Guilt By Association: Joe Lieberman Is Trying Hard to be Joe McCarthy! ~ eProf2


Yesterday’s news regarding Senator Joe Lieberman’s latest bit of legislation that would strip citizenship away from anyone who is suspected of involvement with foreign terrorist organizations ran chills down every bone in my body.  I immediately thought of the two to three decades after World War II when the Republican Senator from Wisconsin, Joe McCarthy, was given a political platform to root out communists from every walk of life, including government, especially the State Department, the military, universities, creative artists in every medium, and amongst religious leaders. In the 1950’s, Americans almost had to prove they were more American than their neighbors with no connections to anything communist.  Ideas were summarily denounced as communist.  Travel was not only restricted but voluntarily set aside for fear of contact with foreigners who might be in the sway of international communism.  Americans became isolated from each other and from the world. Constitutional protections were often ignored, and those who cited the constitution as the basic law were often labeled “un-American.” 

At one time, more than 85,000 Americans were on a communist “watch list” published by the Congress and the US Printing Office and distributed far and wide to employers, civic groups, academics, unions, and military recruiters. Most of those on the list were placed there because of an association with a named organization or someone thought to be a higher up in those organizations.  Plain and simple, it was guilt by association. The results were anything but plain and simple as people lost their jobs, their friends, their research funding, their standing in their church, and sometimes their lives through stress and suicide.  Not one “communist” was unearthed, prosecuted, and jailed as a result of McCarthy’s efforts.  Some hearing witnesses went to jail when they refused to answer McCarthy’s questions on first amendment grounds.  Those witnesses, ironically, who refused on their fifth amendment rights never went to jail, although they were labeled in the mainstream press as “Fifth Amendment Reds.” 

I googled “Joe Lieberman and Joe McCarthy” in the search box.  To my amazement, writers have been putting the two Senators together quite a bit over a variety of political issues during the first decade of the twenty-first century.  So, I wasn’t the first to compare and contrast these two US Senators together. 
Senator Joe Lieberman, an Independent in name only and closely aligned with today’s Republican Part, has introduced legislation that if made the law will strip any American citizen, natural born or naturalized, of their citizenship if the Secretary of State believes an individual is associating with “known terrorist” organizations.  Who determines which organizations qualify to be on the list of “known terrorists?”  The State Department!  Judge, jury, and executioner. 
Should this law pass, it will make for great political theatre and create a wedge issue for a long time to come.  The country will probably be able to see televised proceedings against American citizens accused of being a “terrorist sympathizer” or “terrorist dupe.” Questions will be thrown at innocent Americans such as, “are you now or have you ever been a member of a terrorist organization?” and “did you participate in any specific activities to overthrow the government of the United States?”  These and other odious questions will be, once again, common place in the daily news cycles in the media as they were when Joseph McCarthy sent chills of fear down the spine of tens of thousands of Americans suspected of communist activities.  Guilt by association will again rear its ugly head on the body of American politics. 

McCarthyism lasted for more than two decades with Joseph McCarthy leading the charge in the name of anti-communism.  How many decades of fear and stifling of ideas will Joe Lieberman cause in the name of anti-terrorism?  



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68 responses to “Guilt By Association: Joe Lieberman Is Trying Hard to be Joe McCarthy! ~ eProf2

  1. eProf2

    Greetings from the desert!

  2. Morning peeps, eProf you’re on a roll!

    • dnd

      Woke up to freshly fallen snow. Springtime in the Rockies!

    • dnd

      Very surprised that the Republicans would want to give Sec. Clinton the power to strip people of their citizenship! Think of the possibilities!

      I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that the Lieberman-Brown bill will pass. I mean, cripes, if John Boehner is against it, it’s got to be a really bad idea. Unless, of course, the Boner has some terrorist ties…

      If it does pass, it’ll take about five minutes for a court to declare it unconstitutional.

  3. nannymm

    It’s just grandstanding. Good old Joe is playing his “I’m tough on terrorists” game and Brown couldn’t resist joining in. What idiots!

  4. nannymm

    I just received the following email from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. This is why she is going to be re-elected here in New York. The woman has guts. She’s willing to stand up and fight. We like that!

    Dear Mary-Margaret,

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen told Congress last week to wait to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

    I must respectfully disagree – and I have a grassroots community of tens of thousands of people just like you who signed my petition and who disagree as well.

    We’re not just talking about statistics here. These decisions will change the lives of our brave gay and lesbian servicemembers who are currently serving in our armed forces. Last year at least 443 of our best and brightest were discharged under this outdated policy and that’s 443 too many.

    You and I agree: “Don’t, Ask, Don’t Tell” is both wrong for our national security and inconsistent with the moral foundation upon which our country was founded. In the halls and elevators of Congress, I am privately and publicly urging my colleagues to repeal this policy this year before we lose one more man or woman to this policy.

    My preference is to put repeal into the 2011 Defense Authorization bill. That way, opponents would need 60 votes to defeat it. The Pentagon may want to wait to study the effects of the repeal before it is implemented, but that does not mean we can’t vote for repeal this year.

    In the meantime, Speaker Pelosi has called upon President Obama to put a moratorium on all discharges. She’s absolutely right.

    Every single day we ask our brave gay and lesbian servicemembers to lie about who they are and who they love. This must end now – not next year or the year after that.


    Kirsten Gillibrand

  5. For me the scary thing about the Liebermans of this world is how quick they are to shred the Constitution in the aftermath of an unsuccessful terrorist attack. I image had the Times Square plot been successful there would not be so many voices speaking out against Joe’s absurd proposal that criminal defendants be stripped of their citizenship prior to conviction. You also have to wonder just how racism and bigotry play in the thinking of the Joes of the world, I don’t recall any calls that Timothy McViegh be stripped of his citizenship and/or his constitutional rights.

  6. nannymm

    You raise a good point there, Brian. Lieberman’s proposed law would only apply to foreign (read that as Islamic) terrorist organizations. It’s clearly not about terrorism; it’s only about “those foreign Muslim terrorists.” Our good old home grown terrorists could terrorize all they want and still retain their citizenship no matter what they do. Sure sounds racist to me…..

  7. nannymm

    Eprof, thanks for another excellent piece. I don’t think Lieberman’s bill is going anywhere. But it is frightening that he could even think of such a thing and that he was able to get a co-sponsor. I wonder where all the tea-baggers are on this. I thought they were so opposed to governmental over-reach? Oh, yeah! They’re just a bunch of lying racist hypocrites.

  8. nannymm

    WTF does Israel have to do with this???? Lieberman wants to strip US citizenship from Americans who support groups that oppose Israel. Is he crazy? Perhaps US citizens who put Israel’s interests ahead of American interests should be the ones to lose their citizenship. Lieberman should be the first under that plan.

    “The bill would, among other things, authorize the State Department to revoke the passports and prevent the return of Americans who join or support such groups while overseas. It would also allow citizenship to be stripped from Americans who support groups that target U.S. allies, such as Israel or India, pending a court appeal.”

  9. nannymm

    I agree, dnd. IMO Lieberman puts Israeli interests ahead of US interests all the time. To include opposition to Israel as a reason to strip Americans of citizenship is beyond the pale. It really is time for Lieberman to go!

  10. Lieberman likes to think he represents American Jews when it comes to Israel, he is badly mistaken. This article was in the Times a few days ago.

  11. nannymm

    Here is an interesting piece about the notion of “original intent” as it relates to the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and the Supreme Court.

    Immaculate misconception and the Supreme Court

  12. nannymm

    That was an interesting article, Brian. Thanks for posting it.

  13. The entire “original intent” argument is just absurd as is the “judicial activism” one is. Like beauty, it’s all in the eye of the beholder.

  14. nannymm

    That’s true, but the rethugs continue to scream about it. The Dems really need a better pr/framing director. That damned Frank Luntz needs to be countered.

    • dnd

      One of the interesting things about yesterday’s market kerfuffle is that now the term “fat finger” has entered the popular lexicon.

  15. nannymm

    Here we go again…. a suspicious package in Times Square and another evacuation.

  16. dog's eye view

    Another day, another good post by eprof to read later.

    Cartoon spotted in New Yorker:

    woman to husband (or whoever): “If you are bored with yourself, imagine how I feel.”

    Well, it made me laugh.

  17. nannymm

    I like it. 🙂

  18. nannymm

    This is chilling:

    U-Va. should fight Cuccinelli’s faulty investigation of Michael Mann

    WE KNEW Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) had declared war on reality. Now he has declared war on the freedom of academic inquiry as well.
    In his ongoing campaign to wish away human-induced climate change, Mr. Cuccinelli has targeted Michael Mann, a climate scientist who used to teach at the University of Virginia, investigating him for allegedly defrauding taxpayers by obtaining grants from the commonwealth to conduct research on global temperatures. The attorney general is demanding that the university turn over astonishingly vast numbers of e-mails and other documents relating to Mr. Mann, including all correspondence with a long list of other reputable scientists.

  19. Luckily that’s a problem I don’t have!


  20. nannymm

    I am so damned proud to be a New Yorker!!!

    N.Y. Creates Pardon Panel For Deportable Immigrants
    Governor David Paterson claims that he created the first-of-its kind initiative because federal immigration laws, particularly those involving deportation, are “extremely inflexible” and he simply wanted to “soften the blow” for deserving individuals caught in their “web.”

  21. eProf2

    Good for Governor Paterson!

  22. nannymm

    It’s quite refreshing when you contrast it to what your governor is doing there in Arizona.

  23. tonyb39

    Another fine and informative post! Been real busy just got caught up.Agree Nanny,Frank Luntz needs to be countered.Republicans can they sink any lower??Saying the President had a slow response to the BP oil spill,what rubbish..Ed Schultz has been all over the Republican’s hypocrisy on his radio show as well as the TV show,ha it helps get me fired up between jobs and i get even more work done..Next week,when Grace gets back from Boston,I’ll be back sharing and listening to FOX news “I Hate Obama”drumbeat..It been real hot here and its just the beginning..Fans and A/C,otherwise who the hell could live in Florida..

  24. tonyb39

    Well Brian,
    I hope your well this morning?HA HA,hope nothing you read made you queasy….You the man,feel better….EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

  25. too much I read makes me queasy, such is the state of things!

  26. the top of the box is “dome like”.

    • dnd

      ‘the top of the box is “dome like”.

      Looks like a pyramid to me, which I guess could be considered “dome-ish” in a Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome sort of way.

  27. nannymm

    dnd is right… it’s not a dome. But since when do some MSM types care about a little thing like accuracy?

  28. If it works they can call it a friggin trapezoid for all I care.

  29. nannymm

    For Tea Party, a slogan that would make Don Draper proud
    Its implications are troubling, but you’ve got to hand it to them: “I want my country back!” sure is catchy

  30. TempeBev

    Happy one day early Mother’s Day to all.

  31. nannymm

    Happy Mother’s Day to you, too, Bev. And to UB and Dog and any other ladies lurking out there.

  32. Bill Maher Slams Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, George Will Over BP Oil Spill, Climate Change Denialism (VIDEO)

  33. dog's eye view

    eprof: re Joseph McCarthy: I am wondering how much high school students and general history college students are taught about McCarthy these days?

    Because there are so many chilling parallels to his reign of tirade and witchhunt, and several in the GOP are actively trying to cleanse his reputation.

    (From NY Times article on conservative bid to rewrite Texas schoolbooks:

    After three days of turbulent meetings, the Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.

    The vote was 10 to 5 along party lines, with all the Republicans on the board voting for it.

    … Other changes seem aimed at tamping down criticism of the right. Conservatives passed one amendment, for instance, requiring that the history of McCarthyism include “how the later release of the Venona papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government.” The Venona papers were transcripts of some 3,000 communications between the Soviet Union and its agents in the United States.

    Mavis B. Knight, a Democrat from Dallas, introduced an amendment requiring that students study the reasons “the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others.”

    It was defeated on a party-line vote. …”

    Learn your history — in its actual version — or ye shall repeat it.

    Although someone smarter said it way better.

    PS: agree on Lieberman’s statesmanship. I always think the I in I-Connecticut — well, it doesn’t necessarily stand for “independent.”

    And I say that as someone who was thrilled he was 2000 VP pick too. (I’m serious. I saw him as a statesman type with gravitas and a moral sense. The veneer had not yet worn thin.)

    Very last:

    NY Times breaking news headline:

    BP Officials Forced to Remove Containment Dome From Oil Leak


  34. dog's eye view

    eprof: I was wondering about googling “Joe Lieberman and” another figure as you did — incidentally, “Joe Lieberman is a douchebag” popped right up as an option when I typed in his name.

    Anyhoo: googled Joe and the Virgin Mary and this is what came up first.

  35. dog's eye view

    Uh, in keeping with Mother’s Day Eve:

    “There’s gonna be some changes made right here on Nursery Hill,” sang Loretta Lynn. “You’ve set this chicken your last time ’cause now I’ve got the pill.”

    Gail Collins column today, NY Times. What Every Girl Should Know [About Birth Control].

    And from the very first reader comment:

    “Why do we American women put up with not having birth control costs required in health insurance coverage? It may be the 21st century, but as women we are failing to exercise the political power we have earned. Birth control costs should be required coverage in every single health insurance plan. There isn’t a man in America who would put up with not being able to “afford” his expression of sexuality.”

    Viva Viagra financing. sigh again.

  36. dog's eye view

    Brian: I liked that she’d been seen crying at Ronald Reagan’s funeral.

  37. well didn’t we all shed a tear then?

  38. dog's eye view

    Yeah, right. I loved how some man in line to pay respects at the Capitol called it “Woodstock for Republicans.”

  39. dog's eye view

    Continuing the Guilt by Association theme:

    Anybody see today’s NY Times article

    Joe and Mika: the Odd Couple of Morning TV

    Couldn’t decide how much of this one was meant to be parody. Or if that was unintentional.

  40. Does that make Nancy Reagan the Janis Joplin of these times?

  41. dog's eye view

    too hard to get one’s head around that metaphor!

  42. Bob Bennett has lost out to for his party’s nomination, score one for the tea baggers and dems!

  43. dog's eye view

    I wonder if a Democrat could win Utah U.S. Senate seat? Last Dem was Frank Moss, elected in 1959; lost re-election bid to Orrin Hatch in 1976.

    And Utah senators don’t retire often — only saw two actual retirements in recent history (four in all). Most lose nomination or election. Kicking and screaming, hmm?

    Reed Smoot of Smoot-Hawley Tariff fame was from Utah.

    They also call it the “Hawley-Smoot” Tariff, properly.

    Then there’s whatever Michele Bachmann thinks it is.

  44. I don’t think a Dem could win Utah but I think it’s good for our side for the Repugs to be pulled further and further to the right.

  45. tonyb39

    “WATCH: Anderson Cooper Accuses ‘Birther’ Army Officer Of Hiding Behind His Lawyer During Interview”

  46. tony I was looking around some birther web sites last night and there were more than a few queer bashing comments around that interview.

  47. nannymm

    White Man Shoots Latino Neighbor In AZ Over Immigration Law

  48. nannymm

    I saw that interview, Tony. AC did a great job, I thought.
    Brian, the gay bashing by birthers doesn’t surprise me at all. They’re nothing but right wing lunatics.

  49. nannymm

    “I don’t think a Dem could win Utah but I think it’s good for our side for the Repugs to be pulled further and further to the right.”

    You’re probably right, Brian. But then again, who the heck ever thought a rethug could win Teddy’s seat? So, you never know….

  50. tonyb39

    Doesn’t surprise me at all either.Those fucking birther’s are all about HATE..They hate the President because he is black! Gay people will never be respected by this crowd either.Just look at S.Palin,one of the reasons she supports Carli F. is she is for traditional marriage,how sweet and homophobic..I think their doomed in the long run as the Hispanic community is growing into one of the largest voting blocks and i doubt very seriously they will ever vote for Republican tea party people..

  51. nannymm

    Check this out.
    “ is dedicated to following the fashion of First Lady Michelle Obama. The site hopes to be a central, ever evolving resource to chronicle Mrs.O’s style, while providing fashion commentary and information. The site encourages visitors to contribute tips, photos and commentary, and share enthusiasm for the budding style icon, Mrs. O.”

  52. The pill is 50 years old today, well it’s certainly had a profound effect on my life!


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