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Chris Richards is a freelance writer based in the Portland, OR metro area. He is the writer/editor of The Boxing Geek, The Eclectic Radical and the Eclectic Geek and the former writer of the women's boxing column "The Sweeter Science" in The Ring magazine. He can be emailed at The.Boxing_Geek@rocketmail.com
I wrote on Wednesday about Rich Lowry's rather stupid decision to attack Rep. Alexandria Occasio-Cortez (D - NY) in a ridiculous little shit post on the magazine's website. The topic was whether or not temporary detention centers for asylum seekers coming to the United States from Central America qualify as "concentration camps." The definition is as follows: "a place where a large number of people, particularly political prisoners or members of persecuted minorities, are deliberately imprisoned in a relatively small area with inadequate facilities, sometimes to provide forced labor or too await execution."
Rep. Occasio-Cortez, naturally, came down on the side of rational common sense. We can all see how legal asylum seekers being treated as illegal aliens qualify as "political prisoners." The only reason they are being imprisoned at all is because the Trump Justice Department made the entirely political decision to lock them up! The idea that Rep. Liz Cheney (R - WY) chose to take issue with AOC's description was anything other than shit-posting is pretty silly. Yet Rich Lowry chose to double down despite the facts. Masha Gessen, of the New Yorker, chose instead to get to the real heart of the problem: that conservative denials of the facts are a gas-lighting of history that renders real atrocities as something unimaginable and unique instead of things that happen all the time.
Nor are concentration camps the only ongoing assault on our liberties. As Chris Hedges wrote for Truthdig, the ongoing political persecution of Julian Assange by the Trump Justice Department is a very real attack on the fundamental underpinnings of our so-called Constitution. The fact that there is no powerful free speech movement in the streets, protesting in Assange's defense, is proof of how well the Ministry of Propaganda of the United States of Authoritarianism has successfully twisted our perceptions of Assange. This brutality towards the free press is only magnified by what is happening to journalists on the US-Mexico border. What will happen to reporters covering the concentration camps if Assange is convicted? If you have ever read Stephen King's "The Stand," you have seen images of the narrow line between committing atrocities and committing new atrocities against those who expose them. Will the reporters try to tell us the truth about those concentration camps end up the next people sent to them?
I hear you shouting about alarmism, conspiracy theories and tin-foil hats. No one is more critical of the "Illuminati" model of political opposition than I am. I would say that conspiracy theories end up serving the robber barons a lot more than they help us defeat them. The Illuminati are both all-powerful and totally incompetent so all we have to do is eradicate the conspiracy. Do you see how that plays right into the hands of someone like Trump rather than helping us? I definitely don't believe in the Illuminati; but not believing in ridiculous conspiracies about secret governments doesn't mean that I don't understand how the government we have works.
Much of the legitimate Resistance's time has been wasted by Russia conspiracy theories without a lot of clear facts to back them up instead of the obvious targets: one of the most corrupt and incompetent administrations in history. Have any of those allegedly criminal cabinet secretaries been brought to justice yet or have the Congressional authorities bothered to refer Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke for prosecution? Has the Trump Justice Department begun to prosecute them? It's easy to see why at least one CNN writer thinks Trump's administration is succeeding beneath the utter shit-show. Can we really argue with his logic?
We've got a massive lack of accountability for corruption and public fraud going back to the Reagan and H.W. Bush administrations.Trump's cabinet shit-show is just one symptom. The way former Bush supporters all guilty of lying us into war with Iraq have been rehabilitated by the opposition media is another symptom and we can't blame it on Trump. Nor can we blame the way past Democratic congressional criminals like Jane Harman are treated by the opposition media on Trump. The Obama Justice Department never prosecuted the grifters and war criminals of the Bush Administration and Obama-friendly media has washed them clean of their sins.
With all this, the concentration camps are really just the cherry on top of the sundae. Our freedom is at stake. We have never had much of it but we have the opportunity to win more now!
It matters for a few reasons. The first is that the Review is
still considered the creme de la crème of intelligent conservative writing. The
second is that the National Review is still a major mouthpiece for conservative
thought in this country. With the many conflicts of Trumpism, libertarianism
and traditional conservatism going on right now one would expect a flowering of
debate, ideas and moral conflict on the right!
That's not happening. Why?
That brings us to the third reason it matters that Rich Lowry is
the Editory of the National Review.
Congresswoman Alexandria Occasio-Cortez rightfully accused the
Orange Troll of operating concentration camps on the US-Mexico border. Was
this language inflammatory? Absolutely and I'm very glad that Congresswoman
Occasio-Cortez is willing to be inflammatory! Her willingngess to put
herself out there like this allows us to see what the enemy really thinks.
Rich Lowry has been kind enough to show us what he really thinks.
We should believe him. He’s an intellectually dishonest Nazi apologist who is
willing to split hairs in order to score political points with an uneducated
audience that prefers owning the libs to facts or truth.
All the internal conflicts brewing in his own bedroom and Rich
Lowry is using a nationally read platform to troll a Congresswoman he doesn't
That's right. What's more is he is stepping into this fight
knowing that it's a loser. The simple fact is that there was a distinct
difference between the phrases “concentration camp” (which can be used to
describe everything from a PLO refugee camp in Lebanon in the 1970s to the
German internment camp at Crystal River, TX during WWII) and a “death camp.”
Has Rich Lowry never seen Conspiracy? It was kind of a big deal
when it came out. He might want to go back and watch it.
I will raise the stakes. Not only are we building concentration
camps on the border but we put our citizens in actual gulags and set them to
forced labor to enrich corporations! How will Rich defend gulags?