Saturday, February 2, 2013

False Equivalency, Insulting Analogies and the Right Wing

By Ebbtide

Just as an introduction: an apple is NOT an orange—nor is it a Porterhouse steak or a pork chop.

OK—now that we have established that fact, we can proceed with a look at some of the truly ridiculous (and often despicable) comparisons the Right Wing has been using lately to illustrate their often specious claims. I’m going to start with the least offensive and build to the most offensive.


Incorrectly using terms is a minor offense, but would somebody PLEASE tell Paul Ryan that a “straw man” is:

A straw man or straw person… is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position.  To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the "straw man"), and to refute it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.

Now right wingers are famous for invoking straw man arguments on everything from the War on Christmas to Abortion, but Paul Ryan apparently can’t even get the concept of what a straw man is, utilizing the reverse-double-flip-I’m-rubber-you’re-glue accusation format, which makes as much sense as most of his political ramblings.

President Obama frames the debate this way because, here again, it’s the only kind of debate he can win – against straw-man arguments.

Ryan then went on to explain his point by—you guessed it, setting up a straw man argument.

The President is given to lectures on all that we owe to government, as if anyone who opposes his reckless expansion of federal power is guilty of ingratitude and rank individualism.

Fast-forward to Ryan’s poutrage after the President’s inaugural address.

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) accused President Obama of attacking “straw men” on the issue of entitlements in his second inaugural address. “No one is suggesting that what we call our earned entitlements — entitlements you pay for, like payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security — are putting you in a ‘taker’ category,” Ryan said in an interview. He added: “It’s kind of a convenient twist of terms to try and shadowbox a straw man in order to win an argument by default.”

Will Ryan get the message? It's doubtful.


Who said, "There will come a time when the gun owners of America, the law-abiding gun owners of America, will be the Rosa Parks and we will sit down on the front seat of the bus, case closed." (Three guesses—first two don’t count.)

I will continue to incorporate this photo into any
post where I can possibly find a connection
because I just love it

Former NRA president Marion Hammer chimed in,  "Banning people and things because of the way they look went out a long time ago," Hammer said. "But here they are again. The color of a gun. The way it looks. It's just bad politics."         

Yes, those poor gun-owning wingnuts are so totally oppressed, so thoroughly discriminated against. They face so many of the same obstacles that those involved in the battle for civil rights faced. It’s such an apt comparison.


John Fugelsang provided an excellent comparison of Nugent and Rosa Parks, ending with, “Because Rosa Parks refused to budge when asked to give up her seat. And Ted Nugent refuses to budge when asked to give up his ignorance.”

The wingers also invoke Martin Luther King, Jr. in their defence of gun insanity, like Larry Ward, Chairman of Gun Appreciation Day, who not only claimed that King would have been “honored” by the event, but went so far as to posit that

I think Martin Luther King would agree with me, if he were alive today, that if African Americans had been given the right to keep and bear arms from day one of the country’s founding, perhaps slavery might not have been a chapter in our history.”

Forgive me, but I still believe this man looks like the
love-child of Scott Walker and Sean Hannity.

Right wing “historian,” David Barton, who pretty much makes up history to suit whatever his current viewpoint might be (Think 1984—We have always been at war with Eastasia) went full metal wingnut with his “fact” that the National Rifle Association (NRA) was formed to protect freed slaves from the Ku Klux Klan.


A subset of the “gun-nuts are the civil rights workers” is the “poor, put-upon, discriminated against Christians, particularly white male Christians” are the true sufferers today.

Fischer’s mother-ship parent organization, The American Family Association sees things just getting worse and worse for Christians, predicting in a new email that by 2060:

  • Conservative Christians will be treated as second class citizens, much like African Americans were prior to civil rights legislation in the 1960s.
  • Cities with a name from the Bible such as St. Petersburg, Bethlehem, etc. will be forced to change their name due to separation of church and state.

And according to Cal Thomas, “The real "war" in this country is not only against the supposed civil right of non-traditional marriage. It is a war against conservative Christians and a denial of the same rights the LGBT community claims for itself.”


You are NOT Rosa Parks. You are NOT Martin Luther King, Jr. You are NOT being lynched. You are NOT having fire hoses turned on you for having the audacity to want to go to school. You are NOT having your head bashed in for walking on a bridge. You are NOT being set upon by attack dogs for peacefully marching. Nor are you being kidnapped and murdered for advancing your ideas.

Your gun fetishes and hate-mongering fundamentalists bear no resemblance to the struggle of people who were (and, in many cases still are) fighting to be treated as equal human beings. Your “suffering” from the fear that you will not be able to stockpile rocket launchers is NOT comparable to what Emmett Till suffered for admiring a white woman.


I want to first establish that I am not a tweeter (although, I have, at some points in my life, been called a twit.) I understand that Twitter can be an effective means of communication and expression, but from where I sit, I think that about 80% of everything I’ve seen in the Twitterverse would be more at home in a junior high school cafeteria. No offense meant to Politicalgates Tweeters—It’s just that I have seen many politicians and others hoisted by their own Tweetards, (Grassley, Brown)  and it seems there is so much mindless twattle being tweeted that it often can do more harm than good.

Which leads me to TWITTER GULAG!!!! I won’t go into much depth about this (extremely shallow) phenomenon. From what I can gather, it began with a bunch of right wing tweeters spamming other peoples’ Twitter accounts, in violation of Twitter’s Terms of Service, and having their accounts temporarily blocked.

That’s right, Twitter—a private enterprise offering a free service, exercised their ability to make users follow the rules. Period.

Enter Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy (could she be any more melodramatic?)

"The Left wants to wear down conservatives until they crawl away defeated, tails between their battered and bloody legs. Silencing the Right is not enough; they want conservatives to disappear from the public sphere. We hope these Twitter vigilantes aren’t holding their breath—conservatives don’t retreat, we reload." (Hmmm, where have we heard THAT before?)

Suddenly, this became the biggest infringement on human rights the world had ever known. Suddenly, right wing tweeters were being persecuted and tortured beyond anything previously known to man.

Twitter Gulag prompted dramatic tweets like:

Free @mark85nh from #twittergulag . A Great Conservative that is targeted by the twitter nazis.


Inside the most extreme #Gulag in the #TwitterGulag where not freedom of expression applies, is our @twitter friend @BranceLong #TGDN10 #Evil

And of course, messages such as:

In honor of #truth warrior just taken down to #twittergulag @charlewar YES OBAMA IS A #MUSLIM LIAR! There, reply on record.

They even have a website devoted to addressing the horrors suffered by Twitter Gulag residents, that features, I kid you not, this graphic:

They seem to mostly blame Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs (they “gathered intel” and everything!) for this dastardly plot, although it appears to me that Charles spends most of his time laughing at them. Some of the comments at that site:

Mutual Assured Destruction kept the peace in the Cold War; it will work in the Twitter Wars.

I'm back in the Gulag! I sent a couple of sarcastic tweets toward @Toure, Now I'm in Siberia.

I was just speaking with another about how we might begin to play by their rules--draw first blood, implement first strike

They have a Twitter Gulag Daily website, which I will not even honor with a link…

And then came #TGDN—The TWITTER GULAG DEFENCE NETWORK. Started by slick operative, Todd Kincannon, a former South Carolina (of course) Republican Party Executive Director, who had famously posted such humorous tweets as:

@ToddKincannon: “The Crabby Cunt from the California Coast”? #NancyPelosi

@ToddKincannon: Or how about “The Botox Bitch from Buggeryland”? That seems to work for Nancy Pelosi too.

@ToddKincannon: Would you prefer Nancy the Crooked Whore? More accurate, but also more words.

 Kincannon and his band of merry madmen decided to fight hashtags with hashtags (or some such nonsense) by following each other in mass numbers to avoid the Twitter Gulag. (I confess, I don’t understand half of what these people say or do, so forgive me if my explanations are not quite on the mark.)

This TGDN nonsense goes on and on at a frenzied pace, and now Kincannon is soliciting funds to hire an assistant because it has become impossible for him to keep up with all the work. (I request that someone in comments please explain to me what costs are involved in having a hashtag—I truly don’t understand.)

There’s a “counter group” now called #uniteblue. By now, it’s all so hyperbolic that I can only shake my head and say, “People—it’s TWITTER, for crying out loud. It’s a means of expressing your deepest thoughts in 140 characters or less—similar to passing notes during gym class in the 8th grade.”

Being temporarily unable to convey banal comments and snarky insults is NOT tantamount to being a prisoner in a forced labor camp under Stalin, and is an insult to those who were.

According to a 1993 study of archival Soviet data, a total of 1,053,829 people died in the Gulag from 1934 to 1953 However, taking into account that it was common practice to release prisoners who were either suffering from incurable diseases or on the point of death, the actual Gulag death toll was somewhat higher, amounting to 1,258,537 in 1934-53, or 1.6 million deaths during the whole period from 1929 to 1953. Some estimates for total number deaths in the Gulag go beyond 10 million.

So just stop it, please.

The Holocaust is NOT Analogous with Gun Control…
Nor with Freedom of Choice (and Obama is NOT Hitler)

There have been Hitler analogies around for a long time. Yes, even some on the left used them when talking about Bush. But the explosion of Nazi references from the right, particularly in relationship to Obama’s rather (in my mind, anyway) temperate and sane ideas about reforming gun laws is so ridiculously over the top, it would be funny if it were not so very sad.

It seems Barry & minions are akin w/ Nazis. EX. using children as props, hatred of Jews, disarming of citizens. #TGDN @gayla415 @glennbeck

Former Major League pitcher John Rocker wrote on  (NOTE FROM ME: What a great pairing, Doofus John Rocker and WND—it’s like peanut butter and jelly) about what he described as "...the undeniable fact that the Holocaust would never have taken place had the Jewish citizenry of Hitler's Germany had the right to bear arms and defend themselves with those arms" (Jan. 15).

During an interview on the Fox News Channel, Lars Larson suggested that, "...if the president does it that way, everybody in America will be required to go in and give fingerprints....  It will be 'your papers, please' like Nazi Germany" (Jan. 9).

Fox News' Dr. Keith Ablow insisted history's filled with examples of leaders who confiscated guns as a precursor to "catastrophic abuses" of power: "One need look no further than Nazi Germany." Fox's Judge Andrew Napolitano made the same connection, while a Kentucky radio host compared firearm regulations to Nazi "yellow star" laws.

And brain-trusts like Bradlee Dean (he’s Michele--one l-- Bachmann’s little loony buddy) wrote on Wingnut Daily

When the "fire" is started, these government gun banners are right there to strip away your rights in an attempt to gain control under the guise of "putting out the fire."

Adolf Hitler was responsible for attacking his own Reichstag to start a world war. Hitler was also responsible for sending his brownshirts to incite the people so he could play the role of solving their problems. No one believed Hitler was guilty of these crimes until after the fact.

Then it was too late.

NO—Just NO.

Trying to come up with methods to decrease gun carnage is NOT analogous with Hitler and the Nazis. First of all, most of the quotes, statistics and stories cited by the right wing are historically inaccurate, and second of all, it is horribly insensitive to even bring it up as a comparison.

The Anti-Defamation League explains it thusly, “"The idea that supporters of gun control are doing something akin to what Hitler's Germany did to strip citizens of guns in the run-up to the Second World War is historically inaccurate and offensive, especially to Holocaust survivors and their families."

Oh, and about comparing abortion to the Holocaust?

New York, NY, November 9, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today derided as "cynical and perverse" a movie that unequivocally compares the murder of millions of Jews and others in the Holocaust to women having abortions in the United States, calling the film "one of the most offensive and outrageous abuses of the memory of the Holocaust we have seen in years."

That Is All...(except for this)


Apparently Todd Kincannon’s need for an assistant didn’t prompt sufficient contributions. He now claims that someone has gone to the Columbia, SC police department to try to have him arrested and that they “swatted” his old office address or something. So he’s NOW looking for donations to his legal defense fund—sound familiar?

The Left is trying to have me arrested over#TGDN. I cannot represent myself. Please contribute to #TGDN legal defense: 

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