Monday, August 10, 2009

Cincinnati Tea Party Organization Posts Letter Comparing White House Actions to Hitler

Last week Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh began comparing President Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and the Democratic Party to both Adolph Hitler and Nazis. Here are a few clips that were compiled by Media Matters:





While Limbaugh is one of the latest national media hosts who has advanced these claims, Fox News host Glenn Beck began doing things like this, months ago:



Of course, Beck is the brain-child behind the "9/12 Project" where he encourages citizens to embrace his 9 principles and 12 virtues which include:

1. America Is Good.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.


Ever since, Beck's "9/12 Project" has spawned chapters all over the country (including in Cincinnati) who have been active in their participation with local chapters of the Tea-Party movement and who have recently been in attendance at local health care forums.

So is it any surprise that members of the Cincinnati 9/12 Project are now adopting the same comparisons to Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany that we are seeing from people like Limbaugh and Beck? Here is a clip from a recent post of a letter by Pete Wolf from the blog over at the Cincinnati 9/12 Project (emphasis mine):

Dear Fellow Citizens,

I appeal to you to express outrage to your elected officials regarding the latest affronts to our freedoms by the White House. Based on my reading of history and my own family’s experiences, these latest White House initiatives resemble those used by totalitarian states. I am very familiar with these tactics since I immigrated to this great country of ours, have parents who survived the Hitler years in Germany, and have relatives who resisted Communism in East Germany. I am personally outraged by the following:

• INTIMIDATION - The Democratic National Committee, in undoubtedly close collaboration with the White House, released a web video on Wednesday titled “Enough of the Mob” in which they refer to constituents in community forums as “mobs” and “right-wing extremists”. This labeling, at best, appears to be an attempt to intimidate average citizens from expressing their views. At worst, it could be an attempt to define and isolate the White House’s opposition for subsequent actions by either the government or its supporters. Hitler started his assault on Jews with labeling and disparaging propaganda!


The Cincinnati Tea Party enjoyed this entry so much, that they reposted it on their own blog.

This implication, that the opponents to Obama's health care plan are being labeled and targeted for "subsequent actions" from the government much like Hitler did to the Jews, is the same type of hyperbolic rhetoric that has led to the following condemnations:

Cliff May of the National Review:

It is wrong, outrageous and damaging for Rush Limbaugh to compare Obama to Hitler. . . . Such hyperbole only serves to confuse and trivialize issues much more grave than tax rates and health-care plans.


The American Jewish Congress:

The Limbaugh comments comparing Obama ( and Pelosi )to Hitler and the Nazis are grossly offensive and intolerable. They reflect a nasty and hyperbolic tendency on our political culture, one which makes reasoned discourse impossible, confuses disagreement with evil, and which makes it impossible to distinguish evil from ordinary politics. . . . It behooves all participants in the political process to unequivocally disavow the comparison and to make it plain that peddlers of such noxious comparison have no place in our politics, no matter how large their audiences. And all Americans should make plain their disgust at the comparisons by talk show hosts by a prompt use of the off button.


The Anti-Defamation League:

"Regardless of the political differences and the substantive differences in the debate over health care, the use of Nazi symbolism is outrageous, offensive and inappropriate," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. "Americans should be able to disagree on the issues without coloring it with Nazi imagery and comparisons to Hitler. This is not where the debate should be at all."

[...]

"Comparisons to the Nazis are deeply offensive and only serve to diminish and trivialize the extent of the Nazi regime's crimes against humanity and the murder of six million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust," said Mr. Foxman. "I don't see any comparison here. It's off-center, off-issue and completely inappropriate."


It is troubling to see local organizations fall into the same patterns that have been condemned nationally, so I hope to allow Karen Best of the Cincinnati 9/12 Project and Mike Wilson of the Cincinnati Tea Party organization to weigh in on why this type of language is posted on the blogs of their organizations and give them an opportunity to address these comparisons. Thus, I have sent the following email to each of them:

Good afternoon,

As you are aware, much media coverage has been given to the town hall meetings at which there has been vocal opposition to the proposed health care legislation. Nationally, figures such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have compared President Obama and Democrats to Adolph Hitler and Nazis which has sparked condemnations from Conservatives, Liberals, and organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League.

Recently, both on the blog for the Cincinnati 9/12 Project and re-posted on the Cincinnati Tea Party blog, was a letter from Pete Wolf which, in part, states the following (emphasis mine):

"•INTIMIDATION - The Democratic National Committee, in undoubtedly close collaboration with the White House, released a web video on Wednesday titled “Enough of the Mob” in which they refer to constituents in community forums as “mobs” and “right-wing extremists”. This labeling, at best, appears to be an attempt to intimidate average citizens from expressing their views. At worst, it could be an attempt to define and isolate the White House’s opposition for subsequent actions by either the government or its supporters. Hitler started his assault on Jews with labeling and disparaging propaganda!"

This comparison and implication (that opponents of the Obama health care plan may be targeted like Hitler targeted the Jews) is a continuation of this rhetoric that has been nationally condemned.

I have highlighted these blog entries in a recent post at the Cincinnati Beacon and have also included the text of this email with the anticipation of posting your response.

I am interested in your reaction to this kind of rhetoric and the injection of these comparisons into the dialogue on this issue. Do you condemn comparisons of President Obama to Adolph Hitler and other Democrats to Nazis or do you feel that these comparisons are constructive ways to voice opposition to these political policies? If you find the material objectionable, will it be removed from your websites?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Chris Johnson


If I receive any responses, I will post them here.


This piece is crossposted here.

3 comments:

Karen said...

Dear Mr Johnson,
I havent received the email you reference in your blog as of this morning, though the blog date was 8/10/09.If you would care to engage me on this topic, please do so with integrity. That's something we respect over at the Cincinnati 912 Project.
If you are able to get comments posted at The Cincinnati Beacon, please post my response to the misinformation they are perpetuating.The moderators there have apparently chosen to block my response to their "teabaggers exposed " :)
article as it clearly disproves their "headline story". Have a nice day!
Karen Best
Cincinnati 912 Project


Cincinnati Beacon's article:
http://www.cincinnatibeacon.com/index.php/contents/comments/teabagger_tactics_exposed/

Response (ignored) sent to both partners listed personally and submitted for posting.The moderators, for obvious reasons? have chosen not to give me the opportunity to respond. See below:


Subject: Teabagger Tactics Exposed!



Dear Mr. Jeffre,



This is in response to your August 4th, 2009 post on “The Cincinnati Beacon” website regarding Congressman Steve Driehaus’ Town Hall meeting on Monday, August 3, 2009. For the record, your whole premise for the article is patently false!



None of the directives you attribute to the Tea Party and associated organizations were in fact issued to its membership. Thanks to Mary Katharine Ham of the “Weekly Standard”, these directives were instead issued by a small Libertarian grassroots organization in Connecticut, Right Principles PAC, which was formed by Bob MacGuffie and four friends in 2008. Their Facebook group consists of twenty-three members and has a Twitter following of four members. ( Most individuals have a greater following than these guys.) Additionally, the cited directives from the Right Principles PAC group were embellished by preceding each of the Talking Points by MacGuffie with headlines which made the overall directives sound more sinister. Mary Katharine Ham’s complete expose of this intentional, Democratic National Committee mis-representation of the “Tea Party” movement can be found at the following “Weekly Standard” link: http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/08/think_progress_msnbc_manufactu.asp



We also take offense to subsequent comments by readers of your post which assert that maybe the 9/12 Project attendees were to be blamed for the alleged “disturbances”, instead of the Tea Party. Not only do I question the submitter’s ability to differentiate between the groups, but would suggest that these comments appear to be a shameless attempt to create division between our groups.



Consequently, you have no proof of orchestration by the Republican Party or Corporate Lobbyists, as you assert.


In light of these facts, we would appreciate a retraction of your article and a truthful presentation of the facts.



Sincerely yours,



Karen Best

Founder, Cincinnati 9/12 Project

Chris Johnson said...

Karen,

Yesterday (8/10/09 at 2:07 PM) is when I emailed the address that is listed publicly on your organization's website: karen@cincinnati912project.com

I did not receive a bounceback or any notification that this email was not delivered. In any case, I resent the email to that same address this morning at 9:03 AM with the note:

Good morning Karen,

You indicated in your response to my blog entry that you never received the email below, which you can see I sent on August 10 at 2:07PM, so I am resending the email.

I look forward to your response and will post your correspondence in full both at the Cincinnati Beacon and on my own personal blog.

Sincerely,

Chris Johnson


I am interested in your response and I will post your correspondence in full.

Grumpy said...

Chris, if you expect these nut jobs to repudiate their fellow nut jobs, you're in for a long, frustrating life.