How do you wipe the blood off your press release?

John Boehner (inter alia) managed to drive DHS away from tracking the sort of neo-Nazi who just shot up the Sikh temple.

When I read that the guy who shot up the Sikh Temple was an ex-military neo-Nazi skinhead, something in the back of my head whispered, “Didn’t DHS have a report about such people? And didn’t a bunch of Republican politicians and members of the wingnut commentariat complain that DHS was slandering veterans and conservatives by suggesting that there might be such a threat?”

Answer:  Yes. And they managed to cow DHS into backing off. No, I don’t know that this act of terrorism could have been stopped. But I know that John Boehner  wanted to make sure that it couldn’t be stopped.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

10 thoughts on “How do you wipe the blood off your press release?”

  1. Did Boehner in way try to stop the FBI from investigating such people? Or did he and his fellow Republicans (echoing many veterans) just make some political hay about singling out veterans as potential terrorists?

    1. Some veterans might have agreed with the GOP’s rush to defend white supremacists, Bruce. I’d like to see evidence that many veterans did so. It was after all Boehner who cheerfully described white supremacists as:

      “American citizens who disagree with the direction Washington Democrats are taking our nation.”

  2. After the Oklahoma City terrorist bombing by McVeigh, the right seemed somewhat contrite. It was generally acknowledged that political leaders have a responsibility not to indulge in rhetoric that could be taken as a license for such murderous action by people not exactly in their right minds. Gingrich and other rhetorical firebombers seemed to cut back.

    To make this point crystal clear: We hold Islamic religious leaders responsible for rhetoric that might incite less — let’s say “sophisticated” — listeners to such murderous actions. And I would say, rightly so.

    But I don’t detect any acknowledgment of this kind of responsibility on the part of the right at this time

    It’s sickening, really.

    PS I imagine Mark might be surprised by how I feel about this. I would only say: Let’s hold everyone to the same standard, and not project our anger at our predicament on our brothers. See my second point above. Do you disagree with this? Then complaining about Boehner in this matter is just partisan noise without a true moral basis.

  3. The negative reaction to the DHS report on “rightwing extremism” did not arise because anyone objects to monitoring neo-nazis and related violent fringe groups. The negative reaction arose because the report in question defined the “threat” so broadly as to capture millions of perfectly peaceful, law-abiding Americans who happen to disagree with liberal or centrist policy (or who happen to be recent veterans who are having a hard time finding a job).

    The idea that “most people who commit crimes of type X belong to group A, therefore all members of group A should be considered suspect” is generally called “profiling” and is justifiably considered contrary to the values of a free democracy by liberals (and others) who are being true to their principles and not trying to score political points off of some dead Sihks.

    It of course a fact that sometimes young observant Muslim males have engaged in terrorist activities against the United States. But a DHS reporting suggesting that young Muslim males were inherently suspect would have been rightly and roundly criticized.

    1. What an interesting comment.

      Let’s elide the explicit propaganda in the first paragraph.

      The second paragraph is completely true, and important.

      Let’s rewrite the third paragraph to be equivalent this way:

      It is of course a fact that sometimes Catholic males (by employment) have engaged in criminal activities against the children entrusted to their care. But a DHS reporting suggesting that young Catholic males were inherently suspect would have been rightly and roundly criticized.

  4. The far racist right has taken responsibility for their actions. If you can believe it, they’re fiercely proud of “their brother”, Page, and don’t care who knows it. Why should they?

    According to the ex Republican, mormon head of domestic terrorism, Daryl Johnson in a fifty seven billion dollar, Department of Homeland Security there is is just one person there today, who is still a “domestic terrorism” analyst.


    Since our report was leaked, DHS has not released a single report of its own on this topic. Not anything dealing with non-Islamic domestic extremism—whether it’s anti-abortion extremists, white supremacists, “sovereign citizens,” eco-terrorists, the whole gamut.

    Great, thank God in comparison with a budget of less than a million dollars the charity, the Southern Poverty Law Center, with a host of other tasks, still tries its best to track some of these dangerous characters.

    1. Plainly, what would make America a better place is more Homeland Security monitoring of unpopular political groups.

      The killer was a piece of junk and so is anyone of like mind, but even the former domestic-terrorism analyst says more monitoring of the white-power dude’s ilk wouldn’t have stopped a lone-wolf attack like this.

      1. “Unpopular political groups”

        What does popularity have to do with this? We are talking about white power extremists who openly espouse violence and talk about the coming race wars.

        1. Back during the Bush administration, after a string of arson fires in California tied to environmental and animal-rights activists, one heard occasional references to them as committing acts of terrorism. Do you remember how the left reacted then?

          1. The difference being that the extreme right wing has a long history of domestic terrorism and snuggling up to those who advocate white supremacism and violence. Boehner was defending people who already had a track record in this regard. There’s also a difference between attacking institutions in which animals are being abused and simply walking into a religious community and shooting at anything you see. Did you miss these things perhaps?

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