ChrisWeigant.com

Anti-BDS Legislation Is Unconstitutional

[ Posted Tuesday, March 5th, 2019 – 17:41 UTC ]

Today, I am going to wade into a minefield, if that's not too mixed a metaphor to begin with. Or, perhaps more accurately, I am going to dip a toe into a minefield (continuing the mixed-up water-versus-land metaphor). Just to warn everyone in advance.

The subject of Israel and American politicians' support for Israel is in the news this week, as the Democratic House votes to condemn anti-Semitism. It is doing so to punish one of its own members for not being sufficiently supportive of Israel, and for complaining about how American politicians' support for Israel has to be unquestioning and absolute.

But I'm not going to address this news, in part because Paul Waldman of the Washington Post already did so with an excellent amount of clarity. He begins his article:


In what is surely the most shameful decision of her current term as speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has decided that the time has come for the House to rebuke Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for things she didn't actually say, and ideas she didn't actually express. In the process, Pelosi and other Democrats are helping propagate a series of misconceptions about anti-Semitism, Israel, and U.S. political debate.

I'm going to try to bring some clarity to this issue, understanding how difficult it can be whenever we discuss anything that touches on Israel.

To be clear, I do this as someone who was raised in an intensely Zionist family with a long history of devotion and sacrifice for Israel, but who also -- like many American Jews -- has become increasingly dismayed not only by developments in Israel but by how we talk about it here in the United States.

Of course, his Jewish credentials lend a certain amount of credibility to his commentary, in the ways that I (a non-Jew) cannot match. He continues by examining the history of the anti-Semitic tropes that Omar has been accused of propagating, and in the most poignant paragraph points out that what she is complaining about is exactly what is now happening to her:

Now, back to Omar. Here's the truth: The whole purpose of the Democrats' resolution is to enforce dual loyalty not among Jews, but among members of Congress, to make sure that criticism of Israel is punished in the most visible way possible. This, of course, includes Omar. As it happens, this punishment of criticism of Israel is exactly what the freshman congresswoman was complaining about, and has on multiple occasions. The fact that no one seems to acknowledge that this is her complaint shows how spectacularly disingenuous Omar's critics are being.

But, as I said, I write today not to parse or defend Omar or her comments, but instead to criticize what is really at the heart of this matter: the anti-BDS movement. Because in this particular case, some Democrats have taken their support for Israel much too far, because they are threatening our own Constitution with laws intended to supervise not just Jews' public support for Israel, not just the public support for Israel from members of Congress, but everyone's freedom to disagree with such support by using peaceful means to do so that are guaranteed constitutional rights.

Waldman points this out, too:

Take, for instance, the wave of state laws passed in recent years in opposition to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, in which a state would refuse to do business with anyone who supports BDS. In some cases, those laws require that contractors sign a document promising not to support any boycott of Israel. It's illustrated by the case of a speech pathologist in Texas who sued over a requirement that she sign such a pledge to work in a public school district. That is literally a demand that she pledge her loyalty to Israel. She's not Jewish, and the officials who demanded that she do so aren't either; the Texas Republican Party is not exactly an organization dominated by Jews. When Gov. Greg Abbott (R) -- also not a Jew -- proclaims that "Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies," he's expressing his dual loyalty.

According to Wikipedia, over half of U.S. states have passed such a law, and there is now a push to pass a federal anti-BDS law in Congress. This is flat-out wrong, and anyone who stands up and says so should not be punished in any way.

Now, because of the minefield nature of this entire discussion, allow me to state unequivocally what I personally support, what I do not support, and why. I am not publicly declaring my support for the BDS movement. I am not advocating that anyone else support the BDS movement, either. What I do support is the BDS movement's peaceful tactics and their fundamental right to exist under the Bill of Rights. This is a matter of principle for me, but this principle has nothing at all to do with Jews, Israel, Palestinians, Zionism, or anti-Semitism. It is a constitutional principle, for me. To state it as clearly as I can: I don't care whether you support BDS or not, but I do intensely care that you continue to enjoy the freedom to do so -- or not -- as you so decide. And this freedom needs to be absolutely unfettered by the government, exactly as the Constitution demands.

Again, to be crystal-clear: when I say I support the tactics of the BDS movement, I am not talking about supporting their overall goals (which would be their strategy, not their tactics). What tactics do I support? It's right there in the title: boycott, divestment, sanctions.

Let's take the last one first, because it is the easiest to address. Politically advocating for sanctions against Israel is just as much an unalienable right as advocating for support of Israel. However, while these two should be equal (as the Bill of Rights guarantees), in America they are functionally not. There is precisely zero chance that the American government is going to pass or impose sanctions on Israel at any time in the foreseeable future. Support for Israel used to be a more partisan issue, but now that the evangelicals are on board with it (a change that has happened gradually over the past few decades), it is near-universal across the political spectrum. This is what Oman is complaining about, it bears mentioning. But the pushback against her proves pretty decisively that sanctions are simply not on the table in today's political environment. So what are the anti-BDS people worried about?

The other two tactics are the ones that really concern them, at least here in America. Boycotts and divestment aren't so much an economic worry for Israel as a public relations problem, when you get right down to it. Because both have been very effectively used before to change public opinion in a big way.

First, a historic interlude. Few realize the word "boycott" is eponymic. Charles Boycott, for whom the tactic is named, was a land agent for an absentee landlord in Ireland in the 1880s. As such, he was responsible for overseeing all the farms that the Earl of Erne owned, which included (at times) evicting tenant farmers. This was a big political issue at the time, in Ireland (and that's a monumental understatement and oversimplification).

Irish politician Charles Stewart Parnell is credited with the origin of the idea of how to react to these evictions, in a political speech he gave in County Claire. He asked the crowd: "What do you do with a tenant who bids for a farm from which his neighbor has been evicted?" After the predictable responses ("Kill him!"), he suggested an alternative:

I wish to point out to you a very much better way -- a more Christian and charitable way, which will give the lost man an opportunity of repenting. When a man takes a farm from which another has been evicted, you must shun him on the roadside when you meet him -- you must shun him in the streets of the town -- you must shun him in the shop -- you must shun him on the fair green and in the market place, and even in the place of worship, by leaving him alone, by putting him in moral Coventry, by isolating him from the rest of the country, as if he were the leper of old -- you must show him your detestation of the crime he committed.

So when Charles Boycott attempted to evict some farmers, this is what the people in the community did. Since this was the "first draft" of the political tactic, though, it was a bit rougher and less "Christian and charitable" than proposed. People who still did business with Boycott were threatened with murder if they didn't join the shunning effort -- not exactly something Gandhi or Martin Luther King would have approved of, in other words. Later the same year, Boycott's name became a verb, and it's been in the English language ever since.

In modern times, of course, boycotts are non-violent and voluntary. When an entity (a country, a company, or an entire industry) is seen as being morally in the wrong, the public is encouraged to take their business elsewhere, in as public a fashion as possible. Boycotts have been successful in effecting positive change across whole industries (grape pickers, for instance) and even against countries. Boycotts have been successfully used in America across the political spectrum, it's also worth pointing out -- both lefty and righty groups have successfully changed corporate behavior that they disagreed with through the exercise of economic boycotts. But getting back to the case at hand, few Americans buy products manufactured in Palestinian territories, and few rely on Israeli products all that much in their day-to-day life. So an economic boycott is more symbolism than an actual economic threat. But its symbolism could be quite potent if it caught on in a widespread way.

The bigger threat to Israel is the divestment part of the equation. Divestment means pressuring American companies not to invest in Israel, not to produce anything there, not to profit from Israel, and to divest any stock holdings in companies that do business with Israel. Divestment also means pressuring stockholders to likewise divest their holdings of any company who still does business in Israel or the occupied territories. In terms of possible economic pain, this is a much more potent issue.

This tactic has also worked spectacularly well on the international stage in the past, during the 1980s and 1990s, when it was used to great effect against the Apartheid regime in South Africa. Large investors (like pension funds) were pressured into divesting all South African holdings. Companies were also pressured into divesting their holdings or their business activities in South Africa. Public sentiment turned against the South African government worldwide. It was seen as a moral issue, which it was (since Apartheid was the equivalent of not just the Jim Crow South but also white supremacism writ large). In the end, Apartheid fell. This was due in part to the public pressure the divestment tactic brought to bear on South Africa.

This is what the BDS movement wants to see happen to Israel. They want change in the status quo and they think boycotts, divestment, and sanctions are the way to effect this change. They may succeed, they may fail -- but they certainly have the right under our American system of government to make the attempt.

But the supporters of Israel are fighting back, and by doing so they are crossing a line which simply should not be crossed. The anti-BDS movement has been quietly getting laws passed which, in effect, serve as governmental boycotts of the boycotters. Governments, under these laws, refuse to do business with any company or individual who supports the BDS movement, or will not swear that they don't support the movement. This has led, as the article pointed out, to public school teachers having to sign away their free speech rights in order to remain employed or get a job. That is governmental censorship, plain and simple.

It is also, as Waldman pointed out, not just being forced to sign a loyalty oath to remain employed, but it is being forced to sign a loyalty oath to another country to remain employed by an American government. That is just plain wrong, period.

Governments (state or federal) in America should not be the arbiters of what is correct political thought, period. Political activity or belief should not ever be a criterion for doing business with a government agency. That is what free speech is all about. The First Amendment guarantees that all Americans have the right to hold such opinions, state such opinions in public, and act on such opinions without fear of government retribution. Anti-BDS laws fail this test on every level. The government is choosing to punish political opinions, plain and simple. It has no right to do so, period.

What's astonishing is that the anti-BDS movement is supported by both Democrats and Republicans alike. This clear violation of free speech and the Bill of Rights is actually a bipartisan issue. The government is using its economic power to force people to disavow a political position, which is the slipperiest of slopes imaginable. If the government is the arbiter of what is acceptable in the realm of political thought, then who knows where things will end up?

This is why we have a Bill of Rights in the first place. Restricting governmental power was an acute worry when our constitutional system was first proposed. The Constitution itself didn't restrict much of anything, so the opposition party at the time demanded a Bill of Rights which laid out in plain language what the government could never be allowed to do.

The anti-BDS movement runs so counter to this ideal that it should be seen as absolutely indefensible. But, sadly, there are plenty of American politicians willing to not just defend it but promote it, Republicans and Democrats alike. Either they have no idea of the dangerous precedent it would set, or they've never actually read the Bill of Rights, or they are just scared of public backlash from Jewish (and, now, evangelical) voters. But whatever reason motivates them does not change the fact that they are wrong. Politicians are just as free as any other citizen to advocate for the anti-BDS cause, just as everyone should be free to advocate for the BDS movement. But politicians should never be allowed to legislate away the rights of anyone to hold whatever political beliefs they choose. This is a foundational part of our entire political system. Which makes it all the more astonishing how many politicians don't realize this basic fact.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

57 Comments on “Anti-BDS Legislation Is Unconstitutional”

  1. [1] 
    Paula wrote:

    A good deal of anti-BDS fervor emanates from the Evangelical Christian crowd who support Israel because they believe in the End Times/Second Coming. Their unholy (literally) alliance with the GOP has brought out the worst in them all. The "Christians" don't give a damn about the Palestinians, or really even the Jewish State per se - they just want there to be an official "Israel" so they can fantasize about Armageddon.

    It IS indefensible and is another area where church is encroaching all over state and it has to be stopped. Separation of church and state really has to start being emphasized.

    My understanding is that the censuring or whatever being mooted doesn't name Ilhan Omar specifically - if true, good, coz it's crap. (Really BAD if it does name her.)

  2. [2] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Speaking of Armageddon, all you Weigantian women who've been counting for 2 1/2 yrs on Trump being brought down for the 'high crimes and misdemeanors' of beating Clinton with the help of evil Russians (as in "Collusion", "Conspiracy", etc.), might want to prepare yourselves for your personal Armageddon by reading "The View" page in current wk (3/11, pg 21) issue of TIME magazine.

    Fair warning, the article headline reads "TOO GREAT EXPECTATIONS".

  3. [3] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Someone should come up with a tactical approach that citizens can use to boycott Big Money candidates, force divestment by the Big Money candidates from the Big Money interests and impose the sanction of not voting for these candidates if they do not separate from the Big Money interests.

    You could not only could support the tactics, but also support the goal.

  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Paula [1] -

    I don't believe it names her, but the point is pretty clear.

    As for your comments on evangelicals, this was first pointed out (to me, at least) in the book "Skinny Legs And All" by Tom Robbins (1990). Back then, he was really referring to Dan Quayle's influence... (you know, that OTHER veep from IN).

    C. R. Stucki [2] -

    I'm amazed that the inside-the-Beltway chatter went -- in one week's time! -- from "Mueller report imminent" to "Mueller's report will be a dud." I've heard it here, I've heard it there... but nobody knows what will really be in the report.

    It's all speculation, at this point, or to quote "Yellow Submarine" (the movie, not the song): "It's all in the mind, y'know."

    We'll see, once it's out. One way or the other. That's the only thing for certain at this point...

    -CW

  5. [5] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, just answered Monday's comments as well, so go check that out, if interested...

    -CW

  6. [6] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "OK, just answered Monday's comments as well,"

    As well, but not very well.

    For a reality based blog you sure ignore an awful lot of reality.

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    To add to Paula[1],

    With friends like conservative evangelicals and the Republican Party, Israel doesn't need any enemies.

    I feel obliged to elaborate.

    I mean to say that the conservative evangelicals and GOP aren't doing Israel any favours (and they know it!) by advocating unconditional support for the Likud party's policies toward the Palestinian people. Policies which are not good for the future of Israel as a Jewish state AND a democracy.

  8. [8] 
    Kick wrote:

    Great article, CW. Spot on.

    But politicians should never be allowed to legislate away the rights of anyone to hold whatever political beliefs they choose. This is a foundational part of our entire political system.

    Democracy is currently under attack by the very people with the responsibility to uphold it, who've sworn under oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." If every American believed in the same ideals and agreed on issues, there'd be no need whatsoever for democracy or the checks and balances that are the sworn duty of our representatives, but we watch daily as our representatives cede and sacrifice their power... our power. This sacrificing of our democracy is the hallmark of kings, dictators, and their enablers who make decisions for their own benefit versus the benefit of "We the People," but Trump too shall pass. :)

  9. [9] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Apparently the word is out somewhere on the Mueller Report.

    I just read where somebody has re-christened it as "The "Alka Seltzer Report", (as in "Plop Plop Fizz-le Fizz-le, Oh What an Anti-climax It Is-le").

    Only a truly rotten-to-the-core illegitimate bastard would revel in schadenfreude, not to mention smug satisfaction over this kind of stuff, but hey, paternity has come into question before!

  10. [10] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Oops, make that read "MY" paternity!

  11. [11] 
    Kick wrote:

    DH
    6

    For a reality based blog you sure ignore an awful lot of reality.

    Said the guy who ignores the undeniable reality that he's being ignored. :)

  12. [12] 
    lharvey16 wrote:

    CW (4) regarding Paula (1)

    Ha! After reading Paula, and starting to scroll down I thought to myself that sounds a lot like Tom Robbins' Skinny Legs and All." Buddy Winkler as the prototype of "Their unholy (literally) alliance with the GOP has brought out the worst in them all." Needs to be pointed out more often. (And the book should be read more often for fun.)

  13. [13] 
    Paula wrote:

    This has some description and full video of Congresswoman Omar's actual remarks which were (who's surprised?) taken out of the context she went to a lot of trouble to provide.

    Congresswoman Omar gives a very long and very detailed answer beginning at the 28:30 mark in the video that is, perhaps, one of the best assessments and critiques I’ve ever seen an elected or appointed American official make of US foreign policy, including the national security portions of it. She is clearly informed, she’s clearly given this a lot of thought, and what she’s saying is both accurate and something that needs to be heard. And you’ll notice that she references consulting with Secretary Albright! It is at the 45:30 mark that she lays down her first marker by stating that “you may want to see me as a Somali-American, but I am a member of Congress”. This establishes the foundation for her later remarks about allegiance. Omar’s remarks that have caused so much sturm and drang begin at 59:26 and follow Congresswoman Tlaib’s remarks for thanking Jewish allies for standing up and being supportive of both the broad call for human rights and the specific one regarding doing something to improve the current existence of the Palestinians. I recommend that everyone who has not actually watched the video to take a moment and watch at least Congresswoman Omar’s remarks that begin at 59:26 if not both of her extended remarks. She didn’t say anything anti-Semitic. In fact she goes out of her way to contextualize her remarks so that they aren’t. You’ll also notice that her colleagues Congresswoman Jayapal and Congressman Pocan aren’t reacting negatively in real time to her remarks. Congresswoman Omar also made it clear in her remarks that she was anticipating the response that she has received.

    https://www.balloon-juice.com/2019/03/05/the-2020-elections-will-be-open-information-warfare/

  14. [14] 
    Paula wrote:

    CW, re: Skinny Legs And All" by Tom Robbins

    These people are nucking futs and the GOP is full of them. Pence and those like him really believe crazy stuff.

  15. [15] 
    Paula wrote:

    This is interesting: reporter spoke to 50 Dems to gauge feelings about candidates: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/mollyhensleyclancy/democrats-2020-electability-president

    And the consensus is absolutely unclear! The general ideas are that Dems want someone strong, able to go toe-to-toe against Blotus, which they see as a matter of communication ability. They want someone who has "wide appeal" - which they define differently.

    What they are not focused on is a list of issues - but lots of "gut feeling" re: electability.

    Headline and sub: Democratic Voters Want “Electability,” But That Doesn’t Mean They Want A Centrist For President

    Dozens of voters said they see “electability” as a combination of personality, energy, and ability to connect with an audience that has little to do with ideology.

    I think debates are going to be critical - candidates will be compared to each other and people will be trying to decide who has that magic combo of qualities.

  16. [16] 
    Paula wrote:

    Just a tiny moment of triumph: DNC announces they WON'T have FOX News host any of their debates.

    This was something many of us worked on. I had a very pleasant back & forth with a Tom Perez subordinate on the matter. Perez' initial position was that allowing FOX in was a way to reach out to it's viewers - to "not abandon them".

    But many of us felt that "positive" was grossly outweighed by the negative of DNC legitimizing FOX. I tweeted to Tom Perez examples of Ingraham & other guests spewing their infanticide allegations and said to go on FOX legitimized that nonsense, as well as all the crackpots and liars that regularly appear there.

    Lots of folks also communicated their feelings and it looks like we got through.

  17. [17] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Kick (11)-
    I'm just going to ignore that.

  18. [18] 
    Paula wrote:

    [16] Update: Tom Perez says they pulled out of FOX after Jane Mayers New Yorker story about how FOX is i the bag for DJT.

    I like to think he also heeded activists but regardless, I'll take it.

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Paula[16],

    The Democrats have lot an opportunity here by not participating in the FOX debate.

    Decisions like this serve only to further divide your country with no apparent upside.

    What are the Democrats afraid of, anyway?

  20. [20] 
    Paula wrote:

    [19] Liz: WRONG.

    FOX News is a bullshit cesspool of lies and white supremacist propaganda. No Dem should legitimize it by appearing on it, period. The viewers have been documented to be specifically and notably ignorant and misinformed. Blotus follows the lead of FOX morons and look at the stupid/horrible/irresponsible stuff he does (apart from his own personal criminality).

    What Dems have been afraid of for too long is calling out rightwing abuse and Dems learning to do that is a big step forward.

    As for dividing the country - it isn't going to come together by pandering to people who are brainwashed malicious fools. They have to be deprogrammed before they will be anything other than impediments to any kind of positive progress.

    This was an excellent decision.

  21. [21] 
    Paula wrote:

    Two tweets from Greg Sargeant at WaPo with which I agree:

    Fox is in the business of spreading *disinformation,* not conservative reportage...much of it is plainly about deceiving millions into believing that core functionings of our government -- whether law enforcement or congressional oversight -- no longer have any legitimacy.

    AND

    To the degree that Democrats are standing for the proposition that Fox has become an irredeemably malevolent and destructive force in our discourse and politics, they are getting a big and very important thing right.

    The WaPo piece: https://t.co/3SNxTgIAF1

  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Paula,

    I'm aware of what FOX news is. Democrats participating in a presidential debate there does not legitimize FOX news but rather exposes their viewers to a new message. Democrats don't need a better reason than that to participate.

    What Dems have been afraid of for too long is calling out rightwing abuse and Dems learning to do that is a big step forward.

    You've been listening to the wrong Democrats!! And, it seems to me that an appearance on FOX news would be the ideal place to call out all that needs calling out.

    A good Democratic debate - that is to say when Biden is given more than his share of debating time … seriously - is hardly what I would call pandering.

    I think this was a bad decision which showed a pathetic kind of weakness on the part of the Democratic party.

    Will the Democratic presidential nominee refuse to debate Trump on FOX news? Not if he is Senator Biden. :)

    As for dividing the country - it isn't going to come together by pandering to people who are brainwashed malicious fools. They have to be deprogrammed before they will be anything other than impediments to any kind of positive progress.

    This was an excellent decision.

  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Paula,

    I'm aware of what FOX news is. Democrats participating in a presidential debate there does not legitimize FOX news but rather exposes their viewers to a new message. Democrats don't need a better reason than that to participate.

    What Dems have been afraid of for too long is calling out rightwing abuse and Dems learning to do that is a big step forward.

    You've been listening to the wrong Democrats!! And, it seems to me that an appearance on FOX news would be the ideal place to call out all that needs calling out.

    A good Democratic debate - that is to say when Biden is given more than his share of debating time … seriously - is hardly what I would call pandering.

    I think this was a bad decision which showed a pathetic kind of weakness on the part of the Democratic party.

    Will the Democratic presidential nominee refuse to debate Trump on FOX news? Not if he is Senator Biden. :)

  24. [24] 
    Paula wrote:

    Liz:

    'm aware of what FOX news is. Democrats participating in a presidential debate there does not legitimize FOX news but rather exposes their viewers to a new message. Democrats don't need a better reason than that to participate.

    Nope - you are wrong. Hugely and utterly wrong. FOX is poison and you never win when the people you are dealing with operate dishonestly. As for trying to reach FOX viewers - to hell with that. THAT is not sufficient reason to legitimize FOX.

    Dems refusing to voluntarily be abused is progress.

  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Paula,

    I sure do hope that Democrats - presidential candidates or no - aren't as weak-minded as you make them out to be … or it's going to be four more horrible years.

  26. [26] 
    Paula wrote:

    [25] Liz: I hope the Dems aren't as wedded to nonsensical naive notions as you are or we're in for four more horrible years.

    The best thing that's been happening since the midterms are the outbreaks of Dems flexing their muscles and learning not to appease, not to enable, not to crouch in fear, not to pretend that you can be friends with villains without enabling villainy.

  27. [27] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Cowering in fear that they won't be treated fairly by FOX is decidedly NOT a sign of strength.

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And, what's more … the DNC is playing right into the hands of Trump … can we say ENABLE!

  29. [29] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    The singular reason FOX shouldn't be anywhere near a political debate is that they're unabashedly pro-Trump. How can any mediator of a debate be so obviously skewed towards one participant and the debate be deemed as fair? To compound this reality, one can barely see where FOX ends and the Trump administration begins. Trump has had Hannity on the hustings with him, he rarely, if ever, interviews with other news outlets and has three former FOX talking heads in his cabinet...not to mention his son, Don The Lessor, is dating a former 'FOX-Fem-fetale'. TBH, I was astounded to hear that FOX had even been considered for debate hosting, considering what we now know about Roger Ails and his slipping of the questions to Trump prior to the 2016 debate FOX conducted.--It's a no brainer--

    BDS...it's all meaningless to me. To my mind, it's like arguing over the colour of Unicorn piss. I have never recognised the state of Israel, I don't believe in it as a political entity, I don't subscribe to the Jewish claim over the land, and I wouldn't lose a wink of sleep if it vanished off the face of the earth...And I don't have any anti-Semitic feelings whatsoever. I also don't recognise the Vatican as a sovereign state, or Saudi Arabia as 'The Land of The Two Holy Masjids'. I simply don't believe in any 'biblical/koranical' claim over anything more than weak minds and wasted time.

    Of all Robbins' books, I identified with Jitterbug Perfume most (surprise, surprise). I have often thought, if immortality would only step up to the plate, religion could get of humanity's back, and do an honest day's work...for a change.

    LL&P

  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The fear of FOX around here is astounding … and a good measure of how poorly Democrats view their own message, such as it is. Hmmm ...

  31. [31] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz (30)-
    Actually the fear of Fox (and Trump and Republicans) shows how well the Democrat's message is resonating with their base.

    Fear of Fox, Trump and Republicans is the Democrat's message. And that fear is supposed to drive citizens to vote for Democrats because they are the only other choice.

    It is the same as Fox, Trump and the Republicans message for their base to fear socialism and the Democrats.

    It is sad that after all the people that have died to obtain and preserve the right to vote that citizens today don't even have the courage to take a stand in the voting booth.

  32. [32] 
    Paula wrote:

    [30] Liz: you are mischaracterizing rejection of FOX as fear of FOX.

    That's wrong. It's the recognition that FOX is an enemy. That's the understanding Dems have needed to grasp - and that you appear unable to grasp.

    You deal with enemies differently than friends or allies.

    Your constant harping on "messaging" illustrates your superficial understanding of what's actually happening here. Your passive-aggressive "I want to benefit Democrats through my wisdom by constantly telling them how bad they are" is also telling.

  33. [33] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Paula

    Got two MORE enemies for you to add to your Fox last!

    In spite of the fact that he hasn't yet released it (as of this minute, at least), there are two versions of the Mueller Report already for sale on the internet.

    The land of Weigantia soon gonna be ankle-deep in wrist blood. Gawd, how we'll miss you girls!

  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    ...and that you appear unable to grasp.

    Always the insult, Paula … sigh ...

  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    So much for enlightened debate …

  36. [36] 
    Kick wrote:

    EM

    Paula is correct on this one. In fact, Fox News hasn't hosted a Democratic primary debate for about a dozen years already... so why start again now? Fast forward to today, and Fox News has become something akin to state run media -- think Pravda -- and, not widely known, the network and certain "talent" employed by said foreign owned company are indeed at the current time under investigation by the FBI and others. Remember who Michael Cohen listed as his "Client 3" to the Court at SDNY for which he's going to prison? Right.

    Check out the Fox twitter feed. It's nonfunctioning and has been that way for several months now. There's a reason for that.

    Oh, I could write several long and boring paragraphs about this, but let me cut to the chase. One of the most asinine things that Donald Trump has done is to give a platform to the lying, propagandizing, murdering regime of Kim Jong-un. Other administrations have visited the nuclear Korea issue, done the groundwork the current administration hasn't "felt the need" to undertake, and determined that the DPRK wasn't serious about halting their march toward a nuclear arsenal and therefore chose not to legitimize them by giving them a world platform in the form of a meeting with the President of the United States. On the other hand, Donald Trump hastily agreed to meet Kim in order to change a bad news cycle with a photo op... in receipt of nothing, and now here we are.

    There is nothing whatsoever for Democrats to gain by giving state run Fox News media a platform and legitimizing their spew... not a single thing... and indeed at this point in time would be like allowing Alex Jones to host a presidential debate and thereby legitimize his bullshit. :)

  37. [37] 
    Kick wrote:

    DH
    17

    I'm just going to ignore that.

    That's rather like saying "no comment," which is indeed a comment. :)

  38. [38] 
    Kick wrote:

    EM
    25

    I sure do hope that Democrats - presidential candidates or no - aren't as weak-minded as you make them out to be … or it's going to be four more horrible years.

    You have now officially worn out the phrase "it's going to be four more horrible years" to insult candidates or posters who happen to disagree with your point of view. It's tired, Elizabeth. Try another one. :)

  39. [39] 
    Kick wrote:

    JTC
    29

    Good points.

    BDS...it's all meaningless to me. To my mind, it's like arguing over the colour of Unicorn piss.

    Unicorns don't piss; they shit neapolitan ice cream. ;)

    I have never recognised the state of Israel, I don't believe in it as a political entity, I don't subscribe to the Jewish claim over the land, and I wouldn't lose a wink of sleep if it vanished off the face of the earth.

    You are henceforth legislatively censored, sir. I hereby smote thee...

    I also don't recognise the Vatican as a sovereign state

    going to Hell...

    or Saudi Arabia as 'The Land of The Two Holy Masjids'.

    and no virgins of any number for you, sir. ;)

  40. [40] 
    Kick wrote:

    DH
    31

    Fear of Fox, Trump and Republicans is the Democrat's message. And that fear is supposed to drive citizens to vote for Democrats because they are the only other choice.

    Wrong again, DH. It's about not giving a platform to idiots. You above all people should recognize it. :)

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    So, am I correct to assume that the Democratic presidential nominee will boycott s FOX news presidential debate?

    Because that could be described as childish behavior, at best, and quite dangerous, electorally speaking, at worst.

  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Tom Perez has appeared on FOX news and probably will again. More Democrats should do the same.

    I wonder if Paula and Kick think this is hypocritical behavior … or do appearances by Democrats on FOX news not serve to legitimize the network?

  43. [43] 
    Kick wrote:

    EM
    41

    So, am I correct to assume that the Democratic presidential nominee will boycott s FOX news presidential debate?

    Is there a scheduled Fox News presidential debate?
    No, there isn't.

    So I would say you're assuming a lot.

    Because that could be described as childish behavior, at best...

    So could whining about a candidate to be determined later not attending a debate that isn't even scheduled to occur at the present time. :)

  44. [44] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kick,

    If there is a presidential debate on FOX (has there ever been one?), would you be consistent and oppose the participation of the Democratic nominee?

    Your argument against having anything to do with FOX is weak, from the get-go.

  45. [45] 
    Kick wrote:

    EM
    42

    Tom Perez has appeared on FOX news and probably will again. More Democrats should do the same.

    Sounds like a great idea. Maybe they could work Fox News into their schedules in between appearances on Alex Jones Info Wars and RT News.

    I wonder if Paula and Kick think this is hypocritical behavior … or do appearances by Democrats on FOX news not serve to legitimize the network?

    Appearances by anyone on Fox News serves to legitimize the network... ditto for Alex Jones, RT News, and any other network.

    Any more questions?

  46. [46] 
    Kick wrote:

    EM
    44

    If there is a presidential debate on FOX (has there ever been one?), would you be consistent and oppose the participation of the Democratic nominee?

    If you need to ask if there's been a presidential debate on Fox News, then you've already proven an alarming ignorance regarding the subject matter. Yes, there have been multiple presidential debates on Fox News but none since Fox News has become the equivalent of Pravda.

    Your argument against having anything to do with FOX is weak, from the get-go.

    Your weak attempt at moving the goalposts is duly noted, but the argument is against having a Democratic primary debate on the Republican equivalent of Pravda. Try harder. :)

  47. [47] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Maybe later.

  48. [48] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Your weak attempt at moving the goalposts is duly noted, but the argument is against having a Democratic primary debate on the Republican equivalent of Pravda.

    Actually, the argument has moved to whether it is hypocritical to appear on FOX news a week ago AND boycott a primary debate on the network ...

  49. [49] 
    Kick wrote:

    EM
    48

    Like I already said, the Democrats haven't had a primary debate hosted by Fox News in about twelve (12), a decade and a quarter, one dozen years... so all the ridiculous and righteous indignation and poutrage (pouting plus outrage) at this decision by Mr. Perez to continue the practice of still not having Democratic primary debates hosted by the Fox seems rather overdone. :)

  50. [50] 
    Paula wrote:

    [45]Kick:

    Appearances by anyone on Fox News serves to legitimize the network... ditto for Alex Jones, RT News, and any other network.

    Exactly. I don't think any Dems should appear on FOX at all. However I'm not in charge and not all Dems agree with me. But the more they move in that direction, the better. As I noted in my first post on the topic, Tom Perez was considering scheduling a debate with FOX. Activists pushed back - then the Jane Mayer story came out and the next day Perez made his announcement.

    He may still go on FOX himself - I hope he doesn't.

  51. [51] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Paula and Kick,

    There is an interesting report in the NYTimes today about the shortsightedness of the DNC's decision to exclude FOX news from hosting a Democratic primary debate.

    If either of you have the time to have a look at it, I'd really appreciate your take and whether it changes your mind at all as to the advisability of Democrats participating in a FOX news debate.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/08/opinion/fox-news-democrats-debate.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

  52. [52] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Sorry, it's not a 'report' - it's an opinion piece, but interesting, nevertheless ...

  53. [53] 
    Kick wrote:

    EM
    51|52

    I read it.

    Well, surprise, surprise. Another Republican in the form of Liz Mair opines that Democrats should allow Fox News to host a presidential debate because there are some voters who only get their news from Fox News Entertainment state run media. Boo effing hoo. I think Liz Mair has inadvertently conceded that there are only a few shows that contain legitimate news on the Fox... so maybe 2 whole hours at best out of an entire day of wall-to-wall pure unadulterated hateful bullshit where everyone else lies for a living.

    Will all the Liz's please divest yourselves of the ridiculous and nonsensical notion that an adult truly interested in watching a presidential debate of the candidates running for the nomination of the Democratic Party cannot change the channel on their television sets?

    President Obama was routinely demonized and dehumanized on Fox News to the point where he stopped appearing on that network. Since that time, this demonization and dehumanization of Democrats has done nothing but increase.

    https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2018/10/01/demon-rats-dimms-and-why-fox-news-dehumanization-matters/221524

    To me they're not even people. ~ Eric Trump speaking about Democrats

    To each his/her own if they choose to appear on one of the so-called "good" Fox News Entertainment shows that are surrounded by wall-to-wall conspiracy theory bullshit and MAGAts that consult regularly with the con artist in the White House and spew lies and hatred on his behalf, but I think doing so is the equivalent of lending credence to their demonization/dehumanization and conspiracy theory bullshit in receipt of nothing… no photo op or amount of publicity is worth it.

  54. [54] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I appreciate your response. I still think Democrats should do a debate there if for no other reason than it would be a lot of fun to watch.

  55. [55] 
    Paula wrote:

    [51] Liz:

    It’s the smarter move strategically.

    The last line sums up the conventional wisdom - I disagree. In the end I think Dems are more hurt than helped by legitimizing FOX News.

  56. [56] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Paula,

    How exact;u do Dems "legitimize" FOX news by spreading their substantive message on the network. How can that possibly hurt them!?

    I think you are wrong about this - the Dems missed an opportunity. Hope they don't make that a habit.

  57. [57] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    If twelve or more Democrats could debate on FOX, they could, collectively, dispel the myth that they are for "open borders" and put the lie to Trump's claims about who Democrats are.

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