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Posts Tagged ‘free speech’

A Comment From the Wasteland

June 16, 2014 Leave a comment

On a day off, I found myself following a Tony Katz posted link on Facebook, leading to a certain forwardprogressives.com post. There, a writer posts “10 Questions Every Liberal Should Ask Every Republican”, with an all too typical George W. Bush-making-a-stupified-face photo. That article is not the focus of this post.

This post is about the left’s drive-by commenters. The people with a tenuous grasp on the English language, and atrocious spelling ability. Those same people who love to employ a straw man just as quickly as they would shout “RACIST” at someone who they have never met before. The disgusting, rotten, red herring flinging bigots, who seem to troll certain conservatives and libertarians so easily.

These special flowers have few rhetorical tools in their repertoire, and they have the most depressing, failing, president ever to defend. So, sadly, and painfully, they rely on red-hot personal attacks and mis-representation. If nothing else, here’s to hoping this post gets a few readers who are frequently trolled by these commenters to pause, and begin immediately to fire a salvo of well-timed and well-placed calls of “bull!”

The commenter in the example represents the typical consensus building leftist troll. Screenshots of their comments are below, and my rebuttal, along with rhetorical errors or fallacies follow.leftwing troll

c. Do you understand the supremacy of local officials and how they have MUCH more impact on how cities work? You offer a straw man argument, trying to point your finger at governors of your own cherry-picked states. It’s a bogus argument. And, to answer your question – who cares? We are talking about cities. Don’t re-frame things when you dislike the conclusions.

d. The California Legislature slashed the state budget. Increasing taxes on many things was also the government’s choice to alleviate budget shortfalls. How did this occur? Hint: it was not your “COMMIE democrat governor” as you put it; it was primarily the result of ballot issues that voters passed.

e. Which federal policies are you referring to? You actually want a laundry list? Do your own homework.

f. While Clinton bolstered your numbers (Obama’s been abysmal on job creation), you should remember that Clinton inherited, and left GWB, an anemic economy. Clinton also had a Republican congress for much of his presidency.

g. 40 years seems like an awfully arbitrary figure to use – why is that? Another straw man for you to defeat? Perhaps there were more during Republican presidencies because, despite the stereotype that they are hawks, they actually want to commit enough troops to fight and win, and not keep forces needlessly tied up in a quagmire (like Vietnam-L.B.J. and Afghanistan-Obama). There are more military deaths in Afghanistan under Obama than Bush. I would remind you as well that “Bush’s Iraq War” had bi-partisan support in Congress as well. As to the last 40 years, LBJ’s last year in office saw over 16,000 soldiers die. More died under democrats’ administrations.

h. You seem to have a framing issue with this claim – 74% of food stamps go to young children and the elderly – but I would greatly argue they are still left underfed. There is a massive child obesity problem in this country – do you think it is because they are not eating enough? The race of the food stamp recipient is neither here nor there, but just another red herring.

i. Your anti-religious colors really show here. It is a cheap dig, but then. You manage to stereotype at the same time you denigrate. Your bigotry is astounding.

j. I have no idea. The party is trying to change the way that the party spends outrageously, like the left. The republican establishment does have a spending problem. When everyone thinks that they are entitled to something, it gets expensive, eh?

So, there is my thinking processes when I find myself tortuously reading what I fear is typical left wing commentary. Commenters like the above serve no purpose other than to inflame the right, and tie otherwise productive and thoughtful people up, with face palms and disgruntled sighs. Predictably, many right wing readers will react, and respond, with the same sort of enraged, short-on-thinking, long-on-payback, response – which frequently serves the left as “proof” of an unhinged, unsafely-armed right…

(Logical errors can be studied and easily revealed by using the following site: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/home)

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In Defense of Bob Beckel

August 15, 2012 3 comments

Wow. I would have never, in a thousand years thought, that I would ever feel the need to defend anything Bob Beckel has done, or anything that he has said. However, when the story of his newest verbal faux pas hit the internet today, the commentors and other people calling for his ouster from the show, “The Five”, were too many I think.

Bob Beckel

Bob Beckel: “(&*#$%^&”

I take issue, with even a handful of people, gnashing their teeth, and bemoaning Beckel’s poor choice of words. While I understand the shock that hearing an “f-bomb” on television might create, there is no reason to stick with that feeling, and use it to demand a man’s job. While what Beckel said was crass and probably not the wisest thing he could have said (already having said the word once before this year on the same program), he is an American, and as such can say it – his reaction is his right, and as was the case today, he can use whatever response he feels is necessary. It is not like the man used hate-speech, he did not yell “fire” in a crowded movie theater, and he apologized immediately after having uttered the word. I would add too, that the cause of Beckel’s outburst was a sharp jab from fellow panelist, Eric Bolling.

While Beckel’s language today was saltier than usual, his “forbidden word” is no worse than you could expect at any mall or junior high school. Young teens walking down sidewalks are very likely to drop an f-bomb of their own, and yet, no one turns agoraphobic because of the language that they may encounter in public. While some people do not care for swear words, they have no right to either judge people’s choice of words, or do they have the right to restrict that innocent speech.

I would say to the greatly offended viewers who are calling for Beckel’s head: You know, as well as everybody else that you tuned into the program of your own volition. No one forced you to do so. You, the viewers, are free to turn off the program at any time. The program is famous for heated discussions among the five panelists, and they are no different from today’s event, but for one word. I would offer that many viewers, both on the right, and on the left, tune in just to see Beckel rail against the tide of the other panelists. He is a wonderful antagonist in his role.

To hear a single word, then react as some people did, calling for Beckel’s firing, was nothing more than seeing a typical left-wing tactic used by our own side. This sort of seizing opportunities of victimless accidents like this by my fellow conservatives and republicans, is at least, disheartening, and at worst, disgusting. In the recent years, we have seen things like NDAA and the Patriot Act erode our rights, and now, just to make an example of a prickly political opponent, we would do it to ourselves? That is madness. Either we stand for the right of free speech, and we take the bad with the good, or we slowly begin to hammer at another right we will willingly throw away. Our rights are under enough stress by a power-hungry administration, and they do not need the added stress of your own sanctimony and self-important moralizing.

The comments that inspired this post can be found here:
http://twitchy.com/2012/08/14/bob-beckel-drops-f-bomb-on-air-again/
and here, with video:
http://www.therightscoop.com/the-five-bob-beckel-drops-the-f-bomb-on-air-again/

“Free” Speech

August 6, 2012 Leave a comment

This past week has shown both the best of America, and certainly some of the worst of America. After a company’s owner, declared his support of traditional marriage (a statement in the affirmative), he saw his words twisted and warped into some sort of negative, hate-tinged rant, against homosexuals. Dan Cathy, owner of Chick-Fil-A restaurants, then faced the possibility of boycotts of his restaurants, vandalism, and a staged “kiss-in” demonstration by disgruntled proponents of gay marriage. What Cathy got, however, was massive support by champions of free speech, who giving his statement a moment’s reading, determined correctly, that it was completely innocent, and devoid of any sort of hatred.

Free Speech

Free speech isn’t necessarily free…

Opponents of free speech, many times would see it restricted, to promote and spread their own spun narratives. The danger in this, is that both the restriction and the flagrant misuse of free speech, has heavy consequence. In the age of citizen press on the Internet, credibility can be scarce, and trust in a source can be mistakenly given. Herein lies the little understood and often-ignored fact that “free” speech, is not free at all. There are at least two main ways that free speech can be paid for:

  • Credibility
  • Capital (both monetary and political)

Concerning credibility, the most glaring example at the moment is the mainstream media. As the Internet’s citizen media grew, and on site sources for events began to coordinate and corroborate events that differed from the media’s accounts, it confirmed suspected media biases. The old media’s reports of Tea Party and right-wing violence, black Congressmen being spat on and called epithets, and reporters’ attempts to educate guests on issues like Critical Race Theory, all had the eroding effect on what little credibility the networks may have still had. As if numerous mayors of cities, like Boston and San Francisco, had not eroded what little credibility that they had left, last week said that they were fine with banning certain restaurants from their cities, based solely on the owner’s personal views. Let’s be clear on this point: when Dan Cathy talked about supporting traditional marriage, he was speaking for Dan Cathy, not Chick-Fil-A restaurants. So the mayors’ knee-jerk reactions are to prevent restaurants (and all the associated jobs and benefits) from building in their cities – this, with an economy in terrible shape.

With capital being the method a person pays for their baseless rhetoric, people like Barack Obama and Harry Reid have consistently spent what political capital they have built up. Obama had a huge groundswell, and a maniacally energized party after the 2008 presidential election, and he has spent his entire term thus far, spending that political capital – by forcing healthcare bills that had less than 1/2 of the public’s support, by touting his “success” at turning the economy around, and by beginning to make good on his promise to bankrupt the American coal power industry. Obama also lost a fair amount of face, when he engaged in the speculation of what happened in the case of mistaken identity of Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge Police (They “acted stupidly” as you may recall…)

Harry Reid

He ‘heard it from a nameless guy somewhere…’

Until last week, there was no story or rumors of Harry Reid and children. Until he claimed he had a source that said Mitt Romney had not paid taxes in ten years – then, to illustrate the absurdity of the “I heard it from a guy, whose name I can not say” Reid engaged in, there grew a hash-tag and rumors about his “illicit acts” – the sources for the acts, of course, also being “a guy who people had heard it from”. Mitt Romney, for his part seemed very diplomatic about it (daring Reid to “put up or shut up”). So far, a rumor designed to make Mitt Romney look bad, has actually had an opposite effect, and with his retort, it showed him as passionate and strong, while Reid looks like a gossipy rumor-monger.

In another case of a person’s mouth leading to their ruin, a customer visiting a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in Arizona, filmed the entire event. Adam Smith thought he would visit the restaurant, take one of their free waters, then berate a drive-through window employee. The next step he took was apparently to post the smarmy event on Youtube, and receive praise for acting as he did. However, condemnation for his brusque manner, and targeting a minimum wage worker, was swift. It was learned that in short order, Smith had been fired from his CFO job at Vante and may lose his adjunct position at a college he teaches at.

In Reid’s and Obama’s cases, the speech that they have chosen to use, has directly led to the lowest ratings of Congress and poor presidential approval ratings. The point of these many examples should be obvious by now – there is no such thing as “free” speech. Everything a person says is carefully interpreted and digested by people around us. If there happen to be cameras around to catch the exact words, they can either be a tremendous savior, or a terrible sentence for the speaker.

Why The “Occupation” Will Fail

October 6, 2011 2 comments

By now, most people have gotten wind of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, and has been affected by its polarizing actions and beliefs. The protesters and their signs scream out at their collective outrage, and list their many grievances. While the movement is seen as something noble and worthwhile by some, by others, it is seen as a group of spoiled, petulant young people, intent on obtaining entitlements. Whatever the case may be, I feel as though there are enough fundamental problems with the “movement” that it lacks any chance to secure any of the real changes it seeks.

Too much diversity

Yes, there can be such a thing as too much diversity. In the case of Occupy Wall Street, signs and grievances run from: criticism of greedy, corrupt money makers, to the redistribution of wealth, to the high unemployment rate among young people, the elimination of capitalism, and finally, to the effects of lobbyists in Washington D.C.. Some media sources have even shown people dressed up in greasepaint and with torn clothing to resemble zombies. I am unsure what message that is supposed to represent – perhaps it has something to do with Halloween? To maximize their efforts, the group needs to focus on one or two main messages, and drive those home. As it is, the fractured, myriad concerns of protesters are doing more damage than any good. They must coalesce into fewer, more well defined issues to maximize their effort. As the movement appears now, it is unclear whether the protesters are anarchists (as some have claimed in the television media), socialists (as some in the television media have claimed), or just disgruntled young people, seeking a solution to the many problems the nation has run headlong into.

Pre-emption of the movement
OWS

The Occupation of Wall Street

While the original message may have started out of an on-line organizing force, in the last week, the protest crowds in New York have seen various other groups and “sympathizers” lend their support. During this spring and summer, unions saw governors and legislatures force their members to pay for more of their own benefits and retirement packages. In a well-publicized series of recall elections in Wisconsin, the unions were again rebuffed. The support for various unions may have never been lower, and along comes a popular movement of self-described disenfranchised citizens. The unions saw a golden opportunity to attach themselves to this movement and possibly earn back some support. Celebrities too, have seen fit to make appearances, and lend their support as well. These stars who “feel the pain” of the broke protesters, show up, and bring the cameras along. Suddenly, a photo op. breaks out, the stars swear that they know how the protesters feel, and the protesters are made to believe like these multi-millionaires and they have something in common. Cheap appearances for celebs threatens to undermine any messages.

The movement doesn’t have a leader

For a movement such as this, it strikes me as a disjointed group of people, in search of someone to lead them. Now, I am not talking about some fire-brand, urging the protesters to start chucking bricks through store fronts, but someone who can lead the throngs and either accept or reject support from those seeking to take over the movement. There have been a few scattered whispers that the protests are supposed to be modeled upon the Tea Party movement – which has no leaders, but is just loose nationwide groups – however, the Tea Party groups began growing and coalescing around the idea that taxes and spending were too high. There is the single issue that laid the foundation for a movement. It sounds as though many of the protesters are asking for more oversight any way — but government oversight is not what anyone needs at this point. Indeed, if people would stop and consider for a moment, government “oversight” lead to much of the current financial and economic mess the country finds itself in at the moment.

Open Letter To The Left

June 28, 2011 10 comments

Dear “The Left”,

I open by admitting to never having embraced a single position you hold, and I highly doubt I ever will.  I like to think that I have the ability to use objectivity, logic, pragmatism, and common sense to arrive at a position that is agreeable to my mental and social compasses.  It is a solution I find frequently arrived to, with careful consideration, analysis, and weighing possible alternatives.  I also have the ability to appreciate when someone is arguing in their own best interest, and I think, like most people, I feel more open to conversation and discussion when this is the case.

With that being said, I find the left’s tendencies as of late to be disconcerting.  They seem to have happily abandoned any semblance of sensible reasoning and tossed vested interest to the wayside.  Where their stances used to just make no sense to me, or where you could plainly see that someone’s been done a payback or favor, it seems more and more like the left is simply bound and determined to undermine and cause destruction.  Frankly, your tendency to spend money that doesn’t exist, and refuse to stop whilst spending yet more gives me headaches.  The disgust and demonizing of George Bush going to war is puzzling, especially as you have little if anything to say about our current “kinetic military action” in Libya.  I find it mind-boggling to think that they’ve finally arrived at a place in their collective minds, where they would argue, even against their own self-interests, and against positions that they have claimed for decades.  All the sudden, it seems, the saying, “You have to go along to get along” is gone.

When a political group, such as the left, begins to whither and age, and lose members, there is no doubt that a couple of things must happen: the lost members/support must be made up, with increased support from remaining members, or the group must embrace new issues to draw in new personnel.  The left seems to have not given any thought or concern to which of these new issues they are embracing, even alienating some of the previous Democrats (think Blue-Dog or more classical Democrats).  As they’ve embraced the new and much more liberal issues, they may have gained new recruits on the far left, but I suspect have lost more former supporters from the the mid-left.  This hardly seems like a viable way to build support and a consensus party.

Even as they have adopted new issues, and as they have proven unpopular, they have remained steadfastly supportive of them.  The Obamacare bill, all 2,000+ pages of it, is a great example.  As snippets and bits of the bill became known (and perhaps the worst thing connected to the bill, Nancy Pelosi claimed, “…but, we have to pass the bill for you to find out what is in it…”) people grew quickly and strongly against it.  And yet, the democrats stuck to it, convinced it was something special.  Claiming a mandate by America (and neglecting the possibility that the voters were simply tired of GOP spending), they charged ahead.  And then November 2010 elections rolled around, and some of the same people, convinced that the bill was something Americans wanted, were shown the electoral door.

Lastly, and perhaps the most upsetting and disgusting tendency of the “new left”, is the personal nature of their attacks.  They think little of attacking and smearing their targets.  Online leftist “journalists” or snark-meisters, protected by the distance of their keyboard to their target, and the seeming anonymity of the Internet, think that anyone and anything is a target.  Even people who have not even joined a political race, see their children being targeted, disgustingly, by “humor” websites.  Media personalities are harassed at public events and have their spouse assaulted by drunken spectators.   Some personalities feel free to speak however they like, with as much venom and vitriol as they want (which is fine, I too am a strong believer in the 1st Amendment), but the problem is, the talking heads quickly back off those same statements, refusing to take any responsibility for their words.

So, I ask of you – is this what the left has become?  The former party of Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Clinton, having totally lost credibility, relegated to also-rans, giving up, and fighting dirty and like a petulant group of adolescents?  A party of disenfranchised misanthropes?  And before you think that, well, the conservative media picks on us too – save it.  We on the right have spent the entire Bush presidency putting up with the same sorts of juvenile displays.  And we still remember things like Robert Bork.  I cannot count once a Democrat’s special needs child tastelessly lampooned.  If this is perfectly fine with you, then I fear you have relegated your own party to ridicule and non-consideration.  I fear the left has long ago accepted its fate as a dwendling mishmash of angry, bitter special interest groups.

Sincerely,
Americans everywhere who are tired of this garbage.

Civility in Public Discourse

Remember the "new tone and civility"? Yeah, me either.