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June 20, 2005

Threats and Intimidation

-- by Dave Johnson

All of us have wondered why "Democrats have no spine" or are "cowardly" or "won't stand up for what they believe." Well, it has occurred to me that we haven't really paid attention to the price people pay when they DO. If you look at what has happened in the past, very few Democratic leaders have been supported when the Right attacks them. How many stood behind Carter? Dukakis? Clinton?

In response to Dick Durbin's courageous and honest remarks criticizing the Bush administration's policy of torturing prisoners, the right is making it very clear what happens to those who speak out. Remember, Senator Durbin's "crime" was to read an FBI account of torture at Guantanamo, and ask if we didn't already know it was our own what government who we would imagine was responsible.

Google already has 17,600 hits for websites with "Durbin" and "treason". If you want to swim in the slime, go look at some of them. Don't forget that "treason" is a crime punishable by death.

Dick Durbin - Liberal's Gift To Treason

Dick Durbin…some call it treason

Dick Durbin Treads the Treason Road

Sites with names like "Republican Voices" write things like,

Worse, it flirts on the level of treason, as Durbin’s remarks have gotten much airplay in the Arab world, giving much aid and comfort to our enemies.

The right-wing press is whipping them up as best they can:

WorldNetDaily: Democrat senator: U.S. troops 'Nazis'

NewsMax: Sen. Durbin: Gitmo GIs Behaved Like 'Nazis' and Coddling the Enemy

Chicago Sun-Times: Durbin slanders his own country

Washington Times: "Durbin calls Gitmo Death Camp", which they changed to Gitmo called death camp

So what's the point? Where are they trying to take their "base' with this? How do they want people to respond to those who commit "treason?" Orcinus caught this one from a host on Seattle's KVI:

This man is simply a piece of excrement, a piece of waste that needs to be scraped off the sidewalk and eliminated.
"Eliminated." The talk-show host tells his listeners that a U.S. Senator should be "eliminated."

I've said that when you want to know what message the Right is putting out, take a look at the message their audience is receiving. Listen to the callers on right-wing radio and read some of the comments they are leaving at blogs and forums. Like this:

I polled a small group of people today and ask what should happen to "Turbin Durbin". Eight of the ten said to hang him and do it quick. The remainder had a funny look on their faces. When ask what was wrong, they replied 'don't you know that most of the rope available today is made in China and is or such poor quality it would probably break' Their idea was to shoot him with ammo made in Il. Somehow i have to agree with the firing squad, and hope some are poor shots and it takes a long time to die.
Watch your backs.

Posted by Dave Johnson at June 20, 2005 8:24 PM

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Comments

The vast majority of those people are of course little boys who think talking like that will make their penis bigger.

They will fold when they encounter a strong adult who tells them they're going to get spanked if they don't cut it out.

But the Democrat party is hardly ever going to play that role. Nearly all of them are in the pockets of the elites and don't want to scare their benefactors (a spine against fascist kiddies might turn into a spine against real corporate enemies after all!)

Posted by: richard at June 20, 2005 8:45 PM

"showing spine" means "time to censure" to the neocons

Posted by: jr at June 21, 2005 1:34 AM

Spousal abuse works this way too. Beat your wife enough and maybe she'll learn to have your supper ready on time, iron your shirts, and anticipate your every need with a fervent desire to get it right.

On a larger (population vs. individual) scale, Naomi Klien argues that torture works because the point isn't the individual being tortured but the larger impact that torture has on the population being intimidated/influenced.

Coming back to Democrats: if you politically crush and pound every Democrat that strays one iota from the official line, the rest learn where the line is and stay behind it or pay the price.

Speaking of price, what price Democracy? It doesn't help that Democrats - as a party - have sold out democracy just as much as Republicans. Tom Daschle's move to K-Street for an exemplar.

Posted by: Michael Miller at June 21, 2005 5:30 AM

This is typical Straussian policy. Years ago, while Leo Strauss was still at the U. of Chicago, his students set up Truth Squads that went into the classrooms of other professors to bully and intimidate them and their students, demanding that they teach the Straussian party line, remove books they didn't like from their reading lists, and that they include the books they approved of. They're still doing this in the universities, using another name, and everybody's still intimidated.

I don't think this makes very good government policy, but it IS government policy. Bully, terrorize, and intimidate anyone who steps outside the Straussian, i.e. neoconservative, party line. Destroy them beyond redemption. The government is unbelievably loaded with Straussians, they were educated to do this, and nobody seems to know where this is coming from. It's not just the government that's now loaded to the brim with former students of Strauss and his students and followers; so are university philosophy and political science departments and the right wing think tanks. They're the government policy makers. The more we learn about this, the better off we'll be. They function like a cult.

Posted by: MJ at June 21, 2005 6:05 AM

Democrats too often do take criticism and try to act by taking things back or denouncing the speaker. Republicans never apologize for anything, nor do they criticize their own. They attack the messenger. And then the messenger gets attacked from all sides, and the original message of misdeed is buried under the fallen messenger. Some day things might get straightened out, but for now, "kill the messenger" is the only thing that seems to be working -- from Dan Rather to Dick Durbin and many others, the list is long.

Posted by: zhoward at June 22, 2005 11:05 AM

And that is exactly the problem with the Democrats. Instead of acting like a pack of wild dogs and attacking a wounded comrad, they would do better to support their fellow Democrat and attack the Republicans. The Republicans are doing this quite successfully. They accept no responsibility for wrong doing, attack anyone who disagrees with them or brings out a truth they want hidden and they stick together and support each other even when that person is dead wrong. Now look at the Democrats. If there is a Democrat who has the courage to speak out they face attack, not only from the Republicans but also from their fellow Democrats. So the Democrats are just as responsible for keeping the silence as the Republicans. In fact, the Republicans have found more support from the Democrats than the outspoken few Democrats have found within their own party. It's time to clean house. Nex election we need, not only to get rid of the "ridiculous right" but also the "larcenous left" and vote in Democrats that will uphold the values of the party, support the needs of the people as well as each other. We are going to need a big broom and an even bigger shovel to clean out the dung on both sides.

Posted by: Jane Algozzini at June 23, 2005 8:24 AM

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