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Archive for September 18th, 2010

Understanding the Witch-Hunt Against Obama

The paranoid style of American politics is alive and well, using all the classic smear tactics used against minorities and citizen heroes like Martin Luther King.
September 14, 2010 |

America is in the midst of a 21st-century witch hunt. A loose-knit network of right-wing ideological strategists, Republican Party operatives and media demagogues generate the odious smears. Their goal is to stymie the Obama administration’s policy initiatives, capture Congress in November and unseat President Barack Obama in 2012. This propagandizing echoes the scapegoating of liberals, union and community organizers, peace activists, gay people, Jews and people of color during the anti-communist witch-hunts of the McCarthy era.

Anti-Obama rhetoric also mimics 1960s slurs dubbing Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. a dupe of a communist conspiracy — claims circulated by groups like the ultra-conservative John Birch Society, the white supremacist “Citizens’ Councils” and the Ku Klux Klan. Billboards and flyers with this revelation appeared across the South, and postcards were distributed nationwide.

The underlying message is that liberals are either tools or agents of the plot to build collectivism and global governance. Such claims, once used to label President Franklin D. Roosevelt a fascist, and have resurfaced against Obama, who is tagged as Hitler and Stalin. Such sloganeering is a classic trope that distorts a complex idea into a short metaphor full of rich cultural or political baggage.

Into this guilt-by-association cesspool swims Aaron Klein, who fancies himself a shark of an investigative journalist but is really just another bottom-feeder. Klein, a senior staff reporter for the hard-right conspiracist World Net Daily, worked with Internet crank Brenda J. Elliott (therealbarackobama.wordpress.com) to write the new book The Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists and other Anti-American Extremists.

Similarly gawdy anti-Obama books include: Newt Gingrich’s To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine, Sean Hannity’s Conservative Victory: Defeating Obama’s Radical Agenda and Brad O’Leary’s The Audacity of Deceit: Barack Obama’s War on American Values. Slightly more histrionic are: Jerome R. Corsi’s The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality, and Floyd Brown and Lee Troxler’s Obama Unmasked: Did Slick Hollywood Handlers Create the Perfect Candidate?

MORE HERE

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Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano: DHS Report On Right-Wing Extremists Is ‘Ancient History’

TPM Muckraker

Ryan J. Reilly | September 17, 2010, 4:42PM

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Friday referred to a controversial report issued by DHS in April 2009 on the potential for an increased in right-wing extremism as “ancient history.”

TPMDC asked Napolitano at a lunch hosted by the Christian Science Monitor if she thought the report DHS was criticized for issuing on the potential for a rise in right-wing extremism due to the election of Barack Obama has been vindicated in the year and a half since it came out.

Incidents like the allegations against the Hutaree militia, the murder of Dr. George Tiller, the shooting at the Holocaust Museum and the arrest of an ex-Marine with ties to right-wing movements possessing a grenade launcher seem to be right up the alley of what the DHS foreshadowed.

Napolitano — who had apologized to the country’s largest veterans organization for the part of the report that suggesed right wingers were trying to recruit disgruntled soldiers — said that it was time to move on.

“The kind and quality of the products we put out for law enforcement now are so much more operational,” Napolitano said Friday. “What we needed to do in our department was really think through what is it that a standard local fusion center needs — how do we inform them about trends, about tactics, how do we get information back from them. And so that report to me is almost ancient history, and I’ll put it there.”

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