Monday, January 10, 2011


OK, I give up. I've been arguing that Jared Loughner is a guy with a severe mental disorder whose rampage on Saturday seems to have been inspired by that mental disorder far more than by any ideas or attitudes picked up from the left-right political debate in this country ... but I feel pressured to call him a righty terrorist, and I also feel pressured to call him a lefty terrorist. So, fine: I'll call him both.

Here's Ed Morrissey explaining why Loughner's a lefty:

The AP reports with less breathlessness about Loughner’s 9/11 Trutherism:
... Mistrust of government was Loughner’s defining conviction, the friends said. He believed the U.S. government was behind 9/11, and worried that governments were maneuvering to create a unified monetary system ("a New World Order currency" one friend said) so that social elites and bureaucrats could control the rest of the world....
Um, yeah -- trutherism did emerge and spread on the left (though just about every prominent polemicist and blogger on the left rejects it). But "New World Order currency"? Belief in that chimera is overwhelmingly right-wing these days -- the mythical planned currency is said to be called the "amero"; belief in its existence is very much a right-wing phenomenon. So: Left? Right? Both?

And while we're on the subject, you know who else is a 9/11 truther? David Wynn Miller, otherwise known as David-Wynn: Miller -- a likely influence on Loughner:

Jared Lee Loughner's rants about grammar and mind control track closely to the writings of a conspiracy theorist who believes that is how the government controls the populace, one leading group says -- and the man tells POLITICO he agrees with some of Loughner's statements.

The far-right activist, David Wynn Miller, said in a telephone interview that he didn't know Loughner, but agreed with his statement in a YouTube video that "the government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar."

"Absolutely I would agree with it," said Miller, 62, a former tool-and-die maker from Milwaukee who claims 1 billion "students" worldwide....

So what, pray, does Miller believe? Dave Weigel explains:

...on MSNBC's Countdown, the Southern Poverty Law Center's Mark Potok commented that Loughner's confusing YouTube videos about constitutionality, government brainwashing and syntax resembled the work of David Wynn Miller, the self-identified "king of Hawaii" who writes books and offers seminars about complicated and incoherent theories, mostly about language, and how rectifying language can protect people from the government.

... Potok attended a Miller speech in 2003.
"My name is David hyphen Wynn full colon Miller," the 53-year-old Milwaukean says, and the brows of his audience of 50 begin to furrow. This crowd of "Patriots" is used to conspiracy theories, but even at an event dominated by antigovernment ideology, Miller is tough going. "The reason I use a full colon and a hyphen in my name, the first full colon, which is full colon David, it means for the David hyphen Wynn. That's my given name, and it's also a noun, because it uses a prepositional phrase. ... Because I use prepositional phrases, through punctuation, which is classified as hieroglyphics, which makes me a life, l-i-f-e. Now, when you don't punctuate your name ... David is an adjective, Wynn is an adjective, Miller is a pronoun. Two adjectives are a condition of modification, opinion, presumption, which modifies the pronoun, pro means no on noun. So therefore, I'm not a fact. I'm a fiction."

Sounds a lot like Loughner. Boing Boing's Andrea James explains how Miller, in his bizarre way, fits into right-wing extremism:

Miller travels the country advising people in the Sovereign Citizen anti-tax movement that they can fight in court by using a special grammar he created in 1988. It basically comes down to a belief that how one renders one's name with punctuation and how one uses grammar can alter one's legal status as a person. In other words, DAVID WYNN MILLER (as on his birth certificate) can be taxed, but :David-Wynn: Miller cannot, because that is not legally a person. In addition to unsuccessfully assisting people accused of tax evasion, Miller has also unsuccessfully assisted people convicted of abusing children, including a woman in Hawaii who broke the teeth out of her nieces' and nephews' mouths with a hammer. She claimed her conviction was invalid because her sovereignty group, Hawaiian Kingdom Government, said she did nothing wrong. Miller was spokesperson for the group and has claimed he is King of Hawaii. Miller says people don't need to pay taxes if they can "prove that money is a verb," and he offers seminars around the country on how to use his language to defend against criminal charges.

Yet as Potok notes, he's a 9/11 truther:

...It's not easy to follow, but Miller makes his way, via his finding that maritime law applies worldwide because "Earth is a vessel in a sea of space," to the "universal postal union" -- the U.S. Postal Service, he seems to mean. Turns out it runs the world. Has since 1873. Ben Franklin was a postmaster. President Grant, too.

... soon he's getting to where he really wants to go -- the World Trade Center.

When the Sept. 11 attacks occurred, the Center towers collapsed in six seconds, Miller says, not the 12 seconds it would have taken normal matter. Plus, all the concrete turned to dust. Having discovered the "mathematical interface that all steel is plastic" some years back, Miller understands perfectly what "the physics of plastic" is trying to tell him: A magnetic pulse brought down the towers.

What creates a magnetic pulse? C-4 plastic explosive. Who has C-4? The military. Who controls the military? The post office.

And there you have it. Postal authorities sneaked into the towers, replacing all chairs, tables and file cabinets with plastic furniture. Explosive plastic furniture. The steel in the building -- well, that was plastic steel, and it was utterly destroyed by the C-4, which is only capable of destroying other plastic "polymers."

"That's what gave us certification that it was an inside job," Miller explains.

At the moment of collapse, $12 trillion was transferred electronically from the basement of the trade center to Singapore. "The World Trade Center was a bank robbery," Miller reveals, "very cleverly engineered." ...


Look, this stuff is nuts. Loughner is nuts. Some of this nonsense fits in with right-wing extremist thinking, some with left-wing extremist thinking ... and some occasionally migrates. But Loughner didn't get it to cohere in his own head. Miller offers his services to right-wing government doubters -- but Loughner, who seems neither left nor right (or seems left and right and just crazy) seemingly fell under Miller's spell.

It's a mess -- as, alas, is Loughner's mind.

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