How Republicans Tried to Silence a Professor Critical of Their Destructive Right-Wing Agenda

In America, it's dangerous to be employed by a University these days if you speak out and express any opinion that does not support the Tea Party Agenda. Because if you do come out of your academic closet to publicly express your opinions on the policies being pursued in state after state, the Republicans Gang of Teapots will focus on smearing you by any means necessary. In his column today, Paul Krugman describes the politics of personal destruction that the Republicans Gang of Cracked Teapots use to silence and marginalize any credible liberal voice who dares to explain to the masses where the destructive policies that the Gang of Teapots' elected officials have pursued since assuming power in many states across the US of A:

...William Cronon, a historian ... at the University of Wisconsin, decided to weigh in on his state’s political turmoil. He started a blog, “Scholar as Citizen,” devoting his first post to the role of the shadowy American Legislative Exchange Council in pushing hard-line conservative legislation at the state level. Then he published an opinion piece in The Times, suggesting that Wisconsin’s Republican governor has turned his back on the state’s long tradition of “neighborliness, decency and mutual respect.”

So what was the G.O.P.’s response? A demand for copies of all e-mails sent to or from Mr. Cronon’s university mail account containing any of a wide range of terms, including the word “Republican” and the names of a number of Republican politicians.

In short they want to troll through all his emails hoping to find something with which to smear his reputation, even if they have to take what;s in any of those emails out of context to make their smear tactics work. But more significantly, by going after a hitherto unknown, renowned and reasonable moderate scholar they are attempting to intimidate anyone else in Academia or who works for any governmental body from expressing their opinions.

They particularly want to silence anyone who protests the Gang of of Tea Pots efforts to raise taxes on the poor, cut taxes on the rich and large corporations, eliminate collective bargaining and unions, destroy public education, eliminate the social safety net (Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Public Safety laws and regulations, etc.) and make health care reform a dead fish.

Sound familiar? Well, think back to the bogus Climategate scandal and the numerous attempts to discredit and persecute climate scientists based on quotes taken out of context from stolen emails. Remember that? Krugman does:

The demand for Mr. Cronon’s correspondence has obvious parallels with the ongoing smear campaign against climate science and climate scientists, which has lately relied heavily on supposedly damaging quotations found in e-mail records.

Back in 2009 climate skeptics got hold of more than a thousand e-mails between researchers at the Climate Research Unit at Britain’s University of East Anglia. Nothing in the correspondence suggested any kind of scientific impropriety; at most, we learned — I know this will shock you — that scientists are human beings, who occasionally say snide things about people they dislike.

But that didn’t stop the usual suspects from proclaiming that they had uncovered “Climategate,” a scientific scandal that somehow invalidates the vast array of evidence for man-made climate change. And this fake scandal gives an indication of what the Wisconsin G.O.P. presumably hopes to do to Mr. Cronon.


In short, the Great Right Wing Wurlitzer is in all out war against the expression of speech by anyone with whom they disagree, especially knowledgeable and educated people who have the guts to stand up and say that all the Gang of Cracked Teapot Emperors who have assumed power in Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, Arizona, Michigan and elsewhere have no clothes. They have brazenly exposed their naked agenda to eradicate the middle class and eliminate essential services for the poor and middle class alike for the benefit of their Puppet Masters (e.g. the Koch Brothers, Exxon, et cetera).

And they will take any action, no matter how outrageous, immoral and illegal(Hi Mr. James O'Keefe in your pimp costume) to silence opposing voices. They control the radio. They own and operate a propaganda factory masquerading as a news organization. And they have the funding to pursue any attack on anyone they choose if they think it will distract the American public and further their their real policy goals. Just ask Shirley Sherrod. She's seen first hand how the Republicans Gang of Cracked Teapots operates to destroy the lives and reputations of innocent people.

Now Professor Cronon has indicated he hasn't used his university email for anything other than sending the most banal and mundane messages. And he is a highly respected figure in his field. But that's not the point of this latest attempt by the right to rifle through someone's emails in the hopes of manufacturing a scandal against a liberal opponent of their agenda. In a sense it doesn't matter if professor Cronen has nothing to hide, for the real purpose of the attempts to obtain his emails is to frighten other government employees like him from speaking out


Legally, Republicans may be within their rights: Wisconsin’s open records law provides public access to e-mails of government employees, although the law was clearly intended to apply to state officials, not university professors. But there’s a clear chilling effect when scholars know that they may face witch hunts whenever they say things the G.O.P. doesn’t like.

Someone like Mr. Cronon can stand up to the pressure. But less eminent and established researchers won’t just become reluctant to act as concerned citizens, weighing in on current debates; they’ll be deterred from even doing research on topics that might get them in trouble.

Yes, the Republicans were shameless back in the McCarthy era, and they are shameless now. The country they want to save is the one where children go hungry, people become permanently unemployed, unions are outlawed, public safety hazards are ignored, profits ion stocks soar while people struggle to make ends meet (or die) and they and their paymasters can lead a life of luxury behind their gated compounds. A country where bigotry and discrimination against minorities can again reveal its ugly face for all to see. A country where they can live without fear of legal prosecution for their crimes of fraud and theft. A country where they can steal our money, our hopes and dreams and our way of life.

Let me remind you of this familiar (well familiar once upon a time) question that was asked of thousands of Americans in the 1950's, and which was also used to serve the interest of that era's Cracked Tea Pot politicians on the extreme right to ruin the lives of thousands of American in ordr to advance their own political power:

Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?

Back then, the Extreme right wingers who resorted to these tactics lied openly about their motives:


“This Committee is the grand jury of America....

What this Committee is trying to do is save the country.”

— Congressman John E. Rankin, 1947, 1948


Well, we sure as hell know today that the Republican Party Gang of Cracked Teapots has no intention of saving the country, except for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. So they have revived the witch hunts that worked so well for them in the late Forties and early Fifties.

Except this time, they aren't hunting "communists" they are hunting you and me, and anyone else who opposes their reckless and naked abuses of power. To them, we are all "Communists" or "Fascists" or whatever other term they can throw around to make it seem as if we, the progressive voices in this country, the voices that stand for reason, for science, for human rights and justice and economic equity are the enemies of their "Republic," one they assume belongs to them and to no one else.

They won't stop unless we all stand together to denounce these scams and con jobs for what they are: an attempt to limit the political discourse to the views and issues of the most extreme political party in my lifetime. Until they too have their moment when someone says to them:


"Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

We all know the answer to that question. I can only hope that someday something similar will be said that triggers the vast American public who now stand on the sidelines, unwilling to stand up for their rights, to purge our body politic of this disease that goes under the name of the Republican Party, but is in fact a party of greed, avarice, arrogance and tyranny. And Cracked Teapots. 


Booman Tribune / By Steven D. | Sourced from

Posted at March 28, 2011, 4:19am

Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Election 2018
Today's Top Stories