Noami Wolf is at it again (not to be confused with Naomi Klein of the Shock Doctrine). Months ago she informed us that some rape was not “real rape” and now she’s alerting us to the congress’ covert (read: unproven) attempt to hijack OWS and collude with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to shut us all up for good. Oh, and naturally, the President is behind it all (he must be the wrong kind of patriarch for Wolf).
Wolf published this Libertarian-esque “OMG the Feds!” alert at the Guardian yesterday. Never mind that this meme had been debunked weeks earlier by many sources, including Angry Black Lady writing at ABL Chronicles and Joshua Holland writing for AlterNet.
Facts never stopped Naomi before. Wolf warns us:
In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces – pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS – to make war on peaceful citizens.
Before we get into the utter lack of evidence, we should note that congress’ oversight rule is not to help them carry out policy, but rather to make sure DHS is following the law and spending their budget appropriately (living up to their legislative mandate).
Of course, once again, there’s no proof that congress, let alone the President, ordered the abuse, and there’s a lot of evidence to the contrary when it comes to Obama’s DoJ, not to mention there’s no motive for Obama to do this. But who are we to let facts interfere in a hearty dose of hit-getting paranoia? Isn’t it better to let the smear machine take out the President – I mean, for pure fun. Maybe we should throw some astrology in, too, because I’ve read that the President is a Leo and you know how they can be.
See that? It’s so easy to smear people with rumors and innuendo, and especially on this topic because we have seen an increasingly disturbing trend of police militarization. Ironically, the Obama administration noticed this long before Occupy movement and the DoJ has been working on cracking down on police abuse.
Yes, Obama, who is secretly working with the DHS to kill the movement that is giving him political cover to sell the jobs bill and raise taxes on the rich (something we liberals never quite managed to do, thanks in large part to…um…..the establishment liberals who told us all that he was the devil incarnate while ignoring ALEC’s role in the public option fail) had his DoJ working to reduce police abuse long before OWS started.
In a marked shift from the Bush administration, President Obama’s Justice Department is aggressively investigating several big urban police departments for systematic civil rights abuses such as harassment of racial minorities, false arrests, and excessive use of force.
Here’s the argument catching fire in the latest how-can-we-screw-ourselves-this-week progressive agenda: The DHS is colluding with mayors across the country to shut down OWS via police violence. Congress told the DHS what to do and the President is in on it, too.
Proof? Ok, that’s where we get into iffy territory that Karoli of Crooks and Liars takes down brilliantly on her personal blog (Drumsnwhistles). Seems like this meme can be traced back to a far right wing writer for the Examiner who also had no proof:
Naomi Wolf wrote a nonsensical piece today that’s being spammed all over Twitter. It asserts that there is a deliberate plot afoot via collusion by the United States Congress, the Department of Homeland Security and our oligarchical overlords to undermine the very populist, leaderless Occupy Wall Street movement. One of her key pieces of evidence is an unsupported and unverified report that 18 mayors coordinated their crackdowns with the Department of Homeland Security. There’s only one problem with that: It’s nothing more than innuendo. Here, let me show you.
Here are the two links she provides as evidence: One to Wonkette; the other to Washingtonsblog.com. Both articles point back to this absurd article on the Examiner.com site (a very, very right-wing Phil Anschutz, write-out-of-your-butt-with-no-evidence kind of site). Washingtonsblog goes one step further, updating with this:
(And for those who are understandably doubtful about Examiner.com as a news source,here’s an AP story from a couple hours ago that verifies everything except the specific mention of DHS coordination.)
Got that? The headlines on both of these stories (Wonkette and WashingtonsBlog) were splayed across the sites in very large heading fonts: “Homeland Security Coordinated….” and yet the AP confirms everything BUT DHS coordination. Still, that didn’t stop Wolf from ignoring the AP story entirely and writing a piece for the Guardian that included links to bolster her argument that clearly don’t.
Seriously read both the entire ABL catalog on this issue and the entire Karoli piece. And hey, don’t let the fact that once again the right wing has infiltrated the left bother you. You can trust their agenda. I mean, it’s not as if they don’t support OWS. I kid.
We are being sold paranoia about the DHS from the right, the very people who loved the DHS under a Republican, and through this, it’s inferred that Obama (evil! hiss) hates the people and is urging congress to kill OWS by telling DHS what to do.
There’s no proof regarding the accusation of a congressional role in colluding with DHS to abuse the people’s rights. Of course, this isn’t meant to imply that police, mayors and other authority figures are not stepping on the rights of the people. In fact, it appears that collusion is happening, but among and ordered by whom we don’t know. My best guess at this point would be to look first at the entities with the most to lose due to OWS (aka: corporations) and their lobbying efforts with DHS directly or through others, such as mayors, with power.
Odds are the mayors who spoke with DHS were seeking DHS forces to “keep the peace” at the Occupy movements. If so, their request was rejected. It’s also relevant to note which mayors are attacking peaceful protesters and which aren’t. There have been at least a few Occupy events where local government came down to talk to the protesters instead of arresting them. If congress or DHS were setting policy over local police (a problem in its own right and no doubt the reason why the DoJ has not stepped in yet), why are some police forces not going along with it?
Rather, reason dictates that those mayors who want to abuse the people are looking for legal support in doing so, and finding loopholes around the first amendment via DHS is one avenue they’ve pursued. This would no doubt entail them labeling the Occupiers some kind of threat/danger, a tactic we’ve seen in New York and other places where some of the worst police abuses have taken place.
Why are progressives hawking a right wing rumor? In the best of worlds, I suppose it’s because post-W, we are all government-leery and the Right knows how to stoke this fear in us and use it to scatter us into fragments of what we could be. But just as in any other relationship, a constant attitude of mistrust to such a degree that we believe any smear no matter how unfounded will not lead to positive change. It’s impossible, in fact, to create positive change when you’re hampered by the power of fear and hatred. These are emotional diatribes, at best; at worst, they’re cynical ploys to be King or Queen of the movement.
Those going with “anything is possible” as the excuse to believe this latest feeding frenzy at the Obama-is-the-devil trough must admit that they have chosen to overlook how government works, the glaringly empty space where facts belong to connect any of this together, and the origin of the rumor, all because they have that much emotional faith in Wolf or that much emotional anger at government. Neither of these two reasons is rational, though the latter is understandable.
So, were we to believe Wolf, the President told his cabinet to go after the Occupiers with violence because he:
a) no longer believes in civil rights
b) wants to kill the movement that is giving him the only political cover he’s had since he took office, or
c) he is the anti-Christ.
I’m going with anti-Christ, just because it covers a lot of ground in one fell swoop, and certainly I can’t imagine why Obama would want OWS to continue, given it has managed to do what the left never could. OWS has put a loud voice behind popular ideas like taxing the rich and regulating Wall Street, thereby affording Obama precious political cover for the ideas he’s been championing since he came on the scene as a state senator.
Want paranoia? The truth is bad enough, so thanks, but no thanks. The enemy of the people is the corporate beast and their puppets in government. The enemy of progressives is a seeming willingness to believe anything that makes us feel screwed by the man without a shred of evidence to back it up. These kinds of rumors are what happens when the far right Liberatarian hatred of government under a Democrat meets the Luntzian narrative skill that then has an affair with an emo prog who secretly hates this president anyway, but believes everything some men have ever told her for no reason other than they are on the right side of the table. Sigh.
The real question is why someone who caters to the patriarchy as Wolf does would ever consider herself in the line of fire by the establishment. It would be nice if progressives started to question not only their government, but also their favorite pundits.
The Occupy movement is about all of us. Let it not be co-opted by anyone’s agenda, left or right. The only way to maintain that purity is to stick to the basic, proven truths behind the movement. After all, the truth is bad enough.
Image: Democratic Underground