Squaring the Culture




"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

10/01/2008 (5:03 pm)

Sober Times for Freedom of Speech

Dark clouds have been gathering for some time for genuine freedom of the press, and now they’re starting to darken the sky and give off strong rumbling sounds. I think we’re in for a storm.

The most disturbing sign, for me, has been the articulated willingness of political “progressives” to prosecute their political opponents for acts that are not criminal, but simply the expression of an opposite point of view. I noted an interview from the Netroots Nation convention last July and Sen. Biden’s endorsement of this approach here on my blog. Along the same lines, Pajamas Media reported a couple of weeks ago about an annual training session for attorneys from the Justice Department, in which the Criminal Division uncharacteristically took part. An anonymous report from the meeting — anonymous because the author did not want to bring down prosecution on his own head — tells us that a number of sessions outlined intentions to “prosecute political activists (particularly Republicans) who are engaging in protected political activity.” He notes:

Walsh made it clear that the Criminal Section intends to use the civil rights statutes to criminally prosecute anyone they consider to be engaging in voter “intimidation” or “oppression.” Now, that might sound like a reasonable idea until you realize that Walsh and Kappelhoff’s definition of “intimidation” and “oppression” goes far beyond what you and I would imagine. Walsh stated that because we have an African-American presidential candidate, there would be voter suppression — a baseless assumption that plays on left-wing stereotypes of America as a racist nation. Every single example of wrongdoing that Walsh and other presenters used in their presentations talked about Republicans: there was not a single example of any wrongdoing committed by any Democrats in the entire two-day conference.

One cited example of a “criminal” violation supposedly intended to “suppress” voting was sending mailers informing voters that you must be a citizen to vote, a requirement of state and federal law. One of the deputy chiefs, Mark Blumberg, told FBI agents and federal prosecutors that the individuals responsible for such a brochure should be brought before a federal grand jury to ask them if they belong to any “anti-immigrant” groups…

The lawyers from the Criminal Section acknowledged that there are no federal criminal statutes that reach non-violent political activities, yet they are proposing to use those statutes to harass individuals engaged in perfectly legal behavior. For telling the absolute truth about citizenship being a requirement to vote, these lawyers want to drag individuals in front of a federal grand jury to ask questions about their political associations. As far as I know, being a member of a group that is against illegal immigration is not a violation of federal law (yet!), although it is perfectly clear that the partisan career lawyers at Justice think it should be.

A mailer explaining that one must be a citizen to vote constitutes suppression of voting? Well, yes, to be sure — a suppression of illegal voting. I thought the rule of law was a good thing.

If this sounds familiar, it should. Compare it to the recent hubbub about the Missouri Truth Squad, the public prosecutors in St. Louis who announced that they intend to prosecute anyone who makes false statements about Barack Obama during the campaign season. I certainly hope nobody mistakes this for anything other than what it truly is — an attempt to stifle dissent by adding the cost of a possible court defense to the price tag for running ads critical of Barack Obama. It’s unlikely that these prosecutors would be able to win any convictions, or even manage to get a case to trial, as claims of damage in political contests are notoriously hard to prove, and court precedent expresses awareness of the inherently inflammatory nature of political controversy. The point is that they’ll use public funds to make Obama’s opponents pay for a defense — and the cost of that defense gets added to the cost of running the ad. Gateway Pundit deconstructs St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s defense of her role in this massive abuse of the legal system, while one of Michelle Malkin’s readers provides us with a first-hand account of what Truth Squadder Bob McCullough considers a prosecutable offense.

This is of a kind with the thuggery we’ve seen attached to the Obama campaign, thuggery aimed at preventing Obama’s opponents from speaking their minds freely. Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit provided a tight collection of comments a few days ago, mostly responding to the fact that Obama’s campaign has threatened the broadcast licenses of stations intending to air the NRA’s ads emphasizing his public record on gun ownership. Of course, we can’t forget the Action Wire memos that attempted to silence interviews with Stanley Kurtz during his review of the Annenberg Challenge papers, and David Freddoso for his book about Obama’s background and true record. (One commenter noted that there was no similar attempt to silence Obama critic Jerome Corsi, who also wrote an expose’ on Obama. The difference was not that Corsi’s book was true — unlike Freddoso’s book, it probably contains genuine falsehoods — but because nobody takes him seriously. The reason Obama wanted to silence Freddoso is because Freddoso is a good reporter with solid information.)

(Author notes on 10/2: I completely forgot to mention the Obama campaign’s activism attempting to stop the airing of the Ayers ad by the American Issues Project. Start here for information.)

And then, of course, there’s the similar thuggery that’s been mysteriously afflicting web sites that are critical of Obama (see here, here, and here for reminders). Do I think the Obama campaign instigated those? I don’t really know; what I do know, however, is that Obama’s supporters generally seem incredibly ready to silence their opponents, and show no scruple against doing so. Glenn Reynolds has a line he repeats every time he reports on another indication from the Left that they intend to stifle dissent: “They told me that if George W. Bush were re-elected there would be brazen efforts to suppress free speech on political grounds — and they were right!” Indeed.

It’s important to add to the mix the comments today from Glenn Reynolds and The Anchoress giving insider confirmation that newsrooms are openly suppressing negative information about Obama, while they’re actively attempting to gather such information about McCain and Palin. It’s happened before, but never with this year’s brazen openness. It’s relevant to this discussion because the loss of freedom of the press could not occur without the willing complicity of the press, which has deliberately jettisoned its watchdog role in favor of partisanship. It’s the same political group in the newsroom that poses such a threat to liberty elsewhere.

I’ll end this little collection with one of the creepiest bits I’ve ever seen in American politics — a link to a video of children singing about how bright the future will be with Obama as President (warning: this will seriously turn your stomach. I shut it off after a few seconds.) Michelle Malkin makes the obvious comparison to Chinese Communist propaganda, but Ed Morrissey wins the Derby with a more apt comparison: the chilling scene from Cabaret in which a handsome Hitler Youth sings “Tomorrow Belongs To Me.” Click on the picture at the top of this article if you want to remind yourself, or visit Ed’s site.

The political movement that calls itself “Progressive” is a hard-left movement that will do what leftists all over the world do when they gain power — silence their political opponents. It’s usually done with murder. I don’t know if that will be included if it happens here, but I’m not voting against it. Friends of liberty, even liberal ones, need to wake up damned soon and defeat this budding tyrant who’s running for President before he gets his hands on power. The Republic will not survive an Obama presidency.

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26 Comments »

October 1, 2008 @ 6:01 pm #

The political movement that calls itself “Progressive” is a hard-left movement that will do what leftists all over the world do when they gain power — silence their political opponents. It’s usually done with murder. I don’t know if that will be included if it happens here, but I’m not voting against it. Friends of liberty, even liberal ones, need to wake up damned soon and defeat this budding tyrant who’s running for President before he gets his hands on power. The Republic will not survive an Obama presidency.

Oh my God. What a pile of fearmongering bullshit that is. Are you that scared that your so-called Conservative ideals are in such peril that you have to drag up bullshit from the Communist dictators to compare Progressives to? Do you care to delineate how the liberal Democrats have killed in the past? If you say ‘Vince Foster,’ then you’ll truly prove yourself to be beyond being taken seriously.

The truth is, and you heard it here first, that the economy is going to recover, we will take the steps needed to get our Country back from the people whom you support – those who have bankrupted our futures for their short-term profits.

I’ll remind you that not one – NOT ONE – Republican voted for Clinton’s first budget, the one that started the working-poor’s return to the ‘haves’ column instead of the ‘have nots.’

The same fire-and-brimstone ‘bankrupt the country/End of the Republic’ lines were being espoused back then, and – one BEST ECONOMY IN HISTORY later – they ate their words.

You’ll do the same. I’ll wager on it. As you well recall, and as I trumpet regularly, you told me that Bush would be a ‘Great President.’ You also told me that, when oil was around $70 a barrel, that it couldn’t go much higher, and that it would come back down to $40. You’ll forgive me if I take your proclamations of gloom and doom as the laughable, unsubstantiated fodder that it is.

October 1, 2008 @ 6:35 pm #

Zanzibar, how about dealing with the facts that were presented. Are they facts? Are they relevant?

The attack of the vapors you got about fearmongering is a diversion.

October 1, 2008 @ 6:56 pm #

Phil is equating a perceived media bias for one candidate over the other with the mass killings of Pol Pot and Stalin. These are facts?

What’s been the conventional wisdom of Fox News nowadays? As an example, they just showed a man-on-the-street interview where a Fox News journalist was in a restaurant, he asked aloud how many people would vote for McCain, and maybe two people raised their hand (a third who started to raise his hand was brought down by his wife sitting next to him, which might be Voter Intimidation according to Phil, but I digress), then the reporter asked how many for Obama and like 25 people raised their hand. His summation? “As you can see, it’s split, with maybe a slight Obama edge.” Classic.

But as to ‘facts’, you’ll notice I didn’t quote his entire post, just the summation, which is a tidy package of horseshit trying to scare people.

October 1, 2008 @ 7:08 pm #

Sorry, I wish there was a way to edit.

Seriously, I have no problem when Phil – or ANYONE else – calls out instances of bias. We’re all human, of course we’re going to be biased, and if organizations that are supposed to be fair aren’t, it’s fine to call attention to it.

But to then suggest these happenings as some sort of organized effort to install a ‘budding tyrant’ as our leader so that our ‘Republic will not survive’? Completely ludicrous, and irresponsible to draw conclusions of this nature in an effort to instill fear.

Phil picks his words extraordinarily carefully. Example:

This is of a kind with the thuggery we’ve seen attached to the Obama campaign, thuggery aimed at preventing Obama’s opponents from speaking their minds freely.

You’ll notice he doesn’t say ‘The Obama campaign is a bunch of thugs,’ which would be a lie, and he knows it. He also doesn’t say ‘A few people who support Obama are thugs’ which he knows isn’t a strong enough link, since there are millions of them and EVERYONE knows there’s always some wackos supporting any candidate.

He chose a term that makes it SEEM as though the Obama campaign is actively involved, when he full well knows they are not, but it’s a fine line he’s toeing that gives plausible deniability if anyone ever presses him on it. It’s intellectually dishonest, but hey, that’s a GOP supporter for you.

If he’s allowed to make suggestions that Liberals bring near-genocide a la Pol Pot, then by that reasoning I just proved that Phil is a Nazi because he just used the language of Joseph Goebbels.

October 1, 2008 @ 7:28 pm #

One more thing, since I’m apparently on a roll:

The most disturbing sign, for me, has been the articulated willingness of political “progressives” to prosecute their political opponents for acts that are not criminal, but simply the expression of an opposite point of view.

This coming from a man who supported John Ashcroft would be a laugh riot if it wasn’t so goddamned sad:

“We need honest, reasoned debate, and not fear-mongering. To those . . . who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America’s enemies and pause to America’s friends. They encourage people of goodwill to remain silent in the face of evil.”

– Ashcroft, 2001.

Pot, meet Kettle.

October 1, 2008 @ 7:40 pm #

So, threatening to prosecute your political opponents because they are your political opponents isn’t frightening in the least to Zanzibar. That’s nice to know. I guess if we all just espouse progressive policies we’ve got nothing to worry about.

If you can’t see the potential problem here, then I can’t help you. It’s only a potential problem at this point, but pretending it doesn’t exist isn’t going to cut it. Removing your political opponents via the law has a long and dishonorable history, and is the first step towards a dictatorship. In fact, it’s always the first step.

October 1, 2008 @ 7:55 pm #

What have I said that says that I support either side in the ‘silencing political opponents’ issue? It’s all nonsense, the ‘Obama Truth Squad’ deserves to be same amount of respect that Ashcroft deserved, or Fox News deserves, which is ‘none.’

Again, I’ll point it out, Phil’s closing statement is a total pile of FUD – Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt – applied to these examples as ‘proof’ that an Obama win will reveal him to be another Pol Pot.

If you agree with him, just say so. At least then we’ll know that your meds have run out.

October 1, 2008 @ 8:50 pm #

Good post Phil. Well done. Agreed.

October 1, 2008 @ 9:58 pm #

Zanzibar,

I kinda figured you’d be a bit agitated at this one.

Here’s the thing, though. I took the trouble to write about 1300 words citing a series of behaviors that all fit the same profile, from the same general group of people. These behaviors include several instances of the abuse of official, law enforcement organs for the purpose of intimidating political opponents, with the clear intent of suppressing their speech. At least two of those include attempts at criminalizing differences of opinion. Others include attempts to use the political system to bully. By my count, there are 13 separate instances mentioned at least in passing in the post, and believe me, I was not being exhaustive.

So, you can call “BS” all you like, but it seems to me that if you’re going to be credible, you need to find a way to justify the tactics we’re seeing — using official prosecutors to intimidate political opponents, or to prosecute them, or to shut them up, or to cause them pain. Without rebutting the specifics or explaining how they have nothing to do with the pattern, simply calling this “fear-mongering” shows only your internal reaction, not any grasp of the facts. It’s only fear-mongering if it’s false.

Contrary to your suggestion in the comments, this is not the sort of thing we see from the kooks at the fringes of movements. This is the Criminal Division of the f***ing Justice Department. This is the candidate for Vice President of the United States. This is the Obama campaign itself, coordinating the phone calls and emails of tens of thousands of volunteers. Sorry, “it’s just a few nuts” doesn’t even come close to settling this.

I’m sorry to be pushing this into your face, Ray, but it’s real, and it’s frightening, and you need to wake up. Obama isn’t enough of a man himself to lead this, it’s a broader movement, but yes, it’s got things in common with Pol Pot and Stalin — and there was a time in the lives of both men before they came to power that neither had killed another human soul, or tried to have another killed. Leftist tyrants don’t start as monsters, but they end up there a shockingly high percentage of the time.

Of course I’ve made errors before. I don’t recall saying with certainty that oil would drop after it hit $70, but I might have. I do think history will be a lot more approving of Bush’s presidency that any of us are today, and he was great in all the ways I expected him to be, so we’ll just have to disagree about that. I don’t know any 100% accurate commentators, and I certainly don’t claim to be one. However, I claim to use reason, and to offer reasons for my claims, and it seems to me that it’s incumbent on you, if you’re going to dispute my claims, to explain why you think my reasons are incorrect, and to do so cogently.

As to the “Clinton” economy, you know I don’t agree; but let’s assume you’re correct, and that Obama will wave that magic Liberal wand and make all our economic woes disappear. Liberty is such a valuable commodity that if the protection of it guaranteed a sour economy forever, I’d opt for a sour economy with liberty. “Liberty is the soul’s right to breathe,” said Henry Ward Beecher. Without it, he went on, man is like a tuberculosis patient gasping for air (he used the obsolete word “syncope.” Look it up.)

Fortunately, I don’t believe for a millisecond that we have to make that choice; it’s quite clear to me that liberty in the marketplace accompanies liberty in the soul, and that the proper execution of both engenders both prosperity and social harmony. But my point is, don’t bother me with your ecstatic expectations of the coming Obama Bull Market: explain why you’re so complacent about the abuses of power I pointed out.

Those who close their eyes to it, once having seen, are part of the problem.

October 1, 2008 @ 11:12 pm #

I’M the one who has his eyes closed? YOU’RE THE ONE who sees this election as not between two people with differing ideas, but instead as a battle between Good and Evil, where Obama somehow has been hiding his horns and pointed tail for the last eighteen months! “Oh my God, how could Phil have been so right?!” as Overlord Obama unleashes his succubus minions to further taint our morals. What a crock of shit.

Come ON, you can’t be this far out of the norm as to see the Obama camp displaying the beginnings of some kind of Socialist revolution with people being rounded up and kept in camps in order to keep them politically silent. It’s just bullshit, and it’s insulting.

I can’t believe that I’m discussing this on this level. I really can’t. This is below you, this is below the kind of discourse that you proclaim to support.

I have *NEVER* accused the Bush Administration as being out to rewrite the Constitution or use it as toilet paper as people are being rounded up in Gitmo, or when the eavesdropping stuff was going on, or when waterboarding was a ‘no brainer.’ All of these things I disagree with, but I understand the methodology used to get there as simply going ‘a bit too far’ as opposed to an attempt to subvert the Constitution. I never put out the kind of unbased nonsense that I’ve seen here tonight.

Do you want to know why the left-leaning media is so biased? Why normally quiet Democrats are so revved up and angry? Because WE’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE FROM YOU RIGHT-WINGERS. You continually try to bring the focus onto things that are red herrings, that mean NOTHING in the larger scheme of things. You’re not going to Swift-Boat Obama. We’re not going to sit back and take crap from you anymore. Your methods of running the country has finally been PROVEN to be a total, absolute, impotent, miserable FAILURE. OWN IT, AND MOVE ON.

You can get angrier and angrier and get indignant and show phony outrage at all this petty nonsense and come up with conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory but your policies will STILL BE A FAILURE.

But seriously, to equate this movement of Progressive ‘We’re Not Going to Take It Anymore’ mentality as the beginnings of another Pol Pot regime? Jesus Christ, Phil, HOW DO YOU GET THERE from here? What kind of nutty procedure do you see that happening?

Forget I asked, I really don’t want to know. Maybe my eyes are closed, but only because I’ve got my head in my hands because foolhardy people like you are the ones who want to keep the country moving in the direction it’s been moving, and the only way you can stomach your existence is to point at the other as-yet unknown direction as the certain path to Hell.

October 1, 2008 @ 11:31 pm #

HOW DO YOU GET THERE from here?

The article to which you’re objecting is full of specific, real-world examples showing how I get there from here. You need to read it again.

I have *NEVER* accused the Bush Administration as being out to rewrite the Constitution or use it as toilet paper… All of these things I disagree with, but I understand the methodology used to get there as simply going ‘a bit too far’ as opposed to an attempt to subvert the Constitution.

I’m not saying you did, Ray, but have you been reading the nonsense put out by not just the fringe, but the mainstream of the political left the last 8 years? (On a friendlier note, Ray, if the left had been saying about Bush what you just said — that he was doing appropriate things but a step too far — you might just have had me for an ally. If that’s what you think, we’re not all that far apart. But that’s not what was being said, and I hope you know it.)

More relevantly, the mainstream of the left has been saying “Bush is shredding the Constitution” without the slightest evidence supporting the claim. As I said in my last comment, I’m providing the evidence… and again, you ignore the evidence and pretend that I said only the conclusion.

You clearly have no substance to your objections, so you may as well save your breath. I provided a dozen instances, you can’t even acknowledge that they exist, the debate is over. I win. Go home.

And let me make this clear: I’m not trying to win a debate. I seriously, deeply wish I were wrong. This is reality. The Left is acting to squelch opposing speech. In reality. We’ve already seen them begin to outlaw it in Canada. More to the point, we watched this play out in a dozen different nations in the 20th century. In reality. It can happen here. It is happening here. Your screaming that it’s just too incredible to believe does not change the facts.

For the last time, Ray: address the specific instances. Do you, or do you not, agree that it’s appropriate to use the f’ing Justice Department of the f’ing United States federal government to stop conservatives from telling illegal aliens that they don’t have the legal right to vote, even though there’s no law saying they can’t say that? even though they’re articulating the law of the land? If you don’t think that’s appropriate, there’s a whole cadre of lawyers working for the Justice Dept. who do, in fact, believe that’s appropriate, and have expressed their intent to act on it. That’s reality. Address it, or shut up. And that’s just one instance.

WE’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE FROM YOU RIGHT-WINGERS… You’re not going to Swift-Boat Obama.

Yeah, I get this. I understand your feelings here, really I do. Here’s the problem: the “Swiftboat Veterans for Truth” told the truth. The ads criticizing Obama tell the truth. And I’m telling the truth. The truth is both important and legal. I’m really sorry if you don’t like the truth about the men you support and the positions you espouse, but there it is.

Much more to the point, though, the fact that you don’t like it, doesn’t make it ok for progressives to revoke essential liberties of the people purporting to tell you the truth. Even if they’re completely wrong. Sorry, it just doesn’t.

The claim that conservatism has been disproved by history is simply delusional. However, please notice that there is all the difference in the world between your claim that I am delusional, and my claim that you are: despite your delusions, I’m not claiming a right to remove your freedom of speech. And that difference, ultimately, proves which one of us is more closely married to essential virtue.

October 2, 2008 @ 6:34 am #

You’re mad as hell and you’re not going to take it anymore? Who’s off his meds now, Zanzibar? If you can’t see that threatening someone for having differing political views is wrong, then you’re a fool. If you can’t believe that people you might know or agree with could think like that, then you’re a bigger fool. It sounds like you’re making a classic liberal mistake, which is imputing your motives to others, despite evidence to the contrary.

October 2, 2008 @ 10:28 am #

Phil, I don’t have time to go into detail. I do not, and HAVE NEVER disagreed with the premise that a member of the Justice Department – or ANY Government entity – acting to silence critics is wrong. My anger comes from the suggestion that these individual actions are symptoms of future doom.

You’re using one guy in the Justice department – Walsh – as evidence of a systemic attempt to suppress Republicans, thus you’re justified in your scare tactics?

I mean, look, it’s intellectually dishonest to suggest that the classroom of kids singing a song written for Obama are the same as the GOVERNMENT-APPROVED ANTHEM sung by Nazis nationwide.

The two yahoos in Missouri are nuts, and they’re angry about the previous attempts at Obama swift-boating with the Muslim nonsense etc. that’s already been tried. Thus they’re speaking out in anticipation of the lies that will be concocted – apparently by people like you. You know full well that

Once again, you take isolated incidents of pro-Obama actions and attribute it NOT to the ‘we’re not going to take it anymore’ mentality of a few people on the fringe, but instead to a vast left-wing conspiracy?

The problem is, Phil, you know this. I don’t have to tell you these things. But for whatever reason – additional hits on your website, a juicy rationalization to display your deep-seated hatred of Obama and all he represents – you chose to make the most outrageous accusation you could come up with and tried to support it with fragments as ‘evidence.’

You are one of the right-wing nutjob conspiracy theorists. I never realized it until now; I had thought that you actually enjoyed the political discourse. But no, you’re one of those who will throw anything to the wall in hopes that it will stick.

This is low. And dishonest. Go ahead and post a thousand more things to try and bury this argument, but you’ve really stepped over the line this time.

October 2, 2008 @ 10:38 am #

You clearly have no substance to your objections, so you may as well save your breath. I provided a dozen instances, you can’t even acknowledge that they exist, the debate is over. I win. Go home.

Jesus, Phil, I apparently missed this the first time. What more substance do you need? I’m not arguing that these instances you bring up are wrong, I’m arguing with your conclusion that this is ‘evidence’ of a left-wing attempt to gain power to kill their enemies! You’re not dense. Again, intellectual dishonesty.

Again, these dozen instances – several talking about Walsh (one person), more talking about the Truth Squad (two people), a few talking about the classroom in the video (thirty, but mostly kids – but I guess it’s okay to suggest that these kids are carrying AK-47s in their Care Bear backpacks). Call it ten instances carried out by less than fifty people.

I’ve already pointed out waterboarding, Gitmo, illegal surveillance, I can easily add Abu Ghraib, cherry-picking Iraq intel, and hell – why not, apparently ANYTHING goes – Cheney shoots Whittington. And that’s just a start.

What kind of nutty conspiracy theory do you think I could come up with THAT kind of ‘evidence’?

And then, of course, you JUSTIFY this with ‘the left wingers have said much worse.’ Exactly as I said before – you pretend that you’re better than this kind of shit, but as you’ve just pointed out, you’re obviously not.

October 2, 2008 @ 11:30 am #

The good news is, I think my readers can see clearly enough which of us is being objective, and which dishonest. I’m not the least bit uncomfortable.

I already addressed the “it’s just one guy” nonsense and the various attempts to minimize the problem. It’s not just one guy. It’s the meeting at the Netroots Convention, involving movers and shakers in the Progressive movement, represented by Slate.com and Talking Points Memo, two of the most influential blogs in the left’s arsenal. It’s Senator Joe Biden, current candidate for Vice President, in front of a crowd of people who clearly want this sort of prosecution to take place. It’s the entire mechanism of the Democratic Caucus in the US House of Representatives, that’s launched hundreds of investigations and gathered millions of documents and is combing through them looking for something, anything, with which to prosecute the Bush administration. It’s not just Walsh from Justice, but the tenor of the entire convention at which he taught; he was only one of several sessions that got reported in that article.

The Missouri pair are not just nuts, either, Ray. They’re professional prosecutors with the power to execute what they announce; and their tactic is consistent with the tactics of the Obama campaign itself, which attempted twice to convince the Justice Department to prosecute the American Issues Project for telling the truth about his past association with William Ayers, and which threatened hundreds of TV stations with defamation lawsuits if they ran the ad. And its the tens of thousands of Obama supports who receive the Action Line wires and act on them to shut down purveyors of things the Obama campaign does not want to be heard.

So, we’re talking about the presidential candidate, the vice presidential candidate, their campaign, several lawyers in the Justice Department, major Progressive blogs, the audiences applauding them as they announce their intentions, tens of thousands of activists, and the Democrats in Congress. I understand that you’re biased, Ray, but if that’s not enough to convince the casual observer that there’s a pattern, then the word “pattern” has no meaning. But it is enough, and more than enough.

Oh, and that little snip about the “Muslim trick, which has been tried?” More misdirection. If you followed the link I provided in the article, you know that one of those professional prosecutors you just called a “nut” said he would prosecute the folks that ran the sex education ad — even though he’d never read the legislation, and even though the ad was clearly correct about it.

Calling Obama a Muslim, now, that is the product of fringe nuts that nobody takes seriously. Find me a conservative blog with stature comparable to Slate.com that claims it, if you doubt me. (Oh, oops. I just fact-checked myself on this, and I had forgotten that the Muslim rumor had in fact been spread by the Hillary Clinton campaign. I suppose that’s major, so yeah, the Muslim rumor was tried by someone major, though not by anyone conservatives take seriously.)

The problem is, Phil, you know this.

I’ll give you a little history here, Ray. I think you know I’ve been engaged in debating leftists online for quite a while; you and I met 8 years ago, but I was no neophyte even then, I’ve been doing this sine 1988. And in all the time I’ve been doing this, every time a leftist tells me “And You Know It!” (and they seem addicted to saying that when they’re under stress,) they’re not just wrong, they’re 180 degrees off the mark. Every time. No exceptions. It’s really uncanny.

Same this time. Not only do I not know I’m exaggerating and being dishonest, I know I’m on the right track, and your hysteria — that’s what it is, Ray, hysteria — is not the least bit convincing to the contrary, either to me or to anybody reading our comments.

Once again, you take isolated incidents of pro-Obama actions and attribute it NOT to the ‘we’re not going to take it anymore’ mentality of a few people on the fringe, but instead to a vast left-wing conspiracy?

You yourself just told me that that’s not the sentiment of the fringe, but of the mainstream. Or are you now calling yourself “fringe?” Because you attributed that very sentiment to yourself, using the pronoun “We.” And you did it in a comment in which you clearly attempt to identify yourself as more moderate than the fringe, by telling me all the things you never said about George W. Bush.

What more substance do you need? I’m not arguing that these instances you bring up are wrong, I’m arguing with your conclusion that this is ‘evidence’ of a left-wing attempt to gain power to kill their enemies!

Oh, well, if that’s all you’re concerned about, you should go reread the post. The main claim was not “murder,” but “revocation of freedom of speech.” I did mention in the last paragraph that where leftists manage to crush free expression, murder frequently follows, and I observed further that I didn’t know if that would happen here, but I’m not voting against it. That’s somewhat more than a casual mention, but somewhat less than a full accusation. Can I take it from your statement here that you’re in complete agreement with my concern about freedom of speech and of the press, but want me to retract the comment about murder being a possible terminus at the end of the slippery slope?

I might actually be willing to temper that comment, although I think you have to admit that, historically speaking, I have a pretty good point — murder usually does follow after leftist takeovers. Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Venezuela seem to have been exceptions (though Venezuela did support revolutionaries killing Columbians), and there are a few others I can’t recall at the moment, but Cuba, Romania, Albania, China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Ethiopia, North Korea, East Germany and, of course, the Soviet Union, don’t give us a favorable track record.

You’re correct about one thing, though, and only one that I can see. I do hate tyrants, very much so. However, you should note an important difference between what I said and what you’re claiming: I don’t think they’re tyrants because I hate them, I hate them because I think they’re tyrants. I think they’re tyrants because of the evidence. That’s all the difference in the world.

October 2, 2008 @ 12:26 pm #

Wow, there are so many straw man arguments in there, I really don’t know where to start.

Once again, you are suggesting that the Obama campaign is…

Y’know what, forget it.

I don’t have all day to sit here and argue how wrong you are. You’ll take one insipid infinitecimal point and make brash generalizations about it as ‘proof that you’re right.’

Using that logic, I could make up shit all day that was ‘true’… but I won’t.

If you took your ‘theory’ to some kind of court, there’s nothing here that you’ve said that would survive the ‘laugh test’ for even the most anti-liberal of judges. But, in your mind, you’ve already convicted the Obama campaign of being the worst sort of Stalinesque dictatorship.

I give up. You won’t see me around here anymore.

The problem is that you’ll think I was defeated and walked away. I’d hate for you to think that. I’m deflated, not defeated.

Deflated because I had thought you were better than this. I can’t stand visiting the other right-wing websites because they are full of fire-and-brimstone people who aren’t interested in anything but themselves and their own pompous bullshit conspiracy theories about progressives bringing about the end of the world. And now you’ve joined that list.

I hope to drop by in 2012 when Obama is running for a second term, the economy is moving again, and the middle class is starting to improve. I can’t wait to see how you’ll spin THAT success as failure.

Good luck to you.

October 2, 2008 @ 12:29 pm #

Sorry to lose you, Ray, but there’s a serious pattern here, and I’m right to point it out. And believe it or not, I hope I’m wrong and you’re right. But I truly do not think so.

October 2, 2008 @ 9:38 pm #

Jeez, Phil, he expected better from you, like that you’d give up your argument in favor of his. How could you disappoint him like that?

October 2, 2008 @ 10:16 pm #

Interesting debate, sorry to lose Zanzibar. I think he may be back.

It fascinates me how when I am having a disagreement with a liberal, there often comes a time when some type of ad hominem, gotcha, Keith Olbermann type assertion is thrown into the ring by the liberal. “And everyone knows Bush is an utter moron.” “So now our country stands for torturing people.” “We’re in a quagmire in the Middle East thanks to Bush. And everyone with half a brain knows it.” And this is supposed to be the final word, case closed, you lose, move on.

And all the other liberals in the vicinity nod knowingly, as if the words were handed down on stone tablets. Sort of like the frantic clapping on The View when someone like Rosie spouts her “radical Christianity is as dangerous as radical Islam” soundbite.

I sometimes think this reaction is a little analogous to the Two Minute Hate in “1984”. If you talk or cheer loudly enough over the other party’s words and ideas, you won’t have to grapple with or come to terms with ideas you hate.

October 3, 2008 @ 9:20 am #

I sometimes think this reaction is a little analogous to the Two Minute Hate in “1984″. If you talk or cheer loudly enough over the other party’s words and ideas, you won’t have to grapple with or come to terms with ideas you hate.

Rush Limbaugh is underrated; he actually understands this topic better than most folks, though he humbly claims he got his information from others.

Limbaugh’s argument is that liberalism is about the triumph of emotion over reason. What you’re describing, RM, is the point at which they abandon reason as a tool and simply say what’s eating them emotionally.

I would add — per my “screeching inversion” analysis — that it’s a symptom of a lack of proper parental discipline, in that it’s discipline instilled by parents that enables children to manage their emotions. Those among us most heavily ruled by their feelings are the most liberal among us.

A few weeks ago when Jill Greenberg was getting excoriated for those McCain photos, I viewed her display of crying toddlers that she produced as a political statement — you know, the photos she produced by stealing toys from the kids. She actually said the faces expressed her inner rage and helplessness in the face of the evil Bush administration. I had to laugh; she was exactly right, the left’s reaction to Bush was, in fact, infantile. Literally. They had adult bodies, but on the inside were reacting at the level of toddlers, and being driven by that reaction.

The vile conduct of the left by which we’re all so appalled is actually expected in a toddler; it’s their natural state. Proper parenting replaces that stuff with virtue and self-discipline. What we see in the unhinged left is what happens when that natural state gets left untouched and allowed to grow to adulthood.

October 6, 2008 @ 7:32 am #

And if (and probably when) Barack Obama wins the election, 99% of us conservatives will be disappointed and a bit cynical, sure, but we’ll simply regroup, continue providing for our families, and “playing by the rules” while doing so because those are our real priorities.

There will probably not be a whole lot of sympathetic stories written about disenfranchisement and voting machine fraud, conservatives going off the deep end and falling into states of depression, and psychologists attaching medical names to our deepseated alienation due to our candidate losing the election. Truthfully, I would be deeply embarrassed if there were.

October 24, 2008 @ 8:41 am #

[…] to this deliberate take-down of the American republic. Remember a few weeks ago, when I reported on a conference run by the US Attorneys of the Justice Department in which they gave instructions for prosecuting anybody who attempted to “suppress […]

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[…] Plumb Bob Blog ” Sober Times for Freedom of Speech […]

March 31, 2009 @ 12:04 pm #

[…] views, as progressives have been articulating precisely that already. That was the point of this article of mine, which also invokes the possibility of future holocausts here in America. If this puts me among the […]

August 7, 2009 @ 4:31 pm #

[…] I warned about the difficult times that might be ahead for freedom of speech if the Progressives got hold of the reins of government. They seem to be upon us quickly. Protect your liberties, and don’t be surprised if you’re faced with outright lies or real violence, ’cause that’s who they are. | var addthis_pub = “philwynk”; | Related posts: Free Speech Rights, Obama Administration, Progressive Activism […]

September 28, 2009 @ 8:54 am #

[…] health care plans threatened their benefits. It’s also of a piece with the thuggery of the Obama campaign’s attempts to control stories about candidate Obama that they did not want the public to hear. It is no surprise to those of us who were keeping our […]

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