There is precious little to add to what this piece over at Death & Taxes has already said, but I will make the effort nonetheless.
But Robert James Talbot, Jr. gets arrested for terrorism and I don’t see a thing about it until days later, until this weekend when I happened upon this article from the Southern Poverty Law Center. So weird! In fact, most of the other articles I’ve been able to find are from local Texas news sources. Very few national outlets have even bothered with the story.
Talbot is a white, radical right-wing conservative who was arrested by the FBI on charges of “attempted interference with commerce by robbery, solicitation to commit a crime of violence and possession of an explosive material.”
He set up a Facebook page, “American Insurgent Movement” in order to recruit five or six like-minded folks for what he called a “a Pre-Constitutionalist Community that offers those who seek True patriotism and are looking for absolute Freedom by doing the Will of God. Who want to restore America Pre- Constitutionally and look forward to stopping the Regime with action by bloodshed.” People, whom he said, must be willing to walk away from their lives to “stop the regime.” His plan was to rob banks to fund his revolution, and then also blow up mosques. He claimed to have already cased several Bank of Americas.
He wasn’t shy about his intentions, and even brazenly posted the following messages to the group’s Facebook page:
“Liberty movement starts this summer for those who are up for anything. Email the admin if your [sic] interested in walking away from your life (we have weapons if you need a weapon) to stop the Regime. We always will be recruiting. …You will be giving your life for a greater nation restoring liberty and the Lord himself. Stopping the New World Order and banking cartels.”
“That is exactly what I will have my men do during the heist. Same goes with the Muslims. Mosques are to be a blast! With three of my guys with FA [full automatic] AK’s [AK-47 semi-automatic rifles], we will send that white house worthless piece of dirt and his Muslim brotherhood a message they will never forget.”
And on March 15th…
“In a few weeks me and my team are going active for Operation Liberty. I will not be able to post no more. We will be the revolution, things will happen nationwide or in the states. They will call us many names and spin things around on media. Just remember we fight to stop Marxism, liberalism, Central banking Cartels and the New World Order.”
He was arrested after meeting with three undercover FBI agents who were pretending to be interested in helping him rob an armored car, and providing him with C-4 explosives. He also told the undercover agents that he planned to locate and kill a police officer who arrested him for drunk driving.
Now, call me crazy, but I have a feeling that if Talbot had been, instead, a Muslim man plotting to blow up Christian churches, that this is something that would have made the news cycle, in pretty heavy rotation. Despite the fact that two people with a similar ideology once committed one of the most tragic incidents of terrorism on U.S. soil, it is highly unlikely that other like-minded folks–like Larry Klayman and friends–will be put on the do-not-fly list anytime soon.
The if-he-was-Muslim point is almost too obvious to bother making – replace white with brown and Lord with Allah and we'd have a full-blown media circus on our hands. This raises two useful questions. First, is the problem that the media didn't pay enough attention to this jackass or that it pays far, far too much to other would-be terrorists? Realistically this guy posed a minimal threat to the public; anyone stupid enough to post stuff like this on Facebook is going to attract undercover FBI/ATF agents like a ham attracts starving dogs. This story isn't a big deal, and that's the point. Most of the Great Big Terrorism Scares involve bumbling dipshits who couldn't rob a liquor store without getting caught (e.g., the Fort Dix plotters in 2007) yet the media routinely turns every example into a 9/11 near miss. Lots of people plan things, yet it's only when white people do the planning that the media are able to distinguish between a plan and a realistic threat to the public. Strange.
Second, how much of the activity on the Militia/"Patriot"/Ultra-right in the U.S. is abetted by the indignant howling that conservatives do whenever law enforcement suggests that, you know, gun-toting lunatic McVeigh types pose a greater threat than Scary Foreign Muslims? Perhaps it has been too long since Oklahoma City and Americans forget what kind of people make up the survivalist Right. Maybe the terror acts perpetrated by non-U.S. citizens have simply been better executed and therefore more memorable. Or maybe a significant minority of American conservatives think that plotting to overthrow the government is a reasonable response to electing a moderate Democrat to the White House. Hmm.
32 thoughts on “BELOW RADAR”
We now have a favorite to win the Iowa caucus in 2016.
I'm trying to understand what he means by "Pre-Constitutional".
Does this mean that this Yahoo is a Royalist, and would like the country to return to a colony or would like to some how become a member of the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Trans-Atlantic Counties?
Look out Elle, get the Sunday roast on we's a comin' for dinner! ;-)
Gordon Guano says:
Wasn't there an "SUV bomber" a few years back who couldn't get gasoline to ignite, yet dominated the news cycle almost as much as if he had blown something up? You'd think a content-famished press would fall on this like a pack of dogs.
Gordon Guano says:
And I see that Ed already used that metaphor to describe law enforcement. Screw this, I'm going back to bed.
Splendid! I shall also look out the globe with all of the pink on it, and start colouring.
Any chance that Canada could keep hold of Alaska? All one Queen, I grant you, but the Palin rather gives one pause for thought about the desirability of having dominion over it.
c u n d gulag says:
Ifn u kent speyal, knorr reed, knorr rite, 'n tawk funy, 'n hall y'll ken fahr ha shootin' arn, kohm joyan usn 'n hour gang – we's ha gonna kihl dat tham thar Kenyin SocialiFasciCommuniAtheiMusliHeathen Preznit!!!!!!
DUBYA FER KHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sadly, Barack Hussein Obama, is closer to Groucho, than to Karl – who, along with Engels, was right about Capitalism!
And yes, if this clown went to a tanning parlor, and got mistaken for something else other than white, then even CNN might have broken away from their story about the plane that's missing – because of magic, God and "Divine Intervention," a Black Hole, terrorists, "Lost," "Wrong-way Corrigan" – the pilot, Wiccans, elves, the little monster in that "Twilight Zone" episode with William Shatner, or whatever else some opium-crazed delusional moron-lunatic on their staff, dreamed-up, when s/he was high and drunk, and couldn't sleep!
When OKC happened, the first bits of news we got was that it was all scary brown Muslims who had done it. Then it was revealed that it was a homegrown Amurkun right-wingnut and suddenly the news shifted to blaming farmers for using fertilizer that could be used to make bombs.
Major Kong says:
If the 2nd Amendment is really about fighting the "tyrannical government" shouldn't we be allowed to have fertilizer bombs?
Speaking of people who are willing to do violence in the name of Jesus, lately a lot of Christians have been fired up by this blog post on Vox Populi:
"If you have the right to demand that I bake you a cake, then I have the right to force you to attend church, mosque, or synagogue.
If atheists truly want a power struggle for the right to be intolerant, Christians will eventually engage and win. Because we will die before we will give up our beliefs and you will not. We invented the Crusade and the Inquisition, two institutions so historically intimidating that atheists still shiver and tell each other scary stories about them centuries after the event.
We will revive them before we will abandon our faith. And while we would prefer to live with both Christian and traditional Constitutional values, if we are forced to choose between the two, we will choose the former without even thinking twice."
Naturally, this is getting a lot of approval from other Christians. Here's noted bigot and sci-fi writer John C. Wright voicing his support for Vox Populi's plan to commit violence against homosexuals and atheists:
Or a non-white guy, regardless of political ideology.
I'm with Xynzee – what DOES "pre-Constitutionalist" mean?
Maybe he's a Tory. (That does still mean pro-royalist, right?)
Seriously though, every time I hear one of these arguments for the old days ("pre-constitutionalist," "take back America," et al), I assume what they're wanting is the days when straight white dudes had all the privilege, LGBT folks were legally defined as mentally ill, and women and brown people knew their places and stayed there.
My take on why this was down played is that the Feds wanted it down played. Imagine how "bustin' a *real* 'Mur'kun patriot/freedom fighter!" would light up the bunker dwellers blogs, with how tyrannical Father Obama's Gub'mint is gunna take 'r gunz! from us.
Can't win I don't think.
@Anon, I saw that post. I have to laugh about a
moronMensa member who would equate baking a cake (with such baking to be done by a person who is running a licensed business that advertises cake baking as a service offered to the general public) with being forced to attend church services.
However, I won't laugh about the violence that they are threatening. This is the reason why I am hesitant to oppose Second Amendment rights, even though I believe that mentally ill people shouldn't have access to guns, and I cast a side-eye at those who believe the founders would approve of civilian ownership of machine guns that can spray 30 rounds per minute. The Second Amendment can go both ways.
Sorry Elle. It's a package deal. You get all 50 counties and shires. Tex-arse and Alaska are just the icing ;)
Benny Lava says:
"I'm with Xynzee – what DOES "pre-Constitutionalist" mean?"
It means the few years between the end of the Revolutionary war and the ratification of the Constitution when the Articles of Confederation were in place.
Yes that's right, deep in the dark recesses of the web some paleoconservatives decided to one up everyone and say "I am the most old school". I know, I know. I can't explain it, but just know it exists.
I grew up in MI, and then lived for a long time in the DC area. Between the two, I've met a bunch of survivalist types. Just, so many. And in theory, I don't mind it: it's actually kind of a fun hobby! What should one pack in one's bug-out bag? Which rations are better? How would one flee the area in the event of THIS kind of catastrophe, or THAT kind? It's a fun "what-if" game.
But what bothers me is that a lot of these folks aren't just "preparing", so that they can "survive". They're "hoping". They are hoping that our civilization will collapse, that tens of millions of people will die, that we will be returned to a pre-industrial state, and that they can live a life somewhere between "The Waltons" and "Mad Max".
I like to point out that they can go live pretty much this way RIGHT NOW, if they want to: buy an abandoned farm and start living off the land right now. You can already own pretty much all the guns you could want.
And yet, almost none of these people actually give up their white-collar jobs and suburban lifestyles to "live the dream". For a long time, I thought it was just because the reality of it was too intimidating. But what I started to realize is that for a lot of these people, it's not enough for them to walk away from civilization. Civilization has to fall. The world as we know it has to collapse. Everyone else has to suffer, while they survive in their bunker or compound, and feel righteous and justified. Survival in and of itself isn't the dream. The dream is surviving while society does not.
Dave Dell says:
Ah, the Articles of Confederation. I wonder if anyone on the gunatic fringe has read the parts in the Articles pertaining to weaponry? Public stores of weaponry in case of need to arm the militia? Yes. Individual gun ownership? Silence.
I suppose pre-constitutional can also refer to the late 18th century frontiers where neither Britain nor the Continental Congress had any power. This is the place where Joseph Smith founded Mormonism and many a criminal were able to evade prosecution.
So basically anarchy. These dudes want anarchy.
In the sacred text of "Atlas Shrugged", the entire country had to be consigned to collapse and ruin to make Galt's point.
Which amounted to a full-throated "see what you made me do? SEE?!"
Sour Kraut says:
…for a lot of these people, it's not enough for them to walk away from civilization. Civilization has to fall. The world as we know it has to collapse. Everyone else has to suffer, while they survive in their bunker or compound, and feel righteous and justified. Survival in and of itself isn't the dream. The dream is surviving while society does not.
"It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail."
Major Kong says:
"We invented the Crusade and the Inquisition"
And after they got done with those they fought some of the bloodiest wars Europe had ever seen (no mean feat in itself) over which church people would be forced to attend.
Careful what you wish for.
Tim H. says:
In light of the cheery comments from these folks there might be amusement to be had matching it up with various versions of The Flying Spaghetti Monster. They seem to be worshiping something a bit nastier than usual.
Alan C says:
After a little Googling I found this: http://www.downsizedcfoundation.org/blog/our-lexicon-preconstitutional-rights
I don't know if that's what this nutcase means by pre-constitutional, but this group seem to be cut from similar cloth.
Major Kong says:
I will say it's refreshing of them to actually come out and admit they don't like the constitution.
Not since it started treating brown people, women, and (most recently) LGBT people like, you know, people, anyway. I think they prefer the document that says "we hold these (this) truth to be self-evident, that all (white and straight) men are created equal."
Death Panel Truck says:
"what DOES "pre-Constitutionalist" mean?""
Articles of Confederation. Weak national government. A Congress with no powers of taxation whatsoever. A Congress that could make decisions, but with no powers of enforcement. No power to regulate interstate commerce or foreign trade.
"The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever."
States rights. Impotent national government. No taxation. In other words, a libertarian wet dream.
That's what "pre-Constitutionalist" means.
It's interesting to read about SCOTUS decisions before the Civil War. The idea of each state being treated as a separate country held on long into the XIXth century (and the early XXth). E.g., the idea that the states were not constrained by the Bill of Rights, and the relative weakness of Federal agencies at the local level. I read a fascinating social history of the smallpox epidemics of 1900/1902 ("Pox"), that illustrated the difficulties encountered by Federal agents in enforcing quarantine and inoculation in the face of state – and county! – intransigence.
I mean to say, I'm a California chauvinist, but it never occurred to me to see us as, effectively, our our nation, Ernest Callenbach notwithstanding.
They are hoping that our civilization will collapse, that tens of millions of people will die, that we will be returned to a pre-industrial state, and that they can live a life somewhere between "The Waltons" and "Mad Max".
With climate change, they are going to see their hopes come true sooner than they probably imagine. I also am guessing they won't like it.
Pre-constitutional? I'm going to make a stab: The period of time between the end of the Revolutionary War and the ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America. I think it was called a confederation of states and what The Confederate States of America were harckening back to, 'Cause them dammed Yankees didn't have the authority to outlaw a kristen man's gawd given right ta keep them nigrahs in they place!'*
*My apologies for my colorful phrasing but the muse came upon me in a moment of weakness. Also I delude myself that somebody will think it's funny.
"Most of the Great Big Terrorism Scares involve bumbling dipshits who couldn't rob a liquor store without getting caught … yet the media routinely turns every example into a 9/11 near miss."
Amen, brother. My examples of this are always the Shoe Bomber and the Underwear Bomber. They supposedly were attempting to blow jetliners out of the sky. They succeeded only in giving themselves (a) hot foot and (b) um, "rug burn" (if you catch my drift), respectively, instead. So the TSA told us we can't have shampoo or toothpaste and the security line means you have to get to the airport 2 hours early now.
First they said soda foundtains had to serve Black people- and I did nothing, because I wasn't a racist.
Then they said the LDS Church would lose its tax-exempt status if they didn't admit Blacks as full members- and I did nothing, because I wasn't a Mormon.
And now, when they say bakers have to serve cakes to homosexuals… OH GOD, WHO WILL STAND WITH ME? There is no one left!
Seriously, it's clear why so many Christians keep thumping their chests about how they will never let us force their church to perform gay marriages. The lessons of history are clear. The anti-gay hate churches are fine with the government deciding who is and who is not a legitimate religion- so long as they are the ones winning the special favors. As soon as the winds change and they're on the outs, they whine that the game is unfair. And history shows that the churches change on a dime to keep chasing those dollars. (Why? Like I said: they believe in nothing anyway.)
It won't be long before the churches that say homosexuality is a sin are relegated to the same level of irrelevance as the snake-handlers and the Amish. Ready for your inevitable reality show, guys? Maybe it will make up for lost revenues once you lose your tax-exempt status. (And don't whine about "religious persecution." Believe it or not, PAYING TAXES isn't persecution- it's a responsibility accepted by grownups.)
Frankly, I don't see what the big deal is. Leviticus says homosexuals should be killed, and the Christians keep telling me *I'm* the bigot for not giving them a big gold star for re-interpreting that into "thou shalt serve no cake." If they deserve a gold star for reinterpreting the Bible, why not reinterpret it some more to make homosexuality no longer a sin? Because I guarantee you, the future is clear. One day soon, 95% of the Christians in America will declare that homosexuality is not a sin, and half of them will demand a gold star for their agility in re-interpreting the Bible in response to outside pressure.
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