Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I'd love to know Glenn Beck's definition of communism. I'd be most interested to understand how he can call the administration both fascist and communist (which, in case you didn't know, are as mutually exclusive as "Fox" and "fair"). I'd be pleased to hear from those commenters of mine who recoiled in horror about an Obama appointee who said he'd been a member of the Communist party at one time: what, exactly, is the threat?

First of all, as the Communist party of the US says, there's never been a communist society on this planet. Moreover, in this country, whatever else they might be, the Communist party has about as much influence as a crazy guy in the street. What they are is a bunch of idealistic dreamers, with a vision of humankind that is entirely unrealistic. For communism to work, we'd have to be.... Christlike. All of us. Ain't gonna happen. Least of all, among Christians. The ideal of communism is people working together for a common good; no one exploited; all people treating all others fairly and compassionately; helping one another; caring; the need for central government nearly non-existent. (How's that for a conservative ideal!) I'm not sure what's so awful about that other than the fact that it's one hundred percent impossible. Just look around. (In case it needs to be said, those American Communists who supported the Soviet Union back in the day were as wrong-headed then as Beck is now.)

Personally, I'm fine with capitalism. I still plan to buy an HD TV some day, and if I could afford another Beemer (I had one thirty years ago), I'd get one of those, too (if I didn't care about gas mileage). But I don't consider those who have a pie-in-the-sky governing model some sort of existential threat; especially when the model has zero chance of being realized.

I traveled in the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, on a Russian language study tour. (Time was, I was a pretty fair speaker of Russian: over there, people complimented me on my aksyent, when they weren't asking me about "Dev Brroobek" or trying to buy my Levi's.) No political scientist, I, it was nevertheless obvious to me that nothing about their society was communistic except the one collective farm at which I had the second greatest picnic of my life, and then proceeded to get drunk on the smoothest vodka I'd ever had -- to the consternation of the tour staff, based, as it was, in a "dry" campus back home. (As our large glasses were filled to the brim from pitchers of the stuff for a raucous toast, I was told to dump mine out and hide the fact with my hand. The "clink" gave it away, after which the glass was refilled, the staff lady gave up and drank happily along with the rest of us as songs were sung, accordions played, and people staggered off into the woods.)

What the Soviet government -- and the Chinese, and Cuban, all of them -- was, was totalitarian. They used the concept of communism ("Forward to the victory of communism," was plastered in signs everywhere), I guess, as a sort of ideal by which to get their workers to buy in. That, and the idea that they had a mortal enemy in the US, the defeat of which demanded the sort of sacrifices that their decaying society presented to them. Tiny apartments, crappy products, decaying buildings, while their leaders lived high on the свинья. They were a threat, all right, but it had nothing to do with communism, per se. They were, in fact, the opposite of communism: near complete exploitation of their citizenry for the aggrandizement of government power. The danger was their international aggression, not their not-believed, paper-thin look-the-other-way "communism." If you want to see the closest remaining thing to actual communism in existence, visit a kibbutz.

This is no polemic in favor of communism. True communists, in my view, are hopeless idealists, hippie squared, impossible dreamers. Theirs is a rosy view of humankind that is clearly counterfactual. In the political descent we are witnessing every day since President Obama's election, nothing could be more obvious.

My point is simply this: the cries of "communism" by Beck and his minions are but another example of the dishonesty of the leaders and the stupidity and gullibility of the followers of the right wing as currently constituted. Railing in the certainty that they know what they're talking about. They seen it on the teevee.

There is nothing "communist" about Obama or his policies, even if he appointed one to oversee green energy efforts.

We're more threatened by Tinkerbell.


  1. Comrad Sid, you watch/listen to more Glenn Beck than I do, which is "none". Nothing against the guy, except he's a Mormon so he's goin to hell...
    Never been a Communist Society? Google "Pol Pot" sometime. and I guess the Nazi's were make believe too??? "Idealistic Dreamers with a vision on humankind thats entirely unrealistic"? Did you look up "Barak Obama/supporters" instead of "Taxes" in your Funk & Wagnals...Oh, the Humanity!!
    I'd buy that HD now...the writings on the wall, LCDs and Plasmas have 2 big a Carbon Footprint...(Lotta Elves inside those 63 inch models) Don't even need a space heater with a big plasma in the the time your Bush tax cuts expire on January 1st, 2011 all you'll be able to get is a 32 inch LED model in the $3,000 range... How much extra DID you get to keep thanks to "W"??? Close to $100k for me and the Missus...
    Right now you can pick up a name brand 50 inch plasma for under $600, a little higher if you want the 1080p resolution...
    Lifes short Sid, get you another Bay Emm Vay, those Turbo Diesel models are pretty sporty...


  2. Surely you're being disingenuous to make a point. To quote the Communist Party that there's been no communist society is to take only their definition.

    Communism is an economic system; fascism is a social system. They are hardly exclusive. But I'm sure you already knew that.

    Although I don't recommend Wikipedia as a serious research tool, their definition of fascism seems to strike right at the White House door:

    "Fascists advocate the creation of a single-party state.[7] Fascist governments forbid and suppress openness and opposition to the government and the fascist movement.[8] Fascism opposes class conflict [although Obama doesn't mid exploiting it}, blames capitalist liberal democracies for its creation and communists for exploiting the concept.[9]

    While I never watch Beck (and you do? That's like the doctor joke..."It hurt when I do that"), I would imagine he's referring to the small "c" communism, where the state tells everyone how much they can make, and what the prices should be. Sounds like the current administration again!

    Dr. Time

  3. Yipes, Dr Time. You have taken amazing liberties with facts to shoehorn the definition of fascism into the Obama administration. But it certainly compares exactly to the sort of drivel heard 24/7 on Fox.

  4. So................
    You kept all of your "W" tax cuts??? Good on ya, I did too..


  5. "But it certainly compares exactly to the sort of drivel heard 24/7 on Fox."

    Now there's a powerful argument--for the record, I don't watch much TV at all. Probably more MSNBC than FOX. Olbermann, Maddow, et al--those people are geniuses.

    Tax cut? I think the pres promised us a tax cut. Over and over, he promised it. I don't think I've heard much about that since...oh, Nov 4, I think it's been. Wonder what happened there?

    Dr. Time

  6. Maybe you make too much money, Dr Time. There's been a reduction in withholding for millions of taxpayers related to the cut promised and delivered on April 1. With which, by the way, I disagreed.

    Okay, maybe you just think like Fox without watching it. Please explain how Obama wants a single party system. Explain why it is that after he took office several Republicans said they'd had more face time with him than with Bush.

    Compare the efforts he made for bipartisanship -- and the ones still ongoing (with no discernible fruit, I might add) -- with when the Republicans had control of Congress under Bush.

    Compare, in terms of protesting government, the actions of Bush (how about the couple arrested for wearing tee shirts with the name Bush and a red line through it, that's all, at a Bush rally) to those of Obama regarding people who showed up with guns.

    Compare Bush's firing of US Attorneys who refused to politicize their office to go after people of the opposing party.

    Your attempt to equate Obama with fascism is specious and silly. But, at some level, entertaining.

  7. OK Sid, you "disagreed" with the decreased income tax withholdings...
    Did you send yours back???


  8. I disagreed with the Vietnam War, but went when drafted.

    Far as I know, my taxes aren't affected by Obama's cut, since my income is based on withdrawing from my savings.

  9. I doubt you'd think my income is too much. I'll bet you also understand the difference between a tax cut and a reduction in withholding. The latter just means smaller refunds. The clear implication of Obama in the campaign was lower tax rates...or at least he was happy to leave us with that impression.

    In the same way, meeting with Republicans isn't quite the same as dealing with them. The Republicans have been locked out of legislation sessions by Nancy and Harry, And yes, I realize they are not Obama--but Obama didn't intervene a lick, did he?

    Dr. Time

  10. You're absolutely right, Dr T. He's a fascist. And a communist, and a Muslim-Kenyan.

    If you want to say each party acts badly toward the other when they are in power, I'll completely agree.

    But if you want to spout crazy about fascism, we'll let it speak for itself and denigrate what accurate arguments you might (conceivably) make in the future.

    And if you're saying they decreased withholding without reducing taxes, you'll have to provide documentation.

  11. "And if you're saying they decreased withholding without reducing taxes, you'll have to provide documentation."

    I guess you missed this:

    Dr. Time

  12. I did miss that. But it does not support your statement that there was no tax cut. There was. Might the IRS have screwed it up? Gee.

  13. You know, I found out why you hate FOX so much. Maybe you like the reasoned left:

    This guy does sum up liberal thought pretty well.

  14. I don't watch him. You might as well watch the whole thing. I don't watch Olbermann, either. However, MSNBC does have Scarborough. There's no one like him on Fox, on the other side. Nor is there anyone on MSNBC as consistently unhinged as Beck, as dumb as Hannity, or as damaged as O'Reilly. And there's no equivalent on the left of the dozens of screaming and frothing and hateful of the rightwing radio: Rush, Michael, Michael, Ann, Laura, Michelle, etc ad nauseum. The problem is that when conservatives actually tell the truth once in a while, they get shouted down by the screamers, and backtrack. Liberals call out their own quite regularly.

    Consistently, the Foxies lie and distort. They spew 24/7. On MSNBC there are people (Matthews, Maddow) who have thoughtful discussions with people of opposing views; and they take on people from the left as well. Neither station is my cup of tea; however, you'll often see actual fact-based discussions which include both sides on MSNBC; on Fox, they yell, they cut of mikes.

    Nowhere (except Maddow) are there people on TV who actually do their job, and who follow facts where they take them. Our media are failing us. Fox is the paradigm. The rest aren't nearly as good at propaganda, nor are they acknowledged by the extreme as "their" network the way Fox is.

    P.S: this post was about the silliness of the communist witch hunt. If you'd like to comment on that, fine. I'm tired of the anonymous diversion. New comments unrelated to my topic here will not remain posted.

  15. I'm not ready to jump in yet... but soon.. maybe later.

    I'm loving this conversation tho.(Frank... too funny ...Comrad Sid...LOL!:)

    Thank God for Fox.. I say! Or no one would ever know about the corruption of acorn. Where is CBS,NBC,ABC and the other cable channels.

    I like Scarborough.. but he is a moderate.. hardly far right.

    I give CNN credit in that I have seen some balanced programming there.

    But... NOW.. I do watch Fox TV at night. O'reilly annoys me..but I am telling you he calls both sides out and absolutely *does not* always agree with republicans and there are times I have disagreed with him. He also gives Obama the benefit of the doubt in some things.

    NOW.. that I watch the programming I can see where people spout the mantra of Fox not being fair and balanced but apparently don't seriously watch or they could not say that. If you ask for specifics..they can't tell you exactly why they don't like FOX. I think they just know they are conservative and so automatically discount them.

    Have you watched Greta yet? She airs the entire controversial videos..not just sound bites. Gives very fair interviews... both sides and lets the people say what they want to and she asks hard questions.

    Beck is also a stand up comedian and so sometimes gets a little crazy there with humor that goes too far..sometimes. My older relatives who are conservative don't always get him.

    Beck is the one that brought out all the information on Van Jones..who had NO business having a job with the White House where he answers to no one..or even being in this administration. White people poison the water, Chavez is a good guy, I'm a communist, etc. If.. it wasn't for Beck finding the old video..we wouldn't know.

    I ask you ..where were all those fair and balanced news organizations for that story? And I mean all media sources?

    And where are all the fair and balanced news sources reporting on all the acorn corruption?

    Kudos to those two young adults for investigating.

    Interestingly..Fox's ratings are growing while the others are diminishing. Is it possible the public is finally catching on that the news media who is supposed to report the truth and let the public decide... see the information they omit in their reporting and that they don't pursue a story if it will reflect poorly on the administration?

    Thank God for this age of satellite! The biased media can no longer contain a story they don't want out there.

    Glenn Beck also challenges the right, has disagreed with republicans and states that they spent too much, etc. Glenn... puts the facts out there, even using a chalk board and encourages people to research the information.

    If it wasn't for FOX..acorn would continue with corruption and our tax payer dollars supporting them and we'd have Van Jones. Just two examples.

    I see FOX's existence as akin to opening up the borders for fair competition in ins co prices/quality. people will flock to what is fair and best for them.

    Hannity is annoying with the repetition and I'd like to see him be more respectful and not keep calling Obama the annointed one because he is our president, etc. but he also has opposite opinions/guests on his show every night.

    I discovered a new commentator, conservative that I really like on the radio. Steve Malzberg. East Coast 4-6.

    I will come back to read your article and address Eugene's bush/war comments.

    I only skimmed here and now see you may not be taking anymore comments. I'll send it through since I wrote it all and obviously delete if you wish Dr S.

  16. You avoided the main question, Seaspray: what is it about communism that you fear/hate/dislike/whatever, and why?

    Fox on acorn.

    You might look into what good Acorn has done, although you'll need to go elsewhere than Fox. It's an umbrella organization for many that help those in need. Corruption exists in a huge organization? Gee whiz. Does it overwhelm the good that it's done? In your mind, yes; in mine, no. The people in the video (who were trying to help find housing for someone supposedly in dire need) have been fired.

    I worry more about an administration that tried to corrupt and subvert the department of justice. But that's just me. Trying too hard to find indigent housing? Horrible? Turning US Attorneys into an arm of the Republican Party? Not a problem. I guess it's a matter of priorities.

  17. Dr S..I'm curious... during your surgical residency... what type of physician landed the position of chief surgical resident... or even made it into the surgical residencies? Just how competitive is it? I assume... the best surgeons rise to the top. Everyone is not equal.

    When competition is involved it brings out the best (unless not playing fair somehow). Individuality is a good thing. Freedom... every man has a right to be free. not so under these other regimes.

    Our country is founded on liberty, and justice for all. This country is far above any communist ideology.

    "For communism to work, we'd have to be.... Christlike. All of us. Ain't gonna happen. Least of all, among Christians." You had to be inflammatory with that one..showing the kkk with burning crucifix?

    Now who's not being fair and balanced? ..I'm just sayin.

    How can you lump me in with the kkk? You know I'm a Christian... albeit a most imperfect one.. but certainly not kkk minded and I don't know any that are.

    Your generalizing again. Not fair.

    IMO...anyone that espouses communist views does not belong in our government... in any capacity. It is a privilege that should be reserved to those loyal to our constitution. If they like communism so much... than they should MOVE to the countries that uphold that philosophy.

    Perhaps they might be more enlightened if they spoke with people dragged from their apartments in the middle of the night by the KGB, unfairly locked up in the goulag or how did that freedom of speec, pro democracy protest work out for those young people in Tiananmen Square in China.. or how about the Cambodian genocide (killing fields) thanks to the Kmer Rouge?

    Capitalism is what helped make this country great.

    Your trip sounds fascinating and I've always been interested in that country. But I would say.. you saw what you were allowed to see.

    There was a couple that had been locked up in a goulag..managed to eventually come here to live..who gave a talk at a woman's club meeting (during the cold war -mid 70s)and they said that Americans do not realize how good they have it here and they discussed the differences. I don't remember it all now as I was a teenager back then and heard the story from my aunt who was at the meeting.

    Again.. I repeat.. if it wasn't for Glenn.. we would never have known about Van (white polluters steering poison into the water of minority communities) Jones.

    And I again repeat that Glenn presents.. but also encourages people to research the info for themselves.

    You're being condescending when you state "They seen it on the teevee." as if no one with an opposing view could possibly have reasoned for themselves, be discerning about info and come to their own conclusions.

    * I think it's cool you can speak Russian. I recall your family has origins there.

  18. Just saw your other comment.

    Of course I think the genuine community service is good... but unfortunately they are political activists who have greatly influenced elections. They've proven they do not operate on the up and up.

    And even the politicians are railing against them..well cut funding and they do not want to be connected..nor does our president..yet when asked by George Stephanopoulos if he'd cut Acorn funding.. the president wouldn't commit to an answer. (Seems to do that a lot)

    Koudos to George for actually asking a targeted question. Didn't all of the press used to do that?

  19. "but unfortunately they are political activists who have greatly influenced elections."

    Interesting. How? Sources?

    Or is registering voters some sort of evil influence? (And, before you say it, the phony names were discovered and reported BY Acorn; it was THEY who were defrauded. No phony votes were cast.)

    Seaspray, we're talking past each other. You spout the stuff you hear on Fox, I spout the stuff I read on various other sources. In my view, there's a difference: your comment above is an excellent example. But in your view, it's perfectly factual.

    We'll never get anywhere. Whether Acorn deserves funding has not much, if anything, to do with that episode. They do much more good than harm (if that episode even represents actual harm, that is. How prevalent is it?) I can see why he'd be reluctant to cut off funding (not that it's up to him), since he's aware of the good they do.

    If you're actually interested in another point of view of Acorn, you could watch this.

    It's a hell of a lot worse that we're still funding Blackwater.

  20. It so utterly turns my stomach that Beck calls himself a Mormon, trying to wrap respectability around himself that he can never own. And is he familiar with the United Order? Where early Mormons tried to establish communities where everybody contributed, everybody worked together, and everybody shared equally? It was a noble idea, and they were able to keep it up for a few years, but in the end it just plain didn't work. People were too human. Too attached to their sense of fairness when someone else didn't measure up to what *they* thought *they* were doing, and we all think a little too highly of our own performances, I suppose, while not aware enough of one another's circumstances.

    Yeah, so, the early Mormons were, briefly and truly to the best of their abilities for as long as they could stand it, Communists, long before the word was coined.

  21. This was my Bimmer from college.

  22. Way nicer than mine, Mike. My fantasy car is an M3. Or, if money were totally no object, an M5.


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