Friday, December 18, 2009

Some observations on them thar' "FEMA internement camps" (that'll learn ya'!)


WWW--Let me make this crystal clear: if you believe this meme, you're probably either gullible, crazy, or both, but you're assuredly rocketing towards crankdom, even with the mess we're in right now, and it's a big mess brought to us from many of the same people making these claims. The first time I ever heard of this stupid meme was in a poorly produced and heavily-slanted videotape from the nefarious and long ago discredited Linda Thompson, a former Indianapolis attorney who cranked-out a few documentaries on Waco that were--to put it politely--conflated alarmist crap.

There was an earlier example during Iran-Contra: "leftist" anti-intervention activists were running around with their heads cut-off when it was revealed that Oliver North had considered arresting and detaining some of them in the event of an invasion of Nicaragua. It never amounted to anything, and never would have, it was North being G. Gordon Liddy, meaning batshit crazy. The overreaction was equally nuts and added to the hyped post-Watergate paranoia infecting the body politic, and it has continued into today. Thompson continued this meme in a way that could only be of benefit to Republicans, and didn't invent it, but popularized it in a way unlike ever before, and when the Internet was primarily the domain (pun intended) of geeks and IT wackos (like elements of the Legion of Doom) who thought like herself.

According to the SPLC, Thompson is currently living in North Carolina right now, where she must feel right at home. After calling for a militia attack on the nation's capital in 1995, she was thoroughly discredited, even among her "allies"on the right and throughout the militia movement in the Midwest. Her time was up at the mic. If you live in N.C., tell her hello, photograph her, and post it online. She deserves further scrutiny for the mess she left behind, now spreading like syphilis all over the Internet, but again, she didn't invent this meme, but she exploited it and popularized it further. It never surprised me that Thompson was working out of Indianapolis at the time, and she was good for a time, very clever. But it got out of hand as it tends to. For a few minutes, she had me fooled, but I was in college at the time and young (naive). But unlike the people who still cling to this pathetic belief, I grew out of it quickly.

Working out of a strip mall next to a Dominoe's Pizza (shades of the wacko Jack T. Chick who's been making similar claims for decades along with the John Birch Society), she had created her garbage anti-government propaganda, garnering as much as $300,000 from over-credulous meth-addicts and down-on-their-luck farmers. Thompson truly was a darling of the Libertarian/militia right. In some ways she still is a kind of a "shade" or "phantasm" since her part of the meme has outlived her time in the spotlight. Just today, someone on Facebook told me with a sense of utmost certainty about (I'm paraphrasing), "FEMA camps being set-up to incarcerate American dissidents throughout the nation in time of a national emergency." Sound familiar? They might want to quit smoking dope and pull their head out of their ass, it's pointing rightwards.

Yes, there was something called CABLE SPLICER, GARDEN PLOT, COINTELPRO, and several other programs of the same kind during the chaos of the 1960s-70s, they were unconstitutional, and at least as far as we know, they were shuttered. Is this a good excuse to disengage from the political process? Who generally benefits from that? It tends to be the GOP. A takeover doesn't work as these people describe it, it comes in increments, and with them running around chasing ghosts they certainly aren't any threat to one. Great, they know hot to cut-and-paste, maybe even read.

What's interesting is that unless it fits their anti-government meme, Libertarians are generally unmotivated or silent on similar threats found in specific provisions of the Patriot Act and have yet to put up an even remotely workable or sustained fight against it at all, just more of their conspiracy theory yammering that would never stand up in a court of law or lead to the creation of any investigative commissions. When you believe this garbage, the very notion of political participation is out the window, and it's pathetic. Never mind that Libertarians (including Alex Jones in their nexus) and the militias were/are part of the far right. Never mind that they're not fighting the actual "good fight" against all of these post-9/11 attacks on our rights as groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), CREW, or the ACLU are; they just talk, write, and bloviate like the ineffectual children that they always were and are. None of what they do is ever going to reach a court of law unless it's them who has misbehaved, just look at Jones--just not if you've eaten recently.

Thompson did quite a job on some very ignorant and immature people throughout the Midwest and even the former Confederacy, and she chose her marks well. She was calculated. This kind of dysfunctional behavior is part of "the pedagogy of the oppressed," to borrow a phrase. One of the biggest problems now is that they're trying to infiltrate the antiwar movement and the progressive movement, and they're making some inroads. Additionally, they have some ties to the white hate movement, albeit indirectly in most cases. Frankly, that's good enough for me. There is a real threat, but it's not from the government, it's from the politicians who are leading us all over the cliff. There is no substitute for political participation.

Most of the politicians in Washington have strings coming out of their backs leading to Wall Street and its environs, and they're laughing all the way to the bank at the fringe populist minority, a group of oxymorons if ever there was one. The fact is, they're the minority and they're not part of the progressive movement in any real sense, but they are problematic and should be countered at every juncture and removed if necessary from these groups in a polite and legal fashion, as befits a truly progressive movement. No one said struggle was easy or that you weren't going to get your hands dirty, and these people are dragging us down a bit and muddying the waters. That's how it goes and how it's always been, and how it's always going to be. Accept that it's a part of your entire life--the struggle against unaccountable power--and you've made a very serious step towards adulthood.

A good summation of Thompson from the SPLC:
http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?pid=367