On extremism

And the extremely biased

In April, a U.S. congressional hearing on hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism was derailed by Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee, who felt their own perceived victimhood was the real injustice worth exploring.

But one livestream of the event had to be disabled when “hundreds of anti-Semitic comments, racist missives, and declarations of white supremacy flooded the YouTube page for the hearing: ‘Anti-hate is a code word for anti-white’,” Tina Nguyen reported for Vanity Fair.

Once the snippets of desired confrontations and scripted one-liners began to circulate on social media, the ultimate lack of substance on the day mattered little. The fight for control of the narrative is what preoccupied most observers.

Here at home, given the controversy stemming from Conservative MP Michael Cooper’s bizarre tirade during last week’s House of Commons justice committee hearing and his subsequent removal from the vice-chair position, the unanimous decision to suspend the video broadcast of Tuesday’s meeting exploring hate was a wise and laudable move.

It was one which predictably angered those—panelists and observers—who’d long prepared to weaponize the footage for ideological ends.

Less admirable, however, was the decision by parliamentarians to formally strike a portion of Cooper’s remarks from the record. NDP MP Randall Garrison, one of the six who supported the motion put forward by Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault to expunge the name and words of the man alleged to have carried out the massacre of Muslims in New Zealand, felt a responsibility “to make sure that those who engage in violent acts based on extremist ideologies do not get a public forum to spread their ideas."

Above, you can see a tweet Liked by Cooper, one which rather contradicts the apology posted to his timeline.

CBC has a thorough, accurate account of what occurred, but the section below (emphasis mine) is key:

Suri went on to say that people like Robert Bowers — who is alleged to have killed 11 people in a synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh in October — and Brenton Tarrant, who is accused of shooting and killing 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in March, were similarly influenced by online hate coming from "alt-right online networks."

Suri told the committee that "online hate is a key factor in enforcing hate in all forms," including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, and that more efforts should be made to study online hate and its effects in the offline world.

When it was his turn to ask Suri and other witnesses questions, Cooper laid into the Alberta anti-racism activist, accusing him of suggesting a link between "conservatism" and violent extremism.

"Mr. Suri, I take great umbrage with your defamatory comments to try to link conservatism with violent extremist attacks. They have no foundation, they're defamatory, and they diminish your credibility as a witness," Cooper said.

The Conservative MP then read into the record a passage from Tarrant's 74-page manifesto — which has been banned in New Zealand. In the passage, Tarrant is quoted as saying the social and political values of China are close to his own and that he rejects 'conservatism'.

What merits attention here isn’t so much Cooper’s mention of Tarrant or his reading of the manifesto, so much as his premeditated and deliberate misreading of it.

That such dishonesty was contrived in advance—this torqued narrative a premeditated effort to absolve the right of responsibility while positioning conservatives as victims—suggests a problem which extends beyond this one MP.

Further, I’d argue it’s incumbent on elected officials, particularly Conservatives, to study and properly understand Tarrant’s manifesto, as his depraved ideology is one which extends into Canada and flourishes online in both open and private forums.

That Ben Shapiro—whose rhetoric is known to have directly influenced homicidal extremists, as discussed last week—was invited to testify along with the unqualified trio who appeared Tuesday underscores how willfully ignorant the Conservatives continue to be in this matter.

One highlight from Tuesday, thanks to a reliably intelligent Liberal MP:

An honest plea from an openly-gay NDP MP:

And revealing remarks from one of the Conservatives’ featured guests:

If only she had a chance at committee to articulate her views and beliefs:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Another reason Boissonnault’s motion was short-sighted is that it welcomes a re-writing of history by dishonest actors.

That is quite the interpretation of what happened.

Those taking issue with Scheer’s decision have every right to feel as they do, but if you’re a media personality working for an organization which routinely accuses credible outlets of supposed bias, maybe check your own blinders once in a while.

There was no “left-wing mob” here—the vice-chair of a committee studying a deadly serious matter proved himself to be both unprofessional and unfit, and his party leader took appropriate action. Conservatives aren’t the victims here any more than Republicans were back in April, and it’s in the best interest of those on the centre-right who abhor extremist ideologies in their ranks to take the lead, show some responsibility, and work to combat it.

Back to Tuesday’s testimony, John Robson, a conservative columnist who suggested the man who slaughtered 51 Muslims in New Zealand wasn’t representative of an extremist ideology worth concern, claimed to "want to rescue the haters as well as protect society from hate. If you keep it off the open internet it goes into the dark web, where it festers and it breeds.”

First, you can’t “rescue haters” you cannot or will not recognize. Second, that’s not how this works.

Recall Robert Bowers, the neo-Nazi who allegedly opened fire on a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 Jews. He is the product of a social network without guardrails:

There was a blue check mark next to Robert Bowers’s name, meaning that the social media account was verified. His bio said that “jews are the children of satan,” his banner image a clear reference to a white supremacist meme. His last message, posted Saturday morning, read, “Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

All images above are from Gab. In addition to Bowers, there is Chris “Crying Nazi” Cantwell and “Eric Striker,” a prolific and influential white supremacist.

Meanwhile, pictured below is standard worship and glorification of far-right terrorists you can find over at Minds.com:

Pretending a problem doesn’t exist will not make it disappear anymore than refusing to understand it will produce a solution. And blaming “The Left” for bringing things to the attention of conservatives, rather than those on the right proactively minding their extremes, won’t absolve them of some extent of culpability if and when the next act of far-right domestic terrorism occurs.


A few things you should Ngo

Perhaps you’ve come across reports which allege unethical ties between left-leaning reporters and antifa activists, and the subsequent “mobbing” of the man behind the revelations:

That is indeed the same guy, whose record of very ethical and professional behaviour is demonstrated below as “Progressive Dad”:

Regarding this assertion:

Lenihan was caught evading a prior ban and lost his account. That’s what happens when you’re a documented troll.

Re: “… how some journalists & writers have close ties to extremists & were working to mainstream those ideas”— that is some impressive projection.

On that conservative militia and this reporter’s habit, here’s the sort of history and record Ngo would prefer you not read or recognize.

But back to Lenihan, this was a curious part of his elaborate thread:

First off, McNabb—a prominent white nationalist and co-host of The Right Stuff network’s influential neo-Nazi podcast The Daily Shoahwas ultimately fired.

But more importantly, Mathias didn’t dox him. He simply opted to report on him.

One reason /ourguys/ respect McNabb—embarrassing optics aside—is because of how open and unapologetic about his views, his identity, and his job he has been for years. McNabb “self-doxxed” as they say, thus removing one potential weapeon of his enemies.

A sort of you-can’t-fire-me-if-I-quit-first approach.

McNabb actively trolled throughout the contentious hearings spurred by reports of his less-upstanding activities, seeming preoccupied with, while displaying rather prominently, a provocative book by Jim Goad.

Meanwhile, on the matter of doxxing and harassment, the sort of (dishonest) effort below is standard from the far-right, whose leadership targets civilians and journalists alike.

When organized in private, however, these “raids” are much more aggressive and sinister in both approach an intention.

While antifa is just as deserving of fair criticism as the far-right movements they counter and clash with, the threat they pose—online or off—is wholly incomparable to the extremism the Tucker Carlson/Laura Ingraham crowd (which includes Ngo) seeks to downplay or trivialize.

Anyone suggesting experts on counter-extremism—particularly reformed individuals—who speak with members of antifa or who work for organizations which, in some way, associate with such movements, are themselves adherents of an extremism should be viewed with a great deal of skepticism if or when they seek to “educate” others on who or what constitutes a problem in society.

Below is a tremendous feature on far-right extremism and those dedicated to fighting it, and is an example of a proper exploration of all involved.


Are you sensing a theme this week?

Nehlen, who recently fought with another neo-Nazi over the best way to start a race war, is pictured below sporting a shirt which celebrates Robert Bowers, while offering a white-nationalist gesture with a number which purportedly signifies the number of countries Jews will soon be expelled from.

The concern illustrated below (click for the full thread) isn’t limited to Twitter, but is nevertheless valid.

As long as status-seeking and social media virility is valued above all else, those who know the least—but do so with great confidence—will continue to drag everybody else down.

Another (superb) thread:


One more thing…

Shannon Proudfoot is a journalist who has taken great care in reporting on death, dying, and the quest for dignity for those facing irremediable illness or who are at the end-stages of life.

I’ve written about the issue a couple of times (for Maclean’s here and here), and have discussed these matters with Shannon on various platforms. What I appreciate most is her ability to listen—to truly hear one’s experience—and seek to understand what it is they’re feeling, and why.

Some of that is captured in this podcast, and if this matter is one you happen to care about, I recommend giving it a listen and following Proudfoot’s work.

One final thread:

tl;dr


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