Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Joe Biden - Obama's Choice, and Chuck Hagel's too

DownWithTyranny!: Not All Republicans Are As Enamoured Of McCain As Ron Fournier Is-- Hagel, Lugar And Specter Sing Biden's Praises

I can't imagine McCain and the lobbyists are too happy about what they're hearing from veteran Republican senators who have worked with Joe Biden for years and years. No doubt the comment that rankles McCain most comes from Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel-- an actual Vietnam War hero, not some loser who got shot down bombing civilians from 20,000 feet and then spent the rest of his miserable life trying to capitalize on his imprisonment. "Joe Biden is the right partner for Barack Obama," said Hagel. "His many years of distinguished service to America, his seasoned judgment and his vast experience in foreign policy and national security will match up well with the unique challenges of the 21st Century. An Obama-Biden ticket is a very impressive and strong team. Biden's selection is good news for Obama and America."
Hm. I wonder what he will say about the widely-rumored choice of Mitt Romney for the Veep spot on the Republican ticket. I imagine "as little as possible" is what the McCain camp is hoping for.

For myself, I'd have to say that Mitt does bring balance to that ticket as well - he serves to balance out McCain's few positives. The fact that he expressed his willingness to "respond to the call" on Sean Hannity's tells me what he thinks of "his constituency."

"I think any Republican leader in this country would be honored to be asked to serve as the vice presidential nominee, myself included," Romney told FOX's Sean Hannity in a recent broadcast. "Of course this is a nation which needs strong leadership. And if the nominee of our party asked you to serve with him, anybody would be honored to receive that call ... and to accept it, of course."

Emphasis Mine.
What does "strong leadership" mean to people who get their information from Faux News? What sorts of "strong leadership" do Hannity and his ilk regularly demand of our current leaders and condemn "the left" for interfering with?

Near the end Murguia called for depriving immigration critics of First Amendment rights. Again, no quotes around hate speech, as if the Times is simply assuming that what Murguia smears as "hate speech" truly is.

Ms. Murguia argued that hate speech should not be tolerated, even if such censorship were a violation of First Amendment rights:

"Everyone knows there is a line sometimes that can be crossed when it comes to free speech. And when free speech transforms into hate speech, we've got to draw that line. And that’s what we’re doing here today. And we need to make sure that network executives will hold their people accountable and not cross that line.

Times Watch is unable to detect in Alexovich's posting a single raised eyebrow at the thought of Murguia's frightening dismissal of free speech. It's a particularly bizarre omission coming from someone who works in journalism.

No, not really. People trained in journalism - such as myself - are actually trained to understand "consequential speech." That is to say, words have consequences, and while "free speech" is indeed a very, VERY important concept, it exists in order to keep a check upon those who would use violence to suppress criticism.

Hate speech is simply verbal violence against people one disapproves of and is precisely the opposite of constitutionally protected free speech. Hate speech is the favorite tool of the Authoritarian, of the Dictator, of those who profit by setting one part of society against another. Hate speech is the tool of demagogues, of those who would steal your right to dissent - in the name of being a "Real American."

In other words, if you feel the need to protect your right to say hateful things against others and use that stolen impunity to gin up hatred, you are actually suppressing the first amendment rights of those you spew hatred against.

Of course, Hannity is just so totally down with the idea that "liberals" (by which I have come to understand those who know the assets of evil when we see them) should just shut up or be sent to Gitmo. The more obviously apt the criticism of the obvious outcomes of such massive, willful, hateful stupidity, the more such yammerheads yammer about the need for "strong leadership" to suppress dissent.

"Strong Leadership" of this sort is exactly the sort of leadership that has gotten us into this mess. It's the idea that any problem can be dealt with by punishing the people who bring it to your attention, or fixing blame upon someone too weak to be anything other than a symptom of the problem and then making their lives harder.

"Strong," in this context, is arbitrary, whimsical and based on premises that are simplistic, false and presume that all other persons are as inherently corrupt and stupid as The Dear Leader - so that any of their apparent good ideas may be dismissed as being mere Trojan horses for their "hidden agendas."

And that's exactly the sort of "Strong Leadership" being promised you by the McCain Campaign.

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