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Comments on Bigot. by DavidTC in reply to George Turner

So we outlawed communism, without a single vote of Democrat opposition in either house, and over the opposition of J Edgar Hoover.

I love how you say 'without a single vote of Democrat opposition in either house', which again is literally my original point: witchhunts do not happen because of who is elected. Moronic anti-communist things were being done by both parties.

Also: That didn't outlaw communism.

Now, there _was_ a law that arguably outlawed communism at one time, or at least people were prosecuted under it. The Smith Act. The Courts made it much narrower in 1957 and voided a bunch of convictions.

Contrary to what you may have been told, it is still US law, starting at 50 U.S.C. §841 to §844, under chapter 23, Internal Security, part IV, Communist Control.

Ah, yes. The Communism Control Act, 50 U.S.C. §841 to §844, which 'outlaws communism'. It didn't anyway (It just required them to register), but...but it's also not in effect anymore. Despite what Wikipedia tries to imply.

§843 might still technically be on the books, but all that does is just add to a list defined in 50 U.S.C. §781. Hey, look, that law doesn't exist anymore! Because that law was the McCarran Internal Security Act I mentioned above, and the part it amended was, indeed, found unconstitutional and repealed. Thus rendering both §843 and §844 (Which carefully explains how to determine if someone is a member of the communist party as defined by §843) utterly pointless.

The only reason that's §843 and §844 are still US law is someone forgot to repeal them when they repealed the law they modified. They do literally nothing.

But, wait, there is also §842. The...uh...law no one understands. The law that denies the Communist Party of the United States 'the rights, privileges, and immunities of a legal body', which no one has any idea what it means. That entity still _appears_ to exist as a legal body, it has membership and voting and leadership. Some states tried to keep it off the ballot, and that worked...once. And not again. In 1961, the Supreme Court ruled it could participate in an unemployment insurance system, which is...really weird for a non-existent entity to be able to do. The reason _that_ part of the law hasn't been struck down is because it appeared to do nothing whatsoever. Like, no one knows what's supposed to be doing.

So...yeah, the Commmunist Control Act _functionally_ is not in effect anymore. Part of it amends a part of a law that was struck down by the courts and repealed (Even if it itself has stupidly never been repealed.), and part of it is...too weird to understand so it's literally never done anything.

Oh, wait. There's the first part, where they call the communist party a bunch of names, I guess that's...still in 'effect'?

The Supreme Court didn’t strike down bans on communist party membership as unconstitutional, they merely said the laws were too broadly defined and that a person had to share the illegal intent of the communist party before they could be tossed out of their jobs.

Yes. Exactly what I said.

The US government cannot fire members of the communist party simply because they are members of the communist party. It can fire them if it proves they share the illegal intent of the communist party, specifically, the intent to overthrow of the United States government.

It still can't arrest them for that, though. Wanting to overthrow the government, and even advocating for that, is protected by the first amendment. The Courts have just said that 'People who actively wish to overthrow the government should not be allowed to work for it' meets whatever constitutional threshold is required to slightly restrict those rights.

There are communists in government who work to undermine our country and they needed to be rooted out.

It's no longer constitutional to remove people from the government based on their political views. That's how McCarthyism ended, not with a bang, but with a whimper of declining public support sending it to backrooms, and then court cases seriously limiting it.

Well, in the public realm. In the private blacklist realm, private individuals started suing the people providing private blacklists and were easily winning the case. Turns out if you call someone a communist and put them on a list to tell people not to hire them, you actually need some proof or it's libel and there are some pretty serious damages for deliberately destroying someone's career.

John Brennan, Obama’s CIA director, was somehow was put in charge of the CIA despite voting for the Communist Party’s candidate, which he admitted in his CIA interview.

It's not constitutional to not hire or fire someone from the government because of how they voted, period. It's not even constitutional if they were literally a member of the Communist Party.

I’m pretty sure that in WW-II the OSS wouldn’t retain agents who said they supported the Nazi party, they’d start a big file on them and have the FBI tap their telephone.

The US was at war with Nazi Germany. The US was not at war with the Soviet Union.

It's legal to remove government employees for working with a foreign power, and/or to plot the overthrow of the US government, but it's not legal for the government to fire, or even refuse to hire, someone because they are a communist, or vote for communists, or hold communist views, or anything of the sort.

Which I'd think conservatives would know, considering how often they attempt to cry about discrimination for their political beliefs in public education.

Incidentally, it's worth mentioning that, _even in times of war with Germany_, people who had previously spoken up in favor of the actual literal Nazi regime that we'd entered a war with were not subject to any sort fo witchhunt or even systematic removal from government employment.

Whereas people who were communists in the political sense but nothing to do with Soviet Russia _were_. Just someone who liked Marx totally divorced from any national thing.

Why? Because Hoover and various right-wing government people had been spewing anti-communism for years, as a way to fight civil rights and unions.

I recommend reading the whole thing (If you can dodge the paywall), because it also discusses all the sweeping cultural and political shifts that occurred as a result of botching the classified NSA identification of Soviet agents in the US, which of course couldn’t be revealed at the time.

That article is...confused in places. The NSA did not have 'a top-secret program called Venona' in the 1940s, as the NSA literally did not exist in the 1940s. Signal intelligence in the 1940s would have been from the SIS and...*goes to check Wikipedia*...yup, they were who was running Venona. (It is at this point I admit I have been writing MCU fanfic set in the early days of SHIELD, which is why half of all this, and McCarthyism, and all sorts of random 1950 political strife, is all in my head already.)

And....does anyone really think the conclusion we should take from Verona is that McCarthyism is good? McCarthyism was _really stupid_. It completely failed to find the Soviet spies that actually did exist!

This is because the entire thing was a moronic witchhunt basically promoted by Hoover. Huge amount of people lost their jobs for random political beliefs, and let's not forget sexual orientation, and meanwhile the damn Soviets ran rings around the government.

The amount of people actually arrested by the FBI during all that was less than 400, and it appears that most of the charges were for lying to the FBI. Basically, the FBI would find some connection to communism, and if the person lied, they were arrested, and if they admitted it, they were pressured into resigning, and if they didn't resign, pressure was put on the agency to let them go. (Some of those agencies said 'No, this is stupid' and refused.) Records are a bit sketchy, but it seems clear that the FBI crowed about Soviet spies, so if they'd caught any more, we know about it. No, they were just catching people with 'vaguely possibly communist political beliefs', and often not even that.

Meanwhile, all the actual working-for-the-Soviets presumably weren't, uh, openly members of the communist party whatever.

McCarthyism is almost a textbook example of how a witchhunt not only is harmful, but it literally doesn't accomplish its goals, because the actual point of a whichhunt is to for the people conducting it to justify their own existence and gain power, not 'find the thing they are looking for'.

Saying 'McCarthyism isn't bad, because there were really Soviet spies' is like saying 'We need the Fire Department...yes, they decided to flood the mall for no reason and caused millions in property damage and risked countless lives, but look at all the buildings that burned down across town while they were doing that!'

Maybe they shouldn’t have shouldered a paranoid alcoholic with the role of being the heavy hand of government.

American history would be a lot less stupid without J. Edgar Hoover and his little fiefdom, and no one will ever convince me there weren't huge amount of blackmail keeping presidents from removing him.

*sigh*

What on earth does that have to do with anything?

I rather suspect President Truman, who didn't like McCarthyism , was not a support of Stalin. The Department of Labor also was not particularly a fan of the concept. Most people inside the government understood it as Hoover throwing his weight around. But very few people 'opposed' it, it was more they didn't like the _amount_ of it or how it was being done.

However, the fact its false dichotomy doesn't change the fact that one of the choices, literally, is not one of the current choices. It is not _possible_ to choose McCarthyism in today's politics.

You can't say 'I choose neither Trump or McCarthyism'. It's like refusing to build your house on the ocean _or_ build it hovering six thousand feet in the air, and pointing out that you've been offered a false choice and there are other places to build houses. Well, yes, that is technically true, but I'm fairly sure you weren't actually offered that second choice. You've misunderstood something somewhere.

And honestly, there's one political entity that is operating via demagogueic populism, which, while not the same as McCarthyism, is one of those things that slowly sway the population to the point they'd be willing to do it. Luckily, Trump's authoritarian tendencies tend to be directed outward, and he has no focus.

Luckily, we still have a lot of checks in place, both from Hoover's general abuse of the FBI _and_ from court decisions about this specific thing, and society has changed a lot, to the point that attempting to track people down for the _beliefs_ seems rather unlikely.

About the only sort of McCarthyism I could ever see us doing at this point would be for pedophilia or something like that.

Ummm...okay? Do you think I was arguing there were current witchhunts started by the right? Because there aren't. There are not, at this moment, any actual 'witchhunts' going on in American society, nor much of a taste for them.

I'm finding myself wondering if people know what the heck McCarthyism even was. Or maybe _I'm_ using it wrong and it's become divorced from the original meaning.

McCarthyism, or a witchhunt, or...whatever the term people want to use, is something that happens when _a sizable percentage of the population_ believe that there are _secret_ things about other people. Hidden, dangerous things. And they, the general public, then demand investigations. These investigations then have a political motive to find those 'secret people', regardless of reality.

We are not, in any manner, close to this point. For any political orientation.

I think people have confused witchhunts with demagoguery. Demagogues can cause witchhunts, and often take advantages of them happening in front of them, and perhaps the term 'McCarthyism' is the problem here, because McCarthy was a demagogue. But McCarthy didn't start McCarthyism. He didn't join in until it was three years in, and he was not, in any manner, the driving force of any of it. That's why historians tend to call it the Second Red Scare.

This was, again, started by President Truman because, well, Republicans had started denouncing various things as 'communist', and the Hoover really really wanted to have reasons to attack anyone he wanted, especially civil rights supporters and union organizers.

Honestly, without the push of Hoover behind the thing, we wouldn't even have had the Second Red Scare or the Lavendar Scare at all. (And the First Red Scare was just...stupid nonsense that didn't last long at all.)

Uh, it's not called Woke Left Central anymore, the term 'central' is too postitional-normative, implying that people not exactly in the center are wrongly positioned.

The preferred term is now 'the Woke Left Group'.

I...honestly am completely baffled as to how you think this is arguing with me.

If you think the investigation is unfounded (1), then the fact that a Republican administration, or rather a Republican Attorney General(2) and a Republican Congress can be forced into a witchhunt _against a Republican_ rather proves my entire point that witchhunts have absolutely nothing to do with who is in office!

Witchhunt are, again, the result of concertrated effort to turn the population against _something_, for years. They are not people leaping into power and starting a witchhunt against everyone's wishes. In fact, politicians often are forced into witchhunts (Like Truman) against their own wishes!

Saying 'electing someone is going to cause a witchunt' is the equivalent of saying: You shouldn't use the lightswitches in your house, because if your house is full of gas it can set an explosion off. So you should always use a flashlight instead.

The lightswitch isn't actually the problem there, and if your house is full of gas, not using a lightswitch is a veeeeeery short term solution. Your house, will, eventually, explode, unless you stop the gas leak.

If someone wants to stop the upcoming Woke Left witchhunt, they need to...somehow shutdown the Woke Left's TV and radio shows, remove the billboards, stop having the Woke Left on Sunday morning TV shows, stop making all newly elected Democrats sign a Woke Left pledge, get rid of their massive PR efforts, etc, etc.

Of course, witchhunts aren't the only thing that works that way. People can be influenced into pressuring politicians into doing all sorts of things. That's basically how politics works.

1) Which, it wasn't. And, no, the founding has very little to do with the Steele dossier, nor was it to prove Trump and his staffers are secret Russia agents. It was to investigate the ties between _the campaign_ and Russia.

2) The investigation had trouble getting off the ground because Trump doesn't give a damn about the actual procedure, but to further my point, this investigation under any other Republican president would have been cooperated with much more, because of political pressure. (And probably end up wrapping up soon, because Trump continued to interfere with it.)

I feel I should mention, as someone who is currently doing research into McCarthyism for a completely unrelated thing, that the comparison between the 'Woke Left' and McCarthyism is...really dumb. If the Woke Left is McCarthyism, they are _really really_ bad at it. McCarthyism managed to get thousands of people fired from just the government alone. The Woke Left has managed to...what, exactly? Get like ten people fired?

But let's assume this is literally a direct analogy, and this is just the start of the Woke Left. Like, it's late 1945 in McCarthyism. (This would be very difficult because the Supreme Court eventually soured on the thing and _that_ is basically what shut most 'loyalty' checks down, and the Woke Left would have an even more difficult time because most of the justification there was 'National security of an outside threat trumps free speech in government jobs', which is...a good deal less of a reasonable argument when the problem is 'This person is not woke enough'.) But let's assume the same thing could still legally happen, that there could be some sort of 'wokeness' checks required for government employees or whatever.

There's a rather large problem with all this: The loyalty checks in the US really started in 1947 with Executive Order 9835 under President Truman, who basically got forced into it by Republican politicians. He tried to keep it away from the Hoover FBI (and failed) and then he tried to limit it, but failed and eventually the 1950 McCarran Internal Security Act passed over his veto, and then the next election Eisenhower was elected and fully embraced the madness.

Who is _elected_ means nothing in this situation. If the population wants it, it will happen. If they do not want it, it will not.

The question is, 'Who decides what the population wants?' And while it's easy to say 'Trump proves the President actually is important there', but in reality, no. Trump just ended up in power because enough of the population had been fed nonsense for a really long time by various right-wing media outfits.

The only way witchhunts like that happen is if the general population wants them to happen! And the only way they really ever want them to happen is if someone keeps standing there telling them they need them for years. Like, oh, the right-wing has been telling them about immigrants and Muslims and people on welfare and basically everyone for years.(Everyone on the right who is about to mention the 'Russian Investigation'...if that's an example you want to include in that list in your head, I'm not stopping you.)

The Woke Left, OTOH, have a _laughable_ small amount of the population on their side. Tumblr and Left Twitter are not the United States of America. A thousand people dogpiling onto someone for not being woke enough is...nothing. Nothing at all in the grand scheme of things. And they honestly are so confused that 90% of their attacks are on their own allies. They can't just _magically_ have the political capital they need to pull any sort of witchhunt off, even if a few of them somehow get into power.

There's some hypothetical universe where they continue to grow in power and scope, and could eventually have a McCarthyism-like thing going on, but...who is elected at that point won't actually be able to restrain an actual broad-spectrum political movement like anti-Communism was in the early 1950s or this hypothetical Woke-Left-ism is in 2025 or whatever.

tl;dr - Witchhunts are social problems, not political problems. They happen because people ingest propaganda. The only way to stop them is to figure out how to counter propaganda.

All it would take is a liberal president just as willing to look the other way and you would see them become just as much of a problem as the Far Right is under the current administration.

Which would be a really good reason not to vote for such a person president and attempt to fight their reelection.

It's not a good reason to not vote for any of the frontrunner Democrats, as none of them are like that.

As for 'an accomplice to rape by covering up for her husband for decade', you're going to have be more specific there.

There are two people who have alleged non-consensual sexual conduct on the part of Bill, and both of them have really weird claims about Hillary.

Juanita Broaddrick has a story about a...handshake, which she's not very sure of and, honestly, even if Hillary was attempting to communicate something, it's hard to figure out exactly what was being implied there. And, uh, Broaddrick has been rather inconsistent in her feelings about this handshake over the years and whether Hillary was actually trying to say someone, or if she just _thought_ that at the time but was probably mistaken. And even if Broaddrick is completely correct, and we take the implication at 100% face value, it could have been Hillary saying 'I know you and my husband have had sex, and we appreciate you remaining quiet', without realizing it was rape.

The other story, by Kathleen Willey, is even dumber. She says that Bill groped her while she volunteered at the White House, which...sounds completely plausible. She _then_ asserts she was terrorized by Hillary Clinton intimidating her with a dead cat on her porch, a man hiding under her deck, and a man asking ominous questions in her neighborhood. This is...less plausible. As far as I can tell, not only did these things not really happened, but it's _completely_ unclear how Willey
would know Hillary Clinton was behind them.

Both these claims require...really weird behavior on the part of Hillary, and _even if the described events are 100% true_, don't actually implicate Hillary in anything at all....the first could be 'Don't come forward about your affair with my husband' and the second could have been from...anyone. (Honestly, there doesn't seem to be even a hint why this would have been Hillary doing this stuff! Like, Hillary was randomly selected via dart board.)

It really is funny to see how you've internalized the 'Hillary Clinton did something to Monica Lewinsky', and keep bringing it up even after it's pointed out that is utter nonsense.

Monica Lewinsky is not a victim of Hillary Clinton, in any sense. In fact, Lewinsky has repeatedly apologized _to_ Hillary for her affair with Bill: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/11/13/monica-lewinsky-sorry-hillary-clinton-987030

The person who victimized Monica Lewinsky, as she has repeatedly made clear, was Ken Starr, by forcing her to testify to a private relationship under the threat of imprisonment, making her a huge public figure known for giving blowjobs, and ruining her life. She's said the release of the Starr report was literally the worst day of her life.

Please stop attempting to _make up_ how Monica Lewinsky feels about Hillary Clinton. She has been very very clear on that. She bears Hillary Clinton no malice whatsoever.

But...you'll just keep doing repeating it.