The Democrats are continuing their ridiculous equation of Voter ID laws with the lynching era in the Old South. After Jonathan Tobin commented in CommentaryMagazine.com that Americans need to show a picture ID to board a plane, conduct a bank transaction, and even just "buy a beer," Eugene Robinson replied in the Washington Post that buying a beer "isn't a constitutionally protected right," adding that to violate such rights "is a crime against democracy." And Andrew Rosenthal in NYTimes.com chimed in with the claim that about 18 percent of voters in heavily black Philadelphia have no ID, which could lose the swing state for the Democrats in November.
At this point, an annoying question intrudes, though apparently not on Democratic minds. If 18% of Philadelphia voters are so marginalized that they can't even cash a check or take out a book from the local library, doesn't that mean that the Democratic Party has utterly failed to relieve the plight of the poor, and should therefore forfeit its support at the polls? Nearly half a century after the launching of the Great Society this should be an obvious point, but Democrats are staggeringly obtuse and don't see the obvious.
Furthermore, even taking the Democratic Party point of view at face value on this issue, how serious a "crime against democracy" is interfering with voting, as compared with restricting viable candidacy to those who completely prostitute themselves to wealthy corporate campaign donors? The latter absolutely guarantees that the popular will is perpetually thwarted, whereas vote suppression at most determines the form anti-democratic politics will take in a given election cycle. In short, much ado about very little.
Far worse than all this was President Obama's call at the United Nations for Arab leaders to denounce the anti-Washington violence that has erupted across the Muslim world in recent days. After conceding that yet another Western occasion of crude anti-Islam propaganda had inflamed Muslim passions and contributed to recent riots, the president had the nerve to lecture Muslims that the U.S. First Amendment protects even hateful writings, film, and speech, so that Arabs who denounce "the slander of the Prophet of Islam" should also speak out against radicals who destroy Christian churches, deny the Holocaust, and "use hatred of America, or the West, or Israel as the central principle of politics."
Whew. Let's start with the Holocaust. Assertion and denial are characteristic of argument, so what's wrong with denying the canonical Holocaust? And if denouncing Holocaust deniers is obligatory, shouldn't we also "speak out" against anti-Christian fanatics who "deny" that a baby can be born to a virgin? How hateful can they be?
In any event, in spite of the First Amendment, U.S. immigration authorities cooperated with a German extradition request to have Holocaust revisionist Ernst Zundel put on trial in Germany for heresy. Zundel had already been tried and convicted of heresy in Canada, and, as a result of the two trials has spent a great deal of his life in prison. For thought crimes. Card-carrying A.C.L.U. members are completely unconcerned.
Furthermore, if the U.S. is so unalterably opposed to punishing speech, why was Julius Streicher put to death at Nuremberg? Streicher's only crime was writing and publishing Nazi propaganda. And lest one think that the U.S. was justified in that instance because of being in a declared war, what is the justification for Obama seizing the right to assassinate Americans on his say-so alone, for speech "aiding and abetting" terrorism? Since Washington is the leading terrorist in the world today, and has been for some time, a literal interpretation of this standard could lead to the liquidation of the entire U.S. intellectual class. There must be better ways to liberate the public mind from the lunatic orthodoxies of Wall Street and the Israel fanatics.
Incidentally, if destruction of Christianity is an issue, what about Israel's destruction of Palestinian Christian churches? Doesn't that count? For Obama, it clearly doesn't. Why not?
Finally, if hatred of the Soviet Union could serve as the central principle of U.S. politics throughout the Cold War, why can't hatred of America and Israel serve as the central principle of politics for Arabs and Muslims today? Recall that the Soviet Union carried out nothing remotely comparable to the U.S. and Israel's constant bombings and invasions of Arab and Muslim peoples, most notably in Palestine. Why shouldn't people hate being subjected to that, and why shouldn't that hatred be at the center of their politics?
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal objected to Obama's attempt at conciliatory rhetoric (the president conceded that the recent anti-Islam video was "crude and disgusting"), reminding readers of Obama's pledge to prevent Iran from going nuclear, and warning that "the cold reality is that after nearly four years of failed diplomacy and half-hearted sanctions," neither Iran nor Israel believe him. The proof is said to be that Iranian Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was "jaunty and arrogant" during his recent visit to New York, where he was seen "snidely flashing peace signs," and describing Israel as a "short-lived historical aberration" soon to be "eliminated."
It is difficult to know where to start with this barrage, which is more crude and disgusting than whatever might have appeared on the anti-Islam video. In the first place, there is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear bomb. What it has is a nuclear electricity program, which admittedly can conceal a bomb-making motive fairly easily, but since Israel has hundreds of nuclear bombs and refuses to enter negotiations designed to make the Middle East a nuclear-free zone, how seriously can one take the Wall Street Journal's accusations, which make no mention of this? Not very seriously at all.
As for Ahmadinejad, just how does one "snidely" flash a peace sign? The suggestion is that Iran, which is supposedly an "aggressor" because it is accepted in the Middle East and allegedly lends aid and support to peoples Washington and Tel Aviv have chosen to attack, has no more business flashing a peace sign than Adolf Hitler. This is absurd, of course, as Iran has attacked no one in 2000 years, whereas Washington overthrew Iranian democracy in 1953 and has been unremittingly hostile to Iran since its revolution in 1979, including lending support to forces committing major acts of terrorism against Iranian government officials. In short, Obama and Hillary Clinton are far more cynical in their calls for peace than Ahmadinejad could ever be. But don't hang by your lip waiting for the corporate media to report this.
Which leaves the matter of Israel being a short-lived historical aberration soon to be "eliminated." Of course, Palestine was quite literally eliminated by the formation of Israel, and the hysterics now beating the war drums for a desired USrael attack on Iran are very well aware of it. One day Palestine was home to a viable indigenous Arab culture and the next day it was declared a Jewish state, which proceeded to drive out as many Arabs as it could and subjugate those that remained. Since that time Israel has dedicated itself to the suppression and destruction of Palestinian Arab culture, which is genocide under current international law. One can only hope that Ahmadinejad is correct in stating that this aberrant (apartheid) state will indeed be transformed into something humane and decent in the near future, although there is no reason to suppose that Iran intends to achieve this end militarily, which it could not do even if it wanted to.
In any event, the intent of the Wall Street Journal's disgusting propaganda is for readers to conclude that Iran is preparing to nuke Israel off the map. But we've been down this road before. Remember Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction? They, too, were allegedly a dagger pointed at USrael. The only problem was that they didn't exist.
Iran has attacked no one, and it has no suicidal ambition to nuke Israel. The danger to the Middle East emanates from the fanatic ideology of Washington and Tel Aviv, which their media lapdogs are endlessly striving to cover up.
The Week - The Best of the U.S. and International Media, October 5, 2012