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Tuesday, April 14, 2009 

U.S. Dept. Of Homeland Security Warns of Domestic Right Wing Extremism

"Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning.
-(U//FOUO) The current economic and political climate has some similarities to the 1990s when rightwing extremism experienced a resurgence fueled largely by an economic recession, criticism about the outsourcing of jobs, and the perceived threat to U.S. power and sovereignty by other foreign powers.
— (U//FOUO) During the 1990s, these issues contributed to the growth in the number of domestic rightwing terrorist and extremist groups and an increase in violent acts targeting government facilities, law enforcement officers, banks, and infrastructure sectors.
— (U//FOUO) Growth of these groups subsided in reaction to increased government scrutiny as a result of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and disrupted plots, improvements in the economy, and the continued U.S. standing as the reeminent world power.
(U//FOUO) 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."

Dept. of Homeland Security

The report by Homeland Security describes “extremists” as those “that are primarily hate-oriented” and those that “reject federal authority,” not those who simply oppose abortion or immigration. Right wing voices will become shrill as the content of the report is more widely known. Some American rightwing bloggers have already accused the Obama Administration of targeting 'conservatives'.

The authors of the report were foolish in that they did not clearly define what they meant by "right-wing extremists". As a result, they left the door open to misinterpretation.

The "definition" they gave was probably not meant as a definition, but rather as a way to categorize different types of extremists. Unfortunately that was not made clear, and many people have obviously taken it to be a definition.

Actually I found the entire report to be sloppy. It dealt entirely in generalizations with a lot of "maybes" and "coulds", and had little of substance. I'm not sure why such a superficial report would be made public, especially when so little care was taken to ensure it wouldn't backfire.

You know Rabbit, most people understand what is meant by 'Right Wing'.

I think that the only group of people who do not seem to understand what is meant by 'Right Wing' are those who are afflicted with various degrees of right wing thinking, opinion and world views.

On the flip side, no one is more guilty of misapplying labels than right wingers who name everything they disagree with as 'socialist'. (Before 1989 they always used the word 'communist' or 'red').

I completely disagree with you. The Report is anything but sloppy. I think it deals in specifics quite nicely especially in raising the history of right wing groups in the 1990's.

Are your criticisms intended to try and discredit the report?

Socialists and Separatists.
Those were the cries and shouts from the Conservatives in our House in early December. Mainstream press continued using these labels.
The Liberals were signing a deal with the devils.
Canadians agreed and thus we prorogued.

I think the difference between left and right has been badly obscured. What we now call libertarian were once called liberal (particularly before Franklin Roosevelt). Yet libertarians are now considered right-wing.

But leaving that aside, what is a "right-wing extremist"? By not carefully defining an extremist, they open the door to being accused of treating everyone on the right as an extremist.

As an addendum to my last posting, I would have begun the report as follows:

"For the purposes of this report, we define an extremist as one who is not willing to limit themselves to legal and democratic means to further their political goals. We define a right-wing extremist as an extremist whose political goals are right wing. Such goals can be roughly categorized as follows..."

This would have prevented much confusion.

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