A Philosopher's Blog

Predictions for Obama’s Second Term

Posted in Humor, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on September 14, 2012
English: Photograph shows head-and-shoulders p...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A while back I saw Chuck Norris’ video in which his wife predicted that re-electing Obama would be a first step towards 1,000 years of darkness. Interestingly, a similar prediction about the election of Johnson was made by Ronald Reagan in a speech supporting Barry Goldwater. Goldwater lost, of course, so if Reagan was right, then re-electing Obama would not be the first step towards 1,000 years of darkness. Rather, it would be at least the second step (there might be others). I am not sure how many steps it takes to reach 1,000 years of darkness. Perhaps it is like the tootsie pop-we will never know how many steps it takes to get there because someone will get sick of walking and drive us into the darkness in a Prius.

While not as extreme as 1,000 years of darkness, some folks have predicted that a re-elected Obama will suddenly act upon a secret anti-gun agenda and impose strict gun control laws. Obama has presumably been brilliantly masking this agenda by actually extending gun rights. He also presumably is so confident of his re-election that he decided to not act on his secret agenda despite having had all those years as president.

I invite people to make predictions about what will happen if Obama is re-elected. Remember, the predictions regarding 1,000 years of darkness and gun control have been taken. Also, no re-using current accusations unless there is some new twist worth mentioning. For example, saying he will “destroy jobs and hate America” is out. Saying “Obama will channel his hatred of America into creating a monster of the id that will rampage across America destroying jobs” would be fine. Also, include a time frame if possible. For example, “the id monster will be rolling hard across the country in August 2013.”

If he gets re-elected, we can come back and check the predictions. I’m thinking about offering copies of my ebooks as prizes for getting predictions right.

My Amazon author page.

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71 Responses

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on September 14, 2012 at 7:09 am

    If Obama is elected, I predict a nuclear exchange between Iran and Israel.

  2. T. J. Babson said, on September 14, 2012 at 7:31 am

    If Obama is elected, I predict we will slide into a double dip recession, and that China will surpass us in many ways much sooner that predicted. The world will conclude we are a “has-been” nation. As a weak nation, we will, of course, be better liked.

  3. T. J. Babson said, on September 14, 2012 at 8:31 am

    If Obama is elected, I predict a push for blasphemy laws. These will be sold as a prohibition of “hate” speech. Until these laws are passed, I predict that the federal government will try to intimidate private citizens from exercising their first amendment rights.

    This last is a safe prediction: http://news.yahoo.com/feds-id-california-mans-role-anti-islam-film-164554115.html

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 14, 2012 at 9:31 am

      That would be ironic, considering that the Democrats get bashed for being weak in regards to their devotion to God.

      • T. J. Babson said, on September 14, 2012 at 10:47 am

        Only the God most American believe in. They are all in favor of Gods of other nations and cultures.

        • T. J. Babson said, on September 14, 2012 at 10:48 am

          BTW I wish they would be against all religions equally.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 14, 2012 at 11:22 am

          Having done a bit of work in metaphysics, the monotheistic faiths have the same God. That is, God. They just disagree about the prophet thing.

          • T. J. Babson said, on September 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm

            Really? Does the God of Moses and the God of Mohammed really have the same character? I think not.

            In this case the Devil really is in the details, isn’t She? (Why not make the Devil a woman?)

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 15, 2012 at 10:41 am

              Well, it depends on how you look at the matter.

              If God is a fiction, then they all believe in the same thing-that is, nothing. Naturally, distinctions could be drawn among the fictions-to use an analogy, Twilight fans have a different concept of vampire than do those who go with the classic Dracula version. But this would be like a fanboy/girl fight-only with real death.

              If God is not a fiction, then the most plausible view would be that folks believe in the same being (that is, the real God) but differ in how they see God. To use an analogy, this would be comparable to how physicists all believe in a universe, yet differ in what they regard as its nature.

              You do raise an interesting concern-while the faiths all claim God, they differ about what God is like and the matter of the prophets. Even within one faith, there are serious differences (Mormons versus Baptists for example). So there is the question of whether or not they believe in enough in common to be believing in the same God or whether they actually get disqualified from having the same deity by variations in dogma.

              My view is that if there is a God, He probably doesn’t get too worried about whether people get him exactly right or not. And, of course, given that He is beyond human comprehensions, none of us could even fully comprehend Him. So, by His very nature no one could have the correct view of God.

    • T. J. Babson said, on September 14, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      Prediction, validated:

      Administration officials have asked YouTube to review a controversial video that many blame for spurring a wave of anti-American violence in the Middle East.

      The administration flagged the 14-minute “Innocence of Muslims” video and asked that YouTube evaluate it to determine whether it violates the site’s terms of service, officials said Thursday. The video, which has been viewed by nearly 1.7 million users, depicts Muhammad as a child molester, womanizer and murderer — and has been decried as blasphemous and Islamophobic.

      http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-administration-asks-youtube-to-review-innocence-of-muslims-video-20120913,0,610679.story

      • T. J. Babson said, on September 14, 2012 at 11:18 pm

        Huffington Post:

        I have no sympathy for anyone who would assassinate a U.S. ambassador. But I have even less sympathy for filmmakers who spread hatred and for pastors who knowingly incite violence.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-steven-d-martin/terry-jones-must-be-stopped-evangelicals-must-stop-him_b_1876998.html

        More sympathy for murderers than for producers of bad art. Hmm….

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 15, 2012 at 10:54 am

          I condemn the murderers as murderers and await the day that justice is done. While there are legitimate grounds to criticize the US (after all, the Republicans criticize Obama every day) brutal murder is brutal murder and must be met with justice.

          I also condemn the film maker for his misdeeds, But I certainly do not see his making of a crappy and hateful film as being even close to the wickedness of murdering people who went to Libya to help and clearly loved the country and the good people. To the credit of the people of Libya, they have largely condemned the attacks and the ambassador was clearly well liked and respected. Killing him, I think, scored the murderers no points among the majority of the Libyan population.

          • WTP said, on September 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm

            Interesting. Do you condemn people like Andres Serrano, Colin Self, or Chris Ofili? I mean openly, of course, not just on the pages of this blog in the context of Islamic blasphemy. Such things are always easier to do after rioters burn down and murder, not so much before. Do you support You Tube pulling the video (under some government pressure, as I understand it)? If so, did you/do you support the religious right when they attempt to have exhibits by Serrano and Ofili closed down, even if only in the context of publicly funded institutions?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 15, 2012 at 4:51 pm

              I would think that condemning someone on a public blog would count as an open condemnation.

              When it comes to expression, I try to balance the value (artistic, philosophical, etc.) of the work against its potential to offend. I also factor in an estimate of how reasonable it is to be offended by the work (for example, if someone was outraged and deeply offended because a work contained “Jesus H. Christ!”, then that would hardly be a reasonable level of offense for the offense). This all has to be weighed against the right of free expression.

              In the case of the film, it apparently is almost devoid of aesthetic value and does not seem to have intellectual merit as a critique of Islam. It does seem to be rather offensive (but obviously not enough to warrant a violent response). While I do think the film should not have been created in its current manifestation (dubbed with hate) I am always reluctant to have the state engage in censorship.

              In the case of YouTube, as a private company they have the right to enforce their TOS. If the video violates that, then it can be removed. As far as the state encouraging the review of the video in terms of the TOS, that seems to be legitimate. After all, that sort of request can be made by anyone. Naturally, the state has more weight when making it.

              As far as the religious right, I apply the same standards mentioned above. If a work offends, yet has merit, then a case would exist in favor of not censoring it. However, I generally dislike art that engages in an intentional attack on faith when it seems to have more meanness than merit. So, I myself would not create works like “Piss Christ” nor would I have such a work on display in my house. However, I would not support the state banning such a work.

              As I have shown on this blog, I generally take the view that expression should be allowed, even when it might be mean or even somewhat offensive. Naturally, I have a moral preference for respect and politeness-but I can hardly expect that everyone would conform to my notions of decent, civil behavior.

            • WTP said, on September 15, 2012 at 11:03 pm

              OK, still not clear. Do you condemn Serrano, Self, and/or Ofili? Yes or no. If no, please explain to me at what point a crucifix in a jar of urine has artistic merit? Do you condemn Wikipedia for showing a picture of Piss Christ? Did the Danish cartoons of Mohammed have this merit?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 16, 2012 at 7:28 pm

              There are some relevant differences between the artists you mention and the fellow behind the video.

              First, the artists in question take responsibility for the work-they do not hide behind false identities. That makes a moral difference between them. After all, the fellow behind the video apparently claimed to be Jewish and backed by Jews, which strongly suggests some malice.

              Second, the artists in question do have some claim to being artists and a case can be made that their work is art. The video could be claimed to be art, although the evidence for this seems weak. This, of course, hinges on having an account of art. Naturally, it could be argued that the “artists” are not actually artists and this would remove that basis for the distinction.

              Third, there seems to be a clear malicious intent on the part of the person behind the video. While the artists in question could be accused of being hostile to religion, they do not seem to have intended to create the sort of impact that the video was aimed at causing.

              That said, I do condemn art that is aimed at being needlessly hostile and lacks merit. In the case of “Piss Christ” I am skeptical about it having artistic merit-after all, putting a cross in piss does not seem to require what would intuitively be considered artistic talent. However, it could be argued that the photograph is art-after all, the object being photographed need not be art.

              Again, my preference is against spite and malice. However, I am also for free expression, so I’ll tolerate a great deal because of that belief.

            • WTP said, on September 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm

              Answer the questions directly. Yes or no. No weaseling around, no equivocating. You condemned the video without qualification.

              As for this BS:
              However, it could be argued that the photograph is art-after all, the object being photographed need not be art.
              …on second thought, never mind. It stands on its own as BS.

              Should have said this in my earlier reply, but I never asked you if you would display Piss Christ in your house. But you take the discussion there to define it in your terms. Typical sophistic behavior.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 17, 2012 at 12:01 pm

              Some questions do not allow for reasonable yes/no answers. Also, you seem to regard all attempts to consider a matter with some depth as weasling.

              Here is a breakdown on each artist/piece

              Innocence of the Muslims
              1. Lying about his identity: condemn
              2. Lying about being Jewish: condemn
              3. Lying about having Jewish backing: condemn
              4. Deceiving actors: condemn
              5. Violating his probation: condemn
              6. Making a poor film: condemn
              7. Rudely and crudely attacking a faith: condemn

              “Piss Christ”
              1. Putting a cross in urine: condemn
              2. Presenting a picture of a cross in urine as art: Dispute its status as art.

              Hope that clarifies matters.

            • WTP said, on September 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm

              Why would you feel the need to “condemn” someone for making a poor film? Were the other 6 condemnations not enough? As it is not clear at this time who posted it on You Tube and there is also some question as to the intended scale of its purpose, this should also be considered. While I agree that it was wrong to deceive the cast and crew, it’s been done before. The difference here is the main critics are hordes of angry fundamentalists instead of film snobs.

              “Piss Christ”, especially by its title, is not rudely and crudely attacking a faith? Was there not a clear malicious intent (to reference your earlier, uh, “reply”) on the part of Serrano?
              And for a second time, you dodge the Danish cartoons question. Do the cartoons lack merit? Who determines this merit?

              you seem to regard all attempts to consider a matter with some depth as weasling.

              As for considering maters with some depth…You want to define what the depth is by taking the discussion where you feel comfortable arguing it. I am trying to construct a connected series of statements in an attempt to establish a proposition. Depth is the very thing I’m looking for. Can’t very well do that if we spew paragraphs full of seems-to’s, generally-take-the-view’s, and could-be-argued’s.

              “All attempts”? Ahh, saves himself with the weasel qualification of “You seem to regard”…never mind.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm

              How could one not condemn the making of bad films?

              As far as my general principles when it comes to artists who create works with the intent to mock a religion, I hold to the following:
              1. Freedom of expression, as per Mill’s essay on liberty. This is a moral position that also shapes my view of what the law should be. In general, I hold to Mill’s principle of harm: to limit a liberty requires showing that sufficient harm would be done by the expression. This can, as you might imagine, get a bit muddled. For example, suppose that people react with great violence to a work because they are enraged. Does this harm warrant censoring the work?
              2. Politeness-even mockery should respect certain boundaries as a matter of etiquette. I will admit that I have crossed those boundaries.
              3. Artistic/intellectual merit: the negative aspects of a work should be weighed against the merit of the work. For example, The Triumph of the Will is lauded as a masterpiece yet is also condemned as Nazi propaganda. As another example, someone might write “mean” and hateful when doing philosophy, yet make some important philosophical points. An analogy can be made, I suppose to dating: one will put up with a lot of crap if the person has other good qualities that offset the bad traits. In the case of works created with a hostile intent towards religion, the malice of the attack should be weighed against the merit of the work. David Hume has some interesting things to say on these matters, although he favors condemning certain religious works (he is extremely hostile to Catholicism and rather critical of Islam).

              I am against “anti-blasphemy” laws and against government censorship. However, I am also aware of the practical matters of politics and the desire to keep Americans from being murdered because people get enraged at what they attribute to America.

            • WTP said, on September 17, 2012 at 8:13 pm

              OK, well at least now we’re getting somewhere…slowly. And yet still fortified with equivocation in spades…

              If people react with great violence to a work, the problem lies with the people not the “worker”. From past discussion, you know how I feel about graffiti. If someone spray paints their “tag” and calls it “art” on my community’s property, lowering property values and inviting crime into the neighborhood, am I justified in beating them senseless or worse? No. Even in that case we’re talking about someone who did actual physical harm to my community.

              I am against “anti-blasphemy” laws and against government censorship. However, I am also aware of the practical matters of politics and the desire to keep Americans from being murdered because people get enraged at what they attribute to America.

              If you are against anti-blasphamy laws and government censorship and against people getting murdered, you can’t favor censorship over holding violent people and their apologists accountable for the murders.

              And for a 3rd time, do the Danish cartoons have merit?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm

              “If you are against anti-blasphamy laws and government censorship and against people getting murdered, you can’t favor censorship over holding violent people and their apologists accountable for the murders.”

              Why would being against censorship entail that I cannot be for holding violent people responsible for their actions? After all, I can support the first amendment without holding the view that the laws regarding murders should be ignored. In moral terms, there seems to be no inconsistency between “I am for free expression” and “I believe that murderers should be held accountable.”

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm

              I’m not equivocating-that is I am not relying on ambiguity to shift between meanings of a term.

              As far the image of Mohammed with the bomb in his turban (is that the one you are discussing?), it can be seen as having merit as a statement about the violence caused by some Muslims (that is, it could be seen as political/religious commentary). After all, if South Park can be seen as having merit when it shows Jesus killing people, then the same standard should apply to cartoon of Mohammed.

              However, it is worth noting that Islam has a specific injunction against images of Mohammed and the mere act of portraying him would be a rather serious insult.

              Being a polite person, I would not do a drawing of Mohammed anymore than I would stick a cross in urine or spit on a Menorah. However, free expression rights allows people the right to act in rude ways.

            • WTP said, on September 17, 2012 at 8:41 pm

              One more question in regard to restrictions on speech, in the context of your own stated beliefs, there are people out there threatening actual physical violence against the maker of this film. Wouldn’t our government’s efforts be better expended on investigating and if sufficient evidence found, prosecuting those who are threatening this man’s life?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm

              It is not an “exclusive or” situation-the state can do both.

            • WTP said, on September 18, 2012 at 6:31 pm

              I must admit, that was poorly stated on my part. My point is that free speech should never be sacrificed in the face of murder. Not one inch at a policy level. Not by the leader of the free world. Our government has repeatedly apologized for this film, which in itself only confirms to the angry hordes that they are right because they don’t apologize for even their own acts. Apologies by us are seen by them as admissions of guilt. Which to a significant extent they are.

              As for It is not an “exclusive or” situation-the state can do both. Not seeing much action on the other side of “both”. Mostly apologies and shock-talk. Was there any bold talk about hunting down those responsible? A few mumblings but nothing to distract the prez from his usual routine.

              Islam has a specific injunction against images of Mohammed and the mere act of portraying him would be a rather serious insult Not in the Koran there isn’t. And such depictions exist in many areas in the Islamic world.

              Webster:
              equiv•o•cat•ed equiv•o•cat•ing
              Definition of EQUIVOCATE
              1: to use equivocal language especially with intent to deceive
              2 : to avoid committing oneself in what one says

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 18, 2012 at 7:03 pm

              I had thought the apology charge had been thoroughly debunked.

              As far as the hunting down goes, we have our killer drones in the skies of Libya and elsewhere. If you look at Obama’s kill record, he clearly does not balk at hunting people down.

              True-I should have been clearer: many Muslims have that view (mostly Sunni, but it is also in the Shia tradition). Some Christians also have a negative view of images for similar reasons (idolatry). Some interesting early disputes about that.

              Thanks for bringing in the dictionary to settle matters.

              I do commit to what I say, which is why I don’t delete my posts or replies.

            • WTP said, on September 18, 2012 at 11:23 pm

              “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.” Sounds like an apology. Certainly sympathetic to the “feelings” of those who were “hurt”. Does this statement mean that we are NOT sorry their feelings were hurt by someone in the US? No, not literally an apology, but shameful none the less.

              Not to mention this:

              http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2012/sep/13/hillary-clinton-middle-east-protests-video

              That is the most reluctant, regretful “acknowledgement” of our most fundamental constitutional right that I have ever seen presented by any high ranking official of the US government in my life, nor in my study of US history. Absolutely shameful. If this is truly how our government feels, there are plenty of opportunities to denounce art and speech that offends US citizens before worrying about offending citizens in other countries. One wonders if Hillary has seen “Book of Mormon” now showing on Broadway right there in her “home” state of NY.

              Some Christians also have a negative view of images for similar reasons (idolatry) WTH does that have to do with anything? I don’t see those Christians demanding we tear down the Sistine Chapel. Totally irrelevant.

              I do commit to what I say Well, you seem to. I mean some might say that you do. However, it could be argued that you don’t. I generally take the view that you don’t. Much like the film in question, it can be seen that my point has merit.

              which is why I don’t delete my posts or replies. No, that would not be equivocating, that would be intentional deception. This is equivocating: If a work offends, yet has merit, then a case would exist in favor of not censoring it. A case would exist in favor of not censoring it? If you’re opposed to censorship, this makes no sense. Whether the work has merit or not, there is no case that would exist for censoring it. To do so would be censorship.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm

              The idolatry remark was an aside, mainly to note that the notion of not displaying religious images crosses faiths.

              That is not equivocating. I was discussing censorship in general. While I am opposed to censorship in general (as I am opposed to killing) I do not mean that I reject all possible censorship. For example, I am fine with censoring someone who is presenting actual death threats as art. As another example, I am fine with censoring the free expression of someone who decides to scream out “there is a bomb on the plane” when there is no bomb.

            • WTP said, on September 19, 2012 at 10:14 am

              BTW, while I have the dictionary loaded:

              Definition of APOLOGY
              1a : a formal justification : defense b : excuse 2a
              2: an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret
              3: a poor substitute : makeshift

            • WTP said, on September 19, 2012 at 2:56 pm

              Equating “Fire in a theater/Bomb on a plane” and viable threats of bodily harm against a person to censorship is a bit like equating reckless driving to performance art. And surely you wouldn’t seriously consider the making of a movie to come close to either of these two actions, unless of course the movie contained viable threats to real people. Additionally, neither of these former two acts can truly be censored as they can only be addressed after the fact. A film can still be banned after it is made, and thus more technically fits the meaning of censorship.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm

              I did not actually equate the two. I just gave two examples of censorship I would support.

              However, you do raise an interesting point by claiming that I take them to be analogous. After all, the harm done by yelling “fire” or “bomb” is due to the panicked reaction of people to someone saying something with the intent to cause trouble. In the case of the film, there seems to be clear malicious intent behind it and people reacted to it in harmful ways.

              Now, it could be contended that the people who reacted to the film are fully responsible-they should control their actions and seek out the truth of the matter. The same could be applied to the “fire” case-the people who panic should control their actions and seek out the truth of the matter.

            • WTP said, on September 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm

              Again we agree on something, sort of…

              Yes perhaps when “Fire” is shouted in a theater, the patrons should assemble an investigative committee, and whatever subcommittees may be necessary and do a thorough investigation. Why, their lives are no more at risk than “the people who reacted to the film”…funny, memory slips as to what kind of people they are. Don’t you feel silly making these comparisons?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm

              Again, it was not a comparison. I gave examples of the sort of restrictions on free speech I accept. That is, the ones that can cause direct harm.

          • T. J. Babson said, on September 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm

            The video was a pretext. If it wasn’t this video it would be some other. I wonder how many views it had before anybody ever heard of it.

            And you are far too soft on Religion, Mike. In my view, if a religion can claim that I deserve eternal damnation, then I have every right to ridicule it.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 15, 2012 at 4:56 pm

              Are you insinuating that the Obama administration is using this a pretext to begin a campaign aimed at anti-blasphemy legislation? If so, do you have more evidence beyond their request to YouTube? If not, what do you mean?

              You do have the right to ridicule religion. Likewise, you can mock and ridicule anything-however, there is still the question of whether one should do what one can do.

              I did go through phases of hostility towards religion, but I know many decent religious folks and I would no more mock them for their faith than I would ridicule a friend for believing in pixies or for being a football fan. I will, of course, criticize religion (as I expect my own views to be criticized). While I sometimes slip, I do try to be decent about it.

            • T. J. Babson said, on September 15, 2012 at 8:20 pm

              The riots and attacks on our embassies were planned. The video was a pretext. If this particular video did not exist, no doubt the people who planned the riots would be able to find another that would do just as well.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm

              They could have just taken the opportunity afforded by the riot. Of course, it could be claimed that the protests were orchestrated by drawing attention to the movie. For extra conspiracy points, it could be claimed that the movie was intentionally dubbed and released with the intent of creating protests to cover an attack.

            • T. J. Babson said, on September 15, 2012 at 8:22 pm

              “You do have the right to ridicule religion. Likewise, you can mock and ridicule anything-however, there is still the question of whether one should do what one can do.”

              Why is it worse for me to ridicule a religion than for a religion to say that I deserve to roast in Hell?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm

              It would depend on the level of mockery. Offhand, saying you deserve hell simply on the basis of non-belief would be harsh. However, most sects are fairly lax these days about saying non-believers go to hell.

            • T. J. Babson said, on September 15, 2012 at 8:26 pm

              The Obama brownshirts in action. Does anyone really believe we still have freedom of speech?

              “Just after midnight Saturday morning, authorities descended on the Cerritos home of the man believed to be the filmmaker behind the anti-Muslim movie that has sparked protests and rioting in the Muslim world.”

              http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/09/anti-muslim-film-nakoula-basseley-innocence-muslims.html

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 16, 2012 at 2:28 pm

              I think they went after him because he was in violation of his probation rather than any alleged blasphemy crime.

              Also, the Nazi comparison is both hyperbole and an insult to people who were victims of the actual brownshirts.

            • T. J. Babson said, on September 15, 2012 at 11:06 pm

              Something to watch. English style guides say that Mohammed should be referred to as Mohammed. What is happening is that Mohammed is increasingly being referred to as “the Prophet Mohammed.” This is equivalent to Jesus being referred to as “the Lord Jesus Christ” but you aren’t likely to see this in a newspaper.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm

              So you suspect a pro-Islam conspiracy in the media? Or something else?

            • T. J. Babson said, on September 16, 2012 at 7:13 pm

              “Also, the Nazi comparison is both hyperbole and an insult to people who were victims of the actual brownshirts.”

              Just following Al Gore’s lead in this matter. Or is it only wrong when people other than Democrats do it?

              The Honorable Al Gore
              Nashville, TN

              Dear Mr. Gore:

              I was troubled by news reports of your recent speech at the Georgetown University Law Center which indicated that you used the term “digital Brown Shirts” when referring to Bush Administration supporters who “pressure reporters and their editors for undermining support for our troops.” Political criticism is obviously a legitimate and important part of the marketplace of ideas in this country. However, the use of Nazi imagery inevitably has the effect of trivializing the Holocaust, and I am confident that was not your intention.

              The Anti-Defamation League has consistently urged those in the public sphere to refrain from using such Nazi imagery, out of respect for those who perished in the Holocaust, and out of respect for those who survived. As you know, the term “Brown Shirts” in particular evokes memories of thuggery, criminal conduct and terror which cannot fairly be compared to any political tactics, no matter how partisan.

              We recognize that the First Amendment guarantees speech and imagery, even when it is hateful or offensive. It is our hope, however, that some constitutionally-protected expression can still be viewed as “beyond the pale” because of the pain it evokes. Nazi imagery falls into this category, and we hope you will join us in discouraging such rhetoric in the future, across the political spectrum, so that our national political debate can maintain as high a level of civil discourse as possible.

              Sincerely,

              Abraham H. Foxman
              National Director

              http://www.adl.org/holocaust/Letter_gore.asp

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 16, 2012 at 7:43 pm

              Two wrongs do not make a right. Also, even if Al Gore said such things, this would be irrelevant to whether or not the current accusation is warranted. I am not a defender of Al Gore nor am I accountable for his words. If you’ll look back through my posts, you’ll see that I took issue with the Democrat who decided to play the Nazi card.

              I have a consistent principle when it comes to the use of the Nazi comparison in rhetoric: it is only appropriate to use when it actually fits. That is, if something is actually as bad as what the Nazis did, then the analogy is apt. Whether the comparison comes out of the mouth of a Democrat, a Republican, or anyone else is irrelevant.

            • T. J. Babson said, on September 16, 2012 at 11:26 pm

              You may avoid Hell, Mike, but not me:

              The fate of non-Catholics, as expressed at Vatican II:

              The “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church – Lumen Gentium” (1964) is one of many documents to come out of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (often referred to as “Vatican II”). The Council was held in Rome between 1962 and 1965. Lumen Gentium” contains in its Chapter 1 an essay on “The Mystery of the church.” Sections 14 to 16 describe the potential for salvation of:

              Followers of the Catholic Church,

              Members of other Christian denominations, and

              Believers of non-Christian religions.

              The language is difficult to follow for a lay person. However, an “Assessment of this Council” was written “as an AID to study by Catholic Students of the Second Vatican Council. They contain material, some written in a journalistic style, for the American reader.” In the section “The Constitution of the Church” the assessment reads:

              “The Catholic Church professes that it is the one, holy catholic and apostolic Church of Christ; this it does not and could not deny. But in its Constitution the Church now solemnly acknowledges that the Holy Ghost is truly active in the churches and communities separated from itself. To these other Christian Churches the Catholic Church is bound in many ways: through reverence for God’s word in the Scriptures; through the fact of baptism; through other sacraments which they recognize.”

              5. The non-Christian may not be blamed for his ignorance of Christ and his Church; salvation is open to him also, if he seeks God sincerely and if he follows the commands of his conscience, for through this means the Holy Ghost acts upon all men; this divine action is not confined within the limited boundaries of the visible Church.” 6

              This statement would seem to include the possibility that seekers after God may attain salvation, even though they have not concluded that God exists. Presumably, the authors of this document define “God” in Roman Catholic terms as a super-human intelligence and personality with specific attributes, such as being omnipotent, omniscient, omnibeneficient, omnipresent, etc. This statement indicates that even some Agnostics and Atheists could be saved and attain heaven, if they sincerely sought this Christian God. It also seems to imply that many Buddhists — those who follow traditions that have no concept of such a deity — will be relegated to Hell after death.

              http://www.religioustolerance.org/rcc_salv.htm

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm

              If you do not believe, then the threat is empty. They might as well be threatening you with a unicorn attack.

              Naturally, saying non-believers go to hell is not nice.

            • T. J. Babson said, on September 17, 2012 at 8:39 pm

              “If you do not believe, then the threat is empty. They might as well be threatening you with a unicorn attack.”

              Similarly, if you believe that your God is all-powerful, a low budget You Tube video shouldn’t be seen as a real threat.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 18, 2012 at 5:03 pm

              True. The idea that people have to avenge an all powerful God seems to be incoherent. After all, anything that God regarded as insulting, He could simply make impossible. Or, as He supposedly did in the past, just send plagues or bears to mess people up for their sass. There would seem to be no need for human agents to avenge God.

              To use an analogy, if Bob is a big guy with impressive mastery of weapons and the martial arts and he is sassed in a bar by a little fella named Sam, then Bob hardly needs to have his little buddy Tim beat up Sam. After all, Bob can take care of the insult, should he believe that it must be avenged with blood.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 15, 2012 at 10:49 am

        That does not seem to be an anti-blasphemy law. First, it is one request to evaluate that specific video and it is not an actual law. Second, the request is to see if it violates the TOS of Youtube rather than demanding that it be taken down. Sites routinely remove material that violates TOS, so this would not seem to be a case of a state anti-blasphemy law.

        Naturally, there might be some behind the scenes pressure to get the video pulled.

        I haven’t seen the video, but I’m consistently for freedom of expression. But, I am also for people doing the right thing-creating such videos knowing that they have no merit and will cause harm would be a wrongful act. However, it should also be permitted-people have the moral right to express even hateful views.

        Naturally, this video pushes into the moral realm of harm-after all, freedom of expression is morally limited by the immorality of expression that inflicts or causes unjust harm.

        It is always ironic that America gets bashed for these things when they do not actually reflect American values-after all, we have a very diverse population that includes many Muslims. While some folks are probably fine with the video, I’d say that most Americans think that such vicious attacks on a religion is unacceptable. Or at least I hope so.

        • T. J. Babson said, on September 16, 2012 at 7:07 pm

          Since when is the government in the business of policing YouTube?

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 16, 2012 at 7:37 pm

            The state does, of course, police the laws that govern YouTube, such as the copyright laws.

            Asking YouTube to check if the video violates their TOS does not seem like policing in the usual sense. Also, if the video violates YouTube’s TOS and its presence is being used as a weapon against the US, the it makes sense for the state to look into the legality of having it removed.

            After all, it is one thing for the state to ask a company to determine if the video violates its own policies and quite another for the state to engage in censorship.

            If you consider asking YouTube to review the video using its own policies to be some sort of brownshirt level of oppression, then what will you have left to describe more serious situations?

            • WTP said, on September 16, 2012 at 8:50 pm

              TOS are the concern of You Tube and their customers, not the state. If either You Tube or the customer chooses to appeal to the state, the state has the responsibility, through the COURTS, to render judgement on whatever contract issue is in question, in the context of each party’s constitutional rights.

          • T. J. Babson said, on September 16, 2012 at 11:23 pm

            Mike, the maker of the film is clearly being harassed by the government for exercising his first amendment rights. Why would the government announce his name? Putting his name out is like putting a target on his back. If there is an investigation, the government is not supposed to comment.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 17, 2012 at 12:06 pm

              On the face of it, he is in trouble because he apparently violated his probation conditions. Apparently he is not supposed to have access to the internet and is not allowed to assume a false identity without written authorization. Apparently this is due to his committing bank fraud.

              Do you have evidence that the state is falsely claiming that he was on probation or that it is not true that he violated his probation? If so, then a case can be made for harassment/ If, however, his probation specified no new identities and limited his internet access, then he violated his probation and hence is subject to the consequences of those actions. Now, if he were an innocent artist being troubled by the state, I would write in his defense. But, I don’t think I am obligated to defend him for getting in trouble over violating his probation.

      • magus71 said, on September 21, 2012 at 4:13 am

        Funny that no riots or murders ensued after South Park spoofed Mormonism and much hated Scientology, not to mention that they routinely make fun of Jesus. Broadcasters in no way attempted to limit what was said about those religions, but forbade Muhammad to be shown as a cartoon. Why? Because any person with sense knows that there is a big difference between Islam and most other religions. That is, it is less tolerant and more willing to use violence and more easily offended. I’ve seen videos where 12 year old boys are cheered on by adult crowds as the child saws a man’s head off. In Christendom the right of passage is first communion; in Islam, it’s a beheading.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 21, 2012 at 9:02 am

          True, Mormons didn’t murder anyone over the mockery. But, it is interesting to look at this in an historical context. When Christianity existed within non-liberal states, there was considerable violence against those regarded as enemies of the faith. The usual example is the Inquisition, but there are also the various sectarian battles, crushing of heresies and so on. Followers of Islam in the United States are no more violent than American Christians. After all, while some American Muslims have turned to violence, there are also Christians who have engaged in violent acts (such as the attacks on abortion clinics). As such, the historical evidence suggests that if Islamic countries go through the social changes that occurred in the West then there should be a comparable change in Islam. Also, it is well worth noting that most Muslims are already moderate and most of those who grew up in West are thoroughly Western.
          As far as the beheading thing, the percentage of Muslims who have beheaded people is extremely low-hardly making it comparable to communion.

          • biomass2 said, on September 21, 2012 at 10:00 am

            “In Christendom the right of passage is first communion; in Islam, it’s a beheading.”

            “As far as the beheading thing, the percentage of Muslims who have beheaded people is extremely low-hardly making it comparable to communion.”

            How many 12 year old Muslim children have beheaded people? How many of those are mainstream Muslims, and how many are outliers like Wahhabis? As Mike points out, how many of those beheaders are more appropriately equated with those who kill abortion clinic workers?

            Your statement is ludicrously compelling, and seemingly carefully crafted to incite.
            How did it go again? “I saw a film of a Christian man being convicted of an abortion clinic shooting. (They didn’t have a film of the actual shooting, because the shooter was hiding in the bushes). In Christendom, the right of passage is dragging out the Second Amendment and shooting abortion doctors.”
            I think I understand now.

  4. T. J. Babson said, on September 14, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I predict that if Obama is re-elected he will continue to blame others for his own failings. Even when Obama couldn’t dial an iPhone he blamed someone else:

    The president then has more trouble dialing. When the call didn’t go through, he blamed Mr. Nicholson for having an insufficient cell phone plan.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2012/sep/9/tech-challenge-obama-has-trouble-iphone/

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 14, 2012 at 11:21 am

      You’ll need more examples. After all, if one incident of blaming others marks a person for life, then all of us would be “blamers.”

      • T. J. Babson said, on September 14, 2012 at 7:58 pm

        If you want more examples, Google “Obama blames Bush…”

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 15, 2012 at 10:33 am

          This raises the question of the extent the previous administration is accountable for what it leaves the incoming president. As a matter of fact, Obama came into office when the economy was in a death spiral and we had two (three if the general war on terror counts) going.

          There is a fair question at which point the new administration is fully to blame. The easy answer is that it is accountable for its decisions and how it handles the inherited problems.

          One problem with the current situation is that we only know what happened rather than what could have happened. As such, we don’t know if Obama’s actions really saved the US from crashing.

          Naturally, this principle would also apply to Romney-if he gets elected, then he gets to inherit a weak economy, some wars, and it looks like a new surge of anti-US sentiment in the Middle East.

          • magus71 said, on September 21, 2012 at 4:42 am

            Still, Obama said he would fix it. He didn’t. Things got worse in several ways.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 21, 2012 at 9:07 am

              True, he did say he would fix the disaster he inherited. As Bill Clinton said, this criticism seems to amount to saying that Obama has failed because he did not clean up the Republican mess fast enough.

              I do agree that he can be faulted for not fixing the mess as he promised. After all, if someone trashed your house and you hired someone to fix it and they did not get it fixed on time, you would have the right to complain. Of course, if in the course of the repairs it was found that the damage was greater than expected and storms kept hitting the area, then the repairs might justly proceed a bit slower than expected. Interestingly, in this case we have the folks who wrecked the house coming back and asking you to hire them to fix the damage they caused. Since we only have the two choices (the guys that wrecked it and the guys that are fixing it slowly) the only rational choice is the guys who are fixing it, albeit slowly.

            • biomass2 said, on September 21, 2012 at 6:31 pm

              Unless, of course, you’re inclined to believe the message of the guys who wrecked it. If you are, you’ll choose the wreckers no matter whatever the nature of their current message.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 21, 2012 at 6:33 pm

              True. Plus they are adept at creating a narrative that some find very appealing.

  5. T. J. Babson said, on September 17, 2012 at 8:28 am

    I predict that If Obama is re-elected, we will get more of this:

    Over the course of almost 450 pages, Woodward depicts Obama as an arrogant, aloof and hyperpartisan president who manages to either alienate or disappoint everybody he needs to help govern Washington.

    One of the first scenes Woodward recounts is a meeting at the White House where Obama invited House Republicans over to talk about the stimulus. After then-Minority Whip Eric Cantor distributed a five-point Republican stimulus plan that differed from Obama’s tax plan, Obama told Cantor, “I can go it alone. … Look at the polls. The polls are pretty good for me right now. Elections have consequences. And Eric, I won. So on that, I think I trump you.”

    Later, after the Democrats drafted a stimulus bill that contained zero Republican ideas, Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel put Obama’s position on bipartisanship a bit more succinctly, “We have the votes. F–k ‘em.”

    Obama’s tone changed, of course, after the “shellacking” the American people gave him during the 2010 elections. But even when he knew he needed Republican votes to govern, Obama could not help but stereotype and lecture the other party. He confidently told his staff he could roll newly minted House Speaker John Boehner because, “He’s a golf-playing, cigarette-smoking, country-club Republican who makes deals. He is very familiar to me.”

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/new-woodward-book-shows-how-obama-made-it-worse/article/2508042#.UFW9Yq7rSSo

    *********************************************************

    N.B. But even when he knew he needed Republican votes to govern, Obama could not help but stereotype and lecture the other party.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm

      Plenty of blame for everyone:

      “It is a fact that President Obama was handed a miserable, faltering economy and faced a recalcitrant Republican opposition. But presidents work their will — or should work their will — on the important matters of national business. … Obama has not.”

      Woodward is presumably right-perhaps Obama should have simply made the Republicans bend to his will.

      • T. J. Babson said, on September 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm

        “He’s a golf-playing, cigarette-smoking, country-club Republican who makes deals. He is very familiar to me.”

        Or learn to make deals with John Boehner.

  6. T. J. Babson said, on September 17, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Woodward nails it:


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