:: Saturday, October 30, 2010 ::
The Incontrovertible Dead-End of Islam
Posted by Edward Cline at 1:28 PM
Raymond Ibrahim, associate director of the Middle East Forum, recently published an article, “Offensive Jihad: The One Incontrovertible Problem with Islam,” in the Middle East Forum and on Pajamas Media (October 30th). This excellent article for the first time (known to me, at least) addresses one of the fundamental problems of and with Islam I have always stressed: jihad. Jihad is a core tenet in what is a codified system of irrationalism that cannot be “reformed” without obliterating Islam as a distinct religious creed. Remove the belligerent jihadist commands from the Koran to wage jihad, for example, and it would cease to be Islam, not only in Muslim minds but in non-Muslim, as well.
There would, of course, remain a host of other irrational assertions and imperatives, such as the sanctioning of wife-beating and the murder of apostates and the like, which constitute, after some astounding mental gymnastics by Islamic clerics and scholars, chiefly the byzantine and illogical underpinnings of Sharia law. The jihadist elements of Islam, however, are easily transmutable into a political policy, which is conquest of all non-Muslim or infidel governments and their submission to Sharia. That makes it an ideological doctrine. Muslims are either obliged to wage jihad, or they are not. Mohammad and Muslim scholars say they are. End of argument, so far as Koranic interpretation goes, and that interpretation is biased to the literal.
Reading the debates about what Islam’s mission is and the role of jihad in it and what they truly “mean,” I am always reminded of H.L. Mencken's observation on religious zealotry: "The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it." Islam is a puritanical creed that makes no allowances for either infidels or apostates or its adherents. I cannot believe that beneath the pious exterior of any person who would be seduced by Islam is not a seething, percolating envy of men who are indeed free, an envy easily and maliciously transfigured into violent jihad.
This policy is operative and underway today in Western nations with varying degrees of success, and it is making progress only by default. Islam is strong only because the West’s defenders are emasculated by multiculturalist premises and a general disinclination to condemn any religion. Aggravating the problem is an unadmitted but general fear in the tolerance-obsessed and pragmatists of “offending” Muslims, who might start rioting and demonstrating again, claiming discrimination and disrespect, etc., none of it spontaneous but clearly organized and orchestrated by so-called “radicals.”
I was initially impressed by Ibrahim’s quotation from an entry on jihad in the Encyclopedia of Islam, which is an admission that “Islam must completely be made over before the doctrine of jihad can be eliminated” – until I realized that it could just as well mean that, after a global caliphate has been established, there would be no more justification for violent jihad. Every nation would by then be conquered, recalcitrant infidels slain, enslaved, or reduced to dhimmitude, and Sharia made the law of every land.
But, if Islam is completely “made over” in the sense of reforming it, what would be left of Islam that virtually any other creed could not claim as its fundamental tenets, as well? And to “make over” Islam, its principal font of “kilman” or wisdom, the objectionable and barbaric Mohammad, would need to be dispensed with. He is a role model for killers and tyrants and other psychopathic individuals. Remove that one critical link of the irrational and arbitrary in Islam, and all the links fall to the floor.
What would be substituted for Mohammad? It would need to be something as enduringly fable-worthy as Mohammad, but measurably benign. But, Islam has no alternative icons. What then, would be Islam’s driving force, if not jihad as commanded by Allah as told to Mohammad?
Once Mohammad is removed from the text, the next step would be to question the existence and credence of Allah; if he commanded jihad, and if his word is sacred and unalterable, and known only through Mohammad, then he would need to be subjected to a “make over,” much as the focus of Christian doctrine was shifted from an Allah-like Jehovah of the Old Testament to the largely pacific New Testament with Jesus Christ (as God on earth) and his homilies. If a “reformation” of Islam is undertaken, who in Islamic lore is Christ’s counterpart? Would it be Abraham or Moses? But, neither of them was much better than Mohammad in terms of their behavior towards men of other faiths; they also advocated the righteous slaughtering of unbelievers and sinners and distributing slaves, women, and sheep among their more zealous followers.
But, then, all faiths are faced with that intellectual chore regarding their own individual conceptions of a “supreme being,” and not just Islam.
Ibrahim writes: “Worse, offensive jihad is part and parcel of Islam; it is no less codified than, say, Islam's Five Pillars, which no Muslim rejects.” In sum, it is either-or: repudiate Islam entirely, or submit to the whole palimony of irrationalism that is Islam, including the imperative of jihad. The one incontrovertible problem with Islam (aside from the untenable claim of Allah’s existence) is its dependence on violent conquest, or the initiation of force. This renders the creed absolutely inconvertible to a pacific doctrine. That is its unarguable dead-end.
Or, as Ayn Rand might have put it: “You can’t have your mystic of muscle and deny him, too.” He is either the source of Islam’s potency, or he isn’t. And if he isn’t, whither Islam?
1 Comments ::
:: Thursday, October 28, 2010 ::
Watersheds of Anger
Posted by Edward Cline at 10:31 AM
For the past two weeks I have been embroiled in a fight to either regain the publication rights to my Sparrowhawk series of novels from the publisher, MacAdam/Cage Publishing in San Francisco, or to be compensated per contract for the sales of that series. I am awaiting the consequences of a breach of contract and rescission notice recently and justly served on that publisher by an attorney for nonpayment of royalties and delinquent royalty statements. I have been engaged in this conflict for three years. The breach of contract notice is just the latest episode in this unwelcome and mentally exhausting adventure.
Dealing with a publisher which has, for all practical purposes, stolen one’s work, but which expects the author to help sell it in contravention of the Thirteenth Amendment, is much like dealing with the IRS or some other confiscatory agency: its functionaries do not care what the extortion and theft do to one’s life and ambition, even if it means penury for the victim.
The irony is that Sparrowhawk has been a revenue-generating mainstay for the publisher. It sells virtually without any marketing on the publisher’s part. If it has sold at all, it is chiefly because of my own numerous booksignings and my ability to sell it to the reading public. This effort, also, has gone largely uncompensated and unacknowledged by the publisher. For a long time, I did not mind that, because Sparrowhawk is important on various levels. To name but four: to me as a writer, as a literary accomplishment, as an exclusively American cultural phenomenon, as an educational tool for Americans who wish to grasp why their country came into existence, which I never intended it to be, but which is serving that purpose nonetheless.
But the time came for me to “go Galt” or to pull a Howard Roark on my own work. I will perform no more booksignings, and will not help to market the work until either the breach of contract is cured, or I regain possession of the publication rights to grant to another publisher that will honor the terms of a contract and market the work more aggressively. I wrote the series with the confidence that I would profit from the labor. To quote Roark: “I have not been paid.” Galt abandoned a revolutionary new motor because he refused to work as a slave. Until further notice, I am on strike, as well. I am abandoning a seminal work on the American Revolution.
So, this year is a watershed year for me. For the past month I have been distracted by this issue, so much so that I have not devoted much attention to current events and have neglected to pen relevant commentaries. 2010 will also be a watershed year in American politics, marked by the midterm elections next week on November 2nd. This is when Americans will have a chance to “throw the bums out” in hopes of electing a more responsive and reality-centered alliance of bums.
The Washington Post, awakening from its self-induced stupor and going against its inbred bias, featured a story today headlined, “Across the country, anger, frustration and fear among voters as election nears.” The headline is the best thing about the article, which is a consensus-driven mishmash of opinions, giving equal time and space to those who do not think Obama and Congress have done enough to bankrupt the country or bring it to heel, and to those who do not think at all.
A far grimmer mood now pervades the electorate, one shaped not just by the immediacy of the economic distress that has hit virtually every household, but by fears that it might take years for everyone, from the average family to the federal government, to climb out of the hole.
Anger is one word that is often used to describe the electorate this year. But one word alone cannot adequately capture the sentiments expressed by voters on doorsteps and street corners, at community centers or candidate rallies. Along with the anger there is fear, worry, nervousness, disappointment, anxiety and disillusionment.
Briefly, what most of the electorate is responding to is the naked face of collectivism in action. The faces are many and insouciant: President Barack Obama’s, Nancy Pelosi’s, Harry Reid’s, Rahm Emanuel’s, Anita Dunn’s, Henry Waxman’s, Barney Frank’s, David Axelrod’s, Robert Gibbs’s – an opera cast of hundreds, if not thousands, all singing in chorus the same liberal/left/collectivist libretto.
The anger and frustration, however, are owned by the electorate; the fear, by the incumbent Democrats. Their reign of terror is nearly over.
When Obama took office, he and the Democrats behaved like some street gang taking over a neighborhood. Their unspoken motto was: “This ain’t your Founding Fathers’ country anymore.”
From that swaggering hubris of thugs and “community organizers” awarded a sanction to loot the country at will and virtually without opposition, they are experiencing the humility of fear and loathing. These last few months have served as a reality check for Obama and the Democrats.
And that is nothing compared to what the Republicans will experience if they do not repeal ALL the socialist/fascist legislation the Democrats rammed down the throats of captive Americans no longer captivated by Obama or government spending and arrogance. The GOP will feel the sting of frustration and disappointment if they merely “amend” the destructive legislation passed by their colleagues across the aisles of the House and Senate.
One lesson the Democrats and closet socialists and fascists in and out of government will not learn is that this election will serve as an unqualified rejection and repudiation of Washington-style collectivism. The Washington Post and The New York Times will always endorse the expansion of government powers, because their City on the Hill is a national Sunnybrook Farm. They will wait in the wings for the chance, provided very likely by the Republicans, to re-impose their legislative servitude. They will not relinquish the idea that servitude and looting will somehow lead to prosperity and an improved “general welfare.” That is because prosperity and security and happiness are not their fundamental goals or motives: it is destruction for the sake of destruction. That is a serious, morally damning charge to make, but it is the only one that explains the administration’s and the Democrats’ otherwise inexplicable obtuseness and indifference to the electorate.
More and more Americans are grasping that fact in an emotional, unarticulated sense-of-life reaction to the pillaging of the Democrats over the last two years. Their contempt for incumbents and candidates in both parties is unmitigated, tangible, and to be reckoned with. What they must understand now is that they should insist that the Republicans -- undeserving beneficiaries of the Tea Party movement – adopt a more principled policy necessary to undo the damage perpetrated by the vandals in Congress and the White House – and to discover and advocate the freedom they have helped Democrats to diminish and obviate, or they will earn and suffer the same deserved fate.
Of course, if the Republicans squander the mandate that will probably be given them by Americans, that will be the end of the line for this country. We might be able to endure and survive two more years of Obama and a gridlocked Congress, but not two more years of Obama and a timorous, compromising Republican Congress.
Anger management is not a good thing to practice in a watershed election year.
9 Comments ::
:: Thursday, October 21, 2010 ::
"2081": Philosophy in Motion
Posted by Edward Cline at 9:01 PM
I wonder how many readers remember John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice, that scholarly paean to egalitarianism and institutionalized envy, from 1971. How would one dramatize, in visual and auditory concretes, its high-blown, insidious principles?
I recently watched a little gem of a cinematic parable about a Rawlsian dystopia, 2081, which depicts a society in which “everyone is equal.” The film, made under the aegis of the Moving Picture Institute, produced by Thor Halvorssen and written and directed by Chandler Tuttle (based on a Kurt Vonnegut story, “Harrison Bergeron”) is exactly that, a parable, not meant to be taken literally, because the purpose of a parable is impart profound and lasting lessons.
In 2081, the exceptionally skilled, beautiful, strong, and intellectually endowed are “made equal” with their averagely endowed fellow men by means of a variety of restraining agents – weights, masks, and taser-like devices that interrupt thought and impede movement. Anyone tested by the state and deemed to be above average in any respect is required by law to be fitted with one or more of these restraints or “equalizers.” The penalty for removing them is imprisonment.
George Bergeron’s son Harrison was arrested and imprisoned for six years for refusing to wear the agents and for “blatantly removing them in public.” He escapes from prison and appears in a concert hall that is staging Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty” ballet live in a national broadcast. The ballerinas are also arrested by weights that make their movements clumsy. Harrison announces to the audience that he has placed a bomb beneath the hall. He declares, among other things, that he is “an exception to the accepted,” and that he “was not created equal,” and proceeds to shed all the devices that burden his body, including a yoke fitted over his shoulders and neck.
That is his statement of freedom. He may be mad or perfectly lucid. He does not wish to continue living in a world of “fairness” and “original positions.” That is for the viewer to judge. He then invites a volunteer to do the same. One of the ballerinas rises and discards her weights, as well. (Forgive the plot-spoilers here, they are necessary to making a point.)
In the meantime, SWAT teams of the United States Handicapper General surround the hall, disable the bomb (it is unclear whether it was a real bomb, I don’t think so, but that is mere conjecture), and prepare to capture or kill the “public threat.” The authorities order the broadcast stopped, but Harrison Bergeron has a device that overrides the kill signal and rebroadcasts the program (shades of John Galt’s broadcast in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged). As Harrison Bergeron and the ballerina perform with total freedom of movement to a doleful composition and for a dumbstruck audience (many members of which are also wearing restraints), the SWAT teams move into the hall itself.
An expressionless, silent woman who is in charge of the operation takes a gun and kills Harrison Bergeson and the ballerina. The action is televised without her knowledge and one of the last things one sees is her slightly startled face staring into the camera. That is what Harrison wanted the nation to see – the vapid face of evil. End of broadcast. The extraordinary has been eliminated. Please stand by.
George (also loaded down with restraints), has watched all this in the comfort of his living room, while his dimly conforming and nattering wife, Hazel, played convincingly by Julie Hagerty (who wears none, because there is nothing extraordinary or exceptional about her), is oblivious to the events on the television screen. She is washing dishes with her back turned to the screen and misses the whole broadcast and a last glimpse of her son, the running water serving as her own sound-obliterating handicapping device.
When George begins to think of the abduction of his son from their home years before, and begins to respond to the broadcast and the heroism of his son, his memory is disrupted by his ear piece. HIs wife asks him why he is looking so upset; he can only reply that he saw something “sad.” He cannot remember what. He shuffles out of the living room to oblivion, because he will not remove the things that hold him down.
The film is only twenty-five minutes long, but it packs a punch as terrible as Michael Radford’s gritty, nearly two-hour long Nineteen Eighty-Four. The production values are as good as any $20 million budget blockbuster’s. As a parable on the price of silence and the fate of those who prefer security and passivity over independence and freedom, it is one of the best films I have ever seen.
2081 is A Theory of Justice, illustrated. It is philosophy in motion.
8 Comments ::
:: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 ::
Let’s Not Roll: A Postmortem
Posted by Edward Cline at 11:35 AM
I have written about just how morally androgynous the Shanksville “memorial” for the passengers and crew of United Flight 93 is intended to be in “Let’s Not Roll: The Islamic Memorial in Pennsylvania.”
Since posting that commentary, I have confirmed what I had earlier suspected: that Flight 93 crashed onto private land. Apparently, the families of the passengers on Flight 93 were unable to persuade the landowners to sell that land on which to create their “memorial.” They turned to the government. The government, in its infinite turpitude, gave the landowners an offer they couldn’t refuse: sell it the land, or, under the aegis of eminent domain, see it seized by the government. Compensation to the owners would be whatever a judge deemed was “fair market value.”
As with past instances of eminent domain (most notably the Kelo case), if a private organization has its heart set on someone else’s private property, all it need do to acquire it is apply to Uncle Sam (or to the state or other government entity) for assistance. Eminent domain was originally intended to give the government power to take land (with “just compensation”) to build roads, improve waterways, or erect public or government structures. It was not intended to be a weapon of a private organization to use against a private property owner.
It is a disgrace that the advocates and enablers of the “memorial” to the heroes of Flight 93 turned to the government to pressure landowners to relinquish their property so that this botched “tribute” can be realized. The tactics employed by the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service, and the Families of Flight 93, a nonprofit group created to fund construction and maintenance of the memorial, demonstrate that they have not an ounce of understanding about what this country was intended to be – a free country – and what it has become – a country whose government is basically a “steward” of wealth it never created but which it can “redistribute,” provided enough pressure and tears are brought to bear.
As the Islamic hijackers seized control of Flight 93 in the name of Allah, the Families of Flight 93 sanctioned the seizure of private property in the name of “grief.”
This makes the whole Flight 93 “memorial” project a sham. One can empathize with the families of the passengers and crew who died in that act of war. I do not think they sprang into action in the name of slavery or servitude or the expropriation of property. But one should not sanction what the Families of Flight 93 resorted to, which was to appeal to the government to clear the way for their memorial by relying on the government’s power of eminent domain to fulfill their wishes.
Squabbling between many family members of people who died during the attack on the World Trade Center in New York over what ought to be built in the “footprints” or “sacred ground” also contributed to interminable design and construction delays, and was exacerbated by politicking between government entities and other pressure groups and factions.
The Families of Flight 93 had no legal power to sue the landowners for refusing to sell their property, nor any power to seize the land themselves. Failing persuasion, they enlisted the offices of the ultimate persuader: the state. Their wishes, they thought, gave them a right to the crash site.
Under duress, the landowners eventually negotiated what they considered a “fair market value” of their property. But whether or not they agreed to sell it, it was still legalized extortion. It wasn’t the Fuller Brush salesman who came knocking at their doors with a fistful of discount coupons. It was a bureaucratic behemoth with a gun behind its back.
This drama occurred at about the same time, May of 2009, when Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson told the summoned heads of nine banks that they were not leaving the room until they agreed to accept TARP cash.
Only one individual is known to have protested the government’s bullying tactics, Somerset County Commissioner Pamela Tokar-Ickes, who resigned from the Flight 93 Federal Advisory Commission over the option of eminent domain, which she opposed.
“I do not support the Department of Interior’s imminent action to condemn the property,” she said in a written statement. The National Park Service is part of the Department of Interior. “I feel it would be impossible for me to continue to serve in this official capacity to construct a permanent memorial to the crew and passengers of Flight 93.”
Lest anyone think that the government initiated the extortion, Advisory Commission chairman John Reynolds revealed during a telephone interview after Tokar-Ickes’s resignation that,
“The commission never recommended this (land condemnation),” said Reynolds, a retired National Park Service executive. “It was the totality of the partners led by the families that communicated directly with the governmental powers that unless they did this no piece of the memorial could be built by the 10th anniversary and the Park Service could not protect the remains of the heroes.” [Italics mine]
In April 2008, members of Families of Flight 93 went to Washington to remove an obstacle to federal funding of the memorial, which was being blocked by the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Charles Taylor of North Carolina. His objection to federal funding of the project was merely one of bean-counting, and certainly not based on any concern about property rights.
“It would be unacceptable to the memory of the sacrifice of those aboard Flight 93 to fail to adequately provide for future operations and maintenance of this memorial,” he said. “The subcommittee is simply trying to refrain from making commitments of unrealistic support that will either discourage private fundraising efforts or fail to meet our commitment to the country and the families of the heroes aboard Flight 93.”
How much will the memorial cost?
Last week the National Park Service confirmed it has begun the process of taking about 500 acres from seven property owners so construction can begin on a permanent memorial. The Park Service is requesting that the U.S. Department of Justice file land condemnation proceedings in U.S. District Court.
Facing the likelihood of that seizure, the seven holdouts apparently surrendered.
In August 2009, The New York Times reported the story with an almost audible sigh of relief.
Work will begin this fall on a memorial to those killed aboard United Airlines Flight 93 Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001, now that agreements have been reached to buy the last key pieces of land in Pennsylvania, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said Monday.
The New York Times is no stranger to having property condemned for specious reasons. Its new headquarters in New York City sits on a site once occupied by thriving commercial structures, but which it wanted removed and was not shy about using political influence to have the buildings arbitrarily condemned. There is no fundamental difference between the extortion practiced by Secretary Paulson, the New York Times, and Families of Flight 93.
The federal government will pay about $9.5 million to the owners of nine parcels near Shanksville, in rural southwestern Pennsylvania, totaling 1,395 acres, including the site where the plane crashed and one right-of-way, Mr. Salazar said. The announcement ends years of bargaining with landowners.
Negotiations intensified at the end of last year when, with some parcels still in limbo, the Families of Flight 93, a nonprofit group that has been helping with the purchases, asked the Bush administration to get something done before it left office.
This summer, with time running short to get the first $58 million phase of the memorial completed in time for the 10th anniversary of the crash, the Interior Department set a deadline for the remaining landowners and threatened to take the land through condemnation.
In the end, the Families of Flight 93 will get what they deserve: not a simple, minimal-maintenance cenotaph bearing the names of the passengers and crew of Flight 93, with a tablet below describing their actions on 9/11. Instead, they will get some very expensive maple trees, voiceless wind chimes, and some 1,400 acres of land that will guarantee NPS employees continued employment. All in all, a meaningless space that could very well be turned into an outdoor mosque. The “memorial” will commemorate nothing but the triumph of force: that used by Flight 93’s Islamic hijackers, and by the government at the behest and urging of the heroes’ survivors.
I, for one, will refuse to visit the Shanksville site. That is the best tribute I can pay the heroes of Flight 93.
2 Comments ::
:: Sunday, October 17, 2010 ::
Let’s Not Roll: The Islamic Memorial in Pennsylvania
Posted by Edward Cline at 6:51 PM
"Are you guys ready? Let’s roll!"
That was the call to arms, the cavalry charge sounded by Todd Beamer aboard United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11th, 2001. The forty passengers and crew decided to not be helpless pawns of what they now knew were jihadist hijackers – through their cell phones they had learned of the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center – but to do what they could to foil the plans of the “martyrs.”
Their weapons? No muskets, no swords, no artillery, no firing from behind fences and trees as Americans did at Lexington and Concord. They had to settle for a beverage cart to ram through the locked pilot’s door and then hope to grapple with the two hijackers who were steering an erratic course to Washington, D.C., possibly to crash the plane into either the Capitol Building or the White House. It could just as well have been the Washington Monument, or the Lincoln or Jefferson Memorials. The passengers’ object was to neutralize the hijackers “with extreme prejudice” and regain control of the plane.
It is not known if they succeeded in breaking into the cabin, and throttled the two hijackers and recaptured the captain’s chair. Whatever the cause, the plane dived nose first into a Pennsylvania field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in Somerset County.
And what is being constructed to commemorate the heroism of those passengers? Not much.
Cynthia Yacowar-Sweeney of Canada Free Press notes in her startling article, “Under Construction – The Other 9/11 Mosque,”
With eyes on New York, [on the Ground Zero mosque] it’s easy to overlook the other ground-zero mosque that is presently being built in Shanksville, Pennsylvania at the Flight 93 crash site. That 9/11 site is home to what will soon be the world’s largest open-air mosque disguised as a memorial, contends author Alec Rawls. After five years of insignificant media coverage and minimal public awareness, construction of the Flight 93 Memorial centerpiece is already in progress. The giant half-mile wide Islamic-shaped red crescent of maple trees is slated for completion next year on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, when the autumn leaves of the crescent’s trees turn a brilliant flaming red.
An earlier article by Clinton W. Taylor in The American Spectator, “Monumental Failure,” claims that the crescent of maple trees has been turned into a circle. According to Alex Rawls, who claims in his yet-to-be-released book, Crescent of Betrayal: Dishonoring the Heroes of Flight 93, that the whole memorial, once completed, will be nothing less than the largest outdoor mosque in existence. Rawls, reports Sweeney, claims there is hardly a facet of the final design that still does not incorporate or at least suggest basic mosque design features, most notably the crescent and a minaret-like tower, which face Mecca.
According to Rawls, this crescent is one of many mosque features embedded in architect Paul Murdoch’s winning “Crescent of Embrace” design, later changed mainly in name only, to “Circle of Embrace”. Another important and mandatory mosque feature is Mecca orientation for prayer. For this memorial to be a proper mosque, it must face Mecca. And Rawls proves it does, in his book “Crescent of Betrayal: Dishonoring the Heroes”. Using math and geometry, Rawls calculates that the center of the crescent points almost exactly towards Mecca. That makes the Flight 93 Memorial a mosque.
But, just as the “memorial” to the casualties at the World Trade Center has been mired in politics and governed by a cloying philosophy of “grief,” with the consequence that what was decided on – by committee, by consensus – will satisfy no one and will certainly not “memorialize” all who died on that site, so has the one scheduled for Shanksville. The Pentagon 9/11 memorial is also a study in “grief.” The Shanksville memorial may or may not have incorporated mosque features in its design. What cannot be denied is that the design is extraordinarily vacuous.
Going to the National Park Service website to study perspectives of the memorial, one is stymied. Click on the highlighted “The Memorial Design” link, and nothing happens; one must be satisfied with the NPS’s assurances that construction of the memorial is underway. All the other highlighted links work but that one:
Construction is underway. We are on schedule to dedicate the initial phase of the permanent memorial on September 11, 2011. Learn more about the design and the entire plan to construct the memorial.
Is the National Park Service (NPS) so ashamed of the design that, in the grand tradition of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it won’t permit anyone to see “what’s in it” until it is finished? Is it so nondescript, banal and noncommittal that the NPS knows that people will be astonished by how much the design is an exercise in blandness, and raise objections, if not for its non-statement, then for its mosque elements?
Yes, to both questions. As Clinton W. Taylor indicates in his American Spectator article, a circle of maple trees, a tower of wind chimes, and other oddities do not a monument or memorial make – except, perhaps, to the sensitive pragmatism of the designers and to those who sanctioned the design. Taylor writes:
I don't think Paul Murdoch Architects, the L.A.-based firm who came up with this harbors some deep affinity for Taliban hegemony. On the other hand, I do believe that the revised plan is so vague that it is possible to find any number of conflicting interpretations within its incoherent and nihilistic expanse.
The conflicts and controversy over these three “memorials” reveal an underlying but unacknowledged fear of Islam. No one wants to name the ideology or the religion of the hijackers. That would be “offensive” and serve to invite charges of anti-Muslimism or anti-Islamism or disrespect for Islam or prejudice against Islam. So virtually everyone involved in choosing memorial designs has steered a pragmatic middle course, and settled for something to “remember” the “victims” – not casualties, as they actually were, because we are demonstrably at war with Islam, just as all who died during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor are not referred to as victims, but as casualties. The committees, the boards, the designers all felt compelled to do something because of the historic nature of the attacks, and know that they must acknowledge it -- somehow.
As the rebuilding of the World Trade Center was subjected to a design competition and a public vote, which vote the bureaucratic entity in charge of the project chose to ignore, the design for the selected Shanksville memorial, with subsequent alterations, from over 1,000 submissions, was then subjected to deliberation by a committee and jury overseen by the NPS, which had bought the land on which the plane crashed. Why the NPS should have intruded on the matter is easily explained: No national monument or memorial can be erected without the approval of a bureaucracy.
Self-censorship is a deep-rooted psychological phenomenon, a congenital act of repression, as well as a political issue. It will not manifest itself in an individual in so revealing an introspective message as: “I’d just rather not provoke Muslims by accusing their brothers of being responsible for 9/11, I don’t want to be accused of bigotry or anything like that, I’m too cowardly, so I’ll just go along with whatever someone else suggests, so long as it’s not discriminatory or judgmental.” In such a mind, the door is shut and locked to such thoughts. It manifests itself in a circumspect advocacy of the safely banal and in virulent opposition to anyone not so repressed or self-censored.
Sweeney warns in her article that,
Intentional or not, the symbolism does matter and has remained an issue of grave concern for many, especially against the backdrop of the growing threat of Sharia Law in America - the legal code of the Quran which can be brutally oppressive when interpreted by radical Islamists who view the West as the enemy to be conquered.
The controversy over the Shanksville memorial design doubtless has been noted by Islamists here and abroad. Their chortles and snickers will grow louder and bolder when the memorial is completed. Sweeney concludes,
If Rawls is correct in his contention that the memorial is truly a victory mosque in disguise, then there is ample reason for concern, given that many American mosques are funded by Saudi Arabia, the country that gave America 15 of the 19 terrorists on 9/11, and are radicalized by its Wahhabi hardliners - meaning that these radicals choose and train the imams and also write or give final approval of the sermons.
If Rawls is correct, then one should expect to see, after the memorial is opened to the public, large numbers of Muslims flocking to it to say prayers, very likely in a special space provided to them by our dhimmi National Park Service.
Virtually everyone with any say-so in the Shanksville design has lacked the courage and resolution of Flight 93’s passengers and crew. They will not get behind the beverage cart of facts, suspicious coincidences, and speculation and smash through the wall of evasion, self-censorship, and dhimmitude to identify and acknowledge the cause of their circumstances.
Americans died at Lexington and Concord. See French’s “memorial” to them here, or Kitson’s “memorial” here. Or the Iwo Jima Memorial, here. These are not “memorials.” They are proper and proud tributes to heroism. What the passengers of Flight 93 deserve is not a “memorial,” but a monument to their intrepidness and their refusal to become “victims.”
5 Comments ::
:: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 ::
Of Federaphobia and Islamophobia
Posted by Edward Cline at 1:31 PM
“Nothing propinks like propinquity.”
There is some controversy about the origin of this aphorism. Did Felix Leiter say it in Ian Fleming’s 1956 Bond novel, Diamonds are Forever, or Bertie Wooster or Jeeves in P.G. Wodehouse’s 1934 novel, Right-Ho, Jeeves? Or did Fleming rearrange the Wodehouse reference to propinquity in the Jeeves novel? Wodehouse apparently never said or wrote it. At least one newspaper attributes the full aphorism to Wodehouse, and a book to Groucho Marx, as well. But it is more than likely that Fleming coined it. Fleming was no slacker when it came to writing memorable lines.
Dark propinquity governs the attacks on freedom of speech coming from two principal quarters: The Democrats, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Their ideological hostility to freedom of speech is mutual and certainly proximate. An argument could be made that the attacks are politically part and parcel of a major counter-offensive by the enemies of freedom in the face of real and projected defeats and growing antagonism to “big government” and Islamic cultural jihad. Its military analogue is the Battle of the Bulge. And both parties are demonstrably hostile to Americans speaking their minds or criticizing anything statist or Islamic. It remains to be seen if the counter-attack succeeds or fails.
Is there a George Patton out there who can relieve the new Bastogne?
CAIR has recently announced the creation of a department that will be devoted to educating Americans on the “true” character of Islam, but more specifically to counter what it has deemed “Islamophobia.”
“We have seen a small but vocal group of bigots and hate-mongers manufacture an atmosphere of anti-Islam hysteria through smear campaigns that rely on distortions, misinformation and outright falsehoods,” Awad said. The statement said the new “Islamophobia” department would produce an annual report tracking “trends in rhetorical attacks on Islam and Muslims and will offer accurate and balanced information to be used in the struggle for tolerance and mutual understanding.”
“Tolerance and mutual understanding” are not what will be accorded by CAIR to this particular instance of a “rhetorical attack” on Islam and Muslims. Islam is a political/theocratical ideology bent on the conquest of any and all nations whose governments and systems of jurisprudence are not now partially or wholly infected with Sharia law.
The term “Islamophobia” has become widely used in recent years despite criticism – even from some Muslims – about a term which etymologically suggests an irrational fear or horror of Muslims or Islam.
Unfortunately, the term does not “suggest” a rational fear or horror of Muslims or Islam”? Not to put too fine a point on it, I personally do not “fear” Muslims; I have a deep, abiding contempt for any selfless manqué who bows to a rock five times a day, believes in an omnipotent and omniscient ghost, and idolizes a scimitar-wielding barbarian who spread his faith by force and also is alleged to have written a book touted as a “guide for living,” the Koran. On the surface, Islam is a cult, but fundamentally it is a totalitarian blueprint for governing any and all aspects of an individual’s life. Moonies, Methodists, and the Mennonites are not maneuvering to insinuate their creeds into the system of American law. Islamists are.
Not so ironically, CAIR is not concerned with most established newspapers or with the mainstream media. Those institutions have already “submitted” to Islam by refusing to criticize Islam or even so much as reproduce a cartoon of Mohammad. It is all the “Islamophobia” that can be found on the Internet that CAIR and its fellow Islamic organizations wish to check and deem “disrespectful” of Islam, and so censorship- or regulation-worthy.
President Barack Obama and the Democrats have also not been shy about expressing their hostility to freedom of speech. They view any criticism of their socialist (some would say communist) agenda, hurriedly imposed on the country this year, as tantamount to blasphemy, if not altogether seditious in nature or intent.
Obama stooped to a smear (nothing new to him) by suggesting that the GOP is receiving a hefty chunk of campaign contributions from “foreign sources.” Newsmax reported:
With massive midterm losses looming, President Barack Obama is blasting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for accepting foreign donations for its political advertising — a charge that myriad watchdogs and media outlets already have debunked as groundless….
It began at a political rally in Maryland last week, when the president echoed a charge that first appeared in a left-wing blog that the Chamber of Commerce had used foreign contributions to help defray its $75 million campaign advertising budget.
When in doubt about the truth or legitimacy of one’s accusations, call in the ghouls:
Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has asked the IRS to investigate groups, such as the Chamber, that do political advertising. Also, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has called for a Federal Election Commission probe into whether the Chamber is using foreign donations to influence domestic politics.
The Chamber of Commerce answered with a denial of all unproven, unsubstantial, and unjustified allegations:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue vowed Tuesday to "ramp up" political advertising in the final weeks before the Nov. 2 election and accused the Obama administration of conducting a smear campaign against the chamber.
In a defiant letter to the chamber's board of directors, Donohue denied White House and Democratic claims that the chamber has used foreign money to pay for its political ads this election campaign.
"It's sad to watch the White House stoop to these depths and try to salvage an election," Donohue wrote.
That did not stop departing White House advisor David Axelrod from perpetuating the notion that the Chamber of Commerce is guilty until proven innocent – a decidedly anti-American concept of justice wholly in character with the administration’s “world view” on America.
On Sunday's "Face the Nation" program, White House senior adviser David Axelrod conceded that the administration has no facts to support its claim, while not backing off on the president's implication that the Chamber may have violated U.S. laws.
When ABC host Bob Schieffer asked whether he had any evidence to support the charge, Axelrod shot back: "Well, do you have any evidence it's not [true], Bob?"
Schieffer's replied by asking Axelrod: "Is that the best you can do?"
On October 10th, The Wall Street Journal blasted the Democrats in its editorial, “Shutting Up Business.” The editorial was not shy about naming the issue. It did not beat around the bush with the stick of circumspection, but beat the bush itself:
Since the Supreme Court's January decision in Citizens United v. FEC, Democrats in Congress have been trying to pass legislation to repeal the First Amendment for business, though not for unions. Having failed on that score, they're now turning to legal and political threats. Funny how all of this outrage never surfaced when the likes of Peter Lewis of Progressive insurance and George Soros helped to make Democrats financially dominant in 2006 and 2008.
Of course, a repeal of the First Amendment “for business” would necessarily and ultimately mean a repeal of it for all Americans, whether or not they were incorporated here or offshore, in partnership, or acting as individuals. There is no such thing as an exclusionary prohibition of speech; sooner or later that selective exclusion can and will be extended by some court or regulatory agency to other venues of speech until the exclusion is universal in application and enforcement.
Principles, whether eminently rational or corrosively irrational, must by their nature be principles, that is, fundamental in nature as guides in thought and action, and not selectively ad hoc.
It is left to the Journal to redeem the good name of American journalism. The Journal editorial chides its colleges in the press:
Faced with electoral repudiation as the public turns against their agenda, Democrats are unleashing government power to silence their political opponents. Instead of piling on, the press corps ought to blow the whistle on this attempt to stifle political speech. This is one more liberal abuse of power that voters should consider as they head to the polls.
And, what about that repudiation, that distrust of big government, that rejection of the Obama and Congressional agenda, so arrogantly and blithely ignored by our dismissive corps of Democratic Platonic guardians? The Associated Press reports:
Nearly 80 percent of Americans say they can’t [trust Washington], and they have little faith that the massive federal bureaucracy can solve the nation’s ills, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center that shows public confidence in the federal government at one of the lowest points in a half-century.
The poll released Sunday illustrates the ominous situation facing President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party as they struggle to maintain their comfortable congressional majorities in this fall’s elections. Midterm prospects are typically tough for the party in power. Add a toxic environment like this and lots of incumbent Democrats could be out of work.
It is interesting to note that while Democrats can accuse Americans of “Federaphobia,” and CAIR can accuse bloggers of “Islamophobia,” Democratic incumbents have a phobia of their own: they don’t want Obama campaigning for them. He is seen as bad luck, as a hex, as a liability.
But, it is not about phobias at all. It is the totalitarian ideology that Americans are grasping and rejecting, the statist kind and the Islamic kind.
4 Comments ::
:: Wednesday, October 06, 2010 ::
America is a Monument to Reason, not Faith
Posted by Edward Cline at 6:32 PM
I have been over this ground before in past commentaries, but the danger of the Tea Party being commandeered by religionists is very real and compels me to add a footnote concerning one of the consequences of that phenomenon.
Family Security Matters (FSM) on October 5th ran an article, “An Open Letter to Barack Obama,” which carried a link to a petition to Obama asking him to permit the replacement of the World War I Memorial cross erected in the Mojave Desert, but which was stolen and never recovered. It opens with:
President Obama has ignored requests to restore to its proper resting place the only federal WWI memorial, the Mojave Desert War Memorial Cross, while supporting the Ground Zero mosque to be built on the 9/11 gravesite. What is wrong with this picture?
One thing wrong with the picture is that that Ground Zero is not a “gravesite,” but a construction site whose status has been a political football for about ten years. A new World Trade Center, perhaps higher than the original, could have been topped off five years ago. It would have been a suitable “memorial” to everyone who perished there, and a tribute to America’s greatness. But the inter-faction dialogue that has prevented anything of note being built on that site is indicative of national political dialogue.
Another thing wrong is that the petition does not address the question of whether or not religious symbols should be permitted on federal or public land. A cross is not the same as the Iwo Jima Memorial or the Statue of Liberty. The existence of such a religious symbol on federal property, whether or not it is a war memorial, arguably violates the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the Constitution. But, this is another issue.
Yes, Obama sorta-kinda endorsed the Ground Zero mosque, also known as Cordoba House and Park 51, and I do not think he will author anything like a non-negotiable concession and give the WWI memorial petitioners any satisfaction. If he did, it is likely that the Council on American Islamic Relations and other Islamic front organizations would interpret his okay as “anti-Muslim” and launch another anti-American public relations intifada.
Obama has not replied to or acknowledged the petition. Nor is he likely to. One word from him to the National Park Service, which refuses to allow the cross to be replaced by a replica, would see some action. Doubtless there are countless Christians willing to chip in to fashion a new cross. But the National Park Service, a lumbering dinosaur bureaucracy in its own right, as noted in the petitioners’ letter, refuses to allow anything but the original cross to be erected on the site.
Mr. President, if you were to endorse the National Park Service’s policy, you would be inviting wholesale desecration of religious symbols at war memorials across the country and at our battlefield cemeteries abroad. If we are not allowed to replace memorial crosses that are stolen or destroyed, then your administration will rightly be seen as openly encouraging attacks on religious symbols.
Presumably, by Muslims. I am surprised that no Islamic outfit has protested the illustration of the eagle and the cross. One can imagine that they would prefer the crescent and star in place of the cross, but be absolutely incensed if it were pictured with the cross, the Star of David or menorah, a Buddhist dharma, a Hindu trishula, an atheist symbol of Pisces with rudimentary legs (a Darwinian fish symbol and adaptation of the “Jesus fish”)….and so on.
The one symbol that virtually everyone would object to is the dollar sign, which is a more fitting symbol for the country. People live here or come here to make money, and only incidentally remain to practice their creeds in peace. Except, perhaps, Muslims.
Of course, Obama has never redacted, or at least retracted, his statement that the U.S. was a not just a Christian one, but a whole Campbell’s Soup 57 Varieties of Religion kind of nation. As with virtually everything Obama has ever uttered, I must disagree with his multi-faith sophistry. His prepared remarks to a religious conference in June 2006 differed a little from his delivery. As reported by FactCheck.org.:
Obama, June 28, 2006 (prepared remarks): Given the increasing diversity of America's population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.
That quote appears also on Obama’s campaign Web site. Unfortunately for Obama, he stumbled just a bit when he delivered the actual quote, as can be seen in this video of his speech, posted on YouTube by the Obama campaign. The way it actually came out was:
Obama, June 28, 2006 (as delivered): Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.
His inner teleprompter must have been on the fritz.
America, however, is a nation whose government was founded on a secular political philosophy that recognized individual rights. It happens to be largely populated by men subscribing to a variety of religions. The religions and number of people subscribing to any one of them, however, do not define its essential nature or character.
I will not embark on a philosophical discourse here about why the United States is NOT a “Christian nation,” or try to counter the claim that it was founded on the Ten Commandments (John Adams to the contrary notwithstanding). What I shall do is knock the stuffings out of the most strenuous assertion that the United States was founded as, and intended to remain, a Christian nation. Long, long ago, early in the Islamic jihad against the United States, a pact was reached between this country and the elevated robbers’ roost of Tripoli, whose Musselman Big Man the Bey had been overseeing and sanctioning the seizure of American merchant vessels and holding them and their crews for ransom.
Without remarking on the wisdom of the Treaty of November 1796, the last year of Washington’s presidency, I offer here Article 11 of the document, with the original punctuation, which states:
As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, -- as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, -- and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
The Treaty was subsequently ratified by Congress on June 10, 1797, during John Adams’s first year as President. Presumably Congress then, as it is now, was populated by Christians of various stripes and varying degrees of devotion or pretences thereto. They did not object to Article 11 and raise Cain over it. It was a fact they acknowledged and implicitly enacted into law via the Treaty – that the United States was not founded on the Christian religion, and that these United States were not to be regarded as a Christian nation by any and all foreign powers – and especially not by the marauding Barbary Pirates. And particularly not by its Christian inhabitants.
Briefly, the United States is a nation many of whose citizens subscribe to a multitude of religious doctrines, and who are protected by secular law, not by any one or any combination of religious law. These citizens can coexist peacefully by virtue and grace of secular law. Secular law is this country’s defining attribute vis-à-vis its operable jurisprudence. The outstanding thing about our secular law is that it was designed and implemented by men of faith, who wisely set aside their religious differences to grasp that only secular “atheistic” law would protect them and their faith from religious strife and warfare.
In short, they were men of reason who realized that faith would not ensure the longevity of the republic, and that reason alone would guarantee its continued existence and tranquility.
5 Comments ::
:: Sunday, October 03, 2010 ::
Obama’s Malice Aforethought
Posted by Edward Cline at 6:53 PM
The President Barack Obama’s feelings are hurt.
For most of his time in the White House, Obama has been critical of information about him and his administration posted on the Internet. He’s frequently denigrated bloggers and Internet conservative news & commentary web sites for their efforts to cover stories the so-called mainstream news media refuse to cover, according to critics of his plans to control the “Information Highway.”
This is precisely the kind of speech that Obama and his unelected czars and wannabe censors wish to monitor, judge, squelch, punish, crush, and eradicate. Permanently. Napoleon shared the same touchiness: "I fear the newspapers more than a hundred thousand bayonets." And those newspapers, together with the bayonet thrusts of bloggers, conservative (and non-conservative) news and commentary websites, have needled Obama and his staff and advisors beyond endurance. Any words critical of Obama or the government have been regarded as the equivalent of blasphemy, slander, libel, and the subverting the “community harmony” of the nation.
In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Obama, when asked about his media nemesis Fox News, remarked:
(Laugh) Look, as president, I swore to uphold the Constitution, and part of that Constitution is a free press. We’ve got a tradition in this country of a press that oftentimes is opinionated. The golden age of an objective press was a pretty narrow span of time in our history. Before that, you had folks like Hearst who used their newspapers very intentionally to promote their viewpoints. I think Fox is part of that tradition – it is part of the tradition that has a very clear, undeniable point of view. It’s a point of view that I disagree with. It’s a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world. But as an economic enterprise, it’s been wildly successful. And I suspect that if you ask Mr. Murdoch what his number-one concern is, it’s that Fox is very successful.”
Obama may have sworn to uphold the Constitution, but in his realm of pragmatism, words are cheap, their meanings are negotiable. As one blogger noted about his position on the Second Amendment, “Obama’s position on the 2nd Amendment has one more side than a polygon.” He has done everything in his power to usurp the Constitution. A free press – or freedom of speech – is not a “tradition,” but a right founded on the nature of man and the political requirements to preserve his freedom, one of which is property. What “golden age of an objective press” was he referring to, and what would he define as an “objective press”? The mainstream media that helped get him elected?
He called Fox News “wildly successful,” but what did he mean by that? As virtually the only television news outlet that has consistently criticized Obama and promoted his critics, it has been “wildly successful” in alerting the public to his and Congress’s machinations. He was not paying Fox News a compliment. Fox News’ freedom of speech is “ultimately destructive.” Destructive of what? His socialist agenda? What has Fox News’s position to do with a “vibrant middle class,” “long-term growth,” and being “competitive in the world”? These are non sequiturs issues picked out of the air to fill space. Behind his laughter was a suppressed growl.
Even a “temporary” or “emergency” lock-up of this kind of speech is intolerable. Under a statist regime, “temporary” means permanently. The regime also decrees what is an “emergency.” Nazi Germany existed in a state of permanent emergency, from the day Hitler came to power in 1933 to its collapse in 1945. Obama and his allies in government are pining for a Nazi-style “Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda” that would filter, interpret, suppress, and outlaw news and information they deem harmful to and critical of the government’s policies, powers, and actions.
The Obama administration, at first defensive of its powers, policies and actions, has conducted an offensive against any and all who question the motive and wisdom of that administration.
Obama’s administration is definably statist. What is statism? Encarta’s World English Dictionary, offers the best “mainstream” definition:
the theory, or its practice, that economic and political power should be controlled by a central government leaving regional government and the individual with relatively little say in political matters
That definition fits the Obama administration like a glove, a glove that fits neatly over the mailed fist clenched behind the back of every one of his appointees (remaining or departed).
The definition, however, omits or neglects the fundamental philosophical foundation of statism. Novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand delves beneath the obvious description to the roots.
The political expression of altruism is collectivism or statism, which holds that man’s life and work belong to the state—to society, to the group, the gang, the race, the nation—and that the state may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.
Statism—in fact and in principle—is nothing more than gang rule. A dictatorship is a gang devoted to looting the effort of the productive citizens of its own country.
De facto censorship or semi-regulated speech, not overtly controlled by the government, but ominous and damaging all the same, has crept into the culture. Submission to the wishes of Islamic activists not to reproduce pictures of Mohammad, or to criticize Islam at all, is a recent example of self-censorship. It also takes the form of self-suppression and compliance as a result of a threat from a non-governmental agency, such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which recently “persuaded” the ice cream maker, Ben & Jerry’s, to remove its description “all natural” from its product line. (I am no fan of Ben & Jerry’s, which, before it was acquired by Unilever, was a regular donor of its profits to virtually every left-wing and environmentalist group in the country; compliance with the complaint was in the way of just desserts and a consequence of its support for one of its destroyers.)
The CSPI, based in Washington, said the government should define the term."The Food and Drug Administration could do consumers and food manufacturers a great service by actually defining when the word 'natural' can and cannot be used to characterize a given ingredient," CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson said in a statement.
So, the CSPI wishes the FDA to define terms. Well, let us see how the censors and their patrons do not think about the phrase “all natural.” Ice cream is not “natural,” that is, it is man-made and not found in “nature.” But why are man-made entities excluded from “nature” or barred from being deemed “natural”? If it exists, it is indeed “natural,” or of nature, even though it is manufactured. Ice cream must be made from things that exist and rearranged by man. So, ice cream can truly and literally be said to be “all natural,” including the additives and ingredients cited by the CSPI. The phrase all natural is, therefore, an oxymoron.
But in this instance the term “all natural” is not being employed by the “pure food and drug” police as a scientific term. It is used exclusively as a political weapon and a brandished club to compel compliance with the whims of the CSPI.
Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It is disliked by tyrants. It is disliked by Obama and his cohorts in the administration and Congress Why? Because it facilitates communication between those who practice it and those who audit it, Because by allowing those who have an opinion or point of view to express it to those who are receptive to it, it may lead to action that could checkmate or obviate fiat power and the ongoing violation of individual rights. Because it exposes tyrants and their lies and machinations and power-lusting ambitions. Because it is a vehicle of the truth. Because it is a source of knowledge. Because its guarantee of unregulated, uncontrolled, unsuppressed knowledge can precipitate trouble for tyrants.
It is this freedom of speech which has led to the Tea Party and to the wide dissatisfaction of Americans with Obama and Congress, and to the likely defeat of the Democrats in the coming midterm elections, a defeat virtually ensured by the authoritarian legislation passed by Congress and advocated and encouraged by Obama. The dumbing-down of Americans in public education has not been entirely successful; there are still enough Americans left who possess a sense of imperiled and outraged self and a focused concern that is reflected in the polls and in anti-government rhetoric and on numerous websites dedicated to broadcasting the truth.
One of the most recent and insidious means of de facto censorship is what is called “libel tourism,” an action taken by a foreign national to suppress criticism of him in this country by ruinous litigation.
The story of the SPEECH Act starts with Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, the director of the American Center for Democracy, who bravely stood up to a Saudi billionaire named Khalid bin Mahfouz whom she accused of financing terrorist groups in her book, Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed – and How to Stop It. Mahfouz, who died of a heart attack on August 16, 2009, targeted Ehrenfeld with a lawsuit as he had done to other authors accusing him of having ties to terrorism. Taking advantage of the United Kingdom’s libel laws that force the defendant to prove their accusations in court, Mahfouz sued 45 publishers and journalists and all settled, except for Dr. Ehrenfeld.
Following a law passed by New York State that did not recognize the jurisdiction of foreign libel laws in that state, Congress passed its own version of the law.
On August 10, a major victory for freedom of speech was achieved. President Obama signed the Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act (SPEECH Act) into law, stopping Americans from being sued for libel by individuals in other countries with inadequate First Amendment rights. The legislation is a defeat for those who would seek to silence Americans speaking out against radical Islam by threatening to bankrupt them with costly lawsuits.
Given Obama’s “outreach” efforts to the Islamic world, together with his refusal to take anything but a Pollyannaish perspective on Islam’s religious ideology, a perspective which denies its perils – one of them the brutal silencing of any and all criticism of Islam – he must have signed that law with gnashing teeth and a hurried flair of his pen. He could not very well have not signed it, because it passed Congress unanimously.
Glib speakers like President Barack Obama can be boring or enervating, but nevertheless dangerous. His tenure in the White House has allowed him to not only reveal his core, anti-freedom, anti-liberty, anti-American premises, but those of his allies in and out of government. They have become emboldened in their designs to establish their own satrapies of power, power that would comport with his own and answerable to him.
Proposed cybersecurity legislation circulating on Capitol Hill would give the president the power to declare an emergency in the case of big online attacks and force some businesses to beef up their cyber defenses and submit to scrutiny. The draft bill, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, allows the president to declare an emergency if there is an imminent threat to the U.S. electrical grid or other critical infrastructure such as the water supply or financial network because of a cyber attack.
What is proposed in the bill is de facto nationalization of businesses deemed by the government to be “critical.” This is a signature sign of fascism.
Steve DelBianco, director of the trade group NetChoice, whose members include Yahoo, eBay and News Corp., objected to a part of the bill that would bar companies designated as "critical" from fighting that designation in court. "That has to be amended to make this bill fair to the businesses who will pay for it," he said. The draft tries to calm fears the government is reaching too far into business operations by requiring specific designations for which parts of a company or industry might be considered "critical infrastructure."
Obama’s statements indicate not so superfluous a revelation as his “mindset” as a compulsive, ideological predisposition to control what is said about him and his policies and what he wishes not to be said about him and his policies. His statements about freedom of speech
Government controlled media and speech are not free media and free speech. Government controlled news is not news but falsehoods, half-truths disguising lies, and fairy tales spun for the gullible and the ignorant.
Fortunately, if only temporarily, Obama and his gang know that the jig is up, insofar as the midterm elections are concerned. Seeing the signs of an uncompromising rejection of the administration’s policies (at least by the American people, but not by the Republicans), many of his key advisors and appointees are jumping the Titanic before they are sucked into the vortex of ignominious defeat. Obama’s once highly-charged public performances are now insouciant to the point of boredom. His papered halls fool no one, not even him.
Yet, he will have two more years left in his term. He is still a danger to contend with. He will try to abridge the First Amendment under the guise of the “public interest.” His pronouncements on the Constitution are directly pronouncements on property rights, on which is dependent freedom of speech. As long ago as 2001, he claimed.
But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution....
He was wrong about that, because the Court has often decided to redistribute wealth, but that is another issue. The key issue here is that he knows that “redistributed wealth” also means redistributed privileges of speech. And if one has no influence or pull in the government, then chances are one will not be allowed to speak.
A position such as he articulated in 2001 and has repeated since then constitutes malice aforethought. He knows what he is doing. Americans should be advised to say so as vigorously and often as they can.
3 Comments ::