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October 21, 2014

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Sun Editorial:

A baseless attack

McCarthy-era tactics can’t be allowed to go unchallenged in Washington

Conservative firebrand Rep. Michele Bachmann and four of her congressional colleagues have demanded an investigation into what they say is a move by radical Islamists to insert themselves into the highest reaches of the federal government.

They sent letters this month to five inspectors general and the White House, complaining that the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to influence government leaders, a potential “security risks for this nation, its people and interests.”

Bachmann and company pointed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s longtime aide Huma Abedin, darkly suggesting that she was somehow connected to terrorist groups. They imply that since Abedin has worked for the State Department, U.S. policy has become more sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood.

With the real threat of terrorism, these are very serious allegations, especially considering that Bachmann and two of the letter signers are members of the House Intelligence Committee.

However, these members of Congress haven’t offered any real proof. Instead, they have relied on rumor, innuendo and things they found on the Internet.

Given the gravity of their allegations, that is unconscionable. They have smeared the name of Abedin and others without any evidence. This is reminiscent of the McCarthy era, when a whisper of a connection to Communism was enough to scuttle a reputation and sink a career. Never mind if any of that was true.

Abedin’s alleged sin is that she has three family members, including her father who has been dead for two decades, who supposedly had or have connections to members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Given that Abedin’s family has roots in the Middle East, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they knew someone associated with the group. But that doesn’t mean that Abedin has a link to terrorism just because she’s related to someone who knows someone who knows someone.

If it did, Congress should watch out. We’re sure if we looked at the family of anyone in Congress, much less the people they know, that we would find sketchy characters and some “ties” to illicit activity.

The initial response to the attack on Abedin was unfortunately tepid until Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., went to the Senate floor and offered a strong defense of Abedin. He rebuked Bachmann and her colleagues, saying the attacks “have no logic, no basis, and no merit.”

The allegations Bachmann and her colleagues made have real-life consequences. Last week, it was reported that a man in New Jersey had threatened Abedin.

The actions of these members of Congress can’t go unchallenged. As McCain put it:

“When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it.”

The House should take a strong stand against the actions of Bachmann and her colleagues. The evil of McCarthyism can’t be allowed to fester.

The publisher of this newspaper has known Huma Abedin for many years. She is a good and dear friend. She is also an American of sterling character, incredible work ethic and a dedication to everything good for which this nation stands. She is the last person who should have anyone attack her patriotism or her motivation.

Least of all someone like Bachmann and her ilk whose credibility quotients are substandard, at best. This newspaper also has had an up close and personal relationship with the late Sen. Joe McCarthy, a discredited political hack who ruined many innocent American lives and brought disgrace to the U.S. Senate. He was ultimately censured.

Given Bachmann’s outrageous conduct against Abedin, it is hard to tell where McCarthyism ended and Bachmann’s version of the guilt-by-association scourge has begun.

When McCarthy was finally challenged by a fearful nation, it was done simply with this: “You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

To which we would say to Bachmann and those who allow her to continue her un-American activities: You, too, have done enough. Have you also no sense of decency?

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  1. Who could POSSIBLY agree with this raging, blithering TeaNut...

    OH, YEAH;
    FUTURE!!!

  2. Congesswoman Bauchmann's allegations may be wrong but the thrust of her concerns are in the right direction. Our federal government under both the Bush Administration and under Obama, have been bowing down to political correctness where Islamic interests are concerned. There have been great strides made by the purveyors of Islamic values and beliefs to infiltrate positions of influence in the U.S. government. There is a great danger to American freedoms and values and laws that will be felt by the progress being made by Islamists. Specifically, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Council on American Islamic Relations(CAIR) are two organizations that are infiltrating and gaining influence in the highest places of American government.Bauchmann has good reason to be concerned.We should all be. These same organizations have many faces as we are learning--they have ties to terrorist interests as well as faces of innocence here in this country as the interface in representing Islamic interests within the highest levels of Government. These Islamic oganizations are cunning and patient and very sophisticated. They are adept at using the American legal and political system to leverage their campaign to elevate Islamic interests and law and customs, and inculcate these interests into American society where they can do great harm by undermining American traditions and laws. Make no mistake, these people have one long term goal in mind and it is for Sharia Law to rule America, and Islam to be in total control.

  3. Article I, Section 6 provides "and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place."

    The Congress is non-functional enough, but if we are going to subject representatives to lawsuits for what they have said or written, we can kiss goodbye any hope of any action -- ever.

  4. What sort of decent human being engages in fear mongering to be popular or gain votes? The answer is none. When engaged in slandering another without cause makes one less than decent. As lawyers these elected clowns should know you need evidence and shouldn't make false accusations. As self professed Christians, they are hypocrites and should be ashamed of their behavior, but their ego and pride won't allow that.

    Matthew 12:36 - "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak"

    Proverbs 10:18 - "The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool."

    James 4:11 - "Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge."

  5. Future - "Everyone knows that Obama favors radical Islamists over other middle east groups. Obama has invited these people to the WH."

    Who was invited? Prove it. I know George HW Bush played host to the Talliban and I didn't think he was evil, you delusional hypocrite!

  6. Red Rocky ought to read the FBI's own analysis of the Venona transcripts before he mouths off about it validating the claims of McCarthy (and others).

  7. Look, I'll say it again. If you brag about believing in a talking jackass and zombies as Rep. Michele Bachmann does, anything will pass as evidence. Make no mistake, anyone who believes that sort of nonsense will have unlimited credulity.

  8. "Future"... I say this with great admiration and respect Sir. Go get a crowbar and use it to help pull your head out of that shadowy place where the sun doesn't shine. How on earth could you possibly come up with such an patently absurd remark? It's as though you were educated locally.

    (re: Two reports find Las Vegas to be worst city in the nation for education)

  9. Mr. Sun,

    Ask yourself if your parents were 'officers' in the Muslim Brotherhood and Muslim Sisterhood would you be eligible for a high level position in the United States State Department.

    Seems like a logical and reasonable question.

    Purgatory

    p.s. McCarthy has been proven right, by-the-way.

  10. Once again, if you are a liberal, it is free speech and if are a conservative, anything you do or say is considered hate. So very hypocritical!!!

  11. RedRocky:

    A talking jackass can be found in the bible (Numbers 22:28) I'm not sure how many people came back from the dead in the bible but I believe the technical name for them would be zombie(s). Is Rep. Michele Bachmann still a Christian?

  12. Unfortunately, facts seem unimportant to many of the commenters here. Nobody denies there were Soviet spies in our government in the 50s, just as the U.S. had spies in the Soviet government. But generally, McCarthy, and his henchman McCarran, did not name any real spies but accused anyone who disagreed with them and thereby ruined many of their lives by false accusations. McCarthy accused Eisenhower and Truman and other patriotic Americans of being Communist sympathizers. McCarthyism doesn't refer to the hunt for spies in the 1950s. It refers to the despicable tactic of making false accusations against your enemies. McCarthy supporters keep referring to the Venona papers which may have listed the names of real Soviet spies. But they were not the innocent people accused by McCarthy. The McCarran/McCarthy hearings simply obfuscated the search for the real spies.

  13. "...these members of Congress haven't offered any real proof. Instead, they have relied on rumor, innuendo and things they found on the Internet."

    SUN -- sounds like some posters to this Discussions.

    "Our federal government under both the Bush Administration and under Obama, have been bowing down to political correctness where Islamic interests are concerned."

    "Ask yourself if your parents were 'officers' in the Muslim Brotherhood and Muslim Sisterhood would you be eligible for a high level position in the United States State Department. Seems like a logical and reasonable question."

    Houstonjac, Purgatory -- you seem to have conveniently forgotten the Constitution's standards for equality and prohibition against religious testing. And past similar campaigns against Catholics/Papists, Free Masons and Mormons.

    "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." -- H.L. Mencken

  14. Killer, et al.

    I respectfully disagree with your assessment that the Muslim Brotherhood is protected by our Constitution under 'religious freedom.'

    Many sites attribute this creedo to the Muslim Brotherhood:

    "The Prophet is our leader. Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope."

    Moreover, we have regular evidence supporting their creedo. I think you have made a mistake in your analysis.

    Regards
    Purgatory

  15. "The Prophet is our leader..."

    Purgatory -- you don't see religion in that? Christianity is alive and doing far too well in this country, yet it's based on some of the same scripture, and contains some of the same dogma. Have a look @ Luke 19.27: ""But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."

    This country's history of slaughter in the name of religion is a matter of record. I'm descended from early Mormons who were actually the subject of an extermination order by a Missouri governor. It was enthusiastically carried out by militias. So much for "Thou shalt not kill," etc.

    So long as they're not breaking the laws of the land, discrimination against Muslims is nothing more than ordinary bigotry, something no legitimate government in the U.S. is allowed to engage in.

    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." -- attributed to Seneca the Younger (executed by Nero in 65 A.C.E.)

  16. We all know that Obama does not support Christians.

    He has refused to let Catholics exercise their freedoms - they have had huge protests that the liberal press refuses to cover

    NBC news did not cover the moment of silence at the Olympics.

    Obscene politicos attack people if they hold Biblical beliefs - that are not of the extreme left. obama thinks it is quite all right for these people to bully Christians.

    Obama will allow Sharia law however to stand - while he will not allow US laws for Christians to practice their religion to stand.

    NBC has omitted parts of the Pledge of Allegiance to attack CHristians.

    Its time for the government to stop stomping on religious rights - regardless if they are Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, etc. Hoewver Obama loves to stomp on any religious rights....

    as such, he is not fit to be in office until he learns to respect the rights of all.

  17. -RedRock-

    Thanks. Maybe I'm not so smart after all.

  18. "Its time for the government to stop stomping on religious rights - regardless if they are Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, etc."

    loves2hike -- no, it's time for religion pushers to leave the rest of us alone and quit trying to use government to make the rest of us live according to their morals and beliefs.

    "I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in "A," "B," "C" and "D." Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of "conservatism." -- Barry Goldwater, speech to the US Senate (September 16, 1981)

  19. Can't say it any more concisely than Goldwater said it. Bachmann and those of her ilk are "Old Testament" fanatics. They are the eye for an eye types who revel in the violence, bigotry and intolerance rampant in the Old Testament. The "New Testament" tried to walk some of that stuff back. Jesus appeared and preached in the New Testament, not the Old. Followers of the teachings of Christ, and his followers, are Christians, hence the word. Others who follow the mostly Judaic Old Testament are not. Disclaimer: this is MY definition of Christian only; it's what I believe.

  20. Those who support Bachman's wichhunt should be ashamed! Once again, Sen.John McCain has proven himself to be a decent and patriotic American by condemning all the Islamophobes. This should not be a partisan issue. This is about the value we place on American principles such as religious freedom and freedom of expression. Our nation was founded on bedrock principles of religious liberty.

    Michelle Bachmann is stirring the pot in an attempt to incite fear and panic in her constituants and further divide the nation. People like Michelle Bachmann and her followers have become the face of the GOP. Until the sane members of the party denounce the intolerant extremists, they will lose the votes of people (like mine) who don't want Obama elected again.

  21. @Red Rocky: If you insist on making up your own "facts", you will just be talking to yourself. Let's try again. The FBI itself -- while J. Edgar Hoover was still Director -- concluded in a report which has been published that the "names" in the Venona papers were not facts but unconfirmed and uncorroborated suppositions made as a part of efforts to break the codes used. And that report explained -- in great detail -- why.

    Read the actual FBI report first hand for yourself. Then, if you prefer the version Glen Beck and others concocted some 60 years later, it is your right as an American to believe whatever you like, just as long as you don't inflict it on others.

  22. As long as Bachmann is on the House Intelligence committee, the House will have no intelligence.

  23. Red Rocky

    1. You are looking for the FBI Office Memorandum A.H. Belmont to L.V. Boardman, dated February 1, 1956. It was Classified until 1995. This is the only FBI analysis of the Venona Project. I dunno what you've been quoting, but it isn't authoritative, and isn't FBI.

    2. You and Greenspun ought to reconsider holding Congressmen and Senators liable for misstatements of fact. It would violate the Constitutional immunity that they have and would make Congress even less productive (if such a think could be imagined). We need folks in office who will tell us what they think -- even if it is flat out wrong. Otherwise, we will just hear what pollsters tell the politicians we want to hear -- and that is a big reason for the mess we are now in.

  24. lovestohike - "He has refused to let Catholics exercise their freedoms - they have had huge protests that the liberal press refuses to cover"

    Shouldn't it be lovestohate? Exactly what freedoms were taken? You people amaze me with the bias, misinfomation and blatant stupidity you allow to ramble around in your psyche.

    You still have your bibles, you still have your guns, there are no FEMA concentration camps, Obama didn't cancel Prayer Day, he didn't take his 5,000 entourage to India protected by a 34 ship armada, he doesn't have a secret army, he isn't Muslim, and hundreds of investigators including John McCain and Bill O'Reilly found his birth certificate in Hawaii, yet you clowns persist in believing the most assinine crap imaginable.

    Why do people who profess to be Christian hate so much? Which is exactly why we have an idiotic member, Michele Bachmann, sit on the Intelligence Committee making outrageous comments. I find it idiotic and dangerous to allow a loose cannon such as Bachmann to have access to sensitive information. Especially when foreign nations we try to engage in negotiations listen to that moronic insanity dribbling out from Washington. Our enemies love to see the divison we put upon ourselves by treating other Americans as the enemy.

  25. I agree - There are many baseless attacks on the character of many individuals. Our Senator Reid has accused Mr. Romney of not paying taxes. Reid has no factual information regarding this, just hearsay evidence, by his own admittance. Reid must be senile. I agree with Romney, "Either put up or shut up!"

  26. Michele Bachmann and her cohorts aren't the only insane or delusional people within the GOP.

    Rep. Kelly Keisling alleges President Barack Obama is planning to fake his assassination as part of a plan to impose martial law.

    John McCain, Bill O'Reilly and hundreds, if not thousands, of others investigated Obama's birth and found he was born in Hawaii. Yet some believe McCain and O'Reilly would rather lie to the public protecting Obama.

    Email after email claimed Obama was the anti- Christ, he had a secret army that would take your guns, bibles and detain Christians in FEMA re-education camps. Bachmann herself said she read in a blog that Obama was escorting 5,000 people to India with a 34 ship military flotilla.

    So how do you tell crazy people they are crazy? You can't, and reading posts here some either don't think they are crazy or don't realize it. A sector of the far right has evidently gone collectively insane.

  27. murphyfish - "I agree with Romney, "Either put up or shut up!"

    Why won't Romney settle the issue by showing his taxes? He could easily embarass Harry Reid by doing so.

  28. There are so many lies being told by so many people so often that the truth is all but indeterminable. I am approaching the position that all are wrong until proven correct, and that is a very sorry place to be.

  29. Brass: "I am approaching the position that all are wrong until proven correct, and that is a very sorry place to be in."
    It is a good position you are approaching and it is not a sorry place to be in. Most things are obviously correct to you and need not be proven. But other things can only be proven by one of the parties, so, if asked, there is nothing wrong in placing the burden of proof on them. For example, only Obama could produce his Hawaii birth certificate when the place of his birth was questioned. By producing that certificate he proved the whacko "birthers" were wrong. Only those asserting the existence of unnatural things such as the loch ness monster, or unicorns, or sasquatch should be able to prove why they believe such otherwise unprovable things. Only those asserting the existence of supernatural gods should have the burden of proving their existence. And currently, most importantly, only those with access to one's own tax returns should have the burden of proving that taxes were actually paid. Since deniers of all of the above would NOT have access to evidence disproving the claims, should we then automatically assume that any absurd claims are true? Or, should we expect those who have access to the only evidence to prove or disprove those claims, to come forward with the proof and end the dispute?