At the risk of beating a dead horse, I’m going to talk about how the left continues to attack free speech by trying to argue that somehow what they consider “hate speech” isn’t a part of it. We watched CNN’s Chris Cuomo embarrass himself (well he probably wasn’t embarrassed, but he should have been) when he admonished the right to read the Constitution because it clearly didn’t support such speech. And I pointed out yesterday the totalitarian origins of “hate-speech” exemptions from free speech rights.
That said, I’m fascinated by the attacks on this event in Texas and its sponsor, Pamela Geller. Agree or disagree with her agenda, in terms of free speech she had every single right in the world to put that on and not expect to be attacked. The presumption that she would be attacked is just that, a presumption. It isn’t valid in any terms but apparently the left feels that their presumption that an attack would happen is all that is necessary to condemn Geller’s event as a hate-fest and hate-speech. You have to wonder what they’d have said if no violence had erupted?
The usual suspects, however, attacked her. In the particular case I’ll cite, it was the NY Times. Watch how they set up their editorial “But!”:
There is no question that images ridiculing religion, however offensive they may be to believers, qualify as protected free speech in the United States and most Western democracies. There is also no question that however offensive the images, they do not justify murder, and that it is incumbent on leaders of all religious faiths to make this clear to their followers.
End of editorial. That’s the crux of the free speech argument. There are no “buts” after that. However, there is for the NYT:
But it is equally clear that the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Garland, Tex., was not really about free speech. It was an exercise in bigotry and hatred posing as a blow for freedom.
Pure editorial opinion masquerading as some sort of “fact”. What is the NYT doing here? Arbitrarily deciding what is or isn’t hate. And how dangerous is that? See the USSR and all previous and existing totalitarian regimes. They do that every day.
Anyway, in 1999, the NYT wasn’t in such a rush to equate an extraordinarily similar event as “an exercise in bigotry and hatred”. You may remember it:
The Times in 1999 endorsed the showing at a public museum in New York of a supposed art work consisting of a crucifix in a vial of urine, arguing, “A museum is obliged to challenge the public as well as to placate it, or else the museum becomes a chamber of attractive ghosts, an institution completely disconnected from art in our time.”
And what happened at that time?
Well, apparently the “image ridiculing” this religion was tolerated to the point that no violence occurred, meaning one can assume that leaders of that religion must have made it clear that it didn’t “justify murder” and none occurred. That’s as it should have been.
So why, then, if the Times believed in free speech in 1999 when an obviously a large segment of the population viewed the crucifix in urine as offensive, provocative and sacrilegious, does it not believe the same thing in 2015 when the same conditions exist?
Because of the “but”, of course. A “but” that didn’t exist when it was a religion being ridiculed that was not in favor with the left.
Some of those who draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad may earnestly believe that they are striking a blow for freedom of expression, though it is hard to see how that goal is advanced by inflicting deliberate anguish on millions of devout Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism. As for the Garland event, to pretend that it was motivated by anything other than hate is simply hogwash.
The Times has yet to answer how “inflicting anguish” on millions of Christians who have done nothing to the artist is somehow “striking a blow for freedom of expression” or how that display wasn’t motivated by “hate” (hint: because their definition of “hate” is arbitrary). It sure had no problem putting it’s editorial heft in support of that “hate” then. And there’s no argument by anyone who can reason – it was as “hateful” as anything at the Garland event. And pretending otherwise is, to borrow the NYT term, “hogwash”.
Now that progressives, liberals, whatever they’re calling themselves today, are secure in the fact that Barack Obama will be in the Oval Office for another 4 years, they plan on doing everything they can to see that he does what he said he’d do way back in 2008 – or at least what they thought they heard him say he’d do.
Those parts include climate change, drone strikes, gun control and closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, among others.
We’ve seen the first shots fired in the gun control advocacy (no pun intended) with the absurd Costas gun-control editorial at the half-time of an NFL game. And, of course, Dianne Feinstein is making the usual “assault weapons ban” noises.
By the way, as a complete aside, but speaking of gun control, I want to show you a classic exchange:
Can you say pwned?!
Anyway, back to the subject at hand – the liberal agenda. Remember, Obama told the Russian President that he’d be “more flexible” after his re-election. There’s absolutely no reason that he won’t be less politically inhibited (because in the political world, that’s what “more flexible” really means) domestically as well as internationally is there?
But now? Now it’s safe:
“Liberals in the media are going to be tougher on Obama and more respectful at the same time,” Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker’s chief political commentator and a former speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, told POLITICO. “He was the champion of our side, he vanquished the foe….. [but] now liberals don’t have to worry about hurting his chances for re-election, so they can be tougher in urging him to do what he should be doing.”
Apparently the NY Times plans on leading the way in pushing and prodding Obama to do what he said he’d do (or what the NYT thinks he said he’d do):
The New York Times editorial page launched a series titled “Goals for a New Term,” calling on the president to implement stronger gun control laws and shutter Gitmo, which he had pledged to do during his first year in office. The tone of the editorials has been sharply critical: On guns, the editors suggested Obama lacked courage. On Guantanamo, they slammed his administration for deciding “to adopt the Bush team’s extravagant claims of state secrets and executive power, blocking any accountability for the detention and brutalization of hundreds of men at Guantánamo and secret prisons, and denying torture victims their day in court.”
Gitmo? There are rumblings out there – again – of the Federal government purchasing a closed prison with the idea of moving the jihadists in captivity there on to the shores of the US. Seems prison is okay for the jihadists if the left initiates the idea of buying one and housing them there. But holding them in Gitmo, a place that wasn’t their idea (but clearly is superior to moving them here) is just beyond the pale because, you know, it was that evil Bush’s idea. So it’s not about incarceration, it’s about the myth of Gitmo … or something.
Obama has claimed he has no interest in climate change legislation/taxation in his second term (well, he doesn’t as long as there’s a Republican House … if that changes in 2014, he might develop an immediate interest). Then he’s said he does. Then, yeah, not so much. So who the hell knows. But what we do know is progressives intend to try to push him on this and it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if he responds positively. He certainly has nothing to lose. And it may provide a distraction if the economy keeps tanking. He can couch his attempt to tax thin air in the usual class warfare (fat cat corporations fouling the streams and polluting the air while melting the ice caps to boot). He can call for “social justice” because, you know, climate change effects those least able to afford it first … or something.
Drone strikes? Yawn. A small faction of the left concerns itself with drone strikes. It is classic leading from behind. Get over it progressives. Your President approves all those arial assasinations himself. It is part of the responsibilities that Nobel Peace Prize winners must endure.
Sarcasm aside, it will indeed be interesting to see if Obama does anything for progressives in his 2nd term. Will he become an activist president or will he vote “present?”
Well, let’s see – is he taking the lead in fiscal cliff negotiations and working tirelessly with Congress to ensure a solution before the deadline or is he going on a 20 day vacation to Hawaii ending January 6th?
Much to the Obama campaign and the Time’s chagrin I would suppose. You see, the economics and politics of unemployment are personal, and most of those who find themselves in that position don’t care about Bain Capital or Romney’s tax returns. That’s essentially the message the most recent NYT/CBS News poll reported:
Despite months of negative advertising from Mr. Obama and his Democratic allies seeking to further define Mr. Romney as out of touch with the middle class and representative of wealthy interests, the poll shows little evidence of any substantial nationwide shift in attitudes about Mr. Romney.
Personal situations trump political rhetoric, especially when the political rhetoric has no bearing on that personal situation. Apparently, unlike the media, most of the public still realize what is important. They aren’t caught up in the politics. They want answers to the hard questions … the questions the Obama campaign would just as soon ignore.
Thus the distraction game.
But, apparently, that game isn’t working.
The new poll shows that the race remains essentially tied, notwithstanding all of the Washington chatter suggesting that Mr. Romney’s campaign has seemed off-kilter amid attacks on his tenure at Bain Capital and his unwillingness to release more of his tax returns. Forty-five percent say they would vote for Mr. Romney if the election were held now and 43 percent say they would vote for Mr. Obama.
When undecided voters who lean toward a particular candidate are included, Mr. Romney has 47 percent to Mr. Obama’s 46 percent.
Now that’s pretty much dead even with the challenger, despite all the negative ads and stories, having the slight edge.
Frankly, given history, it shouldn’t be this close at this point. Even Jimmy Carter had a lead at this point in his re-election campaign.
The poll is another among many indicators that the Obama presidency is in trouble. Take it for no more than that. It’s a temperature check. A snapshot.
However, when put together with all the other temperature checks, you begin to see a campaign that isn’t at all healthy.
I can’t say I’m shedding too many tears over that. And it also says that the voters are, at least to this point, able to push aside the distractions, focus on the key issues and hold a president accountable that desperately seeks someone (or something) to blame his failure on or an issue to distract from that failure.
Reading through a NY Times story about defense cuts led me to one of the most, oh I don’t know, stupid statements it has been my misfortune to read in a while (one of the joys of being a blogger is I don’t have to dress up my comments – stupid is stupid).
And apparently it passes for penetrating analysis. The thrust of the story, or at least the claim made in the story, is that the Pentagon has made no plans for the sequestration cuts mandated by the failure of the Supercommittee.
To be clear, DoD is working on the first $450 billion in cuts mandated by the Obama Administration. Those will already cut deeply into its capabilities over the next few decades.
This new round of cuts will go beyond “fat” and cut into muscle and bone. An idea of where cuts will have to be made is provided by some defense analysts:
They laid out the possibility of cutbacks to most weapons programs, a further reduction in the size of the Army, large layoffs among the Defense Department’s 700,000 civilian employees and reduced military training time — such as on aircraft like the F-22 advanced jet fighter, which flies at Mach 2 and costs $18,000 an hour to operate, mostly because of the price of fuel.
Other possibilities include cutting the number of aircraft carriers to 10 from 11 — the United States still has more than any other country — as well as increased fees for the military’s generous health care system, changes in military retirement, base closings around the country and delayed maintenance on ships and buildings.
And that brings us to a statement I find difficulty characterizing as anything but stupid. Perhaps to be less provocative, I ought to characterize it as woefully uninformed. I’ll emphasize it for you:
Right now, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the most expensive weapons program in history, is the top target for cuts. (The Pentagon plans to spend nearly $400 billion buying 2,500 of the stealth jets through 2035.) Other potential targets include the Army’s planned ground combat vehicle and a “next-generation” long-range bomber under development by the Air Force.
As a result, the military industry is already in full alarm. “The Pentagon has been cutting weapons programs by hundreds of billions of dollars for three years now,” said Loren B. Thompson, a consultant to military contractors. “There’s not much left to kill that won’t affect the military’s safety or success.”
Other analysts argued that the United States had such overwhelming military superiority globally that it could easily withstand the cuts, even to the point of eliminating the Joint Strike Fighter. “We have airplanes coming out of our ears,” said Gordon Adams, who oversaw military budgets in the Clinton White House. “We’re in a technological race with ourselves.” Nonetheless, he said, the automatic cuts make life difficult for Pentagon budget planners and are “a terrible way to manage defense.”
No … we’re not in a “technological race with ourselves”. And yes, we have lots of airplanes. Worn out airplanes two or three decades old that have been to war for a decade.
Right now the Russians are developing a very good 5th generation fighter, the T-50 (also known as the PAK FA). The Chinese 5th generation aircraft is the J-20. We, on the other hand stopped a planned buy of F-22s at 180 out of 2,000. And now we’re talking about cutting the F-35 (a buy of 2400 and supposedly the fighter to fill the gap left by the curtailment of the F-22 buy) as well? That’s national defense suicide.
If we cut the JSF, in 10 years we’ll have the same 4th generation aircraft we have now as our front line of defense against the newest generation of fighters that you can bet both Russia and China will export. Ours will be technologically inferior.
Yes, we enjoy a technological edge now. But that is because we’ve always made its maintenance a national security priority. What Gordon Adams is trying to do is wave away the need to maintain that edge with an absurdly simplistic and utterly incorrect “we’re in a technological race with ourselves”.
What we do now will effect our national security for decades to come. These fighters are planned to be the front line of defense for about 40 years. And while an F/A 18 is a hot jet in 2011, it will not be a hot jet in 2031 when refined and technologically superior T-50 and J-20 aircraft will command any airspace in which they fly.
For those who don’t understand what that means, it means no close air support for troops on the ground. It means an enemy having air superiority over a battlefield (or at least air parity) and making our ground troops vulnerable to air attack for the first time since the Korean War.
It means we’ll have lost the technological race that is required to maintain air dominance and will be hard pressed to catch up anytime soon.
The old term “penny wise and pound foolish” comes to mind. We’re about to validate that saying. And the lack of leadership from this administration in outlining priorities concerning national defense and our future is terrifying. Instead of making national defense a priority, this administration would spend elsewhere.
The technological edge we’ve maintained over the decades is a perishable thing. There are other countries out there actively trying to steal it from us.
And we have so-called defense analysts like Gordon Adams making stupid – yes there’s that word again – statements like “we’re in a technological race with ourselves”.
We make further cuts, such as those demanded by sequestration, at our peril. One of the primary functions of government, as outlined in our Constitution, is to provide for the national defense. It should be one of, if not the primary focus of any national government. To say we’re playing with fire with deeper cuts than those already contemplated is an understatement. If you’re comfortable with your grandson or granddaughter flying 40 year old jets in the near future against technologically superior enemies who we are getting ready to abandon the field too in 2011, then you’ll be happy to support cutting defense to the bone now.