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Calling a Spade a Spade


MoveOn.org's Eli Pariser, in an appearance on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews (DailyKos editor Markos Moulitsas was also a guest), defends his organization's publication of the "Petraeus Betray Us" advertisement in the New York Times Monday (pdf) which sparked a firestorm of reaction from the right.

Republicans were up in arms over the ad, in their usual animated high-drama hijinks, calling on the Democratic leadership to denounce the ad. In a true and telling demonstration of the Republican willingness to strip away our freedoms in this country, Republicans in Congress -- led by the high-drama queen Boehner the Blubberer -- actually introduced legislation which addressed the MoveOn ad.

The Hill notes "House Republican leaders introduced a resolution Monday condemning" the full-page newspaper ad. The resolution, "authored by Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), is cosponsored by 11 Republicans, including Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs panel."

"Condemning" free speech in America that is critical of the administration? Isn't that telling?

Isn't that one of the freedoms we're fighting to protect? When the political party that is running the Executive branch loses sight of that fact, it's obviously time for a change.

UPDATE: You'll note that several times in the Hardball clip above Chris Matthews attributes the word "traitor" to MoveOn.org's characterization of General Petraeus.

This is just another Republican lie. The fact is the word traitor does not appear anywhere in the ad, or in the organization's website material supporting the ad. The Huffington Post's Jeffrey Feldman explains:

Pay attention, America: this is how the right-wing uses the media to manipulate the truth and silence dissent against the Iraq war.

Even before MoveOn.org's ran its controversial ad about General Petraeus in the New York Times, The Weekly Standard published an article by Peter Hegseth, Executive Director of the organization Vets for Freedom. The headline of the article accused the MoveOn.org ad of calling Petreaus a 'traitor' ("MoveOn.org Calls Petraeus a Traitor"). The only problem: the word 'traitor' appears nowhere in the MoveOn.org ad nor anywhere on the MoveOn.org page about the ad. It is Hegseth's article that introduced the word 'traitor' into the story -- an outright lie intended to silence dissent against the war. Less than 24 hours after the Hegseth piece ran and the MoveOn.org ad appeared, the mainstream media picked up the Weekly Standard's lie and repeated it until it became the story.

The word 'betray' used by MoveOn in the ad implies many meanings, but does not directly imply 'traitor' -- unless that definition is introduced.

Voila! Another effort by U.S. citizens to question Bush's policy in Iraq has been silenced by right-wing, coordinated accusations that critics of the war seek to harm the country, this time by slandering the U.S. military.

The traitor lie was picked up and spread around the web by the usual liars, including Wizbang's own Lorie Byrd:

So, MoveOn.org, in effect, calls a highly respected general who was confirmed 81-0 by the U.S. Senate a traitor, but we can't question their patriotism?

I question Byrd's patriotism, and the patriotism of the rest of the Republicans who lie and smear to achieve their political goals of silencing administration critics and stripping away our freedoms further.

No matter where you stand on the war, that freedom to express criticism is something we should all be fighting to protect, and having to fight our fellow Americans to protect it is a disgrace.

Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Comments (7)


If a person is part of the Greedy Old Pervert party, who ever disagrees with them is a traitor. That is how those preverts think.

Also taking into consideration that most of the puggies have never served, nor their children served in the military, but they are the arm chair quarterbacks. Why do they hate America so much?

Steve Crickmore:

If Petraeus is so honest and full of integrity, what possible objection could he have to being sworn in?

National Guard LT:

Once Petraeus was nominated by the President he simply became another political appointee who happens to wear a uniform.

Unfortunately, because military service has dropped in the United States there are too many "military jock sniffers" who are awe strucked by the uniform. Take Petraeus out of uniform, put him in a suit, and then have him testify. The dynamics would be very different.

Lee Ward:

yo said: "So, yeah - ban me."

Done deal. Cya!



Ward decries the opinions of others that found the ad offensive saying that they are stripping us of our rights, presumably free speech.

Perhaps he doesn't understand that criticism of a position he supports is also free speech and should not be assailed.

In a twist of delicious irony, he bans a poster who dared question him.

Lee must be of the opinion that the incessant lack of comments to his posts is a result of his unassailable logic, when in fact he is so far beyond the pale with his commentary that no one cares to rebut him.

Sadly, I feel compelled to rebut. Allow me to offer this brilliant snippet from Lee:

"The traitor lie was picked up and spread around the web by the usual liars, including Wizbang's own Lorie Byrd:

So, MoveOn.org, in effect, calls a highly respected general who was confirmed 81-0 by the U.S. Senate a traitor, but we can't question their patriotism?"

Let me explain for Lee why his comment is nonsensical: "In effect" means that it was not literally stated, but rather was strongly suggested in the ad. Given that the title referred to him as "Betray-us", I would say that does suggest that he is "betraying" the American people. Betraying the American people, to a man who has taken an oath to protect the American people could be considered a traitorious act. So her statement is not a "lie" as you suggest, but rather an "opinion" which is different from a lie. "Opinion" that you disagree with does not equal "lie". Simple enough for you and your third grade name-calling mentality?

As a final comment, the endless use by Lee of the "lie" accusation in his posts has just gone over the edge. It is my hope that the other less insane contributors to Blue will ask Lee to scale back or withdraw himself altogether as his posts destroy any credibility that Blue may have. His inflammatory posts don't persuade or promote discussion, they just drag down those of you on the left that can engage in rational thought. I disagree generally with your positions, but the other posters at least raise some valid points from time to time. Lee is a child in a forum of adults.

To the extent that Lee is engaging in these kind of posts simply to get attention and hits, I say well done Lee, you have established your credentials in the Wizbang community as a certifiable moron and a joke. Perhaps offering more coherent and logic-based commentary will actually get more people to consider your opinions and visit the site, rather than dismissing you as a braying jackass.

Lee Ward:

More attacks from the right on those who are critical of the administration. Gee, I'm surprised....

and thanks for lowering the bar -- clearly I've been too polite up to now.

Lee Ward:

More to come. Stay tuned. As I said, you've lowered the bar nicely and I've been too polite for too long.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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