December 03, 2010

Conservatives hate Wikileaks and Indians

This week's controversy concerns Wikileaks' release of thousands of confidential diplomatic documents. Showing their disdain for free speech, due process, and the rule of law, conservatives have responded by calling for the death of Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks.

Questions we wouldn't be asking in a sane world

By Dan GardnerWhy is it that most people in the United States and elsewhere are not disturbed in the slightest that, despite abundant evidence, American officials who apparently committed heinous crimes in the war on terror will not be investigated and held to account, while Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who apparently did nothing illegal this week, is hunted to the ends of the Earth? And how in hell is it possible that when a former president of the United States of America admits he authorized the commission of torture—which is to say, he admits he committed a major crime—the international media and political classes express not a fraction of the anger they are now directing at the man who leaked the secrets of that president’s administration?

I marvel at that paragraph. It would have been inconceivable even 10 years ago. Murder treated as a legitimate option in political discourse? Torture as acceptable government policy? No, impossible. A decade ago, it would have been satire too crude to be funny.

And yet, here we are.

The question in the Commons Wednesday was prompted by the televised comments of Tom Flanagan, political scientist and former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “I think Assange should be assassinated, actually,” Flanagan said Tuesday.

This was the hard-right id laid bare. The day before, Sarah Palin said much the same. Explicitly or implicitly, so did many others, including journalist Bill Kristol, Congressman Pete King, blogger John Hawkins, and the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal.
Flanagan scorns Indians too

Not coincidentally, Flanagan is also prejudiced against Indians. Here's a report on him from October 2004:

The Man Behind Stephen Harper

The new Conservative Party has tasted success and wants majority rule. If Tom Flanagan and his Calgary School have their way, they’ll get it without compromising their principles

By Marci McDonald
Consternation rumbled across the country like an approaching thunderhead. For aboriginal leaders, one of their worst nightmares appeared about to come true. Two weeks before last June’s federal election, pollsters were suddenly predicting that Conservative leader Stephen Harper might pull off an upset and form the next government. What worried many in First Nations’ circles was not Harper himself, but the man poised to become the real power behind his prime ministerial throne: his national campaign director Tom Flanagan, a U.S.-born professor of political science at the University of Calgary.

Most voters had never heard of Flanagan, who has managed to elude the media while helping choreograph Harper’s shrewd, three-year consolidation of power. But among aboriginal activists, his name set off alarms. For the past three decades, Flanagan has churned out scholarly studies debunking the heroism of M├ętis icon Louis Riel, arguing against native land claims, and calling for an end to aboriginal rights. Those stands had already made him a controversial figure, but four years ago, his book, First Nations? Second Thoughts, sent tempers off the charts.

In it, Flanagan dismissed the continent’s First Nations as merely its “first immigrants” who trekked across the Bering Strait from Siberia, preceding the French, British et al. by a few thousand years—a rewrite which neatly eliminates any indigenous entitlement. Then, invoking the spectre of a country decimated by land claims, he argued the only sensible native policy was outright assimilation.
And:Who are these men—for they are, without exception, men—in Harper’s backroom brain trust, collectively dubbed the “Calgary School”? Flanagan won his conservative spurs targeting the prevailing wisdom on the country’s native people—what he calls the “aboriginal orthodoxy.” Others like Rainer Knopff and Ted Morton—Alberta’s long-stymied senator-elect—have built careers, and a brisk consulting business, taking shots at the Charter of Rights, above all its implications for the pet peeves of social conservatives: feminism, abortion, and same-sex marriage.

But what binds the group is not only friendship, it’s a chippy outsiders’ sense of mission. In a torrent of academic treatises and no-holds-barred commentaries in the media, they have given intellectual heft to a rambunctious, Rocky Mountain brand of libertarianism that has become synonymous with Western alienation.

That neo-conservative agenda may read as if it has been lifted straight from the dusty desk drawers of Ronald Reagan: lower taxes, less federal government, and free markets unfettered by social programs such as Medicare that keep citizens from being forced to pull up their own socks.
Comment:  The second article refers to Flanagan's "principles." That probably was a typo. There's no principle that encompasses less federal government but more federal government when it comes to controlling Indians. If conservatives like Flanagan weren't hypocrites, they'd support sovereign Indian nations as a pure expression of local government.

There's also no principle that encompasses due process of the law and conservative favorites such as warrantless wiretapping, imprisonment without trial, foreign renditions, torture, and assassination. Any conservative who brays about the "rule of law" while supporting these practices is a goddamned hypocrite.

I ripped into Flanagan back in 2001 for my Stereotype of the Month contest. He was the January-February 2001 loser for this entry:

Ottawa News claims "treaties...have little relevance" today

As I said, it isn't a coincidence that Flanagan hates social programs, tribal sovereignty, and the free flow of information. Indeed, he exemplifies what today's conservative/libertarians believe:

  • Blind faith in free markets despite their frequent failures.

  • Lower taxes for the rich, less federal government except for military spending and corporate welfare, and markets designed so businesses can rob and cheat consumers legally.

  • Opposition to feminism, abortion, and same-sex marriage--all of which they should champion if they believe in individual freedom unfettered by government.

  • Disdain for blacks, Indians, and other minorities who won't assimilate into mainstream society and become "white"--again a violation of individual choice.

  • Attacks on free speech and the media, science, and art when they discomfit the military-industrial complex. In other words, supporting government and big business at the expense of people--once again, a violation of their so-called principles.

  • If there's a common theme here, it's that white male Christians have come to dominate the world with tactics ranging from conquest to genocide. Today's conservative/libertarians are dedicated to keeping these people in power. Opposing social programs, tribal sovereignty, and the free flow of information are all part of their agenda.

    Wikileaks reveals conservative hypocrisy

    I could do a whole posting on what the Wikileaks scandal says about the conservative hatred of America's ideals. To keep things manageable, I'll simply link to the best postings I've read on the subject. Specifically, on conservatives' hypocrisy:

    WikiLeaks reveals more than just government secrets

    The moral standards of WikiLeaks critics

    Foreign Press Says What America’s Won’t:  Sarah Palin is a Traitor

    And their invention of phony controversies while real problems go unaddressed:

    News Flash:  123 Americans Dead, No WikiLeaks Connection

    From WikiChina

    Plus my own snarky contributions to the debate:

    I imagine conservative teabaggers are cheering Wikileaks because they hate the US government and its coercive power over people. Right?

    Psst! Here's a secret Wikileaks missed: President George W. Bush authorized waterboarding, a recognized form of torture. Pass it on.

    Wikileaks = crime against humanity. Preemptive invasion of Iraq, Guantanamo Bay prison camp, legalized torture, Patriot Act...not so much.

    For more on the subject, see Tea Party Guide to American History and Tea Party Believes in Taking.

    Below:  Wikileaks bad, torture good!

    1 comment:

    Rob said...

    More on Flanagan and his conservative thuggishness:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tom-flanagan-threatened-me-over-wikileaks-comment-toronto-woman-says/article1829169/

    Tom Flanagan threatened me over WikiLeaks comment, Toronto woman says

    Mr. Flanagan said U.S. President Barack Obama should consider assassinating Julian Assange because his website released thousands of highly sensitive U.S. government documents.

    Mr. Flanagan, a University of Calgary professor, has since apologized, saying he wasn't seriously suggesting Mr. Assange should be killed.

    But late last week Mr. Assange said Mr. Flanagan and others making such statements about him should be charged with incitement to murder. And on Monday Calgary police said they were investigating and it would be up to the Crown to decide whether to lay charges.

    In an interview Tuesday with The Canadian Press, Ms. Reymond said she e-mailed Mr. Flanagan after his televised comment and he sent back a one-sentence reply that said simply, “Better be careful, we know where you live.”