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Pentagon Tightens Ban on Supremacist Activity After Years of Denying Problem

By Booth Gunter on April 13, 2010 - 4:44 pm, Posted in Extremists in the Military, Hate Groups

Since the SPLC warned the U.S. military about extremist activity among active-duty personnel in 2006, the Pentagon brass has steadfastly denied that a problem existed and insisted that its “zero-tolerance” policy was sufficient to keep organized racists out of its ranks.

That changed this past November, when the Pentagon quietly tightened its policy on extremist activity, which formerly only banned “active participation” in extremist groups but did not define what that meant.

Under the new regulations, military personnel “must not actively advocate supremacist doctrine, ideology or causes” or “otherwise advance efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights.” The new rules specify that “active participation” includes activities such as recruiting, fundraising, demonstrating or rallying, training, organizing and distributing supremacist material, including online posts.

The revision should give commanders ample new tools to root out racial extremists in their midst. The previous policy, in effect since the mid-1990s, could be interpreted to mean that military personnel were allowed to be “mere members” of hate groups or that they could engage in unaffiliated extremist activities — such as posting racist and anti-Semitic messages to social networking websites and e-mail lists or maintaining online profiles filled with racist materials. As the SPLC has repeatedly pointed out, the policy allowed numerous active-duty members to engage in a range of supremacist activities.

The policy change, which slipped under the radar for months, was reported Friday by Michael Isikoff of Newsweek. In a blog post, Isikoff examined the military backgrounds of two members of the Hutaree Militia, the radical Michigan group whose members were indicted late last month in a plot to murder a law enforcement officer and then attack the funeral procession with homemade bombs and missiles.

The SPLC has been urging the Pentagon to revise the regulations since 2006, when it published “A Few Bad Men,” a report revealing that large numbers of neo-Nazi skinheads and other white supremacists were joining the armed forces to acquire combat and weapons training – skills that could be used to commit terrorist acts against targets in the U.S.

The report cited the case of Matt Buschbacher, a Navy SEAL who attended the 2002 leadership conference of the neo-Nazi National Alliance while on active duty. The group’s late leader, who espoused murdering Jews in abandoned coal mines, was the author of The Turner Diaries, the race war novel used by Timothy McVeigh as a blueprint for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The SPLC alerted military officials to the fact that Buschbacher was producing neo-Nazi recruitment fliers via his Racialpride.com website, but he was allowed to complete his tour of duty in Iraq and even given an honorable discharge.

Another example in the 2006 report was the case of Robert Lee West, then an active-duty airman. When the SPLC informed military officials of West’s activities, which included posing in front of a swastika flag with two assault rifles and ranting about the “Zionist Occupied Government,” they said no action would be taken unless he recruited fellow extremists or committed a crime.

In a letter to then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, SPLC President Richard Cohen urged the military to adopt a zero-tolerance policy with regard to extremists in the ranks. Forty members of Congress wrote a similar letter, as did Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican. But in his reply and in subsequent letters, Under Secretary of Defense David S. C. Chu dismissed the concerns as being unnecessarily alarmist. The military took no remedial action.

Two years later, in 2008, the SPLC reported new evidence that supported its initial findings. That report revealed that 46 members of the white supremacist social networking website Newsaxon.com had identified themselves as active-duty military personnel. The report quoted a racist skinhead who posted a comment to a neo-Nazi online forum, excitedly saying that he had joined the Army and specifically requested an assignment where he would learn how to make an explosive device. “I have my own reasons for wanting this training but in fear of the government tracing me and me loosing [sic] my clearance I can’t share them here,” wrote the poster, who called himself “Sobibor’s SS,” a reference to guards at a Nazi concentration camp.

After that report, Cohen reiterated his request to the Pentagon that the rules be tightened. Once again, Chu replied by saying the military already had such a policy in place and needed nothing more. “We are committed to sustaining a culture in which all personnel from diverse backgrounds serve together in defense of our great nation,” Chu wrote.

Meanwhile, an unclassified FBI Intelligence Assessment in Fall 2008 detailed more than a dozen investigative findings and criminal cases involving Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as well as other active-duty personnel engaging in extremist activity in recent years. “The military training veterans bring to the [white supremacist] movement and their potential to pass this training on to others can increase the ability of lone offenders to carry out violence from the movement’s fringes,” the FBI report warned.

In February 2009, the threat became even harder to ignore. Lance Corporal Kody Brittingham, a Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, was arrested and later charged with threatening the president after investigators found white supremacist materials and a journal containing a plot to assassinate President Obama among his belongings.

Then, in April 2009, a Department of Homeland Security report on the threat of domestic terrorism from right-wing extremists stated that the department “assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat.”

With no apparent action being taken by the Pentagon, in July 2009 the SPLC appealed to Congress to investigate the problem. In a letter to committee chairmen with oversight over homeland security and the armed services, the SPLC presented dozens of additional profiles of active-duty military personnel on the New Saxon website. Those profiles included an individual who wrote that he was about to be deployed with the Air Force overseas and was looking forward to “killing all the bloody sand niggers!” Another poster listed Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf as one of his favorite books. Many of the profiles included pictures of the posters in military uniform.

Two months later, in September, SPLC officials were invited to brief staff members of Sen. Joe Lieberman’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

The Pentagon’s November rule revision, at long last, won’t eliminate all racial extremists or potential terrorists from the armed services. But it is a significant step forward and should make it much easier for commanders to investigate and discharge the likes of Matt Buschbacher and Robert Lee West.

  • James

    Those top leaders at the Pentagon who fell to do any thing to stop that in years past; should lose their jobs and not be able to hold another job in the Government. Those kind of leaders must be apart of the root of evil. After all, if there were not leaders in high positions, crime would fade and those who willful dis-regard the law would be behind bars where they belong.

    No one is above the law and those who dis-regard it, should be made to answer to it with-out mercy.

  • mikeksf

    A fascinating debate. Thanks for defending your positions with such passion and knowledge against the faux information machine and the rants of the diddoheads and Bechinistas.

  • Greg Gilbert

    SPLC is the like the church back in the Dark Ages calling people a heretic for fully discussing and keeping an open mind on topics related to Nature & Nurture. Current twin studies show innate ability to be a huge part of the equation in mans success. To call names like the SPLC is doing (e.g. Pioneer Fund) is a huge disservice to mankind. The topic is uncomfortable but that does not make it wrong to study. I wish I was still in the military I would do my service to this nation and donate to the Pioneer Fund and let them charge me.

  • Dana Lane

    People like Albert always tend to have convenient amnesia. Just like Dana Perino and Rudy G. They suddenly forgot about the 9/11 attacks.

  • beholder

    Ruslan Amirkhanov said,

    on April 20th, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Beholder, what you are espousing is a Trotskyite position, and an incorrect one.

    ———-
    Ruslan ,you know I respect your views and this is no exception. However I don’t see the Trotskyite position here at all. Yes, it has been argued by those who are “Trotskites” (notably Tony Cliff) but I don’t agree with your view that such criticism is therefore limited to Trotskyism, nor that it is an incorrect interpretation of history.

    In fact my comment about practicing state capitalism is fairly common Marxist self-criticism. I am by far a “utopian” thinker, nor do I think it would be reasonable to think that the Communist experience in USSR would be without its challenges under the best of circumstances and have never argued that totalitarianism would be the result of the workers’ struggle.

    However it is historical fact that the workers began to lose direct authority for the control of state enterprise, beginning with, I argue, the 1932 measures which put the supply of necessary goods for survival into the hands of the factory bosses, which I cited as a question of historical record.

    There’s an insightful analysis of these and other historical events on the departure from Marxist principles in the USSR under Stalin here:

    http://www.marxists.org/archiv.....h01-s1.htm

    Stalin, as the most important leader of the worldwide Communist movement after Lenin’s death, cannot and should not be above criticism. It can be argued that Stalin made contributions to the workers’ struggle through theoretical works, protecting Communism from opportunists, advancing international proletarianism and so on, but it can also be argued that Stalin — and if you wish to be more kind to Stalin — the international Communist movement after Lenin’s death, committed a number of errors which have been recognized.

    If you argue, as you have, that American socialism (i.e. labor unions, restrictions on trusts and so on, welfare, food stamps etc.) is not to be considered true socialism, then I would be curious to know how you defend Stalin’s methods as being true to the ideas inherent in Marx’s writings on class struggle in (and this is the important qualifier) implementation.

  • bill s.

    You people need to more concerned with gang members and radical islamists joining the ranks of the US military, not only “white” supremacists. Since Bush lowered the standards for military recruits, including waivers for criminal charges that were not accepted prior to the Iraq “war,” gang activity has skyrocketed. Check your sources, please and publish the TRUTH!

  • bruce

    next they will want to tell me what to think and feel.
    oh wait, they try to do that now. love baby, love. thats the ticket, not legislating morality. never works.

  • Paul Ballotta

    Noticed you didn’t send your newsletter today, so I’m taken off the list for submitting a comment. Whatever happened to the power of one voice. At least I TRIED to bring it back to the main topic. Afraid I might offend some of your donors? As if they could buy righteousness. I didn’t spend 22 years being persecuted so I can hesitate before speaking and reflect whether everyone will agree with me.

  • Roger

    Well the MOAA published this in their web newsletter and the responses were just amazing. Some very professional officers and NCO’s mentioned how this was off course good for moral and disipline. For the most part however there was mostly hate talk and lashing out at Obama accusing him of limiting the free speach in the military and looking over their shoulders. There was a great deal of talk about how the SPLC or the feds would never dare concern themselves with “black nationalist”. These comments were corrected by a number of people but this white fear and hatred was very strong indeed.

    The old Obama is a closet Muslim idea was huge among these writers many of whom were either active duty military or recent veterans. From the tone of this discussion it was very clear a serious danger exists within our military today. It is a fertile breeding, recruiting and training ground for a new and very deadly threat to this nation. As a former intelligence officer myself I feel this threat is just as dangerous if not more so to the general population now than any Islamic terrorist threat.

  • Hatewatch

    We welcome participation, but the extended political theory discussion is probably best held elsewhere. Thank you for your cooperation.

  • jeff

    Ruslan,

    i agree with your description of Lenin’s attitude toward the NEP. in addition, he was subtle enough to appreciate the distinction between markets in a socialist economy and those in a capitalist economy. the overall context for a market, for Lenin, makes the difference.

    John,
    for any Republican to insinuate that he cares about life in, or the general welfare of, foreign populations (whether in Germany, the U.S.S.R., Vietnam, Irag, or any other country) is mere cant and nothing more. the Nixon campaign for the presidency in 1968 sabotaged peace talks with the Vietnamese solely for the purpose of promoting his victory in the election.

    the only priority that Republicans have is a healthy bottom line for corporate America. then they wonder why
    much of the country considers them beneath contempt.

    by the way, go check the dictionary to learn the proper definition of the word “socialism,” so that you don’t embarrass yourself any further. you should also read the party platforms of the Democratic Party over the course of the 20th century. you won’t find in them a plank to nationalize the means of production.

    no one is impressed with your zeal in repeating the buzz words of Republican Party propaganda.

  • http://theprogressivecapitalist.blogspot.com/ John Lloyd Scharf

    Ruslin:”The old cliche that “Stalin killed more than Hitler” is easily disproven based on the archival data on executions in the Soviet Union.”

    Prove it.

  • Dana

    “How Many terror acts by active duty military militia types. not Many.. not any. Only terror noted has been radicalized Islamic types. Ft hood, Iraq grenade, etc. You might be watching the wrong folks.”

    That’s a goddamn lie.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Kreutzer,_Jr.

    White guy. Probably Christian.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Liberty_killings

    White guy. Probably Christian.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lloyd_R._Woodson

    African-American guy. Religion unknown, but the government says “probably not terror-related,” which is pretty much code for “dude’s not Muslim.”

    By the way, if you look at the Fort Hood article on Wikipedia… here… I’ll link to it for you:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hood_shooting

    …They link to five other attacks. If you count the Fort Hood shooting in that list, three are by accused “Islamic militants”, and the other three are by non-Muslims.

    I’d say that means we need to give equal attention to Muslims AND non-Muslims when it comes to the potential for terror attacks. Might I point out that the death threats against President Obama here in the U.S. are overwhelmingly coming from white non-Muslims?

    Oh, and this kind of skews the balance.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_McVeigh

    White. Prior military service. Religion unknown, but definitely not Muslim.

    In fact, if you look at all the statistics throughout the history of this nation, white men have been responsible for far more terrorist attacks than Muslims of any race have been. We’re profiling the wrong people.

  • http://theprogressivecapitalist.blogspot.com/ John Lloyd Scharf

    Ruslan, is that your best shot? My typos and/or spelling.

    I was 4.0 student in all my Political Science classes. You are making up things I did not say, which seems ongoing with you and explains your distortions of reality, politics, et cetera.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Care to cite some sources for that claim John? The old cliche that “Stalin killed more than Hitler” is easily disproven based on the archival data on executions in the Soviet Union. Unlike in Nazi Germany, the USSR was in the middle of a serious crisis, at times facing virtual civil war in the countryside. More importantly, unlike Nazi Germany, people were not executed based on what they were but rather the claim, real or not, that they were plotting to overthrow the state. As one historian said on the matter, “there were no death camps in the Soviet Union.” This is a reference to the fact that the Nazis designed several camps with no other purpose than extermination, and deliberately intended to exterminate entire groups of people.

    John, you can’t bluff your way out of the fact that you clearly don’t know what you are talking about, and your “education” clearly comes from years of listening to glorified radio DJs and reading their ghostwritten books.

    At the very least try to salvage some dignity.

    @Jeff

    The most I can say about both policies is that they were disastrous for socialism. The reforms of Khruschev were akin to NEP style politics, the main difference being that Khruschev re-packaged NEP policies as a “return to Leninism” and a permanent course, whereas in fact Lenin reluctantly accepted the policy as a necessary, but temporary measure. As one follows the increasing amount of market-style reforms in the USSR and other socialist countries, one can see more corruption, and more failures, until the system finally collapsed thanks to the influence of those who had an interest in seeing it gone.

    Interestingly enough, Fidel Castro came up with an interesting argument regarding the USSR, specifically that they had no sense of moderation. With NEP it was all capitalism in the countryside. With collectivization, it was collectivize at all costs. Of course this is a matter of hindsight but it is an interest argument.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Yeah John, you claim to have studied political science yet you actually wrote “nationizing” as opposed to “nationalizing”- and “we’re” in denial right? The problem is that you have run up against facts which shatter your fantasy view of the world, and as usual you are pouting. I imagine that if you did indeed take courses on political science and history, there were most likely two outcomes:

    1. You attempted to espouse your wacky beliefs, which were promptly shot down by your professors. You concluded that there is a “politically correct” conspiracy in academia, which is the real reason why your ideas about politics aren’t taken seriously.

    2. You held your tongue and wrote what you thought your professor wanted to see, so as to pass the course. Then see above.

  • jeff

    john,
    what a compelling analysis! when you enter a geriatric ward, do you intend to pay your bills with your Social Security benefits?

    if you’re collecting such benefits, you are either a socialist (according to the Right’s understanding of that term) or a hypocrite; my guess is the latter.

    Rusian,
    i’d be interested to hear any comparisons that could be made between the NEP of 1921 and Deng’s market reforms in China. have you given this any thought?

  • http://theprogressivecapitalist.blogspot.com/ John Lloyd Scharf

    Stalin, alone, created lists for execution, including as many as 8,000 a day. His polices were genocidal to the point of exceeding the National Socialists.

  • http://theprogressivecapitalist.blogspot.com/ John Lloyd Scharf

    Stephen Manning, I failed to spell it correctly:
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Fulminating
    Or, I coined a new word from:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulgurite
    I tend to think of them in the same sense. Lightning strikes that come out of the blue with little bearing on the topic at hand or logical argument. It was made in reference to your comment at on April 16th, 2010 at 6:15 pm. You making broad statements without proof or argument make my point regarding that entry with the two posts of mine:

    April 17th, 2010 at 12:37 pm
    As usual, a bigoted irrelevant remark from you, Jeff. No argument of the facts. Just claims. Yet another fulginating from a Net troll.
    April 17th, 2010 at 12:39 pm
    The same for you, Stephen Manning.

    You credited me for my military service and then claimed I should be embarrassed, obviously, because I disagree with you.

    I am embarrassed either that you might be a US citizen more propaganda in your head than history or that I served a nation where you may have benefitted by that service.

    However, you are still engaged, like the others, without proof or logical argument, in name-calling. Typical Net Troll behavior of provoking rather than contributing.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Stalin” alone did not abandon NEP. The Bolsheviks as a party decided in favor of abandoning it as it was not working. Peasants were still losing their land while they were out-competed by kulaks.

  • http://theprogressivecapitalist.blogspot.com/ John Lloyd Scharf

    The obvious thing is that socialists like you are in denial and playing the blame game.

  • jeff

    obviously, the American Right’s characterization of Stalin has been largely a propaganda operation based on the need to find a villain on which to blame the Cold War.

    however, the international Left itself was split into factions in a debate that resulted from a power struggle between Trotsky and Stalin beginning in the mid-1920′s. Trotsky’s characterizations of Stalin’s policies appear to be unfair, particularly with respect to Comintern policy toward China from that same era. in comparing Stalin’s letters to Molotov with Trotsky’s tracts on this subject, one can’t help but conclude that Trotsky was inspired by personal pique toward Stalin. this is unfortunate because the international Left lionized Trotsky for most of the mid-20th century at Stalin’s expense. one wouldn’t expect the Right to characterize Stalin fairly or accurately, but the Left by and large also has refused to dig deeper than Trotsky’s bombast against him.

    the more important question is whether it’s helpful for analytical purposes to characterize a dictatorship as “totalitarian.” i know Hannah Arendt penned a few chapters on totalitarianism, but i don’t believe there is a valid distinction between the two. charges of totalitarianism only manage to obstruct a lucid analysis: the more critical distinction is between left-wing and right-wing dictatorships. the U.S. Dept. of State’s behavior toward dictatorships indicates that it has made this distinction throughout the twentieth century, e.g. support for the Pinochet regime in Chile (to name only one in a long list) but covert attempts at subversion of left-wing dictatorships such as Castro’s Cuba.

    under Russia’s New Economic Policy of 1921, a limited “market socialism” was implemented. there was a limited sphere of private enterprise, particularly in agricultural production. in the late 1920′s, Stalin abandoned it.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Beholder, what you are espousing is a Trotskyite position, and an incorrect one. Stalin did in fact practice socialism, in a particular form. Socialism, the product of class struggle, does not immediately lead to a utopia. That being said, the statistics on illiteracy, infant mortality, life expectancy, and the death rate in Russia by the end of Stalin’s tenure speak for themselves.

    Totalitarianism is a meaningless word, dreamed up to help liberals equate Nazi Germany with the USSR. You see how its existence has allowed people like John here to do the same. It is based on finding what both states had in common while ignoring the vast ideological, theoretical, and practical differences. Not to mention the little sticking point of how it was the USSR and Communists who crushed Fascism in Europe.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    John, saying “no you” is not going to change things. You have displayed your ignorance about these matters on here already. You’re not going to bluff us or prevent us from seeing the elephant in the living room.

    Honestly if you are too stupid to see the difference between Nazi Germany’s partial nationalization of key industries and the Soviet Union’s total expropriation of the means of production, I suggest you go back to your illustrious university and demand a refund. HINT: Private property, including major private firms, existed in Nazi Germany. They didn’t in the USSR.

  • beholder

    John Lloyd Scharf,

    What you believe and what is fact are really very different things. For example, most countries of the world today have national oil companies, and their shares are traded as joint stock companies with both private and state shareholders.

    Far from being disastrous, the nationalization of state resources has proven to be a very wise policy in some countries. So, I would point out that your characterization of socialist systems to boil down to three notorious examples is not only oversimplifying things, but objectively wrong. Moreover, you have neglected to respond to my commentary on multiple forms of socialism that have occured in the United States over the past 100 years.

    The act of nationalization by does not imply socialism. Only when the means of production are turned over to ownership and control by the workers can it said to be socialism. Stalin, as has been pointed out, did not practice socialism at all. His form of totalitarian rule called itself a democracy as well as socialism, but neither were strictly correct.

    By 1932 food and other necessary supplies were put under control of factory directors as a means to discipline workers (source: Decisions of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) and the Council of People’s Commissars of USSR, concerning Most Important Problems of Socialist Construction (Russian), Leningrad 1933, pp.127-130.)

    What Stalin practiced is best described as state capitalism. In fact the ease with which the former U.S.S.R. transitioned into capitalism — with entire government structures still intact and even the same individuals in many cases (the nomenklatura) — is a very good demonstration that the structures in place before were effectively capitalistic. If these were truly socialistic economies, one could not just flip a switch and turn on capitalism overnight.

  • http://Hatewatch Patrick

    What is really sad is that there is no real give and take in this forum. You are either with us or your against us seems to be the watchword. There was a time that being a conservative or a liberal was a point of view and that a person could be either and still a loyal American and not a half wit. It seems that we are long past this and have a really long journey ahead of us. Nazis or any other kind of hate monger has no place in our military, However, I am against any form of “thought police”. If I choice to be an ignorant ass and choice to think a particular way, no matter how abhorrant those thoughts may be, then that is my right as a citizen. It is only when I choice to act on these thoughts that I have crossed the line. It is a scary thing to have a democracy with so much freedom, but worth it. Thoughts our sacred and private and are protected, actions are not. Any group left or right that advocates the violent unlawful overturning of our Republic is a terrorist group and is the enemy. Our political opinions are just one facet of who we are I think we can do better than this.

  • http://theprogressivecapitalist.blogspot.com/ John Lloyd Scharf

    Actually, Ruslan and beholder, you do not have a clue about collectivism, socialism, fascism, or any other political or economic system. Real socialism is what the real world does in nations that claim to be socialist. That includes Nazis, Maoists, Stalinists, et al – all of which nationalized their economy.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Actually real socialism does mean the collectivization(not necessarily the nationalization) of private property, that is means of production(not, for example, your car or house). The primary aim of socialism is to prevent private profit from socialized production, a hallmark of capitalism.

  • beholder

    John Lloyd Scharf dips deeply into stereotype for his criticism of socialism.

    Socialism does not “inevitably” lead to the confiscation of private property any more than capitalism guarantees wealth for everyone.

    When ownership of means of production is consolidated in the hands of the few, it creates a special consideration; it is that which enables the capitalist to exercise undue influence over the lives and welfare of his fellow citizens.

    The goal of socialism is not to attack private property rights, but to address the injustice inherent in this relationship. In other words, to prevent the right of private ownership from infringing upon the other rights and liberties enjoyed by the people.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Nationizing” industries John? Jesus. I hate to tell you, but Marxist socialism is left, and National Socialism is right, period. The very word socialism does not make something socialist, and while the Nazis did indeed nationalize some industries private property did exist and was protected via the crushing of the labor movement.

    Saying this is not the same as having a “simplistic” view of the political spectrum. When we dissect various countries’ and movements’ histories, we see differences and similarities, but common parts do not make a common whole.

    For example, Roosevelt’s economic policies were in some ways similar to those of fascist countries, as is Keynesian economics. This does not mean, however, that the USA under Roosevelt was fascist, or that Keynesian economics equals fascism. Fascism and socialism are determined by the presence or absence of certain factors, not a few commonalities.

    The regimes of the Arab world were nationalist, and certainly drew influence from the socialist world but were not socialist Probably closest to a socialist regime might have been that of Qassim in Iraq. His friendliness toward the non-aligned movement led to his overthrow by the Baathists, who were aided by a certain American organization known by three letters.

    The non-aligned movement brings up another point- for instance, that of Yugoslavia. Socialist Yugoslavia had been compared to anarchism and fascism but in reality it was a mixed economy like most “socialist” East Bloc countries after WWII.

    So to re-cap, properly placing fascism on the right and socialism on the left is not the same as simplistic thinking in terms of the political spectrum. What WOULD be simplistic thinking would be equating various countries due to similarities, without considering the whole historical context. In other words, what John does.

    Oh yeah, invest in a dictionary.

  • Stephen Manning

    Returning to the original subject of the article posted by SPLC, a commenter named Roger on 15 April mentioned his experience with the blog of MOAA where members post comments that are racist, jingoistic, xenophobic, offer violence, etc.

    That unfortunately is a shared phenomenon with other veteran’s organizations, such as the American Legion and AFA. I do not attend any longer because the local groups offer a christian prayer at meetings and their members frequently “fulminate” against Muslims, The Asian wait staff at the Chinese restaurant, you name it, and even me when I speak up against it.

    As a retiree, I no longer share their attitudes, values and beliefs and will probably resign because I cannot lend my name to bigotry. As Roger says, these attitudes are rampant and prolific.

  • Stephen Manning

    John,

    In a post above, you said I was ‘fulginating.’

    I cannot find that in my dictionary. Perhaps you would be so kind…?

  • beholder

    For that matter, Ruslan, and I am in full agreement, to term groups such as al Qaeda as “Islamic fundamentalists” is incorrect as well.

    The fanatics raised in Afghan camps on the sword verses alone (and deliberately kept away from any other ideas about Islam, much less about the world) have no better idea what Islam is than John Lloyd Scharf. To term someone a fundamentalist pre-supposes they have at least some grounding in the fundamental teachings of their professed religion.

  • http://theprogressivecapitalist.blogspot.com/ John Lloyd Scharf

    Beholder, I am very well informed on socialism in general and Marxist-Leninist Socialism in particular. Likely I was taking classes on it at the University of Oregon when you were still in diapers.

    Going back to this issue of religion in politics, the constant propaganda claims about Christians or conservatives or Republicans wanting a theocratic government, it is without a doubt an inbred notion among collectivist extremists having no basis in reality.

    In regard to national socialism in Arab countries, not only have their nationized their industries, but some parties, like the Ba’athists, have historic origins connecting to the Nazi Party during WW2.

    The simplistic notions of political ideology that put Marxist Socialism on the “Left” and National Socialism on the “Right” are certainly pathetic.

    If you must have such one dimensional thinking, then no government on the left and no individual liberty on the right would be far more apt. Inevitablely, socialism does away with individual liberty starting with the confiscation of private property. Without private property, there is no economic independence. Without economic independence, there is no individual liberty or rights.

    I am not justifying US policy in the Middle East for the last 60 years, but the rank demonization here is not justified by the facts.

    Contrary to the national socialism of the Middle East, that constantly attacks the Jews for having a homeland based on misinformation of the history of Jews and Israel.

    I also believe in a national homeland for the Kurds, which have been abused by Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Iraq based on the same issues.

    Many emotions and positions attributed to me are stawman arguments and personal attacks.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Wow, John sure gets upset when people challenge his fantasy world. Anything contradicting his jingoistic worldview is labeled as crazy claims and dismissed, after which he refuses to defend his own claims.

    But comrades may take solace in the fact that while he does not answer, he’s obviously gnashing his teeth behind that keyboard, knowing full well he is unable to defend his claims or refute those which have been brought up here, and he is terrified of actually looking these issues up outside of a circle of conservative sites and blogs, where reality might come in and bring the whole structure of his fantasy down.

    Let’s re-cap.

    He cares about Kurds, so long as they were in Iraq. Hilariously unaware that the US did nothing about the Kurdish massacre in Halabja because it was on the side of Iraq at the time. Equally hilarious, he seems to have no idea that the US was ever supporting Iraq with intelligence and weapons in the Iran-Iraq War, a fact which is common knowledge. He apparently has no idea that the US was a major supporter of the military regime in Turkey throughout its existence- all the while killing and persecuting Kurds, often with weapons from the US.

    The attempt to classify Islamic fundamentalists as “leftist” is simply hilarious. By that logic a great deal of today’s conservative base, which advocates theocratical policies in government, could be called socialist.

  • Stephen Manning

    John,

    That is so kindergarten playground. If you cannot respond with fact , try reason. If you can’t use reason, go read a book.

    Until then, best wishes in all your future endeavors.

  • http://theprogressivecapitalist.blogspot.com/ John Lloyd Scharf

    The same for you, Stephen Manning.

  • http://theprogressivecapitalist.blogspot.com/ John Lloyd Scharf

    As usual, a bigoted irrelevant remark from you, Jeff. No argument of the facts. Just claims. Yet another fulginating from a Net troll.

  • beholder

    “The only thing most American know about socialism is they don’t like it. They have been led to believe that socialism is something to be either ridiculed as impractical, or feared as an instrument of the devil.”
    - Leo Huberman

    A hundred years of propaganda is partly to blame for John Lloyd Scharf’s ignorance about socialism. The attempt to white-wash the facts about socialism has been pretty successful, but not entirely so — as you can see, some Americans manage to discuss comparative political systems without dipping into generalizations and stereotypes. Unfortunately, this fellow is so inculcated with the prevailing dogma of the last hundred years that any attempt at reasoned debate will inevitably run aground on his reactionary fantasy of the red menace and generalized phobia of the “commies”.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    John, it is clear that your “education” on history and politics is woefully inadequate because you clearly live in a fantasy world, complete with its own alternate political spectrum that is recognized nowhere outside of politically illiterate conservative circles. Your historical undestanding is a fantasy narrative wherein the US can do no wrong, save for to people like you apparently.

    The fact that you got so upset when I reminded you of well-established, indisputable facts which put cracks in the facade of your jingoistic fantasy, is telling indeed. You wish to ignore and deny anything that might upset the fantasy view of the US.

    The irony here is that the so called “biased” “socialist”(yeah, private corporations are ‘socialist’, your political ‘education’ really paid off huh?) media did not, if at all, widely report those facts which I mention, or at least did not report them when they would have been relevant. Studies have been done showing how the mainstream media has shown bias, especially when it comes to war reporting, but of course you will deliberately avoid looking at those studies at all costs because they would cause extreme distress upon the realization that your conservative persecution fantasy is just that- a fantasy.

    It’s called cognitive dissonance. Don’t worry- you can look that one up; it won’t upset your political worldview.

  • jeff

    john,
    don’t flatter yourself. you have no education in history or political theory to speak of, no more than does Tom Delay. you’re too ignorant even to demonstrate any understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the Supreme Court’s basic constitutional jurisprudence or, for that matter, the meaning of the word “socialism.” none of this is surprising, inasmuch as the Republican caucus in the House was led for several years by Tom Delay, whose greatest qualification for public office was that he ran a pest control business.

    apparently, that institution of higher education that granted you a degree didn’t require basic skills in English composition. try learning how to spell sometime before the end of your misinformed, poorly educated days on earth, as “leaders’s” isn’t a word in the English language.

    as for the corporate media in this country, gosh, who clued you in about the bias of GE and MSNBC? now, genius, see if you can figure out the direction of their bias. by the way, i don’t own a television, and i avoid on principle the major corporate media, such as Fox Noise, from which many of the ignorant swine in your party have learned your attitudes.

    it’s past your bedtime, old man. go tune into Glenn Beck.

  • Stephen Manning

    Scharf
    Thank you for your Navy service to your country.

    You suggested in a previous post I was stepping in above my head, both historically and politically. I replied that I am probably not.

    I have checked both your blog and your Facebook page. If you are correctly listing your background, “experience and education on history, politics, and understanding of government” you should perhaps be silent to avoid embarrassing yourself further.

    I said before probably not. I now say Definitely Not! Go read a book or two and next time bring experts. If you wish I will compile a reading list for you on the thinking of the Founding Fathers. On second thought, maybe you should ask McConnell and Boehner to get their unbiased view.

  • http://theprogressivecapitalist.blogspot.com/ John Lloyd Scharf

    Jeff, you do not have a clue about what the Republican Leaders’s views are.

    Just to begin with to suggest Rush Limbaugh represents Repubicans is ignorant. He is, at best, entertainment. He lied about McCain’s military service and political positions. He advocated the loss of Republicans nationally in 2008.

    I will put my experience and education on history, politics, and understanding of government up against your narrow-minded bigotry and biased world view any day. My degree is in Community Services and Public Affairs. I am retired, but I daily repost on Facebook articles, tweets, letters, newsletter, and Youtube entries from leaders and other members of the Republican Party.

    Perhaps you should seek other sources than the MSM / Marginalized Socialist Media. MSNBC and others are no longer mainstream media. If you think media owned by Comcast, Microsoft, and GE are unbiased, you are naive.

  • jeff

    john,

    the Republican rank and file these days don’t have views, but merely attitudes derived from incessant propaganda, such as Fox Noise and Rush Limbaugh. your ignorance of history and political theory is appalling. you make an ass out of yourself every time you comment.

  • Stephen Manning

    John Lloyd Scharf

    Gosh, you actually do own a dictionary.

    I am probably not.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    John criticizing others’ understanding of history? That’s hilarious.

  • Snorlax

    Scharf probably loves Rummy too. He’s obviously a big Dubya fan, all the teabaggers are.

  • erin

    bryony1

    You responded:
    “Can you say 1LT Calley?”

    Yes, I can. Can you say you approve of what he did? Were you even born then?

    Yes, I was born then, though only about eight years prior.
    No, I do not approve, in any way, shape or form, of his atrocities. In retrospect, my “catch phrase” was poorly thought out and definitely not on-point. I am unsure, at this point, as to why I brought up his name in this matter. Mea culpa

  • http://theprogressivecapitalist.blogspot.com/ John Lloyd Scharf

    Stephen Manning , you are hip deep in your own solipsism and stepping in over your head, both historically and politically.

  • http://theprogressivecapitalist.blogspot.com/ John Lloyd Scharf

    Leslie, do you assume they are right wing because they are Christian? Both “Christian” and “right-wing” seem to be weasel words in the claims you seem to be making. To fundementalist Christians, they do not want a theocratic government as much as they want a society that is bigoted against them in the public square… ie, employment and education. When I was a student at the University of Oregon, they supported a Muslim Student Union with incidental fees from everyone, but would not allow a Christian Student Union.