “enablers” by the SPLC were Glenn Beck and Andrew Napolitano of Fox News, as well as Ron Paul, the Texas congressman whose quixotic 2008 presidential campaign helped turn Bleish into a full-time political activist.
A graduate of the University of Missouri who majored in communications, Bleish says she has postponed her graduate studies — she aims to get a master’s degree in political science — to become involved in a variety of libertarian projects. She participated in the July 2008 “Revolution March” of Paul supporters in Washington, D.C., and attended a May 2009 conference in Jekyll Island, Ga., that also included several others named in the SPLC “Patriot” report. The SPLC says that “seminal” meeting — organized by libertarian activist Bob Schulz — “helped lay the groundwork for the resurgence of the [Patriot] movement.”
Bleish says she’s not sure why the SPLC — which typically monitors hate groups like the KKK and the Aryan Nations — is now targeting libertarians like herself.
“They’re indirectly associating people who aren’t violent and aren’t racist with violence and racism, and that’s unfortunate,” Bleish said in a telephone interview.
If Bleish is considered a “conspiracy theorist,” that’s probably because of her group “Operation: De-Fuse,” which depicts the Department of Homeland Security as part of a “police/surveillance state” that is “militarizing and federalizing our police forces.”
Bleish and others say that this isn’t conspiracy theory, but conspiracy reality. The name of Operation: De-Fuse is a reference the DHS “fusion centers” such as the Missouri Information Analysis Center, which issued a controversial 2009 report identifying Ron Paul supporters and pro-life activists (as well as fans of Rambo movies and Tom Clancy novels) as potential terrorists.
“Militia members most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups,” the MIAC report said. “It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty or Libertarian material.”
If DHS is identifying third-party political movements as threats, is it irrational for supporters of those movements to consider the DHS a threat?
Regardless of the legitimacy of Bleish’s concerns about DHS, however, the SPLC report is at least correct in portraying Bleish as part of a “movement.” Looking over the “Patriot” report, Bleish identified about a dozen names on the list — including Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party — as people she’s communicated with or met at various events. But some of the names on the SPLC’s list call to mind the lyrics of an old Sesame Street song: “One of these things is not like the others.”
Why, for example, does the SPLC list that includes 9/11 “Truther” Alex Jones also name Kincaid, whose Accuracy in Media is a well-established conservative organization devoted to identifying media bias? In fact, Kincaid denounced the 9/11 “inside job” conspiracy theory as “absurd” in a recent column warning that Jones is “playing a destructive role” that could discredit the tea party movement.
Jones and Kincaid are clearly not part of the same “movement,” and there is no connection between Kincaid and libertarians like Bleish, except for their all being named in the same SPLC report....
Dog-fighting videos: a free speech issue
A US Supreme Court ruling rightly argues that all speech should be free, not just speech that is ‘socially beneficial’
Pit bull fighting is not the most likely starting-point for a debate about freedom of speech. Yet this week, following a US Supreme Court ruling in favour of a man previously imprisoned for producing videos of the pugnacious terriers, that’s precisely what it became.
‘Generations and generations of pit fighting have resulted in a very tough animal. These dogs will continue fighting even though most of their ear or a section of their mouth has been chewed off – or a leg rendered inoperable.’ This is an excerpt from the 1983 pit bull-loving classic Dogs of Velvet and Steel, penned with enthusiasm rather than good grammar by Robert ‘Bob’ Stevens, a 68-year-old from Virginia.
Judging by the many drooling, teeth-baring passages elsewhere amongst its 400-odd pages, it is fair to say that Stevens has a bit of a thing for pit bulls. He is fascinated by them – drawn inexorably, it seems, to the breed’s ‘gladiatorial tendencies’. As he readily admits, ‘I attended many pit fights and saw some real deep, hard biters’. Unfortunately for Stevens, this love of all things pit bull was to land him in serious trouble.
So it was that in 2005, Stevens became one of the first people to be convicted under the Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act, serving just over three years in prison. This was nothing to do with Dogs of Velvet and Steel itself; rather it concerned a series of films he had been selling under the same title. These featured, as you might expect given the defining obsession of Stevens’ life, pit bulls fighting. Not just footage of any old pit bulls fighting, but footage of pit bulls fighting in Japan, a country where dog fighting is still legal.
The problem for Stevens, however, was that the Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act covered this. Drawn up in 1999 by US Congress in response to so-called ‘crush’ films – films showing attractive women crushing small animals to death, a craze which, I suspect, passed many of us by – this law prohibited the portrayal of living animals being ‘intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed’. It was irrelevant, under the terms of the law, that the act being portrayed was legal in the country where it took place. It was enough for that conduct to violate federal or state law where ‘the creation, sale, or possession takes place’. Under this law, Stevens’ desire to express his love of pit bulls fighting was a criminal act.
Which is surely a good thing, right? After all, banning films of dogs fighting, maiming and mutilating each other is no great loss to civilisation. In fact, such ‘portrayals’, such ‘expressions’, sound pretty uncivilised, barbaric almost. A good, progressive law, then?
Well, no, not really. In fact this law contains within itself a regressive, anti-democratic, anti-freedom germ. It implies that it is up to the state to declare what is a worthy object of expression and what is not. Which is why this week’s US Supreme Court ruling, declaring the law unconstitutional insofar as it violates the First Amendment, is so welcome.
As the Supreme Court views the matter, the 1999 legislation means that the state divides up the wealth of human expression into that which is worthy of protection under the First Amendment and that which is not. So while the pit bull fighting vids of someone like Stevens were not considered to be protected forms of expression, other types of so-called animal cruelty, such as hunting videos, with, as the original statute put it, ‘serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical, or artistic value’, are exempt. This is a highly suggestive clause, a sentence that suggests that the state has reserved the right to say which forms of human expression are worthy or useful, and thus should remain free.
With regards to that sentence in the original statute, the Supreme Court was unequivocal: ‘As a free-floating test for First Amendment coverage, that sentence is startling and dangerous. The First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech does not extend only to categories of speech that survive an ad hoc balancing of relative social costs and benefits. The First Amendment itself reflects a judgment by the American people that the benefits of its restrictions on the government outweigh the costs.’
And then, in a passage that brooks no compromise or concession, the Supreme Court says: ‘Our Constitution forecloses any attempt to revise that judgment simply on the basis that some speech is not worth it.’ There you have it: a defence of people’s freedom, our freedom of speech, that pays heed to the universal form of freedom, not its particular exercise – whether that involves the production of a set of dog-fighting DVDs or a call for the Caliphate.
This is an important argument. Today, free speech comes with qualifications attached, caveats imposed. Often a Western politician will declare ‘I believe in freedom of speech’ before following it up with the killer conjunction, ‘but…’ They will then go on to say that not all content should be expressed, that there are some things – in the UK, for instance, the glorification of terrorism – that do not deserve to be freely expressed. Such expressions are deemed to incite, corrupt, deprave.
The logic here is indeed startling and dangerous: our governments regard our freedoms, our freedom of speech, not always to be in our own best interests. We are not able to cope with our own freedoms, freedoms that in the US have been enshrined in the Bill of Rights. It was this kind of patronising perspective that made the US government believe it was okay to pass legislation which arrogated to itself the right to decide what was worthy of protection under the First Amendment, and what was not.
The one member of the Supreme Court who objected to the ruling against the Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act, Justice Samuel Alito, argued that the court was in danger of legitimising ‘a form of depraved entertainment’. And depraved it may well be. But that is a moral argument, and as such it ought to be up to citizens, viewed as individuals capable of moral reasoning, to decide whether or not to indulge in or observe such ‘entertainment’ as part of their broader decision-making about how to live their lives.
You may not be a fan of dog-fighting videos; you may even think they sound pretty grim. But it’s still worth defending someone’s right to produce them.
Problems of Britain's welfare State
The social benefits of the welfare state are now more than outweighed by its social costs: diminished subjectivity, corroded communities, and increased state power
Over the past couple of decades, a new understanding of welfare has been put at the centre of the elite’s project to connect with, engage with and remould the citizenry. Where the old welfare state was largely about providing citizens with the material things they needed to survive, the new welfare state is a far more therapeutic institution and is about redefining what it means to be a citizen and how citizens relate to the state.
The old notion of the welfare state as a ‘safety net’ to help citizens cope with hardship assumed that individuals, families and communities were generally able to run their own lives most of the time. Social assistance, therefore, was designed to return people to a situation where they could get on with their lives unaided, as autonomous, capable human beings. But the model of welfare that has developed over the past two decades entirely rejects the idea that individuals have the capacity to run their lives. Welfare provision now starts from the assumption that individuals and communities are incapable of managing their own health and lifestyles, family life, child-rearing and informal community relations without the constant intervention of the state and its institutions to advise, train, counsel and (re)educate them.
The change has been so profound that it is really no longer appropriate to talk about a ‘welfare’ state at all. In its place there has developed what former New Labour prime minister Tony Blair described in 2006 as an ‘enabling state’. This new ‘enabling state’ might promote itself through the rhetoric of responsibility and empowerment, but in fact its impact on individuals and communities has been extremely disabling. Virtually every welfare-state intervention is now premised on the assumption that individuals are vulnerable, physically and psychologically incapacitated, and in need of constant therapeutic intervention....
The social provision of material necessities and resources to individuals who, through no fault of their own, were unable to provide for themselves is an expression of the important humanist responsibility that society has to all of its members in times of need. The recognition that poverty, illness and unemployment are social problems, and not the result of individual moral failings, was implicit in the model of welfare that was dominant in Britain from the end of the Second World War to the 1970s, and is an essential insight for anyone concerned with social justice.
However, it is important to set the positive benefits of the welfare state against the constant potential for the ever-greater intervention of the state in society, and the consequent domination and structure of dependency that this establishes, to limit the capacity of individuals and communities to take control of their circumstances. By providing a buffer against the worst deprivations caused by poverty, unemployment and social alienation, the welfare state also plays a significant role in encouraging people to accommodate to their lot.
The criteria by which any past, current or proposed welfare intervention should be judged is in terms of the capacity that it gives individuals to take greater control of their lives – to live the lives that they want to lead, with the means to take control of the resources that they feel are necessary. On this basis, it would be wrong to dismiss the gains of education, healthcare and material welfare benefits – when people are in need, a decent society should develop mechanisms to meet those needs. But it would be naive to overlook the hardnosed political origins of the welfare state, and its role in de-radicalising and controlling working-class aspiration, and to leave unexplored the increasingly problematic role that a new therapeutic welfare state plays today.
From welfare to therapy
The old aspiration, amongst social reformers at least, to provide social mechanisms that might empower people to take greater control of their lives has been entirely absent in the discussion and development of the welfare state over the past two decades. Indeed, the new ‘enabling state’, as Blair christened it, is a direct consequence of a diminished view of the capabilities of individuals and communities.
Where the welfare state was in essence an attempt to head off radical, working-class politics, the motivation for the transformation of the meaning of welfare in recent years has been a semi-conscious attempt by the state to engage with, connect to, and in numerous ways reshape and resocialise the citizenry. Let us consider two examples.
The case of children and families
One of the most progressive campaigns of the feminist movement in the 1970s and 80s was for the provision of universally accessible childcare on demand. At first sight, it might seem as if this demand has finally been achieved with Sure Start, the New Labour government’s ‘programme to deliver the best start in life for every child by bringing together early education, childcare, health and family support’. Sure Start provides children’s centres (‘service hubs where children under five years old and their families can receive seamless integrated services and information’), through a guarantee of free ‘early education’ provision for three- and four-year-olds, and the promise of childcare provision for every child between the ages of three and 14, from 8am to 6pm. The only party political disagreement over Sure Start today concerns who will do the most to increase its funding and ability to provides services.
However, two insidious ideas underpin the Sure Start initiative. First, the assumption is that most parents are at best ignorant of how to raise their children, and at worst are utterly dysfunctional. The second is a fatalistically deterministic view of child development – an idea that miscreant adults and broken communities are the result of ‘bad parenting’ from the earliest months of a child’s life.
Sure Start aims to create healthier children by ‘supporting parents to care for their children both before and after birth’ [my emphasis]. In reality this involves the state teaching parents about the moral ills of smoking and drinking during pregnancy, and ensuring that children are fed the recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day, amongst other things. Sure Start even provides instructions to parents on how they should play with their children.
Such intervention undermines the authority and autonomy of parents and encourages them to view child-rearing and family life as an activity which can only be undertaken under the careful guidance of state-sanctioned experts. More than any previous social-service interventions in family life, which were traditionally directed towards a relatively small section of very deprived families, Sure Start aims to engage with families across all social classes. Sure Start assumes that state intervention is essential to produce properly socialised individuals and to keep families together, while ignoring many other problems related to childcare provision, access to decent education and the financial burden of raising children. It is all about therapeutically redirecting the population towards the right way of thinking and behaving and parenting, rather than providing them with the things and finances they might need.
Unemployment and incapacity
Over the past couple of years, society has been going through a deep economic recession, with the official level of unemployment reaching nearly 2.5million people. Consequently there has been much material insecurity and hardship for a great many individuals. However, in our response to these hardships, we have moved a long way from the period of industrial labour militancy that dominated the recession of the 1970s, and which played a large part in bringing to an end the traditional postwar welfare consensus. As Brendan O’Neill has argued, unemployment has ceased to be a political issue to which we see the possibility of social and political solutions.
In response to the current recession, the state is not readying troops of armed men to maintain social order – instead it is training an army of counsellors and therapists to help the newly unemployed cope with their changed circumstances. NHS Direct call-centre operatives have been encouraged to listen out for signs of depression amongst callers who have lost their jobs, while Jobcentres have been given the authority to refer jobseekers for cognitive behavioural therapy, with a promise that such therapy will soon be offered onsite at Jobcentres themselves.
These initiatives are only an expansion of the government’s stated intention, planned before the recession, to provide psychological therapies to the unemployed, not simply to help them cope with unemployment, but to help them to ‘develop the confidence’ to get back into work. Unemployment, in other words, is now seen as a problem of individual psychology rather than social and economic organisation. The changing understanding of unemployment, from political failing to individual handicap, is reflected in the fact that of the five million people currently out of work and claiming benefits in the UK, over 50 per cent are drawing Incapacity Benefit – they have been redefined as incapable of working rather than as being denied a job by the current social and economic framework.
While political parties do still express concern about the rising bills for the expansion of welfare, behind their rhetoric there is no real attempt to encourage any autonomy or independence. Instead, the mechanisms through which the unemployed will apparently be ‘assisted’ back into work involve an ongoing process of training, mentoring and support, which will continue even once work has been found. In other words, the assumption is that state intervention and support will be needed in order to maintain an individual’s capacity for work and employment.
The widely held assumption that many unemployment and incapacity claimants are cynically manipulating the welfare system misses the extent to which individuals have been encouraged by the new welfare state to understand themselves in terms of their physical incapacities and psychological vulnerabilities. That unemployment has come to be understood as a problem of individual incapacity and community attitudes and culture, rather than of social organisation, is expressed in the Conservative Party’s diagnosis that ‘in many parts of the country, worklessness is being passed from generation to generation’. Here, the children of unemployed families are understood as being socialised by a degenerate culture; such children are seen as being less likely to achieve at school and more likely to end up as workless in the future. Like the assumption that the abused child becomes the adult abuser, unemployment is seen to be a psychological problem caused by a failure of appropriate parenting and poor socialisation. In some ways, this takes us back to the old idea of poverty as a moral failing (or in this instance a psychological failing) rather than as a social problem – the new therapeutic state is taking us backwards.
Outrageous Sexual Violence of Islam
The sexual issues are foundational for understanding the health of a culture, and for predicting its levels of internal social violence, and how it behaves towards "the other" who is not like themselves. My extensive review of sexual and family-life conditions globally, in the book Saharasia, years ago proved the factual nature of Wilhelm Reich's clinical observations and sex-economic theory: Cultures which heap trauma and abuse on their infants and children, and later crush down the expression of developing sexual love in their young people (ie, Romeo and Juliet) with harsh and deadly taboos, will invariably turn out to be the most violent ones.
The converse being true also, that cultures with much gentle treatment of babies and children, and tolerance for romantic love expression within peer groups of their children and adolescents turn out to be the healthier, non-violent, and more productive and inventive societies. And in fact such societies do not have pedophiles, as pedophilia is something produced from children who are themselves subjected to rape and abuse. Though as with much else from childhood, the original memories are typically driven down into the unconscious where they continue to mould behavior and psyche.
So a key and critical factor for building of a healthier and more peaceful world is, the children must be protected from the pathological impulses of sexually predatory and sadistic adults. Otherwise, they turn out no better than the rapists who abused them, and go out to wreak havoc on the world. This is far and beyond the usual discussion on "sex-repression", which merely tells the young person to "stop" and "wait until you are married". This is, putting a child into the hands of a corrupted and violent male, who then repeatedly rapes them and then hands them off to another for the same, and on it goes for years. The destruction of the capacity to love, in any sense as is known in the West, is total and complete.
In this regard, Islam proves itself to be the most sexual twisted and damaged social structure in existence, given the preponderance and full legal nature of this kind of child-rape, of both boys and girls. So, that is Today's Cultural-History Lesson:
Institutionalized Pedophilia-Pederasty Within Islam.
And how the non-Muslim world commits cultural suicide by ignoring this, even as Muslim immigrant communities continue to grow within their borders, bringing exactly this same kind of stuff with them.
This is a part of the larger problem of Islamic Sexual Slavery which affects both boys and girls.
The problem outlined above exists across the entire Islamic world, and has poisoned the relations between men and women. The late Sir Richard Burton addressed the matter more than 100 years ago, calling the basic region of Saharasia the "Sotadic Zone", given how sexual inversion has developed there to such astonishingly high levels. He looked primarily at homosexuality as the major consequence of the Islamic situation, but in fact the whole matter of female hatred, the veiling of women and crushing down of them into sexual slavery, is another major expression. These are critical components of the origins of armoring question which Wilhelm Reich never had the time to investigate, as he never visited any Islamic nation to see with his eyes, a situation that was far worse than what he observed in chaotic Vienna or Russia, or elsewhere he travelled. These issues were firstly addressed as regarding the Islamic world in my Saharasia book, starting around 1980, though with far less detail than is available today.
This is the social background of the Talibans and al-Qaeda killers, of the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists, and of the Iranian Mullahs, the Royal Families of the Persian Gulf oil shieks, of goat-herders in Yemen or Sudan, the Algerian Islamic fanatics who in their zeal to drive out the remaining French influences will throat-cut young unveiled women and even babies, after gang-raping them of course. And so on.
Lets view the ugly reality, without pulling punches. Here, one brave Swedish cartoonist captures the essence of Islamic pedophilia - the "ideal man" Muhammed at 53, with his 9-year old "wife", getting ready for the bed. This is an all-too-frequent reality across the Islamic world.
If you find this stuff offensive (and you should!) then don't blame the messenger. Islamic Pedophilia also comes to Islamic communities in the West
These are not "isolated cases" from individual insane sexual predators. It is part of a system and way of life, of a totalitarian culture which is smugly arrogant and proud of its pathos, and filled with hatred of anything that is healthier than itself . Go read Reich again on the Emotional Plague, if you need a reminder.
Incredible that the prevailing "status quo" liberal Dutch think this is OK, and call Geert Wilders a "right wing racist" for wanting to put a stop to it.
In France, they have prepared a new law forbidding full facial veiling of women and girls in public. If such a woman is found with full veil, or a girl-child, they will be fined, and it goes to being a criminal offense if the violations are frequent. It is an effort to stop the deliberate effort by Muslim men to keep their women in a low status, and to import the widespread concepts of "sexual dirtiness" and "female sex dirtiness" into France.
Now, just before this law can happen, a policeman stops a woman driving a car with full facial veiling. He says, she cannot see and so is an unsafe driver with that rag on her head.
The left-wing asks, why get upset about such a veil. Ignore it, they say. That is a reasonable question, but is based upon a terrible ignorance. Such facial veiling (note in the photo, the husband does not wear any such veil) it is a symbol of Islamic conquest, of the male brutality and conquest over the female and should not be tolerated in a free society. So say the moderates, concerned for their culture and children. And this one case proves the moderates (accused as "right-wing") are correct. Read on.
As publicity came on this case, it turns out the woman is one of four wives of a polygamist Algerian immigrant. The guy is networked with Algerian terror groups. The four wives have 12 children from him, collectively. They all separately go to the social services using their maiden names, claiming to be single women. "Oh Boo Hoo help me, my husband abandoned me with these six kids, and I have no job, etc., boo hoo."
So the French people are not monsters, and will give this woman plenty of social welfare, for all six kids too -- an apartment, food, clothes, car, education for the kids, you name it. How much for just that one wife? 3000 Euro per month? Times four wives that's 12,000 Euro, per month! 144,000 Euro per year. French people, where is the end of your generosity?!
Don't you think this guy is telling all his friends to come and do the same? So you wonder why your economy is suffering? Why so many of these Muslim guys ride around in Mercedes and wear slick clothes, flying here and there in the world like money is nothing, and laughing with contempt at the stupid dhimmi Western people. It is not like the shabby immigrants from Russia or elsewhere, whose clothes immediately show they are in poverty. No, they are wearing the best clothing, the men, even as their slave-women walk under full black curtains, suffering from Stockholm Syndrome and so always speaking in support of their tormentors.
More HERE (See the original for links)
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.