Lies of Omission

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Newsweek Goes Off The Rails

Newsweek recently put forth a theory about right-wing extremism. It was a fantastic piece of fiction. After they had waded through all of the crimes committed by right-wing extremists, totaling them up as more than Jihadists had committed, it came up to much less than one day in September of 2001.

They carefully crafted the discussion to begin in 2002. During which they claimed that "Islamists launched nine attacks that murdered 45, while the right-wing extremists struck 18 times, leaving 48 dead." But, that only leads one to question what definitions they used. From the obviously stilted tenor of the story, it is logical to conclude that they vastly minimized "Islamic" terrorism and vastly maximized "right-wing extremist" terrorism. It also leads to one other question: how many police departments have killed unarmed people in the same time frame? Here's a hint: In Albuquerque alone, of the 20 instances of people being killed by police over half were "unconstitutional." Extrapolate that and it is totally frightening and makes the murders by either group inconsequential.

But, there were further distortions. Later in the story they claim:  "...many experts maintain that the movement was a product of the financial crisis for farms in the 1980s, rapid economic and cultural change, and the adoption of gun control and environmental protection laws. In recent years, an explosion in the number of militias has been linked by experts to the beginning of the Great Recession in December 2007 and the election of Barack Obama months later."

Well, well so it was all due to recession. They seem to have left out the federal abuses of the combination of the BLM and the EPA that fired up the Sagebrush Rebellion. Not a word of how ranchers had been pushed off their land with threats and trumped up fines and criminal charges that fueled the resistance of the 1970's, not some recession.

They left out the murders of son and wife of Randy Weaver for which the federal government later settled with Weaver for $3.5 million.

They left out the 76 men, women and children burned alive in Waco, Texas.

They left out the financial crises aided and abetted by federal policy, lax oversight and willing complicity in fraud. They left out the trillions of dollars of further federal debt to bail out banks, auto manufacturers and "shovel-ready" transportation projects.

We are supposed to forget that virtually none of those "shovel-ready" projects materialized and when it did, the jobs went to already hired union workers. The money to bail out the auto industry was a hat tip to unions which dominate U.S. automakers and that the program eliminated hundreds of privately owned dealerships not surprisingly most of them owned by conservatives.

The banks that were bailed out busily foreclosed on homes across the land, refused to give loans so small businesses so they could restructure their loans either because the banks had their funds tied up with toxic debt, or they used the "new" money to purchase other banks. None of the trillions of dollars taken from future generations of Americans was used to actually fix anything.

They left out the fact that opposition to Barack Obama had nothing to do with the increase in liberty-minded groups, rather it had to do with Barack Obama's policies that infringed on Fourth Amendment rights to privacy; First Amendment rights to freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly; and Second Amendment rights to arms.

They left out the fact that when citizens protested the disaster of Obamacare, (freedom of assembly) trying desperately to keep this abomination from becoming law, they were harassed and intimidated by the IRS. That when political opponents of Obamacare tried to form non-profit groups they were denied that status by the IRS. (and Eichenwald has the gall to ask why these people don't just vote? They have voted, restructured the House and Senate and Obama just writes an EO)

To hear it from Newsweek, this irrational opposition to the federal government is just a bunch of malcontents driven by unfortunate economic conditions.

The article paints legitimate political opposition as people who believe "...(they) have to engage in armed combat with their own government rather than vote, kill their fellow citizens rather than tolerate differences, blow up buildings rather than just get a job?"

My question to Kurt Eichenwald, the author of this daffy distortion of U.S. history, is what makes the federal agents believe they have to murder women and children to get their way? What makes the federal government believe that murder is better than talking and working out resolutions for the land rather than taking the property, livelihoods and lives of American citizens? The occupation of Malheur Wildlife Refuge was nothing other than an armed sit-in. From the very early stages it was clear that there was a protest element to the takeover. Bundy openly talked to federal agents about their grievances and met with them on several occasions. The group had allowed the media to interview them. Sorry, Kurt, that sounds like people with a grievance they are willing to negotiate, not evil murderers bent on killing government agents.

Kurt Eichenwald writes this news story as if it were a blog post, devoid of fact, devoid of reason with stilted statistics and verbal insults aimed at those he despises. It is quite instructive that he asks what right the so-called "right-wing extremists" have to kill their fellow citizens rather than tolerate difference. But, Eichenwald does not seem very interested in tolerating the differences he might have with gun owners, or Tea Party members, or true political opponents of a government unloosed from its political moorings. He intimates, through his hate for those he does not want to understand, that the feds should just kill and imprison them all.

At one point Eichenwald quotes the Constitution, something he must have picked up from a lawyer he talked to once. The part he quoted was misquoted as: "Article 4, Section 3, Clause 2, the Constitution grants Congress full authority to make all rules and regulations for the management of federal lands."

I guess he didn't actually quote it, because it would refute what he claims it says. Here is the actual quote: The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States.

But, Eichenwald is no scholar or he would have put that clause in context with this one: Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17: To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.

So, yes, the Constitution grants Congress the right dispose of federal lands and to make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory (for Eichewald's edification: States are not Territories) or other property belonging to the United States, which in the further citing is inclusive only of the District of Columbia (ten miles square) or other property belonging to the United States.

They are given "like authority" over "other property" belonging to the United States, but then it is limited by the purposes in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17: for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings. Vast tracts of Western states varying from 35% to 85% are neither Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, or buildings.

But then, such is the stupidity of a Newsweek "reporter" who does not understand the difference between radical racists and legitimate political opposition. Who lumps all actors and agencies together, without the rational intelligence to differentiate between those who identify violations by the government of the actual Constitution and violent nuts.

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I am a published and produced writer, a novelist, a freelance writer, a playwright and blogger.