To:Tish Wells, McClatchy dc web editor:
And here I was, after reading your personal profile, thinking that perhaps this Ms. Wells is a professional person and could be someone with whom I might reason and I was going to do a polite and reasoned de-construction of your letter. But then two things happened, or was it three?
Firstly I re-read your note informing me of my having been banned (that was a first at least) and your reasons for it. I soon realized however that I had to question the hesitancy you claimed. You might note that I have been the subject of attack for nothing more than expressing an opinion contrary to the orthodoxy held by certain of the denizens of the McClatchy boards.
I came aboard to do nothing more than express an opinion on various stories. I almost immediately came under attack. Not attacks on the position or perspectives I presented but rather personal attacks upon my personality, character, judgment and intelligence.
Not a single one of these denizens (and you know of whom I speak) attempted to do anything that came close to a deconstruction or argument by counter point, but rather almost as if by reflex action the accusation of “fascist” was hurled at me as if that were some magic potion that makes offending opinion and those who dare speak it run to the hills or melt away like the Wicked Witch of the West.
Much to their chagrin I then committed the cardinal sins of both claiming that fascism is a product of the political left and being able to back up the contention with references to original source documents and quotations from the period. Did this lead to any of our leftist friends to reconsider or engage in a reasoned debate on the subject? Of course not, all it got was further, even more vitriolic name calling and childish statements of no more substance than “that’s not what I was told in school so you must be wrong.”
I then proceeded to firstly demonstrate all the points of commonality between fascism/national socialism and communism/international socialism. I then delineated that the only significant difference between them was a philosophical one revolving around the use of or the destruction of national identity as a tool in furtherance of constructing a global socialist state. I further showed that Stalin and the Soviets quickly abandoned their position on this argument and adopted the “nationalist” positions and the methods of the Nazis as soon as the first Panzers started crossing the Russian Steeps. Again I sourced period materials.
It was at this point that the attacks against me began to broaden into the unacceptable. Certain attacks of a political nature I can take and return in kind without so much as batting an eye. But when they sink so low as to make baseless accusation such as that I must be a pedophile or attacks on my family members who have nothing to do with any of this, accusations that they must spend a lot of time under psychiatric care simple because of who his father is. At such a point then it is they, not I, who have crossed the line into the realm of uncivilized and wholly unacceptable behavior. They “declared war” on me and demonstrated it by attacking “defenseless civilians” as it were.
Perhaps before you condemned my retaliatory actions in response to this you should have asked yourself; How you would I feel if such accusations had been directed at me and my family? My responses to them certainly became more acerbic no doubt, and pointed to their own natures as fascists (gmartini’s statements that she would turn the power of the state against me in order to suppress my opinion) was particularly revealing. She followed that up by saying that she could “see a FEMA camp in my future”. That certainly sounds like a threat. Ask yourself; just who was it that was doing all the flagging and making the request to you that an individual be banned?. You know perfectly well that it wasn’t me.
But enough of that digression, let’s get back to your letter.
"Various readers have requested that I blacklist you for many of your comments over the last couple of weeks. I have resisted because you used (emphasis mine) to make good points.
We are moving to Facebook on Tuesday, October 1st. If you chose to comment then, under your full name, (emphasis mine) then come on back.”
Have a good day -- Moderator/McClatchy
(Before going any further you might consider the most famous, in recent history at least, of the authoritarian “blacklist”.)
Since when then did I stop making good points? Since when did my condemnations of their vile accusations ever reach gutter level that is shown by gmartini and stingray68? Never. So what if I called gmartini a bee itch. Such euphemistic constructions are used all the time to get around embedded filters. Since when does that reach the level of the accusations of pedophilia?
I have told them both, and repeatedly so, that if they want to hurl the fascist accusation at me they had best be prepared to define the term and defend their use of it. Neither of them has dared to take up that challenge. Instead they just repeat the accusation like some Goebbels inspired "big lie," if repeated often enough, it becomes true.
So now let’s get to the point that has me truly upset, even more so than the vile nature of gmartini’s and stingray68’s underhanded and personal attacks. That being, what you have done. I’m not talking about being banned from the web pages of McClatchy’s Disqus system. I’m talking about you having gone back through the files and deleting every post I have made on a wholesale basis, even those that had nothing to do with any remarks made by me about the two aforementioned characters – everything! I also noted that their responses to me were left intact.
So I am going to ask you a very serious question. Whether you answer me or not is not of concern, it’s the answer you give yourself that is far more important. So here it goes:
Please tell me or justify to yourself your actions. How is it any different from the action of the Nazis or the Stalinists who would airbrush out the images of any former “Hero of the Soviet Union” or “Defender of the Fatherland” from public archives just as soon as they fell into disfavor with Stalin or Hitler? They had the “power” to do it and to make them disappear, and they used it. Is this the kind of action you take pride in or have received praise for? Just what in god’s name does do this have to do with any kind of stretch of the meaning of “journalistic ethics”?
I’m not asking you to reinstate my profile (kind of moot with but 3 days remaining before the change over, but I am asking you to do a little self examination and ask yourself if you really think you took the “high road” here?
Consider also that some of the finest pieces of political satire and criticism of government throughout history have been written anonymously, precisely because governments, all governments grow more centralized and tyrannical with time, and as they do so they have less and less of a sense of humor or tolerance of those critics. Nowadays government has more power than ever before to pry into our personal and secret lives and do so with impunity. Think of George III's hated “Stamp Tax” that was used as pretext to enter into people’s homes with self written warrants to search for “untaxed” documents” particularly those of a political nature.
All this makes even the preservation of even the smallest sense of anonymity that much more important. You won’t be seeing my presence on facebook or twitter under my real name or any other. Having worked inside the beltway for 10 years (TS-SCI W/SBI & PGE) I know exactly what upstream is and how it works. I won’t be so foolish as to step into those jaws.
Lastly I’d ask you to go back to the top of the McClatchy web page and read that “Truth to Power” motto they have there. Does it really mean anything, or is it just empty rhetoric and sloganeering?
FVS (Joe Martin's Ghost)
I am not going to hold my breath waiting for a response from one firstname.lastname@example.org but it might be fun if some of my readers dropped her a line just to say hello. What pieces of your minds you decide to give her is entirely up to you. If you do please leave a copy in the comments below.