Saturday, August 21, 2010

Max Blumenthal's Facebook minstrel show

Max Blumenthal has posted the following as his profile photo on Facebook. It shows him with kipah and siddur pretending to pray to a portrait of Benjamin Netanyahu. Who exactly is Blumenthal targeting with this Jew-face minstrel show? The image would be right at home on Stormfront, wouldn't it?

This isn't Blumenthal's first flirtation with hate-speech. As I wrote here, Blumenthal gave several interviews earlier this year in which he called U.S. politicians who support Israel "quislings", thus equating them with the puppet leaders installed by the Nazis in the countries they occupied.

Blumenthal may imagine himself to be making trenchant, deliberate provocations. I suppose Ann Coulter imagines the same thing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

David Horowitz' inadvertent conservative case for Cordoba House

David Horowitz' News Real Blog has published what have to be the two worst arguments I've heard in favor of the government intervening to prevent the construction of what is alternately called Cordoba House or "the ground zero mosque". The blogger, who for understandable reasons conceals his identity, calling himself "Joe Blough", argues that the First Amendment applies only to Congress, not to municipal or state governments or to the other branches of the federal government. Addressing the president, "Joe Blough" writes:

(C)ongress isn’t making any laws about the matter so that settles that. Thank you Mr. Assistant Professor in Chief. Unfortunately there is nothing in there preventing the president from insulting the intelligence of the public.

He's right about one thing, and lucky for him. If there were a law against insulting the intelligence of the public, "Joe Blough" and David Horowitz would be fugitives from justice. The question of whether the Bill of Rights applies to state and municipal governments is settled law, as the vast majority of constitutional thinkers including the entire Supreme Court would undoubtedly agree. The editors of News Real Blog seem to think otherwise, choosing to advocate in this instance an extremist States Rights position advocated by opponents of federal civil rights laws against discrimination on the basis of race or religion.  By this line of thinking, the states and municipalities would be free once again to mandate segregation and prevent oppressed groups from voting.  Can David Horowitz really be supporting this extremist argument?

Having summarily wiped the First and Fourteenth Amendments and a massive corpus of Supreme Court decisions from the books, Horowitz' blog goes on to take an extremely odd stand for a purportedly conservative blog. It argues that property rights should not apply because the municipal government already regulates some uses of private property. For some reason, the argument rests on the fact that the city regulates traffic and prohibits smoking in public accommodations such as offices, restaurants, train stations, etc .

Consider the non-smoking rules so dear to (New York City Mayor) Bloomberg’s heart. There are people, loud persistent people, in NYC that don’t like cigarette smoke. And based on that dislike — a mere dislike — property owners, leasors and leasees of all sorts around NYC must prevent their customers from smoking on their property or face the wrath of the city. Property rights in NYC are such that hanging a sign over your door that says “Smokers Only” will not defend you. You have no say in the matter, your rights are not recognized. And that is only one, blatantly obvious example.

NYC is very well practiced at limiting one person’s rights to accomodate the comforts of another.

Public property in NYC is handled with the same high handed flippancy, as if it belonged personally to New Yorkers’ alleged representatives. For example, traffic down Broadway is now slowed to a trickle, because some genius in the administration thought it would be nice to have little parks in the middle of Broadway rather than all those nasty smelly cars. The rights of the public that jointly own that avenue? Not even a consideration.

And here again, why make little parks in the middle of one of NYC’s busiest streets? Because little parks appeal to somebody’s feelings, whereas cars do not.

To be fair, some might argue, perhaps even with some justice, that that is just what local ordinances are for. To legislate matters that in an ideal sense, impinge on individual rights, for the sake of accomodating local sensibilities. But, were that correct, the Bloomberg administration would only stand more deeply damned.

Bloomberg and his functionaries could have found a dozen, perfectly plausible and normal ways to dictate that the mosque could not be built less than than some arbitrary distance from ground zero. They have all the tools they need.

The government of NYC and Mr. Bloomberg, can, will and do legislate and regulate on the basis of feeling. The only question is whose feelings. What we learn is that the feelings of most of the voting public, indeed the feelings of the families of the dead and survivors of the 9/11 attack, do not count. What matters are the feelings of Mr. Bloomberg and his leftist friends.

And believe me when I tell you, those are not feelings of love. Not for America. And not, gentle reader, for you.

The internal contradictions of purported conservatives arguing in favor of more government limitations on both the free exercise of religion and private property rights are so apparent as to scarcely merit counter-argument. The right ties itself in knots with such lines of thinking. Horowitz' blog inadvertently makes this clear by supporting what it itself comically refers to as "arbitrary" restrictions, an argument which should be laughed out of the court of public opinion, regardless of either the conservatism or anti-Islam bias of that opinion.

By publishing this post, David Horowitz has done a tremendous service to conservatives looking for reasons to support the Cordoba House project. Regardless of conservatives' emotional reaction to the project, Horowitz has made clear by the weakness of these arguments in favor of arbitrary government limitations on personal liberties that supporting Cordoba House is a great way for conservatives to stand up for their ideological principles.

read here: 9/11 Victory Mosque: Another Reason the “Rights” Talk is Bunk | NewsReal Blog

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Repealing Birthright Citizenship Wasn't a Good Idea Back in the Forties Either

read here.

Eye-rolling headline of the day

Mel Gibson had a fender bender on a Malibu highway the other day. Here's the headline for that story, according to a traditionalist Catholic website:

"Traditional Catholic Producer-Director Mel Gibson Miraculously Uninjured in Car Crash On the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary"

read here: TRADITIO Traditional Roman Catholic Network, including the Official Catholic Directory of Traditional Latin Masses

Friday, August 13, 2010

Holocaust denial in pro-Palestinian paper

read here: Harry's Place | Fredrick Toben in the Palestine Telegraph and here: Toben: Materialism of western democracies is exhausting itself

UPDATE: The interview was scrubbed from the Palestine Telegraph website on Aug. 15.   Cached version here.  Confused non-apology apology by Palestine Telegraph editor here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rand Paul opposes federal mine regulations

He's already come out against federal civil rights laws, federal environmental laws, federal gun control laws, the 14th Amendment, foreign aid, and participation in international organizations such as the U.N., World Bank and IMF. Now he's taking a stand against what he perceives as another threat to liberty.  He's saying that his fellow Kentuckians who either work as miners or live near coal mines should not be protected by federal mine safety laws. His reason? He doesn't know anything about mine safety, and he hopes to be a senator. Therefor, senators should have no say in the matter. Read:

"The bottom line is: I'm not an expert, so don't give me the power in Washington to be making rules."

If that logic sounds a bit twisted, try this on for size. His solution for making mines safer is to "try" to regulate it locally. And if that doesn't work ... well, that's where he gets a little fuzzy.

"You live here, and you have to work in the mines. You'd try to make good rules to protect your people here. If you don't, I'm thinking that no one will apply for those jobs."

He first says that, if you live in the mining areas, you have to work in the mines. Then he says that, if his idea of regulatiing them locally fails, just don't work in the mines.

Yeah. He's really thought this through.

About last April's disaster in Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine, the one where the gross negligence of the management led to the deaths of 29 miners, Paul had this to say:

"I know that doesn't sound … I want to be compassionate, and I'm sorry for what happened, but I wonder: Was it just an accident?"

He's right to be concerned about not sounding compassionate. Paul is taking the exactly the same line that Massey Energy has been taking. Contradicting unbiased experts on the subject who have determined that Massey's recklessness caused this tragedy, Massey has been summoning the families of the dead miners into private meetings where they have tried to bully them into accepting this "just an accident" line. (Read here.) Paul chooses to take the word of these completely biased mine owners over the objective science presented by the experts. Of course, the experts are agents of the federal government, which to Paul may mean that they are secretly trying to promote socialism. If Rand Paul fails to be elected to the Senate, he might consider going to work for Massey.


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