American Terrorists & Their Cheerleaders
‘If you’re white, you’re all right!’
by Thomas Adcock
Copyright © 2014 – Thomas Adcock
NEW YORK CITY, near America
Had he shouted Black Power! or Allahu Akbar! from the caged backseat of a police cruiser, where he sat cuffed and shackled in the wake of three murders in mid-April outside a Jewish community center and retirement home in suburban Kansas City, the American people might have recognized that something must be done about Frazier Glenn Miller and people like him.
As it was, the founder of the White Patriot Party announced his ugly sentiments with a snarl for the television cameras: “Heil Hitler!”
Ho-hum. Just another armed white crackpot in a deep dark sea of hateful cretins. Nothing to see here, folks. Best you ought move along.
After all, there’s a new fellow for entertainment on the evening television news nowadays—a likewise fair-complexioned Western cattleman named Cliven Bundy of Bunkerville, Nevada. With help of late from militia thugs toting assault rifles, Mr. Bundy continues twenty years of resisting federal tax collectors while his ranch-owning neighbors dutifully pay nominal fees for grazing rights to government owned prairie land. Mr. Bundy maintains that his heifers are entitled to government welfare, and that he has a red-blooded right to be a deadbeat.
As the newest wonder in the Fox TV constellation of right-wing oafs—by which I mean both guests and staff—Mr. Bundy’s defiance of tax law has gained the sort of instantaneous fame and fierce allegiance that might be envied by Udo Pastörs and his far-right Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands. As an American avatar of sure-shooting rugged individualism, à la the Old West of fevered fantasy, Cliven Bundy has it all: cowboy hat and boots, palomino horse with a saddle-mounted flag of stars and stripes, scads of guns, and contempt for the gummint back east in Washington.
Flash! This just in: Mr. Bundy is an all-American white racist. Yet another notable achievement for his right-wing brag shelf. O—be still, thy bigoted hearts!
Last Wednesday before a klatch of reporters that assemble daily at his ranch, Mr. Bundy proffered social analysis prompted by his viewing a public housing project whilst once quickly driving through a street in an impoverished, mostly African American district of Las Vegas.
As quoted in the New York Times newspaper of Thursday morning, he declaimed, in what may be acceptable English to the folks of Bunkerville, “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro. …[I]n front of that government house, the door was usually open and the older people and the kids—and there is always at least a half a dozen people settin’ on the porch—they didn’t have nothing to do.”
Mr. Bundy added, “And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail—because they never learned to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered: are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy?”
To be sure, racism is not the sole provenance of white people. But I well remember being a lad in short pants upon first hearing the white racist catechism: “If you’re black, go on back; if you’re brown, stick around; if you’re white, you’re all right.” In America, Heaven help you if you’re a black or brown bigot.
Contradiction abounds in the person of the 67-year-old racist Cliven Bundy, a cowboy anarchist who rides a horse with an American flag flapping in the breeze and insists that his thousand-plus head of cattle should dine on the public dime before he slaughters them for beef sale and hogs all the profits—at the same time complaining that “the Negro” is subsidized with government welfare rather than gainfully enslaved in cotton fields.
As if this isn’t sufficient irony, consider the matter of Frazier Glenn Miller, age 73.
Described by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project as a “longtime anti-Semite,” Mr. Miller likely believed the three persons he is accused of gunning down on sidewalks outside Jewish institutions in Kansas on the 13th of April, one week prior to der Führer’s birthday, were Jews. They were not.
A thirteen-year veteran of the élite Green Beret special forces, Sergeant Miller was dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1979 for distributing neo-Nazi literature.
While commander of a Ku Klux Klan organization in 1987, Mr. Miller mailed five thousand copies of a typewritten fatwa to his followers on April 6 of that year, declaring war against “Niggers, Jews, Queers, assorted Mongrels, White Race traitors, and despicable informants.” Fourteen days later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested him during a raid on his mobile home. Inside of which was a cache of plastic explosives, dynamite, pipe bombs, hand grenades, fully automatic M-16 and AR-15 machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, pistols, cross-bows, and approximately one-half ton (453kg) of ammunition. In return for reduced prison time, Mr. Miller agreed to become a “despicable informant” and rat out fourteen neo-Nazi comrades charged with plotting the violent overthrow of the federal government—defendants in the celebrated Fort Smith Sedition Trial of 1988, in Arkansas. All fourteen were acquitted.
Earlier in Mr. Miller’s chequered criminal career, the divorced father of six was arrested at “mid-act with a black male transvestite prostitute,” according to Judge J. Douglas McCullough of the North Carolina Court of Appeals, who this week recounted the incident in an interview with ABC Television News. Judge McCullough described the tryst as “pretty salacious,” but declined to offer details.
Already, Frazier Glenn Miller is largely forgotten by an American public notoriously short on memory and understandably numbed by episode after episode after episode of domestic terrorism carried out by a confederation of homicidal Klansmen and Nazis. He is as forgettable as his many failed candidacies for elective office, the last being a 2010 bid for U.S. senator from Missouri. In that one, Mr. Miller’s ballot tally was zero, though he did manage seven write-in votes—presumably his own, and that of his six offspring.
Today’s TV news, where the vast majority of Americans are fed a few headlines in between the customary welter of Hollywood gossip, is focused on Cliven Bundy and his newfound minions—so-called patriots from militia groups across the nation, a gang of men with more tattoos than teeth. They are charmed by the Nevadan’s cracker-barrel bigotry and his defiance of law and logic.
As I write, hundreds of “patriots” are on the prowl at the Bundy ranch, with high-powered rifles and night-vision goggles at the ready should government agents do what they’re supposed to do: impound Mr. Bundy’s cows and bulls for nonpayment of taxes long due.
“I don’t believe I owe one penny to the United States gummint,” Mr. Bundy declared this week, thrilling the patriots clear down through their gonads. “I don’t recognize the United States gummint as even existing.”
Ludicrous is as ludicrous does. Thus does a belligerent welfare recipient and racist crank enjoy support—directly and indirectly—from the likes of Republican Tea Party airhead Sarah Palin, the repugnant Ted Nugent, National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre, and the smirking know-nothing Sean Hannity.
More than any other network, the ardently right-wing Fox TV has showcased the Bundy cause in a glowing David-versus-Goliath context—ignoring the inconvenient truth of Mr. Bundy’s protectors, armed with semiautomatic weaponry rather than stones, and a government Goliath in the form of tax collectors sent by the courts to deal with a scofflaw.
And more than other of Fox TV’s well-coiffed chuckleheads and bloviators, the alleged newsman Sean Hannity has framed Mr. Bundy as an American hero and defended the right of Bundy-branded cattle to chomp on prairie grass, gratis, never mind that fellow Nevada ranchers pay grazing fees as the modest cost of doing business in beef. Mr. Bundy refers to Mr. Hannity as “my hero.”
“This is public land, and it’s not being used, in my mind,” Mr. Hannity said of his mind one recent evening, after which he put it to the man who adores him: “And I’m not a rancher [but] I would think the federal government might be thankful because you’re cutting the lawn for free, and they’re charging huge amounts of money—right?—to let your cattle graze there with these fees (sic).”
A simple internet search for the going rate on feeding cattle off federal land could have illuminated Mr. Hannity. As it turns out, the cost is hardly “huge.” According to the U.S. Department of the Interior website, the 2014 grazing fee is a monthly $1.35 (€0.98) per animal.
Ms. Palin—the one-time basketball player and half-term governor of Alaska deemed by Fox TV and more uptown media outlets as a viable presidential candidate for 2012—is a gleeful defender of “gun rights,” with few if any questions necessary for the trigger-happy crowd. She delights in posing for the national press with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, a highly popular weapon among perpetrators of American massacre. On numerous occasions back home in Alaska, Ms. Palin engaged in the sport of “aerial wolf gunning,” in which she buzzed over frozen tundra in a helicopter and blasted away at wolves down below with a shotgun.
At a Republican Tea Party rally in March of 2010 in Nevada, of all places, Ms. Palin fell into her frequent habit of employing firearms imagery to illustrate her views on issues of the day. On the topic of her party’s blind opposition to modest health insurance reforms won by President Barack Obama, she exclaimed, “Never retreat! Instead, re-load!”
On her accompanying Facebook post that day, she blended firearms and basketball into an extended metaphor disparaging the president’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. Ms. Palin advised using “strong weapons” and “big guns” to “drive to the basket”—meaning repeal of Obamacare. “Bombing through the press” is part of the drive, she said as prelude to yet more metaphor—basketball as combat.
“Gear up!” she wrote. “In the battle, set your sights on next season’s targets! From the shot across the bow—the first second’s tip-off—your leaders will be in the enemy’s crosshairs, so you must execute strong defensive tactics. You won’t win only playing defense, so go on the offense!”
Few among Republican Tea Party activists can match the offensiveness of Ted Nugent. While brandishing what appeared to be two assault rifles at a 2007 rock concert, he called Mr. Obama “a piece of shit” who should “suck on my machine gun.” In a 1994 interview with the music magazine Westwood, Mr. Nugent said of then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, “You probably can’t use the term ‘toxic cunt’ in your magazine, but that’s what she is. Her very existence insults the spirit of individualism in this country. This bitch is nothing but a two-bit whore for Fidel Castro.”
Soon, Mr. Nugent might surely favor us with an upbeat view of Cliven Bundy—and certainly his goggled machine gun posse.
As the country’s preëminent apologist for gun slaughter, Wayne LaPierre is fresh off a successful (and none too difficult) lobbying campaign in the Georgia state legislature. With Republican Tea Partiers in control, legislators speedily adopted the Safe Carry Protection Act, which the Republican Tea Party governor promptly signed into law. The measure now permits gun owners to bring concealed weapons into schools, saloons, nightclubs, government buildings (excepting the one where the law was adopted), and “houses of worship,” which in Georgiaspeak is understood as Christian churches and nothing else, for God’s sake.
Mr. LaPierre’s vociferous support for guns everywhere for every occasion—backed by N.R.A. campaign cash for pliant politicians—made the Georgia law possible. In coming years, more blood will be on Mr. LaPierre’s already crimson hands; not that he cares, not so long as his annual salary of a cool million dollars keeps on coming.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun,” Mr. LaPierre famously said after the December 2012 massacre of twenty schoolchildren and six teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, “is a good guy with a gun.”
Preposterous as they may seem, cheerleaders for gun violence that so frequently begets terrorism—e.g., Ms. Palin and Messrs. Hannity, Nugent, and LaPierre—hold dangerous appeal to the simpleminded, many of whom stand ready, willing, and armed to the teeth for political Armageddon. And they have undeniable influence in the respectable corridors of power.
Case in point: a doomed report issued in April 2009 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, entitled “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” In the report, D.H.S. Secretary Janet Napolitano dared to observe the obvious: America’s Nazis and Klansmen are “just as dangerous as terrorism from foreign organizations,” and “efforts by authorities to detect and pre-empt violent extremist have faced serious legal and political hurdles…and pushback from political lobbies suspicious of the government’s motives.”
Indeed, pushback to the report itself was swift and predictably furious. This from Michelle Malkin, an especially vile Republican Tea Party blogger who conflates conservatism with the conduct on view in Bunkerville, Nevada: “The piece-of-crap report issued on April 7 is a sweeping indictment of conservatives. …[It] asserts with no evidence that an unquantified ‘resurgence in right-wing extremist recruitment and radicalization activity’ is due to home foreclosures, job losses, and…the ‘historical presidential election [of an African American president].’” A conspiracy-minded right-wing journalist, Ms. Malkin is, of course, a regular commentator for Fox TV.
Since Secretary Napolitano’s report—formally withdrawn rather soon after its public release, due to heated objections by Ms. Malkin and her “conservative” confederates—domestic terrorism has been on a roll. Most of the new carnage, according to statistics kept by the F.B.I., is traceable to white racists involved in Nazi and Klan organizations. Shortly after issuing her report, Ms. Napolitano resigned from the D.H.S.
Here in America, we do not have anything quite like Germany’s Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution), which classifies Herr Pastörs’ NPD. as a “threat to the constitutional order.” In America, we play with fire without benefit of fire extinguishers.
What is past is prologue, as Mr. Shakespeare observed in “The Tempest.”
In America, we seem often to turn our backs on the past—on the future as well. And too many of us in powerful office have the unfortunate tendency of moving sideways through life, no more aware of dangerous events and bona fide threats than scuttling snails.
Thomas Adcock is America correspondent for CulturMag