Chasing Shadows

In the wake of Dr. Tiller’s murder by an anti-abortion activist, finger pointing has started in another horrible crime: today’s shootings at DC’s Holocaust Museum.  Given my attribution of Tiller’s murder partly due to hatred spewed from the right, I need to set a couple things straight here before delving into this crime.

The suspect, James Von Brunn, appears to be a neo-Nazi/white supremacist.  This is not an extension of the Republican Party’s, or religious rights’, ideology.  There is no question that Tiller’s suspected murderer, Roeder, had direct connections to rightwing propaganda — I drew those connections in this post.

Von Brunn is different.  This kook is a neo-Nazi conspiracy theoriest with no connection to the mainstream right.  As evidence, here’s his Internet paper trail: an archive of his website “holywesternempire.org”.  (The reference to the Germanic Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages should be obvious.)  Explore his website if you want (I’m not wasting my time), but keep two questions in mind: Do you see links to mainstream rightwing sites?  And did any mainstream rightwing websites pay attention to him. Perhaps I need to do more research before answering these questions, but after a cursory look at Von Brunn’s website — as well as trolling rightwing blogs for ages — I think the answers to these questions are no and no.

Tensions are running high and it’s easy to try making a connection between the GOP and people like Von Brunn, but that connection just isn’t logical.  Neo-Nazis stand apart from the rest.  Let’s not confuse the two.

[Update] On connecting this shooting to “rightwing terrorism”, and the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] report which came out warning us about a rise in “rightwing extremism,” are these arguments valid?  Yes.  Technically, neo-Nazis come from the right politically speaking.  What I’m trying to say in this post, though, is that neo-Nazis come farther from the right than mainstream Republicans.  This isn’t the case of, for example, Scott Roeder assassinating Dr. Tiller because Roeder is an anti-abortion activist, and the Republican Party has anti-abortion planks in its platform.  Through its agents on the religious right, the Republican Party essentially endorsed extremist rhetoric to court people like Roeder.  Now comparing abortion doctors like Tiller to Hitler doesn’t necessarily mean that Tiller will be murdered by some nut who doesn’t think his morals can be corrupted, but don’t be surprised when it happens — and don’t deflect your share of accountability, either.

Of course, the ironic thing here is that the Holocaust shooting suspect, Von Brunn, happens to think Hitler was a swell guy.  Hence why I’m not drawing connections to the mainstream right where Von Brunn is concerned — the man is a neo-Nazi.  And for their part, the Republicans have been so pro-Israel that it’s not necessary to point out examples.

For those on the left who wish to lambaste our our counterparts on the right for, as Larisa Alexandronova puts it, “thought the [DHS] report was a political stunt,” that criticism is valid.  After the Pittsburgh shootings, Tiller’s murder, and this Holocaust museum shooting, anyone who doesn’t take the DHS report seriously is fooling themselves.  Whether or not those who committed the crimes are neo-Nazis or those influenced by mainstream rightwing talking points matters not as far as the report is concerned, because the report is about rightwing extremism.  Anyone who continues to imply that the DHS report was a political move from the Obama administration is, in my view, chooisng to ignoring examples of empirical evidence that just happen to be dripping blood.  Which is shameful.

[Update 2] And for a good example of “shameful,” see (as always…) Michelle Malkin.  Also, it looks like the left isn’t the only entity that’s chasing shadows.

To all concerned about the political semantics of this, classically speaking fascism and neo-Nazis have always come from the “right”.  What I’m trying to say here is that neo-Nazis don’t come from the Republican Party.  As for Von Brunn’s criticism of neo-conservatives and being a 9/11 truther (most truthers I’ve seen voted for Ron Paul), I don’t see where this places Von Brunn on the “left”.  Additionally, the leader of the Democrats is a black man with a Chief of Staff who’s Jewish, leading a party that champions things like gay rights and multiculturalism.  So I don’t think Von Brunn was routing for anybody on the left, either.

16 Responses to “Chasing Shadows”

  1. Wow, I’m really surprised at this piece. I was expecting the usual direct links between Von Brunn and Conservatives or the GOP. So for once we agree, a loner radical nutcase acted out in violence killing an ordinary guy just doing his job as Security Guard in the Holocaust Memorial. How sad, some family is going through huge pain right now because of this ****head. Too bad Von Brunn didn’t finish himself off rather than living and putting us all through a trial.

    Apparently Von Brunn already spent 6 years in jail for his attempted “citizens arrest” of Federal Reserve Bankers in New York. During his trial he blamed Jews and Blacks for his “unfair” trail and conviction. It will be interesting to see what the FBI investigation reveals about this guy over the next couple of weeks.

    • Etoo says:

      anon 9:24 posted:A fedarel judge in Oregon has ruled that a Montana woman sued for defamation was not a journalist when she posted online that an Oregon lawyer acted criminally during a bankruptcy case, a decision with implications for bloggers around the country.Libel laws are easy to understand. You’re on thin ice if you FALSELY accuse someone of committing a heinous crime or having a loathsome disease (AIDS).If the statement is true, you’re in the clear. But FALSE claims are actionable.Crystal L. Cox, a blogger from Eureka, Mont., was sued for defamation by attorney Kevin Padrick when she posted online that he was a thug and a thief during the handling of bankruptcy proceedings by him and Obsidian Finance Group LLC.Seems she publicly accused him of a crime he did not commit and injured his reputation. That’s a no-no.U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez found last week that as a blogger, Cox was not a journalist and cannot claim the protections afforded to mainstream reporters and news outlets.News venues are sued every day, sometimes successfully.In any case, when the person accused of bad behavior is a public figure, the rules are loosened. Hence, it’s okay to say whatever you want about the president.

  2. James Von Brunn is a right wing extremist.

    As you’ve noted, “tas”, you haven’t done much research before trying to disassociate right wing extremist James Von Brunn from the vitriolic right wing extremist rhetoric that has gripped a growing portion of the right wing base.

    Let’s not create artificial divisions, especially when you don’t have any evidence to support your conclusions.

    But you’ve won some right wing fans, “tas”.

  3. tas says:

    Let’s not create artificial divisions, especially when you don’t have any evidence to support your conclusions.

    Cite me connections that Von Brunn has to mainstream GOP propaganda

    BTW, most of that propaganda is so pro-Israel it would embarrass left-leaning Israelis. This is far different from where Von Brunn stood.

    But you’ve won some right wing fans, “tas”.

    And pissing off the left, while earning pissed off links from the right a week ago. Everybody hates me. I guess I must be doing something right.

  4. tas says:

    And not for nothing, but your website is really, really ugly.

  5. repsac3 says:

    While von Brunn was certainly a racist, conspiracy-driven crackpot who does not represent the left (which is the snake oil Kathy Shaidle tries to sell) or the right, it is a fact that he posted some of his “birther” nonsense at the conservative site Free Republic, where it was read and commented on approvingly…

    While I agree that von Brunn wasn’t actually a member of the mainstream right, *he* seemed to think he was… Chances are slim one will find any similar links of von Brunn on leftwing sites, no matter what Ms. Shaidle & those of her ilk wish to allege… (That “guilt by association” thing Kathy’s spouting can be like spitting during a windstorm… You never know when it’ll blow back atcha… )

  6. Macswain says:

    I think its all more nuanced … No, regular righties, conservatives, etc. don’t generally support the anti-semitism and racism that Von Brunn spewed. Yet, the rights media talkers – e.g. Beck, O’Reilly, Coulter, etc. – regularly spew violent rhetoric that I believe makes the likes of Von Brunn and Roeder and the guy who shot up the Unitarian Church feel that, under an Obama presidency, it is appropriate, even a duty, to pursue their political agendas through violence.

    I read the comments of many conservatives on various blogs and the racist talk, the hate-filled statements and the violent rhetoric is out of control. I suspect there will be more Rudolphs and McVeighs still to come.

  7. Apparently Von Brunn believes the 9/11 Truth crowd Conspiracy = Left Wing, dislikes Israel = Left Wing, and his stunt at the Fed reminds me of the Anarchists/Anti-Capitalist/Code Pink tactics = Left Wing. More about Von Brunn will come out, but thus far he can be classified as much “Left Wing” as “Right Wing”.

    I reject the notion that Conservatives are somehow racist because we promote smaller Government, Control at the Borders. and lower taxes. Conservatives have admittedly not been effective at promoting these ideas in the Minority Community while Democrats have themselves been effective at fear tactics and stereotypes regarding Conservatives/GOP’ers.

  8. News Reference: Your website is the most hideous, worst website I’ve ever seen … by far. It looks like child’s finger painting, no, actually worse. My eyes are burning, the site looks like a cruel reverse MENSA eye test. Geez ….

  9. “tas”: “Cite me connections that Von Brunn has to mainstream GOP [Republican] propaganda “

    Reread what I wrote without adding anything:

    James Von Brunn is a right wing extremist.

    But let me be more specific:

    James Von Brunn is a right wing terrorist. (Suspect).

    James Von Brunn is part of the vitriolic right wing extremist movement that has gripped a growing portion of the right wing base.

    The “mainstream right” is increasingly gripped with fear and increasingly advocating violent solutions to every shadow that crosses their path (even when it’s their own shadow).

    As for any connections between “mainstream Republicans” and violent right wing terrorists, perhaps you should take another measure of what constitutes “mainstream Republicans”.

    The Republican Party is far farther to the right than many will admit, and worse, the Republican Party sees violence as a solution, and advocates violence as a solution, to far too many problems.

    And it’s naive to think that there is any division between the Republican Party and right wing extremists such as Murdoch’s right wing thugs who advocate violence and torture. They are just different arms of the same violent right wing movement.

    When Murdoch’s thug Sean Hannity promotes Neo-Nazi Hal Turner, suddenly you’ve got connections between the Republican Party’s media arm: FOX and a Neo-Nazi. That’s ‘connecting the dots’ and it adds pieces to the intelligence ‘mosaic’.

    Violent right wing rhetoric encourages violent right wing lone wolves to commit acts of terrorism.

  10. Skepticat says:

    Forest, trees.

    Rather than parse semantic details in a specific case, let’s look at the “all violence, all the time” vigilante mindset that breeds such events.

  11. tas says:

    NR: You did not cite specific connections of Von Brunn to mainstream propaganda, which is what I asked. It would be nice if you conceded to the fact that I have a point.

    Skepticat: Rather than parse semantic details in a specific case, let’s look at the “all violence, all the time” vigilante mindset that breeds such events.

    One reason why I made this post is because I knew our side would start pointing fingers at anyone on the right in general. In some instances, like that of Tiller’s murderer, the mainstream right does have a large portion of accountability. In this instance, I don’t think it does. The connections aren’t there. In my view, we shouldn’t be chasing shadows when those connections don’t exist.

    repsac3: I’m not concerning about Von Brunn posting at Free Republic.. That website has been so famous for so long that pretty much anybody who would never votes for a Democrat posts there. It’s like a catch-all for crap, emphasis on “all”. Plus Von Brunn had a book to sell.

    Macswain: Yet, the rights media talkers – e.g. Beck, O’Reilly, Coulter, etc. – regularly spew violent rhetoric that I believe makes the likes of Von Brunn and Roeder and the guy who shot up the Unitarian Church feel that, under an Obama presidency, it is appropriate, even a duty, to pursue their political agendas through violence.

    I agree that the right clings to …I’m not sure how to term it, a “culture of desperation” or “inferiority complex,” 24/7/365 underdog-ism… There’s just something about Republican propaganda that always takes shit to the extreme in order to sell books, get votes, etc. And that needs to be fixed, especially given the histories of the suspects in the Pittsburgh cop shooting and Tiller’s shooting. But what was the media that Von Brunn consumed? I’m betting it was a lot more Mein Kampf than Fox News. While both the GOP and neo-Nazis come from the “right,” there’s two different cultures surrounding each of those movements. I feel the need to illustrate this, lest we make the mistake of some of our counterparts on the right and become guilty of overreaching to make an argument.

  12. Macswain says:

    Righties like scrotobaggins have long pimped the false story that the Left dislikes Israel; conflating, of course, unconditional support for the rightwing policies of Likud with support for Israel. Worse, conflating Von Brunn’s wild conspiracy theories about Jews and attempt to attack and kill Jews and Blacks at the Holocaust Museum with the criticism of the policies of the rightwing policies of Likud and the pro-settlement parties by the likes of Eric Alterman and M.J. Rosenberg is sick and twisted.

    In fact, what the Van Brunn incident reveals is that the real danger of anti-Semitic violence in America exists almost exclusively on the extremist Right. The mainstream right threw a fit (teabag parties, anyone?) when DHS suggested a potential threat from guys like Von Brunn and, thereby, enacted as his enabler.

    The fact that scrotum is unaware of the existence of Truthers on both the Right and Left betrays his/her ignorance as does the fact that he/she believes Von Brunn’s Fed attack can in any manner be described as “Leftwing.”

    In fact, the logic scrotum employs and connections he draws are similar to the logic employed by the Von Brunn’s on the Right for their anti-Semitic and Racist conspiracy theories.

  13. tas says:

    In fact, what the Van Brunn incident reveals is that the real danger of anti-Semitic violence in America exists almost exclusively on the extremist Right. The mainstream right threw a fit (teabag parties, anyone?) when DHS suggested a potential threat from guys like Von Brunn and, thereby, enacted as his enabler.

    Regarding the mainstream right and the DHS report, which they continue to deny, I think the most prudent thing to say to them is “Look, this isn’t all about you” while pointing to Von Brunn. We can get into arguments on political semantics later; whether a neo-Nazi 9/11 truther should be considered “left” or “right”. The fact which needs to be established right now is that, classically in political science, Nazi-style fascism has always been regarded as being on the “right”. This doesn’t mean it comes from the Republican Party — neo-Nazis like Von Brunn are far to the right of the Republican Party. At the same time, though, when the DHS report discusses rightwing extremism, it comes from all facets of the right; not just mainstream Republicans. If they want to complain that neo-Nazis aren’t from the right, that’s a political science argument for a later date. For now, it’s the classical definition that’s in play, and we obviously have a problem. The most important discussion shouldn’t revolve around semantics.

    Of course, that last statement makes me a hypocrite, at least regarding this post and the subsequent comment thread…

    But my fear is that the discussion surrounding Von Brunn would quickly devolve into fingerpointing. I’ll point fingers when there’s a connection to the mainstream GOP, but nobody in the Republican Party is proffering Von Brunn’s worldview. If we’re trying to get them to take the threat of rightwing extremism seriously, it’s best not to start that discussion with a slap in the face. That was the intent of this post.

  14. tas: “If we’re trying to get them to take the threat of rightwing extremism seriously, it’s best not to start that discussion with a slap in the face.” ………… Well looks like tas has finally implemented a tactic he already knew. Congrats for some level of civility here.

    With all this talk of Left vs Right extremists/terrorists … can anyone here name a Left Wing Terrorist? … just starting off by examining your intellectual honesty. I look forward to a response.

    Macswain: Clearly Von Brunn camped out with parts of the Left Wing. Your rationalization above just betrays your inability to remain objective. Clearly the “9/11 Truth” people are from the Michael Moore/hate Bush/anti-establishment Left Wing … next, not being 100% pro-Israel does not make you anti-semetic but elements of the Left (Rev. Wright, Farrakhan) are outspoken Jew-haters and clearly part of your Left core. The Left’s neutrality, often dislike for Israel has undertones of Jew-hate and Racism. And let’s not forget that Senator Byrd, former KKK member is a Democrat and currently resides in the Senate.

    And now for the most controversial part: ….
    Conservatives are pro-individual, true Conservatives don’t really care what you look like, only what you think. Identity Politics, ie: racial/gender politics is the domain of the Democrats/Left. Trying to appease and group everybody according to race/gender is a mainstay of today’s Left.

    Power of the State over the Individual in my view is a Left Wing mantra. “Liberal” used to mean Liberty but now we see the State gaining more power through the Obama Administration. Liberal has become “Progressive” … Liberty is gone, replaced with “Social Justice” and “Fairness”. Obama is exerting more Executive Power than Bush ever dreamed of via unprecedented Executive Orders, 20+ Czars overseeing all elements of Government, NSA wiretaps continuing, Printing more money, exerting power over the Banks and Industry via TARP are just some examples. Today’s Democrats are constantly pushing for more control at every turn. Whether it be control of your Healthcare, control of your land via environmental laws, the banks, what car you can drive, even what you can eat!! Does anyone deny this?? Sure, it’s supposedly for your own good, but eventually something has to be enforced (ie: jailed or punished) for the “common good” enacted. Communism and the National Socialist Party (Nazi Party) were all about State Power controlling the Individual for the “Common Good” … much as today’s Progressives and Democrats. So although Nazism is often referred to as “Right Wing” … one must consider the Leftist or “Progressive” elements contained within both these systems.

    I’m not saying that Progressives and Democrats plan to go as far as Stalin or Hitler to enact their power of collective goodism … but eventually people will be “forced’ or “coerced” into something they don’t want … or alternatively facing some kind of penalty. Respectfully, In my view today’s Democrat/Progressive Ideology is a direct descendant of yesterday’s Communism/Marxist, Socialist, and Nazi movement.

  15. repsac3 says:

    The fact of the matter, scroto, is that unless we each choose to build a cabin deep in the woods somewhere, we cannot all act as individuals, doing as we please. Cooperating and compromising with others to meet shared goals and maintain order is the foundation of society. I can appreciate wanting to limit the number of people with which one needs to cooperate and compromise (valuing individual rights over local rights, and local rights over state’s rights, and state’s rights over federal rights), but in the end, that’s only about how many people you agree to share power with or give power over you to, not whether to share or to give away your power at all.

    I believe individuals are capable and strong enough to choose to act collectively (whether via consensus, majority rule, or representative democracy) without giving away our power to “The State.” I reject all this “power over” and fear of government nonsense. In my view, we *ARE* the state. We ultimately decide on whether and where we commit troops, how we structure our healthcare, and what environmental, safety, financial, housing, … laws we enact or rescind.

    Society is based on structuring our lives toward achieving “the common good” — which, by the way, can include limiting the power of “big government,” if that’s what we want (though ironically, I suspect that even that would entail laws that would require enforcement–including jail or other punishment–which would likely be a function of the very government we’re trying to protect ourselves from.) And yes, the common good can & likely will sometimes be in conflict with what you believe to be your own best interest, but that’s the nature of living with others. Just as a parent sacrifices for his/her kids (& often his/her parents, as well), we choose the common good over our own good, for the benefit of the society as a whole, because we believe in the social contract.

    I pay property taxes to support schools for children I will never have, because I believe that an educated population is a good thing for this country. I support a fire department I’ve never used, and hopefully never will, because I don’t want anyone else’s house to burn down, either. I drive on the right side of the road because, while I may not agree with–& perhaps even resent–some government entity before I was ever born choosing the right side over the left, my desire to avoid hurting myself or others by driving wherever the hell I feel like it is greater than my need to exercise that particular freedom.

    We cooperate and compromise for the common good all the time, Scroto… Respectfully, there is no society where citizens are not forced or coerced into something they don’t want, often by threat of penalty, and thus by your standards, every one throughout history and the present day has been to one degree or another, Communist/Marxist/Socialist in nature.

    Please explain where I’m wrong–and if possible, please name the historic/present day society that was/is on the right track, as far as you’re concerned… Because for the life of me, I can think of no society that has/had little-to-no internal rule of law to achieve common standards of “good,” and use(s/ed) no force, coercion or penalty to encourage compliance with those laws & standards. I’m not sure such a place exists in nature, though I admit, it is a pretty ideal.

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