This Is What Happens When You Fear Free Speech

The Obama administration is undermining our most basic rights.

Perhaps these Obama administration scandals (popularly referred to as "so-called scandals" in liberal media circles) lack the explosive drama of a Watergate and the entertainment value of Bill Clinton's peccadilloes, but for those who are less obsessed with the political consequences and more troubled by constitutional fallout, there's plenty to see.

To begin with, the Internal Revenue Service scandal isn't just about the abuse of power; it's a byproduct of an irrational fear of free speech, which seems to permeate much of the left these days. The unprecedented targeting of conservatives wasn't incidental to this administration as much as it was an intuitive extension of the paranoia the left has about unfettered political expression.

Democrats, after all, hadn't been merely accusing political opponents of being radical twits the past four years; they'd been accusing them of being corrupt, illegitimate radical twits. The president endlessly argued that these unregulated groups were wrecking the process at the behest of well-heeled enablers rather than engaging in genuine debate.

Heck, some of these funders may even be foreign nationals! Senators called for investigations. Obama called out the Supreme Court during a State of the Union speech for defending the First Amendment in the Citizens United case (which prohibits the government from restricting political independent expenditures by groups). The New York Times editorial board (and others) advocated the cracking down by the IRS on conservative dissenters and getting to the bottom of the anarchy.

How can Americans function in a society in which anyone can speak out or fund a cause without registering with the government first?

Why wouldn't the IRS -- a part of the executive branch, lest we forget -- aim its guns at conservative grass-roots groups during an election in which the president claimed that a corporate Star Chamber was "threatening democracy"? Come to think of it, I'm still not sure why the president believes that it was wrong of the IRS to single out limited-government groups for their tax-exempt status at all. He couldn't stop talking about the topic for two years.

Even if we concede, for the sake of discussion, that Republicans are, generally speaking, unrepentant conspiracy-mongering obstructionists who've been duped by Ayn Rand devotees and their big oil money, shouldn't those groups have the right to pretend to be nonpolitical entities practicing "social welfare" just like everyone else? Most observers now say yes, but it sure hasn't sounded that way for much of the past four years.

You may also remember that back in 2009, the administration was so preoccupied with Fox News (the only news network one could reasonably call the opposition) that top-ranking administration officials -- including Anita Dunn, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod -- made a concerted effort to delegitimize its coverage. This was also unprecedented. Not long after that effort, Attorney General Eric Holder decided to spy on a Fox journalist who was reporting on leaks -- shopping his case to three separate judges, until he found one who let him name reporter James Rosen as a co-conspirator in a crime of reporting the news.

When Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., was asked about the possibility of passing a media shield law to curb this sort of abuse in the future, he replied, in part: "We know it's someone who works for Fox or AP, but does it include a blogger? Does it include someone who's tweeting? Are these people journalists and entitled to constitutional protection?" In the shadow of these attacks, the Senate majority whip is troubled that there may be too many protections for speech rather than too few. That is quite remarkable -- and, these days, quite unsurprising.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Sevo||

    Hey, Obozo's all for freedom of speech, but...

  • Alyna_Cleo||

    my neighbor's step-aunt makes $61 every hour on the laptop. She has been without a job for 10 months but last month her pay was $12418 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more here Click Here

  • Mike M.||

    Who in the world could ever have possibly seen this coming?

    I mean, besides me and the small number of people who vetted this guy back in 2008 and studied his hero Saul Alinsky.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    On top of the fact he is the son of a government functionary from a Third World dictatorship. I don't think "free speech" was ever strongly encouraged in the Obama household.

  • Zeb||

    There never really was an Obama household, was there?

  • John||

    Interesting article today on how the Nazis shut down movie theaters in the early 30s.

    If you had gone down to Berlin's Mozart Hall on Dec. 5, 1930, you'd have been sure of a big surprise. Lewis Milestone's "All Quiet on the Western Front" was playing, though you wouldn't have gotten to see much of the picture, what with all the stink bombs and sneezing powder that a bunch of invading louts were flinging about. By the time they set a pack of mice loose in the aisles, you'd have been ready to leave.

    Which was exactly what they wanted. Because the louts in question were Nazis. They thought Milestone's movie—and the Erich Maria Remarque novel on which it was based—no more than pacifist propaganda. As the terrified audience scurried out of Mozart Hall, the Nazis' media mastermind, Joseph Goebbels, was to be seen screeching "Judenfilm! Judenfilm!" at the images on the screen. "The cinema was a madhouse," Goebbels diarized that evening, adding gleefully that "the police are powerless."

    http://online.wsj.com/article/.....98440.html

    Whose tactics do those remind you of? 21st Century American campus liberals? the infamous Sal Alinsky wasn't onto anything new. The Nazis had done the same thing 30 years before. One man's Alinskite is another man's fascist.

  • John||

    That is the problem with Godwin's law. Sometimes the Nazi analogy really is apt. Godwin acts like it can never be appropriate. No, sometimes it is.

  • Zeb||

    It's a complete misunderstanding of Godwin's law anyway. All that Godwin observed was that the longer an internet discussion thread, the more likely someone is to compare his adversary to Nazis or Hitler.

  • Libertymike||

    Hey, sooner or later, the longer the thread, the more likely someone is going to raise the spectre of dishonest Abe.

    Of course, it usually doesn't take much for me to do so.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Yeah, we get it, you hate Negroes. Now get over it.

  • Bobarian||

    The completely inappropriate thing to say here:

    "I don't hate Negroes; I think everyone should own one."

  • Barry Zuckerkorn||

    I'm about halfway through R.J.B. Bosworth's big book on Fascist Italy, and it's amazing how close we've come to what Mussolini was doing 80 years ago.

  • John||

    This is also why liberals hate private gun ownership so much. Mob tactics don't work with an armed populace. The Nazis could have never pulled this kind of crap in the US. The country was far too well armed and dangerous.

  • Tony||

    Uh yeah the Nazis sure were stymied in their attempts to oppress people.

  • John||

    After they marched in with an army dip shit. The German Republic died in the late 20s and 30s when the Nazis did this kind of thing and used the mob to terrorize opponents. And that is exactly what you and your ilk would love to be able to do nation wide and in fact do do on college campuses now. An armed populace prevents that from happening.

  • Tony||

    All people do on college campuses is drink, have sex, read books, and have the occasional candlelight vigil.

    If it's college students you are promising to defend the country from with your masturbatory revolutionary fantasies, then your ridiculous paranoid ranting is all the argument anyone needs for strict gun control. Ever consider it's you we need to be protected from?

  • John||

    All people do on college campuses is drink, have sex, read books, and have the occasional candlelight vigil.

    That is what normal people do. But Leftists shout down speakers, terrorize opponents, burn books and leaflets, use the university grievance system to file false charges against their opponents and take over the administration to pass speech codes that criminalize dissent.

  • Tony||

    It's been a few decades since you've been on a university campus, hasn't it?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Ever consider it's you we need to be protected from?

    Considering that leftists are incapable of defending themselves at this point without a horde of military-outfitted tacticools patrolling the streets, you may have a point.

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    "Ever consider it's you we need to be protected from?"

    Yes, I have. Since parasites like yourself has designs on my property and my liberty, I would say you needed to be protected from people like me.

    Aggressors need to be protected from people who would defend their rights. Fuck off.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Are you illiterate or something? He said the Nazis couldn't pull that off in the US, not that they couldn't pull it off in already-disarmed Germany.

  • Seamus||

    So are you suggesting that the way to deal with stink bombs and sneezing powder in movie theaters is for the moviegoers to pack heat?

  • Tony||

    John's method of dealing with anything is to wave around his dick substitute.

  • Bobarian||

    Tony's method of dealing with anyone waving around his dick is to open his mouth.

  • ||

    John never imagined a Boogerman he didn't want to vanquish with his six (inch)-shooter.
    Libertarianism would have a lot more credibility if we could cleave the faction who treat the Second Amendment as their protective cup.
    It makes the non-insane libertarians among us look bad by association.

  • John||

    So are you suggesting that the way to deal with stink bombs and sneezing powder in movie theaters is for the moviegoers to pack heat?

    Yes. And that is also the way to deal with the mob who comes to burn down your store. Imagine if someone tried to do a Krystalnacht in modern day America. They had better bring a lot of body bags.

    And it breaks people like Tony's heart that they can't get use the mob to intimidate their opponents. Those God damned Red Necks just won't give up their guns.

  • Tony||

    Nobody on the side of decency and civilization will cry when said rednecks get mowed down by federal agents. At least the latter have to pass some kind of mental health screening.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Nobody on the side of decency and civilization will cry when said rednecks get mowed down by federal agents.

    Your trolling skills are weak.

  • fish||

    Nobody on the side of decency and civilization will cry when said rednecks get mowed down by federal agents. At least the latter have to pass some kind of mental health screening.

    I know a certain s o c k p u p p e t who will be fapping madly!

  • fearsomepirate||

    "Decency and civilization" means sending federal agents to mass-murder people you don't like? Weren't we just talking about some guys in 1930s Germany who believed the same thing?

  • Mainer2||

    a good supply of body bags

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1nalV9tlyM

  • ||

    Imagine if someone tried to do a Krystalnacht in modern day America. They had better bring a lot of body bags.
    I honestly hope that the FBI has you on watchlist, John.
    YOu're fkn nuts.

  • Homple||

    Sounds to me like a plan.

  • Mickey Rat||

    It is not when you realize that the New Dealers and Mussolini had a mutual admiration society for much of the early thirties. American Progressives and Italian Fascism have common ideological roots.

  • ||

    You'll notice, if Bosworth alludes to it, it's the fall of liberalism in Italy (and Germany) that led to the rise of Mussolini.

  • Tony||

    There is no problem with the law. Unless somebody is shoveling millions of people into ovens, there is no comparison, and any attempt at such is a nasty hyperemotional ploy.

    Naziism was a far-right, racist, nationalistic movement. Campus hippies are perhaps somewhat removed from that sphere of politics.

  • sarcasmic||

    National Socialism is a far-right movement.

    Sure.

  • Tony||

    My god you're an idiot.

  • John||

    No Tony, you are an idiot. The Nazis were socialists who believed in central planning and the supremacy of the state. The man difference between them and the Communists is that Communists embraced a world wide class struggle and fascists embraced romanticism, nationalism, and racism. But economically and civicly they were very similar. And there was nothing "right wing" in the modern American context about either one of them. In fact, FDR and many of the proponents of the New Deal were great admirers of both Hitler and Mussolini's economic policies in the 1930s.

    If you would ever read anything, you would know this. This is not revisionist or out of the box history. Every serious historian of the 20th Century understands this.

  • sarcasmic||

    If you would ever read anything, you would know this.

    No he wouldn't. He can read, but he cannot comprehend or learn. They're just words floating on a page.

  • Tony||

    Nazis were "socialists" in the same way North Korea is a "republic." Once you're marching people into ovens, socialism is kind of a moot point.

    Economic policy is always a red herring in these discussions. We're all for a some mix of capitalism and socialism. Being for universal healthcare does not make you like Nazis because they had "socialism" in their moniker, just as being for an unregulated financial system doesn't mean you want to haul Jews into death camps. Economic policy is a practical matter. Only you morons want to conflate slight differences in how to mix an economy with slippery slopes to totalitarian holocausts.

  • sarcasmic||

    Oh, it was genocide that made them right-wing, not any of their actual policies?

    My god, you're an idiot.

  • Tony||

    It was their nationalism, romanticism, and racism, as John said. Laissez-faire vs. socialism is, as I said, not really relevant. Appeals to neither are more or less likely to promote totalitarianism. That's a thing all by itself.

  • sarcasmic||

    Appeals to neither are more or less likely to promote totalitarianism.

    Wait a minute. So laissez-faire, that as in leaving people the fuck alone, is no more likely to promote totalitarianism than having socialist legislation dictate every aspect of human interaction?

    Holy fuck, you're an idiot! My god! You're a certified moron!

  • Tony||

    socialist legislation dictate every aspect of human interaction

    Hold your horses there strawman brigade.

  • Irish||

    socialist legislation dictate every aspect of human interaction

    Hold your horses there strawman brigade.

    Is there any aspect of life that you don't think should be subject to government regulation? Even sex is subject to government regulation under a progressive worldview, since they've now defined 'sexual harassment' as 'asking someone out who doesn't want you to ask them out.' Since the government also pays for birth control, the government is clearly in the business of controlling sex lives.

    There is not a single aspect of human existence that liberals don't think should be regulated. It's not a strawman.

  • Tony||

    I believe presumably exactly as you do, that people should be free to do what they want unless they start interfering with other people's same freedom.

    I'm all for libertarians pushing back against nanny-state overreach. That should be your function in life. Best leave macroeconomics to people who have read a few books, though.

  • sarcasmic||

    I believe presumably exactly as you do, that people should be free to do what they want unless they start interfering with other people's same freedom.

    Your idea of a freedom is using the coercive apparatus of the state to bestow upon you goods and services provided by others without giving anything in return.

    That's not freedom. That's slavery.

  • sarcasmic||

    Best leave macroeconomics to people who have read a few books, though.

    That should count you out. Here, read this. It may cure you of some of your ignorance.

  • sarcasmic||

    What is the economy except human interaction? Seriously. The economy is a word that represents the millions of voluntary transactions between millions of people every day. That's what it is.
    Laissez-faire means the government steps back and lets people voluntarily interact without asking permission or taking orders from some idiot bureaucrat or enforcer, so long as their actions are not criminal (with "criminal" being defined as harming the life, liberty or property of another).
    How the fuck is that supposed to lead to totalitarianism?

    And how the fuck is codifying every way in which people engage in voluntary exchange not going to lead to totalitarianism?

    Are you brain-dead?

  • Irish||

    Laissez-faire vs. socialism is, as I said, not really relevant. Appeals to neither are more or less likely to promote totalitarianism.

    This is the dumbest statement I've ever seen. If this were true, then why did the progressive era lead to all those dictatorships while the enlightenment era lead to functioning democracies?

    Unless you're arguing that 1800s America and England were as bad as Nazi Germany, Mussolini's Italy, the Soviet Union and Fascist Spain, it's self evident that laissez-faire does not result in dictatorships, whereas progressivism does.

  • sarcasmic||

    This is the dumbest statement I've ever seen.

    Isn't it? It's so fucking stupid it literally makes my head hurt.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    Tony's brain must be squirming like a toad over the exposure of Obama's criminality. Who to blame???!!??

  • Lord Humungus||

    and lets not forget the roadz!

  • Lord Humungus||

    totalitarian holocausts

    like the communists? Those wonderful lefties that starved millions.

  • John||

    Tony believing in the supremacy of the state and that the state is the people makes you a fascist or a communist depending on your views on race. So when Democrats say things like "the government is the people and thus the people should never worry about it being oppressive", they are being fascists. When they use the apparatus of the state to harass and oppress their opponents like they are here, they are being fascists. When they shout down speakers and try to say that opposition media is illegitimate like they do with Fox News, they are being fascists.

    The American left has embraced fascist tactics and fascist ideology about the supremacy of the state. There is more to being a fascist than putting people into ovens. And most fascists never wanted to put people into ovens and no fascist, not even Hitler, started out wanting to do so. They only started doing that later.

    So spare me the we don't want to kill millions so we are not fascist routine.

  • Tony||

    Liberals universally oppose fascist "state supremacy" by definition--we are democrats, which is to say we believe in rule by, of, for the people. Liberals are heirs to the Enlightenment, whereas you are right-wing reactionaries to that project. Even so I'm not gonna compare you to Nazis, because that's what idiots who don't know anything do.

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    "we are democrats, which is to say we believe in rule by, of, for the people."

    Fuck the mob. The "people" told Rosa Parks to sit the fuck down at the back of the bus. That was the "democratic will of the people." You can suck every cock in the room; I'll keep my individual rights, backed up by force, if necessary, shithead.

  • tarran||

    I love how he claims to be an heir to the Enlightenment while arguing for a return to feudalism.

  • Tony||

    Democracy and individual rights are not incompatible. One might say they require each other.

    Let's not forget whose panties were most twisted about "individual rights" in Rosa Parks's day.

  • tarran||

    Yep, it was the people who were opposed to segregation that were arguing for individual rights.

    Racist segregationists like you were arguing that it was good for the community.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Let's not forget whose panties were most twisted about "individual rights" in Rosa Parks's day.

    Mostly Southern Democrats

  • Tony||

    Yeah anti-integration southern racists, who at that point in history tended to be Democrats.

    They stopped being Democrats once Democrats started passing civil rights laws.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    They stopped being Democrats once Democrats started passing civil rights laws.

    Hey, if you can draw ridiculous non-sequitur parallels to the argument at hand, then I can do it too.

    Don't you have to go clean the splooge off your keyboard because all of the responses you're getting today?

  • Irish||

    Let's not forget whose panties were most twisted about "individual rights" in Rosa Parks's day.

    The black people were the ones most in favor of individual rights, you moron. Rosa Parks was in favor of individual rights since she believed she should be allowed to sit wherever she wanted.

    Are you really this dense? You think that the white people using government force to oppress blacks were the ones in favor of individual rights? The white racists were anti-individualists. It's pretty much necessary for you to be a collectivist if you're going to be a racist.

  • Irish||

    Liberals are heirs to the Enlightenment, whereas you are right-wing reactionaries to that project.

    Wrong. Liberals hate the enlightenment. They are opposed to the economic beliefs of the enlightenment. They are opposed to most of the civil liberties of the enlightenment, including free speech that they disapprove of.

    Liberals aren't radicals. The left is best seen as an extreme reactionary group attempting to roll back the enlightenment. The fact that you're delusional enough to believe that the political group that opposes virtually every aspect of the enlightenment is the 'heir to the enlightenment' is just precious.

  • sarcasmic||

    The left is best seen as an extreme reactionary group attempting to roll back the enlightenment.

    Yep. The Enlightenment recognized the difference between government and society, and the limited role that government should play.

    The left blurs government and society, and thus wants absolutely everything to be controlled by the government since they feel government and society are the same.

  • Lord Humungus||

    reminds me of the old Goldwater era Reagan:

    You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream--the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order -- or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, "The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits."

    The Founding Fathers knew a government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.
  • ||

    Irish, you forgot that liberals also hate the technological advances ushered in by the enlightenment. They are luddites. They fight tooth and nail against every scientific and technological innovation that allows man a greater control over his environment and thus greater safety, health, longer happier life and dispersion of power and wealth.

  • ||

    They fight tooth and nail against every scientific and technological innovation that allows man a greater control over his environment and thus greater safety, health, longer happier life and dispersion of power and wealth.
    Excellent point. Often overlooked.

  • sarcasmic||

    Liberals are heirs to the Enlightenment, whereas you are right-wing reactionaries to that project.

    No. You're what Bastiat called socialists, because among other reasons you can't differentiate the distinction between government and society.

  • John||

    Liberals universally oppose fascist "state supremacy" by definition

    That is why you want the state controlling health care and regulating every single industry.

    by definition--we are democrats, which is to say we believe in rule by, of, for the people.

    That is why you were using the IRS and FBI to harass people trying to organize and take political action. And that is why you and every liberal on here thinks what the IRS did was perfectly appropriate. Because you believe in Democracy. And that is why prominent Democrats routinely pine for the ending of elections so top men can be allowed to do the right thing.

    Liberals are heirs to the Enlightenment,

    IN some ways yes. But I don't think that means what you think it does. It is the enlightenment that gave us the French Revolution and Fascism and Communism. And worse still, liberals embrace all sorts of romantic an irrational ideologies like multiculturalism and most importantly, environmentalism. The modern liberal is dangerously collectivist, irrational and romantic.

  • ||

    And worse still, liberals embrace all sorts of romantic an irrational ideologies like multiculturalism and most importantly, environmentalism. The modern liberal is dangerously collectivist, irrational and romantic.
    Well put. You make a lot more sense, John, when you're not fondling your gun and imagining zombies under your bed.

  • some guy||

    Liberals universally oppose fascist "state supremacy" by definition--we are democrats, which is to say we believe in rule by, of, for the people.

    Wrong. You fully support state supremacy so long as those who control the state are selected via "democracy" (a bare majority of those who bother to vote). Calling yourself an heir to the Enlightenment while you completely ignore the role of individual rights and responsibilities is laughable. Calling us "right-wing" is meaningless because your definition of that term seems to be "anyone who disagrees with me".

  • Sam Grove||

    Liberals universally oppose fascist "state supremacy" by definition--we are democrats, which is to say we believe in rule by, of, for the people. Liberals are heirs to the Enlightenment, whereas you are right-wing reactionaries to that project. Even so I'm not gonna compare you to Nazis, because that's what idiots who don't know anything do.

    Liberal is a label stolen from the real liberals by the left to replace socialist because that term fell into disfavor with the public.
    Today's liberals aren't "liberal", they are often leftists in disguise.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Liberals universally oppose fascist "state supremacy" by definition--we are democrats, which is to say we believe in rule by, of, for the people.

    You are democrats, in that you are majoritarians. You believe that 51% of the people should be able to fuck over the 49% at will.

    Liberals are heirs to the Enlightenment

    You're right, we are. Whereas you and your ilk are the heirs of the anti-Enlightenment and the Romanticists like Rousseau and Marx.

  • ||

    Liberals universally oppose fascist "state supremacy" by definition--we are democrats, which is to say we believe in rule by, of, for the people.

    And if the majority support fascist state supremacy?

    Democracy is a mechanism, not an ideology.

    You're really not all that educated, are you? You're sure as shit not a "liberal". You're a right-winger.

  • ||

    Tony, judging by your ruminations on Nazism, I strongly suggest (ss a History Major) you pick up a book on ideologies and their lineages and how Nazism fits in. You're in dire need of it.

    Nazism and fascism are offshoots - children if you will - of dead liberalism in my opinion.

    AND NO YOU ARE NOT HEIRS OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT. YOU ARE HEIRS OF 19TH CENTURY SOCIALIST THOUGHT.

  • ||

    Jesus Christ, Tony. Have you ever read Locke or Smith? Hume or Galliani? Evidently you have not or if you have you completely missed the point. Whoosh!

    How you can marriage your position with the Age of Enlightenment is beyond me. It's so utterly ignorant of the facts of history it depressingly dazzles me.

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    "Once you're marching people into ovens, socialism is kind of a moot point."

    So, once your arguments are proven to be shit, evidence is kind of a moot point? Got it.

  • Sam Grove||

    Economic policy is always a red herring in these discussions.

    Economics along with liberty is at the heart of all politics.

  • pmains||

    Here is a passage from, "Progressivism -- And After," written by self-proclaimed Socialist, William English Walling in 1914. It's from the chapter called, "Labor as Government Property."

    Everything may be considered for its effect on the welfare of these peculiar machines [laborers], from the cooking of their breakfasts to their recreation the evening before, but their sole duty is to obey their scientific managers, and not to supply initiative, i.e. brains. It is recognized by Taylor that this means a modernized military discipline in industry. And military discipline is not too hard a name. ... And the Taylor system is similarly humane. So many seconds of rest are provided between tasks, with a stop-watch in the hand of the scientific manager, for this increases the output.

    Now, if humans are machines to be owned by the government and scientifically managed in order to maximize their benefit to society, how is that incompatible with shoving allegedly inferior people into ovens?

  • ant1sthenes||

    "Once you're marching people into ovens, socialism is kind of a moot point."

    Not really. The collectivist mindset and faux-utilitarian rationalization that socialism encourages makes it a lot easier to do just that, which probably explains why so many revolutionary socialist movements had body counts that rivaled the Nazis.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Once you're marching people into ovens, socialism is kind of a moot point.

    Not really. Every branch on the socialist tree has this peculiar infatuation with mass murdering their perceived political opponents. The Jacobins murdered monarchists, clergy, liberals, and even other socialists. The Soviets killed Jews and "kulaks." The Nazis killed Jews, homosexuals, Gypsies and all other "threats to the race." Then we have Maoists who killed anyone and everyone opposed to the "revolution."

    Economic policy is always a red herring in these discussions. We're all for a some mix of capitalism and socialism.

    Question begging is begging.

    Being for universal healthcare does not make you like Nazis because they had "socialism" in their moniker, just as being for an unregulated financial system doesn't mean you want to haul Jews into death camps.

    Amazing how this sentence is such a jumble of shit that it doesn't even resemble a cogent point.

    Only you morons want to conflate slight differences in how to mix an economy with slippery slopes to totalitarian holocausts.

    It's ridiculous to you that the power to rob a man without just cause under the color of law can lead the power to kill a man without just cause under the color of law. Got it. Which monkey are you, again? The "see no evil" monkey or the "hear no evil" monkey, because you sure as shit aren't the "speak no evil" monkey.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 5.30.13 @ 12:51PM |#
    "Nazis were "socialists" in the same way North Korea is a "republic.""

    I'm guessing you majored in J.
    Dipshit, read 'Wages of Destruction" (Tooze).
    Yes, the Nazis were certainly socialist, regardless of your abysmal ignorance.

  • Sam Grove||

    Racism isn't a definitional quality of fascism, nationalism is.

  • Ron||

    And lets not forget that our present president once said he wished he had dictatorial powers so he could get things done like they do in China.

  • sarcasmic||

    The National Socialist Workers Party of Germany was a far-right organization?

    Fostering class warfare and hatred of capitalists (Jewish ones especially) is far-right?

    Nationalization of education, health care, transportation and other industries is far-right?

    Encouraging pornography, illegitimacy, and abortion is far-right?

    My god, you're an idiot.

  • tarran||

    When did the Nazis encourage pornography? I thought they were opposed to it (except for the homoerotic news clips of battalions of young men marching shirtless of to build the autobahn).

  • Lord Humungus||

    oh stop, you! /Truman Capote

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    When did the Nazis encourage pornography?

    Well, they did build the first sex doll.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    And you are a childish cultist for worshiping your soft fascist tin god Barry.

  • ||

    No Tony, you're wrong. Far right is the absence of government. Nazism was the concentration of all power into the central state. It's far left.

  • toolkien||

    1) Left and right began simply where particular parties sat in the post-revolution French parliament. So really has nothing at all to do with how statist or individualist a stance is. It was simply the left were "liberals" and advocated change and the right were "conservatives" and wanted to keep things as they were. There's nothing contained within the terms necessarily saying that one's views categorically meant they would or wouldn't cave your head in with a shovel to get compliance.

    2) There's nothing really innately wrong in the idea of advocating change or advocating standing pat. It's circumstantial. If you're in a state of "on fireness" you probably are a full on advocate of change (progress) to a state of "non-on fireness". If you're not in a state of "on fireness" you'd probably want to stand pat on that state. Your position on change or not probably depends on how for the "broom handle of life" is shoved up your backside. Which itself, again, doesn't speak about how much offensive Force you're willing to use to rectify the situation.

  • toolkien||

    3) So, in terms of left and right of fascism (particularly naziism) there were two factions - the Hitler and Strasser (Otto and Gregor) factions. The Strassers were the "big city cosmopolitan/blue state" faction and Hitler was more of the "provincial/red state" faction, of course all within the advancement of enlightened progress as to how to centralize economic control for the benefit of all (who met the condition of being within the protected class). Both were against communism as being too radical for both, but the Strassers were substantially closer philosophically. The Strassers where all for advancing the cause of the "little guy", the banishing of interest (where we pretty much at in our country now), nationalization of stores, etc.

  • toolkien||

    3) cont- Sort of half way point between the Hitler/red state fascists who wanted no change to the social order, simply centralization of the existing institutions and the communists who wanted a complete swap out of the current order for a new order. The Stasserite "left nazis" wanted some reallignment of the social order but not a full on rising up of the proletariat or some such nonsense. The influence of the cosmpolitan/blue state nazis is all over the 25 Points Program issued in 1920. Major reforms before centalization, but nothing as drastic as communist ideologies. Hitler was more amenable to the traditional elements within the culture and so more easily put his philosophies out to bid when galvanizing his push for real institutional power, making peace with the existing institutions. And for whom he had to destroy the left faction of the party to consolidate his power (at least for the industrialists, Hitler had to destroy the SA to please the military caste). Of course those institutions didn't see just how efficient Hitler was to be in furthering the destruction of anyone who stood in his way.

  • toolkien||

    4) And so the mapping over to our country and economic construction (Electable Dems as Strasserites, electable Repubs as Hitlerian) we've been corporo-fascistic for 100 years. The desires for such go back to Hamilton, and the outcroppings of which are to be seen through the 1800's as Manifest Destiny and the subsidization of the railroads West. But it was 1913 when those paleo-fascists who were so tired of destructive competition (of course once they ascended to the top, prior to that the suppleness of markets certainly was to be advocated) finally installed the aparati they needed to establish the foundation of the the corporo-fascism we know and love today. Many, many wars and boom and bust cycles later we stand on the brink of fiscal and monetary collapse when the real hardline fun can begin. When that ash begins to mysteriously fall from the sky, just hunker down and be happy you made another day on the right side of the razor wire.

  • Bean Counter||

    Yeah, that far right National SOCIALIST Party.

  • ||

    I lost count of how many times y'all called Tony an idiot. You are all dead wrong. He is not an idiot.

    He knows what he is saying is wrong but he is trying to advance a narrative. In Alynski's style, in Lakoff's style, he is a lying sack of shit. Since the end justifies the means its perfectly ok in his mind to lie his worthless ass off to advance that narrative.

    Arguing with him is pointless. I mean, C'mon, the dude just argued that the Nazis were right wing. Like Shriek arguing that captain shitweasel is an ardent defender of the second amendment, you simply cant have a rational discussion with someone so mendacious.

  • Boba Fudd||

    ^This. Tony is not an idiot. He's such a lying sack of shit that he believes his own lies.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    There is no problem with the law. Unless somebody is shoveling millions of people into ovens, there is no comparison, and any attempt at such is a nasty hyperemotional ploy.

    In 1930 the Nazis hadn't yet started shoving people into the gas chambers, you know.

  • sarcasmic||

    The didn't become far-right until they started murdering their own citizens. That's what made the Nazis far-right. Not their actual policies, but their murdering of their citizens.

    So if you let the far-right get into power, they'll start murdering the citizens because that's what the Nazis did.

    /DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRPPPPPPPPP!

  • ||

    So if you let the far-right get into power, they'll start murdering the citizens because that's what the Nazis did.

    I think the idea is more like, they're right wing once they start doing things that everyone knows are horrible.

    Just like there's never been a communist country, because they all turn out horrible. And, since we know, deep down, that communism is awesome, communism has never been tried, because it always turns out horrible when it is tried. So it wasn't tried.

    Since left-wingers aren't right-wing, this is their passive-aggressive way of pulling Godwins: all the villains of history are right-wingers.

    IMHO, the terms right-wing and left-wing are so polymorphous that they are useless. That, and the idea that all political thought can be swiftly partitioned into two meaningful groups is a gross oversimplification.

  • Zeb||

    Right wing and left wing need context to mean anything.

  • John C. Randolph||

    So, was Stalin a right-winger because he killed about 20 million Russians? (I've actually been told this by a redtard before.)

    -jcr

  • Anonymous Coward||

    There is no problem with the law. Unless somebody is shoveling millions of people into ovens, there is no comparison, and any attempt at such is a nasty hyperemotional ploy.

    So the Soviets systematically kill nearly five times the numbers of people that the Nazis do, but the Soviets=good, Nazis=bad?

    Naziism was a far-right, racist, nationalistic movement.

    Nazism is only to the "right" of Communism.

  • Boba Fudd||

    "There is no problem with the law. Unless somebody is shoveling millions of people into ovens, there is no comparison, and any attempt at such is a nasty hyperemotional ploy."

    "Nobody on the side of decency and civilization will cry when said rednecks get mowed down by federal agents. At least the latter have to pass some kind of mental health screening."

    Tony, you are a duplicitous tool.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Naziism was a far-right, racist, nationalistic movement.

    Congratulations, you got two out of three. Sadly for you, the one you most wanted to claim is wrong. The right wing in Germany in the 1920s and 30s were the people who wanted to restore the Kaiser and the Prussian nobility to power, not the Nazis.

    Hitler's gang were a pack of leftists just like you. They denigrated the idea of individual freedom, demanding sacrifice of everyone to the state. They harassed and drove Ludwig Von Mises out of Austria, and destroyed his writings, because they hated the idea of free markets.

    -jcr

  • fearsomepirate||

    You mean like people who think "rednecks" should be murdered en masse?

  • Inigo M.||

    "One man's Alinskite is another man's fascist."

    I was just reading some stuff about the left-wing side of Nazism the other night. We tend to think of them as right-wing fascists, but even their name stands for "National Socialist." In essence, they were for a largely government-controlled economy operated in concert with some state-sanctioned private corporations headed by party members or at least sympathizers. Remind you of any modern parties?

  • John||

    See my comment to Tony above. The Nazis hated capitalism. Fascism was the embrace of the total state just like communism was. They were two sides of the same evil coin.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Every major socialistic movement of the early 20th century, from fascism to Stalinism and everything in between, was based to some degree on the marxist idea that the righteous were being exploited by an unaccountable "other" and that this exploitation could only be remedied by a massive central government run by the righteous.

    Paul Johnson pointed out in "Intellectuals" that marxism is fundamentally an economic and social version of religious apocalypticism, and most radical socialist movements have continued to echo those same themes.

  • John||

    ^^THIS^ They were all based on the concept of collective guilt and the belief in a state created Utopia. In communism, Utopia was achieved by eliminating those from the impure economic classes. In fascism, Utopia was achieved by eliminating the impure races.

  • tarran||

    In fascism, Utopia was achieved by eliminating the impure races.

    I disagree. The Nazi variant of fascism believed this, certainly, but Mussolini was focused entirely on class warfare, as was FDR.

  • Irish||

    Yeah, I disagree with John about that. Mussolini didn't give a shit about 'purity of race.' He didn't start deporting Jews until Hitler made him.

  • John||

    Mussolini was a bit of hybrid. He was a Communist who put his finger to the wind and decided Fascism was a better brand.

  • Irish||

    He actually named Fascism though, and his version of Fascism predates German and Spanish Fascism.

    I don't think you can say he 'put his finger to the wind' when he's the one who came up with the idea of nationalist socialism in the first place.

  • John||

    I don't think you can say he 'put his finger to the wind' when he's the one who came up with the idea of nationalist socialism in the first place.

    You can when you realize he started out as a communist only to change his tactics.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Sounds familiar.

  • Zeb||

    Fine, but he still invented Fascism (or defined the term anyway). Nazis were a similar, but distinct movement.

  • ||

    Mussolini is the founder of fascism. That's well documented. Iris is right about Mussolini and the Jews. I think it's about at that point Italians started have second thoughts.

  • Ron||

    and Obama has touted nothing but class warfare his entire life.

  • Inigo M.||

    True. Mussolini was also considered with nationalism as it related to a strong and unified Italy. He was suspicious of the degree of loyalty to the Italian state he could expect from the areas along Italy's borders with Switzerland, Austria, and what is today Slovenia. That's why he encouraged "real" Italian families from the southern part of the country to move up there (with the help of government subsidized jobs and housing) and help displace some of those "pseudo" Italians with German-sounding and Slavic-sounding last names, of which there were many in those parts.

  • ||

    the righteous were being exploited by an unaccountable "other" and that this exploitation could only be remedied by a massive central government run by the righteous.

    Let's see, does this remind me of anything in modern American political discourse? Hmmmmmmmm...no, can't think of anything.

  • pmains||

    they were for a largely government-controlled economy operated in concert with some state-sanctioned private corporations headed by party members or at least sympathizers

    Socialists tended to view State Capitalism as a necessary transition phase in their revolutionary process. I say "revolutionary process," because that's what modern communist nitwits actually call it.

    The idea is that there are successive waves of reform. The big capitalists are taken out with the help of the small capitalists, and their property is nationalized. Then, the middle class rises up against the remaining small capitalists. Laborers rise up against the middle class. The proletariat, in turn, rises up against the labor elite. Then we have utopia.

    The details may vary, but the point is that history, in the "progressive" worldview, has a direction. We apply scientific theories to engineer a better society over the course of several iterations. Capitalism was bad not just because it was unfair, but because market competition was not managed by scientists and therefore presumably inefficient.

    So, more direct to your point, having big corporations tied to government meant making the economy more manageable in the "State Capitalism" phase, but it wasn't necessarily the end goal.

  • Brandon||

    There's something off in the title of this piece on the blog...

  • Barry Zuckerkorn||

    My post would've beat yours, Brandon, but I was up late last night.

  • John||

    Are these people journalists and entitled to constitutional protection?"

    That even such a question could be asked... Wow.

  • Sevo||

    But, John, are they "people"?

  • John||

    If they are not good card carrying party members, clearly not.

  • Zeb||

    1st amendment says nothing about people. A computer that generates content or a very clever monkey has the same freedom of the press as a person. "Congress shall make no law" and all that.

  • Raston Bot||

    Durbin? Corrupt Illinois pol is corrupt.

    Appearing on Fox News on Wednesday night, Rove said, “One of Durbin’s own aides Bill Burton … started a 501(c)4 in 2011 for Obama called Priorities USA, and I don’t see Dick Durbin sending a letter to the IRS saying, ‘Investigate my former deputy mouthpiece for forming a 501(c)4 to support Obama.’ It was a use of their power and offices to target conservatives.”

    http://www.politico.com/story/.....92025.html

  • Zeb||

    How is whether or not they are journalists relevant? Everyone has (or ought to have) the same constitutional protections of freedom of the press, regardless of their profession. A journalist shield law is (should be) only necessary to protect journalists from things not already forbidden by the constitution.

    I hate the idea that freedom of the press somehow applies only or especially to journalists. If you publish anything by any means, you are part of "the press".

  • Mickey Rat||

    It is not, except that the Left does not admit to understanding the etymology of words and now publicly thinks "the press" means the profession of journalism and not the instrumentality of a printing press (or functional equivalent).

  • ||

    Its easy to think of Thomas Paine as a member of the press, but shortly after immigrating here, he printed Common Sense and its not as though the act of printing bestowed upon him his right to the 1st amendment protection, he had it before he ever put paper to pen.

    He wasn't working for a paper or anything, so he's example A for me anytime someone starts spouting off about the need to define exactly what a journalists is.

    I say fuck off, its an individual right, so if the individual thinks himself engaging in press then there isn't shit you can do about it, slaver!

  • ant1sthenes||

    It's a key part of fascism, though. The state must be the institution that assigns all privilege, and as much as possible, rights must be converted into privileges for the state to dole out or withhold in accordance with its benefit.

    Thus, political speech must be heavily restricted, except to journalists. Journalists must be granted special privileges to enhance their own sense of self-importance and establishment buy-in. Inconvenient reporters may not become unpersons, but they become unjournalists.

    Similarly, gun rights must be restricted to state officers and loyalists, and religious freedoms must be restricted to a professional caste of priests who are recognized by the state and granted privilege like tax exemption, in exchange for a requirement that they not use their moral authority to harm the legitimacy of the state.

  • Ron||

    I think the journalist will like some form of regulations because with that they get two points.
    1. They can regulate FOX off the air and anybody else they don't like like Rush.
    2. They can claim "if they can regulate the 1st amendment then they can surely regulate the 2nd and any other amendment they chose to screw over.

    They know this will hurt them a little but they can hurt others more, that is until they are the only ones left to be hurt. then they to will be "rounded up" and regulated out of business.

  • Overt||

    It also gives them legitimacy.

    "See, I qualify as a journalist. The state said so. And I qualify for certain protections, because I am special and trained and A PROFESSIONAL. Not like those Bloggers over there."

    I went on a long thread with some asshole who insisted that he should be given special protections, while bloggers shouldn't because he is a professional who has "Standards".

    Make no mistake- by fighting for protections for themselves, they are really fighting to persecute others who might compete with or undermine them.

  • Mickey Rat||

    It shows how debased the Democrat's understanding of what civil liberties are. Whenever a Reason writer claims that the Dems are good on "civil liberties", this quote of Durbin's should be brought up. This cramped, restrictive understanding of free speech is what Democrat's respect for civil liberties amounts to.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    In a just world, that statement would doom Durbin's political career permanently.

  • fearsomepirate||

    Yeah, I don't get Reason attempts to equalize Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans are wrong about a lot of things. The Democrats are outright Marxists/socialists. The fact that Democrats are cool with dudes having buttsex doesn't really change that.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I thought journalists forfeited all that the other day.

  • ||

    Unspoken in that question is a nice reveal. The "constitutional protection" people enjoy is protection from their own government. Gee, Dick, could you make it more obvious that you believe some animals are more equal than others?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Dick is just protecting us from the amateurs and the astroturfers. He's fighting the good fight for the welfare of our puny little minds that cannot hope to comprehend the lies and misinformation that constantly pervade our media.

  • Barry Zuckerkorn||

    David Harsanyi's ______________ on Obama's Hostility to Free Speech

    Harsanyi's what? His intern? His cleaning lady? What?

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    His size 14 alligator boots?

  • freeAgent||

    We know it's someone who works for Fox or AP, but does it include a blogger? Does it include someone who's tweeting? Are these people journalists and entitled to constitutional protection?

    Did Senator Durbin seriously question whether citizens are entitled to act as members of the press without government permission and ask if they're entitled to constitutional protection? Yes. Yes, he did.

  • sarcasmic||

    Well, the 1A clearly states that the people must ask permission before being granted their "freedom" of speech, and then face consequences if those in power do not approve of the content.

  • Sevo||

    "Yes. Yes, he did."
    I presume the esteemed senator represents the P-trap under someone's toilet.

  • Bobarian||

    False...

    A P-trap serves a useful function.

    It stops your house from smelling like shit.

    Dick Durbin could only make my house smell like shit and sadness.

  • Pro Libertate||

    There is ample law on this. In reality, the freedom of the press is not a separate right from the freedom of speech. We each have it.

  • ||

    The Stossel article about gas prices and oil companies is a perfect illustration of Obama's SOP.

    Oil companies make 7c per gallon of gasoline sold.
    Government takes 27c in taxes per gallon of gasoline sold.

    When gas prices spiked Obama called for investigations into oil company practices, all the while stymieing every effort the oil companies made to increase supply.

    Mendacity with a heavy dose of malice.

    I suggest placing next to this definition in the dictionary ; Tin-pot dictator - An autocratic ruler with little political credibility, but with self-delusions of grandeur., a picture of captain shitweasel .

  • John||

    You forgot, pathetic cult following as part of the description.

  • Sevo||

    In SF, the gas prices are always the highest or nearly so in the nation.
    First, land is really pricy, and the government does what it can to make it more so. Then the people working the station are 'entitled' to a 'living wage', plus 'free' health care, plus X days family leave, etc. And then the 'safety' regs are probably worse than any place else.
    So when prices spiked a bit earlier this spring, the local politicos were all atwitter with plans to "investigate" why SF gas prices were so high. That didn't get far; maybe someone pointed out the tax burden on the stuff and the politicos decided that was bad enough to cause embarrassment.

  • Floridian||

    For all the talk about the President having a mandate from the majority, they sure do fear a little dissent.

  • Killazontherun||

    Dang. I was hoping these scandals had some traction as the mainstream media shows signs of interest, but I see Republicans are already embracing a siege mentality.

    There is this: lack the explosive drama of a Watergate

    Are you fucking kidding me. The Justice Department goes after a reporter on the basis of being a 'co-conspirator' for doing his job, and you can't make a Watergate out of that? Are you amateurs or something.

    Then the Alinksi references. Jeez, that's like a sectarian greeting at the clubhouse if there ever was one.

    'The others will never understand us, Brother Bob.' 'No they wont, Brother Harold. It is our duty to carry the burden of truth.'

    Show some goddamned confidence and get out there and fight. And stop being weird about it.

  • John||

    You don't understand how Washington works. There are three key pieces to Washington, the two parties and the media. You have to get two of the three to buy in on a story or it goes nowhere, I don't care how serious it is. As long as the Democrats stick together, their allies in the media can portray the whole thing as a partisan fight and people will not take it seriously.

    That is what is happening now. Read the MSM stories on this. They are always horse race stories about how Republicans are going after Dems with this "scandal". They reduce it from a scandal to a political talking point. Unless and until a few Democrats get really serious about this, preventing the media from writing about it as a horse race story or the media gets serious and starts writing about it as a scandal and an outrage, the story will never be serious.

  • sarcasmic||

    A story is only serious if the Democrats say it's serious.

  • Killazontherun||

    That's the point. You even got an advantage in the horse race that is rare for your side. This isn't some addled donkey pulled out of a show in Tijuana. You are riding on top of Secretariat here.

  • John||

    This is very damaging to the Dems' prospects in 2014. No question about that. But that doesn't mean the country is going to get behind cleaning house and impeaching people and stuff. That would require the media taking the story seriously.

  • Killazontherun||

    Holder is exactly where you want him. I would have paid him money to do the things he did. Sign off on it, and shop for a judge. When I read the last bit, I jumped up and yelped a 'Yes! The dumbass actually did it!'

    And it is playing out on cue. Even the NYT refused to meet with him.

    This is not the time to be showing a lack of confidence and mumbling amongst yourselves in Republican speak.

  • John||

    We will see. They are not giving up. And the stories are not going away. I think the dam will break after the 2014 midterms. If the Dems really get spanked, the Dems will turn on Obama as the only way to distance themselves from him in 2016. When that happens, he is done.

  • AuH20||

    The enthusiasm gap this could produce in 2014 would be fucking epic.

    I think that is why the press stuff is the biggest scandal, because it depresses liberals and hurts their image of themselves. Tea Party groups are nuts and don't deserve tax exemptions, and Benghazi is just some Republican attempt to make political hay out of a national tragedy, but going after journalists? The same noble journalists who took down the dreaded Richard Nixon and were always willing to tell the truth about how evil Bush was?

    Jeez, man, it would be one thing if it was just a Faux News "journalist" but they went after the AP and the NYT.

    Seriously, expect a lot of liberals to stay home on election day if that thing drags on into early 2014.

  • AuH20||

    Well, John, if they actually wrote stories that caused a house cleaning, they might get kooky people with non-traditional views who don't put TEAM above all else. And the establishment media doesn't feel like writing that story.

    Its not even a purely TEAM BLUE thing. If some ultra-liberal challenged Pelosi or Frank, they would ignore that person as well, because they hate anyone who dares challenge the bipartisan welfare-warfare state.

  • Pro Libertate||

    To be sure, Watergate didn't happen overnight. There's some point where this is enough blood in the water that the sharks begin a feeding frenzy. Right now, they're just bumping their prey.

  • John||

    Watergate would have never brought down Nixon had the Republicans not decided that it was no longer worth defending him. It was Republicans who went to Nixon and said he should resign.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yep. They saw enough to turn on him. Part of that was fear of political fallout, but part of it was that they thought he was a scumbag, even by DC standards.

    I don't see the Democrats doing the same except for reason number one, if it comes to that. They'll back their guy no matter what so long as they don't think the public will turn on them.

  • John||

    See above. In order for this to really damage Obama, the Dems have to get killed in 2014. If that happens, the Dems will turn on him.

  • Barry Zuckerkorn||

    I seem to recall someone else playing a role bringing Watergate to forefront of people's minds. There were these guys who investigated stuff and then published what they found out, even though the government didn't like it. I forget what they were called. Would be nice to have something like that now.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Ah, yes, you refer to the ancient profession of journalism, which involved some sort of daily reporting of facts to large audiences. Once common in the United States, it was abandoned for something else long ago.

  • Ron||

    and didn't those same journalist use a leaker, a whistle blower. You know the same type of people that the DOJ is trying to go after journalist for today, why would they do such a thing unless they have something to hide.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Who was that, Deep Gloat? Deep Moat?

  • John||

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.c.....low-559923

    Meanwhile MSBNC's ratings are in collapse. It is almost like government propaganda is really boring and doesn't do well in the market or something.

  • Floridian||

    Good, Good. (Rubs hands together)

  • Tony||

    You are Bill O'Reilly's loofah.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 5.30.13 @ 12:29PM |#
    "You are Bill O'Reilly's loofah."

    This from Obozo's toilet tissue.

  • John||

    Yeah Tony, everyone who disagrees with you watches Bill O'Reilly and other scary people.

  • Mike M.||

    And you are Paul Krugman's sockpuppet.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Tony, I would think you of all people would know that the key to alleviating yourself of butthurt is more lube.

  • Ben the Duck||

    You are Bill O'Reilly's loofah.

    ... said Obama's jizz jar.

  • ||

    Tony's ratio of ad hominems is unusually high today. That, and I haven't seen much of him around since, oh, the Obama scandals started hitting the news. He was on full force with the "only right wing lunatics (including Maureen Dowd) have a problem with Benghazi", but then, by the time the DOJ scandal and the IRS scandal hit almost simultaneously, he was gone.

    Now, he's back, and ready to troll.

    It's been a rough few weeks for Tony. Try to cut him some slack.

  • Tony||

    I was on vacation.

  • ||

    Weren't we all?

  • sarcasmic||

    Nah. It just means that the bitter clingers are so stupid that they believe oil money funded Faux News. It's not MSNBC's or the government's fault. It's Big Oil and the Koch brothers.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    False Kochciousness

  • ||

    Who?

  • ||

    Roger Clemens

  • Doctor Whom||

    It's a clear example of market failure.

  • Raston Bot||

    Monthly YoY:

    Total Day
    FNC: 1,246,000 total viewers, up 24 percent (236,000 in 25-54, down 5 percent)
    CNN: 465,000 total viewers, up 61 percent (161,000 in 25-54, up 92 percent)
    MSNBC: 346,000 total viewers, down 10 percent (115,000 in 25-54, down 7 percent)
    HLN: 494,000 total viewers, up 111 percent (175,000 in 25-54, up 90 percent)

    Primetime
    FNC: 1,973,000 total viewers, up 17 percent (308,000 in 25-54, down 6 percent)
    CNN: 660,000 total viewers, up 70 percent (225,000 in 25-54, up 97 percent)
    MSNBC: 539,000 total viewers, down 20 percent (175,000 in 25-54, down 19 percent)
    HLN: 624,000 total viewers, up 91 percent (209,000 in 25-54, up 97 percent)

    Good grief, did CNN just stop broadcasting in May 2012?

  • Raston Bot||

    Also, why is the data displayed that way w/ MSNBC placed above HLN when HLN had higher numbers?

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    What's double extra sad for them is how many people (like me) watch MSNBC just to hate on it. I'll bet it is a non-trivial % of their veiwership. I need to start actually watching the commercials too so I can know what products to avoid, when convenient.

  • Killazontherun||

    Heh, reminds me. My nephew would sit down and watch Gray's Anatomy with my wife. He hates it even more than I do but he would do it just to have something to bitch about. When I let him know I wasn't going to subject myself to second hand accounts of his self inflicted suffering, he stopped watching it.

  • John Galt||

    The Clinton's "peccadilloes" certainly were entertaining. Well, except for a few dozen serious crimes like the massacre of dozens of women and children at the Waco siege. Otherwise it was just fap-fap-fap squirt-squirt rape-rape. Yeah, great entertainment value.

  • Tony||

    The unprecedented targeting of conservatives

    But only because they are conservatives. Political targeting, or attempts at it, using the IRS is hardly unprecedented.

    "I want to be sure," said Richard Nixon of the IRS head, that he is "ruthless," and "that he will do what he’s told, that he will go after our enemies and not go after our friends."

    The IRS only pushed back, of course, because it was "full of Jews."

  • Floridian||

    Up next... A pig that refuses to eat Jews.

  • sarcasmic||

    It's like the fountain at the Bellagio except it's derp instead of water.

  • Lord Humungus||

    Derpater?

  • John||

    Tony,

    If your only defense of Obama is that he was only as bad as Nixon, I don't think that defense means quite what you think it does.

    Yes, Nixon did this. And because of that, he was one of the most corrupt Presidents in history.

  • sarcasmic||

    I didn't think of it that way.

    "It's OK because Nixon did it first, and he was a Republican!"

    Derpaliscious!

  • John Galt||

    "Derpalicious" I'm stealing this word.

  • Tony||

    I fail to see what Obama has to do with this.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 5.30.13 @ 12:37PM |#
    "I fail to see what Obama has to do with this."

    Shithead, you misspelled "refuse".

  • John Galt||

    Tony: Nixon did it, too.

    Human: So?

    Tony: Nixon did it, too. Mmm, ..derpaliscious!

  • Tony||

    Nixon "did it." Obama hasn't done anything as far as you know.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 5.30.13 @ 12:53PM |#
    "Nixon "did it." Obama hasn't done anything as far as you know."

    Of course not, shithead. He's just in charge, so there's no reason to presume he's in charge, is there, shithead?

  • Irish||

    All Obama's done is continue to defend Holder, an individual largely at fault for Fast and Furious and multiple instances of press intimidation and surveillance.

    Don't you think defending the perpetrator of these crimes and refusing to hold him accountable makes Obama culpable? At the very least Obama is enabling press coercion and the sale of firearms to drug cartels.

    So tell me, Tony. If I shield a criminal from justice, will the cops be okay with that since I didn't actually commit the original crime? Or will they hold me accountable as an accessory to the crime?

  • John Galt||

    You're right, the perfect little angel is completely innocent. It's just very unfortunate he's appointed criminal minds who are forever acting on their own throughout the federal government. Nothing he can do about it. It's derpaliscious!

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Tony is defending President Know-Nothing's know-nothingness as a virtue.

    He is too good to stay abreast of the sinful affairs of his Executive Branch.

  • John Galt||

    People seem to forget there was another president, also a Democrat, who used the IRS as a weapon against those not sympathetic to his party. Bill Clinton.

  • Jordan||

    Hell, it started with FDR.

  • John Galt||

    That, I was unaware of. It's not surprising, though.

    Once Federal Law Enforcement had discovered the IRS could be used as a weapon against "mobsters" it reasonable to expect it would only be a matter of time before they'd use it against their political rivals.

  • PapayaSF||

    But from what I can see, Nixon did a lot less than Obama has done. Nixon just had some people audited, IIRC. Obama's administration has done that, plus road-blocked conservative non-profits, leaked confidential IRS documents, and sicced the FBI, the ATF, and OSHA on opponents.

  • Tony||

    Auditing of political opponents is worse than targeting tax-exempt applications for scrutiny. Why couldn't the Tea Party groups, which are probably all mostly political outfits anyway, just not apply? It's not like it's required.

  • PapayaSF||

    You misread what I wrote. Obama has also had opponents audited.

    Your second and third sentences make no sense: they did apply for 501 status, like many political groups. (E.g. Ms. magazine has had 501 status for decades and they are certainly as political as any Tea Party group.)

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 5.30.13 @ 12:28PM |#
    "But only because they are conservatives. Political targeting, or attempts at it, using the IRS is hardly unprecedented."

    Hey, shithead, need a pretty long arm to grasp at that straw, don't you?

  • Pro Libertate||

    "[B]ut for those who are less obsessed with the political consequences and more troubled by constitutional fallout. . . ."

  • Doctor Whom||

    Wow, it's a tu quoque directed at Team Red. That's bound to change people's minds here.

  • Sevo||

    I'll say!
    Nixon is certainly considered a hero of freedom and classical econ in these parts!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Not to mention that Republicans don't exactly hold him up as the pinnacle of conservatism.

  • tarran||

    In Tony's defense, Ayn Rand did endorse Nixon, and a lot of progressives think she was a libertarian.

  • Tony||

    I think Nixon was one of the better presidents of the second half of the 20th century, despite being a corrupt racist.

  • ||

    That's some excellent judgement you've got there.

    Afterall Nixon did setup some very successful price controls, so I can see why you'd be apt to praise him.

  • Inigo M.||

    Nixon launched "wage and price control" and also took the dollar off the gold standard.

    To call Nixon a conservative, at least in the way we understand the term to apply to economic issues, makes almost no sense.

    For that matter, even Bush 43, who the left absolutely hated for his so-called conservatism, was hardly conservative. Other than the Bush tax cuts, I don't recall anything about his economic policies that encouraged smaller government. Between his huge expansion of Medicare, the policies he pushed in reaction to 9-11, the No Child Left Behind expansion of federal gov't into education he crafted together with Ted Kennedy, and his support of TARP, his policies were anything but conservative. Other than the wars, which I would argue are more neocon that traditional conservative, he actually did a lot of stuff that liberals would ordinarily LOVE. It's little wonder that his successor has kept many of those policies in place.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 5.30.13 @ 12:53PM |#
    "I think Nixon was one of the better presidents of the second half of the 20th century,..."

    Of course you do; you're an ignoramus.

  • Mickey Rat||

    No, well yes, but that's not the reason. Nixon was on Tony's side of most issues. Of course, people like Tony would never admit that while Nixon held office. He was hated for being anti-Communist, not a conservative.

  • Sevo||

    "Nixon was on Tony's side of most issues"

    Exactly.

  • John Galt||

    [bangs head on wall]

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    what do you mean "despite"?

  • Seamus||

    Racist? Really? The guy who, as vice president, cast the tiebreaking vote to defeat an amendment to the Civil Rights Bill of 1957 that would have required jury trials on charges of contempt of court arising out of violations of court orders against voter intimidation or interference with the right to vote in federal elections (with the consequence that convictions in Southern states would be few and far between)? The president who issued an executive order requiring affirmative action in hiring by federal agencies? Whose Philadelphia Plan (and similar "hometown plans" for other cities) used government contracting as a tool to break racial discrimination by labor unions in the construction and building trades? Which pushed for desegregation of public schools in the South (so that only 8% of black children in the South attended all-black schools by 1974, even though 68% did in 1968, before Nixon took office)?

    No argument on the "corrupt" part, though.

  • Jordan||

    The president who issued an executive order requiring affirmative action in hiring by federal agencies?

    Well, affirmative action is a racist policy.

  • Inigo M.||

    Is it? I think a modern liberal will argue that only minorities can be victims of racism and never the other way around. Racism only works one way, in other words. If the KKK targets blacks, that's racist, of course. But if the Black Panthers target some whites, that's NOT racist. (They'd probably label it as seeking justice or something.)

    Even blacks and Latinos can only be victims of racism when they are ideologically pure. If they are not, then they are "part of the problem" and are fair game. That's why it's perfectly okay for a white to criticize Clarence Thomas or Bush's Attorney General Gonzales without being considered racist.

  • Irish||

    But only because they are conservatives. Political targeting, or attempts at it, using the IRS is hardly unprecedented.

    You're right. It was started by FDR.

  • Ron||

    thanks for the quote Tony because that is in line with what Obama said when he said "We will punish our enemies", when talking about republicans

  • Tony||

    They deserved to be punished for what they've done, and continue to do, to my country.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 5.30.13 @ 5:21PM |#
    "They deserved to be punished for what they've done, and continue to do, to my country."

    Lies, shithead.

  • loritiggs775||

    my neighbor's step-sister makes $84 an hour on the computer. She has been out of work for five months but last month her pay check was $17822 just working on the computer for a few hours. Here's the site to read more http://www.Taz1.com

  • Raston Bot||

    You know the difference between your neighbor's step-sister and a washing machine? After I drop a load in the washing machine, it doesn't follow me around for three days.

    /Cam Brady

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious.

  • AlexInCT||

    Is that link safe for work? I am assuming it's your neigbor's sister's porn camera web site, right? What's her shtick? I am into feet, or sumthing...

  • ||

    OT: Venezuela's New Labour Law: The Best Mother's Day Gift

    Progressives around the world looking for ways to advance gender rights still have much to learn from Venezuela's continuing social revolution.

    https://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/05/17-3

  • General Butt Naked||

    Venezuela has the lowest rate of inequality in Latin America.

    I guess everybody being poor has one benefit: 1st world, progressive ignoramuses will laud you in their blogs. Go Venezuela!

  • AuH20||

    Full-time mothers will now be able to collect a pension.

    They have a pension: it's called their child. Raise the little shit right and make them not hate you, and that should be all the pension you need.

  • ||

    Why do you hate women so much?

  • Bobarian||

    He is the Audie Murphy in the War on Womenz!

  • AuH20||

    Holy fuck, one of the comments is defending Russian Communism and talking about how the Russian Communist Party is now the third biggest because millions recognize how much better they were under the Soviet system.

    When the aliens arrive, take one look, and nuke us from orbit, just remember: We probably as a species deserved it for not eliminating such idiocy ourselves.

  • AuH20||

    Actually, the whole article and the comments are hilarious to read when you remember that in Venezuela crime is rampant and toilet paper is sold on the black market. To see Chavez's cock being sucked under those conditions is... well, if you don't laugh, you'll cry.

  • Floridian||

    At first I allowed that the president may not have had anything to do with the IRS so-called scandal. I thought it was plausible that people who sign up for a big government ob would see anti-government groups as a threat to their living and targeting them as an act of self defense. But this thing keeps going higher up and now the two options are that president Obama is not in control of the executive or his is directly involved. Neither option is comforting.

  • John||

    The head of the IRS visited the White House one time in the 8 years of Bush II. He visited the Obama White House 179 times in less than five years. What exactly was he doing there if not receiving instructions on how to target political opponents?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I was really taken aback when I heard that. Has it been confirmed? I have to say, I can't think of a good reason for that many visits. I can think of some bad reasons, though.

  • John||

    I believe it has. And remember, Obama had no idea what was going on in the IRS even thought the head of the IRS visited the White House nearly once a week for four years.

  • Overt||

    Not necessarily discounting that Obama was doing something bad, but the Healthcare law had A LOT to do with IRS (they were calling for thousands of new agents to enforce it). This could be a reason for many of the visits. It would be interesting to see when the visits happened and what legislation/proposals from the whitehouse were pending.

  • Floridian||

    Neat. Who tracks this kind of stuff anyways? I guess everybody signs a guest registry when the visit the White House or something.

  • John||

    Yup. And the registry is subject to FOIA. So someone FOIAed the records and did up a count.

  • Tony||

    Furthermore, when did you stop beating your spouse?

    Could be that Bush simply had the same level of interest in the IRS as he did counterterrorism before 9/11.

  • Floridian||

    So you are saying that Citizen's United is the same as a terrorist attack? I just want to see if I got the point you are trying to make correct.

  • Pro Libertate||

    He's just a sockpuppet trying to get a response. You're supposed to say Bush was only in office for seven months, argue that this is about the current situation, etc.

  • Floridian||

    Got it. Thanks for the pro tip. I really do like reading Tony's post. I know others tire of him but I like to hear counter view points to my own. I think it is good to challenge your own belief system. Not that he has changed my mind on anything yet but I like to keep an open mind.

  • Tony||

    I don't really have a point, but if I did it would be "John, your flights of paranoid fantasy are counterproductive to your goal of tearing down the Obama administration for the purpose of petty partisan points scoring. Learn to edit!" Good advice in general, I'd say.

  • Floridian||

    Ok. I guess I saw a link where you weren't trying to make one.

  • John||

    The IRS commissioner has never visited the White House that many times. There is no reason for him to. He is two levels below the President. No Treasury Secretary in the past would have allowed such a thing.

    When you put that figure together with the corruption and the fact that we now know that higher ups in the IRS knew about it and supported it (so much for the lie you were peddling last week about this just being a few rogue employees) and the situation is obvious. The White House had a huge interest in the IRS and didn't want to involve the Treasury. They wanted to talk directly to the commissioner and talk to him frequently. Why was that?

    The only plausible explanation is that the IRS was a part of the overall political strategy. What do you think he was doing there Tony? Discussing the flat tax? Doing Valerie Jerrett's taxes?

  • Floridian||

    I heard him say something about an Easter egg hunt, so that covers 5 days at least over the last 5 years.

  • ||

    It could have been Obama Care related. Were the visits clustered in a certain timeframe?

  • John||

    Could have, except that Obamacare was written in Congress and is being implemented by HHS.

  • ||

    Ninja, please. You think Obama sat passively on the sidelines while all this happened?

  • Tony||

    I don't know John, why don't you assume the worst with absolutely no evidence?

  • Lord Humungus||

  • Fool||

    "I don't really have a point"

    You've never spoke more truthfully.

  • Bobarian||

    "I don't really have a point"

    Other than the one on the top of his head.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 5.30.13 @ 1:11PM |#
    "Could be that Bush simply had the same level of interest in the IRS as he did counterterrorism before 9/11."

    Could it be that you're a purple unicorn, shithead?

  • tarran||

    He isn't in control of the executive.

    The guy came into power with no power base other than the movement that eventually became Campaign For America (ironically, a 501(c)(4) :) ).

    It's really apparent to me that he essentially gave different factions carte blanche to loot and pillage so long as they didn't get him in trouble. It works in the short term, but in the long term inevitably leads to an unholy mess.

  • John||

    If you look at Obama and think of every thing he has done in terms of looting the government to pay off his supporters, every thing makes perfect sense. Obama is a Chicago politician. And this is how Chicago politics works.

  • AuH20||

    It really, really, scarily correlates. It explains why he didn't go after the bankers, the birth control mandate from the HHS, the green jobs debacle, etc.

    In fact, the only group he hasn't given money from the government too who supported him are black people, who are doing much worse economically. But I guess he is paying any number of them off by being black and the President.

    I guess this will be another depressing chapter in the insanely sad history of black America.

  • John||

    The first black President will have spent 8 years paying off connected white supporters.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Of course this goes up to him. Think about it, if Obama were innocent of all of this and found out that these bad things were going on under his nose, what would his reaction be? To protect those that are getting him into trouble? Hardly. We'd be seeing firings and investigations galore.

    Instead, we're seeing multiple cover-ups. Everyone, even the partisan supporters, know that much of this goes up to him. The big question is whether that can be proved, but the circumstances make his involvement quite likely.

  • AuH20||

    Yeah, you don't go, "I heard it the same as you guys- on the news."

    You go, "Yeah, this is the first I'm hearing of it, and frankly, I'm really angry and you can bet some heads are going to roll over this."

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's amazing how unprincipled politicians are and how much we tolerate their bad behavior. If I were president and something like this happened, I'd turn the administration upside down, firing everyone even tangentially involved and running massive internal investigations, while abjectly apologizing to the American people and throwing open the door to the media.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Oh we know you would use your powers to torment Epi with SWAT raids and IRS audits, you can't fool us.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Look, one little abuse of power while otherwise being a wonderfully libertarian president--is that too much to ask?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I suppose some things can be forgiven, but you leave Warty alone. (for the safety of all of us)

  • Pro Libertate||

    Just who do you think will be wielding joint SWAT/audit powers?

  • John Galt||

    Those would appear to be the only two possible logical conclusions.

    And when we learn the IRS official who was in charge of targeting Obama's political rivals was punished with $103,390 performance bonus, and a huge job promotion to overseer of the entire Obamacare operation, it becomes very difficult to continue to believe the trail does not necessarily lead to the very top.

  • Floridian||

    I agree. I just hate to jump on a band wagon without holding on to a large dose of skepticism. I think it comes from years of trying to see through propaganda in the public school system and media.

  • ||

    It's as though the rabbit hole convulsed, and belched out an effluvia of assholes.

    Fortunately, Tony assures me that the smell is merely a petty nuisance, and not in any way indicative of other rot down there.

  • John||

    OT

    FBI ran child porn ring that included distributing pictures and instructions on how to lure kids in an attempt to arrest customers. I have always said that the theory that a child is victimized every time someone looks at a piece of child porn is a total legal fiction. And the FBI has just shown that they agree.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Insta.....Pedophiles

  • Lord Humungus||

    what it on 4chan?

  • Lord Humungus||

    *what = was

  • Rich||

    Court records indicate investigators hoped to trace customers and were unable to do so through traditional means.

    "Traditional" meaning "legal"?

    Seems like yet another so-called scandal.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I fail to see what Obama has to do with this.

    *feigns surprise*

  • John||

    These stories are doing a lot of damage. The thing to remember is that the brain dead followers like Tony and Shreek are only about 35 or 40% of voters. The rest of the 52 or so percent who voted for Obama are what I like to call low information brand voters. They like to vote Democrat because it makes them feel good. It makes them feel smart and tolerant. All of these scandals take away the feel good factor. And that causes the low information voter to lose interest and stay home or in some cases vote for the other party to express their concern over this. Meanwhile, it fires up the true believing R base, a good number of whom stayed home in 08 and 12 but came out in 2010. Put those two factors together and it is a disaster for Dems.

  • Rich||

    They like to vote Democrat because it makes them feel good. It makes them feel smart and tolerant.

    What does it take to start making them feel dirty, stupid, and used?

  • John Galt||

    That's what selective memory is for. "Feel good" is all that's important and nothing's going to get in the way of that. Especially the truth.

  • John||

    But they also find other ways to feel good and stay home. If supporting Obama becomes uncool or embarrassing and not a good cultural signaler, they find another one.

  • John Galt||

    And, unfortunately, living a life built upon lies isn't the best prescription for sound mental health. The charade goes on, and on. And those playing get nuttier and nuttier.

  • John||

    IN some ways yes. That is how communists and fascists get people to remain loyal to them despite horrific crimes. Once the Nazis started doing horrible things, their German supporters couldn't renounce them without admitting to themselves and the world they bore at least some responsibility for the crimes. Few people have the courage to do that. So instead they chose to believe the camps were not death camps and Hitler was doing the best he could.

  • John||

    Obama using the FBI and IRS to spy on his enemies is likely to make them feel that way.

  • AuH20||

    I believe they are caught in what is known as a "roofie cycle."

  • Homple||

    Durbin's remarks just reminded me how much I hate Illinois Nazis.

  • John Galt||

    After spending some time in Illinois, it became obvious that many of the state's residents, not living within the state's festered anus of Chicago, actually despise their state's anus for forcing it's Nazism down their throats.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I think Nixon was one of the better presidents of the second half of the 20th century, despite being a corrupt racist.

    "Despite"?

    I would have thought it would be "because".

  • Sevo||

    Shithead misspells quite a few words.

  • ||

    The unprecedented targeting of conservatives wasn't incidental to this administration as much as it was an intuitive extension of the paranoia the left has about unfettered political expression.

    This is very true. The left has a long-standing preoccupation with manipulating political debates via framing (see George Lakoff) and political correctness. The strategy isn't really putting the facts out there or engaging in rational dialogue, it's controlling the narrative and controlling social norms so as to suppress undesirable ideas. When you're primary strategy for "winning" a debate is to make it socially unacceptable to express certain views, then the more people publicly expressing those views there are, the more danger there is of them not being considered unacceptable. It's really all about shutting people up so that there appears to be no dissent on a subject, so you can claim the remaining dissenters are outside the mainstream.

  • Paul.||

    Does it include someone who's tweeting? Are these people journalists and entitled to constitutional protection?"

    I didn't realize only some of us were afforded constitutional protection. Good to know.

  • Sam Grove||

    The left has always been this way about speech (no doubt the right is also so inclined) they support free speech as long as they think it will get them into positions of power. Once they get there, everybody else better shut up.

  • Zeb||

    Most people have always been this way about speech. Adams signed the Alien and Sedition acts while the ink on the 1st amendment was still wet.

  • suibne Geilt||

    free speech? why aren't going after Disqus, Google, Facebook.....they are the one's undermining the very process of free speech without so much of a whisper. Or is that a Libertarian business liberty they are exersizing?

  • buybuydandavis||

    "it was an intuitive extension of the paranoia the left has about unfettered political expression."

    They're not paranoid, they're just opposed to any dissent to the Progressive Theocracy, and will stop it by any means necessary.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement