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Dissent Elsewhere: Unity08 Website is for Toeing the Party Line

If you want an idea of how the leadership of Unity08 plans to achieve its desired unity in politics, consider today’s statement by Unity08 Vice President Bob Roth:

Why must I remind everyone that these forums are a place for us to discuss the issues facing the country, the candidates, and those things that will make this movement successful? The web is a large place and there are many forums of discussion. I kindly request that dissenting opinions about the movement be taken elsewhere.

I stopped participating at Unity08 after they began deleting and editing my posts there, but gosh darn it, other people keep on popping up at the website with their impertinent questions and dissenting opinions! Clearly, these must be purged. Dissent is not patriotic at Unity08. Unity will be achieved by mandating agreement and shushing dissent. Boy, it sure is neat how that works.

8 thoughts on “Dissent Elsewhere: Unity08 Website is for Toeing the Party Line”

  1. Bob Roth says:

    Mr. Cook, in the remainder of that thread you will also read…

    “I invite skeptics to hash through their concerns about the movement. I even invite the conversation from those that do not believe in what we are trying to do, but I expect civility. If you’d like to call names and make accusations, there are many other places online for that conversation to take place.”

    I also asked that the membership itself come to a determination about whether an individual’s continued accusations of lobbyist influence be removed, relocated, or allowed to remain. The membership asked that particular individual to please keep his comments on track with the topic and to have his accusations removed.

    Bob Roth

  2. Jim says:

    But, gee, Mr. Roth. A participant, Dave Farrar, stated that the supposedly anti-lobbyist Unity08 leadership has lobbyists in it. That statement was factually correct. There ARE lobbyists in the leadership of Unity08. Why should such statements be termed “accusations” when they are correct? And why would these statements need to be removed? Are you embarrassed by them? Do you think it’s irrelevant that an organization that has spent its time publicly dumping on lobbyists has brought lobbyists into its leadership?

    I’m sorry you consider the behavior of a pesky citizen like Mr. Farrar, going around and hawking wildly accurate facts, to be un”civil.” Have fun with your accusation-free zone. Keep chanting “Unity” until everybody untoward leaves, and you will have yourself a very smooth, very homogeneous little party.

  3. Anonymous says:

    To say that “the membership” asked to have the remarks removed is not at all accurate. Initially there were TWO individuals who asked to have the remarks removed. However several other members found the topic worthy of a four-page discussion, which those two individuals eventually joined.

    If Mr. Roth did not tell the truth about something which is so easy to check up on, can we expect him to tell the truth about anything else in the less-than-transparent Unity08 organization?

  4. Jim says:

    Is that true, Mr. Roth? Oh, dear. I just reviewed that thread, and it DOES appear to be true. Only two Unity08 members, Betty and Bill, asked for Dave Farrar’s comments to be removed.

    Wow. Does that mean that if I can get two Unity08 members to ask to have YOUR messages removed, they will be, Mr. Roth?

    Boy, I feel empowered already!

  5. Bob Roth says:

    I do not deny that there are registered lobbyists that are taking part in the organization. Their experience is helpful because they understand that there is a problem with the system and how we might fix it, hence the process created for Unity08 to rank the issues, debate them with candidates, and nominate a bipartisan Unity ticket.

    The fallacy and accusatory nature of the conversation on Unity08 was not about the participation of lobbyists. It was twofold, 1). the assumption that all lobbyists are evil (to be as brief as I can), and 2). that the involvement of any lobbyists in a movement means that the movement itself is purely a puppet for said lobbyists. Neither of these describe those involved with Unity08 properly.

    Unfortunately, that conversation did digress to an uncivil nature and we do not have the ability in our current architecture to remove parts of individual comments in situations where there were both earnest criticism/retort and unwelcome personal attack upon other members.

  6. Jim says:

    Funny, but lobbyists always say they’re providing helpful assistance based on their experience and personal knowledge. That’s what they say when they’re interacting with Congress. That’s what they say when they’re interacting with the White House. Unity08 took great pains over many months to very particularly criticize lobbyists and the current system in which lobbyists have access to power. Unity08 didn’t tell anyone it had lobbyists in its own power structure at the time. It didn’t admit so until I laid out the evidence publicly. The question is not why you find lobbyists so useful. The question is why Unity08 has based its appeal on criticizing the inclusion of lobbyists in the Washington power structure at the very same time it has included lobbyists in its own power structure. You say you’ll answer questions. I’d like an answer to that one.

    The other thing is, some people consider censorship to be highly uncivil. Personally, I think movements that ask Americans to stop openly squabbling about policy and unite behind one set of leaders are super-duper-uncivil. Civility is one of those in-the-eye-of-the-beholdery sorts of thingamajigs, isn’t it? So someone might say what you’ve done isn’t civil.

    Two members of Unity08 asked that Dave Farrar’s posts be removed. If I can find two members of Unity08 who’d like your posts to be removed for what they perceive to be incivility on your part, will those posts be removed? The answer to that question will speak volumes.

  7. Bob Roth says:

    Unity08 has taken great pains to criticize the influence of certain lobbying organizations and how they distract government from the crucial issues facing the country. My question to you is about the perceived power structure of Unity08, “How does a lobbyist gain power by lending her/his experience to an organization that is facilitating the infrastructure for the American people to rank, debate, and vote?” Mr. Cook, I am not attempting to be flippant or naive, simply trying to get to the root of the concern for those that are reading and/or taking part in the conversation.

    I’m not here to state the number of individuals that reported inflammatory, unacceptable, and unproductive personal remarks in public or private as a percentage of those that were taking part in a debate. I am saying that there is a limit to what is acceptable in a forum where people are passionate about a movement, issues, our country, and this particular conversation was deemed a personal affront to many that were taking part.

    And, as stated previously, the current forum does not have the capability of removing the personal remarks while leaving the debatable criticisms. Based on Mr. Farrar’s activity in the forum, which I appreciate because he IS amongst the skeptics/pessimists of the movement, I know that he has continued to restate his views and engage in new debate. I have seen nor received no further complaints from the membership who, by the way, do periodically welcome the challenges he presents.

  8. Jim says:

    It’s a bit disingenuous for you to characterize Unity08 as having “taken great pains to criticize the influence of certain lobbying organizations.” Unity08 has issued repeated blanket denunciations of lobbyists in general and their influence among the powerful. While Unity08 brought on lobbyists to lead its rules committee, it issued statements over and over about how much it didn’t like lobbyists. Not certain lobbyists. Lobbyists, period.

    Unity08 has done a fair amount of complaining in district court that the rules of the political game have been used to make it hard for certain political groups (like Unity08) and to make it easy for other political groups (like the Democratic and Republican parties). It’s kind of odd that you can’t imagine having two registered lobbyists as the co-chairs of the rules committee might lead to some interesting rules that advantage some parties and disadvantage other parties.

    You didn’t answer my last question, about what happens when two Unity08 members complain about YOU and ask for YOUR comments to be removed.

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