Life In Wonderland

April 13, 2009 – What if you woke up in a world in which everything was turned on its head? Welcome to today!

By The Cerebral Aesthetic Vagabond

Wow! I feel like I woke up in Wonderland, where everything is upside down and backward: good is evil, wise is extremist, facts are but figments of our overwrought imaginations. I read a breathtaking nine-page document published by the Department of Homeland Security on April 7, 2009 and apparently leaked into the “public” realm. Even though this document has the words “FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY” emblazoned all over it, on the last page of the document, which is ostensibly intended solely for law enforcement personnel, a paragraph reads,

DHS encourages recipients of this document to report information concerning suspicious or criminal activity to DHS and the FBI. The DHS National Operations Center (NOC) can be reached by telephone at 202-282-9685 or by e-mail at NOC.Fusion@dhs.gov. For information affecting the private sector and critical infrastructure, contact the National Infrastructure Coordinating Center (NICC), a sub-element of the NOC. The NICC can be reached by telephone at 202-282-9201 or by e-mail at NICC@dhs.gov. The FBI regional phone numbers can be found online at http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm.

Uh, wouldn’t professional law enforcement personnel already know to do this? Wouldn’t they already have all these telephone numbers and e-mail addresses? The inclusion of this little paragraph, addressed to “recipients” makes me suspect that this document was intentionally leaked to the public, perhaps as some kind of psychological tool aimed at making us doubt our own powers of observation.

After all, the document employs the words perceive and perception twelve times (in just nine pages), as in, all the facts that we can plainly see with our own eyes are merely misperceptions, figments of our imaginations. It then cites fact after fact as potential rallying points for “domestic rightwing extremists,” while attempting to dismiss those same facts as misperceptions. (The phrase, “rightwing extremist,” appears 34 times in the document, by the way, the definition of a “rightwing extremist” apparently being anyone who thinks for himself, trusts their own eyesight or even mildly disagrees with government policy.)

One of us, either the government or me, has gone insane. I think even George Orwell would be astonished by the extent of our depravity today, although to me it’s symptomatic of a rapidly escalating breakdown of civilization itself, at least of “western” civilization.

What I cannot figure out is whether this document is another overt declaration of war against the citizenry or if the authors really believe their refutation of reality. I can certainly understand how people working for the insular government could be utterly clueless about matters involving the economy, trade, jobs, the Constitution and personal liberty.

Paragraph By Paragraph Critique

(Page 3) Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures. Anti-Semitic extremists attribute these losses to a deliberate conspiracy conducted by a cabal of Jewish “financial elites.” These “accusatory” tactics are employed to draw new recruits into rightwing extremist groups and further radicalize those already subscribing to extremist beliefs. DHS/I&A assesses this trend is likely to accelerate if the economy is perceived to worsen.

The perceived loss of jobs? I suppose the government’s own Bureau of Labor Statistics is in on the vast right wing conspiracy theory, what with it’s reporting – that is, underreporting – of 600,000+ job losses per month! What, “financial elites” do not exist? Man, I’ve been on the wrong track all this time! I wonder, would the loss of one’s job cause them to perceive that the economy is worsening? After all, it has been said that it’s a recession when your neighbor loses their job, but a depression when you lose your own job. So I guess perception does play a role. Quick, what do you call a newly unemployed person? Answer: a potential “rightwing extremist” with a perception problem.

(Page 3) Rightwing extremists are harnessing this historical election as a recruitment tool. Many rightwing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use. Rightwing extremists are increasingly galvanized by these concerns and leverage them as drivers for recruitment. From the 2008 election timeframe to the present, rightwing extremists have capitalized on related racial and political prejudices in expanded propaganda campaigns, thereby reaching out to a wider audience of potential sympathizers.

It’s funny how this document mentions the “new presidential administration’s” perceived stance on citizenship, but fails to mention the growing controversy over the president’s own citizenship status, which ironically could become one of the very rallying points for “rightwing extremists” that this document purports to disclose! The president’s citizenship status is crucial according to the Constitution, which states that only a natural born person may be the president. So far, the acting president hasn’t demonstrated the slightest inclination to prove where he was born. Quite the contrary, he’s demonstrated considerable inclination to keep all of his personal details a secret from we the people. The government often assures us that we shouldn’t be concerned about all of its snooping into our personal lives, that is, if we have nothing to hide. My retort to our “new presidential administration” is that it shouldn’t be concerned about revealing the details about the president’s place of birth, that is, if it has nothing to hide. “Firearms ownership and use” is protected by the Constitution, so it’s not unreasonable for people to be concerned about restrictions on ownership of firearms or their use. Issues of immigration, citizenship, the president’s own citizenship status, “expansion of social programs” and firearms are legitimate concerns for any attentive and engaged citizen. One does not have to be a “rightwing extremist” to wish to abide by our supposedly most sacred of documents, the Constitution.

(Page 4) Paralleling the current national climate, rightwing extremists during the 1990s exploited a variety of social issues and political themes to increase group visibility and recruit new members. Prominent among these themes were the militia movement’s opposition to gun control efforts, criticism of free trade agreements (particularly those with Mexico), and highlighting perceived government infringement on civil liberties as well as white supremacists’ longstanding exploitation of social issues such as abortion, inter-racial crimes, and same-sex marriage. During the 1990s, these issues contributed to the growth in the number of domestic rightwing terrorist and extremist groups and an increase in violent acts targeting government facilities, law enforcement officers, banks, and infrastructure sectors.

Criticism of “free trade” agreements, you mean like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)? The role played by NAFTA in helping to destroy both the American and Mexican economies is clearly evident now. Our manufacturing base has shrunk since the passage of NAFTA and many of Mexico’s family farmers have been driven out of business by NAFTA. On top of that, some of the maquiladoras in Mexico that were the initial beneficiaries of NAFTA are now being closed and their work sent to China. A perceived government infringement on civil liberties? How about the explosive rise in the use of tasers to electrocute the populace into groveling submission? How about the epidemic of wiretapping and surveillance of the population, the domestic population? How about the piling of manufactured charges onto defendants in order to elicit plea bargains in over 90% of criminal cases? How about “free speech zones,” cordoned off well out of sight of political venues? How about people being arrested or harassed for having a bumper sticker on their car or a t-shirt on their torso? How about the recently introduced thought crime bill, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, otherwise known as H.R. 1955, which passed the House by an overwhelming majority? Are these not a bit more than perceived government infringements on civil liberties?

(Page 4) Historically, domestic rightwing extremists have feared, predicted, and anticipated a cataclysmic economic collapse in the United States. Prominent antigovernment conspiracy theorists have incorporated aspects of an impending economic collapse to intensify fear and paranoia among like-minded individuals and to attract recruits during times of economic uncertainty. Conspiracy theories involving declarations of martial law, impending civil strife or racial conflict, suspension of the U.S. Constitution, and the creation of citizen detention camps often incorporate aspects of a failed economy. Antigovernment conspiracy theories and “end times” prophecies could motivate extremist individuals and groups to stockpile food, ammunition, and weapons. These teachings also have been linked with the radicalization of domestic extremist individuals and groups in the past, such as violent Christian Identity organizations and extremist members of the militia movement.

“Domestic rightwing extremists have feared, predicted, and anticipated a cataclysmic economic collapse in the United States.” A great many people have been predicting such an obviously predictable event, which is now clearly in progress. They are all “rightwing extremists” now? Martial law? Who was it who threatened Congress with the imposition of martial law if it failed to approve the first huge bailout bill? None other than the government’s own Treasury secretary. What about all those presidential directives, such as NPSD-51, that have been enacted that essentially give the president the power to impose martial law and commandeer the economy? Those presidential directives are fantasies? Citizen detention camps are fantasies too? What about the well-known KBR contract to build such detention camps, ostensibly to house an influx of illegal immigrants, as well as for “other programs”? So stockpiling food is now an extremist activity? What about growing one’s own food in a backyard garden? Is that an extremist activity? Oh, yeah, it soon will be thanks again to the House, which is sponsoring H.R. 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, which may eventually make it illegal for people to grow their own food. Personally, I think that’s precisely one of the objectives, as power for government and profits for corporations are the twin goals of most legislation anymore. (There I go again with my wacky conspiracy theories.)

(Page 5) Rightwing extremists were concerned during the 1990s with the perception that illegal immigrants were taking away American jobs through their willingness to work at significantly lower wages. They also opposed free trade agreements, arguing that these arrangements resulted in Americans losing jobs to countries such as Mexico.

And all those concerns from the 1990s have been borne out! Illegal immigrants and foreign workers have been taking jobs from American citizens. In fact, “domestic” law firms exist for the express purpose of helping companies not find a qualified American job applicant, so that the company can hire a foreign applicant on an H1-B visa instead! Fear not, fellow citizens, these job losses aren’t real, they are merely your misperception.

(Page 5) Many rightwing extremist groups perceive recent gun control legislation as a threat to their right to bear arms and in response have increased weapons and ammunition stockpiling, as well as renewed participation in paramilitary training exercises. Such activity, combined with a heightened level of extremist paranoia, has the potential to facilitate criminal activity and violence.

Is not the whole point of “gun control legislation” to reduce access to firearms? I believe the “threat to their right to bear arms” that people perceive is merited. It’s interesting that this document uses the phrase, “bear arms,” since that’s the same archaic phrase used in the Constitution, the relevant portion of the Second Amendment reading, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

(Page 6) Rightwing extremist paranoia of foreign regimes could escalate or be magnified in the event of an economic crisis or military confrontation, harkening back to the “New World Order” conspiracy theories of the 1990s. The dissolution of Communist countries in Eastern Europe and the end of the Soviet Union in the 1990s led some rightwing extremists to believe that a “New World Order” would bring about a world government that would usurp the sovereignty of the United States and its Constitution, thus infringing upon their liberty. The dynamics in 2009 are somewhat similar, as other countries, including China, India, and Russia, as well as some smaller, oil-producing states, are experiencing a rise in economic power and influence.

“‘New World Order’ conspiracy theories”? Was it merely in my conspiracy theorist imagination that President Bush first uttered that famous phrase in the early 1990s? Has the phrase “New World Order” not been prevalent as a newspaper headline lately? Is not world government and a world currency being openly discussed today? Is not the North American Union (Security and Prosperity Partnership Of North America) a step in the direction of world government and a loss of sovereignty for the U.S.?

Notice that the URL for the SPP has a .gov top level domain, indicating that it’s a government web site? Also notice its pretty logo, which merges the U.S., Canadian and Mexican flags? Perhaps the image above is just part of the “conspiracy theory” rattling around in my head, a misperception on my part.

(Page 7) Rightwing extremist views bemoan the decline of U.S. stature and have recently focused on themes such as the loss of U.S. manufacturing capability to China and India, Russia’s control of energy resources and use of these to pressure other countries, and China’s investment in U.S. real estate and corporations as a part of subversion strategy.

I, too, bemoan the loss of U.S. manufacturing for the simple reason that it’s one of the principal sources of wealth creation, the other being agriculture. Without a means to create wealth a country can no more subsist than can a bum without a job. It is factually evident that the U.S. manufacturing base has been systematically transferred to both China and India, among other countries. Russia does control quite a lot of energy resources, notably oil, while the U.S. production of oil, in particular, has dropped by about half since 1970. Sensible people are prudent to be concerned about these trends.

Maybe I can no longer perceive this world correctly. Maybe the chemtrails I see in the sky aren’t chemtrails at all, but lingering contrails (in contrast to other contrails that evaporate within seconds). Maybe two plus two really does equal five.

Update – 12 August 2009

According to this article, the DHS “extremist” report is based not on sound data, but on various postings on the internet, mostly on web sites known to spew disinformation. To quote the article, “A tenth grader could have complied a more compelling source list.”

The End