Friday, April 07, 2006

Read the dang ticket

To be honest, I don’t like Ann Coulter. I think she is a loud mouth who writes poor books. But I am real tired of the way folks have been disrupting her speeches as of late. Nothing shows a lack of civility and respect for free speech than by completely disturbing someone who is speaking. If you don’t like her, protest outside, hand out flyers, don’t pay to go see her. Being a jerk and throwing pies and screaming her down is just childish.

Anyhow, here is a link to Arkansas Indy Media. The author was removed from the audience for having a camera, which they then assumed was a conspiracy against free speech. Someone responded to his post with this statement:

“If you had had an opportunity to read the information that came with the ticket in your hand, you'd have known that the "No cameras allowed," policy is the policy of the Walton Arts Center. Cameras are allowed at some other Ann Coulter appearances, depending on the policies of the venue.

I'm sorry that you missed her speech. It was great, and the protesters were quite entertaining. Better luck next time.”


And there you have it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Why Indymedia needs to go

“Indymedia was set up to fill a void in the corporate media. An idea I thought long overdue. Unfortunately, as a largely unmoderated, unrestricted medium it was promptly over-run by bigots, trolls and Nazis confusing free-speech with hate-speech. I believe the Indy Media experiment has failed. As Indymedia claims it keeps the corporate media honest, I decided it was time someone watched Indymedia instead. Be careful... You may not like what you see.” – Indymedia Watch

I would like to bring up one of the main reasons Indymedia has failed so miserable as a viable news source. The lack of proper editors. A good chunk of the articles published on IM sites do not meet even the minimal standards that other news sources must.

Obviously, I don’t have an editor either. Most blogs don’t. I have brought up the problems with this in a previous post. Many of the problems with Indymedia are also shared with the blog sphere. The difference is that an individual blogger can technically be held accountable for any lies or slander they commit. Indymedia on the other hand allows anyone to post under their ‘news wire’ without consequence. Indymedia can always state that they do not have control over the articles they host because that would infringe on their open source objectives. Yet, Indymedia gets to claim that it is a 'news source'. The documentation of the lack of journalistic integrity and editorial quality are so well recognized at this point, it is increasingly hard to take anything on an Indymedia site seriously.

I have no problem with folks stating their opinions and presenting their point of view. It is when such gross distortions are used that it becomes dangerous. On top of the disinformation available at IM, the fact that most dissenting opinion is banned is truly the most disturbing trend. I often hear the assertion by IM followers that “if you don’t like the stories you see on the site, get out there and post some yourself.” That would be wonderful, but a huge portion of the dissenting pieces get removed (almost all in fact). For as uninvolved as Indymedia editors are, they sure crack the whip when it comes to those who fall out of their very centralized ideology. They should at least be honest about their publishing guidelines.

Indymedia has become what they claimed to hate: an ideological smear site that censors all who disagree with their unfounded conclusions.

Indymedia was a great idea; it has just turned into an unequivocal failure.

Israel = Nazi Germany?

Ah yes, there are just too many stupid Indymedia posts today, I was a bit overwhelmed upon trying to get through them all this morning.

Over at Indymedia Watch, they have linked to a discussion that is currently raging about an anti-war group that is also pro-Israel. Here are just some of the highlights.

“If the signs equating opposition to war with support for Bin Laden were aimed at all war opponents and the people with "ProIsrael ProPeace" signs were not displaying a similar sentiment to the "Peace From Above" sign, then the Protest Warriors and Republicans were demonizing the Israel supporters too... but the groups seemed to get along pretty well and while there was a grouping of the most racist Berkeley Republicans in the center of the line many other anti-anti-war signs were sprinkled among the proIsrael flags in a way that suggested general agreement.” – Um

Thank God someone called ‘Um’ on this assertion.

“That the counter-protestors were not ripping each other limb from limb is not a sign of agreement or collusion, it is a sign of civility.” – Thank the Police

‘Um’ returns with a few more comments:

“As for the person asking what was racist, think about how things would look if instead of proIsrael protesters dressed up as Palestinians the counter protest consisted of antiIsrael protesters dressed as Hasidic Jews but with feature accentuated to make them seem evil. Or imagine if the "I want virgins" signs were being held up by an opponent of integration during the Civil Rights struggle and the signs said "I want white women"?” – Um

Yes, if the protestors were to make fun of Muslims as a group and characterize them as terrorists, that could be racist. But Osama and his organization, DOES believe they get virgins in heaven for killing innocent folks. They DO believe in violence against all populations of people to achieve their goal. Nothing is wrong with pointing out that those are the tenants of that organizations belief structure, and that they represent a portion of Islamic thought. Arguing that it is like racist characterizations against African Americans during the Civil Rights struggle is incorrect. Saying that all Black men want to have sex with white women is a bold-face lie meant to create hate against a whole people, stating that Al-Qaeda believes strongly in violence and the rewards they feel it will bring them, is the truth. Apparently, not only has the far right equated Al-Qaeda with all Muslims, but the far left as well.

This comment on the other hand…..

“At this point, anybody whose foremost concern is for Israel's "safety and security" can justly be described as a throat-slashing bigot. Go away.” – TW

So telling the truth about Al-Qaeda: racism. Folks who want Israel to remain safe: throat-slashing bigots. Got it.

Are You a Liberal?

This is a great piece by Dean Esmay over at Dean’s World about what it means to be a liberal. I think it explains why I still associate with the term. Enjoy!

Are You a Liberal?
One of my war cries for the last couple of years has been, "The Left isn't Liberal!" Most people look at me like I'm daft when I say that, but many so-called "right-wingers," who are actually quite liberal themselves, know exactly what I mean.
If you look at any decent dictionary...
...you'll find that "liberal" is generally defined as the American Heritage dictionary defines it:

1) Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
2) Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded

Notice what that definition does not say. It says nothing about your view of taxes. It says nothing about your views of homosexuality. It says nothing about your view of the right to keep and bear arms, or abortion, or feminism, or school prayer, or whether you vote Democratic or Republican or 3rd party or not at all.

If we take that definition seriously, I could be a card-carrying member of the NRA with a concealed-carry permit, I could think homosexuality is sinful, I could think taxes are much too high, I could think Bill Clinton was a horrible President, I could think that welfare checks cause crime and poverty and destroy the human soul, I could oppose socialized medicine, I could think abortion is murder, I could believe that our Social Security system is a ripoff that steals from our children, I could think our public schools can best be fixed by freedom of choice for parents, I could think Rush Limbaugh is hilarious and a boon to American culture, I could think legalizing medical marijuana is a horrible idea, I could think the mainstream media is badly biased, I could think democracy is a daft idea, I could think that Alan Dershowitz should be strapped into a barber chair and forced to listen to Courtney Love records... heck, I could think all of that and more, and still be a liberal.
By the way, please note that I do not believe all of the above. I may not believe most of it, although I do believe some of it. You can guess, but I'm not saying (at least, not now). Yet if I did subscribe to all those views, most Americans would balk if I called myself a liberal. Why is that?

The problem is that when millions of Americans say "liberal," they are referring to a fairly specific set of beliefs completely at odds with everything I described two paragraphs ago. Just as interesting, many people who hold said beliefs are, in fact, not at all "free of bigotry," "favoring of reform," "unorthodox," "broad-minded," or "anti-authoritarian."

Some time in the late 20th Century (it's open to debate exactly when, or at whose hands), "liberal" came to mean, basically, a socialist. Usually, it's a socialist who believes that the state is dangerous when it arrests criminals or wants to limit pornography or abortion, but should be free to regulate our lives in just about any other way. It is also axiomatic for them that, since taxes are an unavoidable aspect of life, any amount of taxation is moral. As long as we democratically elect those who impose the taxes, it doesn't matter how much they take away from our fellow citizens. Indeed, the only caveat is that a "moral" tax will be leavied not just in higher amounts, but at much higher rates on vaguely-defined groups they call "the rich" and, of course, those "greedy corporations."

Astonishingly, most folks who think like this (mind you, I used to consider myself one of them) also think tend to of themselves as free of bigotry and intolerance--although if you changed the words "rich" and "corporations" in many of their statements to oh, let's say "Jews," the nature of their views would be far more open to question. Ditto on many (not all, but many) of their rants about "The Religious Right."

Such people also usually think themselves to be axiomatically intelligent, good and decent because of their obviously (to them) righteous ideals. They take it as a given that anyone who disagrees with them on any fundamental issue is, ipso facto, stupid, ignorant, selfish, mean-spirited, or just plain evil. This is especially ironic, because most of those opposed to their views are highly anti-authoritarian and unorthodox and are, at least some of the time, quite broad-minded and tolerant.
It makes certain conversations difficult to have in American English. I really wish I could think of a good way to clear this mess up, but I can't.

In a recent piece in NRO, Stanley Kurtz more or less nails it by describing who these folks really are. He doesn't say so, but the truth is that they are the closed-minded reactionaries of today. The laughable part is, they actually think they're the liberals.

It's funny, when you think about it. - Dean Esmay

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Uh-oh

“The new Hamas-led Palestinian cabinet was holding its first regular meeting on Wednesday. During this meeting, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that the Palestinian Authority's treasury was empty.”

Uh-oh.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Another day, another stupid Indymedia 'article'

More stupidity over at Indybay.org. This is part of a recent article by ‘CHUCKMAN” titled “AMERICA’S BRUTAL TACTICS.” Of course, the act of using all caps when writing your name and title makes you an uber-revolutionary. Nothing ‘the man’ hates more than caps. Here is just a quick snippet from the unsubstantiated piece.

“The trigger-happy nature of Americans at check points is a well-established fact. These boys, many of them having joined up for benefits like money for college, do not want to be in these places, and they are irritated by the strange tongues and cultures and the blazing heat and sandstorms. They simply shoot first and ask questions after.”

The “well-established facts” CHUCKMAN claims to have are not posted in the article. In fact, he does not have a single source for any of his claims. Surprise, Surprise.

Le France

Canadian blogger Damian Penny reports on the French tradition of mobocracy. Thanks to Jonny for the heads up.

"'The street' in healthy democracies means a road you cross. In dictatorships, it means the gossip of discontent, as in "Arab street." In France, it means mobocracy: festivals of hyped-up anger, leftist sloganeering, fat-cat unions, coddled law-breakers and a general belief that, in the end, a legally elected government should bow to the threat of violence. It's France's national sickness: manifs, or disruptive demonstrations. And it demonstrates only one thing: the failure of representative democracy..."

Oh that Hamas!

“Democracy can have no meaning if its results are refused simply because they do not conform to some people's wishes. And when it comes to material support, the Western position is essentially a policy of collective punishment of the Palestinian people for voting in Hamas. This policy contradicts international law.”

This is one of the more ridiculous arguments to pop up about the election of Hamas. What this Indymedia poster is saying is that Hamas is entitled to free money from the west. Mind you, this is money that western nations like the United States give out of the kindness of their hearts with little to no intent of getting back later. Why should any country feel obligated to give money to a government that supports terrorists?

Realistically, the west is going to have to continue bankrolling Palestine, even with Hamas in control. Since Palestine has almost no industry and very little private business, it is almost entirely dependant on aid from foreign nations. If all nations stopped paying Palestine’s bills, the country would surely fall into chaos.

I personally feel that we should cut 95% of our aid until Hamas changes its positions on Israel and terror, or is voted out of office. That may seem like “collective punishment,” but why should we financially prop up a government that is hostile to us? Palestine is not entitled to a single dime, and if they decide to move their nation in a direction we do not agree with, why should we pay for it? Indymedia seems to think that anytime the American government gets involved it is for vile, evil purposes. Why the double speak when it comes to financial aid? If third-worldism and socialism are the paths to stability, why is it that it takes a capitalist economy like our own to keep them running?

Palestine has every right to elect a government of their choosing, but we do not have to financially support their decision. Just because Palestine chose to democratically put Hamas in charge does not mean that we have to go along with it.

Arab governments that claim to support Palestine need to step up to the plate and fund them. Dictators and totalitarian regimes from around the region constantly talk about the oppression and poverty of the Palestinian people, so why don’t they contribute more to their cause?

Better yet, why don’t more folks from Indymedia and the anti-Israel crowd send Palestine money? Better their personal dollars rather than my tax dollars.

So please, can someone in the pro-Hamas corner of the political spectrum explain to me why we should have to fund their government?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Hot Dog! If Charlie Sheen believes it, then it must be true!

When I consider the greatest thinkers of our era, Charlie Sheen almost always comes to mind. “Two and a Half Men” is such an astounding cultural triumph; I would have to put him up there with Aristotle, Plato, and Adam Smith.

Jesus Christ folks. If you are going to be a conspiracy theorist, it’s doubtlessly better to attach yourself to someone who at least attempts to have scholastic integrity. If Charlie Sheen is the far-left’s new theologian, then the work required to critique Indymedia just got a lot easier. It was never that hard to begin with, but I can now get more sleep by having my pet chimp Bing-Bobo do the postings.

Does anyone over at Indymedia think that maybe, just maybe, making a great mind like Charlie Sheen your poster boy is a mistake? Anyone? Apparently not.

What is wrong with Blogs

The folks over at Right Wing Nuthouse have a great post up about the whole Jill Carol situation.

Open the door, and let out the fish

The size of the protests against potential new legislation targeting immigrants was impressive. They apparently brought out more folks than any of the anti-war marches we have seen in the last few years. What I do find hilarious however, is the way Indymedia seems to think having kids ditch school is something rare and revolutionary.

I am sure that some of the students who ditched school to protest had legitimate beefs with the law, and I am sure that fewer of them even read the law. No major problem there, most folks don't do the research required before they get their underwear up their rear ends. But come on Indymedia, these are high school students. They ditch school any chance they get, so don’t necessarily paint this act as something revolutionary.

I have thought up a far more revolutionary act these students could have engaged in. They could have helped draft an eloquent response to submit to congress explaining the implications of their actions. They could have shown congress how there lives had been changed by the American education their parents so desperately wanted for their children. They could have explained how it is impossible to get rid of 11 million people. But that takes work, and ditching school does not.

I don’t think Indymedia picked up on the irony of immigrant’s children ditching school to protest. Their parents and grandparents came to America so that their children could have the chance at a better life, education being a major draw. So it is odd to have the protestors symbolically and physically turn their backs on those aspirations.

But who am I kidding; most of them ditched school because they could. Nothing political about that.