Thought Police

So. As I said not too long ago, it's only a matter of time before the thought police show up and start oppressing the right to free speech. That day came a lot sooner than I figure it would. In the wake of the manufactured controversy over Joe Wilson's outburst in Congress last week - the infamous "You Lie" statement - the House, with Nancy Pelosi leading the charge, has come up with some new rules in order to prevent someone else down the road from daring to speak the truth about the Obamassiah. Oh yeah, and they busted Joe Wilson for speaking his mind as well.

Under section 370 of the House Rules and Manual it has been held that a Member could:

• refer to the government as "something hated, something oppressive."
• refer to the President as "using legislative or judicial pork."
• refer to a Presidential message as a "disgrace to the country."
• refer to unnamed officials as "our half-baked nitwits handling foreign affairs."

Likewise, it has been held that a member could not:
• call the President a "liar."
• call the President a "hypocrite."
• describe the President’s veto of a bill as cowardly.
• charge that the President has been "intellectually dishonest."
• refer to the President as "giving aid and comfort to the enemy."
• refer to alleged "sexual misconduct on the President’s part."

Isn't it great? Our elected representatives are no longer allowed to call the president what he is, they instead have to refer to him as either "disgrace to the country" or "half-baked nitwit handling foreign affairs" since nothing else on the approved list would fit. I wonder if the Dems have thought about that very clearly. I suspect not. And I really love how they've thrown president Clinton a bone as well.

It isn't going to be long now before these rules get extended to cover talk radio, right-wing TV commentary, and probably Fox News in general. My guess is Glenn Beck is going to have a field day with this one. If he hasn't already. Watch what you say folks, because the thought police cometh.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Sep 15, 2009 6:23 pm by Samson in: | 103 comment(s) [Closed]
1. That rule specifically only applies to debate in the House. A presidential address to a joint session of Congress was considered to fall under that rubric, I believe. The rule does not apply to what any House member may say on his or her own time, in a media statement, press release, in the halls of Congress but not during debate, etc. It also does not apply to Senators.

2. That rule has been around since 1909, and stems from English Parliamentary law:

"The freedom of speech in debate in the House should never be denied or abridged, but freedom of speech in debate does not mean license to indulge in personal abuses or ridicule. The right of Members of the two Houses of Congress to criticize the official acts of the President and other executive officers is beyond question, but this right is subject to proper rules requiring decorum in debate. Such right of criticism is inherent upon legislative authority. The right to legislate involves the right to consider conditions as they are and to contrast present conditions with those of the past or those desired in the future. The right to correct abuses by legislation carries the right to consider and discuss abuses which exist or which are feared."

(Source: - they appear to be liberals, although what they claim to be quoting is the manual, so easy enough to check.)

3. As to the specific things you mention that were forbidden:

Calling the president a "liar" - The House manual counts this being ruled against in 1985, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. I don't have the time to look this up now, but don't those split about 50-50 between a Republican-controlled House and a Democratic-controlled House?

My homework calls, so I'll continue in the morning - but my source, the pdf of the House Rules, is here:

And by "this being ruled against" I think what I meant to say is "this rule being applied." I've been up for 17 hours and counting; please excuse syntax errata.

That was interesting - until i got to the bottom of the page where I saw this:
© Kos Media, LLC

I'm sure I don't need to confirm your guess that they're liberals. Kos Media is as left wing nutty as they come, so anything they opine about is automatically suspect in my book. They never do anything without an agenda.

Also, I'm sorry, but your PDF link to the house rules is very long and full of boring politico speak. Do you have anything more specific to help narrow things down to a certain page?

In the end though it really doesn't change my belief that this is an unwarranted restriction of free speech. Truth is an absolute defense, and Obama lied. It's that simple. Joe Wilson simply called him on it and shouldn't have apologized for doing it.

If we're suddenly going to be applying draconian rules about what's acceptable behavior during a presidential speech, I'll be expecting every last one of the Dems who booed GW Bush to line up and apologize one by one, in order, and then proceed to the House to receive their disciplinary action. I won't hold my breath waiting.

That picture up top amuses me greatly.

If you click through at, you'll see that they lifted their info more or less whole from this page:

Which indeed says the very things you might expect it to say on the subject, most importantly that Rep. Wilson did in fact open himself up to censure.

Which I personally think is fair enough. It's a little short of randomly caning your opposition, but I'm of the school that believes in being generally polite during speeches, which Rep. Wilson was not. That Democrats may (I'm not going to look it up) have done the same in the past is regrettable but no particular excuse for breaking the rules, as any mother of an 8 year old would agree.

Note that I'd feel rather differently on the matter were he to do it on his own time. I may not agree with him, but.

On a more general note, the other party gets to give rebuttal speeches for a reason. I'm all for this, but do tend to wish they were of generally higher caliber on both sides.

Also on that general politeness note, I'd feel a lot more disposed to the Republicans in general if they hadn't come across as the hugest jackasses during that speech. The folks who just looked peevish and astonishingly like kids sent to the office at school, like Bobby Jindal, well, that's one thing. Nobody expects you to like the thing. The guy with the sign wasn't particularly classy, although the people with the pieces of paper (what were those, anyway?) were marginally ok. Rep. Wilson not so much. Eric Cantor sitting in the front row on his Blackberry? I don't know where he went to school, but in my day they taught me standards of behavior in grade school. Maybe he just missed that day. Maybe not.

Class matters, though.

Funny how everyone is so uptight over how the Republicans behaved in general, guys with signs, people on their blackberries, others with looks of disgust, the grumbling in general. Yet, when you remind them about how absolutely pigheaded, impolite, and jackassy they were all throughout Bush's 8 years they suddenly go silent on you. Double standards suck. So before the Dems decide it's time to start handing out demerits, they should consider the hypocrisy of it all, because people DO pay attention to it.

You may or may not recall that I took the Dems to task more than once in the last eight years, too. Politeness is a universal virtue, and all that. That I tended to agree with them does not in and of itself make it better. Nor does it excuse the Republicans from being jackasses back. This may be old fashioned of me, but I guess I've always felt that members of the United States Congress ought to act in a manner slightly above that to be found in a schoolyard full of third graders. Maybe I'm just weird like that.

I'll start by saying that I heard about Mr. Wilson's outburst after the fact and did not personally see the people on their blackberries nor those with signs or pieces of paper, etc. When I first heard about Mr. Wilson's statement, my immediate gut reaction was that he shouldn't have done that because he'll be in trouble for it but that it definitely is about time someone in the house had the balls to tell America that they also realize the president is full of it. Basically, I think he was right and deserving of praise for the act it self, but at the same time, he knew full well that he'd be censured for having done it because it was an inappropriate comment to make during the speech. If he'd said it after within the context of an interview outside congress or if he'd said it more politely as part of a rebuttal, he would not have been subject to censure. This is just getting so much attention because so many people witnessed it and were paying enough attention to watch for the follow-up, but I suspect that it's really not nearly as uncommon as the media would like to make it appear. In high-school level debate, it's considered losing to have to resort to name calling, would we not at least hold our state representatives to the same standard?

It's not name calling when the statement itself is factual. Obama is a liar, and Joe Wilson is a free speech hero for having the guts to say it.

For those of you who aren't familiar with MudBytes, this likely won't make a whole lot of sense. But the irony of it all was too good to pass up as an example that sort of fits here:

[09/17, 00:02] Davion: Samson, Kiasyn and I talked. We both feel that over the last little while, all the bullshit that has cropped up has been on you. Whatever your feud with Crat is you have to stop it immediately. We aren't saying don't respond to him, or ignore him. We're saying deal with him with more tact. If you continue with these outbursts we will ask for your resignation.

These "outbursts" as he so aptly put it consisted of Cratylus making shit up about me, passing it off as truth, and me responding the way anyone defamed would be expected to respond. That it was a lie. So naturally of course it's my fault once again, like it apparently always is and has been, and now I'm the one being threatened with termination from a project I helped found. All because some trollish ass isn't being properly dealt with.

And what could make this even worse? The fact that instead of Cratylus being expected to prove his statement is actually true, it's apparently my burden to disprove his statement. Any high school student who has taken even a hint of government classes knows that such a burden of proof is on the accuser to prove, not for the target to disprove.

Actually, calling him a liar is name calling, even if the name fits. There are other ways of phrasing it so that it's not though, such as to say "that's a lie, Mr. President". But I do agree about Mr. Wilson having the guts to finally say it.

Sadly, Samson, today's judicial system works the same way. I hope you're never accused falsely of a crime in this country, but the courts do expect you to prove your innocence not for the district attorney to prove your guilt, despite what the books say. As for their statement, we all know that you tend to shoot from the hip rather more often than pausing to find tactful approaches. I won't argue that your reaction is unreasonable because i don't think it is, but it often does lack tact. On the other hand, Kiasyn and Davion are not, in my opinion, qualified to be asking for your resignation on MB, let alone to preserve Cratylus' ongoing campaign against you, but as I'm not really active there (haven't even read a post there in weeks, if not months) I suppose I don't have any say in this anymore.

Tact is reserved for people who deserve it. Cratylus is not such a person, because he doesn't appear to be familiar with the concept himself. And apparently neither is Flumpy, who has taken to simply calling me a liar with nothing to back it up other than him "choosing to see me in that light." Anyone who decides to take such an approach with me loses any right to later complain that I approached the situation without tact. Davion and Kiasyn should both resign for lacking the backbone to do something about the trolls, but I think we both know this will not be happening anytime soon. And now they're both simply hiding behind the cloak of "let the new mods handle it" when so far they refuse to - other than Dean who finally showed a bit of spine and took action. Only to have it overturned the next day. Way to undermine authority.

It's interesting to note though that the large majority of traffic goes to the general board where religious and political topics draw in the most people. One might go so far as to use it as evidence that mudding itself is near death, otherwise I can't help but think that the energy focused into a 500+ post monstrosity would have been used elsewhere. Why go to a MUD site to discuss politics?

As for Wilson, he got screwed, plain and simple. Pelosi needed a scapegoat and found one. I am quite happy that Wilson isn't taking this lying down. The Dems have gotten away with this kind of crap for far too long. The hypocrisy in busting Wilson for something they spent 8 years doing is crazy.

Generally, I tend to practice a policy of "do unto others as they do unto you" myself, so I can't truly criticize your position, but I find there's rarely true justification to skip manners..
Do I want to know who a Flumpy might be?
Be that as it may, I agree that it's not likely to happen anytime soon.
New mods? Perhaps I've stayed away too long this time after all...
Well that certainly doesn't make these new mods sound very effective and definitely sets a precedent that is very much the wrong tone. Was there any sort of explanation given for this reversal of action to justify it so that the mods don't appear to the rest of the users to just be purely for show?

Unfortunately, the reality of that situation is that some mud community members have no life outside their own choice of muds and the mud forums so when they want to prattle politically they have no where else to turn and the rest of the group can't help but to participate in a political discussion because they've all got opinions that just can't be restrained.. ;)

I will agree that I am glad to see he isn't taking it lying down, but in this case, despite the hypocrisy that's involved, I have to disagree when you say he's being scapegoated because I refuse to believe that he could have not known before he making his comment that, at the least, it'd be rude to do in that way and would result in some level of censure. Please understand, I think it's great that he was willing to face the punishment and make a comment that needed to be made, but I don't think this is the Dems going after him per se either given that his comment was made during a nationally broadcasted presidential address to congress in session.

Oh yeah, I forgot you haven't been there in THAT long :)

No, I doubt you want to know who Flumpy is. He's one of those anti-authority anarchists we've discussed before. Absolutely opposed to the very idea of moderation in any form. Participates regularly in the "Samson is a fascist" threads and doesn't hesitate to violate the rules of decorum Pelosi seems to love so much. In short, a troll. I'm pretty sure most of the trolls who use me as their target do so because they disagree with me politically and figure it's entirely valid to launch into personal attacks because I'm a conservative.

Yes. New mods. We decided to take a different approach to how moderation was being done by installing 3 of them. It originally started out that we'd have them handle things like thread locks, splitting and moving posts, you know, drudgery. It was supposed to solve the issue of admins "ruling with an iron hand". As you can probably guess, it didn't work out. Rather than the admins being fascist pigs, it's the moderators. Oh, and we picked Dean, Hades Kane, and Orrin. You may not even know who Dean and Orrin are. We chose what we thought would be an effective and diverse group. Turns out not so effective. Orrin turned out to be a spineless wimp like Icculus. Dean is a bit flippant, but he at least acted on something. HK as you might imagine is trying to play the nanny role. My opinion of him sunk by quite a bit after his America hating rant cloaked in fake patriotism.

Ah, one of those. Oh well, every forum has to have at least one, right? *rolling his eyes*

I don't know Dean well, but I believe I have seen his name on posts a few times and I do recall Orrin. I must say I'm rather surprised that you (collectively) would've chosen Orrin or Hades Kane as moderators at all, but not in the least by the way you're reporting the experiment turned out. The only reason I can think of for making HK a mod on MB would be to have a token from the crowd that normally opposes you, otherwise even his posting habits on TMC have usually been fickle at best if not downright placating most of the time. Of the crowd there I'd have considered choosing someone like David Haley (since he always posts a lot anyway and routinely makes suggestions about what is and isn't on-topic, not to mention what the rules at MB should be and how admin should be handled there, and so on ...just to see if he can put his money where his mouth is and still be fair about it) long before I'd have chosen HK. :D

David's name did come up but I leaned against choosing him because he'd already been cited for trolling twice, and Kiasyn was dead set against him for similar reasons. You're more or less right about why we picked HK, though he has gotten a lot better since you last saw. We didn't really figure Orrin was going to be a controversial decision, but apparently choosing him caused a big blow out on the IMC network (which I no longer bother with btw) and hasn't been terribly popular in general. But really, we were having trouble finding anyone who wanted to do the job, and of those who said they'd be willing, it was hard agreeing on who we'd all accept. For instance, I wanted to put Kayle in there, but Davion immediately said no way because he thinks Kayle is too hotheaded and a troll himself. The whole thing may end up a disaster in the end, but we did at least try.

Well, I find it very reassuring to hear that I'm not the only one who considers David a troll, though I will still give him credit for really knowing his shit when the subject is code. (Truthfully, I don't think he's always, nor just, a troll because he very often does really try to help and he is very capable of helping much of the time, but his mannerisms can be very annoying at times and he's a worse post-whore than I am which is really saying something...)
I've largely given up on IMC myself as well mainly because I just haven't got the time lately with all the work our new farm's proving to be and because HughesNet is still keeping me quite frustrated though I do still enjoy the news channel and I have all the channels "monitored" from my dev port.
I considered mentioning Kayle in my previous post too, but he's always complaining that he's overloaded already anyway, and he is a bit hotheaded. I don't think of him as a troll. He does do things from time to time I wouldn't approve of in a moderator like posting when drunk and baiting people he's trying to pick a fight with, but it's infrequent enough that I wouldn't call him a troll. Besides, he's already burdened with the FUSS forums and IMC as well as his own mud development, school, work, his wife, and Scoyn... ;)
Yeah, I can definitely see why it'd be a really tough argument for the four of you to agree on, and yes, at least you're trying it. I think it's always difficult to hand over control to someone new but especially when you've got to get someone that the whole existing team agrees on. And I can understand that very few wanted the job, in fact I'd almost argue that anyone who really wanted the job didn't deserve it. Given the amount of traffic at MB over the last year or so, I can even understand very few being willing to take on the mantle, especially among those who'd be serious about it. (Overall, I can sympathize entirely, but I agree that it should serve to demonstrate to the primary opposition crowd, assuming they're willing to see it, that you guys are trying to make the effort.)

David is knowledgeable, there's no doubt about it, but his tendency to twist peoples' words when engaging in an argument is extremely frustrating and has led to numerous incidents. So much so that even Sandi, who is normally quite patient, finally had to call him out on it. Which of course he didn't like and did his usual feigned ignorance routine.

The main reason I was lobbying to get Kayle on board is because he was willing to do the job and has the qualifications IMO. the problem with picking people who don't express an interest in doing it is that when asked, they decline the offer. Which happened with several people we actually would have been much happier with. At this stage though, I've come to the realization that no moderator would be acceptable to the group who was slinging shit in the administration's direction to begin with. Some of those jackasses just need to be banned and never allowed back.

And btw, it's the 3 of us, not 4, Asylumius resigned his admin post a couple of months ago after basically becoming fed up with Cratylus' bullshit. So it's already cost us a man, and still threatens to cost the site another - myself - if it's not eventually dealt with. Either because Davion will pull a spineless appeaser move and fire me, or because I'll get sick of it and drop away on my own.

I haven't just "largely" given up IMC, I disconnected it entirely. Kayle didn't want Server02 back (oh yeah, you might not know, he gave it up awhile back to me) and I was sick and tired of Crat and David using me as their political punching bag on the network so I threw the whole thing in Davion's lap and deleted the entire IMC account from my server. I will probably end my involvement with it completely with one final code update to the server and client. And since Alsherok was only booted to connect to the network, I'm no longer running that anymore either.

Well, I knew David was a pain in the ass, at least in my opinion, but I hadn't realized he'd gotten to everyone (other than Cratylus) already.

Yes, that's very true, it's a bit like most political offices in that way. No one who's really qualified would want the job. ;)
It'd set an awfully bad appearance if they were permanently banned solely because they were opposed to the administration, but it probably has been needed for quite awhile now. Sometimes I think we push democracy in this country so hard that we forget we don't actually practice it for real even in our politics so we become too easily convinced to try to allow democracy even where it has no place. Even if MB was established "for the people", it's still a fully privately owned and operated establishment and not a democracy. If you were running a "brick 'n mortar" store somewhere, you'd find it only good business to do somethings to appease, if not outright please, your customers but you certainly wouldn't do others no matter how vocally, nor how many of them, some of your customers gave you clear evidence that they wanted it. For example, you certainly wouldn't cut your prices to below your cost no matter how unhappy your customers might be about the prices.

Wow, I've been out of the loop that long? :(
I recall Asylumius saying something about it, but had no idea that he'd actually left the staff.
Hmm, what to say.. Obviously, if either of those come to pass and you leave MB altogether, Crat wins. On the other hand, I understand all too well how hard it is to put up with shit you know full well that you have no reason to put up with, especially just to avoid letting the other side win while your own side's clearly barely supporting you at all. :(

I guess that shows how long it's been since I paid any attention at all to any of the channels other than inews and imctells. I didn't even know that Kayle wasn't still playing IMC God-ling via server02 anymore. Sadly, the bullshit between Crat & David was a very big contributor in my decision to remove myself from ichat, though ultimately it came down to after having used imcignore to make David, Cratylus, FearItself, and a few others quit their incessant prattle (at least for me) the conversations just had too many gaps to make any sense and that I didn't want to go asking around to try to figure out how to block the cursing.. I didn't just fully disconnect from the network because I still think it's a good thing for my players/staff and I do enjoy inews (though I could get just that channel from Crat's network instead just as easily, I suppose, and then I'd be done with imctells too... very tempting, but then I'd have to deal with Cratylus as the network owner...) ...anyway, I'm very sorry to hear that you're being driven out of the mud community so fiercely, I'm certain that's a bad thing and a great loss to the mud community. I know that I, alone, have benefited greatly over the last few years or so from your wisdom and assistance and I cna only begin to imagine how many uncounted others have as well.

So get this. It's turned even more fucking insane than it was before. David pulled another one of his patented "so are you seriously saying X" routines. Kavir, Tyche, myself, and Sandi all called him on it. So he goes all ballistic about how we're picking on him and how he's not making any sense by asking the things he's asking and how he's twisting peoples' words based on his bullshit understandings of what people are typing. When he realized he was being buried in the argument, he ran to go get Cratylus, who jumped in and was all "ok assholes, you're gunna git it if ye don't stop pickin on my buddie David here" with his attitude. Directly threatening Sandi and myself. What do you suppose happened? Orrin the spineless jumps in and calls ALL FOUR OF US to the carpet for picking on David, after Crat threatened to start a deliberate flamewar over the entire issue. Then apparently he sent a PM to Sandi gloating over the outcome. And these dickheads wonder why I'm angry with them.

Well, at least this kind of confirms that I made the right choice to drop MB other than the repository section. What a shame, it'd started as a great idea.

So, those who are uninsured because they can't afford health insurance could be subject to fines of $1,900-$25k and/or even possible jail time for failing to have medical insurance for themselves?? <sarcasm>Now that makes perfect sense, after all, look at how many other people they're endangering by neglecting to get health insurance for themselves...</sarcasm> That's pretty much entirely mind-boggling.

Yeah, you definitely made the right choice, but some of us do still miss you being there. It's a shame it's taken this long for someone other than myself to finally step up and call trolls trolls, but Tyche and Sandi are both doing so.

HK posted another wall of text, which basically boiled down to "*sigh* not this shit again". To which I fully agree. But complaining about it isn't the answer, the cause needs to be removed. Trying to fire an admin for reacting to it is just plain bizarre to me.

I'm also mildly irritated that Trillian hasn't got an updated Yahoo plugin since the one I still have broke and won't reconnect.

Yes. Those who are uninsured either because they can't afford it or because they simply don't want it are subject to a $1900 fine imposed by the IRS. Which means Obama lied (shocker!) about it not being a tax, as taxes are all the IRS does. And if you refuse to pay the fine, you're penalized as though you failed to pay a tax. And since failing to pay is tax evasion, people will go to jail. I'd much rather see them fight back with force.

[Mon Sep 28 07:28:02 2009] [Server01:ichat] Turan@Deaths_Sanctuary: So that the idea has been presented. I don't get the feeling that most of the administrators hate you or your guts, so why not give them a solution they may want to adopt later?
[Mon Sep 28 07:28:11 2009] [Server01:ichat] Cratylus@Dead_Souls_Dev: anyway, t srsly doesnt matter
[Mon Sep 28 07:28:26 2009] [Server01:ichat] Cratylus@Dead_Souls_Dev: because 90% of the drama afaict is samson generated
[Mon Sep 28 07:28:34 2009] [Server01:ichat] Cratylus@Dead_Souls_Dev: as long as he's there, there'll be drama

Grand amusement at Cratylus after someone emailed this to me. I won't bother mentioning WHO emailed it, because he'll just deny it anyway, and it doesn't matter. But I mean seriously, how can he actually say that with a "straight face"? When he was suspended from the site, drama fell to near zero. In his previous ban before that, the span between incidents was measured in months, not days or hours. I've been there the whole time, so it couldn't all be coming from me. I therefore have to wonder - is he suffering from delusions?

From time to time I miss being there myself, but then I catch a glimpse of something on my dev port over ichat or from a discourse like this one and am fully reminded why I left in the first place.

The funny part of that is that the cause is primarily the ones complaining about the admin's reaction in question...

I hear you, there are times when pidgin has the same issue too. One or more of the IM services updates their software and the folks who maintain the "generic" clients like trillian/pidgin just don't manage to keep up and all of the sudden you've lost that network completely for as much as days on end. What I can't figure out is how it benefits the service providers to not share what they're changing with the folks maintaining non-proprietary clients, it's not like they're getting advertising $ from their proprietary clients and they do benefit from a more active network with more users which the other clients provide. *shrug*

That's just fucked up. I haven't personally had medical insurance in roughly a decade now because I haven't worked for a company that provided it in that time. My spouse and kids are insured but I just do my best to stay healthy because there's no way I could hope to be able to afford insurance on my own and what I was last offered through cobra was entirely insane. Result, I'm technically in a position to be potentially jailed for failing to gamble myself into debt via insurance agency rather than, say, a slot machine... that's wrong on every level. :(

Not like who emailed it matters anyway, and someone denying it would be wasting their time, those chats are all logged anyway. Honestly, I've never quite decided if Cratylus is delusional or just thinks all of this is an endless source of amusement or.. well, either way remember he's only typing it and none of us can tell that he's got a straight face when he says these things to begin with.

Well. It looks like we're about to drop a moderator. Good ol' Orrin decided that the latest rules amendment bringing political/religious threads to an end was too much for him and that the votes of 29 other people are a sign of a grand conspiracy erected by myself in order to silence topics where my world view is challenged. Sounds familiar, no? Yeah, we royally blew it by hiring that guy. Maybe you should make a dramatic return and apply for a mods position :P

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