Streams

Militia Matters

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Southern Poverty Law Center's director of research, Heidi Beirich, and John Avlon, author of Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America, talk about the Hutaree militia and its place in the American militia movement.

Guests:

John Avlon and Heidi Beirich

Comments [53]

Jeff from Idaho from North Idaho

Rex Rammell NEVER said he "wanted a license to hunt Obama". This is a lie perpetuated by the leftstream media. A little old lady at one of his speeches, as he was speaking about wolf hunting in Idaho (which is legal) said, "when do we get Obama tags?"

This is just another example of how the national media have prostituted themselves for the benefit of the federal government. Shame on you for believing anything placed in front of you! Do some research! You parrot what you hear on TV and call it FACT! You are no more than sheep who will do the bidding of it's master and demonize true, God-fearing Americans who only want to return this great nation to the founding principals it was built upon. But then again, I'm speaking to New Yorkers...

...so it's guaranteed to fall on deaf ears, I guess. Although I pray that's not the case.

Apr. 05 2010 03:48 AM
Not So Fast from USA

Hugh Samsom from Brooklyn NY wrote: Rex Rammell -- Republican -- is campaigning to be Governor of Idaho. He is a participant in the Idaho Light Foot militia -- as reported by Nightline just last night.

FACT: Rex Rammell is not a participant in the Idaho Light Foot Militia. Rex Rammell as a Candidate that believes in enforcing the US & Idaho State Constitution was asked to visit the Light Foot Militia training session that day at the request of Nightline's producer to watch how they train and to comment on what he thought.

Mar. 31 2010 09:54 PM
artista from greenpoint

putting together The rep from Southern Poverty Law center with John Avlon (whoever that is), apparently a mass-media type, was a poor programming/booking choice. She seems to deal with facts and he with rhetoric for the sake of inflammatory assertions.
They come from 2 different universes which made for an unenlightening segment.
He is not so different from the people he quoted saying "They started it!" (by comparing the hated politician with Hitler); in other words, he can make indigestible lumps of people but can't make distinctions among groups or actions, or properly trace links between them, or parse how extremist rhetoric is handled by mainstream parties (as in: the Republicans wink, nod, or agree outright, while the Dems run away screaming).
And his history of the extremist—and universally denounced— "Weather Underground" is so distorted as to be merely misleading. (Plus, to associate them with the raft of events classified as attacks: bombings, arson, etc in the 70s) is unsupported by any facts. They WISH they could have claimed them all perhaps.
Truth is always ever so much more illuminating than this drivel.
PLEASE, no more like him!

Mar. 31 2010 11:57 AM
RLewis from bowery

http://www.zombietime.com/zomblog/?p=621

Mar. 31 2010 11:42 AM
RLewis from bowery

Burtnor, I agree with you on that. They are all different. But this conversation did NOT start with "those who plan or actually commit terrorist acts". It began with "refer to white Christian male extremists as terrorists" - without any mention of planning or committing anything. There is a difference.

For you're definition I'll go with Terrorist, but that's not the original comment that you've jumped into without paying attention.

Mar. 31 2010 10:56 AM
kbinps from park slope

In response to #44 Barbara from New Jersey: They call themselves Christians. If you go to their website you will see lots of quotes from the Bible. And their agenda was to start a war to challenge the anti-Christ and trigger the end days. So it is not some random militia. That is not to say that they represent mainstream Christian values any more than Muslim terrorists represent mainstream Muslim values. I think the answer is for responsible Christians to denounce such groups and to denounce violence in any form and from any faction.

Mar. 31 2010 10:56 AM
Burtnor from Manhattan

No, RLewis! We should only call terrorists those who plan or actually commit terrorist acts, whether they are white, brown, black, green, foreign, US citizens, Christian, Muslim, or Martian. But we SHOULD call them terrorists. They intend to and do in fact instill terror. If you can't distinguish between the outspoken anti-war group Code Pink, which has engaged in only non-violent Constitutionally protected protest, from people who plan assassinations and civil war, then there is no point to political discussion.

Barbara K -- They are called Christian because they call themselves Christian, claiming Obama is the anti-Christ and they are hastening the end times. It IS a distortion of what most consider Christianity, but I don't hear many mainstream Christian leaders denouncing these groups' avowed "Christian" motivations.

Mar. 31 2010 10:47 AM
Kevin V. from njny

to [32]
-the left may have been vociferous vs. Bush but they were never acted in any violent manner. They couldn't even prevent his re-election.
-the "9/11 was an inside job" people are insane but they aren't violent (and not necessarily leftist).

Mar. 31 2010 10:42 AM
RLewis from bowery

@ Robert #38 - exactly. That's why we can't go around calling everyone a Terrorist. Extrapolate from Code P to other groups and it's a really bad downhill plunge. They are all different and one T word for all is wrong.

Mar. 31 2010 10:35 AM
Barbara K from New Jersey

Why does the media keep calling this group "Christian?" Don't know any Christians who espouse murdering public officials or anyone else for that matter. It is a direct contradiction of Scripture and the teachings of Jesus. Seems to me that these people are better labeled "far right" extremists. They are acting out of pure self-interest. Calling them "Christian" just inflames anti-Christian sentiment.

Mar. 31 2010 10:35 AM
Merez from NYC

I agree w/ the caller who expected more accountability re: Republicans. Bush/Cheney steamrolled this country for 8 years using fear and suspicion and having little or no regard for the legality of their actions. "Wingnuts" are an escalation of that attitude towards government and rule of law.

Mar. 31 2010 10:34 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Once again, Mr. Lehrer fails to challenge a conservative commentators -- even when that commentator goes beyond opinion to misrepresentation of fact. On the rare occasions when a real progressive is on (like, say, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now), Mr. Lehrer while always polite is nevertheless more aggressive in his questioning.

Mar. 31 2010 10:33 AM
jane

Theses types of wing nuts don't tend to vote, on the left or the right.

Mar. 31 2010 10:31 AM
Ron

I would have liked to hear more from Len rather than people talking about Len. What has he seen at the rallies? Why is he so angry? Was he angry before Obama? healthcare? What specific details about policy now in contrast to before anger him so? How fact or evidence based are his fears? his anger?

Mar. 31 2010 10:31 AM
Mark from Westchester

Attended a family function in Kansas City during the presidential campaign and was appalled at the level of racist invective freely voiced among young white males against Obama....one comment was how Obama had endangered his own life by choosing a white VP.

Agree regarding Taliban....ALL religious fundamentalists ought to be marginalized. Once you get to the point where "god said it", it's too late for discussion.

Mar. 31 2010 10:30 AM
Robert from NYC

Does Code Pink Carry guns!!? Comparisons are unbalanced

Mar. 31 2010 10:30 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Contrary to John Avlon's claims, there is a DIRECT CAUSAL CHAIN between the violent rhetoric of John Boehner, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Tom Coburn and (of course) Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, etc., and the violence of right wing Christian terrorists.

There is NOTHING comparable on the American left.

Moreover, Avlon and his ilk, like Giuliani, are happy to make such causal claims about Muslims.

The equality Avlon draws between right-wing and left-wing is simply false. Avlon can only be called a centrist in the US. He is a right-winger by any reasonable measure.

If Avlon is going to go back to the 60s for the left, then why not to the 50s for the KKK and the right-wing?

Mar. 31 2010 10:29 AM
Zach from Brooklyn

1)If Republicans are not connected to the militias and the extremists, then they need also to stop playing to them.

2)If the right-wing anti-government extremists-- and even the talk show hosts and Sarah Palin-- were Muslim, they'd be arrested by now...

Mar. 31 2010 10:29 AM
Jonathan from Bronx

John Avlon says that most tea-partiers are not motivated by "stupid racism." Is there another kind of racism that I am not aware of?

Mar. 31 2010 10:29 AM
Eric from B'klyn

Another note of interest: Fox Cable is going out of its way not to characterize this as domestic terrorism, it seems they believe that terrorism can only be wielded by those outside the country.

Mar. 31 2010 10:28 AM
George from Astoria

These people are just as dangerous as Muslim fundamentalist terrorists. Does the republican party especially cheney and rove think they should be categorized as enemy combatants, placed in guantanamo and be water boarded for information?

Mar. 31 2010 10:28 AM
Mark from New Jersey

I find it curious that so many on the left are searching for connections between healthcare, Obama, and anti-government militias. What about the attitude of the radical left over the last ten years? From referring to President Bush in the most visceral terms of hatred, to attempting to convince America that it's own government bombed the Trade Center, the left engaged in "anti-government" rhetoric that was every bit as vehement and damaging to any notion of unity.

Mar. 31 2010 10:28 AM
the truth from Betty

Brian...what they are saying are President Obama is certainly NOT equal to what has been said about bush! stop it.

Mar. 31 2010 10:28 AM
Gene

THANK YOU, Elaine!

Never before have we had an entire news network actively promulgating a (dangerous) political agenda.

Mar. 31 2010 10:28 AM
Angela from Brooklyn

I think that race as a divisive issue is encouraged by those on the far right to keep people from realizing that the real battle here is socio-economic. Serves their purpose to keep those of us in the "have-not" column fighting amongst ourselves instead of joining together and taking on the very few "haves" who currently run this country.

Mar. 31 2010 10:27 AM
kbinps from park slope

Mr Avlon's former boss Rudy Guiliani was very good at preying on racial fear. Remember the incident when he was running for mayor when he stirred his audience into a mini riot at City Hall? And there were all the police incidents culminating in the shooting of Amadieu Diallo (sp?).

Mar. 31 2010 10:26 AM
RLewis from bowery

mozo, it's not dem's (don't twist words), it is urban organization. I attended many anti-war protests when Repub's were in power, and we urbanites were no different than these urban groups today. We were just secular.

Mar. 31 2010 10:26 AM
Robert T. from Manhattan

The Party of Personal Responsibility yet again refuses to take responsibility for the foreseeable consequences of its actions.

Mar. 31 2010 10:26 AM
the truth from Betty

#17 - we can start by removing Glenn Beck and Hannity from the airwaves

Mar. 31 2010 10:26 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Very interesting to hear Len, self-identifying as a conservative, point to differences among conservatives and to the moral injunctions of Christianity when SO MANY CONSERVATIVES tar ALL MUSLIMS with one brush.

Len may be a good example of a thoughtful conservative. But the public conservative leaders provide perfect examples of the revolting hypocrisy that characterizes right-wing thinking.

Mar. 31 2010 10:25 AM
Eric from B'klyn

A historical note: Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin and Milosevic used a 'return to the glorious past' theme to stir national or nativist sentiments with terrible consequences. This emergence is not a trivial matter.

Mar. 31 2010 10:25 AM
Gene

Agree with Hugh--

Tea Partiers' shameful insults (and lack of condemnation from the mainstream conservatives) prove what we always knew:

The Republican base are in essence the same people who fought Soc Sec, civil rights, Medicare, and every progressive move, and in fact, lynched blacks and killed the Kennedys and King.

Mar. 31 2010 10:24 AM
denise from NJ

I see a lot of potential parallels between these christian militias and the Taliban. They propose to take the government over by violent means yet realistically they represent a sliver of the American population. Why does the media shy away from making these parallels? I think people would begin to shy away from this extremist subculture if such negative associations were publicly made.

Mar. 31 2010 10:24 AM
Betty Anne from UES

What about the media's label of "militia"? If they were Muslims they would be called terrorists!

Mar. 31 2010 10:23 AM
Elaine

Certain media outlets (Fox) are promoting the fear and discord hoping to incite violence because it will make great viewing ratings.

Mar. 31 2010 10:23 AM
the truth from Betty

#9 - bull

Mar. 31 2010 10:23 AM
gianni Lovato from Chatham, NY

PLease, please, please! Let's try not to feed the flames.
These people deserve to be watched, yes. But we run the danger of making them more important and dangerous than they already are by sensationalizing their behaviour.
They need as much attention as a cranky, naughty child at a grown-up dinner.

Mar. 31 2010 10:23 AM
the truth from Betty

If white people are terrified about becoming the minority in 2052 or whatever such nonsensical date what should the current so called minorities feel right now?

Mar. 31 2010 10:22 AM
asdf

Moderate Muslims are often criticized for their lack of constant, vociferous condemnation of so-called radical Muslims who have embraced hate and terrorism.

Is it time to scrutinize the level of condemnation that is now being voiced, or not voiced, by moderate Christians? How strong is the parallel?

Mar. 31 2010 10:22 AM
Burtnor from Manhattan

Let's be clear. Although the left engaged in these violent fantasies and tactics in the 1960s, it is only the right that has advocated them recently. Mr. Avlon and others would like to imagine that the extremists are a fringe element and this problem is a manifestation of partisanship on both sides, but this rabid, violent response has been embraced, if not actually encouraged, by the Republican party and its unconscionable distortions.

Mar. 31 2010 10:21 AM
mozo from nyc

#9 --

The dems don't form militia groups and plan to kill law enforcement agents nor do they claim to do "God's work". Please do not equivocate.

Mar. 31 2010 10:20 AM
Steve from Red Bank NJ

Thank you Jack...I thought Brian was going to ignore the obvious.

Mar. 31 2010 10:20 AM
the truth from Betty

Fear of change is an understatement.

Mar. 31 2010 10:18 AM
jeff pappas from Ct.

Terrorists , Criminals , Patriots ,
Soldiers , Enemy Combatants , All have killed civilians. Lets stop the word play and outlaw all Killing !

Mar. 31 2010 10:16 AM
RLewis from bowery

Doesn't it just come down to rural vs. urban? Elect a Republican and we get urban anger. Elect a Dem' and we get this rural revolt. We just have a bunch of people in this country who are filled with hate and anger at their unhappy lives -- on both sides!

Mar. 31 2010 10:16 AM
the truth from Betty

More specifically the are "Domestic Terrorists"

Mar. 31 2010 10:16 AM
Gene

These anti-gov nuts seem to be funding their activities through payments from unemployment, disability and social security.

Mar. 31 2010 10:15 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

John Avlon is just lying.

Rex Rammell -- Republican -- is campaigning to be Governor of Idaho. He is a participant in the Idaho Light Foot militia -- as reported by Nightline just last night.

Rammell spoke, explicitly, of wanting a license to "hunt Obama" -- his words.

Palin has repeatedly used the language of gun ownership. She published, on her website, a map of the US with crosshairs.

Numerous Republicans have repeatedly used the language of violence. FACT.

Mar. 31 2010 10:15 AM
Johnny S from Cranford, NJ

This kind of extremism flowered when Clinton was elected in 1992 as well. Along with the same rhetoric that federal officials were coming for our guns and ammunition (resulting then and now in shortages at sporting goods stores across the country). It seems that the right takes up arms and bombs when their political opponents are elected.

Mar. 31 2010 10:15 AM
brooklynchick

Agree with Hugh - why are crazy white people part of a "militia" and crazy brown people are terrorists?

Mar. 31 2010 10:13 AM
RLewis from bowery

Hugh, if we do that then anyone with a weapon is a Terrorist, and if we do that then we'll have a harder time truely seperating the bad from the worse. Do we really want to called the Code Pink ladies Terrorists? That's where you're heading.

Mar. 31 2010 10:13 AM
Edward from brooklyn

Jimmy Carter said it all, yet most white people, tried to ignore him like the old relative with altimers who says things nobody wants to hear.

Mar. 31 2010 10:12 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Perhaps the guests can explain why CNN, NPR, The New York Times, etc., steadfastly refuse to refer to white Christian male extremists as terrorists. Michael Isikoff of Newsweek expressly ruled out referring to people like the Hutaree lot as terrorists.

Mar. 31 2010 09:57 AM

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