The Return of Joe McCarthy

Let's go to the hop

After World War II, the world returned to a place of equilibrium. The United States was experiencing a post-war boom in housing and manufacturing now that tanks, ships, and planes were no longer a priority. You could own a home and, thanks to the Eisenhower Interstate system, you could buy a car a travel anywhere. Or you could get your kicks on Route 66, much of which is Interstate 40 these days. It was an era of unprecedented Freedom with a capital F.

But with the end of World War II came another change: the rise of the Soviet Union.

Chruchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin at Yalta discuss how to divide the spoils of war

The Soviets had a vested interest in winning the war since Hitler came seriously close to annihilating them. Had it not been for the Nazis’ underestimation of weather and winter conditions in the USSR, the world might be a different place today. But the Allied powers needed the USSR to help defeat Hitler. In a deal that would affect politics for decades the Allies made a pact with the USSR that put the Soviets in a position of becoming a world power.

This concerned many people and countries because the Soviet Union was a communist government, although there are many who dispute that categorization. Nevertheless, the USSR was a one government party conglomeration of nation states that rejected the idea of capitalism. But the United States was embracing capitalism with unparalleled intensity. This made for an uncomfortable alliance and spawned a level of mistrust that would blossom into a cold war that would last for decades.

This mistrust begat a ‘red scare’ in America. Once the Iron Curtain went up, no one could be sure of the intentions of the USSR. In fact, from all outside appearances, they were becoming rather aggressive in promoting the politics of the politburo.

Senator Joe McCarthy (R-Wis)

One American Senator, in particular, became increasingly alarmed and paranoid about the rising power of the Soviet Union. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy from Wisconsin began a series of inquiries into whether communism was secretly perpetuating itself in America. He began investigating American citizens in politics, the military, and the media to determine where their loyalties lay. McCarthy held hearings on ‘Un-American’ activities that damaged careers, caused book-banning and even book burning.

In the end, the government and the courts, with a little help from journalist Edward R. Murrow, shut Senator McCarthy down. McCarthy died not long after, knowing that, like Benedict Arnold being associated with the term traitor, McCarthyism would forever be linked with demagoguery and witch hunts.

Fast forward to the beginning of the 21st century. An increasing rise in alarming events have been occurring that sound strikingly similar to the red scare of the fifties. The list is getting rather lengthy, but some of the more alarming items include the rise of the Tea Party, the Texas Board of Education’s selection of educational texts, the Tea Party’s ‘purity’ test, George W. Bush’s disconnect with reality, Dick Cheney’s hostage takeover of reality, Blackwater, the rise of FOX News as the propaganda arm of the Republican party, anything coming from the mouths of conservatives such as Michelle Bachmann, Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, or Sarah Palin (there: got her in one last time before the embargo). The list of absurdities continues to grow as does the public’s propensity to accept it as fact.

To paraphrase Ozzy Osbourne, the world is going off the rails on a crazy train.

I had this truck once. It had an alignment problem. If you let go of the steering wheel, it instantly pulled to the right so hard that you could’ve hit the ditch with disastrous results. I think our politics have a similar alignment problem today. It is pulling hard to the right. But the Soviet Union is no longer the enemy that Americans are being led to fear. So who is it?

The times they are a-changin’. Media is changing. Commerce is changing. Like it or not, globalization is happening. China, India, the Middle East are all becoming involved in what Americans have strategically had dominance over since the end of World War II. The rest of the planet is catching up with us and we are in danger of becoming irrelevant. Anti-American sentiment is on the rise. Perhaps the perception is that it is us against the world.

But rather than adapt to the changing world there is a resistance to the changing times and there is no shortage of people willing to point fingers at who is to blame for the state of affairs. A significant portion of the nation’s population have begun to point fingers in a move that harkens to a time long past. Back then, it was called Communism; today, it’s called Socialism. Communism was the new Fascism in the fifties and by contrast Socialism is the Fascism of today. Many believe it’s something to be feared as a threat to the American way of life and, like the era of McCarthy, they look within the nation to place blame for things they cannot control.

Demagoguery is just as bad for us now as it was then. Demonizing people who are searching for ways of moving on together will not help this time either.


About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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145 Responses to The Return of Joe McCarthy

  1. drfunguy says:

    … or is the Republican (Tea) Party the political arm of Faux News?
    It is hard to tell any more since almost every major contender for the Repulican presidential nomination in 2012 is under contract with Fox. Pawlenty being, afik, the sole exception.

  2. Mainer says:

    So very timely Mr. U. so very timely. A topic on which I shall with your foreberance rail at length. I will again offer up the famous speech of one of my heroes. Senator Margaret Chase Smith and her A declaration of Conscience speech rings as true today as the day she delivered it over half a century ago. I will offer a link to Wiki that will not cause you to have to read the whole of it but will allow you to see if you might. I have read it many times and think it eloquent and so to our present situation as to be in some ways eerie. I think this will be one huge discussion. Please lets keep it out of the gutter as even I will attempt to do. I would even note my last post on the last thread where I ageed with Bart on some thing. I offer the following:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_Conscience

  3. MoldyMe says:

    I would disagree with one premise: that there is rising anti-America sentiment in the world. Between the much more nuanced (in most cases, anyway) foreign policy on the part of President Obama and the changing fortunes of the US, there seems to be far less anti-America rhetoric than had been the case even a couple of years ago.

    I think that a lot of the shrillness on the part of the far Right is the sense of helplessness people feel. It is so much easier to blame “the other” than to adjust to changing realities. And “the other” in this case is President Obama and Lefties like us. Just look at a regular poster on this site, BDP, who is no doubt a normal, reasonable person in most respects, but who is irrational when it comes to anything related to President Obama. He is afraid of the change that is coming and his powerlessness to stop it. America won’t be the sole superpower; eventually, America won’t be a superpower at all.

    To use that tired old phrase, there is a sea change on the horizon. Lots of squalls and rough water before we get there, but the ship of state is sea-worthy, and after a few course corrections, we’ll get there. This country has weathered serious change in the past, and will weather this one. Unscathed? No, but we will come out the other side knowing what matters, as was the case after the McCarthy era. The question here is: will we return to being isolationists (think about the period after WWI) or continue to be a player on the world stage?

  4. Bart DePalma says:

    In a deal that would affect politics for decades the Allies made a pact with the USSR that put the Soviets in a position of becoming a world power. This concerned many people and countries because the Soviet Union was a communist government; although there are many who dispute that categorization. Nevertheless, the USSR was a one government party conglomeration of nation states that rejected the idea of capitalism.

    Who on Earth disputes that the Soviets were communist, except perhaps a communist which wishes to disown the gulag?

    But the United States was embracing capitalism with unparalleled intensity. This made for an uncomfortable alliance and spawned a level of mistrust that would blossom into a cold war that would last for decades.

    This was the FDR era. We left laissez faire behind in the 20s.

    This mistrust begat a ‘red scare’ in America. Once the Iron Curtain went up, no one could be sure of the intentions of the USSR. In fact, from all outside appearances, they were becoming rather aggressive in promoting the politics of the politburo.

    No.

    The Red Scare was the product of the Soviets infiltrating several hundred American agents into the highest levels of the FDR and Truman Administrations. It started when Justice indicted the Rosenbergs and then snowballed. The FBI had known about this mass treason since WWII when the Venona Project broke the NKVD codes.

    Both the Dems and Republicans covered themselves in shame during this period.

    Truman and the Dems covered up the mass treason instead of identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators. This is understandable given that a full disclosure of the Venona Papers at that time may have destroyed the Dem Party.

    McCarthy knew the basics of infiltration, but lied about having a list of the perps. Instead, he went on a witch hunt and destroyed the credibility of investigation. Indeed, the left was so successful in destroying McCarthy that they refused to admit the NKVD infiltration until the KGB opened its files after the fall of the Wall. Many still reflexively deny the mass treason.

    The Red Scare destroyed the socialist and communist parties as viable electoral entities. In reaction, the Max Schachtman and Michael Harrington took over the leadership of the Socialist Party in 1959 and pursued a policy of realignment, which is where socialists would covertly take over the Dem Party and move it left to become a EU style Democratic Socialist party, while denying that they were socialists or that this was their goal. The SP broke up over the realignment strategy and Vietnam. Harrington took his group and went to form the Democratic Socialists of America, where he continued to pursue realignment.

    The DSA is allied with ACORN and shares common members. Moreover, the DSA ran a fusion party named the New Party which supported socialist leaning Dems. Through ACORN and the New Party, the DSA was one of Obama’s earliest patrons. Many of its people have been Obama advisors through the present time.

    Yes, more information from my book research.

    Harrington’s approach which is still the SOP for the DSA is to deny that its Dems are socialists and then to play the McCarthy card to attack the credibility of anyone who makes the accusation. Note how the open DSA members all say the same thing concerning Obama’s socialism – denial followed by hysterical attacks using the McCarthy card.

  5. Mule Rider says:

    “The list is getting rather lengthy but some of the more alarming items include the rise of the Tea Party,”

    To be fair, I don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling out of the Tides Foundation, the Code Pink Crowd, the SEIU, or George Soros and his puppets.

    “the Texas Board of Education’s selection of educational texts,”

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’m a little more concerned with an EPA over-regulating CO2 (isn’t that what I breathe out?) than the TBE trying to keep at least a few hints of a Higher Power being responsible for everything in a few of its science books.

    “the Tea Party’s ‘purity’ test,”

    Don’t we have something like that from the Kos/FireDogLake crowd? Or very similar?

    “George W. Bush’s disconnect with reality, Dick Cheney’s hostage takeover of reality,”

    We get it. They were very poor leaders. But when we look closer at current and recent Democratic leaders, we see: Obama doesn’t have all the answers (i.e. is human and makes plenty of mistakes), Gore is a liar and a hypocrite, Clinton was lucky to have served during an economic boom fueled by technology/the internet and achieved much of his success by co-opting conservative principles, Carter had some great, albeit goofy at times, ideas but was an ineffectual/weak leader.

    “Blackwater,”

    Admittedly, I don’t have an “answer” for this on the left other than to say this isn’t something on the radar or known about by most “normal” (grassroots/everyday) conservatives and they don’t support this kind of private military enterprising that has run roughshod in other countries.

    “the rise of FOX News as the propaganda arm of the Republican party,”

    Of course, to you, they’re just speaking “truth to power,” but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention MSNBC. Olbermann (yes, I know he’s now gone), Maddow, Schultz, Matthews, et al have all openly supported the Democratic party/platform or something even further to the left (didn’t Dylan Ratigan admit he was a socialist?).

    “anything coming from the mouths of conservatives such as Michelle Bachmann, Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, or Sarah Palin”

    And sweep under the rug the gems from Alan Grayson, Pete Stark, Al Franken, and Joe Biden?

  6. Mainer says:

    Ok Universe then let the pissing match begin. I have my Douglas Gills on and I stand read this day to have it out. I shall try my damned best to remain at least marginally civil. But I have yet to hear that any one has read the link offered. I shall only reply to any one that at least says they did. To do otherwise would weaken the position I shall take.

    Mule man you and I will probably not do well on this. Please undrstand this touches a nerve. I shall work hard to find one of yours.

    Universe if I am stillallowed on here after this I thank you.

    Much more to follow. I need a strong drink first and it is early though the sun is strongly over the yardarm.

  7. Number Seven says:

    Mainer, just remember, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere 😉

  8. Mainer,
    I read it. But then again, I’ve long been a proponent of discussing the issues, rather than attacking the messenger.

    Ad hominem really bugs me. It’s usually a sign of arguing from a position of weakness.

  9. Mainer says:

    Michael i do not want to attack Mule as I actually freaquently agree with him. I think that this discussion is going to hit raw nerves all over the place. But first I need to work on making a living.

  10. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mainer,

    I wouldn’t worry too much about MR and BDP and whether or not they read Sen. Smith’s speech. Particularly Bart would immediately brand her a RINO as he really is too young and inexperienced and has no real sense of history and context. He truly believes that Bircher-style Republicanism is the “true path”. Nor does he remember a time when Goldwater, Rockefeller, Smith and Dirksen were all part of the GOP. Again, no context.

    The very fact that Bart, the TPer’s, Palin, Bachmann et al. all ride the Horsemaen of which Smith spoke is an automatic disqualifier for critical analysis.

    MR’ s statement of “. . . than the TBE trying to keep at least a few hints of a Higher Power being responsible for everything in a few of its science books.” shows that he does not, or is not willing, to accept that science trumps faith in the classroom and faith trumps science in Sunday School and the 1st Amendment separates the two. Shows where any argument down that path will go.

    Barts statement of “No.” followed by a McCarthy rant cumulating is a whine about the DSA, a group that consists of well less than 10k in a country of 310 MILLION and has NO input in the Democratic Party demonstrates where THAT argument would go.

    Sad commentary of the political right of today. It’s the very reason that Buckley pitched the Birchers out of the GOP in the 60’s.

  11. Mainer,
    My response was not meant to imply that I thought you were going to attack Mule. Rather, it was elaborating on the content of the Wikipedia article to which you linked.

    Mule,
    The issue I have with the politicians you list from the left is that they haven’t been advocating “political cleansing” (to draw upon the “ethnic cleansing” meme from several years back). As for TV, Olbermann did some angry rants (though it always struck me as a somewhat serious parody of Fox News commentators), but everything I’ve seen from Maddow has been about ridicule, not witch-hunting. I just don’t see your comparison as comparable.

  12. Mule,
    There’s far more to what TBE did than simply push for psuedoscience. You should see what they did to history.

  13. Bart DePalma says:

    Mainer:

    Senator Margaret Chase Smith and her A declaration of Conscience speech rings as true today as the day she delivered it over half a century ago.

    Agreed. Smith did not pull any punches, but stuck to the facts:

    “The Democratic administration has greatly lost the confidence of the American people by its complacency to the threat of communism and the leak of vital secrets to Russia through key officials of the Democratic administration. There are enough proved cases to make this point without diluting our criticism with unproved charges.

    Surely these are sufficient reasons to make it clear to the American people that it is time for a change and that a Republican victory is necessary to the security of this country. Surely it is clear that this nation will continue to suffer as long as it is governed by the present ineffective Democratic Administration.

    Yet to displace it with a Republican regime embracing a philosophy that lacks political integrity or intellectual honesty would prove equally disastrous to this nation. The nation sorely needs a Republican victory. But I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny — Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear.

    Pitch perfect.

  14. Bart DePalma says:

    Max:

    You will find my post and Senator Margaret Chase Smith’s Declaration of Conscience speech make the same points.

    U: This mistrust begat a ‘red scare’ in America. Once the Iron Curtain went up, no one could be sure of the intentions of the USSR. In fact, from all outside appearances, they were becoming rather aggressive in promoting the politics of the politburo.

    BD: No.

    The Red Scare was the product of the Soviets infiltrating several hundred American agents into the highest levels of the FDR and Truman Administrations. It started when Justice indicted the Rosenbergs and then snowballed. The FBI had known about this mass treason since WWII when the Venona Project broke the NKVD codes.

    Both the Dems and Republicans covered themselves in shame during this period.

    Truman and the Dems covered up the mass treason instead of identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators. This is understandable given that a full disclosure of the Venona Papers at that time may have destroyed the Dem Party.

    McCarthy knew the basics of infiltration, but lied about having a list of the perps. Instead, he went on a witch hunt and destroyed the credibility of investigation. Indeed, the left was so successful in destroying McCarthy that they refused to admit the NKVD infiltration until the KGB opened its files after the fall of the Wall. Many still reflexively deny the mass treason.

    Stick to the facts and the facts will set you free.

  15. Mule Rider says:

    “shows that he does not, or is not willing, to accept that science trumps faith in the classroom and faith trumps science in Sunday School and the 1st Amendment separates the two.”

    No, I’m willing to separate the two. But when 85%+ of the country professes to believing in God (the % that actually has faith in, follows, etc. is a different matter altogether), it’s going to be very hard keeping every mention of “God” and/or “science” on their respective side of the fence.

    My point wasn’t that God should be mentioned in (public school) educational materials in Texas (or anywhere else for that matter), but that there are much more concerning levels (for me, at least) of overstep than that.

  16. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    barted:”Stick to the facts and the facts will set you free.

    Want to compare past posts between the two of us on THAT? Exhibit “A”: Your statement that the developers of the New York Islamic Center want to “celebrate 9/11”.

    Sage advice, though. I hope one day you will take it. And stick to it.

  17. Mr. Universe says:

    @Mainer

    There is a subtle difference between emotional and passionate responses. I would urge you to counter arguments with facts and research. People who want to discredit you often try to evoke an emotional reaction since it makes you look like…well, a Freeper. I’m kinda busy today and I’ve already thrown the chum in the water so I’m probably not going to be able to back you up on it.

    Hang in there. The best way to win a debate is to be right, err, correct.

  18. Mr. Universe says:

    @Mainer

    PS. After the war the Republicans had the White House and both houses of congress. Probably helped set the tone. But then Republicans would have been viewed as socialists by Republicans of today.

  19. Bart DePalma says:

    Max aka Birdpilot says: Exhibit “A”: Your statement that the developers of the New York Islamic Center want to “celebrate 9/11″.

    Dude, half your party joined all the GOP in saying the same thing. The Ground Zero mosque is the equivalent of Japanese Americans putting up a Shinto shrine a half mile away from the sunken Arizona still oozing oil during WWII.

    U: PS. After the war the Republicans had the White House and both houses of congress. Probably helped set the tone. But then Republicans would have been viewed as socialists by Republicans of today.

    The 1946 GOP reigned in the unions with Taft Hartley and shot down Truman’s universal health care scheme. They would have been right at home in the Tea Party.

    Today’s breed of RINO started in the 60s after the LBJ win.

  20. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    barted:”Max aka Birdpilot says: Exhibit “A”: Your statement that the developers of the New York Islamic Center want to “celebrate 9/11″.

    Dude, half your party joined all the GOP in saying the same thing. The Ground Zero mosque is the equivalent of Japanese Americans putting up a Shinto shrine a half mile away from the sunken Arizona still oozing oil during WWII.
    and
    “Stick to the facts and the facts will set you free.

    The first sentence of your reply is logically meaningless as a rebuttal to my assertion that your statement was not a fact. It matters NOT how many people SAY something, if it is NOT TRUE, it is NOT a FACT!!!! The sentence is only one of your worthless deflections.

    The second sentence is only YOUR opinion, still logically meaningless as a rebuttal.

    Damn, Bart! You just TRYING to prove my point? Otherwise, you TRULY suck hind teat when it come to extemporaneous arguments.

    Meanwhile MY assertion STILL stands without factual rebuttal.

  21. Bart DePalma says:

    Max:

    Ours is a reasonable conclusion from the facts that a radical imam insists on building mosque by Ground Zero despite the lack of a local muslim community of worshippers and being asked repeatedly to move the mosque because Americans almost universally see it as a celebration of the success of the 9/11 attacks.

    Given the inability to read minds, the jury’s finding of fact concerning intent is usually proven in court with circumstantial evidence.

  22. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Bart, you have provided NOTHING in the form of “circumstantial evidence” to support your false assertion. I will not attempt to teach you what is, or may be used as, circumstantial evidence, but I will say that you, or ANY quantity of others, simply voicing opinions is NOT, emphatically so.

    You further call and assert Rauf a “radical”, without any proof, when Rauf was used by BOTH the FBI AND the Department of State in the years after 11 September 2001 as a trainer and speaker. As a refresher, that was during the George Bush administration. Not one, I suspect to be willing to retain Muslim “radicals”.

    Twice, you have made an attempt to deflect my assertion WITHOUT providing evidence (circumstantial or otherwise), only opinion.

    I repeat:

    Damn, Bart! You just TRYING to prove my point? Otherwise, you TRULY suck hind teat when it come to extemporaneous arguments.

    Meanwhile MY assertion STILL stands without factual rebuttal.(new emphasis)

  23. Mule Rider says:

    I’ve been doing my research on this Bartbuster character. His obsession with Bart led him to terrorize the Balkinization blog (http://balkin.blogspot.com/) so much that they had to start strictly moderating (or censoring) comments.

    I’ve found countless examples at other blogs where he’s gotten virulently and disgustingly cross-ways with commenters (even other than Bart), both right and left. He’s a parasite on the Internet and is antithetical to reasonable discourse.

    Keith Olbermann sounds like St. Nicholas compared to this guy.

  24. Mr. Universe says:

    Keith Olbermann sounds like St. Nicholas compared to this guy.

    Okay, that made me laugh out loud.

  25. Mule Rider says:

    On top of that, he’s trashed Mr. U, Michael, and even some of the others around here who I respect and allow me to gallop around in their living room (so long as I don’t kick over or break too many things :)).

    If I can grow to have a (reasonably) respectful tone in these internet forums, there’s no reason he can’t.

  26. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    MR,

    With respect, sir, this may be a better fit at the “Moderation” thread.

  27. mostlyilurk says:

    “Ours is a reasonable conclusion from the facts that a radical imam insists on building mosque by Ground Zero despite the lack of a local muslim community of worshippers and being asked repeatedly to move the mosque because Americans almost universally see it as a celebration of the success of the 9/11 attacks.”

    I have no idea what sort of people you hang out with, Bart, but I don’t personally know one person who saw it that way.

  28. Mule Rider says:

    “With respect, sir, this may be a better fit at the “Moderation” thread.”

    True and fair enough. The topic is too interesting and practical to have the thread hijacked and turned into another pissing contest.

  29. Jungle Jim says:

    You know, Bart, I have to say I respect the fact that you come here, day after day, where almost no one shares your views- take alot of abuse, and still stick to your guns. I doubt that I could do the same at some right wing site. However, I can’t figure out how you make a living arguing in court when you can’t even do a decent job of it here. Do you even know the difference between a fact and an opinion? I don’t think you do. A fact is something that is true whether other people believe it or not, such as, the world is round. An opinion is something like, “Americans almost universally see it as a celebration of 9/11.” How that can be construed as a fact is beyond me and confirms my suspicion that right wingers are people who believe what they’re told by authorities they trust because they are incapable of figuring it out for themselves. And just in case you can’t tell, that’s my opinion.

  30. shortchain says:

    I’m undecided on the penalty/benefit equation on the right at the present time. To be sure, they’ve resurrected the eliminationist rhetoric and goals of the McCarthyites. That it’s “socialists” rather than “communists” is an accident of alphabet, since they do not understand either term in an objective sense. When you are standing so far from the mainstream, the left bank can’t be told from the right bank. You can’t even tell if there’s actually a river over there.

    As the old story goes, first they came for the RINO’s. But since they see any sane Republican as a RINO, that leaves them with only two classes of Republican politician: the narcissistic grifters who pretend to share their beliefs in the interest of gathering power, and the nutcases who actually share their insanely right-wing beliefs.

    So when they come for the rest of us, it looks like they’ll come on Medicare-approved mobility chairs, interspersed with people with the intelligence of cabbage, because they’ve eliminated everyone with half a brain.

    The only danger will be from the grifters, who will indulge their corrupt natures at public expense, and the people who will take advantage of the lack of attention to reality while these people run around looking for imaginary foes.

  31. NotImpressed says:

    DePalma:
    “Ours is a reasonable conclusion from the facts that a radical imam insists on building mosque by Ground Zero despite the lack of a local muslim community of worshippers and being asked repeatedly to move the mosque because Americans almost universally see it as a celebration of the success of the 9/11 attacks.”

    Thank you for providing an example of precisely the over-the-top insane radical rhetoric that Mr. Universe was talking about. Of course there is a community of Muslim worshipers there. The building has housed an Islamic center for many years. There was, in fact, a mosque inside the World Trade Center.

    No one views Rauf as “radical.” You need to provide some evidence to back up such an absurd statement. It has been pointed out that the Bush Administration valued his assistance as an adviser. Republicans, in fact, praised the proposed community center as a valuable and moderate outreach before they decided to make a campaign issue out of it.

    Anyway, thanks again for showing us what McCarthyist propaganda looks like. I am in awe of your ability to produce this stuff.

  32. Bart DePalma says:

    NI & Co:

    BD: “Ours is a reasonable conclusion from the facts that a radical imam insists on building mosque by Ground Zero despite the lack of a local muslim community of worshippers and being asked repeatedly to move the mosque because Americans almost universally see it as a celebration of the success of the 9/11 attacks.”

    Thank you for providing an example of precisely the over-the-top insane radical rhetoric that Mr. Universe was talking about.

    Great rebuttal there.

    Rauf’s radical beliefs are well documented. Prof Somin does a good job summarizing them:

    Even if there is no good reason to oppose an Islamic facility as such, there are serious objections to Feisal Abdul Rauf, leader of this particular project. For details, see recent articles by Cathy Young, Christopher Hitchens, and Michael Weiss. Hitchens, Weiss, and Young all agree that Rauf’s group has a legal right to build the mosque and do not object to the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero as such. But they also have serious qualms about Rauf’s views, questioning whether he really is an advocate of “moderation,” tolerance, and peace as his defenders claim. To briefly summarize the case against Rauf, the most important points are that he seems to praise much of the ideology of Iran’s repressive theocratic regime, refuses to admit that Hamas is a terrorist group (which should be a no-brainer even if you think that Israel’s policies in Gaza are unjustified), claims that the US was “an accessory” to the 9/11 attacks, and sometimes draws a kind of moral equivalency between US foreign policy and Al Qaeda. Weiss also points out that Rauf took part in a bogus “peace organization” organized by a prominent Malaysian anti-Semite.

    One of Rauf’s classics: “We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al Qaida has on its hands of innocent non Muslims You may remember that the US lead sanction against Iraq lead to the death of over half a million Iraqi children. This has been documented by the United Nations…..”

    http://volokh.com/2010/08/31/three-issues-in-the-debate-over-the-ground-zero-mosque/

    Rauf tried to walk back his long radical history, but the other mosque developers moved Rauf to the side when he proved to be a public relations liability.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/imam-raufs-role-ground-zero-mosque-reduced_533644.html

    The location was not an Islamic cultural center, but rather a former Burlington Coat Factory story.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/mosque_was_steal_FpzwdRCdb5MdehzkDDWY3H

    Facts are facts.

  33. shortchain says:

    I agree with Rauf on the blood on the hands of the USA in Iraq. Does that make me a radical islamist?

    Somin is just a marginally less idiopathic right-winger than you are, Bart. He deserves very little respect for his opinions.

  34. NotImpressed says:

    Mule Rider:

    What I get from your responses, is an attempt to argue that the Left does it too. This is not a defense. If “it” is a wrong thing to do, then someone else doing it does not make it acceptable.

    Nevertheless, I don’t think your examples are comparable.

    Comparing the Tea Party to “the Tides Foundation, the Code Pink Crowd, the SEIU, or George Soros and his puppets” seems silly to me. You had to list four separate organizations, and even combined these don’t have the influence of the Tea Party. Further, the TP’ers whole argument is based on a series of falsehoods and distortions, based around the obviously untrue notion that President Obama is somehow infringing on our “freedoms.” It’s not an apt comparison.

    you said: “Maybe it’s just me, but I’m a little more concerned with an EPA over-regulating CO2 (isn’t that what I breathe out?) than the TBE trying to keep at least a few hints of a Higher Power being responsible for everything in a few of its science books.”

    To take both of your arguments: “over-regulating” is you opinion, not a fact. The EPA is not “over-regulating” anything, unless you can provide some objective definition of “over-regulation.”

    Second, the fact we breath out CO2 is irrelevant to any discussion of EPA regulation, since the EPA is not attempting to regulate breathing. Our bodies also produce feces, yet there are quite reasonable regulations on where one is allowed to dump that, and how it is allowed to affect our environment. What the EPA is regulating is the environmentally damaging production of CO2 by industrial processes, just as it properly regulates industrial production of chemicals that are also found in, say, feces.

    Third, in this instance, the TBE is attempting to falsely present science in the classroom. That is a Constitutional violation of governmental establishment of religion. This is in no way comparable to your policy objection to the EPA.

    “Don’t we have something like that from the Kos/FireDogLake crowd? Or very similar?”

    There are not many (as far as I know, none) politicians endorsing any “test” from Kos or FDL. Nor have Kos of FDL succeeded in dictating the results of any state caucus. The scale makes this comparison more than a little unreasonable.

    On “George W. Bush’s disconnect with reality, Dick Cheney’s hostage takeover of reality,” you responded, “We get it. They were very poor leaders.”

    No, that wasn’t the objection. The objection was that Bush and Cheney allowed their ideology to drive their refusal to accept certain objective facts. It’s isn’t that Bush and Cheney were “poor leaders”. Their presentation of the world was demonstrably schizoid and psychotic.

    “Obama doesn’t have all the answers (i.e. is human and makes plenty of mistakes),”

    No one claims otherwise. That isn’t the point. Either Bush and Cheney were intentional liars, or they had no grasp on reality.

    “Gore is a liar and a hypocrite,”

    You’ll have to document that (hint: he never claimed to have invented the Internet; read his statement in context, not in Barted rightwing excerpts).

    “Clinton was lucky to have served during an economic boom fueled by technology/the internet … ”

    None of which touches on the dangerous and McCarthy-like propaganda of the Bush Administration. I’m not sure why you brought that up.

    “Blackwater,” — “…this isn’t something on the radar or known about by most “normal” (grassroots/everyday) conservatives … ”

    The point is that Blackwater had official sanction of the previous Administration, and it represented a dangerous seizing of power.

    I won’t get into a comparison of FOX vs. liberal commentators. I’ve seen that discussion before. I cannot imagine that any sane person can see a 24/7 science fiction channel as comparable to a news network with commentary, but I accept that you do. (And yes, I know which network you’d put each of those labels on 🙂 )

    “Michelle Bachmann, Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, or Sarah Palin” — “And sweep under the rug the gems from Alan Grayson, Pete Stark, Al Franken, and Joe Biden?”

    Yes. On the one hand is obviously insane jingoistic nonsense. On the other are attempts to provide reason and a factual response to that nonsense. I accept you see it otherwise. I don’t accept any objective consideration of fact could agree with you. Present a statement from any of the four you name, and I’ll be glad to defend it (please, just one statement at a time. I do have a life 🙂 )

  35. NotImpressed says:

    DePalma,

    I won’t respond to your Volokh article, nor your “Prof Somin” quote, nor anything from the Weekly Standard. Quoting partisan pundits is not a finding of fact. Provide some actual Rouf quotes you object to, and link to their context so we can see for ourselves. Otherwise, you’re just providing still more McCarthyite propaganda, with an Orwellian doublespeak twist.

    As for your statement that “The location was not an Islamic cultural center, but rather a former Burlington Coat Factory story,” yes, that was what it originally had been build for. It had been used as an Islamic community and worship center for years after that. Or if a Church purchases and temporarily uses an old warehouse, does that mean it never is a Church? Again, you’re engaging in McCarthyite / Orwellian misrepresentation. Please stop.

  36. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    It shall be noted that at 12:03 Bart DePalma, Esq. asserted that one should “stick to the facts”.

    It shall be noted that it was at 12:09 that I agreed, but I presented the assertion, with direct evidence, that Bart DePalma, Esq. himself resorted to non-factual assertions. In the course of making that assertion, I also offered to compare MY posts vs Mr. DePalma’s as to factual content.

    It shall be noted that, in two subsequent posts, Mr. DePalma has failed to provide evidence, direct or circumstantial, to prove the assertion I made against him to be false. (His claim of circumstantial proof notwithstanding. For those unfamiliar with the concept, circumstantial evidence is that which a reasonable inference made be made from the evidence. I.e.: 500 witness may state that “I think Bart stabbed Mr. Holland”, but that only rises to opinion and IS NOT circumstantial evidence. But, should one witness say: “I saw Max, holding a knife, enter Mr. DePalma’s office, shortly afterwards I heard screams, after which I saw Max run out of Mr. DePalma’s office holding a bloody knife.” The witness did NOT see a stabbing, but that testimony allows for an inference that Max stabbed Bart.)

    It has now been almost four hours that Mr. DePalma, an attorney with professional knowledge of evidence and valid argument, has FAILED to rebut the assertion against him, but has resorted to deflection, further false assertion and dissembling.

    It shall ALSO be noted that, despite the implication that I have failed to use fact in postings, Mr. DePalma has produced no evidence at all of such occurrence. (Allowing that I have made a mistake and did NOT admit or correct as soon as notified)

    Bart, you have been weighed; you have been measured; and you have been found wanting.

    Just like old Joe McCarthy.

  37. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    NI,

    Bart made the most recent post while I was composing mine.
    Thanks for the back-up.
    I shall review Bart’s citations for validity and if I find different from you, so shall report.

  38. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    All,

    Here is my original assertion:
    “Max aka Birdpilot says:
    January 31, 2011 at 12:09
    barted:”Stick to the facts and the facts will set you free.”

    Want to compare past posts between the two of us on THAT? Exhibit “A”: Your statement that the developers of the New York Islamic Center want to “celebrate 9/11″.

    In Mr.DePalma’s comment of 15:31, he once again attempts to deflect away from my assertion, principally that of “celebrating 9/11 with the Islamic Community Center”, and make the issue that of an ad hominem against Rauf’s “radicalism”. While I admit his ingenuity of a slick derailment, it WILL NOT WORK! I shall keep coming back to the original point!

    This is his THIRD post without rebutting the original accusation.

    Just admit it, Bart.

    YOU LIE!

  39. Rob H. says:

    This seems to be a rather transparent attempt to link some political activities of today with some arguably distasteful political activities of the past. The author brings up a litany of right-wing boogeymen and sort of haphazardly attaches them to McCarthy… somehow. It’s all totally unsupported by any factual argument, so other than noting that the author clearly doesn’t like conservatives, and despises conservative women, what is supposed to have been proven here?

  40. NotImpressed says:

    Max, to keep it on-topic … Recall that we’re discussing Mr. U’s contention that there is a sort of McCarthyist movement in the modern American Right Wing.

    So, can you reasonably compare, say, these false statements and unfounded accusations of Mr. DePalma’s with the sorts of techniques used by McCarthy-like Commie hunters of he 50’s?

    Even more to the point, are Mr. DePalma’s statements similar to the statements of other current McCarthy-like Right Wing writers? (I suspect this last would be easy to show, as Mr. DePalma himself is comparing his position to other Wingers who are actual professional pundits.)

  41. Rob H. says:

    It also occurs to me that the author is practicing his own brand of McCarthyism. If we can agree that McCarthyism is wrong because it assumes that membership in a political movement is wrong in and of itself, what are we to make of his casual inference that being part of the Tea Party is defacto wrong?

    The author has only really demonstrated that one instance of McCarthyism is going on here: the author’s own.

  42. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Rob H

    Welcome to the asylum and thank you for your input, although we may disagree.

  43. Rob H. says:

    I hope so… debating with people who agree with you is so boring…

  44. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    The American Heritage Dictionary (2000) defines “McCarthyism” as “the practice of publicizing accusations of political disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence” and “the use of unfair investigatory or accusatory methods in order to suppress opposition.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged (1961) defines it as “characterized chiefly by opposition to elements held to be subversive and by the use of tactics involving personal attacks on individuals by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations especially on the basis of unsubstantiated charges.

    NI, essentially, the highlighted portions of the above definitions are what I directly charge Bart as using as a usual and customary tactic in his posting here.

    Rob H, please review the above definitions and see if you STILL believe that that is what Mr Universe himself has done. Keeping in mind that if direct evidence exists that people are, in fact, exhibiting such behavior, the term may be applied to them. I would also encourage you to review your first comment @ 16:31 wherein you state an opinion as fact, notwithstanding your accusation against “the author”.

    I could just as easily have written the same article, but I assure you that I do like conservatives AND conservative women. (Aside from the fact that I had an 18 month relationship with a VERY conservative woman just after my divorce) It is not the conservative individual Mr U, or I, or most any other librul here dislikes, it is the tactics, used by many, that seem to be the usual and customary methodology that DO fit the above definitions.

  45. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Seven hours, Bart, and my original accusation stands without being rebutted.

  46. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Sorry, make that FIVE hours. 17-12 = 5. And me a math major! The plumber’s house has the leaky pipe!

  47. NotImpressed says:

    Hi, Rob H! Glad to meet you. Always pleased to politely debate with someone of differing viewpoint!

    For me, I see much of McCarthyism as resting on false or unprovable pretenses. Something like claiming someone “despises conservative women.” This sets up a smear that cannot be proven nor disproven, and simply tacks an unpleasant air of innuendo upon the opponent.

    Another example is setting up an a priori assumption that has not been agreed to, and pretending it has been. Something like, “If we can agree that McCarthyism is wrong because it assumes that membership in a political movement is wrong in and of itself … ” I would argue that McCarthyism is more than that. In fact, other than that. I could be wrong; but my point is merely that we are not so agreed. Since your premise is false, your conclusion is unsupportable. McCarthy likewise created assumptions (many of which were described in Mr. U’s article), assumed agreement, and proceeded on conclusions made from those unproven assumptions.

    My point here is that comparing the author to McCarthy is not a way to dispute his premise. Such can be argued of anyone, if one is sufficiently clever. (Mr. DePalma engages in this sort of slight-of-hand constantly; please observe him for lessons.)

  48. Rob H. says:

    I wasn’t using that definition, I was using my own homespun definition based on the fact that the base of McCarthy’s argument (that is, that having communists in our government is wrong) is membership in a political organization.

    However, if you’re going to use this expanded definition, it seems to me that both parties and plenty of other groups use those tactics. They are not particular to Republicans. Keith Olbermann springs immediately to mind as someone who, as a matter of course, “use of tactics involving personal attacks on individuals by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations especially on the basis of unsubstantiated charges.” In fact I would say he was the master of it, i.e. the “Worst Person in the World” segment of his show.

    This is not to say that it makes it right, it is only to say that if you want to talk about incivility or dirty tricks in commentary, it occurs on both sides, and trying to paint this as a Tea Party or Conservative failing is entirely disingenuous.

  49. dcpetterson says:

    One obvious parallel with McCarthyism was Michelle Bachmann’s claim that many people in Congress were “un-American,” and that “investigations” should be undertaken to unmask them. This is so painfully an obvious McCarthyism that is scarcely needs elaboration.

    Likewise, the constant drumbeat from the Teapers that Obama is abridging our “freedoms”, that he is not really an American, that somehow Teapers and their ilk are more truly American than liberals or Democrats, that the Obama Administration is dangerously “socialist.” Again, the parallel with McCarthyist propaganda cannot be more obvious.

  50. NotImpressed says:

    “Keith Olbermann springs immediately to mind as someone who, as a matter of course, “use of tactics involving personal attacks on individuals by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations especially on the basis of unsubstantiated charges.” In fact I would say he was the master of it, i.e. the “Worst Person in the World” segment of his show.”

    I would disagree, as A) the title of “worst person” was obviously satirical, and B) his reasons for bestowing the title were always factual and always clearly presented. IN other words, the “charges” were clearly substantiated, in great detail.

    But Olbermann (to my memory) did not question the patriotism of his “worst persons.” Nor did he imply they were attempting to overthrow the legitimate US government.

    The attempted comparison does not, in my view, hold water. It strikes more like comparing, say, a murder to someone with a parking ticket, and chiding them both for breaking the law.

  51. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Rob,

    I eagerly await the proof of your accusation concerning Olbermann. Please cite a specific example, hopefully with a YouTube clip that will demonstrate example.

    I personally cannot agree with you on that one. While I HAVE seen him make personal attacks, I have also noted that he substantiated those accusations. The occasions where he was demonstrated to have his facts wrong, I also saw Olbermann retract the specific allegation and apologize.

    Again, I look forward to your proving otherwise.

    Thanks

  52. Rob H. says:

    Bachmann didn’t call for congressional “investigations” though, did she? I’m not defending what she said, but her call was for the media to “expose” them.

    Not a particularly intelligent or sophisticated position I admit, but hardly “McCarthyism.” If it is, the AP putting 11 reporters on Sarah Palin’s book to “fact check” it could certainly be construed as McCarthyism, it seems to me, for they were trying to “expose” something.

    Indeed, I think suggesting that uncivil or unsupported criticism is McCarthyism is far too broad. It can be shown pretty easily that people from all political stripes have done such things and continue to do so.

    As for your other charges, I’d prefer to comment on things like that one at a time, to prevent people from throwing out a laundry list of accusations that I would then have to laboriously address.

  53. shortchain says:

    RobH,

    Just a short correction for the sake of accuracy: you say that McCarthy focused on “membership in an organization”. That is not the case. He imputed, often without evidence, membership in a conspiracy on the basis of hearsay, guilt by association, and hauled people before his committee where he browbeat, extorted information, and deprived people of their livelihoods.

    Not a few of the people he tried to (and sometimes did) ruin were guilty of nothing, so far as anybody knows.

  54. dcpetterson says:

    Rob H
    Bachmann didn’t call for congressional “investigations” though, did she? I’m not defending what she said, but her call was for the media to “expose” them.

    I stand corrected. Michelle Bachmann called Obama’s views “anti American”, and those of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. She called for “the media” to expose them, not Congress. Thank you for that correction.

    But this “anti-American” accusation against sitting members of the Government, and the call for exposure, certainly is a close parallel to McCarthy. Would you not agree?

    To be fair, Bachmann later denied calling President Obama’s views “anti-American”:

    Which of her statements should we believe? The call for “exposure” of the anti-American views of elected American officials? Or the denial of her previous recorded statements?

    Should we compare a media investigation to a Congressional one? Perhaps not. In which case, we should probably not compare statements of people like Olbermann to statements from someone like Bachmann.

  55. dcpetterson says:

    SOrry, I meant to add:
    Indeed, I think suggesting that uncivil or unsupported criticism is McCarthyism is far too broad.

    I would agree. I think the specific “uncivil or unsupported criticism” involved is a charge of anti-Americanism, with accompanying statements about things like “Socialism.”

  56. shortchain says:

    We should not omit from the parallel cases to McCarthyism the current AG of Virginia (another teaper favorite) whose attempt to go on a fishing expedition against climate scientists has made Bart so happy.

  57. Rob H. says:

    Max: OK, since you asked… just one that comes to mind. John Gibson relates a story about a short conversation which he had with someone at a dinner. You can watch the clip, but it’s a good example of Olbermann lying and misconstruing what happened at that dinner – a dinner where Olbermann was not even present.

    The audio includes Olbermann’s (sadly common) attacks on John Gibson and Bill O’Reilly that are in most cases unsubstantiated and in one particular case a lie (at least according to Gibson, who was actually at the dinner in question). Since he is reporting on a conversation he wasn’t involved with, I think Gibson’s account is far more believable. Then you add the angry, juvenile ranting that Olbermann is famous for (bringing up that Gibson was fired from Fox, for example, for no reason), and I think Olbermann absolutely fits within your definition.

    In response to proving to you that Olbermann engages in the tactics you have called “McCarthyism,” I would ask in kind that you admit that Keith Olbermann is a McCarthyist.

    (The most pertinent part of the video starts at about 3:40.)

    http://homepage.mac.com/mkoldys/blog/vbc254431424.html

    After that, if you’d like, we can talk about the MSNBC story that falsely smeared Tea Party activists as racists, and went to extreme lengths in video editing to do so. That’s a pretty good example of using personal attacks against a group of people dishonestly.

  58. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Rob: “Max: OK, since you asked… just one that comes to mind. John Gibson relates a story . . .

    Sorry if I reject the example you cite. Listening to the entire piece, all that is there is a “he said/he said”. Perhaps if you can get the statement from the MSNBC president that would corroborate Mr Gibson’s position, I would agree to your citation as valid. Until that time, you just have a unsubstantiated allegation from someone with an axe to grind against Olbermann.

    Surely you have better evidence with independent corroboration that you can cite, what with all these errors you believe Olbermann has made..

    Thanks

  59. Rob H. says:

    dcpetterson said: “But this ‘anti-American’ accusation against sitting members of the Government, and the call for exposure, certainly is a close parallel to McCarthy. Would you not agree?”

    No, I wouldn’t agree. Merely accusing someone of being anti-American (or un-American) is not enough to justify that accusation. If it is, here are some liberals that you would have to agree are practicing McCarthyist tactics:

    Al Gore
    http://sayanythingblog.com/entry/al_gore_called_president_bush_un-american_in_2002/

    Gore Vidal (sorry for all the “Gores”, I’ll stop after this one)
    http://www.democracynow.org/2005/1/25/gore_vidal_on_bushs_inaugural_address

    The ACLU
    http://www.aclu.org/national-security/president-bush-signs-un-american-military-commissions-act-aclu-says-new-law-underm

    The New York Times
    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/25/opinion/25sat1.html

    I could go on, but I hope you get the point.

  60. Rob H. says:

    “Sorry if I reject the example you cite. Listening to the entire piece, all that is there is a “he said/he said”. Perhaps if you can get the statement from the MSNBC president that would corroborate Mr Gibson’s position, I would agree to your citation as valid.”

    I thought making such statements could be McCarthyist even if they weren’t necessarily lies, but were unsubstantiated? Ah yes, here we are: “use of tactics involving personal attacks on individuals by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations especially on the basis of unsubstantiated charges.”

  61. JC2 says:

    As a long time lurker and infrequent poster dating back to the lead-up on the 2008 elections when Nate and the 538 community pulled my sanity from the dustbin and sustained me through the elections, I have an opinion to posit. I apologize if this offends anyone but I have to make my case after seeing how many times Bart has been challenged with citation based facts and evidence of contradiction in his own statements.

    Bart DePalma, in my opinion, you are not a legitimate poster. My reasoning originates from two different lines of thought, both fact based, which fork into this opinion.

    Line one: Bart, you represent yourself as a practicing attorney who has the luxury of spending an extraordinary amount of time on this and various other blogs and internet sites, yet have extreme difficulty positing reasonable, fact based arguments and seldom offer citations. Your few citations are usually defective. When challenged or contradicted you resort to deflection, repetition of empty arguments or personal attacks uncharacteristic of a successful attorney. It is reasonable to conclude you have all this time on your hands because you do not actually practice law.

    Line two: Bart, postings made under your ID are consistent of everything laid out in line one above while being inconsistent of style, internal arguments, and logical integrity. You tend to appear and disappear at times closely related to other posters having similar ideology and argumentative skills. It is easy to conclude the explanation for this is you are actually several people acting as one.

    Conclusion: I fail to see how the above observations and/or lines of reasoning are inconsistent or mutually exclusive and so have to ask; Who are you really Bart? Who is paying you to behave this way? How many people are you really?

    Please prove me wrong. Tell me where to look up public filings you have made, court cases you have advocated, anything that substantiates an active legal practice?

  62. dcpetterson says:

    Rob H, of those four quotes you provided, only one was made by a public official (AL Gore), and even he was not an official at the time. The portion of his comment that you perhaps refer to was this:

    The very idea that an American citizen can be imprisoned without recourse to judicial process or remedies, and that this can be done on the sole say-so of the president of the United States or those acting in his name, is beyond the pale and un-American and it ought to be stopped.

    This differs from a general accusation of “anti-American ideas” such as Bachmann made. It is, in fact, a reference to long-standing traditions and Constitutional matters that are not in question.

    You’re correct, the mere accusation of “un-American” is not sufficient for McCarthyism. I”d think it requires something of the irrational and paranoid behind it, and something like a call for the sorts of witch-hunts that Bachmann and Ryan and the Teapers have been openly promoting.

    I’m sorry to bow out at this point, I’ve got other responsibilities tonight. Thank you for an interesting discussion. Do feel free to respond; I’m afraid I’ll have to grant you the right of the last word.

  63. JC2,
    Thanks for your comment. I cannot speak with any authority regarding Mr. DePalma’s profession, but I can say with high confidence that all of the posts under the name Bart DePalma are submitted to the site from the same person.

  64. dcpetterson says:

    Oh, before I go — Rob H, you argument is merely “They do it too!” which is not much of a defense. (This is, in fact, a very common and overused debater’s tactic. But it’s a logical fallacy, and doesn’t actually convince anyone of anything.) And the examples you cite are not nearly comparable; they seem to be really reaching.

    Gotta run…

  65. Rob H. says:

    Oh, before I go — Rob H, you argument is merely “They do it too!” which is not much of a defense. (This is, in fact, a very common and overused debater’s tactic. But it’s a logical fallacy, and doesn’t actually convince anyone of anything.)

    I stated early on that just because the other side does it doesn’t make it right. However, if your argument is “Side X is bad because it does this,” I can easily disprove the argument by pointing out that the opposing side does it too. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but identical crimes on both sides do make both sides morally equivalent.

  66. JC2 says:

    Re Michael: Thanks for your comment. I cannot speak with any authority regarding Mr. DePalma’s profession, but I can say with high confidence that all of the posts under the name Bart DePalma are submitted to the site from the same person.
    ——————
    Assuming you have sufficient knowledge to say all postings are by the same person and not just originating from the same IP address I will submit to that point and thank you for your response.

    A singular IP address, if that should be the case, does not preclude the possibility of anything like a boiler room operation in someone’s basement.

    Tia

  67. shortchain says:

    RobH.,

    You say: “if your argument is “Side X is bad because it does this,” I can easily disprove the argument by pointing out that the opposing side does it too.”

    That, sir, is the heart of the logical fallacy. Showing that side Y does it too has nothing to do with whether it is bad — and cannot disprove that side X is bad. It may prove, however, that side Y is bad also.

  68. Rob H. says:

    OK, proving that Side Y is bad does not prove that Side X is not bad, it only proves that they are both bad. If your argument is that one side is morally or ethically superior to the other, then what I have done is disprove this. I certainly didn’t read that article and then come to the conclusion that both sides were being critiqued.

    Besides, it’s a little pretentious to be trying to use logical fallacy arguments when referring to an argument that doesn’t rely on logic itself. If you’d care to tell me what the logical argument is in that piece I can tell you whether it is valid or not.

  69. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Rob, what is your point there? You do understand “unsubstantiated” means “without proof”. As such I can call it a lie until you prove it to be true.

    An uncontested assertion may stand as fact until challenged. Once challenged, though, the person making the assertion must prove it true. Debate 101.

    You have presented an unsubstantiated radio rant by Mr Gibson as factual. Unless you have independent corroboration by a third party who was there, you have no proof. I do not hold that Olbermann, in this specific case, was necessarily telling the truth, but you have no proof otherwise. My doubt as to Mr. Gibson’s veracity is based on the fact that the MSNBC president has NOT confirmed Gibson’s charge.

    Nor have you offered any other example, to this point, that backs up your original allegation, that can be independently verified.

    Still waiting. NOW it’s seven hours for Bart, and a couple for Rob.

  70. Mule Rider says:

    I like this Rob H. guy. I hope he sticks around.

    He can keep you guys honest. I can already tell that.

  71. JC2,
    To be clear, it is possible that posts under the name Bart DePalma are being written by multiple people in collusion at a single site. The same is true for any posts here. As I said, I have a high degree of confidence, not absolute certainty. As someone who works in the realm of computer security, I choose my words very carefully when I give an assessment. 🙂

  72. Mule,
    If nothing else, Rob seems to have some good debating skills. 8)

  73. Rob H. says:

    Wait, you’ve been waiting a couple of hours for me for what? I gave you an example. You may contest the example, but I gave it, so don’t portray it as an example of someone hiding from you.

    In fact I don’t think anything other than Ted Kennedy rising from the grave and proclaiming “I am a McCarthyist!” will satisfy you as proof that the left uses the same tactics as the right, but I’ll give it one final go.

    When I said the charge was unsubstantiated, I was talking about Olbermann’s. He claims that Gibson is lying. We have one person who was in the room when the conversation took place, that’s Gibson. It is incumbent upon Olbermann to prove that Gibson lied, not on Gibson. Of the people in the room at the time, all who have come forward support Gibson’s account – that is, Gibson himself.

    No, the unsubstantiated claim is Olbermann’s. and it fits perfectly your own definition of McCarthyism. It’s a definition I find far too broad, but if you insist on holding to it, then be consistent and admit that Olbermann himself fits your own definition of McCarthyism. That’s all I ask. It should be easy, he’s not even on the air any more. You can throw him to the wolves.

    P.S. Mule Rider is my favorite person here so far.

  74. Rob H.,
    Since you brought it up, what definition would you propose for McCarthyism?

  75. Rob H. says:

    I gave mine earlier, and I thought it jibed with the liberal definition, since it’s mostly liberals who decry him anyway. But to clarify, it is this:

    “Attacking or discrediting someone based on their membership in a group which is perceived to be un-American or otherwise hostile or incompatible with Americanism, freedom or Democracy.”

    I just made that up, so… take it for what it’s worth. But that is what I understand McCarthyism to be. I can even sympathize with the liberal position on McCarthyism as I have defined it; I understand how it can be unfair to assume certain things about people based on their membership in a group.

    You’d probably be amazed to know how sympathetic I am to Socialism… but that would ruin my image, which I work hard to cultivate.

  76. JC2 says:

    Michael-
    To be clear, it is possible that posts under the name Bart DePalma are being written by multiple people in collusion at a single site. The same is true for any posts here. As I said, I have a high degree of confidence, not absolute certainty. As someone who works in the realm of computer security, I choose my words very carefully when I give an assessment.

    Michael, (Did you post as MBW on fivethirtyeight.com? Do you too, miss Statler N Waldorf?) Either way, I have a very high respect for you sir, having followed 538 in all three incarnations and two+ years. You sir, are an exceptional thinker and writer! I am humbled to be in your presence. If anyone here wants to call me a brown nose I will deny but understand where they come from.

    Returning to Bart DePalma; So, are you saying you know Bart personally and were sitting in his abode drinking schnapps with him while he posted for one or more long stretches of time? Or do all his posts trace to; a single ISP? a single IP? a single MAC?
    I don’t know much about computer security but for some odd reason the distinction is important to me. Can you elaborate and elucidate without providing personally identifying information traceable to Bart?

    Best regards,

    JC2

  77. Rob H. says:

    And let me also clarify something and save some of you a bit of time: I understand that you may immediately assume I am some rube from Idaho who has never been in a college classroom and knows nothing about logic. Let me assure you that you are wrong. About college, that is. I am a rube from Idaho, that part you were right about.
    I know about logic, I have a college degree and I did study logic, probably as much as most of you here. It is interesting to deconstruct things and catch people in their fallacies. However, I think you’ll agree, if we spend all of our time calling out each others’ fallacies, that won’t be any fun. If you want to talk logic, start with a logical argument, and I’ll be glad to play along. The article posted here doesn’t really rise to the university level of discourse, I don’t think. It’s just an opinion piece.

  78. Rob,
    Oh, right. I should have looked back again. My apologies.

    Anyway, I don’t think the “membership in a group” element makes sense to me, either. The focus wasn’t really about Communists, but rather on tying these people to rumors of treason. The most overt analog today would be accusing people of being members of al Qaeda, or something moderately close…like accusations in the comments here against Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf earlier today.

    Something less overt, but skirting pretty close, is Bachmann calling for investigations of people in Congress who are “Un-American.” Not that they have supported some sort of legislation that is Un-American, but rather that they, themselves, are Un-American.

  79. JC2,
    I was not MBW, but I vaguely remember reading some of his posts. And, yes, I miss SNW, among other people who never made it to this site (or are lurking). So, while I appreciate your respect, it’s divided between at least two people.

    No, I don’t know Bart personally. I won’t go into more detail about the information available to me, just because I prefer not to disclose too much, in the interests of both privacy and security. I hope you understand.

  80. Rob H. says:

    Michael, I think you should go back and re-read again… I know it’s a pain, I ignored most of it myself. I am especially uninterested in the apparent pissing contest regarding “Bart”, whoever he is.

    Anyway, as I showed before, Bachmann did not in fact call for any congressional investigation of people who were un-American, she asked the media to expose those people.

    My read of the McCarthy hearings is that it capitalized on Americans’ fear of communism, and by associating certain people with communism, it sought to discredit them regardless of their actual beliefs. The term itself was so poisonous as to bring immediate suspicion on anyone who was a member of the communist party (and there were many).

  81. Rob,

    Anyway, as I showed before, Bachmann did not in fact call for any congressional investigation of people who were un-American, she asked the media to expose those people.

    Correct. Instead of calling on Congress to investigate members of the press, she called on members of the press to investigate Congress. Pretty subtle distinction, but that’s why I said “skirting pretty close.”

    My read of the McCarthy hearings is that it capitalized on Americans’ fear of communism, and by associating certain people with communism, it sought to discredit them regardless of their actual beliefs.

    Which is why I noted that the closest example I could think of was accusastion against Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.

  82. Rob H. says:

    Is it wrong to ask the press to investigate congress? I thought that was their job.

  83. Rob,

    Is it wrong to ask the press to investigate congress?

    For being “Un-American?” What do you think that means?

  84. Rob H. says:

    We’ve already gone through what different people think “un-American” means.

    I think Bachmann’s request was naive, I don’t think most of the press has any interest in exposing a liberal. But I don’t think it rises to the level of McCarthyism.

    Anyway, I feel like I’m repeating myself… on to the next subject, I guess.

  85. Rob,
    I looked at the links you had provided with “Un-American” in them. All referred to actions or words as being Un-American. In the case of the actions, they were certainly unconstitutional, which is about as Un-American as one can get. In the case of the words, only Gore Vidal’s accusation looks like it might come close.

    And I don’t think Bachmann’s request was naive. I think she was encouraging a witch hunt, which I would consider an essential component of McCarthyism.

  86. Rob H. says:

    One man’s witch hunt is another man’s fact-finding mission.

  87. Rob,
    What I mean is that it’s not targeting a single person, but rather an open-ended search for and open-ended number of people, based on a lot of hearsay evidence focused on a “what’s in this person’s heart” target. That’s a witch hunt.

    Now, if there’s an accusation of a specific conspiracy, such as Iran-Contra, or a coverup of who shot and killed JFK, or Teapot Dome…something of that sort, that’s not a witch-hunt. There might be no conspiracy, but it’s all about evidence of action, not accusations of beliefs.

  88. Number Seven says:

    I will purchase Rob for 200 denari…

    lol, sorry I have been watching Sparticus, Gods of the Arena

  89. NotImpressed says:

    “One man’s witch hunt is another man’s fact-finding mission.”

    What “facts” did Bachmann wish to uncover? How do they differ, in any substantive way, from the “facts” intended to be uncovered by HUAC? (Hint: it’s not about membership in any party.)

    Now, which of the liberals you quoted called for any “fact-finding mission”? Which of them addressed the inner mind and ultimate objectives of the people they discussed (as opposed to the history and constitutionality of the ideas they decried)? Which of them wanted to seek out other people with “unAmerican ideas?”

    I know something about he history of the witch hunts. People were tortured to find other people as part of the Secret Conspiracy to Overthrow All Things Good. This is what McCarthy did (though the torture was not physical so much as legal and economic). That’s why McCarthyism is likened to a “witch hunt”.

    Bachmann said she wanted an investigation (I don’t care who she wanted to run it) to find and expose other people with “un American” ideas. After a year or two of the insanity about “socialism” and the birthers and the tenthers and the Second Amendment fetishists and the rest of that paranoid pattern, there can be no doubt “un American ideas” was intended to be taken in context of this socialist plot to steal our freedoms. The resemblance to McCarthyism is uncanny. The Inquisitors would be proud.

  90. Rob H. says:

    Even if I accept all of your premises, how does this differ from the left trying to shut down talk radio because of their “un-American ideas”, or trying to silence Fox News (which has been going on for some years now)?

    Have you heard of the “Fairness Doctrine”? Is that not an attempt to silence critics? Bachmann called for the media (not the government, as has been frequently claimed) to investigate these people. On the other side the left tries to use the power and authority of the government to regulate a conspicuously narrow band of speech which is conspicuously conservative. But you don’t see that, because they are on your side, and people on your side are morally just and good… so you ignore whatever misdemeanors they commit.

    What are you trying to stop here? What is your overriding goal? Do you serve a political party or do you serve a more noble and just cause?

    What do you want to protect here?

  91. Rob H. says:

    Also, are we ready to convict Olbermann as a McCarthyist, or have we decided not to pursue that further?

  92. Rob,

    Even if I accept all of your premises, how does this differ from the left trying to shut down talk radio because of their “un-American ideas”, or trying to silence Fox News (which has been going on for some years now)?

    I was unaware that there was an effort underway to shut down talk radio, let alone one predicated on being based on “un-American ideas.”

    Have you heard of the “Fairness Doctrine”?

    Yes.

    Is that not an attempt to silence critics?

    No, it is not.

    Bachmann called for the media (not the government, as has been frequently claimed) to investigate these people.

    Which people? Ones who support the Fairness Doctrine? Really?

    On the other side the left tries to use the power and authority of the government to regulate a conspicuously narrow band of speech which is conspicuously conservative.

    By banning Rush Limbaugh from the airwaves, you mean? Or was that Sean Hannity? I forget…who got fined because of them? Seriously, I’m having a hard time following this train.

    What are you trying to stop here? What is your overriding goal?

    Me, personally? I’m trying to stop vague innuendo against people, as a substitute for policy discussions. I don’t like it when I see it, and I don’t care whose party they represent when it happens.

    Also, are we ready to convict Olbermann as a McCarthyist

    I’m not. But I also don’t think of Limbaugh or Hannity or any other media political personality as a McCarthyist. Or, at least, I haven’t seen evidence to suggest that any of them are on witch-hunts. But I don’t really give them much attention anyway.

  93. Jungle Jim says:

    Seriously, Rob, I couldn’t be certain that that you were actually a right winger er, conservative, until you brought up the fairness doctrine. Only the radical right twists that around to brand it as censorship. Do some historical reading on the subject first and then we can have a conversation on the actual doctrine itself, instead of what right wing radio wants you to believe it is. Oh, and, welcome to real freedom of expression, courtesy of 538refugees, that is, us.

  94. Jungle Jim says:

    I’m a little surprised that no one has mentioned what the Republicans in Congress did to Bill Clinton in the 90’s. Now that was, to me, what McCarthyism was really all about, and I think its what we all should avoid repeating today. Most (if not all) of what they accused him of doing was not true and was truly shameful. Had they succeeded in forcing him to resign, our country would not be the same today. I shudder to think.

  95. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Rob,

    No on the Olbermann. Again, YOU brought up the Gibson matter. You need to demonstrate that YOUR evidence is accurate. If in the meantime, we agree to disagree:

    I have asked for an example that CAN be independently verified, a not unreasonable request. You mentioned fairness. Independent verification is quite fair.

    Put up or you may stand down if you wish. Bartish tactics do not work here.

  96. Mr. Universe says:

    @Rob H (welcome to the show),

    the author clearly doesn’t like conservatives, and despises conservative women

    On the contrary. I am an equal opportunity critic but there does seem to be a plethora of bat-crap crazy fems of late, though. I personally am a feminist.

    What annoys me are politicians who present an illusion of reality under the guise of authority. I think the distinction of demagoguery here is that I have no compelling reason to convict anyone of being un-American, I just call BS when I see it.

    I cringe at the use of the term “will of the American people” or “real Americans” because implicit in those terms is the assumption ‘if you don’t agree, you are the enemy’.

    I probably should have fleshed out my examples more thoroughly but it was Sunday night and I needed to crank that article out just to start the discussion. I may do some more research and present specific examples later.

    Everybody appears to have had a lively debate about the topic. Good.

  97. Jungle Jim says:

    Hey Mr. U, I thought you did a good job with the article and don’t need to apologize. What do you think about inviting Nate to submit something, or at least asking if we can reprint topics from the NYT here to spark discussion?

  98. Rob H. says:

    Seriously, Rob, I couldn’t be certain that that you were actually a right winger er, conservative, until you brought up the fairness doctrine. Only the radical right twists that around to brand it as censorship. Do some historical reading on the subject first and then we can have a conversation on the actual doctrine itself, instead of what right wing radio wants you to believe it is. Oh, and, welcome to real freedom of expression, courtesy of 538refugees, that is, us.

    So you just assume I know nothing of what I’m talking about… that seems unfortunately to be a recurring theme here.

    How about if you wait around a bit and see if I actually know what I’m talking about instead of leaping to conclusions?

    Or I can use the same tactics and write a note here about how you are ignorant, with no evidence, if that’s how you like it. I’d prefer debate, but if you like sneering condescension I can do that too.

  99. Jungle Jim says:

    Yes, Rob, sneering condescension is the way we do it here. Of course, the ever popular unbased assertions seem to be in style at the moment:

    ” Even if I accept all of your premises, how does this differ from the left trying to shut down talk radio because of their “un-American ideas”, or trying to silence Fox News (which has been going on for some years now)?

    Have you heard of the “Fairness Doctrine”? Is that not an attempt to silence critics?”

    If you don’t like being sneered at, try saying something that can’t be attacked as uninformed. The Fairness Doctrine simply requires that both sides of contentious issues be presented fairly. The only people that this would “shut down” are those who use the public airways as propaganda channels.

  100. Well, Rob, you have a fine opportunity here to show how much you know about the fairness doctrine. I said that I don’t believe it is a tool used to silence critics. Presumably, from your asking me in the way you did, you think that it is. Go for it.

  101. shiloh says:

    Rob H.

    1st impressions are everlasting ie mama grizzly er sarah palin …

    Just sayin’

    Deductive reasoning and inductive logic notwithstanding.

    btw, this thread has been arguing debate style, rather than debate substance as I too find the premise of said discussion wanting.

  102. Rob H. says:

    If you don’t like being sneered at, try saying something that can’t be attacked as uninformed. The Fairness Doctrine simply requires that both sides of contentious issues be presented fairly. The only people that this would “shut down” are those who use the public airways as propaganda channels.

    No, no, no sir. “Uninformed opinion” seems to be everywhere here, starting with two different people who told me Michelle Bachmann wanted congress to investigate people for being anti-American, which was proven to be wrong.

    I merely made a comment. I don’t have time to type out a full treatise about every comment I make. Do you? I noticed you have made no attempt to back up your assertion that the Fairness Doctrine is anything but an attempt to silence critics. I suspect that’s because you have no idea what the Fairness Doctrine is or how it was used historically, or why it ever came about in the first place. You must be ignorant, sir, because you made an unsubstantiated comment on an internet site. Please, educate yourself and prove your case every time you make a comment or you will be seen as a buffoon.

    See? I can do it too.

  103. shiloh says:

    Logically speaking Rob H.

    Actually, since you brought up the Fairness Doctrine first in debating a point of contention, the burden/onus is on you in explaining how said doctrine proves whatever point you were trying to make.

    Of course you are free to not to and deflect like you did w/your 10:20 post.

    take care

  104. Rob H. says:

    The subject really isn’t the Fairness Doctrine, it’s people who start out with a condescending attitude, make assumptions about people’s ignorance and then blithely dismiss them as ignorant “right wingers”. This is how you get people to debate you? It’s not really working on me… I’m not feeling the desire to encourage that behavior.

  105. shiloh says:

    As Rob H. continues to deflect w/his 10:30 post …

  106. Jungle Jim says:

    Don’t get your feathers ruffled, Rob. The Fairness Doctrine was enacted in 1949 by the FCC (or its forerunner, I believe) to ensure just what I stated, that both sides of contentious issues be presented fairly. It was retracted in 1987 by Executive order of Ronald Reagan. Congress attempted to make it the law but Reagan vetoed it. Now what would you like to add that supports your assertion that its intention is to shut down criticism?

  107. Number Seven says:

    Rob says: No, no, no sir. “Uninformed opinion” seems to be everywhere here, starting with two different people who told me Michelle Bachmann wanted congress to investigate people for being anti-American, which was proven to be wrong.

    Really Rob, you sure about that? And no deflection that you said people and not congress critters. Politico Article

    Oh well, at least you will be able to take some of the heat off of Bart 🙂

  108. Rob H. says:

    Jungle, let me ask you first: Why is it the government’s responsibility to make sure both sides of an issue are presented fairly?

  109. shiloh says:

    Now Rob H. deflects w/an inane question as he is sounding more and more like grog …

    and if you don’t want to discuss red herrings, don’t deflect!

  110. Rob,

    two different people who told me Michelle Bachmann wanted congress to investigate people for being anti-American

    I only saw one. Who was the other?

  111. Rob H. says:

    Seriously, this is what you consider “reasonable political discourse”? From here it really just looks like a bunch of people who delight in talking around anyone who shows up and pretending that they’re actually debating.

    Shiloh, you have added nothing to this discussion. Why are you here again? So you can point fingers and complain about the dirty right winger?

    Please… this place is a sad little echo chamber. What a waste of time.

  112. I can say with virtual certainty that Rob is not Bart.

  113. shiloh says:

    And can “we” get off this who is who nonsense!

    Bart is Bart = CO = one of a kind obsessive troll
    grog is grog = OH
    Rob H. is Rob H. = ID

    carry on

  114. shiloh says:

    Rob H.

    Thanx for the shout out! even though it was another deflection.

    take care

  115. Seriously, enough with the conspiracy theories about Rob. Ferreting out sock puppets is the job of the moderators, and we take that job seriously. We’ve taken care of it in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.

    If you have doubts about the legitimacy of a commenter, there’s a link at the top of the page that says “Contact Us”. Use it.

  116. Rob H. says:

    Rob H.

    Thanx for the shout out! even though it was another deflection.

    take care

    Can you point me to a post you have made recently that has contributed anything to this discussion? And what conversation have I had with you that I am deflecting? In other words, what business is it of yours? Or is your job here to “protect” other posters you agree with by sniping from the bushes with accusations of “deflection”?

    You really don’t have anything to contribute, do you? It’s ok, you can admit it.

    Seriously, you’re just wasting time. We could have had a civil discussion about the Fairness Doctrine, which I tried to start back at 10:46, were it not for your trolling.

    (Oh, I’ll save you the time: “He’s deflecting again!”)

  117. Bart DePalma says:

    JC2 says: Bart DePalma, in my opinion, you are not a legitimate poster. My reasoning originates from two different lines of thought, both fact based, which fork into this opinion.

    This should be good.

    Line one: Bart, you represent yourself as a practicing attorney who has the luxury of spending an extraordinary amount of time on this and various other blogs and internet sites, yet have extreme difficulty positing reasonable, fact based arguments…

    Translation: I disagree with your facts so I will claim that they do not exist.

    …and seldom offer citations. Your few citations are usually defective.

    You are kidding, right? I will gladly compare the the quantity and quality of my links and citations with anyone who posts here. Usually, respondents to my citations are reduced to playing kill the messenger games because they cannot rebut the cited facts.

    It is reasonable to conclude you have all this time on your hands because you do not actually practice law…You tend to appear and disappear at times closely related to other posters having similar ideology and argumentative skills

    You are hardly the first to pull this double standard – either I spend too much time here rather than at my practice of law or I disappear for long periods of time when I should be responding to 538 posters.

    As for the last crack, I suppose that my response to you means that you have deficient argumentative skills and are an easy mark.

    It is easy to conclude the explanation for this is you are actually several people acting as one.

    Paging Sybil! While it would be far easier to fence with a dozen opponents here if there were a dozen of me, alas there is only me, myself and I.

    Please prove me wrong. Tell me where to look up public filings you have made, court cases you have advocated, anything that substantiates an active legal practice?

    Dude, my profile links to my blog which links to my firm website. I practice and post under my nickname “Bart” but am registered with the CO bar and sign my pleadings using my legal name “Harold” – as discussed on my firm website. Dozens of folks before you have put in the all of 5 minutes it takes to hunt me down on the web.

    Take it easy with the conspiracy theories, my friend.

  118. Brian says:

    Can we replace Bart with Rob? Pretty please?

  119. Jungle Jim says:

    Jungle, let me ask you first: Why is it the government’s responsibility to make sure both sides of an issue are presented fairly?

    Rob, I thought you said you enjoyed debating. If you haven’t enjoyed this and are now leaving, let me be the first to say I liked your comments and wish you would reconsider. Like you, I find it boring when everyone always agrees.

    To be sure, I’m not convinced that the Govt can ensure fairness, and as originally written- covering only the public airwaves, it would be obsolete if reinstated today. Also, I never made the claim that it would (insure fairness). I merely pointed out that you were repeating the twisted definition popularized by right wing radio, which clearly has a vested interest in preventing its return.

    As to your question, why is it the Govt’s responsibility, I think that’s looking at the problem from the wrong end of the telescope. The Govt is us, at least as long as we still have a democracy. As such, we are entitled to do whatever we deem necessary to maintain said democracy. Propaganda is corrosive and prevents freedom of expression, and therefore should be countered with truth wherever possible.

    The funny thing is, the Fairness Doctrine was enacted to prevent exactly what its critics claim it does- shut down criticism. Here’s an experiment you can try, if you want to see for yourself:

    Call any of the right wing radio shows (Rush, Hannity, even Dennis Prager) and attempt to voice a left wing viewpoint. You’ll find yourself getting cut off, hung up on, or screamed down before you even get your point across. They simply will not allow contrary views to get fair treatment. Isn’t that exactly what they claim the Fairness Doctrine does?

  120. NotImpressed says:

    Rob, if I may. You made an accusation that the purpose of the Fairness Doctrine was to shut down one side of political discussions. You are invited to provide some evidence or logic to support that position, so that we may rationally discuss it. An unsupported accusation otherwise is merely an unsupported accusation. Those can safely be written off as background noises.

  121. shiloh says:

    Rob H. thanx for the 2nd shout out!

    Repeating ~ btw, this thread has been arguing debate style, rather than debate substance and you are the prime reason ie arguing about arguing ~ congrats!

    You are a lot like Bartles ie arguing for the sake of arguing er ad nauseam Dems bad, Reps good … Obama sucks!

    except Bart has more style 😛

    >

    btw, usually it takes some time for me to strike a nerve w/my undeniable logic 😀 so unless you’ve been a longtime lurker, you’re unique! again congrats …

  122. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Still waiting Bart. You have yet to offer proof that the Islamic Community Center developers want to use it to “celebrate 9/11”. All hat, no cattle, huh?

    RobH, still waiting for an independently verifiable example. Guess you’re all hat and no cattle as well.

    Deflection and dissembling does NOT equal proof.

    Good work, boys. Y’all make fine representatives of right/conservative leaning intellectuals.

    Not!

  123. Rob H. says:

    Jungle: Ok, fair enough. You said “it would be obsolete if reinstated today,” and that is my position exactly. So what point would it serve to reinstate it? Certainly not the function it originally served.

    So let’s start at the beginning. First, the earth cooled. Then the dinosaurs came, but they all died and turned into oil… OK, maybe not that far back.

    Yes, the Fairness Doctrine was introduced in 1949 to ensure that both sides of the political spectrum could be heard on the public airwaves, and it did serve a function then. In 1949, most communication in the US (and the world) took place over radio waves, and radio waves have one overriding problem: There aren’t enough of them. This is called “spectrum scarcity” – you can only have so many radio and TV stations.

    Actually if you really want to go back (but not to the dinosaurs), the problem of spectrum scarcity goes back to at least the 1920’s. Before federal regulation of the airwaves, everyone could have a radio station, and there were so many that they interfered with each other to the extent that the radio became almost useless. Imagine 500 radio stations on the AM dial in your city – they couldn’t be heard much of the time because of other nearby stations on nearby frequencies. It is said that the Titanic could not get a distress signal out because its radio could not be heard over all the other radio noise at the time.

    So, if you have a limited number radio and TV stations, and most of your news comes across those, then you have a limit that has to be managed. The government decided that there needed to be a “Fairness Doctrine” so that on these limited stations, multiple viewpoints could always be heard.

    That was fine in 1949, but it is totally useless today because there is no more spectrum scarcity in communication. Yes, on the radio there is, and on broadcast TV, but it can no longer be said that if an opinion is not heard on the airwaves then it won’t be heard. We now have the internet and cable TV, neither of which have any reasonable limit on the number of voices heard. If Rush Limbaugh was broadcast 24/7 on every radio station in the world that would not prevent anyone from hearing an opposing viewpoint.

    So I think you can sympathize with the suspicion on the right that any new “Fairness Doctrine” is really just aimed at suppressing conservative speech, because the people that want the doctrine back are liberals, and, conveniently enough, the medium that would be impacted is heavily conservative.

    Yes, the right is suspicious that the Fairness Doctrine is an attempt to suppress one of their most effective communication venues, because it bears all the hallmarks of such and attempt, and even more telling, the doctrine itself has no other use in 2011. Nobody is unable to get his viewpoint out now due to spectrum scarcity, nobody. The return of the Fairness Doctrine, in fact, would only have one effect: to suppress a conservative venue of communication, and that is why it clearly is intended to do exactly that.

  124. Rob H. says:

    btw, usually it takes some time for me to strike a nerve w/my undeniable logic 😀 so unless you’ve been a longtime lurker, you’re unique! again congrats …

    If I see any undeniable logic, or indeed anything of substance in any of your posts, you’ll be the first to know. But congratulations, you annoyed someone. You get the blue ribbon of accomplishment.

  125. shiloh says:

    Let the record show …

    Rob H. ~ Please… this place is a sad little echo chamber. What a waste of time.

    and yet

    and yet

    and yet he’s still posting ~ again, a lot like Bartles, eh.

    And don’t worry Rob as I will do my best, honest, to avoid you in the future so you can’t use me as a crutch er deflection.

    ‘nuf said!

  126. Mule Rider says:

    “Please, yes, feel free to avoid me. I can’t wait!”

    Heads up, Rob, but shiloh fancies himself as the court jester (with those of us that are conservative-leaning being the primary targets of his mocking, of course), and he won’t stop as long as you engage him and keep him whipped up in a frenzy. His sarcasm and – you said it best – vacuous posts will only continue and intensify as he does everything in his power to annoy you with accusations of deflection or makes other inane references.

    Anyway, he seems to get a thrill out of this role and no doubt I’ve attracted a response or two just by warning you about him, but if you can just go back to pretending he doesn’t exist (i.e. skip right over his posts), you’ll feel much better.

    I rarely, if ever, see any of the left-leaners even respond to or engage shiloh as even they see (but usually won’t admit) he doesn’t have anything substantive to say. So don’t feel like you have to be the sacrificial lamb and subject yourself to his ramblings.

  127. Mule Rider says:

    And, for God’s sake, try and steer clear of this troll named Bartbuster. He’s Bart DePalma’s personal cyberstalker but he can give everyone fits with his vitriolic outbursts.

  128. Rob,
    While I agree that there are plenty of communication channels besides broadcast radio and TV, there were also other channels in 1949. Newspapers, magazines, leaflets, movie theaters…the list was long. But what made broadcast unique was that, once you had a radio (or, later, a TV set), your financial obligation in order to hear the content went to zero.

    Today, there remains scarcity of spectrum in broadcast radio and TV. The Internet and cable both require monthly subscription fees to receive content, much like the other sources of content in 1949. Broadcast remains a unique source, and the reasons for treating it as such remain to this day.

    I don’t care if cable and/or the Internet are exempted from the doctrine. Broadcast, however, should remain subject to those restrictions.

  129. Jungle Jim says:

    Jungle: Ok, fair enough. You said “it would be obsolete if reinstated today,” and that is my position exactly. So what point would it serve to reinstate it? Certainly not the function it originally served.

    That is not, however, the point that you made. You clearly said the Fairness Doctrine was intended to shut down criticism, which you must admit, I just proved is false. As to the point you just now made, I think you have to look deeper, at how the situation has evolved and consider whether or not it is in our interest as a society to allow propaganda to shout down truth. The original intention, was not to conserve bandwidth, it was to prevent one side from monopolizing the media. Did you know it was the Republicans who wanted it in the first place? They were concerned that the Dems would shut them out, as they saw the media as overwhelmingly liberal. When Reagan first proposed ending it, his own advisers were horrified that the 3 major networks would take this opportunity to shut out Republicans. My concern is that neither side should be allowed to use the media to manipulate the public, and as is common in our system, sooner or later the power will shift the other way. Its only a matter of time until the left returns to dominance. What then? Haven’t we laid the groundwork to shut out the right? Using precisely the formulation pushed by today’s master propagandists?
    The spread of misinformation, such as “the Fairness Doctrine will silence criticism” is damaging our ability to solve the compex problems we now face as a nation. The Fairness doctine would have to be rewritten to accomodate today’s mass media to function as intended, and it would be difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish this within the bounds of the 1st Amendment. But allowing both sides to fairly present reasoned arguments, and requiring the mass media to accomodate may be the only way to ensure the survival of freedom of speech. It certainly doesn’t prevent it.

  130. Rob H. says:

    I don’t think the examples of newspapers and magazines really works. People could and did read the news without paying for a newspaper, in any number of ways. The argument was always that people could be unduly influenced by one side of the political spectrum unless the government ensured that both sides were heard, and since they were in charge of the radio spectrum, they used that as an opportunity to ensure open debate. Again, it made sense then.

    I can practically guarantee you that if the Fairness Doctrine is ever reinstated, it will not apply to broadcast TV, or if it does, the news will be exempted as not being opinion. I think that the left can finally agree that political bias does occur in news, now that they have Fox to use as an example, but there is no way to combat bias in news reporting with counter-bias, and nobody will even try. It used to be that the media clearly differentiated between news and editorial, so the station could run a rebuttal to an editorial or commentary, but that line is essentially gone.

    There’s really only one place where the Fairness Doctrine could feasibly be implemented, and that is radio. Conveniently, that’s dominated by conservatives. Conveniently, they would suffer most from it. This is all a little too convenient for a doctrine which has practically no value as a means to ensure open discussion.

  131. Rob H. says:

    That is not, however, the point that you made. You clearly said the Fairness Doctrine was intended to shut down criticism, which you must admit, I just proved is false.

    I said “Have you heard of the “Fairness Doctrine”? Is that not an attempt to silence critics?” This is not quite the same as shutting down all criticism. I do not contend that the FD would shut down all criticism, but it would have a negative effect on an overwhelmingly conservative method of communication.

    The original intention, was not to conserve bandwidth, it was to prevent one side from monopolizing the media.

    Federal oversight of the airwaves began as the result of spectrum scarcity. They did not conserve bandwidth (there is only so much, there can’t be more or less), they regulated bandwidth. They used this oversight of the broadcast airwaves as a method to enact the Fairness Doctrine.

    My concern is that neither side should be allowed to use the media to manipulate the public…

    Both sides do use the media to manipulate the public. They do it now, and the Fairness Doctrine will only affect one segment of this – a conservative one. The rest will continue unabated. Where does government’s authority to prevent anyone from trying to convince anyone else – or as you call it, “manipulate” them – derive from? There’s certainly nothing in the constitution giving the government the power to control speech – quite the contrary.

  132. Jungle Jim says:

    “Both sides do use the media to manipulate the public. They do it now, and the Fairness Doctrine will only affect one segment of this – a conservative one. The rest will continue unabated. Where does government’s authority to prevent anyone from trying to convince anyone else – or as you call it, “manipulate” them – derive from? There’s certainly nothing in the constitution giving the government the power to control speech – quite the contrary.”

    I hate repeating myself, so let me rephrase instead. There is nothing in the Fairness Doctrine that would prevent Rush or anyone else from talking on the radio, or making their point known, or from being total assholes if they so desire. What it does is require the station to fairly present both sides. What you seem to have bought into is the false notion that Rush can’t make his point if someone else is allowed equal opportunity to present the opposite.
    This is, however what Rush fears most, that someone reasonable, that he can’t shout down while they’re trying to talk, will expose him as a fool. If his propaganda can’t be presented in an echo chamber it just won’t work. That is precisely why he has brainwashed you into believing the Fairness Doctrine is censorship. Its not; and therefore, it doesn’t violate the 1st Amendment. That’s just a straw man whose purpose is to keep you ignorant.

  133. Rob H. says:

    There is nothing in the Fairness Doctrine that would prevent Rush or anyone else from talking on the radio, or making their point known, or from being total assholes if they so desire. What it does is require the station to fairly present both sides. What you seem to have bought into is the false notion that Rush can’t make his point if someone else is allowed equal opportunity to present the opposite.

    Oh, but you are wrong. Forcing an hour of liberal radio for every hour of conservative radio will cause radio stations to stop playing political commentary, because nobody wants to listen to liberals on the radio. Air America proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt. If a station has to give up half of its listeners, it will just stop running commentary altogether, and the left knows this. This is why they’re pushing this idea. The whole notion that people will not get both sides of an issue if the government doesn’t cram it down their throats is pathetic and laughable.

    This is, however what Rush fears most, that someone reasonable, that he can’t shout down while they’re trying to talk, will expose him as a fool. If his propaganda can’t be presented in an echo chamber it just won’t work.

    OK, I’m sorry, this is my fault. I thought you knew how the Fairness Doctrine worked, but this statement proves pretty conclusively that you don’t. Rush would not be forced to debate anyone… I’ve never even heard anyone suggest this. I think you need to do some more research. Get educated before you try to argue about things, ok?

    That is precisely why he has brainwashed you into believing the Fairness Doctrine is censorship. Its not; and therefore, it doesn’t violate the 1st Amendment. That’s just a straw man whose purpose is to keep you ignorant.

    The same feel-good liberal claptrap I’ve heard for 30 years. “You are ignorant… you are brainwashed.” Please. What a sad way to make yourself feel smart. Does it work?

  134. Jungle Jim says:

    Evidently I’m older than you are, Rob, I was watching political debating on TV when I was 10 years old, when the FD was in place, and I can assure you that it wasn’t an hour of liberal TV followed by an hour of conservative TV. Rush would in fact be forced to share his time slot equally with someone who was allowed to counter his misinformation. So I’m afraid you’ve just proven that you are in fact ignorant. Sorry, but you lose. Care to play again?

  135. Rob H. says:

    No sir, you are just wrong. There is nothing in the FD that requires anyone to share a room, debate or otherwise have any contact with anyone else. The requirement is that they give opposing viewpoints the same opportunity to be heard. It happened in the same studio because that’s where the camera was, not because the FCC dictated it. I also remember the airing of opposing viewpoints, and it was nothing like a debate format. One person gave an editorial and another person responded with a countering editorial. They were short because the editorials were short. If the editorial took 3 hours like Rush’s show, the counterpoint would have to take 3 hours.

    Sorry, you’re just wrong. You are wrong in the generalities and wrong in the particulars. You are ignorant, to use your own insulting language.

  136. Rob H. says:

    Rob, I was watching political debating on TV when I was 10 years old, when the FD was in place, and I can assure you that it wasn’t an hour of liberal TV followed by an hour of conservative TV.

    And incidentally, just to prove beyond any doubt that you are utterly void of knowledge on the issue,the speeches and debates of political candidates were not covered by the Fairness Doctrine, they were covered by Equal Time laws. Totally different.

    Maybe you need to read up on this before you start tossing around accusations of ignorance, because you just got schooled.

  137. Jungle Jim says:

    Rush never takes 3 hours to make a point and I never said he would be forced to debate. And you can be sure he wouldn’t be allowed to filibuster for long periods to prevent counterpoint. I get the feeling you have trouble admitting you’re wrong. It’s OK, I don’t need you to surrender to feel good about myself. You’ve already provided ample proof that you’ve become more educated thanks to our little debate, and thats all the thanks I need. You’re welcome.

  138. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    The deflection WORKED!!!!!!

    Instead of discussing modern aspects of McCarthyism, Rob H got everybody off onto the Fairness Doctrine.

    As Rob is too afraid to confront the actual issue head on, we have the choice to simply ignore him or push back to keep on subject.

  139. Rob H. says:

    Yes, yes, and Sarah Palin inserted herself into the debate about the Tucson shooting too, right?

    I didn’t want to talk about the FD, several people here insisted that I do so. Don’t whine about it now.

  140. Jungle Jim says:

    Rob, I get the feeling you’ve lost your composure. Maybe you should take a break, smoke a cigarette, perhaps get laid. Then we can return to McCarthyism if you wish.

  141. Bartbuster says:

    I didn’t want to talk about the FD, several people here insisted that I do so

    A quick search of the thread indicates that you brought it up first in what looks like an attempt at deflection. Just sayin…

  142. Rob,

    I don’t think the examples of newspapers and magazines really works. People could and did read the news without paying for a newspaper, in any number of ways.

    But that’s exactly why the examples do work. That’s very similar to how the Internet (and, at times, cable) works. So broadcast hasn’t really changed. Only the FD has.

    I can practically guarantee you that if the Fairness Doctrine is ever reinstated, it will not apply to broadcast TV

    Who knows? The forces attempting to keep it from being reinstated are the same forces that would want it to not apply to broadcast TV.

    There’s really only one place where the Fairness Doctrine could feasibly be implemented, and that is radio. Conveniently, that’s dominated by conservatives.

    And, yet, conveniently enough, I’d want it to be implemented even if the only thing being broadcast today were NPR.

  143. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    @ bartbuster: Yep you are right!
    Rob H. says:
    January 31, 2011 at 23:22
    . . .
    Have you heard of the “Fairness Doctrine”?
    ” was the first mention.

    Misdirection.

    You will also note that Rob has NOT produced, in spite of repeated requests, more than one , and that very questionable, example of his assertion that Olbermann’s “Worst Persons” segment (“Keith Olbermann springs immediately to mind as someone who, as a matter of course, “use of tactics involving personal attacks on individuals by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations especially on the basis of unsubstantiated charges.” In fact I would say he was the master of it . . .“)

    Too bad. I had hopes Rob would be a worthy spokesman for the conservative side. Instead he has only proven himself to be a bart. So sad.

  144. Jungle Jim says:

    Rob, if you’re still reading this, don’t let losing an argument keep you from coming back. We all lose one now and then. I assure you there are no hard feelings on my side and I enjoyed the discussion immensely. Show us that you’re not the kind to just cut and run.

  145. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Return of Joe McCarthy | 538 Refugees -- Topsy.com

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