THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH:

All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.



Monday, July 14, 2008

ODE TO MAN'S BEST FRIEND

[From the STMcC archive: 2005, September 24]

Book: "I AM PUPPY, HEAR ME YAP: The Ages Of Dog" by Valerie Shaff and Roy Blount; 2000

Grade: A

You can keep your new, gold Lexus;
Fancy cars just ain't my cup of tea.
Don't care about computer games;
These things don't appeal at all to me.

Some folks need the latest gadgets,
And have their homes filled with high-tech toys:
iPods and digital cameras,
Whatever makes electronic noise.

Now they've even got a cell phone
They can use to take a photograph,
But "He kept up with the Joneses"
Won't be written as my epitaph.

Because I know that Palm Pilots,
And expensive name brand tennis shoes,
Silk shirts and laptop computers,
Will never save a man from The Blues.

If happiness is what you seek,
It's really a simple equation:
Jettison computerized junk;
Get a Lab, Shepherd, or Dalmatian!

While some people dabble in fish,
Others try turtles, hamsters or mice.
Trust me and go with the canine -
You'll find yourself in Pet Paradise!

The Woman weeps watching Chick Flicks,
While late at night she cuddles her cat.
Reaching for tissues and chocolate,
She winds up dehydrated and fat.

But Men have the best idea
For getting their emotions to mend:
In the yard they'll romp 'n' rassle,
And play some Fetch with a "Man's Best Friend."

But suppose your yard is too small,
And constant barking makes your head ache.
I know how you can have your dog
Without yapping that keeps you awake.

Buy 'I AM PUPPY, HEAR ME YAP'
For you are bound to smile and to laugh.
The witty verse is by Roy Blount;
The great photos by Valerie Shaff.

All types of dogs will be found here;
Some noble, some filthy, some cleaner;
"The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly"
And one even looks like a wiener!

I've been so grateful for this book;
It makes owning a dog such a breeze!
There's no feeding and no walking,
And I don't miss a house full of fleas.

Happily there are no drawbacks,
But there's one thing the book can't replace:
When I have come home after work,
This publication can't lick my face.

Still, choosing it over a dog -
The decision for me wasn't hard;
I enjoy canine company
Without stepping in poop in my yard.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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BEST TRANSLATION OF GOD'S BESTSELLER!

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[From the STMcC archive: 2004, August 8]

*My grading scale is typical A through F, but with the very highest mark being an R, which is the equivalent of an A++. Why an R? Heck if I know. My Pa used to tell me that in high school he had a drafting teacher whose highest grade was an R. Pa never did learn what the R stood for, nor - sadly - did he ever achieve one.

Book: “HOLY BIBLE From The Ancient Eastern Text” translated from the Aramaic by George M. Lamsa; 1933

Grade: R
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Let me quickly dispense with the negative aspects of this Bible first: The words of Christ are not printed in red; the personal pronouns for God and Jesus are not capitalized; there is no center-column referencing; and quotation marks are not employed. What this version needs is an overhaul by a good editor, and to be made available in a durable leather-bound and/or hardcover edition.

In his book, "NEW TESTAMENT ORIGIN," Dr. George Lamsa states, “Not a word of the Scriptures was originally written in Greek...the Scriptures were written in Aramaic.” I believe that he is correct and that those Christian apologists and ministers scrutinizing the nuances of Greek words for deeper understanding would be better served investigating the subtle meaning of Aramaic words and the cloaked truth behind Aramaic idioms.

The Aramaic word for “camel” is written identically to the word for “rope.” When the original scrolls were being transferred into Greek, an error occurred due to the translator's limitations. Matthew 19:24 is commonly translated as, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.” This is an obvious “non sequitur”, whereas the Aramaic manuscripts read “rope" instead of “camel." Rope, of course, is much more in keeping with the imagery of a needle, and is probably what Jesus said, and what was originally recorded.

Similarly, Matthew 7:3 says, “Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” And yet, in Lamsa's version the word “splinter” appears in place of “speck.” The organic relationship between a splinter and a plank (or beam) is obvious while speck is more nebulous. Again, Lamsa's translation remains true to the imagery being conveyed.

The ninth chapter of Daniel contains the amazing Old Testament prophecy concerning the surprisingly sudden death of the long-awaited Messiah and the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem. A portion of verse 26 in other Biblical translations states, “The end of it shall be with a flood.” The most well written and spiritually mature approach to The Tribulation and the events of the Revelation that I am aware of is David Haggith's, “END-TIME PROPHECIES OF THE BIBLE.” But even the ordinarily clear-minded Mr. Haggith had trouble correlating this passage with known history. “Blood covered the land like a flood,” he overreaches. It comes as no surprise then that the Aramaic manuscripts do not make mention of any unknown flood. Lamsa's translation accurately reads, “And the end thereof shall be a mass exile.” (Note: Is it mere coincidence that a mass exile could also be poetically described as “a sea of people” and a sea of people might further be described as a “flood”? Understand that I’m only speculating here on how the original “mass exile” might have later been translated into the Greek as an historically inaccurate “flood.”)

Although there is much more evidence, these three examples alone should be sufficient to encourage most serious Bible students to consider the possibility that Lamsa's translation from the ancient Aramaic may offer us the most trustworthy rendering of Scripture.

Finally, I'd like to elaborate on the comment of brother Ram Munjal from his good 2004, Jan. 21st Amazon.com review:

All Bibles, other than Lamsa's version, tell us that from the Cross, Jesus (quoting Psalm 22:1) cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (See Matthew 27:46) This verse has undoubtedly disturbed people for centuries, and no wonder - it is extremely unlikely that Jesus ever felt utterly abandoned by God while He was hanging on the Cross. The Messiah had been promised His Father's abiding Presence! Nothing happened to Jesus that He was not mentally prepared for. He told His disciples in advance what to expect: He would be mocked, spat upon, beaten, and killed, but that three days later He would rise again. (Mark 10:34) He also said to them, “You will be scattered...and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because The Father is with Me.” (John 16:32) Was Jesus mistaken? Or is the translation inaccurate?

“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”) correctly appears in the Aramaic manuscripts as, “Eli, Eli, lemana shabakthani” (“My God, My God, for this I was spared [this was my destiny.]”) Indeed! At different times mobs had attempted to kill Jesus, but He was always SPARED because it was His Will and His DESTINY to take mankind's sins to the Cross to be washed clean in His Blood. The Aramaic phrases are so similar that it is easy to understand how the mistake was made, but the meanings are worlds apart, and Lamsa's version is much more consistent with the Mission of The Christ. Trying to correlate the mistranslation, Christian theologians have been forced to create a flimsy dogma (Jesus being separated from God while descending into hell) in order to cover for this improbable utterance from our Lord while He was suffering on the Cross. Lamsa resolves this dilemma in a far more satisfactory manner. Furthermore, according to the Aramaic Scriptures, Psalm 22:1 doesn't read, “Why have You forsaken Me?” in the first place, but rather, “Why has thou let Me to live?”
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There are plenty more sound arguments to support Lamsa's contention that the New Testament first appeared in the Aramaic language. You may wish to get a copy of his "IDIOMS IN THE BIBLE EXPLAINED AND A KEY TO THE ORIGINAL GOSPELS" and/or "NEW TESTAMENT ORIGIN." (Available from the Noohra Foundation - an organization I strongly disagree with on certain crucial issues.)

When in doubt, George Lamsa's translation is the one I always side with. An added bonus is that this Bible is large and heavy, and should you ever find it necessary to really whack somebody upside the head with The Word Of God, this version is sure to make quite an impression!

~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

EVERY COWBOY NEEDS A HORSE!

[From the STMcC archive: 2006, Sept. 15th]
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*My grading scale is typical A through F, but with the very highest mark being an R, which is the equivalent of an A++. Why an R? Heck if I know. My Pa used to tell me that in high school he had a drafting teacher whose highest grade was an R. Pa never did learn what the R stood for, nor - sadly - did he ever achieve one.

Bicycle: Huffy "GOOD VIBRATIONS" Cruiser model

Grade: R

Where would Roy Rogers have been without Trigger? Where would The Lone Ranger have been without Silver? And Pecos Bill without Widowmaker, or Doc Holliday without Big Nose Kate? The indisputable fact is that every cowboy needs a horse to ride. And what with the price of gasoline and oats these days, is it any surprise that many of us urban cowboys have shifted to the two-wheeled variety of equine transportation?

The other day –- just on a whim -- I did an Amazon.com search to see if anything would come up when I entered in the name and style of my deeply beloved bicycle, THE HUFFY “GOOD VIBRATIONS” model cruiser. How exuberantly surprised I was to find myself staring at a photograph of my lovely, faithful “steed.” It’s still being made. Hooray! “Classic” cruisers are still in and I’m still astride mine (even if the “fenders” are long gone.)

Let me tell you about my bike: I bought my Huffy “GOOD VIBRATIONS” cruiser at Pep Boys in downtown Santa Monica, California, circa 1980, and brought it with me when I moved to Phoenix many years later. I’ve probably logged over 144,000 miles on mine. I used to pedal it every day before work on the beach bike path for exercise and for just the pure joy of it. My favorite ride took me from underneath the Santa Monica pier, through the human carnival of Venice Beach, around the boat slips of Marina Del Rey, and along the sand through El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, to the outskirts of Torrance, and then back again. Or to put it more succinctly: My favorite ride was Heaven on Earth!

And note: With the barest minimum of maintenance, I’m still riding on “GOOD VIBRATIONS.” Yeah, uh-huh, that’s right. About 26 years after buying my bike, it and I are still the best of friends; I’m still planting my “cushions” on its seat and still pedaling along the Phoenix canals, to the horse track, or to the grocery store, or to work. Now, how many years have you been driving your car? Think you’ll get 26 years out of it? Will you get 26 years out of your job? How ‘bout your marriage? Yeah, what I’m saying is that “GOOD VIBRATIONS” last and last…

But I had a real scare recently. The bearings in the doohickey that connects to the thingamajig had gotten wrecked and the handlebars were loose in the whatchamacallit. (Rode it that way for over a year anyway.) Finally took it in to a bike shop and “Homeboy” tells me to throw my best friend into a dumpster. “Homeboy” says it can’t be repaired. According to “Homeboy” the bike was basically junk when brand new; and that the fork could break on me at any moment and put me in the hospital.
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Well, certain that “GOOD VIBRATIONS” could never hurt me, I put my buddy in the bed of my truck and drove it from Phoenix, Airheadzona, to Santa Monica, California, for one last beach bike path ride. I figured that if it broke on me during the ride, I’d just leave it on the beach to R.I.P. (Rust In Pieces).

Well, we made it from the Santa Monica pier to Torrance and back, just like the good ol’ days! The other riders could hear us comin’ up on ‘em because “GOOD VIBRATIONS” was loudly going “SQUEEEK – KREEEK – RATTLE – GROAN! / SQUEEEK – KREEEK – RATTLE – GROAN!” Other bikers probably thought he was crying in pain, but I recognized those sounds for what they really were: Singing! Joyful singing!

Back home, GFM (Good Friend Melanie) suggested that I take “GOOD VIBRATIONS” to see the nice, old gentleman who owns ROADRUNNER BIKE CENTER in Glendale, AZ. Two weeks later and my wallet only $34.59 lighter, “GOOD VIBRATIONS” is as good as new and ready to hit the canals again as soon as the weather cools down! (Why that dirty dog at the first bike shop! I think “Homeboy” just wanted to sell me some newfangled, multi-geared “horse.”)

Only one thing concerns me: My bike is clearly labeled “HUFFY – MADE IN U.S.A.” But are “GOOD VIBRATIONS” still made here? Or are they now produced in China? I urge you to investigate before buying because “GOOD AMERICANS” don’t financially support Communist countries that utilize slave labor, threaten their neighbors, imprison the religious, and force abortions on their women. Right? Right?!

Sometimes only poetry can express a cowboy’s love for his “horse.”

O my Bike, O my Horse
I've ridden twenty-six years
You have carried me through
Times of joy and times of tears

We’ve traveled city streets
And journeyed along the strand
I rarely gave you oil
You never bitched ‘bout the sand

Leaving California
You never said, “This is bad!”
You never once complained
(Though I kinda wish you had)

You never bucked me off
Never trampled on my hide
Never had a headache
When I said I’d like to ride

You are my “Black Beauty”
You are truly my best friend
I’ll shout it from rooftops
Though others I might offend

Because of you alone
I have known excitations
And more than The Beach Boys
You give me Good Vibrations

I feel so close to you
You are almost like my kin
Throw you in a dumpster?
No, I’ll throw that “Homeboy” in!

~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Monday, July 7, 2008

AMAZON: JUST ANOTHER WAY TO SAY "BIG BITCH" [Part 1 Of 3]

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A number of friends and acquaintances have asked me how I came to be banned from Amazon.com. I’m afraid I really don’t have a good answer because evidently I was passed out at the time. Well, it wasn’t so much that I was passed out, as knocked out – my life partner, Jack Daniels, and I, got into a lover’s quarrel, and he’s awfully strong, ya know! Where does one go to report spousal abuse? He really oughtn’t to treat me that way.

OK, seriously, I am now – for the first time ever – going to tell the whole truth (and nothing but the truth), so help me Jack. But before relating how things came to an end, let me first briefly tell you how it all got started (*cue the harp music) . . .

Once upon a time (in early May of 2004), I discovered Amazon.com. I’m not sure how I wound up there or if I had even heard of the website before, but I was immediately drawn to the concept of just ordinary people writing product reviews. I surfed around for a few days, just enjoying reading what others had to say about various books and movies, etc. It never really entered into my mind that I might eventually write reviews myself until the day I looked up the intensely interesting book “IN SEARCH OF THE MOUNTAIN OF GOD” by Robert Cornuke (I would learn much later that Cornuke had actually been my Brother-In-Law’s high school football coach).

I had read Cornuke’s exciting and intriguing book several years earlier, and I was disappointed to find that up to that point, no one had yet written what I considered to be a really on-target review for Amazon.com. To make matters worse, some of the reviewers had posted what appeared to me to be intentionally or unintentionally misleading reviews of the book. I decided it was up to me to do that book justice, and so on 2004, May 6, I submitted my first review to Amazon.com.

As time went on, I wrote a few more reviews for the website. Early on, I adopted the personal policy that I would not write a review for a product unless I had something new to say about it, or I had a very novel way of saying what had already been said; I couldn’t understand why people felt the need to restate over and over again, in review after review, the same pedestrian (and often boneheaded) observations: “Led Zep II ROCKS!!!”; “Julia Roberts is so pretty in Pretty Woman”; “If you hate the N.E.A. then you must hate children! YOU SUCK!!!” Due to my own chosen reviewing policy, I tended to review more forgotten or overlooked items than popular products.

After I had written perhaps 4 reviews for Amazon, one day I discovered a review written by a woman named Lanker on April 5, 2002, for the Tom Waits album “NIGHTHAWKS AT THE DINER.” (A title inspired by the Edward Hopper painting “Nighthawks," by the way.) She had titled her review “In The Oldest Bar In Nevada...", and I thought it was (and still think it is) one of the very best reviews ever composed for Amazon.com. She related some personal experiences in her review which, for me, gave it a quality of human relevance.

Several days later, I happened to stumble on a review written by a bloke named Martusheff for the Nazareth album “HAIR OF THE DOG". In his review, he told the story about how he first heard the recording as a little kid while riding with his uncle in the man’s hot rod. He asked his uncle what that sound was and the man replied, “An electric guitar.” And that was the start of this boy’s love of Rock ‘N’ Roll.

I came to realize that the reviews I seemed to be most attracted to at Amazon.com were those written in a highly individualized way, in which the writer related some personal details about himself or herself which gave the review a human element; these weren’t just a cold, hard recitation of facts about some product, but a real live person’s view of it. With Lanker and Martusheff, I liked the idea that I could see standing behind their reviews, genuine human beings with honest-to-goodness real world experiences which somehow related to the products they were reviewing and which they included in their reviews.

It was at this point, with a few Amazon reviews already under my belt, that I made the conscious decision to incorporate some information about my own personality and life experiences into most of my future reviews. I wanted the reader to come away with the idea that this review was written by a REAL PERSON who has experienced some life; that I wasn’t just some computer program-like reviewer – I was actually living, thinking, feeling, and drinking (the alcohol haze of my ancient youth became a long-running joke throughout the years of my life as a reviewer at Amazon). If memory serves me, the first review I posted utilizing my new style was for the movie “THE BLACK STALLION” – one of my favorite films.

As I often found myself weaving little personal stories into my product reviews, the reviews added up and so did the feedback. While some readers at Amazon mistook my anecdotes as egotistic ramblings (never realizing that this story-review approach was in fact a deliberately selected style for reviewing based upon my own preferences learned from other reviewers), it seems that my contributions to the website were generally well received, as I acquired a fairly impressive number of “Helpful Votes” and climbed in Amazon’s reviewer rankings – much higher than I could have ever anticipated climbing, and higher, in fact, than I really desired to climb. My goal had never been to become a top ranked reviewer; it was simply to turn others on to good products they might have missed, and to warn them away from bad “stuffs” they might be tempted to purchase. (Actually, my REAL goal was to direct people to God, but that’s a story for another day.)

Anyway, on April 28, 2008, I suddenly discovered that Amazon.com had responded to a single, random complaint by a Liberal who didn’t like my politically incorrect views. This anonymous Liberal filed an electronic complaint against the latest installment of my Amazon Blog. (The Blog installment in question, which caused all the fuss, I have recreated here: read my entry entitled “EDJUCATION-R-US: We B Edjucatin’ U. [Issue #1: Polatics & Soshial Studies]” which I posted here on Monday, June 23, 2008).

This person might have chosen to try to engage me in debate in the public “Comments” section of my Amazon Blog, but undoubtedly recognizing that he or she would have a tiger by the tail in a genuine, objective debate with me, chose the cowardly path instead, and sought to have my Blog and Comments deleted by Amazon.com. And Amazon was only too happy to immediately respond to the complaint by removing my Blog and former Comments, and by canceling my ability to post Comments in the future. This really ought not to surprise anyone, because this is a typical tactic of Liberals in general: when they can’t defeat an authentic conservative (of which there are very few left) in a fair and objective debate – despite all of their frequent cries against censorship – they will often attempt to have their opponent’s "politically incorrect" voice silenced. I call this an aspect of the “Help Me, Big Brother” Syndrome which, unfortunately, so many Liberals suffer from.

If you are interested in reading the e-mail exchanges that took place between myself and Amazon.com representatives as I attempted to get the website to reverse the ban against me, then please read on. As one reads Parts 2 and 3 of this Blog installment, the story will unravel itself and become clear. In other words, if you want to know THE TRUTH about Amazon.com vs. Stephen T. McCarthy, you are now one-third of the way there. The dirt begins flying in Part Two below . . .

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

[Continued Below...]

Link: Amazon: Just Another Way To Say "Big Bitch" - Part 2
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AMAZON: JUST ANOTHER WAY TO SAY "BIG BITCH" [Part 2 Of 3]

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After discovering that my Blog and all of my former Comments on the Amazon.com website had been deleted on April 28, I sent the following e-mail to those dirty dogs:

April 28, 2008

Dear Amazon:
I just now noticed that every place where I have ever written a comment to ANYONE about ANYTHING on your website is showing this message: [Deleted by Amazon 1 hour ago.] Why is this?

Just recently, someone posted a nasty, profane remark (using the "F" word) to me, and suddenly I discover that ALL OF MY COMMENTS EVER POSTED ON YOUR WEBSITE have been deleted. My guess is that this same person who posted a profane remark to me has "reported" me about something and you have taken action without a proper investigation (but this is only a guess on my part).

Would you PLEASE look into this situation and determine what has occurred? In the first place, if I ever did write an unacceptable comment somewhere (and I DO NOT BELIVE THIS IS A FACT), then in my opinion, the offending comment AND ONLY THE OFFENDING COMMENT should have been deleted! Why would you delete everything I have ever posted on your website (which represents hours and hours and hours of my time!) over the course of several years, if you have received a complaint about one particular comment? I find this more disturbing than you can imagine!

I would greatly appreciate it if you would look into this situation for me and explain to me what has happened here. (I believe that my comments should be restored.) I thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Stephen T. McCarthy

Amazon replied on April 29, 2008. I have converted all of the names into initials in order to protect the privacy of the guilty as hell:

Greetings from Amazon.com.
I have reviewed your account and your status in regards to our Customer Discussion Forums.
Your posts were found to be abusive, obscene, spiteful. Our blog service, AmazonConnect, is available for authors or artists with items for sale on our website to connect to customer who are interested in their work.


Because of this, it was determined to remove your posting privileges from your account in accordance with our Conditions of Use.

We have also removed all of your posts. Please take a look at our guidelines for more information: …

Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:

Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail.
To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our web site.

Best regards,
B.L.

After receiving this useless reply, I wrote again to Amazon, this time asking for supervisor review and requesting that I be shown examples of all of my supposedly “abusive, obscene, spiteful” comments. On April 30, I got this response:

Thank you for contacting us back to Amazon.com. My name is A.S.; I am a senior member of our Customer Discussions team, a significant part of my job consists of deciding if Customer Discussions adhere to our guidelines.

I regret that we have not been able to address your questions and concerns about Connect and your banning from posting to discussions to your satisfaction. Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer any additional insight or information on these features.

As you have been informed of our decision, we will not be entertaining any further discussion concerning these issues.

Thank you for your understanding in this matter. … Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail.To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our web site.

Best regards,
A.S.

On May 2, 2008, I wrote to a new e-mail address I’d found for Amazon.com:

Dear Sir ~
I am writing to inform you of what I consider to be a serious injustice done to me by the Amazon company.

In a nutshell, here is what occurred: I have had an Amazon Blog since last September 3rd, which I used for posting brief, humorous essays. … It seems I should never have been offered an Amazon Blog in the first place. Nevertheless, one day I found the Blog on my Profile Page with an invitation from Amazon to post on it.

On about April 27th, someone anonymously posted a remark to me in the private “author’s eyes only” comment section of my Blog. The person wrote: “Fu*k you, by the way your Blog is uninteresting (because it is intellectually lazy).”

One or two days later, my Blog was entirely deleted by Amazon, along with every “comment” I have ever posted anywhere on your website over the past couple of years (i.e., in the comment sections of my own reviews, my friends’ reviews, and other customers’ reviews, as well as on discussion board threads). This represented a considerable investment of my time on your website, which was completely eradicated with the click of a button. It is obvious to me that this unnamed person who posted the profane comment on my Blog, reported my last Blog installment as being “inappropriate” and thus Amazon took this action against me.

Three phone calls to your customer service department and several e-mails to the Customer-Help department have only further aggravated me. I have repeatedly asked what in my Blog did Amazon consider to be inappropriate and why was every comment I ever posted anywhere on the website removed when the complaint was registered only against one particular installment of my Blog? If I did write something on my Blog that the company found objectionable, then I have no problem with the removal of the Blog (especially since I later discovered that I shouldn’t have been given one in the first place), but removing every non-objectionable, unreported comment I have ever posted at Amazon.com, I find to be unreasonable and unfair!

My numerous attempts to have Amazon’s actions explained to me have gone essentially ignored. The last e-mail I received from the Customer-Help department included this statement from A.S.: “As you have been informed of our decision, we will not be entertaining any further discussion concerning these issues.” If that was meant to satisfy me or promote a sense of customer goodwill, it failed badly. Not only did it ignore my very reasonable inquiry into this matter, but the tone forced me to conclude that Amazon does not much value me as a customer. I have spent plenty of money at Amazon over the last 4 or 5 years, but there are other retail websites that offer the same products whom I could choose to patronize instead. My request to speak on the phone with anyone from the department having jurisdiction over this issue has been rudely ignored.

Let me reiterate that I am not protesting Amazon’s removal of my Blog if something I posted there was indeed truly offensive (although nobody in your customer service departments has been willing to even tell me what was considered objectionable), but I strongly believe that the other comments that I have posted throughout the website over the years should be reposted, and I should be reinstated as a customer in good standing, with my posting privileges restored to me. After all, even our own criminal justice system has a “three strike” policy, and a person charged with misdeeds is not permanently put away until more than one infraction has been committed.

I thank you in advance for your consideration and your attention to this matter. If you wish to see how some other Amazon customers have reacted to this situation, please visit the music discussion thread that I initiated at Amazon and read what has been posted beginning on April 29th, the day after I “disappeared” from Amazon.com. The thread address is:
LINK.

Sincerely,

Stephen T. McCarthy

17 Days later, on May 19, 2008, I finally received a response from Amazon:

Dear Stephen T. McCarthy,
My name is P.A. of Amazon.com’s Customer Relations. J.B. received your e-mail and has asked me to reply on his behalf. I apologize for the delay in responding.

I have engaged our specialists in this area to review why your access has been denied in these forums. Due to the reason provided to me, that there were spiteful, obscene and abusive comments, I want to be sure that there is true justification for these actions.

I am going to request your patience for just a bit longer, however no longer than 1-2 business days. Once I've received a response and am satisfied with the explanation, I will respond to your inquiry on behalf of J.'s office.

In the meantime, I regret any inconvenience or disappointment this may have caused.

The removal of a customer's privileges is a very serious undertaking here at Amazon.com and one that is not entertained lightly. I cannot promise nor will I even vaguely suggest that your abilities will be reinstated, however they will and are being reviewed. …

Thank you for your patience.

Regards,
P.A.

Despite a promise to get back to me within one or two business days, I heard nothing else from the company. So, On Friday, May 30th, I sent P.A. this follow-up:

Dear P.A. ~
On May 19th, I received an e-mail from you which said in part:

"Due to the reason provided to me, that there were spiteful, obscene and abusive comments, I want to be sure that there is true justification for these actions.

"I am going to request your patience for just a bit longer, however no longer than 1-2 business days. Once I've received a response and am satisfied with the explanation, I will respond to your inquiry on behalf of J.'s office.

"The removal of a customer's privileges is a very serious undertaking here at Amazon.com and one that is not entertained lightly."

Seven full business days have now come and gone, and yet I have not heard anything further from you or any other Amazon.com representative.

Naturally, I assume that these old so-called “spiteful, obscene and abusive” comments that I was supposed to have posted on the Amazon website were never found, since I know that they never really did exist. And because you seemed to me to be very sincere in your e-mail of the 19th, I can only wonder why I have not heard anything further and why my old comments have not been reposted and my posting privileges restored to me.

Quite honestly, what actually occurred is that I was simply vicitmized by two Amazon employees in the “Community-Help” department who had a political axe to grind -- namely, B.L. and A.S. They evidently did not care for my political views and so when some anonymous customer -- after posting a profane remark to me on my Amazon Blog -- reported ME as having posted abusive comments, B.L. seized the opportunity to delete ALL of my previously posted comments and to cancel my posting privileges. When I protested this action, A.S. sent a rude e-mail to me, reinforcing B.’s decision, and conveniently ignoring my request to see specific examples of my supposedly “spiteful, obscene, and abusive” comments. It is obvious WHY specific examples of all of my highly improper comments have not been provided to me: they never existed. If I was truly guilty of posting comments that justified my being banned from Amazon, then about 80% to 90% of all Amazon customers are likewise guilty of this.

In fact, while engaged in discussion/debate with other customers, I never used the sort of language that others have directed toward me! At various times, other Amazon customers have posted comments to me calling me (among other things) “pathetic”, a “putz”, a “fascist pig”, and most recently, a “douche bag.” I NEVER responded to these people with similar slurs, always sure that I could get the best of them by relying solely on my humor and my wit.


When someone going by the name of “Justin” recently posted a remark on one of my reviews calling me a “douche bag”, for the first time ever, I clicked the “Report Abuse” button, only because Amazon had robbed me of my ability to post a reply to him. When several friends of mine also clicked “Report Abuse”, did Amazon delete Justin’s comment and ban him from the website? Did he suffer the same fate from Amazon’s B.L.’s and A.S.’s that I have suffered? No! Of course not! Amazon simply deleted ALL of the comments previously posted on that review, and thus “Justin” was free to go off and post more abusive comments elsewhere. Now here was someone who (unlike myself) truly DID deserve to be banned from the website.

For this reason, and many more, I no longer have any confidence in Amazon, nor any reason to believe that justice will be served here and that Amazon.com will do what is right by reposting all of my old comments where they belong. (As it stands now, a couple of years’ worth of comments have been replaced with the sentence, “Deleted by Amazon on April 28th.” This of course gives the impression to anyone who comes across them that Stephen T. McCarthy was indeed posting “spiteful, obscene, and abusive” comments all over the website. In other words, Amazon continues to malign my reputation by giving the false impression that I was guilty of posting countless foul comments in countless places at Amazon.com. This disturbs me as I value my reputation.)

As I said above, you seemed sincere when you wrote “Once I've received a response and am satisfied with the explanation, I will respond to your inquiry on behalf of J.'s office”, so I suppose I still “hope” that the wrong that has been done to me by representatives of Amazon.com will yet be corrected by you.

Sincerely,

Stephen T. McCarthy

On Friday, June 6th, I received this from P.A. in response:

Dear Mr. McCarthy,
Thank you for your messages. I offer my apologies for the delay in responding and for not sending a message that it was taking longer than anticipated to obtain the information I've requested.

I have received several examples of posts that were determined to be outside of our guidelines. However, as I'm not an expert in the policies of our Communities group, I've requested clarification that should be provided to me by the end of business today.

At which time, I will send you a message regarding my findings. I realize that you've been very patient and it is most appreciated. As I mentioned before, I want to be very sure that the action taken was warranted and if any consideration will be taken.

Thank you again.

Regards,
P.A.

Although P.A. said that a determination should be made by the end of that business day, I heard nothing else again for 19 days, so I sent this on June 25, 2008:

Dear P.A. ~
On May 19th (five and a half weeks ago!!), I received an e-mail from you which said in part:

"I am going to request your patience for just a bit longer, however no longer than 1-2 business days. Once I've received a response and am satisfied with the explanation, I will respond to your inquiry on behalf of J.s office. ...

"The removal of a customer's privileges is a very serious undertaking here at Amazon.com and one that is not entertained lightly."

Two and a half weeks ago, you wrote to me again and added this:

"I have received several examples of posts that were determined to be outside of our guidelines. However, as I'm not an expert in the policies of our Communities group, I've requested clarification that should be provided to me by the end of business today."

Disappointedly Yours,

Stephen T. McCarthy

On June 27, 2008, P.A. wrote back:

Dear Mr. McCarthy,
Thank you for your message. I've had your discussion posts reviewed and I'm very sorry but we will be unable to reinstate your privileges.

The review of your posts indicated a number of entries which contained terminology that violated our guidelines around obscenities.

Further, the texts of these posts were often repeated, making the same point excessively. We found that many of the discussions were spiteful and abusive and unwelcome to other customers or participants. I'm very sorry, but this cannot be allowed in this forum.

I understand that you are upset, and I regret that it's taken so long to advise you of the outcome of your appeal. I do appreciate the patience you've shown. Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer any additional insight or action on these matters.

Thank you for contacting Amazon.com.

Regards,
P.A.

My turn again, and this time I was going to give Amazon both barrels directly to the cheech nels. On June 30, 2008, I wrote this lengthy e-mail:

Dear P.A. ~
Thank you for writing. Let me assure you that I will not continue to dog you with e-mails; our correspondence is indeed winding down. But first, I need to get a few things off my chest, and then to request that you send me examples of my previous comments which Amazon finds so objectionable that forever banning me from the website seems warranted to you. This I believe I’m owed out of a sense of common courtesy, after having had all of my comments deleted two months ago and then having to wait six weeks for a representative to give my case a cursory hearing! Granted this will be a lengthy e-mail, but I feel that reading it fully and responding to it is the proper thing for you to do.

Before I answer your e-mail point by point, and ask several rhetorical questions, I want it understood that from the first day Amazon introduced a “Comments” section for reviews on your site, I said that it was the most boneheaded idea Amazon had ever come up with (and that’s a significant statement). Did no one at Amazon realize that inviting others to publicly “comment” on an individual’s review (particularly reviews related to politics or religion) was just opening a door for ad hominem attacks? Did the folks at Amazon really not foresee the disaster it has turned out to be? Or was it just an ingenious way to lure conservatives into debating issues and thus having a pretext to ban them from the website? (That last sentence may strike you as paranoid and over-the-top, but read on and you will soon see that it is based on personal experience and the experiences of other disgruntled former Amazon customers like myself.)

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[The review of your posts indicated a number of entries which contained terminology that violated our guidelines around obscenities.]

I do not know what you are referring to here, but if it is a few instances where I may have used a term like “bovine excrement” or written a cloaked word like perhaps “sh*t”, then let me point out that A) if the system permits the inputting of such words and posts them when submitted, a person naturally believes that these pseudo-obscenities are acceptable at the website, and B) when one can find these terms ubiquitously posted by others at the website, in reviews, comments, guides, and lists, naturally one further assumes that Amazon does not take issue with it. These are not real profanities, after all, and surely Amazon knows that they appear everywhere throughout the site. I could spend 15 minutes surfing Amazon.com and locate at least a dozen examples of this, and I’m sure you know this as well as I do, so I’m not going to beat this dead horse. If this is the sort of thing you are referring to, then why is Amazon selectively enforcing it against me, while ignoring it constantly in other places?
.

[Further, the texts of these posts were often repeated, making the same point excessively. We found that many of the discussions were spiteful and abusive and unwelcome to other customers or participants. I'm very sorry, but this cannot be allowed in this forum.]

Oh? At Amazon.com, I happen to have acquired close to 3,000 “Helpful” votes and I am Amazon’s 1,270th highest rated reviewer, this despite the fact that I haven’t written a single review for your website in over a year –- on 2007, May 30th, I made a vow never to review for Amazon again (more on this to follow). A full two-thirds of all who have voted on the material I have written for Amazon have cast a “helpful” vote. Is this what you mean by my “unwelcome” comments at Amazon? If Amazon puts any stock at all in its own “Helpful” voting system, then your observations above do not seem to jibe with the reception I have received at your website from two-thirds of your customers.

Now I want to address your charge that I posted “spiteful and abusive” comments. My own personal policy as far as posting comments was concerned was this: With the exception of correcting falsehoods or misinformation regarding Senator Joseph McCarthy (this subject being of unique interest and knowledge for me), I posted ONLY positive comments on the reviews of others. The only exception to this was ONE TIME when I posted a contrary opinion on a gentleman’s review about universities (Book:“Brainwashed.”) I pointed out that my own experience, after 8 years of employment at a major university, differed from what he stated in his review. There was no nastiness associated with my comment, just a well-mannered difference of opinion, and he never even responded to my comment.

Otherwise, these so-called “spiteful and abusive” comments you are implying I made, were written in response to other customers who first personally attacked me. If some of my comments were abusive and spiteful (a charge I DO NOT accept!), then did you investigate what these comments were posted in response to?

Although I certainly admit to responding forcefully when other customers attacked me in one of my own reviews, or elsewhere accused me of misrepresenting the truth when it came to the actions of Senator McCarthy, I never stooped to the level of name-calling that they did.

EXAMPLES:

When M.J. called me a “putz” in one review, I did not resort to that kind of slur in response.

Immediately after calling me a “fascist pig” in one of his 2 posts to me on March 11, 2008, Mr. Beusch wrote this:

“You know, Stephen. Some of us actually have lives, jobs, friends, etc. and don't have loads of free time to engage in message board debates ad nauseum. Given that you subscribe to the bullying philosophy espoused by Joe McCarthy, it's no surprise to me that responding to those who rightfully scoff at your diatribes is all you have to do on a Saturday. I'm sure that you'll be back very soon posting some insulting response quoting some other right wing hack. My apologies if I don't respond as quickly -- I'll be out going skiing, going to parties, seeing friends, going on dates ... you know, stupid stuff like that. But keep the faith, Stephen -- if someone like George W. Bush can get elected President and get re-elected, there must be plenty of people who will buy into your brand of b.s. hook, line and sinker. So long, Mensa-jackass.”
LINK.

In response, I referred to Mr. Beusch as “Mr. Magoo” and I said that the lies he was spreading were “Beusch-it” –- hardly as nasty as his calling me a “fascist pig” and a “jackass”, yes? So why is it that the liberal Mr. Beusch still has his posting privileges intact, while the conservative Stephen T. McCarthy has been banned from Amazon?

On Sept. 19, 2007, Panopticon7 posted the following about me on one of my reviews:

“Such suffocating smarminess…little subliterate poseur, confusing what he reads for who he is…he should be pleased to know, though, that someone somewhere has conceded his existence, however useless that existence demonstrably is."

Well, isn’t that nice? Panopticon7 says my very existence is useless, and yet he is still free to post at Amazon while I am not. P.A., if you want to do some “genuine” investigating into this matter, why don’t you dig up the response I posted to this personal attack by Panopticon7 and then come back and tell me which of the two of us you really believe was being “spiteful and abusive.” Yes, look up my reply to this person and see if I lowered myself to his level. I DID NOT. I defended myself, but never approached his degree of nastiness!

And I can honestly say the very same about my response to R.G. when she posted this on one of my reviews:

“Ah, yes. The commenter recommends that impressionable highschoolers read the famous, over-the-top conspiracy rant that allowed drunkard and opportunistic liar Joe McCarthy to scare America into one of its most shameful periods ever. John Birch and Joseph Goebbels would be proud.To quote the wingnut crowd, Mr. McCarthy (hey, no relation to Tailgunner Joe, is there?) if you hate what this country has become, why don't you leave? I think perhaps Saudi Arabia--an absolute monarchy/theocracy, driven by a greedy ruling class--would be more to your taste. Except that they don't allow alcohol. Oh, well. By the way, your writing style is derivative, jingositic and tedious. You should stop patting yourself on the back.”

I see that R.G. is still allowed to post at Amazon, and I see the pattern here: Amazon uses flimsy excuses to silence conservatives while liberals are always given a long leash allowing them to attack their ideological enemies.

Can you tell me whether or not you have followed through on my complaint and determined the identity of the person who anonymously wrote “Fu*k you” to me on my last Blog installment and who undoubtedly initiated all of this trouble? I never once said anything like “Fu*k you” to another customer at Amazon, but this girl says it to me (I say girl only because if it was a he, it really wasn’t much of a man), then complains about my politically incorrect Blog, and Amazon uses this as an excuse to examine other comments I had posted (which had never been reported by anyone as inappropriate) and deletes everything I posted over two years. But have you gone through the old records, determined who the author of “Fu*k you” was and banned her/him from the website like you’ve done me? No, I thought not. There’s that pattern again, eh?




[I understand that you are upset, and I regret that it's taken so long to advise you of the outcome of your appeal. I do appreciate the patience you've shown. ]

I’m probably not quite as upset as you imagine. And why not? Two reasons: 1) In my 48 years, I’ve learned never to expect justice or lasting happiness in this world, and that’s because I know perfectly well who the dark ruler of “this world” is -- The Bible tells me so. 2) In the years I spent at Amazon.com I learned to always expect the worst from Amazon and I was rarely surprised. Now this may come as a surprise to you, but the cat has been out of the bag for a long time now and many of us conservatives have come to realize that Amazon.com has a very pronounced lean to the political Left. This can often be seen in the reviews they choose to feature (or “spotlight”) and in the way they come down on conservatives but overlook the same sort of “comment transgressions” when committed by liberals. There is a very sly yet obvious double standard at Amazon. Is this just me talking because Amazon has deleted all of my posts? Hardly! Let me share a few other opinions with you.

EXAMPLES:

One highly intelligent reviewer at Amazon has this to say on their Profile Page:

“Amazon.com is nothing but a tool of far left activism and political correctness. I review books here on obscure topics in the occult, theology, history, and metaphysics from a Christian (Roman Catholic) perspective. I also buy books from amazon.com because they are cheap and rare books are easy to find. However, this is merely a matter of convenience and should not be taken as an indication that I support the general principle of the thing.”

I did not provide this person’s name as I’m sure Amazon would waste no time in banning the individual from the website. But here’s something that my Amazon friend M.B. sent to me, and he granted me permission to quote him:

“Hope all is well. I keep expecting Amazon to restore your remarks, but that hope fades with time. I get some of the most insulting and profane people posting to my reviews, and yet Amazon does nothing. I don't get it. (Actually, I do get it; I just pretend not to.) Regards, MEB”

Another person posted this when he discovered that Amazon had deleted all of my comments from the website:

“I smell a big FAT establishment RAT. WHY TF are all these comments being deleted? Were they VULGAR or just too true for the police state cheerleaders to swallow? Amazon - What is your major malfunction? You guys commies too? Afraid of the real truth the court historians have been spinning from day one - now exposed as big fat LIARS? If this offends anyone, then - me thinks they doth protest too much - eh???”

An Amazon Friend of mine related this little story to me not long ago:

“For years now, I've been selling books and stuff via Amazon. In January, without warning they froze my account, claiming they had had "complaints" about me. Now, for years, every time there's been any problem, no matter how much it wasn't my fault, I gave refunds to any customer who griped. The customer who I think was behind this was some idiot who didn't bother to read the entire description of the item - Amazon.com's official description, that is - and was whining about it when the item turned out to be precisely what the description said it was. His complaint was too unreasonable, so I didn't give him a refund. I did some research online and discovered that Amazon does this routinely; for little or no reason - often for literally no reason at all - they pick some vendor at random and freeze their account. There's cases much worse than mine. Anyway, it made me so mad I decided not to patronize them anymore. I deleted most of my reviews and listmania lists, but there were a few I consider too important to delete.”

When it was reported to Amazon that an organized group of Liberals skewed the voting and submitted a bunch of false 1-Star reviews for the book “ORIGINAL INTENT” by David Barton, why did Amazon ignore the situation and leave it as it is? Click here and notice how all 3 of the “spotlighted” reviews are hugely popular 1-Star affairs, and read the many uninformative 1-Star reviews that were submitted in a relatively short period of time by people who had obviously never read the book:
LINK.

[*NOTE: Dear Blog Reader, see how many of the derogatory 1-Star reviews were posted in August of 2007 - many of them on the very same day! At that same time, there was a massive wave of votes recorded in which all of the positive reviews were heavily "dinged" while the derogatory 1-Star reviews received huge amounts of favorable votes. Amazon took no action!]

No sign of liberal shenanigans there, eh? And I know for a fact that this was reported to the Amazon Police long ago!

I mentioned in my fourth paragraph that on 2007, May 30, I took a vow never to review for Amazon again. In a very small nutshell, here’s what happened:

I had submitted a 1-Star review for a documentary film about Senator Joseph McCarthy in which I stated that the film had been edited in such a way as to portray the Senator in the worst possible light. Amazon refused to post this review, stating that it did not adhere to the reviewing guidelines. I rewrote the review … trying to meet the requirements that Amazon representatives insisted upon, but Amazon still refused to post it. I enquired further and was given reviewing advice from one of your representatives which was clearly impossible to follow and yet still “review” a product. In response, I wrote the following:

I recognize that for what it is: a very cleverly written policy worded in such a way that when Amazon chooses to apply it literally to whatever review the company doesn’t care for (for whatever reason) Amazon can justify removing or refusing to post the review in question. In truth, if every reviewer was always required to follow this policy to the letter, no "review" of a book or theatrical production would be possible. The "letter of your law" leaves room for a basic "synopsis" only, and excludes a reviewer from offering any sort of personal evaluation of an item's validity or worth. Of course, no product page needs more than a single summary, so Amazon applies this policy selectively, allowing reviewers to offer their individual opinions, but only when those opinions suit Amazon.

It had become obvious to me that Amazon was refusing to post my review because it was politically incorrect and because the 1-Star nature of it was not going to encourage customers to buy the documentary. So, as a little experiment, I next submitted a 5-Star review instead, and I still insisted that the documentary had been deliberately edited in such a way as to present the Senator in the worst possible light, only this time, I played this up as a GOOD thing by saying that the Senator was a terrible scoundrel who needed to be stopped. And Amazon posted this review less than 8 hours later! When a friend of mine saw this, she immediately changed her mind and decided that I had been correct all along when I had told her that Amazon had a liberal agenda (previously, she thought I was just being paranoid).

When I wrote to Amazon again and asked them to explain why my 5-Star review which said the same thing that my 1-Star review did (only with a liberal spin) was posted without a problem, instead of trying to explain this behavior, an Amazon representative named D. played dumb with me and then deleted one of my other unrelated Amazon reviews about Senator McCarthy just to make sure I got the message that if I continued to contest these actions by Amazon I was in jeopardy of having all of my older reviews likewise deleted. This is when I made the decision that I would never again write a review for Amazon and help the company sell its products!

[*NOTE: Dear Blog Reader, Part 3 (below) of this Blog installment is entirely dedicated to fully exploring the ignominious details of this Amazon misdeed I referred to above. So, if you want to see this subject totally exposed, be sure to read the last installment, Part 3 of 3 below.]

So you see, many of us have very sound reasons for being suspicious of Amazon.com. And when they went and deleted all of my old comments after some liberal wrote “Fu*k you” to me and then she/he officially complained about my last Blog installment, it only reconfirmed what I already knew about your company.

No company can afford to alienate a large portion of their customers and expect to survive long-term! I was not the first conservative to begin boycotting Amazon.com and I surely won’t be the last.

Furthermore, Amazon’s self-righteousness and presumption in lecturing me about proper behavior is a bit hard to take in view of Amazon’s own public scandal which far surpasses anything I might have ever said in response to some customer who attacked me in their comments.

Click here:
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/amazon_change/?e
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[Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer any additional insight or action on these matters.]

Now this remark reminds me of the approach that A.S. took with me which prompted me to get serious about a letter writing campaign. Do you mean by this that you will not provide me with examples of my supposedly “abusive, obscene, and spiteful” comments which Amazon is basing my banned status on? Because if that IS what you mean, then that is something akin to what we might expect from a Soviet show trial where the accused is told that the state has evidence and witnesses against him but he will not be allowed to see the evidence nor face his accusers. But here in America (and at Amazon?!) we expect more fairness than that.

P.A., I would very much like to see the most egregious examples of my supposed wrongdoings! If you have comments I’ve written that you really believe justified my being banned from Amazon, I see no reason why you shouldn’t make them known to me. But if you will not, then you can hardly blame me for being very suspicious of the motives behind my privileges being revoked, can you? Would you not want to see the evidence if you were in my place?

It must be apparent to you that I am not the sort to march meekly to the gallows. Many friends have asked me why Amazon banned me and so far, I have left the ENTIRE story untold, but if justice is not served here, I intend to make this true story known in some public forum. But I will hold back for now and give you the benefit of the doubt, with the hope that you will take everything I have written here into consideration and reevaluate this outcome. Please let me hear from you again, and at the very least, please provide me with the evidence that Amazon is using to arrive at its conclusions. If you have not contacted me again within two weeks -- by say, the end of Monday, July 14th –- then I will just assume that you will not be in touch with me again.

In closing, I want to point out that even if I really did post comments that Amazon deemed inappropriate, banning me permanently from the website was not the only option they could have taken; there is no reason Amazon couldn’t have merely edited out the offensive material and replaced it with their famous […] (most of us reviewers have at one time or another had Amazon remove bits of text and replace it with the bracketed ellipses), and then Amazon could have sent me an e-mail warning me of the transgressions and informing me that they would have no other recourse but to ban me if I continued posting inappropriate comments. Amazon has my e-mail address, and one would think that an intelligently run business would not go immediately to the “death penalty” with a longtime customer who made many purchases and whose accumulated “helpful votes” and high ranking proves that he has guided many other customers to good products and helped Amazon to sell a large number of books, etc.


In other words, you give a valuable customer the benefit of the doubt, and you work with him or her in order to retain them as a customer and to build a mutually beneficial relationship. But Amazon’s decision to go directly to the most extreme form of discipline in my case is very telling to me. I believe that if I was more politically correct, I probably wouldn’t have received the harshest response Amazon has to offer for perceived misdeeds.

I do thank you for taking the time to read this very long response to your last e-mail.

Sincerely,

Stephen T. McCarthy

On July 1, 2008, I received this very insightful and satisfying final response from P.A. This note assured me that Amazon had conducted a thorough and fair investigation into this matter. I now realized that all of my prior suspicions about Amazon.com had been entirely unfounded. (And do you recognize extreme sarcasm when you read it?!) . . .

Dear Mr. McCarthy,
Thank you for your message. I'm sorry you're upset and I regret that deeply. However, as I stated in my previous message, I'm unable to offer further insight or engage in further discourse on this matter.

Thank you for taking the time to write.

Regards,

P.A.

And that was that. Now you know “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would say. But if you want more details on The Case Of The Liberal Review (as mentioned above) then be sure to read Part 3 below.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

[Continued Below...]

Link: Amazon: Just Another Way To Say "Big Bitch" - Part 3
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AMAZON: JUST ANOTHER WAY TO SAY "BIG BITCH" [Part 3 Of 3]

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Following are copies of actual correspondence exchanged between myself and the dirty dogs (i.e., official representatives) of Amazon.com in May of 2007. As one reads these letters, it will become clear why I decided on May 30, 2007, to discontinue writing reviews for that website. Again, I have changed the names to initials in order to protect the privacy of the guilty as hell!

On May 21, 22 & 23, 2007, I submitted the following 1-Star review (1-Star = Not Recommended) for the documentary about the Army-McCarthy hearings titled “POINT OF ORDER.” My primary point was that it was a poor, misleading documentary because it had been deliberately edited with the intent to make Senator Joseph McCarthy and his assistants look bad. Amazon refused to post it. Here’s how the review read:

“A KIND OF TRUTH”? WHAT KIND IS THAT?

I didn’t vote for George W. Bush in either election (I’m registered as neither a Republican nor a Democrat); I opposed the war in Iraq from the very first day; and I think that “W” should be impeached and then removed from office per Article II, Section IV of the U.S. Constitution in connection with the September 11th attacks as well as for the deception used to embroil us in the Iraq war. OK? So, don’t make the mistake of thinking that I’m some Republican apologist. But when I attempted to watch Michael Moore’s FAHRENHEIT 9/11, I got exactly three minutes into it before shutting it off. I knew that he wasn’t going to present an objective view, but I thought that he would at least have enough respect for the intelligence of his viewers to offer a pretense of being fair and reasonable. FAHRENHEIT 9/11 was a one-sided “documentary” deliberately edited to project strictly an anti-Bush angle. Is Moore the only filmmaker guilty of these shenanigans? Not by a long shot!

In 1980, Nicaragua’s former president, Anastasio Somoza, wrote something about the media’s ability to tweak the truth:

“On Sunday afternoon, SIXTY MINUTES is the most watched network show in the United States . . . I have watched the show and I am familiar with the format. Generally speaking, the show is not complete unless someone is nailed to the cross. Also, the program will invariably sneak in a touch of propaganda. You can be sure this propaganda is slanted to the Left.

“When I was advised that SIXTY MINUTES wanted to interview me, I certainly had misgivings . . . However, I wanted so much for the American people to understand the realities of our situation in Nicaragua and to know what the administration in Washington was doing to us, that I agreed to do the program. All arrangements were made and Dan Rather was sent down to do the program. That interview I shall always remember. . . .

“I didn’t realize what the power of film editing really meant. With that power, Rather cast me in any role he chose. Everything good I said about Nicaragua was deleted. Any reference to Carter’s effort to destroy the government of Nicaragua was deleted. Every reference to the Communist activity and Cuba’s participation was deleted. . . . Rather depicted a situation that didn’t exist in Nicaragua. That show did irreparable harm to the government of Nicaragua and to me. Such massive disinformation also does harm to the American people.”

So, if I said to you that POINT OF ORDER is just another example of liberal media spin dogging the dead anti-Communist Senator Joseph McCarthy, would you believe me? Well, don’t take MY word for it, just listen to the “Commentary” track on this DVD where at the beginning, the movie’s producer and editor, Emile de Antonio, states, “No camera was ever more objective than the cameras in POINT OF ORDER. They were fixed in two parts of a room and they just played from one end of the room to the other, from one speaker to another speaker, and yet the action, the real material was not true, and I felt that it was only by imposing order on that material, only by imposing my beliefs on that material, that you would get a kind of truth.” Well, when he says “a kind of truth” he’s using the word “truth” very . . . uh, liberally.

In the eye-opening book “McCarthy”, the author, Roy Cohn –- the chief counsel for the Senate Investigating Committee under Senator McCarthy, and a principal player in POINT OF ORDER -- had this to say about the “documentary”:

“An important myth-making factor was the ninety-seven minute “documentary” film, POINT OF ORDER, put together from TV kinescopes of the [Army-McCarthy] hearings and nationally distributed in recent years. I sat through this motion picture twice and was amazed. Virtually every incident favorable to our side was cropped, nearly every unfavorable one was included. None of the important points we scored, and they were many, was there. McCarthy came through as the heavy villain, and I as his apprentice in the black arts –- seeking to destroy everything from mere reputations to the armed forces of the nation. It was, I regret to say, a cropped movie.” [page 212]

Quite honestly, even if POINT OF ORDER wasn’t a demagogic attack on McCarthy, it still wouldn’t be very compelling theatre because it is so hacked up and disjointed that the continuity is a shambles and the context is bound to be lost on many viewers who aren’t already as familiar with the serpentine story as I am. For example, why was the photo showing Private Schine with Army Secretary Stevens presented to the committee to begin with? What was it meant to prove? Just what information was in the document that originated from J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI office, and why and how did it come into McCarthy’s possession? I know the answers to these questions, but you won’t learn them by watching POINT OF ORDER.

The big highlight of the proceedings is titled ’The Accusation’ in which POINT OF ORDER’s proposed “hero”, the lawyer, Joe Welch, indignantly asks McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” This is what the December 5th, 2004 edition of TV Guide called the 39th “Most Memorable Moment” in Television history, adding, “At the Army-McCarthy hearings, the lawyer’s question for the senator finally shows who the real enemy is.” McCarthy was wrong to mention Fred Fisher’s Communistic association with the National Lawyer’s Guild, but not because he was recklessly smearing an innocent man (he wasn’t) and not because he was revealing to a national TV audience an unknown fact (he wasn’t; The New York Times had printed the same information just a couple of months earlier on April 16th). McCarthy should not have mentioned Fisher only because Cohn had made a secret agreement with Welch that the McCarthy team would not reiterate the Fisher information if Welch agreed not to reveal a private matter about Cohn. (If you want to know what that was, read the book, [[ASIN:B000KIR8FC McCarthy, by Roy Cohn.]].) But McCarthy lost his temper when Welch was questioning Cohn mockingly, and he ignored the previously agreed upon condition. In other words, TV Guide’s 39th Most Memorable Moment in TV history was essentially much ado about nothing, but Welch played it up and the liberal media seized it and utilized it to distort the public’s perception of McCarthy.

It is a national disgrace that so few Americans have done any independent research into the facts about McCarthy and “McCarthyism”, and have instead allowed the Edward R. Murrows, the Emile de Antonios, and the George Clooneys of the world to brainwash them with “a kind of truth”, a phrase synonymous with “liberal lies.” But not everyone downed the Kool Aid; in his book “Assassination of Joe McCarthy”, Medford Evans relates the following story:

“In 1955, even after ’censure’, Bobby [Kennedy], who was honored as one of the ’ten outstanding young men of the year’ by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, walked out on a formal dinner – away from the head table – when Edward R. Murrow got up to speak. Returning when the speech was over, young Kennedy, according to Victor Lasky, ’told everyone within earshot that he had no use for that obscenity Murrow after what he had done to his good friend Joe McCarthy, a reference to a famous TV documentary in which Murrow had excoriated the Senator from Wisconsin.’ ” [page 77]

Some recommended titles for genuine research:

McCarthy, by Roy Cohn.
McCarthy And His Enemies, by Buckley & Bozell
Who Promoted Peress?, by Lokos
America's Retreat From Victory: The Story Of George Catlett Marshall, by McCarthy

The publications mentioned above will go a long way toward making the reader cognizant of “the REAL truth” rather than “a KIND OF truth.”

On May 24th, after three days of attempting to get my review to post, I sent the following e-mail to Amazon:

Dear Amazon ~

I have attempted on three different occasions now to post a review for the DVD, "POINT OF ORDER" (ASIN: B000A59PO2) but my review has failed to appear. I submitted a review on May 21, 22, and 23. Will you please check my review of the 23rd (NOT the first two, as I used better product links for the third one), and unless you find something objectionable about it, will you please post the review for me. If, however, you do find anything objectionable about it, please tell me VERY SPECIFICALLY what that is so I know how to rewrite the review. …

I hope to see this review on your website soon, or else to receive an explanation for why you have rejected it. I thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,
Stephen T. McCarthy

On May 25th, I received this reply:

Hi from Amazon.com.
This review will not be posted as it falls out of our guidelines for various reasons. One reason is it could be over the 1000 word limit. Another reason this may not be posting is that some of this review is not directed to the content of the dvd itself. Unless this review is edited to only comment on the dvd itself, it will not be posted. … Thank you for taking part in the Amazon.com community.

Best regards,
P.

That same day, I sent the following e-mail:

Dear Amazon ~

I would like a supervisor there to review this situation because I believe that the response I got from "P" yesterday regarding why my submitted review for the DVD, "POINT OF ORDER" (ASIN: B000A59PO2) has failed to post was inadequate.

First of all, he implies that the review "MAY" [*Note: I was incorrect; he said “could”*] be over the 1,000 word limit. Well, if it is, then so is about 85% of the 194 reviews I have previously posted on Amazon, as this is one of my shorter reviews. (Has Amazon suddenly decided to START enforcing a rule that is seldom if ever enforced? It wouldn't have anything to do with the "controversial" nature of the subject, would it?) A countless number of Amazon reviews (not just my own) are far longer than this one.

Secondly, he maintains that some of the text of my review does not pertain directly to the DVD in question. This is true, but since when are we not allowed to draw comparisons with other products in order to make a point?

I mention other instances of "deceptive" editing in so-called "documentaries" in order to let the reader know that he/she shouldn't be surprised or incredulous that "POINT OF ORDER" has been deceptively edited in order to present a one-sided (hence inaccurate) view of the Army-McCarthy Hearings. This is not the first time a filmmaker has resorted to these tactics, and I feel this is not just a valid use of comparison, but one that is very IMPORTANT to the overall purpose of my review!

If a new rule has been established stating that other products can't be mentioned in the body of a review now, then why has Amazon recently provided us with product links to other items that we can insert into the text of our reviews?

I hope my review is not being singled out and having restrictions applied to it that are not ordinarily put into force simply because my review takes a contrarian position on a longtime controversial issue!

I respectfully request that a supervisor review this situation and reconsider it. I thank you in advance and hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,
Stephen T. McCarthy

Later that day, I received this from Amazon:

Thank you for writing to Amazon.com.
My name is J.; I am a senior member of our Communities team. As such, a significant part of my job consists of deciding if reviews adhere to our guidelines. As you requested, we have re-evaluated your review for Point of Order! (1964).

Your review was removed because your comments in large part focused on your personal opinions of the subject matter, rather than reviewing this item and due to the extensive use of quotations. We provide our customer reviews section for you to comment on the
merits of the DVD and the DVD style. We ask that you not use it as a place for a discussion of the subject matter.

As such, your review cannot be posted on Amazon.com in its current format. What I can suggest is that you resubmit your review, restricting your comments to critically analyzing the content of the item. Please take a look at our Review Guidelines for information about acceptable review content . . . . .
Best regards,
J.

The next day, May 26th, I resubmitted my review after removing all supposedly superfluous quotations and references to any other documentary or any notable person not directly related to the McCarthy saga. The review was essentially the same as that submitted previously minus the first 5 paragraphs of the former version and maybe a few pieces otherwise edited. For two days, this new attempt was likewise rejected by Amazon.com.

So, on May 28th, Memorial Day, I decided to conduct a little test of Amazon’s credibility. I completely rewrote my review, but this time, I gave it 5 Stars (the highest grade possible). And while I still maintained that the documentary had been deliberately edited in order to make Senator McCarthy look bad, now I was proclaiming this as a positive thing because McCarthy was an evil man who needed to be stopped. In other words, I transformed my “voice” into that of a typical Liberal, and I used all of the totally false accusations that Liberals and the media (oh, but I’m being redundant) have traditionally used to attack McCarthy and his efforts. Other than the fact that the documentary really was deliberately edited to harm McCarthy’s reputation, my review was now a complete LIE . . . and Amazon posted it on their website within 8 hours of receiving it from me! Notice that I am no less opinionated in this phony review than I was in my legitimate review, I’m only much less truthful. Here’s what it said:

MASTERFULLY EDITED TO MAGNIFY McCARTHY’S MALEVOLENCE

The Army-McCarthy hearings in which the demagogic Senator, Joseph McCarthy, and his chief counsel, Roy Cohn, were charged with having attempted to blackmail special treatment from the Army for their partner-in-crime, Private David G. Schine, took a total of 36 days. That’s an awful lot of testimony, and it captured the attention of the American public like nothing before. It would be nearly four decades before the O.J. Simpson trial would equal its theatrics and stir up equal or greater interest among the people.

POINT OF ORDER is a distillation of those 36 days that rocked America, it is a great ninety-seven minute movie, an exceptionally well-constructed documentary in which producer and editor, Emile de Antonio, painstakingly pored over all of the testimony given in the Army-McCarthy Hearings and from that massive collection of old TV kinescopes, he assembled a picture that shall forever stand as an indictment and proof of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s shameful acts, his wicked calumny. Emile de Antonio has selected particular segments of the hearings in order to show McCarthy in his worst light and to expose him as the liar and slanderer that he was; a man who recklessly smeared the reputations of countless innocent Americans, dogging them with false accusations of Communistic involvement, who in the process, created a “Red Scare” in this country that had decent Americans in government and the entertainment industry in fear. No one could be sure who McCarthy would falsely accuse next, and as a result, the American people became fearful of their friends and family members, fearful of all of their associations.

The era of “McCarthyism” was one of the worst in American history, and when it became clear that the malicious McCarthy had to be stopped, the Army Hearings brought attention to the man’s irrational behavior, and shortly afterwards, censure charges were brought against him in the Senate, and his own colleagues found him guilty of acts “contrary to senatorial tradition.” The evil had finally been confronted and conquered!

Emile de Antonio’s masterful editing in POINT OF ORDER gets right to the heart of the matter; utilizing clips of McCarthy’s worst behavior during the Army-McCarthy Hearings, it puts on full display the malevolence that was Senator McCarthy. The big highlight of the proceedings is when the lawyer, Joe Welch, indignantly asks McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” The lawyer’s question for the senator finally shows who the real enemy is. All Americans should see this documentary and learn the truth about Senator McCarthy, so that an informed vigilance will prevent any future “McCarthys” from terrorizing the country we love.

Well, the cat was now officially out of the bag; Amazon.com’s agenda was perfectly plain to see. So, on May 31st, I wrote to Amazon again, seeking explanations for their bad behavior:

Dear J. (Senior Member of Amazon’s Communities Team) ~

On May 25th, you wrote the following to me in response to my inquiry as to why my review for the DVD, POINT OF ORDER (ASIN: B000A59PO2) had not been posted on the Product Page:

“Your review was removed because your comments in large part focused
on your personal opinions of the subject matter, rather than
reviewing this item and due to the extensive use of quotations.
We provide our customer reviews section for you to comment on the
merits of the DVD and the DVD style. We ask that you not use it as
a place for a discussion of the subject matter.

“As such, your review cannot be posted on Amazon.com in its current
format. What I can suggest is that you resubmit your review,
restricting your comments to critically analyzing the content of the
item.”

J., I recognize that for what it is: a very cleverly written policy worded in such a way that when Amazon chooses to apply it literally to whatever review the company doesn’t care for (for whatever reason) Amazon can justify removing or refusing to post the review in question. In truth, if every reviewer was always required to follow this policy to the letter, no "review" of a book or theatrical production would be possible. The "letter of your law" leaves room for a basic "synopsis" only, and excludes a reviewer from offering any sort of personal evaluation of an item's validity or worth. Of course, no product page needs more than a single summary, so Amazon applies this policy selectively, allowing reviewers to offer their individual opinions, but only when those opinions suit Amazon.

According to your explanation above (i.e., “Your comments in large part focused on your personal opinions of the subject matter…We ask that you not use it as a place for a discussion of the subject matter.”) if a person was to submit a review of, say, THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO by Karl Marx, the reviewer would only be allowed to comment on Marx’s vocabulary, his grammar, the syntax, but not on whether or not the reviewer believes that the writer’s ideas, the social construct he proposes, his economic theory, and his beliefs about the proper relationship of government to the people it governs is well-founded, truthful, or viable. You would be allowing the reviewer to write a synopsis of the Manifesto’s hypothesis, but nothing more. You would deny the reviewer the right to remark on whether or not he or she believed the Communist philosophy was valid or bogus, and whether or not what was presented by Marx represented facts. This wouldn’t be a review, and it wouldn’t be worth anyone’s time to read, either.

J., on May 26th, I edited my previous review, removing all references and quotations not directly related to Senator McCarthy, and I resubmitted it in the following form (which also failed to get posted on your Product Page) :

[*NOTE: Dear Blog Reader, here in this spot, I included my rejected review submission of May 26th, but I see no point in posting here what is very similar to the first review, minus the first five paragraphs of that original version.]

J., as a little test, on May 28th, I rewrote my review, and while continuing to maintain that the documentary had been edited in a way as to deliberately present Senator McCarthy in the worst possible light, this time I stated that this was an admirable thing to do since McCarthy was such a wicked man who had to be stopped. And instead of giving the DVD just one star, I awarded it five stars. Following is a copy of this new review which I submitted on May 28th, and which Amazon saw fit to post on the Product Page about 8 hours after receiving it. (It’s still appearing on the Product Page as you read this.) *It posted under a May 21st date – the same date I submitted my first review for this product.*:

[*NOTE: Dear Blog Reader, here in this spot, I placed a copy of my May 28th review. But I don’t wish to burden you by repeating the entire thing.]

J., I guess I don’t have to tell you how bad this makes Amazon look, do I? I wonder what sort of explanation you have. And while you are explaining, please also articulate for me how my last 1-Star review differs in any fundamental way from the excerpts I am providing below from other reviews currently being displayed on the POINT OF ORDER (ASIN: B000A59PO2) Product Page –- the first is a 1-Star review from June 11, 2004, and the second is the most recently posted 5-Star review … from May 13, 2007.

June 11, 2004
This film is nothing but an attempt by left-wing degenerates to smear a great Senator who had the guts to stand up to communist infiltration of our government. Senator McCarthy used legal means and protected the innocent by giving those questioned an opportunity to meet in Executive Session and anyone found innocent, left without further issue. Sadly, the same can't be said of the treatment that Senator McCarthy received. This film was edited in such a way as to make the Senator look bad.

May 13, 2007
In the view of his supporters and defenders, anything to the left of Joe "Stalin"/"Hitler" McCarthy was/is "Communist" -- an absurity lost only on those of the same credulous ilk as those who actually backed and defended -- and today defend (Ann Coulter) -- McCarthy as a "patriot". He was a demagogue, plain and simple; and one could say he was the inspiration for FOX's fake "news," and the hero of the "likes" of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly, though McCarthy predates the steroids. The "likes" of those who confuse deceitful swill for "religion" to be worshipped by those who believe reason as substitute for malevolence and hate to be "sin".

Notice how that second reviewer offers plenty of personal opinions, not just on this DVD, but also about Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, FOX News, and even on the unrelated subject of “religion.” His 5-Star opinions were acceptable to Amazon, but my 1-Star opinions submitted just 8 days later were too “focused on [my] personal opinions of the subject matter” to please you.

J., I eagerly anticipate a response from you regarding this matter.

Sincerely,
Stephen T. McCarthy

On May 31st, I received the following reply from another Amazon representative:

Thank you for writing back to us at Amazon.com.
My name is D.; I am a senior member of our Communities team. As such, a significant part of my job consists of reviewing customer contributed content, such as reviews, and ensuring they adhere to our posted guidelines.

In order to help customers make informed buying decisions, we are interested in cultivating a diversity of opinion in our reviews. Part and parcel of that is allowing our customers to air their honest thoughts about items. We do not pull a review due to the star rating,
but only if the review goes against our review guidelines. …

The reviews on June 11, 2004 and May 12, 2007 are two review that don't follow our guidelines. I've removed these comments, and the review should disappear from Amazon.com soon.

We want our review forum to be a place for constructive comments and feedback that may be useful to other customers. We will remove any review that falls outside of our guidelines.

Please continue to send any further reviews that you find that follow outside of our guidelines: … Your feedback helps us maintain the quality of our site. Thank you for
contacting Amazon.com. …
Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail.
To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our web site.

Best regards,
D.

If that didn’t make a lot of sense to you, allow me to explain it:

D. received the e-mail that I had sent to J., and although the e-mail was addressed to J., and although what I sent was crystal clear, D. responded in her place and he played dumb with me. Unless he was a clinical moron (Hmmm… now that I think about it…), he knew perfectly well what my argument was. And yet, he pretended as if the main complaint of my letter was directed at the remarks that others had made in their reviews on the Product Page for “POINT OF ORDER.” So, he went and deleted the reviews that I had made reference to (i.e., destroyed the evidence), and then – just to make sure that I got the message – he went and also deleted one of my own reviews that I had posted some time much earlier for the book “McCARTHY” by Roy Cohn. D. wanted to slyly make sure I understood that if I continued to contest these dishonest actions by Amazon.com, I was in jeopardy of having my own previously posted reviews removed from the website.

And notice how he closed his e-mail with: “To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our web site.” In other words, THIS discussion is over.

Well, at this point, I’d had my fill of Amazon’s disingenuousness, and I vowed to never again spend my time in helping them to sell products by writing reviews for their website. While I did continue to post “Comments” to friends and to those I debated with, and I did compose entries for the Blog that Amazon later (apparently accidentally) provided me with, I never wrote another review for them.
.
Does Amazon.com have a Liberal agenda? I say: GUILTY AS CHARGED on dozens of counts of Bad Business and Liberal Looniness in the First Degree! I hereby sentence Amazon.com to life imprisonment at The Rock.com. Throw away the key, and put away your purse or wallet!

~ Stephen T. McCarthy
.