John Tirman on Munro and Soros

John Tirman comments on Neil Munro’s misconduct:

One quick note about the Soros bugaboo. I commissioned L2. It was commissioned in Oct 2005, with internal funds from the Center for International Studies at MIT, of which I am executive director. The funds for public education (not the survey itself) came from the Open Society Institute in the following spring, long after things had started. Burnham did not know this (Roberts was not much involved at this point.) MIT was providing funds, that’s all he knew or needed to know. There were other small donors involved too. I told this to Munro on the telephone and in an email. He nonetheless implied that Soros money had funded the survey from the start, possibly at Soros’ behest. That is a disgraceful lie, and Munro knows it.

This timing also underscores another Munro falsehood: the attempt to influence 2006 congressional elections. We began in Oct 05 with the intention of getting the survey done in winter and results out in spring. The violence was so severe that the survey could not be conducted until late spring, and then at great peril. About two months for data entry, analysis, writing, peer review, etc. We decided to delay the release if too close to the election, setting our own deadline of Oct 14. It was never intended to influence the congressional election, though there is certainly nothing wrong in a democracy with wanting the public informed.

Munro also knew this and fabricated a tale to make this sound like a political gambit from the start. These are just two aspects that I know first hand. Munro’s behavior–screaming at me on the telephone, demanding to know if any donors were Muslims, etc.—signalled his intentions from the start. This is a bad actor and is a disgrace to the newsletter where the diatribe appeared.

The NEJM article is far more important and interesting. This is where debate should be focused, not a blatant hatchet job by a guilty malcontent and one “source.”

Comments

  1. #1 dhogaza
    January 19, 2008

    Oh, shit, I’m in for it now. The last time I pointed out that SOME christians have done some truly evil things, BPL called me an anti-christian bigot.

  2. #2 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 19, 2008

    dhogaza writes:

    [[Regarding Nazism ... BPL ought to be careful of slinging stones at biologists over support of Nazism, given the large number of christians who joined the party.]]

    And yet Hitler denounced Christianity in no uncertain terms, equating it with ignorance, superstition, and at one point, venereal disease. And most of his high-ranking officers made similar statements, many of them publicly:

    http://members.aol.com/bpl1960/Hitler.htm

    Now, explain to me, again, why it’s wrong for me to criticize Lorenz for being a Nazi?

  3. #3 SG
    January 20, 2008

    Barton Paul Levenson, with regard to your comment at 96, I am not evil, not even a bit, and I don’t think many people appreciate being called evil. Also I am not going to hell and I don’t appreciate suggestions that I am, which is the common christian lemma to theorem 1: ” you are evil because I said so”.

    Hitler may have criticized christianity, but it was the catholic Centre Party who provided the votes to pass the enabling law. The Social Democrats and teh evil communists voted aganist it.

    The Centre Party voted Hitler’s way because he promised to protect their precious church. And he did. That’s how much Hitler hated christianity.

  4. #4 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 21, 2008

    SG posts:

    [[Barton Paul Levenson, with regard to your comment at 96, I am not evil, not even a bit,]]

    Wow, you’ve never been angry at anyone or done anything selfish? I’ve never met such a person before.

    [[ and I don't think many people appreciate being called evil. Also I am not going to hell and I don't appreciate suggestions that I am, which is the common christian lemma to theorem 1: " you are evil because I said so".]]

    I didn’t say you were going to hell, did I? In fact, I have no way of knowing who is going and who isn’t. That’s up to God and the person concerned.

    [[Hitler may have criticized christianity, but it was the catholic Centre Party who provided the votes to pass the enabling law. The Social Democrats and teh evil communists voted aganist it.
    The Centre Party voted Hitler's way because he promised to protect their precious church. And he did. That's how much Hitler hated christianity.
    ]]

    Oh, yeah, he sure protected the church. That’s why the church was forced to take down crucifixes and put up swastikas, have all its sermons vetted by political officers to make sure they didn’t say anything anti-Nazi, and saw public distribution of the Bible banned in 1937. Then we have the spectacle of a priest being lynched because he spoke out for the Jews, Martin Niemoller going to a concentration camp, and the saintly and intellectual Dietrich Bonhoeffer being hanged at Dachau for plotting to assassinate Hitler. Yeah, the church and the Nazis just got along splendidly.

    Look again:

    http://members.aol.com/bpl1960/Hitler.htm

  5. #5 SG
    January 21, 2008

    Um, Barton, anger and selfishness aren’t evil. You can’t tell me I’m evil because your wierd imagination says normal human feelings are evil. That’s, um, wrong.

    You didn’t say I was going to hell, but it’s what your theology says, isn’t it?

    Hitler didn’t make the same stringent requirements of churches as he did of, say, stamp collectors’ societies, women’s associations, the boy scouts and every other community group. The Church didn’t become the “National Socialist German Workers’ Church” for example. This means he treated the Churches better than most other organisations in Germany. In Nazi Germany at the time, the behaviour you describe was protection, and Niemoller et al’s crimes were to speak out, not to be religious. (Not to mention how late the church spoke out, and how meekly).

  6. #6 dhogaza
    January 21, 2008

    Strange, I’ve never heard that the crucifix was banned and replaced by the swastika. You’d think that this catholic history site would talk about it regarding life in nazi germany, no?

    Hitler was no fan of the church, and certain other nazis, like Bormann, wanted to get rid of christianity altogether and in the short term (and some writings by such may be the source of some of your beliefs about what actually DID happen).

    And if the ten-thousand year reich had lived, surely christianity had no long-term role to play.

    But don’t let your hyperbole get in the way of reality, OK?

  7. #7 dhogaza
    January 21, 2008

    Then we have the spectacle of … the saintly and intellectual Dietrich Bonhoeffer being hanged at Dachau for plotting to assassinate Hitler. Yeah, the church and the Nazis just got along splendidly.

    So, Barton, was Bonhoeffer hung because he was Christian?

    Or because he was guilty of plotting with abwehr officers to assassinate Hitler?

    Are you suggesting that prosecuting a Christian for a crime they’re guilty of is evidence of “anti-Christianism”?

  8. #8 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 22, 2008

    SG posts:

    [[The Church didn't become the "National Socialist German Workers' Church" for example. ]]

    Will you kindly go read the web page I posted a link to? That is EXACTLY what happened to the church in Germany — the state replaced it with a government-run church. Crack a book, for God’s sake!

  9. #9 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 22, 2008

    dhogaza writes:

    [[Strange, I've never heard that the crucifix was banned and replaced by the swastika.]]

    I have.

  10. #10 dhogaza
    January 22, 2008

    Well, Barton, I did look at your web page, which looks remarkably like the kind of quote mine exercise used by creationists to prove that Stephen Jay Gould (for instance) didn’t “believe in evolution”.

    I see there, for instance, Martin Bormann’s 1937 decree.

    Which is probably the source for this?

    That’s why the church was forced to take down crucifixes and put up swastikas, have all its sermons vetted by political officers to make sure they didn’t say anything anti-Nazi, and saw public distribution of the Bible banned in 1937.

    Bormann’s decree wasn’t implemented.

    For instance, right after the Bormann Nürmberg reference…

    1. Important leaders of the National Socialist party would have liked…. complete extirpation of Christianity and the substitution of a purely racial religion. (OSS Report, cited in BBC 2002).

    Note the use of the conditional phrase there? “would have liked” is there for a REASON.

    2. The fragile, typewritten documents from the 1940s lay out the Nazi plan in grim detail: Take over the churches from within, using party sympathizers. Discredit, jail or kill Christian leaders. And re-indoctrinate the congregants. Give them a new faith — in Germany’s Third Reich.

    Totally consistent with what I said above: “And if the ten-thousand year reich had lived, surely christianity had no long-term role to play.”

    Again, IF.

    Much of what you seem to be taking as history is actually what MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED IF Nazi Germany’s fortunes hadn’t collapsed in the early 1940s.

    And, yes, I’ve cracked more than a book or two on European history, which is why I knew you’re posting shit in the first place.

  11. #11 dhogaza
    January 22, 2008

    I suspect that Barton is confusing the fact that Nazi Germany did create the Reich Church, and built many of them, with the fact that Bormann’s further goal of making Reich Churches be the only churches in Germany never became a reality.

    Bormann was a bit like Avis – he never became #1 in the Reich, after all, that position was held by another man (and Bormann’s influence waxed and waned during the years of Hitler’s dictatorship).

  12. #12 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 22, 2008

    No, I’m not posting shit, dhogaza. You are. You wallow in the stuff.

    That you could read the information I have on that page and conclude that it is “an exercise in quote mining” and that the Nazis didn’t harm the churches just shows how deeply your anti-Christian bigotry has woven itself into the dark corridors of your mind. If the evidence doesn’t fit what you want to believe, you just dismiss the evidence. Kind of like global warming deniers, or the creationists you so despise. You’ve become what you hate.

  13. #13 dhogaza
    January 23, 2008

    that the Nazis didn’t harm the churches just shows how deeply your anti-Christian bigotry has woven itself into the dark corridors of your mind.

    Note that Barton’s claim that I’m an “anti-Christian bigot” rests on something I’ve never said. I have not said that “Nazis didn’t harm the churches”.

    In an earlier thread, I pointed out that Luther was an anti-semite, and pointed out bad behavior on the part of certain other Christians in the course of history.

    This, too, caused Barton to claim I’m an “anti-Christian bigot”.

    What I’ve said is that the following statement by Barton is false:

    That’s why the church was forced to take down crucifixes and put up swastikas, have all its sermons vetted by political officers to make sure they didn’t say anything anti-Nazi, and saw public distribution of the Bible banned in 1937.

    Churches continued to have crucifixes throughout the war, though as I’ve pointed out the government did start up the “Reich Church”, and those did not.

    I’ve supplied quotes from Barton’s own page that make clear that the eventual goals held by some, such as Bormann, were not achieved in the Third Reich.

    If the evidence doesn’t fit what you want to believe, you just dismiss the evidence.

    Hardly. Your own page provides no evidence that the crucifix was actually banned in the Third Reich. There’s nothing to ignore there in regard to your claim that the crucifix was banned in churches by the Third Reich.

    I’m not an anti-Christian bigot, but I do think you’re a fucking asshole. Try reading the New Testament some time. Maybe it records Jesus saying a few things you could apply to your own life.

  14. #14 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 23, 2008

    dhogaza, stop following me around from blog to blog and trying to provoke me. My being of bisexual orientation doesn’t mean I’m available to anybody. I’m happily married to a lovely woman and I’m not going to cheat on her with either sex. I will not go out with you. Stop asking me.

  15. #15 dhogaza
    January 23, 2008

    dhogaza, stop following me around from blog to blog and trying to provoke me. My being of bisexual orientation doesn’t mean I’m available to anybody. I’m happily married to a lovely woman and I’m not going to cheat on her with either sex. I will not go out with you. Stop asking me.

    Where the fuck did this come from? I’m at a loss, perhaps someone can educate me?

    It’s nothing I’ve said, that’s for sure.

    All this because I pointed out that nazi germany didn’t force all churches to remove crucifixes and provided quotes from Barton’s own site in support of that?????

    Makes no sense.

  16. #16 SG
    January 23, 2008

    Barton, I just finished reading “The Coming of the Third reich” by Richard Evans, something of a definitive history of the rise of the Nazi party, and it pretty clearly lays out the differences between the way the Nazis treated the major churches and the way they treated other non-religious community groups. So I have “cracked a book” or two, and they don’t support your contention at all. The Nazis were much more inclined to use the churches as allies than to persecute them, and the churches were happy to go along with the compromises so they could avoid trouble.

    You’re bending the truth to pretend Hitler’s irreligiousity was somehow powerful in Nazi germany. It wasn’t, get over it.

  17. #17 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 24, 2008

    SG, so how does that tie in with the Nazi plan for the churches? “Take over the churches from within, using party sympathizers. Discredit, jail or kill Christian leaders. And re-indoctrinate the congregants. Give them a new faith — in Germany’s Third Reich.” If you’re trying to say the Christians weren’t persecuted as badly as the Jews, then of course you’re right. But the original contention was that Hitler or the Nazis were somehow tied to Christianity. That dog won’t hunt.

  18. #18 MartinM
    January 24, 2008

    But the original contention was that Hitler or the Nazis were somehow tied to Christianity.

    A quick glance upthread suggests that no, it wasn’t.

  19. #19 SG
    January 24, 2008

    I agree with martinM. I thought the contention was that the Nazis were anti-christian, and that their activities towards the church were somehow particular to the church.

  20. #20 Ian Gould
    January 24, 2008

    “But the original contention was that Hitler or the Nazis were somehow tied to Christianity.”

    As the original contender, no, it wasn’t.

    But honestly after the your logivsal contortions which essentially boiled down to:

    Christianity is good

    Killing people is bad

    Therefore people who kill other people aren’t Christian

    I saw little point in continuing the discussion.

  21. #21 Ian Gould
    January 24, 2008

    “The Nazis were much more inclined to use the churches as allies than to persecute them, and the churches were happy to go along with the compromises so they could avoid trouble.”

    Now then if you start making arguments like that it’ll just end with me posting pictures of the Christian shrines built by the guards at Auschwitz so they didn’t have to interrupt their buys work day by going all the way across the camp to the chapel to pray.

    Then Barton will just denounce us all as “anti-Christian bigots”.

  22. #22 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 24, 2008

    Ian, if you’re not an anti-Christian bigot, why are you so concerned to tie Christianity to the Nazis? Or vice versa?

    [[Now then if you start making arguments like that it'll just end with me posting pictures of the Christian shrines built by the guards at Auschwitz so they didn't have to interrupt their buys work day by going all the way across the camp to the chapel to pray.]]

    “Educational instruction was designed to ensure that the Verfügungstruppe soldier was a fanatical Nazi, unquestioningly obedient and ready to carry out any order from the Dictator-Chancellor. A flood of anti-Christian propaganda was loosed on the heads of the men to compel them to renounce all the rules of bourgeois Christian morality and to sever all ties with the church…. On every parade and during every instructional period the cry was ‘One pace forward anyone who has not yet left the Church!’ Every opportunity was taken to humiliate and ridicule them…. of 300 Catholics the church-leavers totalled 4 in 1937,3 in 1938, 67 in 1940 and 129 in 1942…. The young Verfügungstruppe officers were continually called upon to prove their uncompromising opposition to the Christian message of reconciliation and tolerance, which the SS regarded as un-German. From the outset they were ordered to abjure the Christian faith as a destructive, effeminate, and ‘Jewish’ doctrine.” (Höhne 1966).

  23. #23 dhogaza
    January 24, 2008

    Along with the SS troops at the camps, there were numerous ordinary guards, who often weren’t German.

    The authorities at the Treblinka II killing center consisted of a small staff of German SS and police officials (between 25 and 35) and a police auxiliary guard unit of between 90 and 150 men, all of whom were either former Soviet prisoners of war of various nationalities or Ukrainian and Polish civilians selected or recruited for this purpose. All members of the guard unit were trained at a special facility of the SS and Police Leader in Lublin, the Trawniki training camp.

    They guards got training on being an extermination camp guard after their recruitment.

    They weren’t SS members and didn’t get the SS active troop training that Barton refers to above.

    Ian mentioned guards, not the SS contingent, so I’m not sure exactly what the point of Barton’s post was.

  24. #24 SG
    January 24, 2008

    Barton, the SS guards were also required to be members of no labour union, and to only be members of Nazi-affiliated social groups. Is it any surprise that the Nazi authorities wanted them to be members of a Nazi church as well? This doesn’t constitute evidence of a special hatred for the church, quite the opposite – you can bet they didn’t give SS officers repeated weekly opportunities to leave a labour union, because they would have been murdered for their membership long before they could consider joining the SS.

    Your posts continually provide evidence of the special consideration the church got. So far we have discovered that:

    1) rather than destroy the church and establish their own (as with the unions), the Nazis established a rival church to compete with it
    2) although they required church leaders to vet their speeches with nazi authorities, they didn’t give them prepared speeches and they only murdered them for speaking against nazi party lines, as opposed to their treatment of unionists, atheists or non-christian religions
    3) members of established churches were allowed to join and continue operating within party structures, even up to 1942, by which time anyone who had even a whiff of secular opposition to the nazis (i.e. unionist or socialist) was already ashes
    4) they allowed camp guards to maintain their religious principles

    So why don’t you tell me exactly how those camp guards were able to continue being christian in the face of what they were doing, and so many of them that they could have their own religious establishment in the camp? Doesn’t that speak of a certain … moral flexibility … lacking in the (by-then long dead) social democrats, atheists and non-christians who were most certainly not working in the same facilities?

  25. #25 MartinM
    January 25, 2008

    Doesn’t that speak of a certain … moral flexibility … lacking in the (by-then long dead) social democrats, atheists and non-christians who were most certainly not working in the same facilities?

    Not necessarily, no. Smaller, more unpopular groups are easier to victimize. Could be that social democrats and non-Christians simply never got the opportunity to work openly in such capacities.

  26. #26 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 25, 2008

    SG posts:

    [[1) rather than destroy the church and establish their own (as with the unions), the Nazis established a rival church to compete with it ]]

    Actually, they did destroy the church. Here’s what a historian has to say on the subject:

    Well, well, my web site seems to have disappeared from the web. That after being mysteriously deindexed a few days ago.

    I’ll post from my notes when I get home.

  27. #27 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 25, 2008

    My web site’s back! Yayyy! Take that, Westboro!

    Anyway, here’s a relevant quote from a historian:

    “On July 11, 1933, the semi-pagan “Deutsche Christen” party, an instrument of the Nazis, seemed to triumph within the Protestant Church of Germany; at the same time the “Deutsche Evangelische Kirche” was forcibly given a new constitution by Hitler which put the Protestant Churches very largely under the control of government-appointed leaders. It was several months before any organized resistance began to show itself as it eventually did in the form of the anti­government “Confessing Church” (“Bekennende Kirche”). As noted by Karl Thieme on August 10, 1933, the Evangelical Church as such “no longer existed.” There were those who were still loyal to her and defended her, “but these were merely individual pastors and congregations, no longer a Church.” For this reason the Religiöse Besinnung would no longer appear.” (Swidler 1996).

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