“There's more to life than just books, you know. But not much more...” - The Smiths
Monday, September 22, 2008
Barrett (center) during Q & A at the Edmonton conference.
Just days after his appearance here at the 9/11 Truth mini-conference held by Richard and other members of the local group, Kevin Barrett (currently running for Congress as a Libertarian, though the political director of the national party disowned him and asked Wisconsin Libertarians not to nominate him) was arrested. He violated a restraining order that his wife took out after, she alleges, he repeatedly struck one of their two sons (ages 11 and 13) and threatened to punch her. Early articles explained he was tired from a day of travel and wanted the boys to turn down the TV. He has since insisted he didn't strike his son, and explanations offered by his supporters for his behaviour range from an "extortion" attempt on the part of his wife to a disastrous "political PR stunt" on her part. That last explanation comes from Barrett's campaign advisor, Rolf Lindgren, who has had 4 DUIs in the past ten years. During one DUI-related court appearance, he reportedly tried to plead "diminished mental capacity." Barrett's restraining order has been removed and Barrett is now allowed to see his sons, though the judge asked him to stay away from his wife.
Barrett is the guy I had serious qualms about. His bizarre belief that Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now, was somehow in on the 9/11 plot and should be executed as a war criminal disturbed me, as did his reputation as a Holocaust denier. It turns out he's not a denier and didn't write the letter attributed to him on Wikipedia, but even at the conference here he did say that it's OK with him if Willis Carto or folks from The Spotlight established The American Free Press, because it has "some good articles", and that actual Holocaust denier Eric Hufschmid's book on 9/11 is still valid and valuable because it doesn't matter what else Hufschmid believes. He also annoyed the hell out of me when told that the local university station on which he would be interviewed also broadcasts Democracy Now. "Great! That's our audience!" he said.
Then stop calling for the host's public execution, already.
My first reaction upon learning about Barrett's arrest was shock. I don't like the guy, but I truly had no reason to expect this. It did cross my mind that his traveling from the Democratic Convention directly to Edmonton probably put some strain on his personal and family life, and that trying to run for Congress while doing all these things is a fine way to burn out (particularly when prominent members of the party of your choice have completely disowned you). But I didn't think he was this stupid. Not only has he screwed himself out of the tiny handful of votes he would have received in his Congressional bid, he has given a black eye to the 9/11 Truth movement, and added fuel to the anti-Muslim fires of bigots and right-wing zealots (Barrett converted shortly before marrying, and one of his primary motivations for being a Truther is to "erase the blood libel against Muslims" created by 9/11). Now all the local Truthers will not only be associated forevermore with a quasi-Nazi twit, they'll be associated with a household thug who tries to excuse his outbursts.
"All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom." - Albert Einstein