But there are upsides, here. And the primary upside is that, after being a movement dominated by the terror of government ready to go amok, people who carried the Bill of Rights on cards in their wallets and stockpiled guns with the belief that only guns would save them, the conservative and far-right movements have finally given us the precise legal tools to remove the far-right from the national landscape. Forever.
These acts of conservative terrorism have been all but forgotten, after bin Laden's crimes. But they are domestic terrorism, and were explicitly intended as such, and of the sort that these new Republican, conservative laws are precisely aimed at taking on.
The advantage of these new laws in these new times is, bluntly, that normal rules of evidence no longer apply, and that those charged with aiding terrorism need not be granted a trial; no actual crime need be alleged; no evidence need be presented against them; nobody else is required to be even informed of their imprisonment; there is no appeal. If the President of the United States determines them to be affiliated with terrorism -- and it does not matter if that President is Republican or Democrat -- the judgment is final. All that is required to strip an American citizen of their Constitutional rights, strip them of their citizenship itself, and declare them an enemy combatant in the fight against terrorism is the say-so of the President. That's it.
So if we are dejected, today, that Americans no longer are protected by the Constitution, cheer up just a bit. Because from now on, American terrorists and their conservative supporters aren't protected by the Constitution either. It has been changed, in this time of war, according to their own new laws -- and that means that at the first point in which the Republicans lose power, these same new laws can be used to imprison those that all reasonable men agree are terrorists, and their supporters, and those giving them assistance and comfort.
The entire far-right conservative movement is tied, in no more than two or three degrees of separation, to U.S. terrorist Timothy McVeigh. His roots and his support were based in the conservative militia movement, a collection of far-right groups and organizations, many of them white supremacist in nature or affiliated with the even more noxious Christian Identity movement. Many of these groups stockpile guns and ammunition in the direct belief that those guns will be required against the U.S. government, and in places like Ruby Ridge and Waco, have brought those weapons to bear. They are proven terrorists; this much is indisputable. Under the new laws, future Attorneys General will be able to mark these individuals as enemy combatants, and no further Constitutional protections will apply. Janet Reno will be marked as the last Attorney General to have had to deal with terrorism unequipped with the new laws designed to strip such figures of their citizenship and trial rights.
A mere presidential finding, now, is now sufficient to determine which men among these conservative militia groups are the terrorist leaders, and which are the followers, and which are supporters. The acts of Timothy McVeigh were praised by many, on the right. Those men are themselves terrorists; arrest them. The men supporting the militia movements through word and deed; they, too are terrorists. Arrest them as well. Then there are merely the abettors. The Timothy McVeighs of the movement are supported by figures such as right-wing radio hosts Hal Turner; Turner himself is a right-wing racist figure who rose to fame because of the support and endorsement of his "good friend", Sean Hannity. The links between Sean Hannity and the dozens of militia members who have shaken his hand, repeatedly, are more than enough to prove complicity.
After the Oklahoma City act of terrorism, Rush Limbaugh was in full-on public snit not that the event happened, but that the act of terrorism was being linked to him, and his unique brand of militia-supporting "hate radio" -- he even made the assertion that Clinton himself was making the accusation of him. Under the new rules of engagement of American-based terrorists, however, such an accusation by the President is indeed sufficient, and Limbaugh can and will simply be jailed if it is determined by a future Democratic president that his words or rhetoric gave comfort or assistance or resulted in secondary monetary gain to militia members with ties to past terrorism or possible future terrorist acts. That should not be a difficult thing to prove; nonetheless, proof is unnecessary. The accusation will suffice to place Limbaugh in a secret jail, and there will be no trial, and we will be rid of him.
Whatever the case against Limbaugh, the case against Michelle Malkin is open and shut. Malkin directly promotes and associates with the hate group VDare, which in turn shares its membership directly with some of the very militia groups in question. Of all the figures of the "popular" far-right, Malkin is one with the most direct ties to American terrorist organizations. A presidential finding on the subject would take little more than a paragraph.
Thanks to the new laws, domestic wiretapping may be used to solidify the links between Malkin and those in the far-right, white supremacy movements she frequents. More to the point, however, all that it takes to concretely tie Malkin to the Timothy McVeigh-supporting terrorists directly is the confession of one individual. I am quite certain that, if we tortured enough people, we would find at least one willing to name Michelle Malkin as a terrorist ringleader, in exchange for their own freedom. I am certain we would find five, or twenty, if the torture was sufficiently encouraging, within the first ten hours.
From there, we move on to Ann Coulter, who makes oblique but uncannily specific threats against Supreme Court justices, lawmakers, the press, and all other Americans she defines as against her. It is hard to imagine, in a time of war, that a Democratic president should allow speech that seems explicitly designed to evoke images of assassination, poisonings, attacks by plane, bombings, or other chosen methods of death against fellow Americans. All that is required is that one person be found, in the far-right network of terrorism, who listened to her words and found inspiration from them to possibly think about attacks of the sort she endorses; that is reason enough to detain Ms. Coulter while investigating whether or not she, too, is an enemy combatant. Tortured confessions would be useful here, too, to determine how much influence Ann Coulter had within the terrorist ranks of the McVeighs and the even worse far-right Christian terrorists, the Rudolphs.
The links between Oklahoma City and the white supremacist movements of the militias, and their "light" versions for public face -- the KKK, Stormfront, VDare, the Minutemen -- are incontrovertable. They share the same memberships, and receive funding via the same methods and same individuals. Their "front" organizations are popular and powerful in conservative circles, fixtures at hosts of prominent GOP events, and have been supported not only by Trent Lott and George Allen, but by figures like Vice President Richard Cheney.
But as horrific as Oklahoma City was, as an act of terrorism, a man detonating, among other things, the children of a preschool, in his one horrific terrorist act, the terrorist acts of the far-right "Christian" movement are worse. Throughout the 1990s, and before, and since, far-right domestic terrorist groups such as Operation Rescue and their affiliated groups have conducted organized campaigns of intimidation, bombings, and assassinations. The "lone wolf" terrorism of a Timothy McVeigh -- which, as I pointed out, is far from "lone wolf", but was supported and encouraged by a network of thousands of like-minded militia members, many of whom have been arrested in the course of planning or collecting weapons for similar terrorist attacks -- is one thing, but anti-abortion terrorism is quite organized, and extensive in reach.
Christian terrorist Eric Robert Rudolph currently sits in prison under five consecutive life sentences for a series of anti-abortion bombings that injured over one hundred and fifty people, and killed at least three. He was supported in ongoing acts of terrorism by churches, communities, and individuals who sheltered him and aided his efforts.
His acts, though, were not the acts of a lone wolf. Further assassinations and bombings have been carried out by Operation Rescue, a far-right terrorist organization which targets clinics, doctors, and judges in an attempt to force the American government to ban abortion under all circumstances. Other figures in the movement have placed "hit lists" of doctors online, crossing them out as each was attacked or killed.
These acts are acts of religious-based terrorism; attempts at subverting the laws of America itself through violence. These acts, more than any others, are the acts which the new Republican-codified exceptions to the Constitution can be used to finally break the back of. We have been given the tools to jail not just the individuals responsible for these acts, but those that have provided them monetary support through a myriad of conservative fronts and advocacy groups.
First among the ringleaders must be James Dobson and Ralph Reed, radical extremists who have spoken in support of the most extreme of the extreme, and who join a series of right-wing figures such as Hugh Hewitt and others whose support for Christian terrorism and terrorist acts have been ongoing. They and any others connected to Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry are part and parcel of American terrorist acts, and each should be treated as the others -- as enemy combatents, supporters of past terrorist acts directly undertaken against America.
Evidence is not needed. A presidential assertion will suffice. To hold trials of these men, public trials in which the evidence of their affiliation with the group is detailed, would only serve to inform the entire rest of the terrorist movement which names the government currently knew, and which were not.
Randall Terry, however, is a special exception. Alongside Dobson and a few of the others, it may be the case that when dealing with a high-value target, someone with possibly direct knowledge of terrorist acts and how they were executed, that more extreme means rather than mere secret imprisonment will be necessary to find the individuals actually responsible for those acts of terrorism.
Torture may be required, in service to America. The president shall have to make the determination as to whether it will be productive, but I expect it will be. I expect Randall Terry will be able to tell us the names of many, many terrorists affiliated with his group. And if he cannot, the president will be able to authorize further encouragement.
You may think I am overstating the case, here. I am not. The links -- one, two, and three degrees of separation -- between those far-right figures that have conducted actual acts of violent terrorism on American soil and those that have offered them financial support or other aid are quite real.
If there is one man who can in fact be tied directly with international terrorism, in fact, it is terrorist figure Pat Robertson. Through ownership in the blood diamond trade of Africa, Robertson can count himself as one of the few figures in America with finances directly linked to al Qaeda supporters. Robertson has refused to be forthcoming about how much money he made, in these al Qaeda links. That answer is not sufficient.
The list can go on, if we are merely talking about those complicit in actions against America, now that the rule of law has been stripped of its fineries in determining how these men should be charged. Is there any man on this planet who has done more damage to the Constitution of the United States than John Yoo, for that matter? If there was ever an enemy of the State, would it not be him, for justifying via his own enlightened words what two hundred years of law before him could not? For encouraging these abominations of law, would not the ultimate in justice be to use them against him, himself -- using the maggot-riddled remnants of what he proposed as fair law to investigate, via a prison cell, whether his own crimes against the Constitution were malicious, or merely stupidity?
I am merely pointing out the upside, here. I am merely pointing out that, in their fear of terrorism, the far-right has given America, finally, the exact tools needed to destroy them forever. It may have been wiser for the militia movements to carry the Bill of Rights in their back pocket, to distrust government authority, to distrust the notion of President-as-King, capable of nullifying law, seizing without trial, canceling the citizenship of Americans, and rendering to secret prisons, but now that the law has been changed, we liberals must seize the opportunity, and use their very laws against them. We have been spineless in the face of terrorism too long: it is time to confront it where it lives, and where it breeds.
All it takes is one Democratic president, and the force of will to declare the obvious -- that the supporters of far-right abortion bombers are terrorists themselves, every bit as much as those that pulled the triggers or lit the fuses. That the militia movements are terrorists. Not just terrorists -- no longer Americans, no longer with the rights of trial, by presidential decision. Not negotiable. Terrorists, and any that support them, also terrorists. Look at Oklahoma City, at Ruby Ridge, at Waco, and tell me flatly that those men are not terrorists. Look at the bombings of judges who interfered in the violent anti-abortion crusade. Count the victims of the pipe bombs, and you tell me, if you dare, that this is not terrorism. It is. You know it, I know it, and James Dobson himself knows it.
The far-right has degraded America. Now it is time to end them, using the tools they themselves proposed. We are one president away.
Now, you may be thinking that this is all an elaborate joke, of the sort I pull from time to time. A bit of satire notable for being not the slightest, least, tiniest bit funny. That I am not proposing that all those that met and spoke with Timothy McVeigh should be branded themselves as enemy combatants and disposed of as supporters of terrorists, under the laws we have now explicitly crafted to allow the government to do just that. That I am not really proposing that we merely trace the financial links between the very GOP infrastructure itself, Scaife on down, and the actual terrorists who have committed actual acts of politically inspired murder, and using those links to shut down those front organizations and jail their leaders.
But the new law is the new law, and the new law is now quite clear, and we would be foolish, foolish people indeed to let them, the actual supporters of terrorism, use it against their fellow Americans, and have us leave it unused. In defending against terrorism, Constitutional protections must waver. These are unique times, when a single man can drive a truck up to a single building and murder hundreds of men, women and children in a single instant -- and the odds are nearly 100% that, whether foreign or domestic, that terrorist will be a far-right religious fanatic. When a single lone man with a gun can wait outside a doctor's office, and assassinate the man, and then through a collection of like-minded men do it again, and again, this is terrorism. This is what we are fighting, and whether the terrorism comes from Osama bin Laden or the hundreds of willing Eric Rudolphs in America makes no difference, to those that are dead. Is America worth that fight? Do you love it enough to violate it, just a little, in order to save it, and be rid of the violent forever, finally in secret jails where only they know whether we got the right men, or the wrong men?
So -- is this satire, then? Am I pulling your legs?
Well, that is the interesting thing about the conservative movement. Ann Coulter can write with viciousness, can write even about assassinations and murders, and upon the slightest objection, the conservative movement merely claims she is an entertainer, and nobody should take her seriously. I am merely proposing we use the new Republican laws to jail Republicans known to support Republican terrorists; that hardly seems extremist at all, compared to the glib support of murders.
And Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Hewitt, and every militia member on the planet are infamous for that one conservative trait that outshines all the others -- the inability to recognize satire in the slightest. The complete inability to determine when someone is making fun of them, and when someone is deadly earnest.
So is it a joke, or do we really intend to do these things, when the next Democratic president takes office -- one not directly tied to the far-right terrorist groups themselves, as George W. Bush has been, but one willing to use the new American tools of terrorism against all terrorists, not just brown ones?
I propose we don't tell them. I propose we leave them in the dark, and let them wonder. If this were indeed merely a bout of deeply unfunny satire, not telling them so might be the cruelest joke of all.