SYNDICATED COLUMN: Why Are the Police Caught Flat-Footed by Right-Wing Extremism? Because They Are Right-Wing Extremists.

Image result for right-wing police            Not for the first time nor the last, the U.S. has recently been hit by a wave of political violence by right-wing political extremists. People are stunned; aren’t far-right groups like the KKK and Nazi Party relics of history?

Clearly not. Package bombs mailed to Democratic politicians and celebrities, the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, another mass killing at a Florida yoga studio and the double murder of African-Americans in a Kentucky grocery store have Americans asking two questions: who’s to blame, and why didn’t the people we pay to keep us safe see this coming?

The answer to the first question can be answered in part by digging into the second: law enforcement and intelligence agencies have long had a dismal record of tracking the activities of right-wing extremist groups, much less disrupting violent plots before they can be carried out.

Considering that the right is responsible for three out of four political terrorism-related deaths, the police are failing to do their job of protecting the public from the biggest threat. (The other fourth are almost all attributable to radical Islamists. In the U.S. the political left hardly ever kills anyone.)

Turning a blind eye to right-wing violence isn’t new. “Law enforcement’s inability to reckon with the far right is a problem that goes back generations in this country,” Janet Reitman wrote in The New York Times, referencing the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.

Why don’t the authorities infiltrate and eavesdrop upon the “alt-right” with as much vigor as they dedicate to disrupting peaceful left-leaning organizations like Occupy Wall Street and the anti-nuclear nuns? Why do cops spend more time monitoring political cartoonists than Klansmen and neo-Nazis? Why do they pepper-spray pacifists while “standing down”—refusing to interfere—when a Klansman shot a gun at a black counterprotester at Charlottesville?

The answer is as obvious as it is terrifying. America’s state security apparatus, military and civilian police, alike, view the left as enemies. To the police, right-wingers are political allies.

Which is why the police routinely creates “safe spaces” for white nationalist violence. Crazy as it sounds, they even form working partnerships with racists and anti-Semites.

Washington D.C. police conspired with far-right groups Project Veritas and the Oath Keepers to use doctored evidence to prosecute people arrested for protesting Trump’s 2017 inauguration.

There is evidence that the California Highway Patrol is working with the Traditionalist Workers Party, a neo-Nazi organization.

In June 2017 U.S. Department of Homeland Security officers at an alt-right rally in Portland, Oregon worked in tandem with right-wing militia goons to arrest liberal counterprotesters.

“With the extremes of the American political spectrum squaring off nearly every week in tense rallies and counter-protests, where violence erupts not infrequently, police are drawing outside aid from only one side: the far-right,” The Intercept reported. “The relationship works both ways: Police get help, and alt-right demonstrators are seemingly put above the law in return.”

Violent right-wing extremists don’t just work with the police. Many times they are the police.

Most cops are conservative. Quite a few are far, far right. “Federal law enforcement agencies in general — the FBI, the Marshals, the ATF — are aware that [right-wing] extremists have infiltrated state and local law enforcement agencies and that there are people in law enforcement agencies that may be sympathetic to these groups,” said Daryl Johnson, lead researcher on an Obama-era DHS report. The FBI was concerned, Johnson said last year, but local police departments don’t seem to care.

“For some reason, we have stepped away from the threat of domestic terrorism and right-wing extremism,” Samuel Jones, a law professor at the John Marshall Law School, told The Intercept. “The only way we can reconcile this kind of behavior is if we accept the possibility that the ideology that permeates white nationalists and white supremacists is something that many in our federal and law enforcement communities understand and may be in sympathy with.” It’s more than a “possibility”—police unions overwhelmingly endorsed Trump.

The military leans right too. A 2017 Military Times survey found that one out of four servicemen and servicewomen have personally observed white nationalist activist among the ranks. According to a 2018 Pro Publica report a secretive neo-Nazi group called the Atomwaffen Division, a paramilitary organization accused of five murders, has infiltrated the armed services.

Veterans voted 61%-to-34% for Trump over Clinton.

A 50-50 left-right nation ruled by right-wing cops and soldiers is about as good an idea as a black neighborhood policed by all white suburban cops. But what can we do about it?

Part of the issue is self-selection. As local policing has evolved from a protect-the-public “guardian” model to a military-influenced “warrior” mentality, the personality type of recruits and applicants has increasingly skewed toward those with authoritarian tendencies. Your local PD isn’t hearing from many Bernie-voting hipsters.

But the biggest problem is the message from the top.

I’m not just talking about Trump. Liberal Democrats like Obama and Pelosi and likeminded media personalities like those on MSNBC are no less effusive about supporting the troops and first responders while turning a blind eye to the terrible truth that many of rank-and-file soldiers and police officers, as well as their leaders, are rabid right-wingers who ought not to be allowed to own a gun, much less legally train one on a left-leaning protester at a rally.

Both major parties share the blame for atrocities like Pittsburgh.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of “Francis: The People’s Pope.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)



  • I’ve been aware of this since the 80’s. it’s pretty fucking sickening.

  • Heh. I read the first sentence of the title, and my inner adult said “Because they are extremists, duh?” (Then I read the second sentence. Oh. Ted’s obviously as smart as I am ;-))

    This column nails it, I can still add a little, though. The armed forces and the cops are always going to be more appealing to righties. They’re authoritarians who like the idea of solving problems with violence. While not all righties are gun nuts, all gun nuts are righties, and what could be better than getting paid to open-carry?

    Another problem is the low salaries we pay cops – this biases recruitment even more in favor of people who see the opportunity to shoot someone as a perq.

    The solutions I see are:
    – 1) Pay cops better
    – 2) Screen recruits better
    – 3) PROSECUTE the bad ones, and give ’em double sentences for any crimes committed on duty.

    > But the biggest problem is the message from the top.

    Oh, hell yeah – and I lay the blame at Karl Rove’s feet. Starting with the whole “Support the Troops” line of fertilizer – he successfully framed the discussion so it was about the poor, beleaguered troops instead of the people they were senselessly slaughtering. You want to support troops? How about not getting them killed for starters?

    Same with the ‘First Responders” – yeah, some good people died on 9/11, some were heroes that day even though they were assholes on every other day. But criticize cops today and you will be accused of pissing on those heroes’ graves. Oh, the humanity!

    Rove successfully demonized anyone who spoke out against BushCo’s policies. In the aftermath of 9/11 everyone was scared, and BushCo worked hard at keeping them that way. The worst things a politician can do is to look unpatriotic and unconcerned about the safety of The People, so of course the dems took up the same line of bull. (“of course” as in “human psychology” not as in “doing the right thing”)

    • Great comment, CH.

      I read about a black man who shot some police on his front doorstep when they begin to attack him.

      The black man was arrested and tried for shooting cops. But he won the trial.

      It seems the cops were wearing their KKK white hoods and robes at the door, something they had conveniently forgot to mention in their report of the shooting.

    • -Pay Cops better & removing the bad ones are big issues.

      I have good friend that has been in law enforcement for the last 20 years. He routines complains about the problems with recruiting new hires.

      For new hires, they are currently paying $6k to $7k more per year with slightly better benefits than a full time retail security. A security guard with EMT certification can actually do better in the private sector.

      The competition for good candidates is fierce. The highway patrol is the crown jewel. Their starting pay is 50% larger than most other local law enforcement locations. The more affluent communities have starting pay that is about 10% less than the highway patrol. Even if they get a good candidate, the person will probably leave as soon as they can get hire into one of these higher paying locations. Beggars can’t be choosers. They really end up just focusing upon eliminating candidates that are criminals, or will jeopardize the health & lives of the current officers.

      He also talks about the leadership roles. The ranks above sergeant require a 4 year degree, and usually require political connections. He considers them the least ethical people on their force. An officer that is buddies with the leadership can do a lot of little things without having to worry about getting into trouble.

  • Go find the 1975 documentary “The California Reich”; they interview a Sergent who was a Nazi (member of the National Socialist White People’s Party – the American Nazi Party after George L. Rockwell’s assassination) in the US Army – the Army was kicking him out for wearing a NSDAP pin on his tie while on duty. He also posed for photos wearing the pin and a Nazi armband while in full Army regalia, which broke rules for wearing political insignia while in uniform.

    During the Bush II and early Obama years, the military (mostly the Army) was willing to recruit neo-Nazis, gang members, and common criminals to fight the endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The problem was so bad that Matt Kennard wrote a book on it in 2012 titled “Irregular Army: How the US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members, and Criminals to Fight the War on Terror” – it’s my belief that some of the same neo-Nazis joined the police (probably the SWAT teams, thanks to their military training) after their time in uniform and they are still out there. “Atomwaffen Division” is a new-ish group, they slide under the radar by looking like normal 20-somethings and their insignia has no traditional Nazi connotations to most people, being the radiation-warning insignia in a shield with an armloop. The giveaway is the shield, which was used as a frame for the various unit insignias of the Waffen-SS during World War II. There are allegedly only 80 members of the Atomwaffen (Atomic weapons) Division, but they are absolutely ruthless wild dogs self-trained in using automatic weapons and irregular combat. I expect they will be killed trying to blow up Hoover Dam or a nuclear reactor.

  • alex_the_tired
    November 6, 2018 1:22 PM

    In “Starship Troopers,” Robert Heinlein has one of his strawmen (a lot of Heinlein’s characters were straw–entertaining, but straw) observe, when told by a student that “violence never solves anything,” that violence has decided–and often permanently so–more issues than any other single factor in human history.
    And he’s right.
    Whatever you want, violence can probably get it for you faster, easier, cheaper than any other method. If you expand the definition of violence to include an unbalanced legal system, wage disparity, lack of healthcare, etc., it becomes even more obvious. Steal that car, roofie that woman, man, child, or dog, embezzle those funds, jack up that co-pay for insulin.
    One thing Heinlein didn’t observe (or at least I didn’t observe him observe it) is that there is something particularly galling about a lot of victims. “Why are you just standing there while that bully pushes you around in the schoolyard? Don’t just stand there hyperventilating while snot flows out of your nose. Hit him! Fight back. For Christ’s sweet sake, at least go down swinging!”
    You don’t root for the victim. You root for the victim finally sticking up for himself, but not for the victim himself. Oh, you feel pity and disgust and contempt and relief that you are not the victim (this time), but you also feel, a little, the desire to go up and kick the sad stupid clod in the ribs.
    And that’s the dems in a lot of ways, isn’t it? Not only do they get pushed around by their enemies, they don’t even confront their friends for failing to help them. I’ve mentioned this before: Look up the RNC arrests of bicyclists and pedestrians in the New York Times. Something like 600 arrests. The police had sworn statements and “edited only for brevity” video tapes to show the violent lefties. Then the lefties (somehow!) showed up with the unedited videos they (somehow!) had had the foresight to record on their own. Completely blew away the false narrative made by the police. Something like 90% of the cases were dropped outright once the tapes started being played.
    Go look up those reports of people being arrested in the archives of the New York Times.
    Go look up the multi-part blockbuster Pulitzer-winning series the Times wrote about widespread police fabrication of evidence and testimony. Oh, that’s right; you can’t because the Times never wrote a single article about it.
    And people call the New York Times leftist? What utter horseshit. The Times — and its many Ivy League graduates — couldn’t give a single fuck about fixing health care, reforming prison or any of the rest of it. If they did, they’d do some reporting on the subjects that actually showed you exactly how corrupt the other side is on these things, rather than the non-reporting nothing-to-see-here-move-along, sigh-we’re-fighting-the-good-fight filler they do. Want proof? Write to a Times reporter or editor and ask them why they never covered that story. Ask why they don’t present the true unemployment figures and the workforce participation rates. Ask why they report, week after week, about $800K condominiums while the Post is kicking the shit out of them in reporting NYCHA atrocities. Pick your own flavor of outrage, just realize, the Times hates poor people just as much as Trump, and will do everything in its power to not have to stick up for anyone who didn’t go to Harvard or Vassar or Yale or the CIA. Oh, they’ll talk a great game about how much they care, but when it comes down to actually doing something, to putting some skin in the game? Oh, man, oh man. You don’t have to ask.
    Let’s see how they cover Sanders in the elections to come.

  • Why Are the Police Caught Flat-Footed by Right-Wing Extremism? Because They Are Right-Wing Extremists.

    So what else is new, Ted ? That’s been the situation ever since the end of WW II (and indeed, long before). But it wouldn’t be a bad idea were ordinary people to have their eyes opened to this fact….


    • Nothing new about it. But as you say, I like to remind people about stuff that they either don’t know or that they knew and tried to forget.

      • Alas, Ted, many people are all too disposed to forget. Good that you keep reminding them, although I suspect they will continue to forget, for otherwise they might feel constrained to do something about the situation….


      • Gents,

        If you haven’t already, check out “The Violence of Organized Forgetting” by Henry Giroux.

      • Thanks, Falco.

        It’s hard to communicate without a common frame of reference in this “United States of Amnesia”, to use the words of Gore Vidal.

  • Here we are dealing with the results of yet another central hoax of the exceptionally mendacious/hypocritical USA: that “WE” defeated the Nazi’s in WWII.

    OK, “WE” defeated Japan but, for the Nazi’s, we waited a very long time to enter WWII in the hope that they would achieve the result “WE” wanted in Europe – conquering of the, then, USSR.***

    Only when the USSR repelled the Nazis, thus crushing their military, did the USA enter WWII – with its D-Day invasion of legend – not to save Europe but, rather, to mop up and race the USSR to Berlin, essentially to PRESERVE the essence of Hitler’s revered achievement.

    The Nuremberg trials of legend were an excellent PR diversion as Nazism was not defeated but only experienced a change in executive management, concurrent with the transfer of headquarters to Washington DC, along with some “key staff.”

    Within three months of “victory in Europe” the US, characteristically Nazi-like, vaporized perhaps a half million Japanese in TWO nuclear attacks to reinitiate the campaign against the USSR where the (Berlin) Nazis had, unfortunately, failed.

    McCarthy ruled the roost, the perpetual imperialist war machine was kicked into high gear, the CIA was established, three major threats to a Rejuvenated Reich were murdered and the destruction began of the idea & structure of the New Deal – the closest the USA ever got to realizing its PR-laden, operational justification for existence.

    It has been slow going since, compared to the German Nazi program, precisely because the measures of the New Deal were/are so utterly popular.

    The result of the 2016 presidential election was a shock only to the continuously, meticulously duped “gullibles” and/or the willfully politically blind.

    *** The USA hate and fear of the effect of socialism on the privilege and power of capitalist plutocrats has been well established as it “has had the bloodiest and most violent (anti-) labor history of any industrial nation in the world” (My emphasis. See 
In further proof, the US and various other Western nations unsuccessfully invaded “pre-USSR,” then Russia, soon after its 1917 revolution.

    • Alas, falco, once again we Europeans are following in the footsteps of our leige lord in Washington. The whole continent has shifted massively to the right these last four decades….


    • Under US occupation about two thirds of the Nazi bureaucracy retained their position in West Germany’s government.

      That was a big issue for the Red Army Faction, who objected to the continuing rule of the formerly-known-as-Nazis and their attacks on the left.

      The RAF were condemned as terrorists for their attacks on the US backed formerly-known-as-Nazi bureaucracy.

    • Another part of the WWII puzzle is that the conservatives of the time LIKED the Nazis. They were making MONEY … what else matters?

      • The National Socialists Nazis were capitalists who sought the then popular advantage of calling themselves socialists.

        Nazis ruined the name of socialism with their violent excesses of capitalism in the name of socialism, thus turning the name of socialism into a disadvantage.

      • Oh, heck yeah. I’ve been in that discussion too many times to count. The wingnut says, “Well what about Nazis? They were Socialists, weren’t they?”

        uhhh, no, but they called themselves such. Funny thing, the wingnuts never use the same logic with the DEMOCRATIC People’s REPUBLIC of North Korea.

        They’re a democratic republic just like us, right? It says so right there on the label …

Comments are closed.