Malkin and Me

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I gotta say, I'm kinda with Michelle Malkin on this one.

The Department of Homeland Security's threat assessment (.pdf) on Rightwing Extremism is beyond sloppy. It irresponsibly conflates murderous hate-crime-committing white supremacists and homegrown terrorists like Timothy McVeigh with run of the mill rightwingers who, God love 'em, have every right to vehemently oppose the federal government, abortion, and immigration.

From the report's definition of "Rightwing Extremism":

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 report boldly declares that the "Current Economic and Political Climate [is] Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." But its first finding is that DHS "has no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence" only that they "may be gaining new recruits" based on a series of so-obvious-as-to-not-need-stating economic indicators, and the election of America's first African American president.

Of course. There's a real threat posed by lone-wolf nutjobs and armed antigovernment militias. And that the pool of nutjobs and would-be militiamen grows in times of economic stress, surging immigration, and racial barrier-breaking is perfectly worth noting.

But DHS in this report goes several steps beyond what could be defended as reasonable heads up to law enforcement.

In a play right out of the Bush handbook, DHS cites a troubling rise in unspecified "Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet" which the report says, "continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures."

OMG. Presumably DHS is also making up a Wanted poster for Paul Krugman.

For fuck's sake. Who commissioned this crap? If the Bush administration had ever released a report citing the extremist chatter of single-issue leftwingers seeking to overturn, say, the Patiot Act or reject the War on Drugs, the progressive blogosphere would be having a shitfit today. And rightly so.

UPDATE: I seen Glenn Greenwald is smartly playing up the hypocrisy of erstwhile surveillance state boosters like Malkin now whingeing because their side has been targeted for scrutiny. But why not use this ah-ha! moment to build a left/right coalition to roll back federal surveillance rather than as an opportunity to score political points?