Obama’s Thought Police

Here’s a fun little story for you. Barack Obama has hired on an Internet team to intimidate bloggers who don’t kiss his ass. To think I’d pegged this guy as someone to vote for. Had discussed him positively with my husband and adult kids, had mentioned him somewhere in this blog as being a possible step in the right direction for the country.

Of course, that was before I found out ex-Weathermen were funding his campaign, that he has the single most leftist voting record in the Senate, and that he’s sponsored a bill to fingerprint all mortgage lenders, treating them like criminals. (Does innocent until PROVEN guilty still mean anything to anyone in this country)?

And now this. Sure, the article says the team is just going to combat rumors. So what I want to know is, are they going to combat rumors while wearing a uniform—that is, are they going to identify themselves. Or are they going to cheat, to pretend to just be regular readers of the blogs they attack?

And let’s see how long it takes them to expand their mission, to start going after anyone who suggests Obama might not be the Promised One, might just be another scumbag politician, might in fact be the biggest scumbag running this year (and considering the field, that’s digging pretty deep).

After I discovered Obama was just another crapmeister (thus making the field a perfect three-for-three), I wasn’t sure I was going to waste my time with a vote for President this year. Now I might have to, just to vote against him.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

43 comments… add one
  • WanderingAuthor Oct 15, 2008 @ 23:59


    I just noticed this post and the comments while searching for another post, and I felt I had to leave a comment, to let you know at least some of your readers do support you.

    I respected you before this, but I respect you even further for several reasons. First, because you are one of the very few people in this country clearheaded enough to see that the political process has left us without a single worthwhile candidate to vote for. Second, because even when you dislike a candidate, you are fair enough to shun the false charges against them and stick to real substance. Third, because you have the guts to stand by your convictions. I’m not surprised by any of those things, but I am impressed to see them in action.

    Whenever any political figure takes steps to “confront” dissent, I become extremely nervous. I’d rather the idiots than the censors, tired as I am of the idiots who attack public figures for all the wrong reasons. The best defense against false rumours is free speech. Despite my opinion that Obama’s election as President will be a disaster for this country (as would McCain’s election), I pointed out on a mailing list I take part in the utter stupidity of claiming Obama was not born in the US when evidence showed otherwise. Intelligent people who are left free to speak are enough to quell falsehoods – when the politicians want to engage their own hirelings to do so, I suspect they have other things than falsehood in mind – such as simple disagreement.

    I would also add that I read, and enjoy reading, authors even if I don’t agree with their opinions. If an author has written a book I enjoyed, I wouldn’t throw it out no matter what I later learned about their beliefs. To my mind, that is childish if done privately, and, as you pointed out, an attempt to intimidate and influence others if announced to anyone else. And, if I found the content of the book worthwhile before, it has not changed just because I know more about the author’s beliefs. Such an act, to me, suggests the person who will throw out or otherwise destroy a book they previously valued is attempting to protect an untenable belief – they seem to fear continual contact with the author’s sanity might cure them of the madness they seek to preserve. That, at least, is my take on it.

    I’m sorry you had to endure so many harsh comments from those caught up in the mob madness that marks politics every four years in the US, but I wanted you to know not everyone is fooled by it, and not everyone is prepared to turn against you because you have courage and convictions.

  • Laughing Dragon Sep 7, 2008 @ 1:28

    *When we raise taxes, it costs more for companies to operate here. You are absolutely right—businesses are outsourcing to save money. So how does raising taxes, which increases the amount companies must pay in order to operate here, keep businesses here?*

    That is one of the most clear-eyed comments I have read on the subjects of taxes on corporations. It is utter nonsense, IMO, to punish people for being successful. Those same people build companies, hire, provide health benefits and offer 401k and pension plans. I work for such a company and the last thing I want is an increase in its tax burden. How would that benefit me, an employee, in any way? It would likely result in cost-cutting measures in an attempt to stablize profits, hiring freezes and layoffs, not because the company is EVIL but as a way to minimize loss and continue to serve the company stockholders, of which I, as an employee, am one. As for the comment on this board about other countries paying higher taxes and doing well…right. Many of those countries would LOVE to have our economy right now, troubled as it may be. I remember the pre-Thatcher days in England when heavy taxation drove many creative people, including writers, away from its shores because they were fed up with most of their hard-earned money taken away to give to indigents and parasites. Taxation taken to excess benefits no-one. And increasing the corporate gains tax in a time of economic struggle and increasing competition from foreign lands is fiduciary suicide!

  • Laughing Dragon Sep 7, 2008 @ 1:08

    BTW, Holly, I am just getting into your writing courses, and I like what I see. I have suffered from writer’s block in the past and can usually overcome it by, oddly enough, ignoring it (focusing on it seems to make it grow larger, like a weed in a patch of sunlight), but your methods are intriguing and I’ll be sure to put them into practice the next time the Muse gives me the silent treatment. Thanks for the courses, and oh yes, all the great stories!

  • Laughing Dragon Sep 7, 2008 @ 1:03

    Holly, I appreciate your comments and your courage. I myself have had run-ins with Obama’s thought police, and they’re a most unpleasant bunch. Frankly I find Obama’s rhetoric at odds with his actions. You’d think someone who truly believes in “hope and change” wouldn’t patronize a preacher who makes his living by inflaming old hatreds, or a home-grown terrorist who regrets none of his past destructive actions against innocent life and property and only wishes he “had done more”. Because of these things, I have decided that Obama is not a man I want in the White House. He is either extremely naive or distressingly two-faced.

  • Isabella Jun 14, 2008 @ 5:35

    Dear Holly,

    With everything going on in the world it’s a great comfort to know that there are people like you ‘out there’ who have the courage to think for themselves and stand up for their beliefs. Thank you!
    And never mind people boasting about throwing your books in the trash, I will start buying as many of your books as possible!

  • lunasgathering Jun 12, 2008 @ 19:06

    And that is exactly where my friend sent her initial message, in a private e-mail. Then she discussed it with me, on my little blog that is read by only my friends, all of maybe 5 people. We, neither of us, believed anyone would see that discussion. That is what I get for assuming that no one reads my blog. 🙂 I will be more careful in the future to keep such types of discussions on my private blog.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you that everyone has a right to their opinions. And, as I’ve said, if we thought others read my blog, we wouldn’t have shared the personal stuff there. And the backlash does go both ways. My friend is a good person who is very loyal to authors she respects and doesn’t give up that loyalty easily. And wouldn’t want to do it in such a public format. The post here was left to defend herself from the name calling and the public posting of her private message. Nothing more, nothing less. This is the last thing I will post on this issue as it is taking away from the topic at hand.

  • Monica Jun 12, 2008 @ 18:13


    Being an author myself, I’m sensitive to reader backlash given for any author’s controversial opinions.

    I might think conservative rightwingers are idiots myself, but by gawd, I’ll defend their right to voice their dumbass opinions without fearing backlash no matter if they’re an author or any other sort of entertainer or artist.

    This is Holly’s playground, not mine or anybody else’s. I think that sort of thing is better taken to private e-mail.

  • lunasgathering Jun 12, 2008 @ 17:17

    Monica, just so you can know the whole story, my friend “Ghost” did not come to her decision lightly. And it certainly wasn’t over this one difference of opinion. It took many verbal bashings from someone she respected (some of which were deleted shortly thereafter and not all aimed at just her) to change the way she felt. She certainly doesn’t trash books on a whim or for something as small as differing political opinions.

    She never made any kind of threat, merely stated her feelings and opinions. She never claimed them to be anything other than her opinion. That in no way makes her a racist. That is the last thing she would ever be accused of if you knew her. This has gone from her losing faith in one author to suddenly being biased against women’s fiction by black author. I don’t see the connection.

    I do agree that segregating Black authors is wrong. I fought against it all my years of working at Borders. I am lucky now to work in a store that proudly shelves Mary B Morison, Bebe Moore Campbell, Omar Tyree, and Eric Jerome Dickey right along side Jane Austen, John Steinbeck, Barbara Kingsolver, and others in the literature section, not hidden away in a separate section or in some genre. They are given their proper respect and credit as literary, regardless of color. And yes, I have read women’s fiction by black authors. The color (or sex) of an author doesn’t affect my consideration for reading a book. The quality of the story is the only reason I choose to read or not read a book. And I can without a doubt say that is the same for my friend.

    I do know that just because my store is smart doesn’t mean the rest of them will ever be. Or that overcoming racism will be that simple. We both support Obama’s efforts to make a difference. Which is why my friend wanted to keep her upset with Holly a private matter, not wanting it to take over this discussion. But it apparently wasn’t meant to be.

  • Monica Jun 12, 2008 @ 11:01


    That tax-raising complaint is just a ploy to help the rich hold on to their profits and not pay taxes. Taxes are higher in places such as Europe and companies still thrive there. The reason for the outsourcing is simply because they’re greedy as hell and our gov’t cares nothing about the working American people, so allows it.

    Those threats from “Ghost” are what happens when authors express opinions on controversial topics such as race, religion, politics, etc.

    I would suppose it’s hard to lose a fan, but it’s the breaks of being yourself. Everybody differs and while arguing is fair game–to punish somebody for not holding the same opinion is kinda rank, IMO.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that threat–usually from women who’d never, ever crack a women’s fiction tome written by a black person anyway.

    So I always figure I ain’t lost much. My views pretty much align with my readers. Although they might never dare speak the taboo words aloud. Blacks aren’t allowed to complain about racism without severe backlash (usually the race card whine)–believe me, Obama’s statements on race have to be CAREFULLY thought out. The fact he can address the subject at all without the usual backlash makes him a sort of genius. You have no idea.

    Just think, Barack Obama night be elected Prez, but if he were a regular citizen, he still wouldn’t be allowed to write commercial genre fiction (particularly women’s fiction, but it’s true across the board)–and not be segregated into the Black Only book section in the publisher catalogues, often the bookshelves, and have his books only marketed to other blacks.

    There are still racial boundaries blacks have yet to cross. With so many biased against blacks in this country, his term of office would be hellacious in some ways–every word he and his family uttered, every move they made, scrutinized and attacked. Racists are always looking for racism, so they ease some of their own guilt (projection) or conversely, prove fundamental differences (rationalization).

  • hollylisle Jun 12, 2008 @ 9:27

    lunasgathering says:

    Job downsizing is not caused by raising taxes, nor is the rise in product prices. Jobs are going away because major businesses are outsourcing those jobs to foreign countries to save them money.

    When we raise taxes, it costs more for companies to operate here. You are absolutely right—businesses are outsourcing to save money. So how does raising taxes, which increases the amount companies must pay in order to operate here, keep businesses here?

    As for Ghost’s decision to inform me that she had trashed my books, if it was truly a matter of conscience, she wouldn’t have bothered to tell me about it. Telling me was a way of punishing me for saying something she didn’t agree with, and for applying pressure to me not to say it any more.

    Mentioning that she had passed on the information to others, and that her books were not the only ones that would be going into the trash was more of the same.

    I left her anonymous, rather than posting her name, which was attached to the e-mail I received. I did not point to her as a specific person, but in an anonymous fashion. In that regard, I respected her privacy, while making public her attempt to influence what I said.

  • lunasgathering Jun 12, 2008 @ 4:40

    One last thing and I’ll leave this discussion to others. Here’s a link to a news story that shows how little the rich actually pay in taxes.


    Wasn’t sure if Wordpress would automatically convert the above to a link or whether I needed to insert the tags. If it didn’t, just copy and paste the text in the browser’s web address field.

  • lunasgathering Jun 12, 2008 @ 4:20

    Ok, now for my own comment. What I post here will only be to the response to the comment I posted here. Anything said on my blog will be answered there as it doesn’t have as much to do with what I said here and more to do with the discussions with my friend.

    I know that some of what I said here is strictly opinion, my beliefs and not anyone else’s. I don’t expect everyone to believe what I say and I know I can be wrong. I am only human. But I also think that half-truths are similar to misinformation. You say that Obama wants to raise taxes. That is true, but only part of the story. His tax plan if he should be elected is to LOWER taxes for the middle class and RAISE taxes for the rich. You know, the ones with all the money. He proposes that people who make over $200,000 a year should pay out more in taxes than those of us scraping by. Job downsizing is not caused by raising taxes, nor is the rise in product prices. Jobs are going away because major businesses are outsourcing those jobs to foreign countries to save them money. I got a useless degree in a field that now gets its work from India and other countries. Product prices have gone up because gas prices are up. That was NOT caused by higher taxes. That was caused by all the tax breaks the current administration insists on giving the big oil companies, breaks they themselves have admitted they don’t need. When the gas to deliver the products continues to rise, naturally it effects the price of said products.

    I do wish I had your belief that Obama will win by a landslide. I fear that he won’t win and the country will continue to decline. I know that if he is elected, things won’t magically be better. No matter who our new leader is, they will have an uphill struggle to dig us out of a recession. And that battle won’t even be won in one President’s term or even two. It will take many years to get us back on track.

    As far as the rumors go, yes it is easy to defend the fact that he is not Muslim. But unpatriotic is such a subjective term. Like you said “Who defines that? Who defines what is a negative statement, and what is or is not a rumor of being unpatriotic?” The bigger problem than how he or any other candidate might interpret it is that anyone can make the accusation whether they believe it to be true or not. He is left to “prove” something that can’t really be proven. Someone can call me stupid. I can take a test to prove them wrong. But there is no definitive answer to what makes someone patriotic. It can’t be proven or disproven. Only accepted or denied. That is the most dangerous kind of rumor. It is not unlike McCarthyism. Someone could call me Unamerican and all I could do is deny the claim, there is no way to prove them wrong. What makes someone unpatriotic? I don’t know, but he has to respond. Not answering a question like that tends to lead people to believe, if he can’t answer then he must be guilty. I would feel the same way regardless of who the claims were against. Subjective accusations against anyone is the cowards way out.

  • lunasgathering Jun 12, 2008 @ 3:23

    Because she is having difficulty of some sort in logging in, I am posting this comment for a friend, the one you like to call the book destroyer. My own response will come later. Some of this is already posted on my blog.

    “Holly, I know this won’t matter at all to you, but I’ll tell you anyway. I have been a fan of your work for a very long time. I’ve shared your books, helped build your fandom, respected and supported you. I’m not much of a joiner, so you don’t know me at all, but I’ve been there for you since 2000. I can’t respect you or support you any longer. You have a right to your opinions, but you don’t have a right to use your influence to spread misinformation. Today your books went out of my house directly to the trash. After sharing your recent political blog post with others I know, I can tell you that my copies of your books aren’t going to be alone in the landfill. Because I once respected you, I ask you to please consider how much damage you’re doing to your career with your current direction. Ask yourself if it is really worth it. All the good you might do with your work is undone for me and a number of other readers. Is that really what you want?”

    What kind of person throws a book in the trash?

    The kind of person who is deeply disappointed in an author they once greatly admired. Someone like me.

    I am “the book destroyer”. None of you know me, but thanks to Holly’s interest in me, you think I am suddenly fair game. You should recall that before now, I did not post a single public remark to Holly’s blog. I contacted her privately. She chose to publish my remark (without my permission, an act for which she would not stand, had I published one of her private remarks to me without permission, you may rest assured).

    I made remarks about the situation at hand on a friend’s blog. I didn’t bring the confrontation here. Again, bringing it here was Holly’s choice. She linked to my friend’s blog in one of her comments, where she proceeded to accuse my friend of attacking her personally. Because my friend dared to disagree with her.

    Holly used inflammatory language about me. Not once, but repeatedly. She likened my disposal of my own copies of her books to burning and destroying books, implying I am a censor. She later refers to me as “the book destroyer”. She accused me of a “smear” because I was unable to log in to post a comment here (I have no idea why I could not log in–if not because of a deleted account, then a technical issue–but she implies I am lying about my inability to log in, which I am not). Because Holly carefully chose the words she used to describe me, I have been accused here of being a censor. I have been compared to a Nazi (thanks for the hate speech, by the way). My maturity has been called into question. All by people who do not know me. All because Holly published my private remarks and then used her great skill with language to manipulate other people’s opinions. Never once did I say I encouraged others to destroy her books. I expressed the opinion that I believed others would find her remarks so offensive, they would agree that her books are no longer welcome in their collections. Keep in mind that I bought those books, and did not deprive Holly of any money. If I resold them or gave them away, Holly would not benefit financially anyhow. I chose to dispose of them, as is my right. If you don’t agree with my right to throw away my own property, that’s your business. If I don’t want to recommend Holly to other people any more, that is my business.

    If any of you would stop to think, you’d realize I was telling Holly this because I believe the damage she is doing to herself is unnecessary. If you don’t think she’s damaging her career by extolling her political views in such a fashion (refer to her notion of “thought police”), then what is she doing to her career by attacking a one-time admirer of her work by encouraging false impressions about them?

    Would *you* expect strangers to call you a childish, immature book destroyer–or to compare you to a Nazi–over a private remark you made to someone in the forlorn hope that you might make them see they are alienating people? Throwing away books is an extreme act, but if it had in any way jarred Holly into seeing how deeply she offends people (and how badly she sometimes hurts people), it would have been worth it.

    Folks, I *liked* Holly Lisle. I didn’t turn on her in a heartbeat, over a simple disagreement of opinion. I never once posted any argument to any opinion she held, out of respect for her rights. I never once made any trouble for her here in her own space, never wrote a single negative line about her online at all until I gave up and posted my private comment to her after many years of supporting her. And I didn’t do this because I don’t like her opinion. I did it because I honestly feel she uses her influence to spread misinformation, and I think that’s a terrible abuse of her responsibility. If you don’t believe Holly does that–carefully re-read all that’s been said here about *me*. The book destroyer. The childish, immature Nazi. The person who dared to privately tell Holly of my disappointment, and privately dispose of her books.

    Holly, you know very well what you have done. And you know, in your heart, what you are doing. Misinforming people about politics is one thing. Leading them to jump on one of your own readers is quite another. What was your motive in publishing my remarks to you? What did you want, Holly? I was a reader for years, a good friend to you that you never knew. It *hurt* me to admit that I could no longer support you. It was a difficult decision, borne of a lot of hard thought. I made my remark to you brief, because I didn’t expect you to hold it in any regard, just as I said. I never expected you to publish that remark and use it to attack me. Say what you will, delete this comment if you will, lie about me if you please–nothing changes the fact that you are unweaving your own making, and you will have to live with that. And I feel very sorry for you.

  • Monica Jun 12, 2008 @ 0:36

    Holly, we do agree that it’s all going down the drain and it’s a given politicians suck.

    I think the elections are rigged anyway seeing how 2000 and 2004 went. Our democracy and freedom is an illusion.

    Wouldn’t it be a GREAT thing for writers to have access to healthcare without all the awful worry if you’re self-employed? If you have a pre-existing condition such as diabetes, you can forget about getting insurance.

  • BookLover Jun 11, 2008 @ 19:29

    Holly, you are my top novelist. In every sense of the word: I have your Hawkspar on preorder; your novels have a row on the top of my bookshelves (with those of S. L. Viehl and C. J. Cherryh); I have given away your novels to friends, strangers, and even sent them as far as Australia. I would sooner throw out my Complete Works of Shakespeare than any of your novels.

    I have been absent in the dialog here for a long time. I wasn’t finished grieving for the death of my mother when my husband was diagnosed with a chronic illness and dealing with it has sucked up all the time with us as we search for ways to stabilize him.

    I was shocked when I read the first part of your post on my subscription page, and am amazed at the conversation here. It is like our national dialog on race – a talk long overdue, difficult to have, but necessary to our unity and prosperity as a nation.

    I am aware that you have experienced undue pressure and also threats against your income in the past because of people who disagreed with your beliefs, so it must be like a recurring nightmare for you to be having this conversation at all. I admire your courage in posting your thoughts on Senator Obama regardless of your concerns that you would receive an ugly amount of pressure from his associates. But such courage is only what I would anticipate from the creator of Talyn (which I have read at least three times, to date).

    In the news today is the resignation of Mr. Johnson from his unpaid, volunteer work on Senator Obama’s veep search. I must ask you Holly, in the light of that news, exactly who is being subjected to invasion of privacy, undue influence and public embarrassment? It seems to me that team Obama is the target here, and the bloggers who have written about Mr. Johnson, the “winners”.

    I do not want to have a country where we ask everyone who thinks of running for President to account for everyone who they may have met, been hugged or endorsed by, visited or worked with, in any capacity since they were born, and all of said “associates” former actions and former associates. It is insane. It is election by rumormongering. It is guilt by association. It is freedom of the press at its worst. I refuse to participate. I regret that you have given credence to the exaggerated and scurrilous attacks on someone who has earned my respect. I too have researched the candidates. I have read “Dreams From My Father” by Barack Obama. I have watched uncounted hours of him speaking in his own words. It hurts me that you have believed things about him that I have every reason to doubt are true.

    Please stop and consider Holly, if you have the kind of proof you would want to see in a court of law, and I mean you personally, not someone you read who speaks of someone they know who said something…. And if you decide you do not have that, then please consider whether what you wrote of Mr. Barack Obama is worthy of you. Please.

    If you decide to retain your current ideas on the matter, then rest assured I will continue to love you and respect you as one of the most creative and marvelous minds I have ever ‘met’. I will continue to buy your novels and hope for many more wonderful hours of reading from you. I will continue to recommend your work to everyone I meet who has any fondness for fantasy and/or original work. I will continue to purchase your books on how to write. How could any of that ever be in doubt? When people we love and respect come out with something we dislike and disagree with, we don’t immediately resign from their churches or disavow their goodness, any more than Obama could disavow his grandmother when she made hurtful comments about black men to him.

    I love you Holly, for your brilliance, your creativity, the wondrous hours of good reading you’ve given me, the person I have seen behind the author, who has suffered and fought and emerged stronger and more loving. You can be right, you can be wrong, just be you and I will always be your devoted fan and friend.

    April Dauenhauer
    aka Pandababy (because I love pandas too)

  • heatherwrites Jun 11, 2008 @ 16:08

    And obviously I am not speaking about all liberals. Most of my friends are democrat and have always accepted me as a moderate.

  • heatherwrites Jun 11, 2008 @ 16:05

    I voted for Hillary in the primary. Not sure if I am even going to vote in the fall. As much as some people love Obama, I don’t feel the man has enough experience and that scares me. But, I’m not crazy about the alternative, either.

    Regardless, how do leftists or righties ever expect to come together and accomplish anything if they do not respect individual rights? We do not have to agree, but attacking someone and burning their books for what is a mild opposing view of Obama is illogical, emotional, and doesn’t speak of hope or peace.

    I’m an independent. Used to be a republican. Voted democrat for the first time this year. But I can tell you I’ve lived my entire life being talked down to hatefully by extreme liberals. It is offensive to me that the left think they are the only ones who care or believe in hope.

  • Gabriele Jun 11, 2008 @ 15:45

    And that goes not only for the US.

    I haven’t been able to find a German politician/party to vote for since Kohl’s second time (when he lost me, and even before I voted for him as the lesser evil not because I thought he was particularly good).

  • hollylisle Jun 11, 2008 @ 14:27

    Monica—this will be a good year for liberals, actually. Both candidates are left-leaning. McCain is so liberal Republicans in general won’t vote for him, so they won’t vote at all. Either way, though, a leftist gets in.

    The only real question this year is, “How far left?”

    I haven’t been pitching happy for the Republicans, though—I’m not one, wouldn’t be one if you paid me, and am thoroughly disgusted with the current administration (and senate, and congress, and judiciary) and have been for quite some time.

    I think Bush handled the Afghanistan part of the post-9-11 issue decently. That was the ONE thing I don’t think he totally screwed the pooch on. Everything else he’s done has sucked like an imploding sun.

    Politics sucks, the people who pursue power suck, and the country is going down the drain, with the politicians on both sides of the aisle pushing like hell to get it there faster.


  • Monica Jun 11, 2008 @ 13:25

    I don’t see how a leftist Prez could possibly be worse than the right-leaning legislatures and administrations we have had.

    This trickle-down, victimize-the-poor, glorify the rich, exult the corporate and business class hasn’t got us jack. Those theories are put forward by the tiny minority (the top percentages of income bracket) that call the shots.

    Majority Americans have rallied after those theories because that’s who they want to identify with.
    They have been voting for people who put forward economic policies that hurt them. But the conservative economic policies are nothing but wishful thinking.

    In example, why are are borders so open after a Republican admin and majority legislature in the first term even though the rightwingers talk their lies against immigration as usual? It’s because the corporate interests want to hire cheap immigrants. So that is what’s done.

    Why are our jobs and industry shipped overseas BY the conservatives? Because the rightwing interests want to increase profits. That’s all they care about.

    Who profits from war? Historically and traditionally who profits? Think about it. It’s not the boys over there risking their lives at the behest of the rich.

    The rightwingers, the neocons don’t give a damn about the average middle-class, or upper middle-class for that matter, Americans. They are treating the bulk of American whites as badly as they’ve ever treated blacks. That’s what they think of you even though you worship, follow after them and believe every lie they utter.

    I think some are slowly waking up to how they are regarded. Those folks are turning to alternatives that the politics-as-usual rightwing.

    But nobody has ever said the American public was all that bright. So I think big-biz supporting, business-as-usual, McCain has an excellent shot. He looks the part and talks the talk. He utters the familiar and comfortable lies (gov’t that helps the people is bad, gov’t that assists the rich and corporate interests is good).

    So how are leftist ideas such as the universal healthcare that the great majority of the first world such as Europe, Japan and everywhere else halfway decent enjoys so terrible? If they lose their jobs they still get to go to the doctor. Rightwingers say it’s terrible because big biz doesn’t want to pay for it. It would cut into their obscene profits in a big way. That’s it in entirety.

    You like the idea of $12 a gallon gas, no health care available (to you at least) and skyrocking food and utility costs?

    So support McCain. Paris Hilton’s inheritance will be completely safe. You can starve at peace.

  • hollylisle Jun 11, 2008 @ 8:07

    Let me quickly address, by the way, the accusation by people—including the book destroyer—that I have been spreading misinformation. The quote from the article that caught my attention and sent chills down my spine was:

    A crack team of cybernauts will form a rapid response internet “war room” to track and respond aggressively to online rumours that Barack Obama is unpatriotic and a Muslim.

    Does that not bother you? If it doesn’t, then please define for me exactly what would constitute a rumor of “being unpatriotic”.

    He’s not a Muslim, and not being mistaken for a Muslim is important to both him and to his campaign. Fine. Never thought he was, nor would his religious affiliation have been a defining choice in my decision to vote for or against him. Being a Muslim is a clear and simple fact, easy to prove. The rumor may be difficult to dispel, but it won’t be impossible.

    But “unpatriotic”? Who defines that? Who defines what is a negative statement, and what is or is not a rumor of being unpatriotic?

    “Unpatriotic” can mean anything the candidate doesn’t like. It is not, as Shakespeare would have said, “an ever-fix’d mark,
    That looks on tempests and is never shaken…”

    It is, instead, a wide-open field perfect for what the military would define as “mission creep.”

    And THAT is where I drew my line.

    You don’t like my opinion, I’m okay with that. Everybody disagrees with everybody sooner or later.

    But those of you who have so gleefully piled on in accusing me of spreading misinformation may now give me a clear and precise definition of what a rumor of being unpatriotic would be, and where its boundaries lie, and then spell out for me exactly how I have spread misinformation.

    Or you may apologize.

  • hollylisle Jun 11, 2008 @ 7:42

    Waiting in my e-mail last night when the power came back on.

    Holly, I know this won’t matter at all to you, but I’ll tell you anyway. I have been a fan of your work for a very long time. I’ve shared your books, helped build your fandom, respected and supported you. I’m not much of a joiner, so you don’t know me at all, but I’ve been there for you since 2000. I can’t respect you or support you any longer. You have a right to your opinions, but you don’t have a right to use your influence to spread misinformation. Today your books went out of my house directly to the trash. After sharing your recent political blog post with others I know, I can tell you that my copies of your books aren’t going to be alone in the landfill. Because I once respected you, I ask you to please consider how much damage you’re doing to your career with your current direction. Ask yourself if it is really worth it. All the good you might do with your work is undone for me and a number of other readers. Is that really what you want?

    So someone who has decided destroying the books written by someone whose opinion she disagrees with—and who is proud enough of her actions to announce them—has spoken. And it sounds like she’s putting some effort into encouraging others to destroy the books I wrote as well.

    How, exactly, is that different than book-burning?

    I WAS, as noted previously, an enthusiastic Obama supporter. Unfortunately, I research candidates, and have found him as wanting as the other two who actually had a shot at getting elected.

    For lunasgathering, the man with the most left-leaning voting record in the Senate cannot bring the country together. The vast majority of us are not radical leftists.

    Yes, we need change. The only person who could have been worse for the country than G.W. Bush was John Kerry, and right now I figure he wouldn’t have been that much worse.

    But no, we don’t need higher taxes, bigger government, or more social spending, all of which will devastate the already shaky economy, make the working class poorer (who do you think pays those higher taxes, in the form of increased product prices and job downsizing?)

    I investigated. And disillusioned by what I discovered about Obama (he’s just another politician, not a genuine hope for the future), I basically dropped out of the process.

    A man whose words paint him as a centrist who intends to represent the whole country and bring it together, but whose actions represent the single most left-leaning voting record in the senate, is a man with a big disconnect to explain—and no one is making him explain it. How will he represent the majority of Americans when he has voted against what the majority of Americans believe in the majority of the time?

    Hiring on people to search out bloggers who post rumors about him—as opposed to allowing the press dispel those rumors as they have already been doing—put him just that one crucial step below business as usual in my estimation.

    Don’t misunderstand me. I think Obama will be the next president by a landslide. McCain has no support from the majority of Republicans (and considering HIS voting record, he hasn’t earned it), and Obama has massive support from Democrats and unaffiliated and Republican centrists.

    I simply think Obama will be a very bad president. As bad as the current one. As bad as the previous one. As bad as the one before him.

    And having both investigated who he is, and seen the disconnect between what he says and what he does—including going that extra step in quelling dissent, which I too think looks like bullying—I won’t be voting for him.

    Your mileage may very. If you decide to join the book-burners, by all means let me know.

  • lunasgathering Jun 11, 2008 @ 0:02

    Ok, let’s do this in parts.

    First, when is it wrong to defend our honor? When someone is spreading lies or half-truths it is only fair that we are able to respond and tell the truth. Throughout his campaign, Obama has been the candidate that didn’t stoop to fabrications to get voters. He chose to answer the accusations and not throw more back. The only way to combat vicious rumors and blatant lies is to go to the source and tell them the truth. You have never had a problem correcting people when they misread something you wrote or put words in your mouth. He has the same right.

    Second, you post that link about him being liberal, that he has the single most leftist voting record in the Senate. And you say that like it is a bad thing. One of the dictionary definitions of liberal is favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs. Am I wrong in thinking that progress and reform are in our best interests? Taken from the NJ link you posted here, he “supported most measures aimed at withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, comprehensive immigration legislation including a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, most Democratic positions on health care, education, energy, and the budget.” After the beating this country has taken the last eight years under the thumb of Bush and Co., he would be a breath of fresh air. I prefer a president who understands the plight of the working class and wants to make it better, not someone who is only out to help his rich, oil company buddies.

    Third, we all know what assuming does. You assume that since the current administration is crooked, that it will always be that way. I prefer to hope for something better. And until he proves to be as evil as you attempt to portray him, I will gladly place my hopes in a future that cares about me, the working class, living paycheck-to-paycheck American. But I am just a fan fiction writing (don’t worry, not in your worlds), chain store bookseller. I will follow this “crapmeister” to better times, if we can get past all the lies perpetrated about him.

  • isildur Jun 10, 2008 @ 22:21

    My wife pointed me at this post, and I was a little surprised by it.

    I read the article, and got absolutely no sense of ‘intimidation’ or any indication that they’d ask people not to post anything. If either of those things happened, I’d be both surprised and disappointed, but I don’t believe that’s what they’re intending at all.

    It’s smart public relations to find people who are saying things that aren’t true about you, and combat their bad information with good information. If you don’t, you cede that discussion space to the liars and the malcontents. I work as the lead designer for an online game, and our community relations team spends hours and hours combing through discussions of our game looking for misinformation, mistaken assumptions, and even just angry rants. Then we engage those people in conversation to try to address their problems — or at the very least to give their readers some additional perspective on whatever the issue is.

    This is all pretty standard community outreach.

    Frankly, if an Obama staffer showed up on my blog with comments, I would not be intimidated; I’d be flattered, happy to have attracted their notice, and eager to engage them in debate. Ditto a McCain staffer. And if they argued with me aggressively, or implied any kind of threat against me, I’d be firing off email to their rival’s campaign and every other potential blog ally before the electrons had cooled on my monitor.

    I find the idea that public attention — especially public attention from people who are uniquely positioned to contribute information to the discussion — would be intimidating to be a bit… odd. It would be like me making a post about the design of Game X on my blog and being unhappy that the designer of Game X showed up to discuss it with me.

    Further, I think the idea that you would ‘bring down these people’ on you as a result of a blog post suggests a somewhat troubling level of paranoia. We don’t actually live in a police state (yet) and there’s a vast gulf between ‘posting to someone’s blog’ and ‘attempting to silence someone’. (If not, what’s the point of blog comment threads at all? You can turn them off — and many bloggers do.)

    This is particularly evident when you consider that nearly every attempt to silence a blog, even a small personal blog, has generally been met with derision and an explosion of support from hundreds of other bloggers all eager to spread whatever information was the target of suppression. It always backfires.

    Based on their smart and competent leveraging of the internet so far, I have to believe that Obama’s team gets that at a fundamental level — and that intimidation and suppression are no part of what they’re planning. That you jumped to that assumption is, from where I’m sitting, mostly a commentary on the *current* administration, and what we’re willing to believe *them* capable of.

    (And, of course, I’ll be all over the first instance of an Obama staffer trying to silence or intimidate anyone like ants at a picnic. And I’ll be reposting it to my blog, and encouraging others to do the same. I just don’t think it’s likely at all.)

  • ajestice Jun 10, 2008 @ 17:00

    Before anything else, I would let it be known that I realize this is your blog and you have every right to post whatever you please on it. But for a while now, I had been under the impression that you no longer intended to post political rants. I could be wrong; perhaps I misread a previous post.

    I’ve been reading your blog for eight or nine years now, and though I don’t know you personally, I respect you. So when I say that I thought you weren’t going to post political stuff anymore, I only mean it as my own observation, not an attack. Political rants tend to make me uncomfortable, because I come here to watch your progress as a writer and learn from you, so that I can become a better writer.

    But then, I suppose I could always just ignore these posts, couldn’t I? I should’ve thought about that before I spent so much effort constructing this comment.

    Anyway, just my two cents. Congratulations on finishing your revisions of The Silver Door!

  • Murrquan Jun 10, 2008 @ 15:53

    Will I, really?

  • PolarBear Jun 10, 2008 @ 15:22

    There’s more than the presidential candidate on the ballot — and there will be more than two presidential candidates on the ballot in November. You could always vote for other competitors. At least you’ll have a say.

  • Murrquan Jun 10, 2008 @ 14:47

    From a certain point of view, I can see why he’s doing this. My church has asked us to counter misinformation about us on the web.

    On the other hand, when I do so, I don’t pretend to be a disinterested observer. This sounds like those marketing campaigns where they pay someone to go on a forum and pretend to be enthused about something. I don’t know if I’d call it “intimidating,” but it sounds sleazy.

    I’m thinking of not voting in this next election at all. How can they claim that the system’s legitimate if nobody wants to participate?

  • Katherine Jun 10, 2008 @ 14:46

    (Incidentally, several traditional media organizations have contributed to the “Obama is a Muslim” rumor. The suggestion that such sludge is spread only by fringe individuals is unfortunately not true.)

  • Katherine Jun 10, 2008 @ 14:24

    The current administration is being sued because people with anti-Bush bumper stickers on their cars were forcibly excluded from an event being held at a public venue. Now *that’s* intimidation.

    Obama, in contrast, has a consistent civil libertarian voting record. (That’s part of *why* he’s one of the most liberal Senators.) When his campaign says it wants open debate, I’m inclined to believe it until I see evidence to the contrary. If he wants to debate on my blog, he’s welcome.

  • hollylisle Jun 10, 2008 @ 14:01

    Katherine—There is no invasion of privacy in searching the web.

    I disagree, however, that having a future president of the US hire people to search out individuals who publish blogs (and we need not assume that these will be large, opinion-maker blogs since those blogs are going to be a lot less likely to publish “He’s a Muslim, he’s the antiChrist” crap) and tell them not to say what they’re saying, is business as usual.

    If a representative of a future president stopped by your weblog and told you not to say what you were saying, would you be intimidated? You, after all, are a relative nobody. You’re an average citizen with no bodyguards, no great wealth with which to defend yourself, no access to friends in high places who could make the problem go away. You’d be a fool not to be intimidated.

    So would I.

    Would you consider twice before posting comments negative to this candidate, knowing that his hirees are searching the web with just such comments in mind, and knowing the power and reach of the man behind them? I not just would. I did. Just knowing that this post could–not was likely too, but could–bring down these people on me made me decide twice against posting anything, before I finally said “the hell with it” and did.

    It does intimidate. It does chill freedom of speech. That’s not a matter of debate, because it had that effect on me, and I’m pretty willing to stick my neck out.

    So I think I’m entirely fair and reasonable in judging that the intent of this campaign, and effect of this campaign, is going to be to intimidate commenters at the grassroots level who do not support this candidate, from saying ANYTHING negative about him.

  • heatherwrites Jun 10, 2008 @ 14:01

    Holly, I’m with you on this one. It reeks “bully” to me. (I can’t imagine why I loathe politics.) And I’m about tired of anyone that doesn’t view Obama as our only option being labeled a hater, etc.

  • Katherine Jun 10, 2008 @ 13:45

    (As an aside, we also need to remember that “bloggers” is a pretty big category. Some of the A-listers have larger audiences than most newspapers. Challenging InstaPundit or Daily Kos is different from going after some teenager with four readers.)

  • Katherine Jun 10, 2008 @ 13:39

    If you post something on the Internet, it is not private, by definition. There is no invasion of privacy in using a search engine to find something on the public web.

    How do comments on a public blog from a member of a campaign chill free speech? How is that different from a letter to the op-ed page of the New York Times? Or from the exact same comment posted by someone who is not a member of a campaign?

    Campaigns have conducted vigorous arguments in the public media for as long as there have been campaigns. That’s exactly why the First Amendment exists. The Internet is the most open medium ever devised, but bloggers are the philosophical heirs of Revolutionary pamphleteers like Thomas Paine. Paine fully expected to be challenged by his opponents: provoking them was the whole point. A blogger who isn’t willing to be challenged shouldn’t post.

  • hollylisle Jun 10, 2008 @ 13:17

    Katherine—Was the guy who hunted down the guy who posted the rumor a man hired by the probable future president of the country with the specific job of finding people who disagree with the putative future president and telling them they’re wrong? If yes, then I have a problem with it, on the following grounds.

    1) Invasion of privacy.
    2) Chilling effect on freedom of speech.

    The president of the country has unimaginable power. If he uses that power to silence, intimidate, or attack individual citizens of the country, especially in a systematic, planned fashion, that is MASSIVE abuse of his power. If the future president of the country does it, that does not bode well for anything like individual rights should he be elected.

    You folks want to argue with me about whether this scumbag is better than the other two scumbags running, (well, just the one now), I have no problem with that. I think all three of them are shit on toast, so I’ll be agreeing with you 66% of the time.

    If either of the remaining future-president scumbags hires someone to come here and argue with me, that’s a beast of a whole different, and terrifying, stripe.

  • Katherine Jun 10, 2008 @ 13:08

    Let’s make this a little more concrete, just so we’ll know whether we are all talking about the same thing.

    Suppose a site owner posts something like, “I heard that Barack Obama is an animal hater who supports Annual Kick Your Puppy Day.” And suppose a member of the campaign responds in comments, “I’ve been working with the campaign since last October, and I can tell you that’s just not true. He stops to cuddle the puppies at animal shelters in every town we visit.”

    Would you have a problem with that? Why?

  • Monica Jun 10, 2008 @ 13:00

    Most important, the American people as a whole have proved we aren’t all that intelligent. So many believed and tolerated Bush&Co’s corruption and lies without a word.

    Rightwingers have hired Internet goons for years to support their causes and candidates. As you wrote, that’s what politicians do. The difference is that you won’t read twisted accounts about them in the mainstream media.

    No other administration has endangered free speech more than this one. Ever.

    As far as people who support rightwing politics, often we have to agree to disagree. But what’s sad is that leftwing politicians aren’t that different although they do at least show a pretense of caring about regular, working Americans.

    Doomed. We’re just doomed.

  • Katherine Jun 10, 2008 @ 12:53

    The Times article did not use the word “intimidate,” or the phrase “attempt to silence.” Neither did the Obama campaign. Unless you have evidence of an actual attempt at intimidation by a paid employee of the campaign, you’re spreading exactly the kind of rumor that the campaign is hoping to debunk. And incidentally demonstrating the need for such debunking.

    For what it’s worth, recent campaigns show just how damaging rumors and whisper campaigns can be — remember John McCain’s black child in 2000? — and the Internet allows them to spread more quickly than ever before. Only an idiot would allow them to spread unchallenged. Whatever else Obama may be, he’s not stupid.

    (Disclaimer: No, I am not a paid employee of any campaign.)

    Newspeak always uses the kindest and most meaningless terms. Look at what they plan to do, not what say. Actions, not words. Holly

  • hollylisle Jun 10, 2008 @ 12:35

    I’m not a part of anyone’s community, Christian or otherwise. I loathe religions (though I believe in God. Great guy, BAD publicity).

    I get my news from everywhere. Google news. Drudge. CNN. Stuff to the left of center, as well as stuff to the right. There’s garbage on both ends, nor is the stuff in the center exactly pure.

    This is, however, exactly like every other campaign in US history. The media paints its darling in pastel colors and denies or covers everything negative said about him, the unloved candidate gets smeared with the full support of the same media that’s supposed to be watching out for the American people, and anyone who actually still trusts anything the media says gets screwed.

    When a candidate hires people to intimidate bloggers, to try to change the messages that are getting out about him, I have a problem with that. Does any intelligent person think he’s the AntiChrist? Seriously? Does any intelligent person accept that he’s a Muslim? No.

    Does any intelligent person question the fact that he has decided it’s worth his time and money to send out hunters to silence idiots?

    Aside from me, apparently not.

    ADDED: And there is a big difference between the Usual Campaign Idiots and Supporters posting pro-candidate and anti-opponent crap on their own sites, and watching a candidate for President of the United States hire people to go post it on the sites of others. This is an issue where the candidate’s credibility in regards to anything resembling support for free speech gets shot all to hell. Idiots have the right to post idiocy. Protecting the constitutional free-speech rights of idiots is protecting the rights of smart, well read folks who post well-reasoned debate. When you silence one, you silence the other.

  • Monica Jun 10, 2008 @ 12:33

    McCain’s people who do the same thing are called Internet Campaigners and Supporters.

    The highly successful rightwing mudslingers are particularly revved up against Obama. The Internet is a great place to spread their manure.

    But what can you expect? I’m amazed Obama got this far. I think many others are also surprised and a lot will throw their wright behind McCain rather to support someone they perceive isn’t like them and has gotten so far. The powers that are know this well and I do believe it’s the reason someone like Obama is the candidate vs someone like Ron Paul who would have a chance if he were allowed to get his message out to the people.

    A decent man such as Ron Paul (who, yes, I would have voted for) never had a chance with the current Republican types who’re in power pulling the strings.

    So we will have more of Bush-type leadership policies and this country is pretty much doomed. Considering the number of people who voted for such venality–we might deserve it.

    “Gas $4 a gallon? That’s funny. I haven’t heard that” ~ GW Bush

  • Susan Jun 10, 2008 @ 12:17

    I am not a paid-or-otherwise employee of the Obama campaign. I’m not even wholly sure if I’m going to vote for him or not. I’m just really sick of the rumor mill at this point, especially among the Christian community online, which I am becoming ashamed to associate with. I try to, whenever I can, debunk what I hear, but I can’t be everywhere, and I don’t care *who* it is, I think somebody just needs to be there to say, “Where did you hear this? Do you have proof? Why do you believe this?”

    This isn’t like a normal presidential campaign. I’ve never heard the likes of some of this, especially coming from people who I have liked and trusted. “He’s a Muslim” is the tamest of it. I’ve seen long discussions about whether he might not be the Antichrist. Allegations that Audacity of Hope says nasty things about Christians or that he wants to destroy Christianity, from people who’ve never read the book and probably never will.

    It’s… unreasonable, irrational stuff. And it’s being said places where there aren’t a lot of random passerby who know better to correct them. It’s people who draw all their news from exactly places like the National Journal and Ann Coulter and even more biased and less fact-checked sources. If someone from the outside doesn’t step in and say, “Hey, wait. This doesn’t sound right,” then nobody will.

  • Katherine Jun 10, 2008 @ 11:57

    What elewir said. Obama seems to have inspired more than his share of false rumors, and the campaign’s barely getting started. What would you suggest he do instead?

  • elewir Jun 10, 2008 @ 11:50

    I don’t understand. It says they plan to respond *specifically* to people spreading rumours that he’s Muslim and that he’s unpatriotic. NOT that there’s ANYthing wrong with being Muslim (hello, religious tolerance goes both ways), and that whole “he’s unpatriotic” BS is just annoying.

    What’s the problem with this?

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