Friday, March 26, 2010

The Right Finds Virtue in Extremism

During his acceptance speech at the 1964 Republican convention, presidential candidate Barry Goldwater famously said, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” But was he correct?

Last weekend, those words were wrapped around a brick and thrown through the window of the Monroe Democratic Committee headquarters office in Rochester, New York.

Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-New York, whose Niagara Falls office also received a brick through a window, reported that someone left a voicemail message that referenced “snipers.” Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, provided a photograph to the Associated Press showing a cracked window in her Tucson office.

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, one of the few anti-abortion voices in the Democratic Party, was called a “baby-killing mother f***er” on his office’s voicemail. The brother of Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Virginia, had a gas line cut after the brother’s address was mistakenly listed on a Tea Party site as belonging to the congressman.

Rep. James Clyburn, D-South Carolina, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, received a faxed image of a noose. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that at least 10 Democratic members have been targeted.

Clearly, extremism, even in the defense of a certain perception of liberty, is still extremism, and a vice worthy of serious punishment. That people are resorting to such playground bully tactics only underscores the lack of leadership on the Right.

The Right would do better to take a page from the Left in this regard.

During the 1960s, when Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was leading marches for civil rights, King preached the necessity of modeling the movement’s behavior on the nonviolent actions of Mahatma Gandhi. In his book Stride Toward Freedom, King wrote that nonviolent resistance was not passivity in the face of evil, it was active love in the face of evil.

King explained that “nonviolence … does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding. ... The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness.”

King also noted that nonviolence resistance must target the evil itself, not the people “who happen to be doing the evil. It is the evil that that the nonviolent resister seeks to defeat, not the person’s victimized by the evil.”

People on the Left would do well to remember that the violent people protesting are indeed not just perpetrators but victims, too – of a media that has not offered them what only a Fox News anchor would deem “fair and balanced” reporting on this issue.

The major media has allowed the demonization of the health care bill and its supporters, to such a degree that some people feel their fundamental liberties are being taken away and thus they are justified in threatening, and in some cases committing violent acts.

That said, however, the chief responsibility lies with the perpetrators of the violence and intimidation, no matter how misled they are. And these people should listen to one of the best leaders the Republican Party ever had: Abraham Lincoln.


Read the rest of my latest article at

Friday, March 05, 2010

Stop Kennedy Smears!

Robert Greenwald, bless him, is gathering signatures in an effort to persuade the History Channel to act like a History Channel and not like an adjunct of Rush Limbaugh, distorting history to serve an agenda.

Greenwald sees this as a politically motivated effort. I see something more sinister, as I'll explain in a minute.

This upcoming miniseries is produced by Joel Surnow, producer of "24" and written by one of his writers on 24, a guy who claims to be a liberal but does not appear to have made any political contributions to any liberal candidates.

Watch the clips here, and then sign the petition at

Here's what actual historians - not all of them fans of Kennedy - have to say about the script:

Here's what an outraged David Talbot, the creator and former Editor-in-Chief of, said when he heard his book Brothers was used as a source for the miniseries:

And here's a clip of Robert Greenwald talking on MSNBC yesterday about his effort:

I'll ask again - please sign the petition at

I also encourage you to find a copy of the book Jim DiEugenio and I put together. There are a couple of articles in that book by Jim that you can't find online, including Jim's seminal essay on "The Posthumous Assassination of John F. Kennedy." Because Jim's essay describes why projects like this our made: if John Kennedy was a horrible person, who cares who killed him? Bottom line, that's the agenda.

Jim's article goes into the details of two women most often linked to Kennedy - Judith Campbell "the Government wants me to talk again" Exner and Mary (wife of CIA heavy Cord) Meyer, and shows how flimsy the accusations are that they in any way shaped policy or had any serious influence on Kennedy.

And I can't help but remember walking by the newsstand one day and seeing another woman claiming to have slept with Kennedy. I burst out laughing, but then felt like crying because I was one of a handful of people in the country who got the joke. The woman was Priscilla Johnson McMillan, a journalist who interviewed Lee Harvey Oswald four years before Kennedy was shot, and who wrote a book afterwards titled Marina and Lee that Marina, Oswald's wife, called a pack of lies. Would it surprise you to learn that Priscilla's CIA file listed her as a "witting collaborator"?

When I saw that, I began to wonder how many other of Kennedy's supposed paramours were also CIA assets, perhaps on assignment to smear the man so no one would care enough to look for the CIA's hand in his death?

So while Greenwald sees this as a political maneuver, I believe this springs less from Joel Surnow's relationship with Limbaugh and the right and more from his connections to the intelligence agencies in general and the CIA in particular. The strongest evidence in this case points to high-ranking members of the CIA being involved in the plotting and cover-up of the assassination of President Kennedy. (See our book for a plethora of evidence in this regard, presented with solid factual references to actual CIA documents housed at the National Archives.)

But maybe Greenwald is right. Maybe Joel just hates everything Kennedy did and stood for. And maybe his sidekick writer is just gullible enough to fall for all that bogus sex stuff that's been added to the record. I have a strong suspicion some of his "source" material came from C. David Heymann, whose books are so factually inaccurate I felt the need to expose him in full. See my essay on his fabrications and listen to me talk about him on Black Op Radio.

Either way, the show absolutely is not history. It is fiction. And not even close or loosely adapted fiction, but outrageously wrong, inaccurate, fiction. Do you really think that should be presented by the "History" channel? I don't.

Please join me in signing that petition. And please stick your neck out a bit and ask your friends to sign up too. No one deserves to have not only their life taken from them, but their legacy as well. That's a crime against Real History.

So sign the petition already! Thanks for caring.