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Author Topic: Tying up loose ends
WmLambert
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I am not trying to circumvent OrnMod's decision to clamp down on incindiery threads - but would like to provide some answers to questions left unanswered.

The conspiracy theory that TomDbrought up is the Richard Perle/Paul Wolfowitz clique of conservative powers behind the scenes who have supposedly single-handedly (well 4-handedly perhaps) shaped the entire Bush foreign policy. This article by Jude Wanniski provides more background. (Jude thoroughly buys into this conspiracy.) While I do believe Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz do have an active agenda they would like to see enacted, it more truly revolves around Israel and its survival. One of their presentiments which I recognize as plausible is the concept of recognizing radical, aggressive Islam as a menace which needs to be addressed. I've pointed out Quran 47: Muhammad or Al-Qitâl from the Koran before. Stanza 4 says:
quote:
4. So, when you meet (in fight Jihâd in Allâh's Cause), those who disbelieve smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them as captives). Thereafter (is the time) either for generosity (i.e. free them without ransom), or ransom (according to what benefits Islâm), until the war lays down its burden. Thus [you are ordered by Allâh to continue in carrying out Jihâd against the disbelievers till they embrace Islâm (i.e. are saved from the punishment in the Hell-fire) or at least come under your protection], but if it had been Allâh's Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight), in order to test you, some with others. But those who are killed in the Way of Allâh, He will never let their deeds be lost,
It is difficult to bypass this integral passage in The Nobel Quran. Without mistrusting all versions of Islam. Radical or not. Whether Perle and Wolfowitz have the power within the government that Tom ascribes to them, I don't know.

However, I would rather see a thought-out counter argument to their philosophy rather than a broadside sneer in their direction making them out to be dangerous actors on the world stage with a fictional script. I'd also expect anyone mocking their agenda to first explain it, prove its existence, and then prove why it may be incorrect.

I, for one, do not buy the arrogance that assumes Condaleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Don Rumsfield, Dick Cheney, and George Bush are so easily coopted into misguided directions contrary to what "everyone" sees as reality. It is ironic that Tom always tries to label me as a conspiracist, isn't it?

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Redskullvw
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The link to that memo written by the authr is such a way to be accusatory towards rumsfeld and self serving at the same time. Just because she writes about a conspiracy does not make it true. Are ther conspiracy groups that acctually do try to do things? Sure. But when your theory involves getting rid of the best and brightest of an administration and seeks to indict the VP to the point that he is replaced, you have to wonder what this person is really driving at.

Oh yes.. it is called sour grapes.

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TomDavidson
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Okay, what I don't get is this:

A group of people form a think tank that states its goals, plans, and projects -- and the reasons behind them.

Years later, members of that think tank are appointed to important political positions. Immediately, the government begins implementing versions of the same plans and projects recommended by the think tank that was once chaired by the new members of the administration.

Is it really, truly a conspiracy theory to point out that these people are only doing exactly what they said they wanted to do, and that much of a logical leap to assume that they're doing it for the reasons they advanced back when they first announced their plans?

No, see, a conspiracy theory is believing that somebody had somebody else murdered to keep somebody quiet about something ludicrously unlikely, and rearranged the government to hide the bodies; what I'm doing, as far as I can tell, is called elementary logic.

[ July 29, 2003, 09:20 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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TomDavidson
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*bump*

On another thread, Redskull just called this a "conspiracy theory" again.

I still find this intriguing: if a bunch of people publicly admit to being in a certain group, and admit to sharing the goals of that group, and actively institute the plans and projects advocated by that group, is it REALLY a conspiracy? Me, I call it good organization.

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Wayward Son
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I always thought that the first principle of a good conspiracy is that you don't tell anyone.

If you go and tell everyone, you become an advocacy group, right? [Smile]

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jedilaw
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Here's the rule: if you do not support the people making an allegation against a group of individuals, and you do not like the policy biases of the people making the accusations, then those people must be engaged in conspiracy theories.

Because we all know that conspiracy theories are junk, right? After all, nobody tried to break into the Democratic headquarters and then cover up the break-in, nobody agreed to sell guns to Iran in exchange for hostages, the CIA never had anything to do with the drug trade in Laos and Cambodia, nobody ever gave Hillary stock tips for futures trading as a bribe, and there is no Trilateral Commission. Right?

I would put more weight into right-wing bitching about so-called conspiracy theories, if I didn't see so much evidence of past conspiracies.

And, no, Pearle and Wolfowitz are not conspiring. They are doing what they said they would. The public is just too dumb to notice.

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WmLambert
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Excuse me, jedilaw, but that would be "left-wing bitching about so-called conspiracy theories."

Also note that what most here are responding to are alleged cover-ups of these happenings. We know what happened. What is troubling is the extent that so many people go to to deny them.

Tom said Perl and Wolfowitz are the end-all and be-all to the Bush administration and to some extent he is right. But they are a little part and not overly successful in the long run.

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TomDavidson
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"Tom said Perl and Wolfowitz are the end-all and be-all to the Bush administration and to some extent he is right."

Where did I say this, exactly?

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jedilaw
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"Excuse me, jedilaw, but that would be "left-wing bitching about so-called conspiracy theories."

No, it's not. Those of you on the right are constantly accusing people of fostering conspiracy theories whenever they argue that more than one member of the administration agreed to do something. Nobody has ever said Pearle and Wolfowitz conspired, because they PUBLISHED THEIR PLANS! That is NOT how you do a conspiracy.

Yet whenever people point out the pre-existing agendas that appear to drive White House policy, they are accused of spreading conspiracy theories. Wolfie and Pearle aren't conspiring, they are nakedly pursuing an open agenda. I happen to think their analysis is infantile macho posturing bullshit, but that doesn't mean I think it's a conspiracy. I just think it's moronic and evidences a real need for some folks to go read a book or several.

So, YES, I meant to say right-wing bitching. And I was correct.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
...nobody ever gave Hillary stock tips for futures trading as a bribe...
Wow. Did she also take horse-racing tips as bribes? And I always thought she was a smart lady. [Smile]
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Redskullvw
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Tom

It is not I who said it was a conspiracy it was you who said that the motive force behind the President's idiocy was this particular cadre which you claimed has been planning America's future since the election of Clinton. You have not provided one shred of evidence to support this. Lambert provided this link that fleshes out what you claimed to be the conspiracy.

Yopu didnt call it "good organization" you called it an orchestrated approach to enable this group of people to manipulate the President because he is weak and his advisors are simply pawns. You claimed this in an attempt to prove that Bush spoke a tailored lie because it was part and parcel of the cadre's plan to wage 6 week wars as you called them.

If you cant accurately portray what people say then how the hell can anyone even begin to hold any intelligent conversation with you? In fact I have even given you an out by pointing out that departments and administrations do have policy agendas and often do provide facts to support their perception and programs. What I do not agree with, and what you still maintain as your oppinion, is that Bush told a lie because the information he read was based solely on this agenda which was set on day 1 of the clinton administration as some part of a culture war to be waged by the republicans.

The only person who has claimed a conspiracy is YOU!. My point is that for someone to belive the way you do about what the President said is that you would also have to belive this crack pot theory that out of power political wonks scripted this during the Clinton administration.The only person who has postulated your theory so far is YOU. Lambert provided a more than bias published memo by an author who sent a personal agenda statement which was self serving to her argument. I am sorry but your word isnt worth much more than Cedrios's is. And the author of this memo, who is the only support so far presented that even remotly supports your theory, is so politically biased that an alternative source is needed for me to even consider the veracity of the argument.

Again it is Trollish to blatantly mischarcterize what a person has stated. You Did it once on the Davis thread. You did it again on the Lie thread, and you have just done it again on this thread. If you cant figure out the lack of depth in your argument for yourself, then you have too little time to be fascinated by intriguing theories that are not even germain to any argument currently being debated.

Again for those who cant follow simple logic, Tom is the only person so far who has claimed that there is a republican/conservative conspiracy which is driving the administration and controlling the president and ignores any free agency that cabinet members might have in making any choices about what the president says or where our military goes on these 6 week culture wars. I haven't because I think that requires such a level of disbelief to belive. If it is true then the country is past being doomed and the Michigan Militia is turning out to be correct about our government.

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TomDavidson
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I have not claimed a conspiracy of any kind. In fact, I'm continually baffled by all this talk of conspiracy.

Here are the facts.

Back during the Clinton Administration, a group called the Project for the New American Century put out a number of pieces advocating a stronger and more pro-active foreign policy. The META tag for their website, even today, still describes them as a group that "believes that American leadership is good both for America and for the world." This group included on its signatory panel many people who had played major roles in the first Bush administration, and who would play even bigger ones in the second -- like Donald Rumsfeld, our Secretary of Defense; Dick Cheney, our Vice President; Jeb Bush, the governor of Florida and our president's brother; Dan Quayle, the former V.P. under the first President Bush; and others.

PNAC and its members released several statements of opinion on American foreign policy, including many on the Middle East; these statements are, for the most part, still clearly archived on their website. In these statements, PNAC explains the reasons behind its opinions, and lays out a relatively clear roadmap for a United States hegemony -- which, it states repeatedly, is the end goal of its organization.

When George W. Bush was elected, many prominent members of PNAC were given vital roles in his administration. Almost immediately, the roadmap PNAC laid out for leadership in the Middle East was implemented -- even down to the suggested response for terrorist attack and the need to manufacture a reason to invade Iraq. In the context of dealing with other nation-states, PNAC argues that it's essential to "deter any potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role." The administration's opinion of the U.N. is clearly reflected in PNAC's description of it as "a forum for leftists, anti-Zionists and anti-imperialists."

Note that these articles are STILL available on PNAC's site. The people involved are not conspirators; they are an advocacy group who quite clearly and OPENLY are engaging in a plan that they publicly laid out five years ago. In fact, I'd argue that it's pretty obvious that they're PROUD of their ability to advance this agenda.

So where's the conspiracy? Is it really a conspiracy theory to point out that the founding members of PNAC are determining our foreign policy, and that PNAC advocates a U.S. hegemony backed by the frequent extension of force (made possible through substantial military expansion)? They've made no real effort to conceal this from people; they haven't killed anybody to keep this quiet. Calling this a "conspiracy" is like saying that Clinton's attempt to pass nationalized health care was a conspiracy, despite the fact that it was openly a plank of his campaign.

The most influential and martial members of the Bush Administration belonged to an organization which, five years ago, advocated an invasion of Iraq -- even under false pretenses -- as part of a series of small wars intended to bring the world more firmly under American control. But Vince Foster did NOT die to bring us this information.

[ July 29, 2003, 11:28 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Enumclaw
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It's funny to me; the very word "conspiracy" conjures up images of secret meetings, cabals that are organized to undermine some kind of rules or laws.

Tom seems to be saying it's not a conspiracy; these folks are perfectly open about what they're doing and their goals.

It's hardly a "conspiracy theory" for him to point this out.

In any case... I think that Wm's quotation from the Koran is a load of hooey. Quotations from the Bible were previously used (and still are, in fact) as justification for all kinds of things that we (today) consider to be evil.

I have no doubt that the Koran is the same way. I've read quotes from it that point out that Jews and Christians are to be considered also "people of the book" who worship the same God/Allah. In other words, Muslims should be buddy/buddy with the Jews and Christians.

My point is that if you accept Wm's quotation as being part-and-parcel of every Muslim's belief system, then we can never allow any Muslims to exist- because ultimately they're all out to destroy any non-Muslim.

This is, of course, bunk. One would even be tempted to call it a "conspiracy theory". One must resist the temptation. [Smile]

Seriously, I don't think that it's any secret that there's a group of folks in Bush's advisory group that advocate all the things that Tom accuses them of advocating; they're usually pretty open about it.

And I don't think that one (or a few) passages from the Koran mean that all Islamicists want to "continue in carrying out Jihâd against the disbelievers till they embrace Islâm". There's millions of Muslims around the world and in the USA that manage to be perfectly content, righteous, and pious in their faith without going out and "smiting at the necks" of the disbelievers.

Paul

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akatzen
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That particular passage from the Koran has always been used to put the fear of the spread of Islam into the masses. What people fail to realize is that this sort of thing only applies to JiHad (holy war, which is very different than regular war), and that, by and large, Muslims are a peaceful nation, and in their history have gone to war less often than the Jews.

Of course I speak of Muslims as a whole. Militant groups of Muslims like the Al Qaeda(you might think of them as the Southern Baptists of the Islamic community) declare JiHad all the time, but it's not like the rest of the Islamic nation goes along with it.

This is why I never believed that Iraq and Al Qaeda were ever working together. Al Qaeda is a group of strict religious fundamentalists, and the Iraqi government was composed of the highly secular Ba'ath party.
They'd refuse to work together just on the principle of the thing.

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msquared
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akatzen,

Your comment about the Jews going to war more often might be true if you take only the number of times they have been in a war. However, if you prorate it over the life of the religion/people they are probably not any higher than any other group. Remember they have probably 3000 years of history on the Muslims. Not the Arabs, but the Muslims.

msquared

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Colin JM0397
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Tom, hows about some links so we don't have to take your word for it? You seem to know where to find it all.

If your example is "proof" of your theory, how (going back a few months here) is it any different from my example of the 35 (I think it was) stated goals of Communism to overthrow the USA - about half of them accurately describe the way things are in our country these days, yet you give absolutely no credibility to that theory (even with the release of info from old KGB files that show McCarthy was correct).

IMO, most "conspiracies" work not because they are kept secret, but because there is a critical mass of people who pooh-pooh it when others try to talk about it. In addition, most people just don’t give a shit – their life is okay and mostly hassle free, so why think about things that might pull them out of their comfort zone?

There are many, many books and reference items about, for instance, Cecil Rhodes and his support of the Fabian Society through his scholar program and spin off groups such as the CFR. Fabians, by the way, are quite similar to Marxists, but they believe in gradual peaceful change, not outright revolution. Most of our past and current high ranking officials have memberships and associations with Fabian groups.

I don't necessarily buy into all of the conspiracy stuff, but I also won't dismiss anything just because it doesn't fit with our carefully sculpted views of society. Some of it is wacko crazy stuff, while some asks some very valid questions that make you think maybe things aren’t exactly as they seem.

I think a lot of the "conspiracy" stuff is just the government doing what needs to be done, but doesn't want the average joe to know about because they just don't understand all the factors at play.

What bothers me isn't that most people don't believe "conspiracy" stuff, but that they laugh it off without ever even looking into it. How can you prove a theory wrong if you don’t even know what it entails?

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil...

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msquared
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If ignorance is bliss why aren't I happier? Oh yeah, I know why. I'm married. [Smile]

msquared

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TomDavidson
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The Project for a New American Century has a webpage. All the quotes and names in my post come from that site, which is available here:

www.newamericancentury.org

Reading the archives on that site will go a long way to explaining our current foreign policy.

--------

As to why I don't give much credence to the argument that communists are conspiring to overthrow America by ruining its culture through programs of stealth and steady decay:

The 45 goals of communism -- as invented by Cleon Skousen, a strident ANTI-communist, and hardly an unbiased or accurate source in this case -- are not actually recognizable goals of communism. That many of these "goals" have in fact been achieved is hardly due to communist manipulation -- or even RUSSIAN manipulation, since the "goals of communism" listed in 1963 seem ridiculously similar to what we'd expect Russia to want, but not all communists. Since Skousen WROTE these goals to summarize what paranoid anti-communists assumed Russia wanted, should we be surprised?

The big reason, though, is that people who continue, decades later, to ramble about this kind of thing are alarmist, extremist, and relatively uneducated; many of them can't put together a logical argument to save their lives, and make assumptions that, frankly, I'm unwilling to grant -- which just happen to be central to their arguments. In such cases, I'm forced to consider the source.

Look at this guy, one of the first hits if you google the "45 goals of communism:"
http://www.hankalbertson.com/45%20goals%20of%20communism.htm

Check out his assessment of the Communist Manifesto at the bottom, and laugh wryly at him for a bit. Then tell me to take him seriously.

You see why it's difficult?

[ July 30, 2003, 09:02 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Colin JM0397
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Jeese, never asked to start that discussion again, but I should know you can't possibly resist letting one get by where you can get on the soapbox.

Laugh at him [Roll Eyes]
Here's the 10 goals straight from the manifesto:
quote:
1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in he hands of the state.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc.

Now this guy's summary:
quote:
1. Abolition of private property. Mostly achieved.
2. Heavy progressive income tax. Achieved.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance. Achieved.
4. Confiscation of property of all emigrants and rebels. Mostly achieved.
5. Central bank. Achieved.
6. Government control of communications and transportation. Achieved.
7. Government ownership of factories and agriculture. Mostly achieved.
8. Government control of labor. Achieved.
9. Corporate farms, regional planning. Mostly achieved.
10. Government control of education. Achieved.

Granted he's overstepping what has been "achieved", but he's not entirely wrong, either.

Anyway, this wasn't about that old discussion since we're never going to agree.

You know what they say about opinions...
Just because you have one doesn't mean anyone else is going to believe it just because you do.

As for your opinions about Skousen, here’s an opposite opinion – who’s correct? He wasn't some wacko - he was the #3 man in the FBI under Hoover and in charge of communications. His 45 points are a matter of congressional record, as entered by Florida Congressman A.S. Herlong Jr. in 1963.
For your analysis

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TomDavidson
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I don't understand why you're arguing that his "45 points" are a matter of Congressional Record as if that makes them more accurate.

They were read into the Congressional Record in '63 precisely because someone making an anti-communist argument wanted to demonstrate "proof" of the dangers of communist thought, and cited his anti-communist tract as "evidence."

In other words, Skousen -- whose whole job under Hoover was based on his eagerness to demonize communists -- wrote a book that said communists were dangerous. In an effort to prove that communists were dangerous, a Congressperson cited his book. How does that prove the accuracy of his claims?

[ July 30, 2003, 09:39 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Adjudicator
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Old Mr. Skousen is an interesting individual. He has some curious ideas, that's for sure. It is rather interesting that his laundry list should so accurately reflect a number of trends in our modern society. The first several points apply mainly to a geopolitical situation which is not really prevalent any more, so I'll skip those. Here are a few interesting ones that he seems to have gotten right:

Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.

Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations. Put the party line in textbooks.

Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to "eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms."

Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."

Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press

Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio and TV.

Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."

Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the grounds that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."

Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the "common man."

Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture--education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.

Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand (or treat).

Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

Internationalize the Panama Canal

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jedilaw
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Not to make too fine of a point of it, but the communists were, in fact, dangerous. Not necessarily the concept of communism in the abstract, but certainly the communists of the Soviet Empire. McCarthy did a huge disservice to legitimate anti-Communism by using it as a pretext to scapegoat and bully people. That does not mean, however, that the threat did not exist.
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Colin JM0397
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Was about to get further baited into the old argument... no thanks.

The point was and is your theory of the "conspiracy" to steer US policy under GWB is no different than the "conspiracies" I point to when I talk about Communist ideals from the past.

Not that I expect you to stop for a moment and thing about the similarities...

Jedi - prepare to have Everard break out his Communism vs. communism whooping stick on you [Wink]

[ July 30, 2003, 10:15 AM: Message edited by: jm0397 ]

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TomDavidson
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A quick examination of Skousen's "goals" as listed above should make it obvious that he's merely including a laundry list of conservative complaints about social and political change in the '60s that are for the most part completely unconnected to actual communism.

And, yes, the Soviet Union was indeed our enemy. Communism as depicted by McCarthy and his lackeys, though, was a bugaboo -- and, as pointed out, a distraction.

------

"The point was and is your theory of the 'conspiracy' to steer US policy under GWB is no different than the 'conspiracies' I point to when I talk about Communist ideal from the past."

This is untrue.
Here's the single biggest difference: Skousen's claims are his own, and from an outsider. They are NOT threats or promises or predictions made by a communist.

A truly equivalent situation would be this: if a communist leader released the "45 Goals of Communism," published it on a webpage, got himself and his friends appointed to high places by someone who ran on a communist platform, and then began systematically implementing those stated goals.

What YOU'RE talking about is a program of stealth, deception and rumor, announced by people unconnected to the organization; what I'M talking about is a publicly-announced policy. PNAC ITSELF announced these plans and goals, and has made no effort to conceal them.

Do you see the distinction?

[ July 30, 2003, 10:19 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Everard
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Why?

Soviet communism WAS our enemy. It wasn't communism, which is largely why *Grin*

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Colin JM0397
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quote:
...communists of the Soviet Empire
Not Communists
Just joking [Big Grin]

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jedilaw
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Well, in my view certain rabid self-proclaimed Christians aren't really Christians, but what are you gonna call them? So-called Christians? So should I call the Soviets so-called communists? Or neo-comunist Leninist-Stalinists? They called themselves communists, so I figure what the hell let 'em have the label.

Note I made this distinction already by saying that the Soviets were a threat, not necessarily the concept of communism (which I think is naive and contrary to human nature, not threatening).

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Everard
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I'm not going to get into this argument again [Smile] But they didn't practice communism. They WERE, however, Communists.
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