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Monday, August 8, 2011

We're All Terrorists Now

As many times as journalists, politicians (including the vice president), and even the Department of Homeland Security have called conservatives terrorists in the last two years, it is now more urgent than ever for conservatives to rethink their support for the vast and growing "national security" state and the systematic erosion of America's civil liberties, due process, and rule of law.

After 9-11 Americans understandably wanted to be sure their country was safe. Conservatives were willing to maybe give up just a few liberties for security, especially if it was only the terrorists' liberties. So they didn't examine bills like the Patriot Act too closely or ask too many questions.

Usually quick to point out and denounce violations of the Constitution penned by our Founding Fathers, conservatives hoping for security allowed the government to run roughshod over various amendments of the Constitution as it built its vast and increasingly unchecked national security apparatus.

But it would be a major blunder for conservatives to miss the significance of the alarming number of times they have been called terrorists in recent years, both metaphorically as well as quiet literally and in all earnestness. I am not making this up:

In the very earliest days of the Obama Administration, the Department of Homeland Security produced two separate memos profiling conservatives as potential terrorist threats and circulated them to state police departments.

The first of these, dated February 20, 2009, was entitled The Modern Militia Movement, and advised state police that potential domestic terrorists could be identified by bumper stickers or activism in favor of limited government, state sovereignty, many of the amendments in the Bill of Rights, the pro-life movement, abolishing the income tax, withdrawing from the United Nations, or even the presidential candidacy of Congressman Ron Paul!

As a conservative do any of the items in that list describe you? The Department of Homeland Security-- that is-- your government, said that this could be an indicator that you are a terrorist. After the document was published by Wikileaks in March 2009, outrage over its contents lead to the report being scrapped and official letters of apology were sent to Ron Paul among other peaceful political candidates falsely associated with terrorism.

But the following month, a new DHS memo surfaced, entitled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." The report again warned that right-wing terrorists could be identified by their support for limited government, state sovereignty, the pro-life movement, stricter immigration laws, the Second Amendment right to bear arms, or even their opposition to the policies of the Obama Administration.

This memo went a step further and said that U.S. military veterans returning from their service in the Middle East pose a terrorist threat and would be likely targets for recruitment by right-wing extremist groups. Page seven of the memo actually said:

"...rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the capabilities of extremists—including lone wolves or small terrorist cells—to carry out violence."

Have you or anyone you know served overseas in our nation's military? The Department of Homeland Security actually insists that our brave veterans are potential terrorist threats. And there would be no apology and retraction of this second memo. As the memo's publication stirred up more outrage from conservatives, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said she had been briefed about the report before its release, and that she stands by it.

The timing and language of the memos are not a mere coincidence. Without saying so explicitly, there can be no doubting that these memos were describing members of the conservative Tea Party movement and its opposition to an out-of-control federal government. In Obama's America, supporting a peaceful protest movement like the Tea Party makes you automatically suspect as a potential terrorist.

Fast-forward to January of 2011, when a gunman in Arizona murdered six people and critically wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) in a tragic shooting massacre, and Democrats in the media reflexively rushed to blame the Tea Party for inciting the violence with vitriolic rhetoric.

Within hours, before any clear facts had emerged, progressive bloggers and commentators, including New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, just knew that the shooter had to be a Tea Party sympathizer. Krugman blamed conservatives for the attack, accusing them of fomenting "a climate of hate."

As it turned out, the Democrats were wrong. The gunman turned out not to be a conservative, a Republican, nor a Tea Party supporter. His writings indicated if anything, a sympathy for progressive politics, but most of all, simply the deranged mind of a clinically insane young man.

But the progressives-- who like to style themselves as level-headed, unprejudiced, critical thinkers-- rushed to presume the terrorist was a conservative Tea Party member. Such is their view of conservatives. In their minds conservatives are unhinged, violent terrorists capable of murdering their fellow Americans.

In recent days, during the heated debt ceiling debate, the association of conservatives with terrorism rose to a fever pitch. The day after the debt ceiling deal in Congress, I documented the sheer volume of these outrageous associations being made by journalists at top newspapers and even high-ranking Democrats, including Vice President Joe Biden.

Multiple Democratic sources reported hearing the word used by the vice president and several Democratic congressmen in a closed door meeting on the debt ceiling. During the meeting, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) said:

"We have negotiated with terrorists. This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money... “the Tea Party acted like terrorists in threatening to blow up the economy."

After multiple House Democrats agreed, Vice President Joe Biden conceded the validity of their treacherous characterization, saying: "They have acted like terrorists." Three days before The Politico reported these politicians' slanderous words, one of its own opinion columnists wrote a piece entitled "The Tea Party's Terrorist Tactics," opining:

"It has become commonplace to call the tea party faction in the House 'hostage takers.' But they have now become full-blown terrorists," adding that, "Terrorism is a tough term, but, unfortunately, it describes tea party tactics precisely."

And on the very day that The Politico broke the story about the House Democrats and vice president, a New York Times columnist published a piece entitled "The Tea Party's War on America," which begins:

"You know what they say: Never negotiate with terrorists. It only encourages them. These last few months, much of the country has watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people... Their goal, they believed, was worth blowing up the country for, if that’s what it took."

This is what conservatives are up against. Mainstream journalists are accusing them of terrorism. Top Democrats, including the vice president, are accusing them of terrorism. Most seriously, the Department of Homeland Security has circulated two memos (that we know of) profiling them as potential terrorists for such "suspicious" behavior as complaining about high taxes!

It may have seemed prudent to sacrifice a few liberties for the sake of security when they were just the terrorists' liberties, but at this point, conservatives should understand that in supporting the unchecked powers of the national security state, they have blundered right into giving away their own liberties and security: because as I have meticulously documented and proven here, it is increasingly they who have been called the terrorists.

This is why they should have never forgotten (or willfully ignored) that famous quotation from our Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, who said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." This is why Tea Party Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is so perceptive in his opposition to the PATRIOT Act and other federal violations of the Constitution in the name of security.

Can there be any more doubt that the gravest threat to both your liberty and security is the unchecked power of the federal government? Could it be any more clear that when conservatives allowed President Bush to play fast and loose with the civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution in his pursuit of terrorists, that they had blundered into a trap of their own making? That it is now patriotic conservatives who are categorized by journalists, politicians, and DHS bureaucrats as "terrorists?"

Conservatives have unwittingly created a class of people for whom the law and its protections do not apply, and tragically they are now being relegated to that very class of people. That is the end game in all of this: the eventual relegation of all Americans to that class, the expansion of extraordinary police state powers to encompass every citizen and every aspect of their life in what was formerly a constitutional republic.

And that is how the America-haters, the socialists, the radicals have smuggled in their all-powerful state and stripped us of all the liberties our ancestors died to preserve. With the unwitting help of conservatives, the Constitution and the liberties it guarantees are being taken from all of us.

We're all terrorists now.

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