The "Great One" Has a Problem

For me, one of the biggest casualties of this election season is the respect I once held for Mark Levin. Before, I saw him as the smart, fiercely-principled (if a little temperamental) conservative responsible for one of the most valuable books on my shelves, Men in Black. But as the GOP primary battle has worn out its welcome, so has Levin. Through a series of radio outbursts, mistreated callers, and snide Facebook comments in which he exaggerates Mitt Romney’s flaws, understates the competitors’ flaws, and viciously attacks anyone who shows the slightest sympathy for him, Levin has shown himself to be dishonest, obnoxious, and afflicted with a serious anger management problem.
Last night, while looking around to see if anyone else on the Right had noticed this, I came across two very interesting Weekly Standard posts from 2010. In the first one, John McCormack reveals how Levin attacked his reporting on Christine O’Donnell’s gender discrimination lawsuit against the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and after a few emails asking for elaboration, Levin simply replied, “Lol. I think you’re an ass. You can quote me.” In the second one, Stephen Hayes responds to Levin’s false claim that he or the Standard was in the tank for Mike Castle, and Levin’s petty whining that Hayes didn’t mention that Levin endorsed Rubio early. Read them both in full; they’re quite illuminating.
The Great One? More like the Fake One. This is not somebody conservatives should be indulging or looking up to.
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New at Live Action – Newt Gingrich Tries to Paint Mitt Romney as an Enemy of Catholic Hospitals

My latest Live Action post:

What many have decried as an unusually nasty campaign got even nastier earlier this week, as Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich accused rival Mitt Romney of being insensitive to religious liberty and conscience rights:

“You want a war on the Catholic Church by Obama? Guess what: Romney refused to allow Catholic hospitals to have conscience in their dealing with certain circumstances,” Gingrich said, apparently referring to the handling of emergency contraception in universal health care laws.

But HotAir.com provides more context, revealing that the truth is more complex. In 2005, Romney actually did just the opposite: he vetoed a bill that would have forced Massachusetts hospitals to offer abortive contraception:

[T]his particular bill does not require parental consent even for young teenagers. It disregards not only the seriousness of abortion but the importance of parental involvement and so would weaken a protection I am committed to uphold.

Read the rest at Live Action.

How to Get Banned From RedState Without Breaking the Rules

Since July, I’ve maintained a diary on RedState.com. Unfortunately, that ended on Sunday, November 27, when moderator Neil Stevens banned me, blocking me from posting to, commenting on, and even viewing the site in my default browser. Here’s the transcript of the offending exchange:

buckedup: Let’s face it. There is no more perfect person currently alive in the world than Governor Perry.

Moe Lane: Posting here is a privilege, buckedup…not a right. Kindly grow up, which includes not pretending that you don’t know precisely what I’m talking about.

Calvin Freiburger: Clarification, Please. Which of RedState’s posting rules was Buckedup’s comment in violation of? http://www.redstate.com/posting-rules/

Moe Lane: Take it to the Contact Us link, Calvin Freiburger…if you have a problem or question about our moderation policy. And let me save time, because I’m traveling: my next (and likely continuing) response to your response to that will be “Take it to the Contact Us link if you have a problem or question about our moderation policy.” Because we’re not having a conversation.

Calvin Freiburger: The unwillingess of RedState personnel to answer very simple questions about their own conduct, and to do so publicly for the benefit of their audience, is deeply disturbing.

NightTwister: Funny, I didn’t see unwillingness. You were instructed to take it to the Contact Us link. The fact that they aren’t interested in this particular case to do it publicly is their prerogative. I mean, it is their private property, something conservatives hold dear.

Calvin Freiburger: Deferring all questions & criticism to the Contact Us link is a cop-out. There is no reason simple explanations for disconcerting conduct cannot be given publicly, especially when the concern in question — the vagueness of the criteria by which violations are being judged — is in the interest of the entire audience. Don’t RedState’s readers have a fair expectation that the site’s moderators will hold themselves to the site’s own stated rules? I completely agree that Erickson, Lane, etc. can run the website however they choose. And we have the right to judge them accordingly.

NightTwister: So you’re the judge of “fair” here? You really don’t get the private property thing, do you? I’m not surprised.

Calvin Freiburger: No more so or less so than everybody else. And “the private property thing” is a complete non sequitur to this conversation.

NightTwister: Should be “less so” in your case and mine. This isn’t a public site. This website is privately owned. That means the owners can make and enforce the rules however they like, and they are the final determiners of what is “fair”.

You may not like that, but nobody is forcing you to come here. As for your non sequitur, you prove my point. You don’t understand private property.

Calvin Freiburger: I’ve already acknowledged their right to run RS however they want. Someone’s right to use private property in a certain way doesn’t mean someone can’t or shouldn’t be criticized from behaving badly with their private property. If Streiff, Moe Lane, and company want to falsely accuse people of rule violations, that’s their right. But it’s also my right to notice whether or not doing so reflects badly on RedState and Eagle Publishing.

NightTwister: It’s not a “right” but it would appear for now that they are going to allow you to continue in your quest to right all the wrongs on the interwebz at RedState.

Bill S: Door’s to the right. Moe’s instructions were unambiguous. You obviously lack comprehension skills.

Calvin Freiburger: Do the powers-that-be at Eagle Publishing know this is what you consider an acceptable way to treat their publication’s readers? And before you once again violate your own site’s Posting Rules with another attack on my “comprehension skills” (“2. Namecalling and personal attacks directed at other users is not allowed.”), I’ll just point out that I already have emailed the Contact Us link. Bill S, I have never treated you, or anyone on this website, with dishonestly or unprovoked hostility. I don’t understand what grounds you have for considering me an enemy, other than the fact that I’ve expressed concern over the behavior of certain individuals, have objections to Rick Perry, and think some Romney supporters are being treated unfairly.

Neil Stevens: G’bye. You’ve repeatedly been warned to follow directions. You clearly can’t. I’ve had it.

Bill S: Have a nice life. Neil did me the favor of booting you so I didn’t have to bother with it. My observation about your comprehension skills was a pretty black and white one, given your repeated refusal to follow instructions. Either you didn’t comprehend or you just decided to act like a jackass. In either case, your banning was justified.

My interest in grilling the moderators was sparked after I observed a pattern of sleazy conduct by RedState’s moderators, primarily in the form of harassment against those who defend Mitt Romney or criticize Rick Perry (see below). I’ll be the first to admit I knew I was playing a dangerous game by openly calling the mods out on such behavior. But Stevens’ stated rationale for banning me—that I disobeyed repeated warnings to follow directions—is a lie.

First, RedState’s own Posting Rules say nothing that could possibly be construed as requiring commenters to stop discussing subjects simply because a moderator expresses a desire not to talk about it himself. If a website explicitly says, these are the rules you have to follow, users have a fair expectation that those are the rules they’ll be judged by, not by arbitrary whims. It’s meaningless to even have formal rules if RedState’s actual practice is to fabricate reasons for banning people on the spot.

Second, I was not “repeatedly warned” about my behavior. Not once did Stevens warn me in any way. The only “warning” Moe Lane suggested to me was that my replies to him would be a waste of time because he would answer them all the same way. At no point did he even imply that continuing to discuss my concerns publicly was itself a bannable offense. Bill S’s reply to me did not contain any such warning, either; he merely leveled a personal insult at me—that I “obviously lack comprehension skills”—for not silencing myself. Despite Bill’s decision to violate RedState’s stated Posting Rule against “personal attacks directed at other users,” I took great pains to not respond in kind while defending myself, expressing my offense at his behavior in a firm yet respectful manner that was not profane or vulgar, did not name-call, and did not personally attack. (The only other possible interpretation, that “NightTwister’s” jabs constituted some sort of binding warnings, would be too stupid to take seriously. He’s not a moderator, and I was responding fairly to his insults.)

Third, and most significantly, the comment Stevens banned me for couldn’t have violated any instruction to stop questioning Moe Lane, for the simple fact that it was not responding to Moe Lane. It was specifically responding to Bill’s unprovoked attack on me, and did not restate the question I posed to Lane. In fact, the only reference that comment made to my exchange with Lane was a perfectly innocent clarification that I followed Lane’s instruction to use the Contact page!

Simply put, Neil Stevens—whose signature, ironically, contains a call to “Read the RedState Posting Rules”—banned me not for breaking any of the rules, but for defending myself against his colleague’s rule-breaking.

I emailed RedState—both their general contact and Erick Erickson’s personal email—three times, explaining what had happened in perfectly respectful terms. Nobody responded. I also left a comment at Stevens’ own blog, which he refused to publish or address. I gave RedState ample opportunity to settle this civilly; they rejected that opportunity (and we know that Erickson reads his email), leaving me with no choice but to publicly call out the dishonesty, immaturity, and unprofessionalism of those running what is supposed to be an honorable, serious publication.

Here’s a sampling of the aforementioned unseemly conduct from site moderators:

  • “Streiff” admitted that he doesn’t follow RedState’s Posting Rules in banning Romney supporters, but that he’ll ban them “for disagreeing, for threadjacking, for asshattery, for having red hair, for whatever.” He has also endorsed the idea of banning all Romney supporters from the website.
  • “Streiff” responded to my last diary with a comment full of personal insults—“pretty stupid,” “salted with idiocy,” “Calvin Furburger’s lack of knowledge,” “When your world began only 22 years ago”—that didn’t even accurately critique anything I wrote. That article, by the way, got 84 comments, virtually all of them critical of me, including many overt personal attacks. Among my critics were three moderators—“Streiff,” Moe Lane, and Bill S—none of whom lifted a finger about any of the pro-Perry rule-breaking.
  • Responding to allegations that RedState discriminates against Romney supporters, Erick Erickson told Politico that those who were banned had smeared others as anti-Mormon bigots, which one of the banned commenters, pro-Romney blogger Phil Larsen, denies. I asked the moderators to direct us to the quote in which Larsen did what Erickson claimed. They couldn’t. Such a quote doesn’t appear in the thread where “Streiff” banned Larsen. What does appear, though, is “Streiff” calling Phil & his brother Ryan “buttboy,” as well as saying they, along with commenter “jackdaniels11,” have a “homoerotic attachment to Romney.”
  • Bill S said outright that Romney “groupies” “are not welcome” at RedState.
  • Neil Stevens childishly mocked a commenter who suggested RedState has an excessive anti-Romney bias, equating support for Romney with homosexual feelings—“Mitt Romney’s married. You shouldn’t lust after him like that”; “Don’t use that word [sucks]. It’ll just get him hot and bothered”; and “Coming out as a Romney fan is a traumatic thing.”
  • Stevens threatened to ban a commenter for promoting the anti-incumbent organization Get Out Of Our House. When another commenter asked, “It seems like a pretty boring site. Why the hard-core reaction?” Stevens responded: “Complaints to the contact page. Don’t like it? Tough.” When the commenter called Stevens out on being “mean,” he blew up: “Can you read? I said complaints to the contact page. If you continue to threadjack I will ban you. Don’t like that? Take it to the contact page. Or you can go make your own website and whine about how mean I was to you. I don’t care. Just don’t comment about it in this thread anymore.”
  • On top of all the pro-Perry misconduct and rule-breaking practiced and tolerated by RedState personnel, “Streiff” has incredibly claimed that the misbehavior of Romney fans—“nasty little jerks”—has been so overwhelming as to turn him against Romney. It’s almost as if he’s daring someone to notice his hypocrisy. Well, “Streiff,” I’m happy to oblige.

I did a little searching after my banning, and found that lots of people have had similar experiences. Granted, some of them are probably just vengeful leftists, but most? All?

Under Erick Erickson’s leadership, RedState has become dominated by a handful of unethical, unprofessional thugs, more interested in enforcing “correct” opinion and playing Internet jackboot than in doing their ostensible jobs. Hopefully, sooner or later someone at Eagle Publishing will realize that one of their publications is being run into the ground, and restore some self-respect to RedState. The last thing the Right needs is its own equivalent of the Daily Kos.

New on NewsReal – The Left’s Attack On Palin’s Response to the Tucson Tragedy Is All About Appeasement, Not Gun Imagery

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

In the wake of this weekend’s shooting in Arizona, the opportunists of the Left barely waited for the bodies to cool or for confirmation of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ fate before pouncing on what simply had to be the atrocity’s root cause: Sarah Palin. Even though indications of culprit Jared Loughner’s true mindset started appearing on the very day of the shooting, agenda-driven vultures proceeded to lecture Palin on everything from what she needed to say to the proper level of remorse she needed to display.

On Wednesday, the former governor responded, in a stirring statement that mourns for the victims, defies her persecutors, and affirms the strength of American democracy:

If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those “calm days” when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols? In an ideal world all discourse would be civil and all disagreements cordial. But our Founding Fathers knew they weren’t designing a system for perfect men and women. If men and women were angels, there would be no need for government. Our Founders’ genius was to design a system that helped settle the inevitable conflicts caused by our imperfect passions in civil ways. So, we must condemn violence if our Republic is to endure.

As I said while campaigning for others last March in Arizona during a very heated primary race, “We know violence isn’t the answer. When we ‘take up our arms’, we’re talking about our vote.” Yes, our debates are full of passion, but we settle our political differences respectfully at the ballot box – as we did just two months ago, and as our Republic enables us to do again in the next election, and the next. That’s who we are as Americans and how we were meant to be. Public discourse and debate isn’t a sign of crisis, but of our enduring strength. It is part of why America is exceptional.

Of course, being Sarah Palin, she’s damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t, and so the Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz (who admits the initial attacks against her were “unfair”) has panned the speech as not presidential enough:

Blood libel, for those who are not familiar, describes a false accusation that minorities—usually Jews—murder children to use their blood in religious rituals, and has been a historical theme in the persecution of the Jewish people.

Had Palin scoured a thesaurus, she could not have come up with a more inflammatory phrase.

Yes, because when you’ve been defamed as an instigator of multiple homicide by people who know better, the important thing to do is ensure you don’t rub anyone the wrong way.

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.

Liberal Lies About Political Violence – Another Needed Reminder

Hat tip to Eternity Matters for this post at Verum Serum, which reminds us that the Left’s evil, libelous exploitation of death is nothing new:

  • They couldn’t deny that Joe Stack (who flew his plane into an IRS bldg.) quoted the Communist manifesto favorably and disliked George Bush, but labeled him the “Tea Party terrorist” anyway.
  • They couldn’t deny that Richard Poplawski’s only connection to Glenn Beck was that he was disappointed in Beck’s debunking of a conspiracy theory he believed in. They continue to suggest Poplawski was a fan.
  • They couldn’t deny that Pentagon shooter J. Patrick Bedell was a registered Democrat and a 9/11 Truther who disliked Bush, but they wanted him to be a Tea Partier as well.
  • They couldn’t deny that Clay Duke was a leftist inspired by a left-wing movie produced during the Bush years, so they mostly said nothing at all.

I’m leaving out a bunch more. The census worker’s death who was blamed on the right, but which turned out to be suicide. The “right-wing” shooter at the Holocaust museum who turned out to hate Christianity and Fox News. And now the latest on the Giffords shooting is that Loughner may have been anti-Semitic and targeting her because she is Jewish. Generally speaking which party is more supportive of the Jews and Israel and which one is regularly accused of being beholden to Jewish interests? The group Loughner is believed to have been part of also supports SB1070, but Giffords was known to be tough on border control, so how would shooting her advance that agenda? Once again, we’re not supposed to look that closely or ask if any of it makes sense. We’re just supposed to feel outrage at the right targets.

With every new incident the left launches into a fresh public fury and then when the facts come in they never step back or apologize, they just move on to the next “fake but accurate” story. The meme they are pushing survives by leap-frogging from lie to lie, often stealing unearned outrage from cases that could more easily be called left-wing violence. I appreciate the calm voices on the right that want to avoid politicizing this or any tragedy, but frankly I don’t know how they do it in the face of this sort of endless propaganda effort by the left.

Rave Reviews 6!

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Colorful complaints, lousy aims, illiterate corrections, nasty insinuations, blind rage, character assassination, toxic blends of arrogance and stupidity…you’ll find it all in the latest installment of Rave Reviews!
I’m not too impressed with Calvin Cheeseburger’s ability to analyze this situation. If this is what passes for a Hillsdale College intellect I am doubly disappointed. Please Horowitz, I know you are trying to help reform our crappy universities but why do you have a lot of these Jr. Jim Bobs writing this juvenile crap on your website?iopscusa
All your response has done is prove that you are nothing more than an angry and horribly brainwashed blogger who makes false accusations and assumptions of anyone who would dare to question your indoctrination.Aaron
You’re full of crap Calvin.  Newsman
The people I wish to sway will not be convinced by prim chiding from doe-eyed innocents like Calvin Freiburger — however well-mannered they may be. If I am to be credible and effective, I must have something far more substantive to give them.  Lori Heine
What astounds me is your ignorance, Really, really ignorant. But maybe I am wrong, perhaps you are one of the 821 people in america that have a passport, and quite worthy of opinion.Anonymous
That’s just stupid. I would think that Mr. Freiburger would know better than to make such a silly statement.LucasMcCain  
And behold a person who is willing to give up liberty for safety and deserves neither.Joseph Veca
I read the exchange you had with him and you didn’t lay a glove on him. You obsession with Ron Paul and trying to prove he’s a bigot is laughable. This entire episode is about endless war for Israel. Israel Israel Israel. Our great ally Israel.WilliamRD
All you’re references do is force me to go through pages of biased writing to click on links that lead to another bias website for ‘proof’. I understand if you’re opinions aren’t swayed but how can you not admit that you are wrong on his opinions. If you don’t like his policy that’s youre choice but you basically walk around spreading lies/half truths about Paul.AlwaysTurning
…young Mr. Freiburger has become unhinged…what else would you expect from somebody who proudly displays Dr. Laura on his blogroll?  conimbricenses
Did you actually write a smear article against a 75-year-old grandfather who’s done nothing more than stick to his principles for 30 years in Congress? …Have you ever met the guy? You’d be embarrassed by your words. You’ve never met less of a “demagoge” in your life. Ron Paul never asked to be a leader. For 28 years of his career (after being an OB/GYN for most of his life) he’s preached and practiced with humility and humbleness the same philosophy of liberty in a sea of corrupt statists… all without a fan club, all without the Tea Party. Calvin, where will YOU be when you’re 75? Fighting tooth and nail to restore liberty to Americans? Or will you just be sniping from your wheelchair on a war glorifying blog?pimpfresh
By telling such blatant lies over and over again (and expanding them in some cases), you are actually smearing yourself.deleted4026005
You’re just a Big-Government Republican; the level of taxation doesn’t seem to be an issue with you: rather, who gets to divvy up the stolen dough.efffrem
I am just commenting on your in ability to understand his clear comments about issues previously discussed, which appears from some of your past comments to be a common theme. kwg1
More excuses for you personal attacks is another sign of a immature person.aspacia
This is becoming too heartbreaking to read.Jenn Q. Public
I don’t think you yourself was being level-headed and rational – but rather immune to sound argument. You never got it. Sorry.Skandinav
You know you’re not allowed near any of my female friends or relatives now, right?  Rob Taylor
Stop pretending that you are anything but a Christian Talibanist. Liberty offends you…You may think that you have me dead (I’m quite sure that the words “to rights” was an after thought) but all you have done is shown yourself repeatedly to despise liberty.Reason_For_Life
So… why are you afraid of a group whose conservative street cred has been proven time and again, participating in a conservative event? Why do you fixate on the “gay” part of the phrase “gay conservatives”?Jesse Hathaway
…a college kid in desperate search for a sinecure at some think tank in an attempt to prove his bonafides…bvw
…totally deranged, neoconservative moonbattery…Calvin Freiburger and people like him are very confused, and very misinformed.Wesley Messamore
People like Calvin are hacks and very far from anything intellectual. The most in depth literature he has probably ever read was probably something by Bill O’Reilly or Ann Coulture.David Hazi  
The author is a complete fool.  I’m not just saying that because I disagree with him.  It’s because that’s what people who know Calvin on a personal level have told me.Mike Phillips
…mean-spirited bozo…Hec Jervae
Calvin – you’re a hack! Get a fuckin’ real job – join the Marines and head to Afgahnistan’s Kandahar Province for an 18 month tour. Calvin – are you buying gold/silver yet? Calvin – are you learning Chinese?wailtd
You can feel his intensity and anger just reading his words. He’s pathetic. A waste of time.  theCL
Hey Calvin why dont you go pop your mouth back on dick cheneys tit, stop pretending people read your crummy blog and get over it. not all of us get a raging hard on when thinking about pre-emptive nuking 3rd world countries.calvin=idiot
pussy.Frank
You would do well to mind your own hypocrisy before you begin to critique others’…Mr. Freiburger, to state this gently, you come across as a bully.Dustin
In short, he reads like a liberal troll with a conservative ideology. I cannot imagine a worse combination of intellectual bankruptcy.Lloyd
…overall it’s hopeless to try an make any type of point to this man…  Kyle
Calvin Freiburger Online: Shouldn’t you be reading?