BILL MOYERS: You’ve heard us talk at times about George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, and the amnesia that sets in when all of us flush events down the memory hole, leaving us at the mercy of only what we know today.

Sometimes though, the past comes back to haunt, like a ghost. It happened to me recently watching the news. You may have seen this:

REPRESENTATIVE ALLEN WEST: I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party that are members of the Communist Party […]It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

BILL MOYERS: That’s Congressman Allen West of Florida, a Republican and Tea Party favorite. At a local gathering, he was asked how many of his fellow members of Congress are, quote, “card-carrying Marxists or International Socialists.” Listen again to his reply:

REPRESENTATIVE ALLEN WEST: I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party that are members of the Communist Party […] It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

BILL MOYERS: Little of what Allan West says ever surprises me. He’s called President Obama “a low-level socialist agitator,” said anyone with an Obama bumper sticker on their car is “a threat to the gene pool,” and told liberals like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to “get the hell out of the United States of America.” Apparently he gets his talking points from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, or the discredited right-wing rocker, Ted Nugent.

But this time I shook my head in disbelief. Seventy-eight to 81 Democrats, members of the Communist Party? That’s when the memory hole opened and a ghost slithered into the room.

The specter stood there, watching the screen, a snickering smile on its stubbled face. And I did a double take. Sure enough, it was the ghost of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the Wisconsin farm boy who grew up to become one of the most contemptible thugs in American politics.

SENATOR JOSEPH McCARTHY: There is that small, closely-knit group of administration Democrats who are now the complete prisoners, and under the complete domination of the bureaucratic communistic Frankenstein which they themselves have created […] They shouldn’t be called Democrats, they should be referred to properly as the Commiecrat Party.

BILL MOYERS: It was the early 1950’s. The Cold War had begun and Americans were troubled by the Soviet Union’s rise as an atomic superpower. Looking for a campaign issue, McCarthy seized on fear and ignorance, to announce his discovery of a conspiracy within: Communist subversives who had infiltrated the government.

SENATOR JOSEPH McCARTHY: I think we’ve got a much more serious situation now than Communist infiltration of the C.I.A. […] the question of Communist infiltration of atomic hydrogen bomb plants.

BILL MOYERS: In speech after speech, McCarthy would hold up a list of names of members of the Communist Party he said had burrowed their way into government agencies and colleges and universities. The number he claimed would vary from day to day and when pressed to make his list public, McCarthy would stall or claim he had accidentally thrown it away.

SENATOR JOHN McCLELLAN: Have we yet received the names, and I assume they’re in the file, of the claimed 133 Communists that are ready for investigation? I’ve asked for them. Have I yet received them?

SENATOR JOSEPH McCARTHY: You’d know better than I, Senator.

BILL MOYERS: His failure to produce much proof to back his claims never gave him pause, as he employed lies and innuendo with swaggering bravado.

SENATOR JOSEPH McCARTHY: Now the hard fact is, the hard fact is that those who wear the label – those who wear the label Democrat wear it with the stain of a historic betrayal.

BILL MOYERS: McCarthy, wrote one historian, had “stumbled upon a brilliant, demagogic technique. Others deplored treachery. McCarthy would speak of traitors.”

And so he did, in a fearsome, reckless crusade that terrorized Washington, destroyed lives, and made a shambles of due process.

SENATOR JOSEPH McCARTHY: Now, Mr. Chairman, do I have the floor or do I not?


SENATOR JOSEPH McCARTHY: Oh, be quiet. Mr. Chairman?

SENATOR STUART SYMINGTON: I haven’t the slightest intention of being quiet, Senator McCarthy.

SENATOR JOSEPH McCARTHY: Mr. Chairman, do I have the floor?

SENATOR STUART SYMINGTON: The Counsel is running this committee and you’re not running it.

SENATOR JOSEPH McCARTHY: Mr. Chairman, do I have the floor?

BILL MOYERS: Millions of Americans lapped it up, but in the end Joe McCarthy would be done in by the medium he had used so effectively to spread his poison: television. The legendary broadcaster Edward R. Murrow bravely exposed McCarthy’s tactics on the CBS program, See It Now.

ANNOUNCERM: On the week’s news.

EDWARD R. MURROW: This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities.

BILL MOYERS: Then for 36 days that spring, on live TV, during Senate hearings on McCarthy’s charges questioning the loyalty of the Army, we saw the man raw. Exposed for the cowardly scoundrel he was. The climactic moment came as the Boston lawyer, Joseph Welch, defending the Army, reacted with outrage when McCarthy accused his young associate Fred Fisher of Communism.

JOSEPH WELCH: Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

SENATOR JOSEPH McCARTHY: I know this hurts you, Mr. Welch.

JOSEPH WELCH: I’ll say it hurts.

SENATOR JOSEPH McCARTHY: Mr. Chairman, as a point of personal privilege, I’d like to finish this.

JOSEPH WELCH: Senator, I think it hurts you, too, sir. If there is a God in heaven it will do neither you nor your cause any good. I will not discuss it further. I will not ask Mr. Cohn any more witnesses. You, Mr. Chairman, may if you will, call the next witness.

BILL MOYERS: McCarthy never recovered. His tactics had been opposed from the outset by a handful of courageous Republican Senators, and now they pressed their case with renewed vigor.

I was working that summer on Capitol Hill during my college break, and finagled myself into the Senate chamber the very day one of them, Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont, introduced a motion to censure Joseph McCarthy. When it eventually passed 67 to 22, McCarthy was finished. He soon disappeared from the front pages, and three years later, he was dead.

It all came back the other night, as Congressman West summoned those foul spirits from the vasty deep. The ghost stepped out of the past.

Like McCarthy, the more Allen West is challenged about his comments, the more he doubles down on them. Now he’s blaming the “corrupt liberal media” for stirring the pot against him – a trick for which McCarthy taught the master class. And the Congressman’s latest fusillades continue to distort the beliefs and policies of those he smears – no surprise there, either.

And to help him continue his fight for the “heart and soul” of America he’s asking his supporters for a contribution of ten dollars or more. There could even be a super PAC in this – with McCarthy’s ghost as its honorary chairman.

Plenty of kindred spirits are out there to sign on. Like the author of the book The Grand Jihad who wrote that whether the president is Christian or not, “the faith to which Obama actually clings is neocommunism.”

Or the blogger who claims Obama is running the country into the ground “by way of the same type of race-baiting and class warfare Communism cannot exist without.” She goes on to say his policies are “unbecoming to an American president.”

From there it’s only a short hop to the column that popped up on the rightwing website Newsmax, hinting of a possible coup “as a last resort to resolve the ‘Obama problem.’” Military intervention, the author wrote, is what Obama's "agenda for 'fundamental change' toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America." The column was quickly withdrawn but not before the website exposed it.

So beware, Congressman West, beware: in the inflammable pool of toxic paranoia that passes these days as patriotism in America, a single careless match can light an inferno.

With all due respect, you would serve your country well to withdraw your remarks and apologize for them. But if not, perhaps there are members of your own party, as possessed of conscience and courage as that handful of Republicans who took on Joseph McCarthy, who will now abandon fear and throw cold water on your incendiary remarks.

Bill Moyers Essay: The Ghost of Joe McCarthy

In this broadcast essay, Bill connects the disgraceful McCarthyism of the past to its modern resurgence in the comments of Rep. Allen West and others. Haven’t we learned this lesson already?

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  • Anonymous

    But who are these Representatives? What has West’s extensive investigations uncovered? (At least McCarthy waved a sheath of papers presumably containing names of the State Department Reds! Where was West’s show-and-tell?) Maybe they outed themselves by their subversive agendas — such as social justice, clean environment, or economic opportunities across class lines. And who were the three “unknowns’ in the 78-81 count? (Maybe they were Unitarians?) Havng performed this service to America, perhaps he will now turn his efforts to exposing those Congressional solons who are secretly wearing the arm-bands of the Faswcist Party. He will know them by their advocacy of programs benefitting only the wealthy minority. unleashing machinery for unfettered ideological propaganda, catering to the military-industrial comples, restricting civil liberties at home and  empire-building abroad. He could begin the search by looking at the colleagues on his side of the aisle..or by looking into a mirror.    

  • Gerry McIntyre

    Bill Moyers, you are the living embodiment of a patriot. Call it like you see it Bill, fair and level headed, and always with eloquence. Expose the vitriolic fabricators who tear down our society. And please don’t retire again!

  • Halhurst

    I agree with Bill Moyers 1000%.  We cannot allow a bombastic coward to get away with flinging unsubstantiated accusations of treason.  We are already on the ragged edge of the breakdown of civil discourse, and it has paralyzed congress and kept the nation hostage.

    On the anniversary of the Rodney King riots, I must quote Mr. King: Can’t we all just get along?

  • Deborah M. Budd

    I keep waiting for the political pendulum to swing back to the middle. You’ve just reminded me that we haven’t yet reached the apogee of its swing… it can still get worse. (Shudder)

  • Jeannine

    Dear Bill Moyers,
    I admire you greatly.  Your insights and writings are inspiring.
    Thank you and keep up the Good!  

  • Bill Moyers

    Thank you, Jeannine; your words are oxygen to me. Bill M.

  • Bill Moyers

    Thanks, Gerry.  Sometimes I wonder if it matters, and you make me remember that it does.  Bill Moyers

  • Fredlevinson

    They, [ Republicans ] will resort to any method for power. “Money talks”, just listen to West, Cantor, Boehner, Limbaugh, Bachmann, etc. Wise up, America!

  • Anonymous

    What is most egregious is that while West accuses others of being communists, as in supporting the government control of all, he has lived it, being dependent on the government his whole life.  He had been in the military and now has full military retirement and medical care paid for for the rest of his life, and now he is in the house, earning another government retirement and taxpayer paid for medical care fo he and his family for life.  whose is the communist?  Who has depended the most on the government for everything he is and has?  West. 

  • Opgeoff

    Dear Mr. Moyers,
    Thank you for calling out Mr. West on his ridiculous  statements.  You have succinctly drawn attention to the ailing state of American politics of the day as it mires in its toxic stew.  It’s very disturbing to see seemingly reasonable people blatantly making baseless accusations against our president in order to further their political agendas.  

  • Peg

    Thank you so much for your wise, reasoned and always gracious commentary. I consider you one of today’s prophets and I’m so grateful for your voice crying in today’s political and social wilderness. 

  • Tennessee farm boy

    We’ve seen this film before, and its ending isn’t pretty. George Santayana was right: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  Maybe Bill Moyers can be the Edward R. Murrow of our time. May it be so!  

  • Anonymous

    Well said, sir.  Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, it matters!

  • Susanl

    I recently watch Good Night and Good Luck and am delighted to see Mr. Moyers castigate Alan West as his did his predecessor before him, Edward R. Murrow, the fear-mongering, power abusing, divisive Joseph Mc Carthy.

  • Starr

    Thanks, Bill, for reminding us that we’ve been here before
     . . .  and for reaching out to  Republican members of Congress to remind them that they can do the right thing, as did some of their predecessors.

  • Anonymous

    While I agree that Allen West does not have the character to be in Congress and should be laughed at for such comments, I also wonder if reports like yours do more harm by than good by basing a story on mostly irrelevant events, like a public forum, or minor blogs. The sentence about right wing paranoia passing as patriotism rings very true, but anything can be supported if you take the discourse to the level of quoting from blogs or pandering politicians.

  • Becky

    Your voice of reason is a bright spot in my week. You can say so much in such a gentle, intelligent way. Continue to be a beacon for those of us who care more about country than party, more about those who struggle trying to find the American Dream, more about keeping the government out of our personal lives and doing what needs to be done to raise up those who work the hardest and reap the slimmest of rewards.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Moyers,
    Thanks very much for your insight. 
    Your courage, means little though if I do not personally pick up the gauntlet that you have thrown down and gain the knowledge, understand the politics, and knowingly confront those who would bury all difference in that cesspool of paranoia. I say to everyone that it is nice to listen to Mr. Moyers, but we must not rely solely on him. We must get involved by educating ourselves about History, Political Theory’s and start participating in our local government. I will commit myself today to be a voice for reason and peace in all of my actions and I pray that others will do the same.

  • voicefromtheheartland

    The constitutional right to free speech implicitly requires that citizens use it responsibly. Imagine if the right to bear arms allowed people to take shots at anyone, anytime. Irresponsible rhetoric is just as dangerous as irresponsible gun ownership. Perhaps more so, as the wounds to democracy are not measured by bullet holes and blood, but by insurrection and unrest. 

  • GradyLeeHoward

    The other thread on West’s McCarthyism is much more demonstrative and veers off into related, sometimes fascinating, areas. I am surprised at the contrast with  this polite and appreciative thread. (Moyers hasn’t written over there.) I am tempted but will not contaminate this comparative sanctuary with my ribald rhetoric. But you  folks should see they other version.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    If West is not aware his posts and talks are fair game for reporting he’s also an incompetent.
    It’s not like Murdoch hacked his Iphone.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    He’s already outshone Murrow several times over, and witout the secondhand smoke.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    specious, but thought provoking

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Oops, I left that thumbdrive in a taxi.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Well, at least not with my longwinded and incendiary ribald rhetoric. Sorry about that Mr. Moyers.

  • Anonymous

    Sure, it’s fair to bring it up, but someone of Mr Moyer’s stature is losing focus if he bases a piece on no name blogs or what somebody said at a local gathering.

  • Philip Andolina

    Mr Moyers,

    Your ability to reason and communicate is complemented by the hope that you so competently re-instilled in me. My country feels a little less broken today. Thank you.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    I agree.
    Fixed and repaired are not the same thing.
    Letting West serve in Congress is like letting a 16 year old inebriated land-lubber tow skiers with an inboard on congested Lake Norman. Phil knows what I mean.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Truth is at issue, not sourcing.
    Moyers celebrates the citizen reporter. As weak as MSM has become, we all should. Let’s not get into a “dissing contest” over a fine point. The public deserves to know and is obligated to find out what any Congressperson says at gatherings and in bandwidth. West said ugly and outrageous things and that is verified. He admits it, so why can’t you?

  • Anonymous

    What am I not admitting ?

  • JonThomas

     I’m still hoping the site finds a way to combine all the duplicate threads into one commentary.

    If they don’t find a way, I may leave off commenting. It gets too frustrating and confusing trying to engage in discourse.

    Moderators, I know you said you are discussing how to simplify the threads, I implore you, lol, to continue in that effort. :)



  • Laureo77

    You would think the cry would be fascism or horrors, socialism.  These modern Republicans are a cowardly bunch, though. If one steps out of line, they are gone!  Shades of Gestapo, it seems to me.

  • Susan Humphreys

    My father appeared before the House Un-American Committee before I was born. I have his FBI files that he secured after the Freedom of Information Act was passed. Curious reading. I too have seen the ghosts of McCarthyism appearing in this area. AND it isn’t with young folks but with older ones who do seem to have forgotten, or intentionally choose to forget.

    It seems the cries of Socialist and Communist are used indiscriminately. I don’t understand how one person could possibly be both, but proper word usage never gets in the way of a “good” derogatory comment!

    One thing that amazes me is that the folks in this area that want to see the Ten Commandments displayed in public places are the ones that frequently distort, outright fabricate misinformation and blatant lies about people that have opinions different from theirs. I like to remind them that one of those Commanments they want displayed says “thou shalt not bear false witness” and I explain that means tell lies, misquoting, spreading and creating false information about ones opponents.

  • Lanore J Rusch

    In Wisconsin we are fighting our own battle with McCarthyism. People who have signed the recall papers are being called out by name especially if they are running for any office. Their names along with their addresses are pulled out of the thousands of names signed and given to all with the notation not to vote for these people.
    I am sure if it were made known that these signatures would be given out to the public many would not have signed.
    This is another way to destroy the democratic process.

  • Anonymous

    Specious?  No, it is a fact.  You can claim irrelevant, or somehting, but not specious.  try again.  West has survived his whole life off of the government and now, after he has gotten his, want to tell others tough on you.  West is a hypocrite, nothing more.

  • judith peyton

    I am ashamed  of Bill Moyers. Before, he was a reporter/commentator that I admired. Today he is a shill for a faulty policy and idea. I am deeply sorry.

    But accusing politicians that defend the wisdom of self reliance that made America great of being extremists is just plain dumb.

    People who do not understand history are destined to repeat it (sigh.) Read the history of the Plymouth Colony

    and you will see what made the US great.

    In a totally Darwinian experiment,  the European colonists were forced to face the fact that communist and socialist redistribution of wealth based on some central authority collectivising effort and resources would ultimately lead to less comfort for all. And they internalized that wisdom and The United States excelled.

    What makes me most distressed is that as a child I idolized Edward R. Murrow as a thoughtful and important commentator on the important issues of the day.  Apparently, my hope that Bill Moyers could step into those shoes was completely misguided.

  • Noel

     Mr Moyers would be well served by reading David Horowitz’s “The Shadow Party,” both editions.

  • Taceo

    Wow….the epitome of hypocrisy!!!  
    “Hypocrisy in anything whatever may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be disguised.”  Count Leo Tolstoy

  • Heather Martin

    It is absurdly specious to try to equate serving in the military with being a communist.

  • Heather Martin

    I am completely swayed by your use of hyperbolic math and a hippo critical quote from a violent career criminal drug addict who has acquired infamy and wealth based on a false claim of racial discrimination.

  • Dnadanyi

    What is Lake Norman like? Did you live there?

  • JFrann

    All should read Blacklisted by History by M. Stanton Evans. McCarthy was on track!

  • Geisha5


  • Phyllis M Gogerty

    Thank you for your comments about Joseph Mc Carthy and the Rep Allen West’s distorted views of the Democrats,it is incredible that the poison is still being spread around.  There is no basis for their comments.  I remember that era because my parents were very much in-tune to the activity at the time and thanks to Edward R Murrow, is was put out in the public view. 

  • CommCat

    Thank you Bill Moyers, this is brilliant.  As usual, you reason with calm accuracy, an argument that is difficult to refute.  

  • Albie Farinas

    “I am Sparticus”

  • Albie Farinas

    Is it illegal to be a communist…..?  Is there a law that prohibits communism or a communist party….?  What’s the big deal….?  Everybody knows that Allen West is nuts, bonkers, he’s completely fallen off his rocker…..  Mr. Moyers, please do not dignify that irrelevant nut by mentioning his name on your show, PLEASE….!  He is a carnival side show…..   

  • Vic

    I’ve been wondering how long it would take before we  start making connections between the Republican right and the McCarthyism.  A stain on our country is being repeated.  What a shame. 

  • Harp_Janice

    This is the kind of Reporting this  UnitedStates hungers for!

  • Fritz

    yes, this is chilling.
    yes, Moyers is a treasure.
    now then, how and when and what can we do to compell LSM to understand our history and question, aggressively,
    the irresponsible claims and faulty assumptions being asserted freely and repeatedly by harmful demagogues?
    who holds sway with LSM?
    is there a power on earth capable of compelling LSM to champion truth?
    otherwise Mr. Moyers is only preaching to the choir here.
    who has the keys to the LSM kingdom?

  • Kathleen Ryan

    Thank goodness and truth there are still courageous, committed, ethical journalists like Bill Moyers in our besieged country, without whom we could once again be descending into the repugnant nightmare of McCarthyism. Rep. Allen West is nothing more than an opportunisitc hack with nothing of substance to offer, so resorts to contrived witchhunting in place of constructive vision..

  • Kathleen Ryan

    Well, Judith, if you consider attempting to manipulate the democratic process through deception and malice “defending the wisom of self-reliance,” you must have an entirely different take on ‘wisdom’ than most of us.

  • Kathleen Ryan

    The Grizzley Bear is Huge and Wild
    It has Devoured the Infant Child.
    The Infant Child is not Aware
    It has been Eaten by the Bear…

    – Wm. Blake

  • Kathleen Ryan

    GREAT point. Wish I’d said it.

  • D Tininenko

    Thanks….over the last years as I get email after email of blatant lies and half truths that are meant to change beliefs through fear and self doubt….this was fresh air from the mountain top. The knowledge of , “we are what we attend to” has been reaffirmed by this essay. A great tool I will use to encourage public discourse.

  • Kathleen Ryan

    Dear Mr. Moyers,

    The courage (and energy after a life time of effort) of speaking out to help awaken those too busy to notice what’s happening around them, or too worn out by adversity, is a truely honorable profession. There are few journalists I more admire than you.

  • Gary

    BRAVO on Ghost of McCarthyism essay . Thank you Bill

  • Carol Popelka

    Chilling, and necessary to hear.  Unfortunately, ultra-conservatives who need to hear this the most, have branded Moyers as part of the “liberal media,” so discount his commentaries.  So sad that some people refuse to see facts, regardless of the intelligence and trustworthiness of the source.

  • Anonymous

    Judith, I’m sorry that you haven’t read, and understood American History. What you call “making America Great”, is what Tocqueville referred to as the perfection of tyranny in america. Joe McCarthy elevated that tyranny to include the fear of ideas (which is contrary to the first amendment) and reason. I hope that someday you might really read history and not right wing screeds.

  • Anonymous

    wow!!!  well done Bill…
    Allen West is scary!!!

  • KC

    Thank you for your voice Bill.  You are one of the true and honest voices of this time.  You will and are making a difference.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    They’re auditioning for you down at the Brecht Theater.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Maybe you could read it aloud and send him the audio. Then a staffer could review it while riding uptown on the subway and write Bill a concise synopsis. Nah, ain’t gonna happen.
    Horowitz probably mentored West.

  • Mark McNeil

    Moyer needs to retire, his old McCarthy screed is as phony as settled man-made global warming.  Moyer has forgotten or missed the mid 90s release of the Venona decrypts [even PBS favorite NOVA acknowledges the decrypts] and recent McCarthy books, Blacklisted by History and Treason.

    Hiss was guilty.  I bet Moyer still refuses to believe it.

    Murrow was wrong about Laurence Duggan.  Murrow was wrong about Annie Lee Moss, nor did Morrow bother to open a Washington DC phone book and count names.  Murrow was wrong about I.F. Stone.  From Wikipedia, “Murrow had complained to Paley he could not continue doing the show if
    the network repeatedly provided (without consulting Murrow) equal time
    to subjects who felt wronged by the program.”  Murrow was against fairness?

    The lesson of history is that McCarthy was more right than Murrow about communists in the government.  Socialism and communism are evil, destructive political philosophies.  The Progressive Caucus is flirting (or worse) with the devil, to America’s peril.

  • Lorien Shaw

    Brilliantly stated!  I am passing this along to many people.  Please continue to draw these comparisons, as it needs to be done until people start hearing us.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    So Classism and Economic Domination by an Elite minority are your most revered values? You’re entitled to think that I suppose.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Honey, they’s a bad old commie under her bedstead, that kisses and warm milk can’t exorcise.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Don’t hesitate to stand by your convictions.
    Take pride in having done the right thing.
    Confidentiality and accountability are mutually exclusive.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    The very basis of communism is socialism.
    And that’s a good thing.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Look for them to purge wholesale.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Nope, it’s a manmade elongated body of water on the Catawba River north of Charlotte. It has a decrepit nuclear plant at the outlet. In the Summer this and the coal station use so much water the lake bed is often dry at beach front homes. Unsanitorial lives nearby. Phillip Andolina moved there 50 years ago  just a few years after the dam was completed. In the next lake down (Wiley)the water gets over 100 degrees F in the Summer because of turbine discharge. People used to go there to fish and cool off, but no more, what with the sewerage and chemical contamination. What river is near your Pulte home?

  • GradyLeeHoward

    You’re smart enough to manage, Jon.
    Disqus architecture has its insurmountable peculiarities.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Ask yourself, not me or Moyers. I often ask myself such things.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Thanks Heather for halfway explaining me. What I meant to emphasize is that serving in the military 20 years is  no free ride. Despite his misbehavior and removal from command, this man served in war zones.
    I do not equate that with being a recipient of largesse for nothing. Suppose these wars had been necessary. Soldiers can’t choose. West’s career choice was no surprise because he came from a career military family. Even his mom worked for the Marine Corps.
    While I cannot blame his parents for certain, we all know that many career military receive extreme indoctrination involving aversion to the unfamiliar. Some minds are crippled by it.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Do any Democratic politicians seek power and take  Oligarch money? Get wise twice, citizens.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Let’s cut the cord.

  • Hv1brst

    Really excellent program, but makes me so sad about the state of this country. Really sad.

  • Jennifer Gopinathadasi Woodwar

    After the sadness of denial, comes anger at the rape of civil society, the willful destruction of our economy, the wage enslavement of the 99%, and the take over of the formerly public airwaves and now the commercialization and corruption of Internet truth-full content as well. 

    If nothing else, let the anger lead to self-education on the issues, the tactics of propaganda, the antidotes to propaganda, and to your repeated practice of articulating your disgust constructively to our fellow citizens still smart enough to listen, to think and to vote-smarter.  

    The “republic’s” survival depends on as many of us doing this as possible.

  • Heather Martin

    Allen West is an educated, independent thinker. It’s absurd for Moyers to suggest that “he gets his talking points from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, or Ted Nugent” when the opposite would be much more likely.

  • Helmhands

    Did you not just watch this clip Heather?????? 

  • Diane Koro

    The only thing more chilling than Alan West are the comments by Heather
    Martin and Mark McNeil.

    “The Progressive Caucus is flirting (or worse) with the devil, to America’s

    Really? If your work place is safe; if your children go to school rather than
    being forced into labor; if you are paid a living wage, including overtime; if
    you enjoy a forty-hour work week, if your food is
    not poisoned and your water is drinkable; if your parents are eligible for
    Medicare and Social Security, so they can grow old in dignity without
    bankrupting your family; if you enjoy driving paved roads and highways; if our
    wilderness is protected and our countryside is still green; if people of all
    races can share the same public facilities; if every citizen has the right to
    vote; if couples fall in love and marry regardless of race or gender…you can
    thank the “Progressive Caucus.” And if that’s what you call “flirting with the
    devil,” then I want nothing to do with your idea of a god. (Funny you should
    bring up the devil, it was the same form of fanatical McCarthy-type
    finger-pointing that led to women being hanged in the 17th century for
    witchcraft, I guess you thought there was nothing wrong with that, either,

    “Socialism and communism are evil, destructive political philosophies.”

    No, communism was evil and destructive. Communism was an extreme, and in our
    obsession with “not being communist” we’ve become just as bad with this form of
    extremism. NOTHING in the extreme form is healthy. Meanwhile, the rest of
    the industrialized world has found a healthy balance of socialism and
    capitalism, leading to higher standards of living and better healthcare. The
    last time WHO ranked the world’s healthcare systems, the US came in at 37th —
    hardly something to brag about (and being without health insurance, I can easily
    believe this number).

    In conclusion, I suggest you be the one to “get the hell out of the United
    States of America.” I recommend Somalia, a true Republican “every man for
    himself” paradise with no functioning government whatsoever and every house
    equipped with a gun.

    And to Bill Moyers, I know its difficult to soar with eagles when you’re
    surrounded by turkeys, but please ignore the trolls and continue being the voice
    of reason.

  • Dnadanyi

    I also receive these viral emails full of lies and sometimes hateful messages.  I don’t know where this stuff originates. WHERE DOES IT ORIGINATE? Recently someone wrote a letter to the editor in our local newspaper regarding fact-checking these e-mails. So I responded with another letter to the editor of support for her letter stating that I also fact check every e-mail and wish the “well intentioned” e-mail senders would do the same. I hope my polite letter got the message to my neighbor.  In the meantime I hit the spam button.

  • Dnadanyi

    Maybe their socialist experiments in the new world did not work due to many variables but remember what they were escaping from. The founding fathers objectives were to avoid the extremes of wealth and poverty in Europe. Well where are we now? The new Kings and Queens (1%) of the world and the corporations and guess what we (the 99%) are?

  • Dnadanyi

    Someone named Loren Spivack calls him or herself a free market warrior. They are giving a 2 part Economic Literacy Seminar in the Babtist Church at 1300 May River road in Bluffton SC on May 7.  I am going out of curiosity to hear what is said. Sorry that I missed the first lecture. Have you ever heard of a church as a venue for this? Do you think this is a new corporate tactic? Interesting.

  • Dnadanyi

    Yuk. Dangerous amoebas that can eat your brain live in very warm lake water if they get up your nose. There are many rivers near where I live. The Okatie River, May River and Savannah River. The people in GA want to deepen the Savannah River for the new larger ships. They spent 41 million on research. I think that they should build a new port in SC which would be closer to the ocean and would not harm the wetlands. But I am afraid that the corp of engineers will probably deepen the river.  I just hope that they do not build another MR-GO the way they did in New Orleans which was a funnel. SC will probably be the repository for the dredged cadmium. Unfortunately I am closer to the river than I realised since it flows from the NW. They are supposed to put in areators for the wetlands??????

  • Philip Andolina


    As incredible as it is coincidental – your Philip Andolina is not me. No harm, no foul. Now you know two of us. There are – strangely – at least a handfull more. Perhaps some prize for the first to know us all would be fun.

    We will take over one day but I can’t reveal more than that just yet.

    The lake sounds like the loveliest of resort communities in a completely regulation free society.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    I was rereading Democracy Incorporated by Sheldon Wolin while buying tires for my 2003 VW Beetle this morning at Sears ($400). On page 75 he uses Thomas Hobbes Leviathan to explain how all power is being distilled to the economic realm under the logic of Superpower. Our Oligarchy pursues the ideal of ” …a perfect complimentiarity between apolitical absolutism and economic self-interest” for our citizenry. This is now the ultimate urgency for them, having failed in their political decapitations overseas. Now they endeavor to create economic terror (austerity)at home so that people are so  exhausted and involved in making a living they have no time or money for politics. Everything then becomes the stupid economy and no one can argue that any human sufferings or rights override “the economy  stupid.” (And what a stupid economy it is!)By page 91 (in Chapter 5)Wolin can confidently state that,”Freedom and democracy are clearly subservient to free enterprise, a relationship that, by providing “cover” for the political incorporation of the corporation, assumes great significance in light of the fact that the economic structures defining free enterprise are autocratic,hierarchical, and primed for expansion.” The modern church shares these characteristics, especially under the prosperity gospel. By Chapter 6 he is explaining how by blurring the line of authority between government and religion both are commercialized and have their residual power subsumed under financial urgencies. “Economic Literacy” in this context is acceptance that each “Christian” is alone responsible for her/his individual economy in this dog eat dog world, and that charity is an empty gesture for the misguided do-gooder. Capitalist evangelism is paramount, and God will provide the seine net to capture the disadvantaged and errant. (Romney: “I don’t worry  about the poor.” * because they’re irredeemable and politically powerless) I once showed a Baptist deacon how food prices had risen 250% in Egypt. “That ain’t my problem,” he said,”if they didn’t tend to their own business and plan better.”

    Please do not endanger yourself by dissenting in the most hostile and irrational of settings. I look forward to your report on the Austerity Gospel. I wish you could email it to

  • GradyLeeHoward

    3.5liters per hour

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Strict classism arrived on the first ships.
    The majority were escaping want or oppression (indentured) but the Proprietors were leading an Adventure in Mercantilism. Some like to limit the American ideal ‘freedom of thought’ to ‘freedom of religious belief’. In our next Constitution that expansion must be made unmistakable.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Many oldtimers like Phil are caught in rapidly escalating property taxes and may have to sell and move off their gentrifying lake property.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    General Strike Tomorrow May 1st, so if you can’t march or protest at least sit on your hands. Don’t spend if you can avoid it. Occupy- check sites for opportunities to redress your grievances.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    The phenomena of middleaged male misfits appropriating a young woman’s photo to fabricate a screen identity on the Internet is fascinating. There oughta be a law.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Either that, or Mark and Heather are fraternal twins. If not, I hope he gets lots of dates.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    “Heather”, is Jack Van Impe alive or dead?
    Ask Ted Nugent. (I don’t move in those circles.)

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Your diagnosis is superb, but without real choices and reliable info we can never vote smart.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Cheer up. Maybe we’ve hit bottom.
    The red baiting indicates ideological exhaustion.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Maybe Bill could just digitize a young hottie to read his lines, kind of hentai politics.

    I agree McCarthy was farther right than anyone I can recall. Enjoy your wrong wing flight. It will be short.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    That area looks desolate.
    It is not Sun City Hilton Head.
    Do not go alone if it is unfamiliar territory.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    No harm intended, but my Phil even resembles you. Do you also live on the water somewhere?

  • GradyLeeHoward

    I have seen your (his?) name on blogs in the Charlotte region and you (he) talked about boating safety. I may have met you (him) at a public radio forum hosted by Mike Collins.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    You demonstrate wisdom by keeping informed about local  ecology.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Do you know any other Grady Lee Howards? I think not.

  • JonThomas

     That strike is too easy. Being out of work offers too much time on the hands.

  • JonThomas

    The “Communist” comments by Representative West are just the latest assault in the barrage of attacks in the “class war” that the 1% have been waging on the 99% for decades.

    It’s an attempt to conquer and divide.

    Make the 99% think that the very ones helping them the most, the Democratic Caucus, are the enemy.

    The thinking which people who listen to Mr. West are supposed to absorb and parrot-out is simple…

    “You should be very afraid of the Democratic Caucus, they are Un-American. Anyone who has any left wing ideas is Un-American. It is they who are your enemy.”

    This is the zeitgeist that Representative West and his puppet masters are tapping into and the tactic which is being employed.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Mr. Moyers has banned me from M&C under the most polite and considerate terms. He (through Ms Riley) has decided that “being myself” is too much of a distraction from what he’s trying to do. I have been a companion since 2007 (Moyers Journal)and originated the label Moyerista. I commented on every column Mike Winship wrote on that inactive archive. You can still read my posts at Moyers Journal. From the very beginning in January something has felt dissonant for me here. Thanks for informing me I don’t fit in. I may have been mistaken to think we viewers had meaningful input. Even APT and PAT are serious business enterprises not to be toyed with, I guess. But I don’t see how people who take everything so seriously  can ever manage or accept the kind of change America needs. But that’s just me. My email is beretco.op @hotmail:twitter .com
    I like to hear from all types. Farewell.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    He’s up to 4 liters now, and still a hostage.
    Goodbye, my dear friend Patriot Bill Moyers.
    It was suicide by moderator.
    See you on the other side.

  • weneedadream

    Both the McCarthy comments and the Kaplan interview struck  deep… being born in McCarthy’s home state (Wis) during the witchhunts… and returning to this state during the Walker uprising last last (that Kaplan referenced). They motivate me to seek higher ways of being, relating, resolving, and governing (e.g.,, that transcend the horrors we’ve created or allowed. 

  • Dnadanyi

    You have contributed quite a lot of information that uninformed people like me appreciate. Unfortunately many of us tend to get off subject which may not be your fault. 

  • Dnadanyi

    Good suggestion. One does have to be careful at night in Bluffton and also Hilton Head.  I attend the symphony on HH so I arrive very early with a book and get the closest parking place. Wish I had known about the first”warrior” lecture.  I missed the first one.  Must be a military person probably retired.

  • Whitecrowimages

    I’ll grant you this, Mark. In America, you are free to be as dead wrong as you care to be…

  • cdw3

    West has been pressed to provide the names of the 81 communists he claims to have identified and yet he refuses to do so. If he or anyone else is going to make such scurrilous charges they should be prepared to back them up with facts. He does not, and that is the act of a coward.

  • Cakindale

    I was told this evening that your show was being cancelled.!!
    Dale Seattle

  • Hulegukhan

     West’s proposition:  Most  Democrats are communists.

    Unfortunately, Moyers does not give any logical, cogent reasons as to why West’s proposition is wrong.  Moyers, instead, uses argumentum ad metum and ad hominem attacks to persuade us.  

    Mr Moyers, please be honest and give us a logical non-fallacious argument as to why West’s proposition is wrong.  I can help you get started,  how are Democratic policies not congruent with Marx’s  principles espoused in  The Manifesto of the Communist Party?  We are interested in hearing from you.

  • Hulegukhan

     In order to get background information so that you can think critically about what Moyers is saying:, read  these books:
    1. __ The Manifesto of the Communist Party__ by Marx and Engels
    2.  __Blacklisted by History:  The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies__ by M. Stanton Evans.

    You can get the above books at your local library or you can buy them from

  • Diane Koro

    So by your logic, if we are against the US becoming a plutocracy — if we want a healthy middle class, with a minimum wage and workplace safety regulations, no child labor, affordable healthcare and education, and clean drinking water and safe food — that automatically makes us communists…really, is that the best you people can come up with?

    You are not worthy of a response from Bill Moyers.

  • Hulegukhan

     Side Note:  For those who need to brush up on logical, critical thinking and vaccinate themselves against fallacious arguments, read this very good book by Madsen Pirie:  __How to Win Every Argument:  The Use and Abuse of Logic__.   (You  can then track the  fallacious arguments Moyers uses  to attack West).  You can get this book at your local library or buy it from

  • JonThomas

    REPRESENTATIVE West did not propose that “most Democrats are Communists.”

    Your opening line is an attempt to redefine the argument.

    Representative West said ” 78-81 members of the Democratic Party are MEMBERS of the Communist Party.”

    Are they really MEMBERS of the Communist party?

    Is that true did he miss-speak? Did he outright lie? If he miss-spoke why will he not retract or amend his statement?

    These are the questions that point out his disgrace of his office and his person.

    Attempts to recast the issue using Representative West’s unfounded, disgraceful comments do not change the fact that he is doing exactly what Senator McCarthy did in the 50’s.
    Your name does sound like one an Anarchist might use…Hooligan. I’m curious, is that just a coincidence?

  • Hulegukhan

    Point well taken.  My mistake.  Then West’s proposition is the following:  Some Democratic Congressmen are communists.

  • Hulegukhan

     You are guilty of the Straw Man fallacy and the Red Hearing fallacy among others. 

  • Hulegukhan

     Read M. Stanton Evans’ book about Joe McCarthy before you start demonizing him.  In my opinion, from the evidence I have been able to gather, McCarthy was correct.

  • Hulegukhan

     Correction:  West’s proposition:  Some Democrats are communists, specifically those in the U.S. Congress.

  • Hulegukhan

     Mr Moyers, I challenge you to come up with an honest, logical argument–without the deceptions– in the next 30 days ( June 1, 2012, midnight).  If you don’t, then you tacitly agree that West’s proposition is correct. 

  • Hulegukhan

     You are just full of logical fallacies and deceptions.  Tsk, tsk, tsk. 

  • Theresa Riley

    That’s not true. ‘Moyers & Company’ has not been cancelled.

    Theresa @ Moyers

  • Anonymous

    I watched this Friday night in awe and couldn’t wait to share it on FB. In fact, I may feature it on my modest little blog. Thank you, thank you, thank you. For your courage and your integrity.  And yes, it does matter.

  • Alloren

    could someone explain what a communist is? 

  • Anonymous

    Read the ___Manifesto of the Communist Party__ by Marx and Engels, which is the catechism for communists the world over, it’s their “Bible.”    A communist is anyone who subscribes to the beliefs set forth in that book.  It’s only 44 pages long and it’s written in language that anyone with a 5th or 6th grade education can understand.   

  • Alloren

    So if you read the manifesto do you become a communist?

  • DonJ2

     Please see “The Venona Project”

    There were 350 Soviet / Communist agents (including Alger Hiss) working at the highest levels of the US government.

    Now search “Bilderberg Group” and note that, in addition to dredging up
    old prejudices, Bill Moyers is a member of this destructive

    Do a search of “Joe McCarthy was right”, read both sides and make up your own mind.

    Search also “Bilderberg Group” and “Reece Committee”

  • Bscott

    Your right DonJ! Why didn’t I think of this before! By your logic Bill Moyers has been secretly indoctrinating us to become compassionate and reasonable human beings… that’s Outrageous!! 

  • DonJ2

     Please research the topics above: Venona Project, Bilderberg Group (Bill Moyers), Reece Committee, Norman Dodd, Joe McCarthy was right (although he was a complete distraction).  These topics reveal a  foundation of anything but compassion as a central tenet.

  • Stephanie Fallone

     So what you’re saying is that when asked a simple question:  what is a communist?…you can’t give a simple answer.  You can tell someone what book to read to find a hypothetical answer, but can’t explain it in your own words?

  • Stephanie Fallone

     Well according to Mike, only if you have the equivalent of a 5th or 6th-grade education.  Not sure that many posters on this thread could meet that standard.

  • Stephanie Fallone

     This shows how our educational system has failed us.  Anyone who has passed the seventh grade ought to know that the burden of proof falls on the party making a claim.  It isn’t Moyers responsibility to come up with “logical non-fallcious arguments” to attack unfounded assertions.  When pressed by members of the press for evidence, West himself indicated that he had none.  No evidence = no rebuttal needed.

  • Stephanie Fallone

    This was a wonderful essay.  However there is a man-bites-dog angle that wasn’t sufficiently covered.  It has to do with these “78-81 members of the Democratic Party” who are alleged to be communists.  I want to know about those three Democrats who are on the fence.  What’s their problem?  Did they not turn in their Socialist Affiliation Questionnaires?  Are they pseudo-communists?  Are they wafflers?  Let’s name names here.    

  • Stephanie Fallone

     This seems to be a common theme on this thread:  Let me point you to a book that can give you the Real Answers…since I’m not smart enough to do it myself.

  • Hulegukhan

    You should know Stephanie, seems like you never made it passed the third grade yourself…

  • Hulegukhan

    You’re full of informal logical fallacies:  Willed ignorance; abusive ad hominem; argumentum ad ignorantiam; straw man, red herring tactics, among others.  You sound and act  like a communist–when confronted they resort to deception and illogical fallacies.   This thread is only for those who want to find the Truth (notice  the word is capitalized), those who are  willing and have the courage to think, debate critically, rationally, and  honestly. You’re wasting our time.

  • Hulegukhan

     Why don’t you be a good little girl and go worship your god, Karl Marx, eh?

  • Hulegukhan

    You’re “compassion” argument is just a Red Herring.  Stick to West’s proposition:  Some  Democratic  U.S. Congressmen (includes U.S. Congresswomen)  are communists.  
    The reason you’re using the Red Herring tactic and the abusive ad hominem attack on DonJ is because you know West is correct, and you can’t rationally and honestly refute West or DonJ

  • Alloren

    ad hominem,right?

  • Hulegukhan

    You’re correct!  Steph deserves a taste of her own medicine.  She’s abusive.  To learn more about informal logical fallacies, I highly recommend Pirie’s book.  It’ll make you see through weak, deceptive arguments, and strike back forcefully.  It’s like verbal Kung Fu.

  • Hulegukhan

    If you read the New Testament, does that make you a Christian?  If you read the Koran, does that make you a Muslim?

  • Hulegukhan

    If Moyers had any journalistic integrity and professionalism, he would.  Instead, his argument to refute West is full of informal logical fallacies.  All Moyers has to do is show that West’s assertion–some Democrats (in Congress) are communists–is false.

  • Hulegukhan

    Simply because there’s no concrete proof that a certain thing exists doesn’t mean that it can be dismissed or not taken seriously.  Lack of evidence is NOT a refutation.  

  • Alloren

    If you read the manifesto and accept as fact that there exists an antagonism between exploiters and exploited does that make you a communist?

  • Diane Koro

    So our dear Hulegukhan calls fellow poster Stephanie “abusive” in his latest rant below…in psychology terms this is called Freudian projection, the last bastion of defense for internet trolls. And that is exactly what you are, Hulegukhan, a TROLL — one who posts deliberately provocative messages to a message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument. THAT is your only purpose here.

    I suggest you crawl back into the Faux Noise forums where you’ll fit in much better, unless you like this “attention” which makes you either sick, evil, stupid or a combination of all three.

    And to the other troll, DonJ2, why don’t you google these terms as well:

    – Aliens and bigfoot
    – Moon landing faked
    – Elvis is alive
    – Holocaust never happened

    I’d have to put you McCarthy fans in the same group as those who believe the last bullet. Newsflash: believing it doesn’t make it true. (Although its rather funny, Bill Moyers did a piece some months ago about a study showing that with some Americans, beliefs are more important than facts…!)

    But do stick with the outdated Cold War rhetoric, it’s easier to laugh at.

  • Hulugukahn

    If you read the New Testament and accept as fact that the meek will inherit the earth does that make you a Christian?

  • Hulegukhan

    Ad hominem abusive attacks; red herrings; and much more. You’re full of informal logical falacies. 

    Focus on the REAL issue, which is West’s assertion :  Some Democrats (in Congress) are communists. 
    True or False? 

    You can’t answer logically and critically, because you know that West’s assertion is true, and that’s why you’re doing all kinds of deceptive distracting techniques to skirt around the real issue. 

  • moderator

    Hello Everyone,

    We really love a good spirited debate, but we also have some very clear rules on posting. Let’s try and keep it civil and make this a great place to share ideas and thoughts.

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  • Anonymous

    Thank you Congressman West for having the courage to speak out against
    “progressivism”.  Communism, fascism, socialism and progressivism all
    sprung from the same collectivist well.  There are some excellent books
    on the subject (Liberal Fascism by Goldberg is one of the best).  Many
    early “progressives” were also supporters of eugenics…although that is
    a chapter the modern “progressives” want to forget.  The progressive
    philosophy is a philosophy of big government, opposed to natural rights,
    opposed to constitutional limitations on government and supporting
    central planning over markets.  Teddy Roosevelt and Wilson were both
    “progressives”…both racists to the core.

  • Alloren

    I’d say that if you accepted the whole sermon as true, then yes.

  • JonThomas

    It seems there are those who want to try to start the Communism/Socialism/ Capitalism/Tribalism/Corporatism debate .

    This essay is not about that debate. This essay is about Representative West making unfounded accusations, shockingly similar  to those of the widely discredited and censored Senator J0e McCarthy.

    The issue on the table is not whether there are people who have ideals in common with those of someone who might label themselves communist.

    Even if the debate did have merit enough to warrant the disruption of the intent of this essay (which again, is to highlight the similarities between Representative West and Senator McCarthy and how journalistic appeals were made to members of his own party to step up to denounce his actions,) the issue remains that Representative West made unfounded accusations against people sitting in what should be respectful positions.

    Representative West disgraces his office. His example of how a Congressman should not act brings shame to the entire legislature. Congress has enough shame these days.

    Until he proves, or withdraws and apologizes for his “MEMBERS of the Communist Party” statement, there can be no furtherance of the debate.

    The issue that is still on the table is that of his UNFOUNDED accusations.

    The lesson learned from McCarthyism is that Red-Baiting is a form of demagoguery and it is not acceptable.

    There will be no hearings on whether those Congress People are communists. No metaphoric lynching of Bill Moyers. No movement or furtherance of the debate what so ever until you stand up and demand that Representative West either prove, or retract and apologize for his words.

    Gentleman, you who are posting in an attempt to further the debate shame yourselves. Just as Republicans did at the time of Senator McCarthy, you should be demanding that he withdraw his unfounded comments or face censor and worse.

    Again, if you yourselves do not stand up against such practices and
    abuse of office and position, you show your acceptance that unfounded
    accusations are acceptable means of discourse and you bring shame on

    The continued attempts to re-frame the issue are actually being done “ad nauseam.”

    And while I will thank those who suggested some extra-curricular reading none of my comments here come from any special book I’ve read (this last statement isn’t “ad” anything it’s AD-ded sarcasm, for fun. :) )

  • Stephanie Fallone

    Oh, yes it can…if you play by the rules of rational thinking.  A claim not backed up by evidence never rises to the level of an argument.  It requires no refutation because it has no prima facie credibility to begin with.   West’s statistic is an invention, not a discovery. 

  • Hulegukhan

     Look up Argumentum ad ignoratiam.  Nuff said.

  • Hulegukhan

     More of the same–ad hominem abusive,  argumentum ad metum, red herring arguments, etc.

    West’s simple proposition is this:  Some Democrats (in Congress) are communists. 

    Does West’s proposition reflect reality?  Is it the Truth?

    Do away with the deceptions, and look at the proposition critically and honestly.

  • Sheilah Hill

    Bill Moyers, I am so glad that you are back!  Your programs are SO needed!  Thank you. 

  • Stephanie Fallone

     Look up ignoramus.  It will help you understand why your pretense at understanding fallacies of logic aren’t fooling anyone.  Posers are so easily identified.

  • Hulegukhan

     When I was in the second grade our teacher made us all read the Communist Manifesto.  If second graders can read and understand it, then I don’t see why adults can do the same now.

  • Hulegukhan

     Not to put any words in Mike’s mouth, but perhaps he wants people to go to the originator of communism, Karl Marx’s Manifesto,  so that they can read the Manifesto for themselves, and in that way Mike won’t be accused of diluting or taking Marx’s words out of context.

  • JonThomas

     REPRESENTATIVE West’s (in accord with the rest of your posts here, acting as a hooligan, you even show a lack of respect for his office yourself by not including his proper title) comments have no merit at all because they are unfounded.

    You may continue to falsely accuse all the argumentative fallacy you like, but it does not change the fact that REPRESENTATIVE West’s accusations are ungrounded and amount to abusive accusations.

    What your continued posting does show is that you are here not out of sincerity to add to the discussion I described in my comment above, but instead to agitate.

    The biblical proverb says that ‘one is a fool to argue with someone acting foolishly.”

    In that vein, I am done.

     Since I was very polite to your person, and I was very pointed on why the argument you are trying to start here is not appropriate, but rather a distraction from the theme of the essay, I hope everyone is able to leave off from feeling that you are deserving of a response.

  • Diane Koro

    Well said, JonThomas (as was your original post). I’m done here as well. The troll has offerred nothing but insults and name calling — now watch him respond right back with the usual rhetoric.

  • Alloren

    Rep. West says a number of unnamed Congressmen are Communists. He uses this as a pejoritive term in a town hall discussion with a like minded constituent. I’d like to know what a Communist is and why it is wrong to be one. Why aren’t Americans allowed to believe that  “The Communist Manifesto” makes some valid points? How is it that a citizen is somehow unAmerican if he contends there is a class struggle going on in the United States. McCarthy denounced but failed to define and used his authority and position to defame and destroy. That was bad. If you”re allowed to hold communist views in this country then what is the harm in being called a Communist any more than being called a Rotarian? If you face the bugabears and understand them they they won’t terrify you.

  • Nightingalewings

    You’re guilty of Argumentum ad ignorantiam.

  • Nightingalewings

    I remember my 6th grade teacher making us all read, Mein Kampf!

  • Nightingalewings

    You should hear yourself.  You don’t sound rational.  Take deep breaths, man.

  • Nightingalewings

     Hulegu’s right on this one, Stephanie.  No brownie points for you. 

  • Nightingalewings

     You’re also guilty of the “every school boy knows” fallacy.  Hulegu, has such tremendous insight and genius….it’s frightening….

  • Nightingalewings

     Right on, man!  Give ’em hell!  😀

  • Stephanie Fallone

     Well, Hulegu’s insight is, indeed, frightening…that’s something we can all agree on.

  • JonThomas

     Ty Diane.

    I enjoyed your and other people’s civil, sincere, and rational comments as well. :)

  • DonJ2

     The definition of communist is easily found on the web.  Here is one definition:

    One of the  most dangerous aspects of communism (and fascism for that matter) is the stripping away of personal liberty and placing power in the hands of a small group of individuals who invariably abuse that power.  Read a little bit on psychopathy and it becomes clear these central controllers will always be psychopaths acting for their controllers behind the screen.

    A second aspect of the danger of communism is that these economies always fail because they are unable to allocate resources efficiently because they lack input from the market pricing mechanism.  Suggest reading a bit of Hayek and von Mises.  The inevitable failure of communism has been identified long ago.

    Some quotes from Hayek :

    “Marxism has led to Fascism and National Socialism,” he wrote, “because,
    in all its essentials, it is Fascism and National Socialism [i.e.,

    “The worst” always rise to the top of the political heap under a regime
    of government planning, Hayek explained, for they are the ones with the
    least qualms about brutalizing their fellow citizens and depriving them
    of their liberties. All of this can only be sustained by what Hayek
    called “The End of Truth,” or the effects of massive government
    propaganda that demonizes the civil society, individualism, and the
    system of peaceful voluntary exchange and private property (capitalism),
    while glorifying all aspects of the state.

    p.s. we are headed to a state of neo-fascism and will continue on the road to serfdom unless someone like Ron Paul can turn it around

  • DonJ2
  • JonThomas

     I don’t follow blind links posted on forums, I enjoy the safety of my computer.

    Are any of those where he has retracted his comments and apologized?

    Or… is he still taking the coward’s route and trying to re-frame the argument?

    I always wondered why people, especially politicians, are afraid to simply say…”sorry, I miss-spoke.”

    By the time they get to the apology, their political career is over.

    Some say that apologies make them appear weak. Well, at the time they made the false statement, they were weak. It happens. Fix the problem and move on.

  • Alloren

    You know your quotation from “dictionary reference. com ” is an opinion not a definition. Psycopaths seek power in whatever venue. You might examine the leaders of our contemporary financial institutions and determine how well they conform to acceptable norms of human behavior. Or take a look at the Roman emperors, Kings of England, Catholic Popes and see if there is  pattern. The problem is psycopaths not institutions or organizations.
    You can, of course, quote Hayek as you wish but  after reading all I could stomach of “Road to Serfdom” I perceived him to be a sycophant pleasing his masters. That’s my opinion, but it does colr how I view his opinions.

  • StupaPlinth

    You use the wrong form of “your”, therefore, I can’t understand you.

  • StupaPlinth

    Public libraries are socialist red herrings, are they not, Hulegukhan?  So you are propagandizing for socialism rather and at the same time capitalism (amazon)  You’re a confused person, no?

  • StupaPlinth

    You sound like a 18 year old male whose just attended his first class on philosophy at his local community college.  Am I right?

  • StupaPlinth

    uh oh.

  • StupaPlinth

    I don’t believe you were required to read the Communist Manifesto as a 7 year old.  You’re going to have to prove it, edited by moderator

  • StupaPlinth

    Bill Moyers, I’m so glad you’re back on PBS.  It’s very reassuring for me to find your voice again that is calm, collective, accurate and newsworthy.  These are very difficult times for level headed Americans.

  • Diana Legg

    Bill thank you so much for bringing the ghost of McCarthyism to our attention.  Every day I see the ugly comments and plain untruths from the extreme right designed to discredit those who dare to disagree with their agenda.  I must say you are one of the few journalists left who have true integrity in the tradition of Ed Murrow. Carry it on!!

  • Diana

     To blame our road to Facism on socialism or Marxism makes no sense at all.  If you look at the state of this country the faction that is depriving us of our liberty is the Corporate elite which is only interested in keeping power in their own hands.  One of the ways they do this is to brand anyone who has the courage to speak up for social and economic justice ;  bringing jobs back to the US,  enforcing labor laws, raising the minimum wage so everyone who works a 40 hour week can earn a living wage, and Universal Health Care as “Communist”. 
    They spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year on expert PR specialists who manipulate public opinion in the mainstream media.

  • Mark McNeil

    Your faith in the Progressive Caucus and their mighty power and wondrous achievements, since their ancient 1991 founding, is almost religious. As one of their priestesses, it is curious you have trouble tolerating opposing views, showing compassion and being merciful.

     A “healthy balance” of socialism and capitalism is like being almost pregnant.  Africa is not a basket case because of capitalism and democracy, rather because of their absence.

  • Georg Cantor

    People, McCarthy was right all along!

    Don’t listen to closet communists who are trying to undermine America!  Wake up, people!!!!

    Moyers’ web page is heavily censored. 

  • JonThomas

    So, it’s been a week since this aired. Three weeks since the incident.

    If a democrat were to say something comparative, there would be a special prosecutor.

    And the democrats can’t figure why they can’t get traction.

    Are they afraid of the argument, of the debate?

    Will it detract from the non-business they are conducting? Distract from the campaign? Some broad strategy that demands inattention?

    So much for the supposed “liberal media.”

    If it were a democrat calling a republican a corporate fascist, FOX would go on for weeks and would DEMAND accountability. That’s what Americans respect.

    That’s why people who say they want moon bases, all but encourage discrimination for certain groups, want to turn workers into corporate serfs, and impose religious morality on secular citizens gain attention, admiration, and popularity.

  • David Wright

    Americans, and all people who value democracy need to abolish “truthy” lexicon from the public order. For example “mis-spoke” in plain terms means “Lie” …. pure and simple. Let’s call a spade a spade and eliminate the Karl Rove wiggle room from politician’s bag of excuses.

  • Anonymous

    While we no longer have a Buckley or Murrow, we do have Bill Moyers, a journalist with the same high level of integrity, the same grasp of facts , the same historical perspective, and the same kind of grit – but without all the fanfare and cheap theatrics seen by far too many of today’s commentators. In a hard-hitting April 26 broadcast, he minces no words as he condemns West and the ‘contemptible thugs in American politics.'”

    I wrote this on my blog piece featuring Mr. Moyers’ first-rate broadcast while touching on several other items clearly indicating that the ghost of McCarthyism is alive and well, including the recent irresponsible comments by Lou Dobbs. Denying the existence of it, shooting the messenger or denigrating his character will not make it go away.

  • Ajax The Cleanser

  • Ajax The Cleanser

  • Ajax The Cleanser

  • Ajax The Cleanser

  • Ajax The Cleanser

  • Ajax The Cleanser

     “Democracy is the road to socialism”    -Karl Marx

  • Anonymous

    Apparently you’ve been drinking your own cleanser. 

  • Deeni

    I love you, Bill Moyers. : )

  • Maria Lurantos

    Thank God, Bill Moyers is back!
    The vacuum he had left was UNBEARABLE!

  • Zora Renee

    So happy to see you back.  I appreciate someone that stimulates my mind – with truth, facts, logic, analysis, a little humor.  Love you…

  • adam fisher

    Does anyone else see any similarities between the free-wheeling and unsubstantiated claims of “communism” and the worldwide embracing of the words “terrorism” or “terrorist” that have taken on the convenient coloration of anyone who doesn’t agree with me and against whom all right-thinking (and fearful) voters should take a stand?

    With a multi-billion-dollar budget, the Department of Homeland Security seems to prove how effective pressing the “terror” button can be.

    Quick! Look under the bed!

    adam fisher

  • Sherman4055

    Your courage in denouncing Allen West was extraordinary.  In the great tradition of Edward R. Murrow, you have earned the respect of all  Americans, regardless of party, who cherishs the truth. Your stature, credibility and integrity is without peer.  

    Allen West represents the very worst in an elected official.  Even Jessse Helms would denounce Allen West if he were alive today for falsly accusing our patriotic public officials as traitors.

  • JonThomas

     I agree just about all of your comment.

    However, it must be pointed out that even if those Congress people were members of a communist party, that in itself would not make them traitors.

    There is no law against being a communist, a socialist, a corporate fascist, a proponent of democracy, a monarchist, a believer in a theocracy, or any other legal ideology.

    Even in Senator McCarthy’s time, just being a communist was not a crime. What makes a person a “traitor” is if they spy for, or pass secrets to, another nation.

    Many people, from many different ideological backgrounds, have ideals in common and no one should feel shame because of holding such ideals.

    The shame comes from expressing oneself, and/or acting, inappropriately. Also, by not questioning or maturing in one’s outlook.

    But, calling someone a traitor, because they might not hold the same views as you do, is also shameful. :)

  • Bob Dorn

    The man is delusional, but he’s the Dangerous one. Where do he and these Pizza guys come from?

  • Larry Davis

    We have members present and campaigning for office that are
    saying things that are lies. They should be held to the standards of people who
    testify before Congress (like baseball players). You tell a lie and you suffer
    the consequences. Such would be an example of Rep. Allen West (R-FL) who blatantly
    told a lie about members of the Democratic Party belonging to the Communist
    Party. I know he quoted a source but never checked on the facts (he is hiding
    behind someone else’s writing). As a member of our federal government should he
    not be held as if he was under oath?



  • Kew Elaine1

    It’s all well and good to hear this from a self-avowed liberal  but it won’t really mean much until we start to hear something like it from normal republicans. I know there are normal republicans out there. I imagine them crouched in small dark rooms or kneeling on stark mountaintops, mourning the loss of their once self-respecting  party.

  • Jim Lacey

    It is bizarre that a member of congress can claim that communism is our great enemy a la 1950 and that members of congress are secretly agents of the party! Marxism may have some influence in history and English departments, but not communism as id developed in Russia and China.But, alas, such absurdity is not ridiculed or laughed at!

  • Anonymous

    His voters are the really dangerous and scary ones. They are the Americans who voted ,and I hope not, will reelect him.

  • Johnny

    What Moyers refused to include is that there were avowed communists in the state dept. during that time, Alger Hiss was one of them, he spyed for the USSR and gave them nuclear secrets, that is historical FACT that liberals cannot deny.

  • Johnny

    West was right, there are about 80 members of the democratic HOUSE that suppport communist/Marxist philosphy, although they do not officially belong to the Communist Perty. Moyers omits a critical fact in his rant, and that is that McCarthy did uncover Communist spies working in our state dept. at the time, one was Alger Hiss who was passing along nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. This is historical fact, and the problem is that liberals really dont care about people spying for our enemies because they view our enemies as no different or worse then we are.

  • Johnny

    I wish I could interview Moyers, Id ask him did he think Alger Hiss, a proven Russian spy who worked in Roosevelts state dept.  was of “no harm” to the USA when he passed nuclear secrets on to the Russians, and when he gave the Russians plans on what Roosevelt was thinking at the Yalta  Conference.

  • Johnny

    You are simply a liar, or ignorant, West never said any congressman was a traitor, he simply said about 80 members of the democratic party were followers of marxist/communistist/socialist philophy, and that is a fact.  Its legal to support these philosphy’s, but West is right when he tags them “Anti-American”.

  • Johnny

    Jim you believe just what the liberal establishment wants you to believe, are officially a “moonie”.

  • Timberline4us

    It is so easy to allow the loss of American Freedom by refusing to see the truth.  After all how did Hitler and Lenin get to power?  If it smells like a sewer it probably is a sewer.

  • Shelley

    The McCarthyism of the past is beyond the era in American history that I write about, but it has a special nightmarish cast all its own. There is something about that  threatening, thuggish, bullying mentality that is terrifying and demoralizing both.

  • Jim Lacey

    The accusation used to be that progressives were socialists; when that epithet lost its sting, the hard right switched to their being communists. Incidentally, one of the questions European historians of America find puzzling is that there is not and never has been a serious socialist movement or political party in the United States. The answer, apparently, is that even the poorest among us have been convinced that capitalism works for them or that they, though broke now, will be rich some day. Many of our working-class proles are expectant capitalists!

  • Jack W. Scott

    It’s interesting to note the power of television in the McCarthy case, it was a television broadcast by Edward R. Murrow that brought down McCarthy.  The real reason  was simple, television and movie headquarters is and was Hollywood-Burbank-Los Angeles, and McCarthy was poking around in Hollywood, ruining show-business careers and such.  So, the new power of television was put to the test against the Senator and TV WON!  (I saw the broadcast by Murrow that did it, says Murrow, “haven’t you done enough, siiirrr?”)  Then, from the mid-1950’s, television went on to consolidate it’s control over the American people.  By 1980 show-business-news-Los Angeles was so powerful that they got a movie actor elected President!

  • Schreibs

    scary times…

  • Robert

     Allen West is a “VERY IGNORANT MAN”!!   How anybody with his mind set got into Congress is beyond belief!!!!!!  What are the voters in Florida thinking of when they vote a man like this into office??!!

    The even Sadder Fact is that there are people out there that believe this kind of Ultra Right Wing ‘Hog Wash’ without question, using not a single ounce of ordinary Common Sense!!
    The same thing is happening with the Health Care law.
    Do you have to wear your seat belt?
    Do you have to have Auto Insurance?
    Do you have to drive on the right side of the road?
    Do you pay taxes at every level of Government, local, state and federal?
    There are a thousand things I could list here that our Government has ‘MANDATED’ that we do just to protect ourselves from ourselves!
    (Fact Check; I don’t actually like the ‘Mandate’ part of this law but, the overall law is better for Millions of Americans that have been forced to do without any health care before)
    It’s time to change the tone of politics in Washington and to STOP THE LIES AND THE OUTRIGHT DECEPTION spewed forth by our politicians and over the main stream news by ALL PARTIES!!!

  • Acperrin

     The one I like to use is…

    Can you walk around naked?
    We are mandated to wear clothes.

  • Lynn Cole

    It’s shocking, but not surprising given the Tea Party rhetoric.

  • TrappedinTexas

    Mr. Moyers, you are a light in this world that shines on the darkness that those who are greedy and power hungry have cast upon this nation and the world. Your reporting gives me hope that truth WILL win out and that it is the job of all of us to continually speak it. You give voice to millions of us who are trapped in states that have silenced our voices by their political gerrymandering and “sold to the highest bidder” politics.
    Thank you for what you do. You are representative of the BEST that is America!

  • K. Garris

    I wonder if Mr. Moyers called for Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton not to run? After all, the allegations they hurled against America and Republicans are too many to mention. Where was Mr. Moyers’ voice of reason then? Just asking…..

  • Anonymous

    Got any examples of the allegations by Jackson and Sharpton? Sounds like you’re just making Moyers’ point for him.

  • Anonymous

    West got in, like so many other extremists, by the gerrymandering of voting districts.

  • Anonymous

    It matters SO much.
    One difference I have on this issue. I don’t feel McCarthy-ism EVER went away — at least not in its deep, long-lasting effects. It deprived an ENTIRE NATION of 2 – 3 generations of thinkers, writers, professors and more. It “dumbed us down.”
    It might be useful to think of that period as: The Great American Purge. I believe it was.

  • Potlemac

    Great essay Bill! West is an idiot, but did LBJ really urinate on a secret service agents leg?

  • a grey eagle

    when paranoia reigns, and Faith in “The Word of Truth” goes out the window w/noah websters dictionary, we’re allin trouble- Noah webster- wordsmith of the constitution, wrote a dictionary translating our multi-languages into one! In Schools we relyed on this book. Immigrants had to take 6 months of night school for learning the American English.Then they “SWORE ALLEGIANCE TO THEIR NEW COUNTRY.” (Meanwhile Hitler was burning books and manipulating the natural language W/- Psychological ploys in place of Truth!)
    Karl Rove’s “Public Relations” took his place.(READ BOY-GENIUS- the book )>>The “Patriot “act- killed my arborist with his grandbaby at his feet- K-R- 50 yrs ago would be “public Enema” number one!
    American Legislators Exchange Council was also busy (A Secret Lobby Group of elected “officials”) JOHN BOEHNER AN ALUMNUS-
    20/th Century Fox was bought by R. Murdock along with sports teams- T.V.stations etc.- (triple-citizen- and alleged porn king)

  • Joan M

    Quite some time ago, Bill, you were reporting on the merger of several media outlets and you asked the rhetorical question “Who will tell the American people the truth?” In one of the few times when I have spoken directly to my TV I answered “Bill Moyers.” We’re counting on you, Bill.

  • John SIppy

    I lived through the McCarthy era. I remember how my mother the nurse would return from a days work livid because some of the doctors could not understand the ramifications of what Joe was up to.

  • Kevin Rash

    Yes, your reporting matters very much Bill. We have too few credible sources these days, your reporting is more essential than you can know, now you do.

  • Barbara Blough

    With a national attention spam of somewhere between 4 seconds and 15 minutes, do you really think something that happened about 60 YEARS ago is part of the national consciousness? I sound like a pessimist, don’t I? Well, let me end by saying that I hope I am wrong. In any case, Bill, I count on you to speak your piece. You are one of the reasons I still hope.

  • Reddoor2

    Bill Moyers, Thanks for all you do. Your voice gives us faith in reason, respect and tolerance and the hope that it will soon prevail. Time and pressure got Andy Dufresne out of Shawshank, it will get us through this. Thanks again for your clarion voice.

  • Steve Fistell

    Bill Moyers is a Communist! He is an advocate for social justice, decency and sanity. Allen West is a true patriot. He wants to lynch those who are oppose him.

  • black sheep

    It matters to me Mr. Moyers. Thank you.

  • Treme Gray

    Yes ,we need you,we don”t have a voice,not enough money! you have a trusted voice,Keeping on! Keeping on!

  • Anonymous

    A question Mr. Fistell, do you walk upright and not scrape your knuckles on the ground ? Or are you brain dead ? Just curious.

  • Anonymous

    Lets just forget the Venona papers were never released in 1995 and the end of the Cold War allowed Yeltsin to open KGB files to us proving McCarthy was right. Lets make believe none of it never happened