September 25, 2012

Obama at the U.N.: "[A] crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world."

"I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video.... The answer is enshrined in our laws: our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech."
“Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs," he said. "As President of our country, and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so. Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views--even views that we profoundly disagree with.

“Now, I know that not all countries in this body share this understanding of the protection of free speech. We recognize that," said Obama. “But in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete. The question, then, is how do we respond. And on this we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence."

209 comments:

1 – 200 of 209   Newer›   Newest»
Revenant said...

The answer is enshrined in our laws: our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech.

The correct answer is "we don't ban it because banning it would be a gross violation of inalienable human rights".

Not "we don't ban it because the Constitution won't let us".

Rose said...

He does have good speech writers. Always says the 'right thing.' Doesn't he?

Except...

Tim said...

When the president lies, it doesn't meaning he's lying.

Just ask his supporters.

They'll tell you, in 3, 2, 1...

X said...

The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.

Freeman Hunt said...

Obama says something I like!

Expat(ish) said...

I would have preferred he not get into the weeds with the movie.

I liked the part where he said that people say bad things about him but he defended their right to say them.

It was a finer moment for him.

-XC

John said...

Obama says...

Does that mean he believes? Or is this political expedience?

traditionalguy said...

Great speech. If Obama meant it we would be satisfied, but he always lies about being for whatever he is setting us up to destroy when we trust him.

chickelit said...

Freeman Hunt said...
Obama says something I like!

I liked the predicate part but not the subject.* But the verb, "to chill," is always welcome.

_______________

*Meaning that I believe that the Libyan murders were premediated and timed to coincide with 9/11.

MadisonMan said...

Wish he would've said that right off the bat.

m stone said...

Obama uses "crude and disgusting" to characterize the video and simply "outrage" and the tepid "mindless violence" as distant references to the consulate killings.

Based on the words, the video seems far worse. Is that Obama'smessage to the world?

AprilApple said...

there is no speech that justifies mindless violence.

But what about speech that gets you arrested in the middle of the night?

Moose said...

Again - nicely straddled. He's got a good turn of phrase. However it's still the UN - I mean really. What that is useful gets done there to begin with?

PoNyman said...

If he had said this to begin with all these anti-speech advocates would have stayed in their dusty corners. This was good and concise. He sure is slow at that obvious.

Now back to an American ambassador's assassination, which had nothing to do with any specific free speech.

BarrySanders20 said...

"Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views--even views that we profoundly disagree with."

Sorry Other Barry, that is not why Americans fight and die around the globe. Utter fail on this one, TOTUS.

Also don't like the modifier on violence. When translated into Urdu, it will say that reacting with violence is OK as long as it's not mindless, so be sure to think about the violence to be done to avenge the good name of Mohammed (PBUH) before chopping.

AprilApple said...

The movie is still the big scapegoat for the failure of our State Dept to secure Mr. Stevens.

Baron Zemo said...

You know Obama is lying.

His lips are moving.

That's his tell.

Comanche Voter said...

Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Did the Bamster just impliedly compare himself to Mohammed and tell the big guy in the burnoose to suck it up and take some criticism? After all The Bamster expects people to say bad things about him every day and he "defends their right to do it".

So if Barack (who's running for the office of Fourth Imam) can do it, why can't Mohammed stand the gaffe?

Frankly I've never seen a bigger load of camel dung than this speech. Obama never fails to disappoint. Just when I think he can't go any lower--he does.

Calypso Facto said...

Wish he would've said that right off the bat.

Yes! Though, I still get the feeling from reading this transcript that Obama implies "I would jail this guy if I could, but, ya know, my hands are kind of tied." Which doesn't go over well with those of us who believe in defending fundamental rights for their own sake, or with those in the Muslim world who will interpret these comments to mean that Obama's too weak to do what he thinks should be done.

SteveR said...

As he is sworn to "protect and defend the Consitution" the first part goes without saying (at least it should) and on the second part, "we must all" understand that people we are kowtowing to will never think the violence in response to a perceived insult of the Prophet, is mindless or unjustified. Time to move on, this is not a difficult situation to understand, stop wishing. Figure out how to deal with facts.

Cedarford said...

It will mostly fall on deaf ears. Other nations and peoples don't give a flying fuck about our Consttution anymore than we care about Moldava, Bangladesh's, or Frances "Sacred Parchments".

The other disconnect is that other nations, through long-time internal violence, have culturally come to expect citizens to have the virtue of getting along, respecting others, mantaining social peace and harmony.
In America, in some strain of "rugged individualism" we tend to put rabblerousers on a pedestal and richly reward them for dividing our society. We give them power (Obama) or heap money and fame on them (Rush, Al Sharpton, Jesse, Reverend Phelps and his evil spawn).
It too, is alien about America, to much of the world.
Too many graveyards filled by the fruits of rebels and troublemakers in many, many lands.

We are seen more and more as a wastrel civilization in decline - so we have lost clout as well in urging others to be more like us, and adopt the American model for individual gratification and success in a decaying society...

Paul said...

And President Pinocchio also said the 'movie' caused the killings. No mention of terrorist, or conspiracy, or Al Quada, or Muslims.

As usual he skips anything that might embarrass him.

Baron Zemo said...

You know in his heart Obama would prefer "Hate speech" codes, forcing convents to provide free abortions and anyone who earns over $100,000 per year to be forced to fork over all of their cash to pay for goodies for his peeps.

He is just lying just enough so fools like Althouse will vote for him because he is their imaginary black boyfriend.

He cares about as much for freedom of speech as Cedarford or Inga the She Wolf.

prairie wind said...

Does that mean he believes? Or is this political expedience?

Political expedience. Or maybe it just means that he can read what the teleprompter tells him to read.

One think it definitely does NOT mean is that he believes that freedom of speech is the right of all human beings. Because this is Obama. Don't forget that.

DADvocate said...

Good words, but his own actions and Hillary Clinton's words don't fully reflect what Obama said today.

donald said...

No it's not a good moment for him.

Dude is more egomaniacal than Deion Sanders.

To tie a couple of threads together.

donald said...

Me, me, me, me, me.

well, not Donald.

What a jackass.

Lyle said...

The video is not an insult to America Mr. President, it's a monument of our liberties now.

You're on the wrong side of history sir.

Cedarford said...

BarrySanders20 said...
"Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views--even views that we profoundly disagree with."

Sorry Other Barry, that is not why Americans fight and die around the globe. Utter fail on this one, TOTUS.

================
I quite agree. America does not regret the blood and treasure that had to be spilled in wars that are looked back on as being in our vital national interests.

The wars we have fought outside that, not for our own interests but "the human rights of noble foreign freedom lovers" have tended to turn out badly. And actions short of war like embargoes fairly ineffectual and silly - in hindsight.

Outside a few ideologues, who also believe they will pay no personal price in blood or treasure, there is no desire at present in America, nor for most of our past, to go to war to protect "free speech rights" or other claimed "human rights" in other countries.

edutcher said...

I'm with Paul, what happened to the terrorist attack and a denunciation of that as national policy?

Oh, yeah, half the place would have walked out.

“Now, I know that not all countries in this body share this understanding of the protection of free speech."

You could count on the fingers of one hand.

Jo said...

Inga the She Wolf.

Thank you, Baron Zemo! First good laugh I’ve had here at Althouse since Trooper York (or actually you, as surmised by Althouse herself?) left.

Amartel said...

More empty-headed blithering from President Present.

It wasn't "mindless violence." The violent people planned this out quite carefully, thought about it. "Mindless violence" is progressive for inconvenient violence. Also, it excuses the violent people (they were mindless). Also, calling it "mindless violence" goes along with Obama's conceit that it was all spontaneously inspired by an obscure film that had been released months before. Like the rioters all saw the film at once and just done lost their minds; wild with rage, they violented.

Mark said...

The question, then, is how do we respond. And on this we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence.

This is problematic. It allows those who would perform "mindless violence" to define what "justifies" mindless violence simply by committing the violence then pointing to whatever is convenient to claim it was justified.

Sound familiar?

Inga said...

I don't recall hearing him ever say differently. People jumped to conclusions about what his stance was. Who was an anti free speech advocate? Is it fair to label someone as such because they ask for some to think before the speak? Since when is thinking before you speak an assault on free speech? Since people went bonkers reflexively, that's when.

People were practically foaming at the mouth, screaming about their free speech rights being taken away. Knee jerk much? Some folks should feel silly for getting so bent out of shape.

David said...

Well said.

Now live up to it.

Show us you believe it.

Baron Zemo said...

Obama only worries about insults to his religion.

He will dictate that Catholics violate their religion with out a second thought.

But attack Islam?

No way.

David said...



Watch what they do, not what they say.

Palladian said...

It took him nearly two weeks to finally state the obvious?

And notice that he couldn't be bothered to say it to us, the citizens of the United States of America? No, he had to wait until he was addressing a truly important audience, the motley collection of thugocracies, theocracies, dictatorships, and a smattering of legitimate governments known as the United Nations.

I'm sorry but I can't give an ostensibly intelligent adult credit for waiting two weeks to state the obvious, especially after spending much of that time implying that our natural-born right to speak freely might not fall under the protection of our Constitution.

Too little, too late.

And now let's get back to what really happened on 9/11/12 and what really caused it.

Cedarford said...

Revenant said...
"The answer is enshrined in our laws: our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech."

The correct answer is "we don't ban it because banning it would be a gross violation of inalienable human rights".

What is the intellectual basis for claiming there are "inalienable human rights"???
Do you claim authority to impose that on the world because of some fairly modern theological spin that "God and Jesus as understood in the 18th Century Christianity, but not past Christianity...gave that to us as Divine Mandate"?? What of the rest of the world not wedded to 18th Century Christian theology?
Or do you accept the UN Body, voting on various "Declarations of Rights" Euros and unelected 3rd World pimp-diplomats concoct up, has the total moral authority to define what is and what is not..... "inalienable human rights"?


Freeman Hunt said...

*Meaning that I believe that the Libyan murders were premediated and timed to coincide with 9/11.

I do too.

I like the defense of free speech to an international audience though. It would have been better if crafted as Rev mentioned, but that he did it at all is good and surprising.

Scott said...

That's Ilsa the She Wolf, not Inga...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071650/

Baron Zemo said...

This is just focus group tested bullshit to calm down the outrage of those Americans who don't think you should drag people around in handcuffs in the middle of the night because of what they have to say about Islam.

He doesn't mean any of it.

But he will lie just enough to fool his girlfriends.

Methadras said...

“Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs,"

Why the emphasis that you are a christian like other Americans (taqiyya?). And while we don't ban blasphemy against Christianity, neither does Islam. In fact, they encourage it, while unAmerican fascists like Allie/Inga and people like her would have speech banning insulting Islam instead.

gerry said...

Some folks should feel silly for getting so bent out of shape.

I think getting dragged out of a house in the middle of the night by multiple cops is pretty upsetting, especially since the facts have revealed that the movie had no bearing on the cause of the violence at the Libyan embassy, and so the government had no just cause for what it did to suppress speech!

It was a straw man Obama used - in a gross abuse of our inalienable rights - to distract us from his incompetence.

Some people should be embarassed about their indifference to liberty.

Palladian said...

And isn't it funny that he managed to make it about himself... yet again!

garage mahal said...

I would have liked a rushed condemnation of somebody or some thing, preferably while these attacks were occurring. Romney really showed the world how it's done there. But, I guess better late than never!

Methadras said...

Inga said...

People were practically foaming at the mouth, screaming about their free speech rights being taken away. Knee jerk much? Some folks should feel silly for getting so bent out of shape.


No they weren't. However, seeing you unveil you fascism against free speech sure seemed silly to see from you. How do those jack-boots feel right now?

creeley23 said...

The question, then, is how do we respond. And on this we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence.

That's better than I would have expected from Obama. Make no mistake, if he hasn't hedged elsewhere in the speech, Obama has thrown down the glove to Muslims who cannot accept mockery of Muhammad and Islam.

Muslims will not agree. Unless I misunderstand Islam, they cannot agree.

gerry said...

I'm sorry but I can't give an ostensibly intelligent adult

Obama is not instensibly intelligent.

Methadras said...

garage mahal said...

I would have liked a rushed condemnation of somebody or some thing, preferably while these attacks were occurring. Romney really showed the world how it's done there. But, I guess better late than never!


And he turned out to be right, you unbelievable stooge. Do you and AllieInga share notes on how to be perpetually stupid?

Baron Zemo said...

You know that Obama would love to criminalize the use of certain words.

That's what hate crime legislation is all about.

There are protected classes in our country now because of liberal politically correct laws passed to benefit one group over another.

You are just finding out that Obama wants to include Islam and it's followers in this protected group.

But Catholics? Jews? You can pee on their images all you want because that's art!

Haven't you been paying attention?

Rabel said...

"As President of our country, and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so."

Testing. Testing. 1. 2. 3.

President Obama, your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.

Sincerely,
Rabel

Anga2010 said...

"And on this we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence."

There is, however, some speech that requires mindful, focused, extreme and purposeful ultra-violence. I'm looking at you *points finger* Iran.

chickelit said...

CedarFord wrote: In America, in some strain of 'rugged individualism' we tend to put rabblerousers on a pedestal and richly reward them for dividing our society.

Excuse me? Did Liberty Valance--the rabblerouser of the criminal oppressed--win? No, he got bin Ladened.

Did Jimmy Stewart, the "rabblerouser" of the elites-gone-to-Washington-cum-Barack-Obama win the West? No, but that's the story they printed, isn't it?

It was John Wayne who did the deed and "bin leadened" bin Laden. Pompey only handed him the rifle. The woman in that story knew the truth. Many in that audience will realize the truth too--one day. They like strong horses.
===========
The rugged individuals--the "Hero Classes"--are the ones whom Cedarford despises.

Original Mike said...

Squirrel!

Alex said...

Outside a few ideologues, who also believe they will pay no personal price in blood or treasure, there is no desire at present in America, nor for most of our past, to go to war to protect "free speech rights" or other claimed "human rights" in other countries.

So C4 does not believe in free speech.

Alex said...

BTW - by Obama's standards the kind of free speech that's been goin' on on blogs the last 10 years is "beyond the pale" and probably should be banned.

creeley23 said...

Although there is that troubling modifier: "mindless."

Does Obama's proclamation protect Salman Rushdie from a Muslim hit squad mindfully assassinating Rushdie?

Hagar said...

I hope that if Romney is elected in November, he will in January institute a foreign policy based on the realization that the State of Iran and several "Radical Islam" factions each have declared war on us and are conducting "shadow warfare," since none is in a position to conduct "open warfare" against the US.

That does not mean that we should declare "open warfare" on them - that is also futile - but we need to realize that we are in it for the long haul, and it is not about mollifying hurt feelings or whose religion is the greatest.

Alex said...

People were practically foaming at the mouth, screaming about their free speech rights being taken away. Knee jerk much? Some folks should feel silly for getting so bent out of shape.

Allie, you stupid nitwit. People were foaming at the mouth because Obama demanded Youtube pull the video.

Baron Zemo said...

The fact remains that the "mindless" barbarians in the Middle East planned to attack us on the anniversary of 911
and they did just what they planned to do.

Obama gave us excuses and bullshit. Blamed everyone else even a video on youtube.

How you can defend that is just more than I can understand.

Cedarford said...

Palladian - "And now let's get back to what really happened on 9/11/12 and what really caused it."

Three things happened on 9/11/12.

1. Four people died in a terrorist attck likely unrelated to the movie trailer.
2. A tremendous burst of anti-American sentiment erupted throughout the Muslim world that was triggered by the ammunition the movie trailer gave the Islamist enemy, which used that ammunition adeptly. It signalled that the idiot Bush "Nation-Building, Democracy, Freedom-LOving" geostrategic policy was in ruins, as was the Obama "Arab Spring strategy of replacing regimes to see grateful Muslims then loving the US and Israel as payback for US help (a variant of the idiot Bush geostrategic policy).
3. Complete bungling of the crisis by the Obamites, including Hillary and her people showing they were actually unfit for that 3AM phone call.

In the big scheme of things, the complete collapse of American geostrategic policy is more important than 4 dead people from a terrorist attack.
We can mourn 4 dead people and go after their killers.
But what we now do in the face of the Great Islamic Awakening happening from Europe, down to Morocco, all the way over to Turkey and the Middle East, on to the furthest out island of Indonesia is a far more difficult and complicated matter.

Common sense says that the US should not get embroiled in it anymore than we ought to have gotten right in the middle of the Chinese civil War 1945-49.
We are stuck though, in wanting that distance on the intractable problems of Israel dividing the Ummah into two halves. Stuck on the intractable problem of lawyers treating Jihad as a law enforcement problem and constraining military ROE. Stuck on Arab energy because we failed to have a strategy past "let the free market for lowest cost oil work" while handcuffed by environmentalists. (We had 40 years to get off Arab oil when the dangers of depending on it were made clear to us in the 1973 Embargo. And failed to.)


LarsPorsena said...

When it's about Muslims it's 'crude and disgusting'. When it's about Christians it's edgy.

AprilApple said...

'THE FUTURE MUST NOT BELONG TO THOSE WHO SLANDER THE PROPHET OF ISLAM'...

That is an odd thing to say.

Baron Zemo said...

Or you can blame the Jews.

Inga said...

Alex, you dumbass, so fucking what? He ASKED, NOT demanded. There is a huge difference.

Baron Zemo said...

I bet Obama does too just like C4 and the She Wolf.

Alex said...

Allie, you nitwit. When the POTUS calls up Google and "asks" to have something done, do you really think it's just a friendly request?

Baron Zemo said...

What will Obama do when Iran launches a nuclear missle against Israel?

Because that is Dinnerjackets plan.

Baron Zemo said...

Will he blame that on a video or a cartoon or a speech?

chickelit said...

The real She-wolf is blonde.

Does Ilsa dye in the updated story?

AprilApple said...

"A crude and disgusting video sparked outrage."
Really?

I recall at the DNC convention --there was gloating over the killing of Bin Laden. I recall that the ME riots included shouting "Hey Obama, we are all Osama".

I don't doubt that video would spark outrage. But I do doubt that anyone in ME watched it. Afterall, think about what garners attention? The DNC convention or an obscure poorly made youtube video?

yashu said...

I'm sorry but I can't give an ostensibly intelligent adult credit for waiting two weeks to state the obvious, especially after spending much of that time implying that our natural-born right to speak freely might not fall under the protection of our Constitution.

I'm reminded of Obama's much-vaunted, even by many Republicans (but certainly not by me) "civility speech" a week after the Giffords shooting.

I'm not impressed by this performance at all. Of course the POTUS was going to offer some token verbal defense of the First Amendment, how could he not? It's Obama's oratorically grandiose, self-aggrandizing, euphonious fence-straddling as usual.

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."

What's that supposed to mean?

Revenant said...

"The correct answer is "we don't ban it because banning it would be a gross violation of inalienable human rights"

What is the intellectual basis for claiming there are "inalienable human rights"???

Even if I had any interest in explaining the last few thousand years of western moral philosophy to you, Cedarford, there isn't space here to do it. Live in ignorance.

Cedarford said...

Alex said...
Outside a few ideologues, who also believe they will pay no personal price in blood or treasure, there is no desire at present in America, nor for most of our past, to go to war to protect "free speech rights" or other claimed "human rights" in other countries.

So C4 does not believe in free speech.
==================
Stating I do not want US blood and treasure spent "giving" foreigners things they fail to do themselves does not mean I do not believe that they themselves should have free speech, all the porn they want to make, legal alcohol, lifetime judges...if they desire them and wish to struggle to get them.

Similarly, I think it would be great if every Haitian momma could feed herself, her 9 children chicken and rice and all the fixings and all they could eat 5 days a week. And wash it down with fresh, cool, pure water.
But I don't think any American has an obligation to fight or pay more taxes to give those Haitians all you can eat chicken meals and world class water.


Inga said...

Alex, you dumbass, it was not mandated unlawfully by the government, again a request and a demand are different, even when done by the government.

YouTube faced no repercussions from refusing. I'm glad they didn't take it down, there was no need, it had already gotten the attention of the Islamists.

James Pawlak said...

The only test of THAT video is: Was its information on Islam-and-Muslims true/false/mostly-true/mostly-false.

As Mohammed was a murderer liar and treaty breaker, bandit, advocate for rape and aggressive war and the perverted sexual abuser of a nine-year-young girl-child, how is it possible to insult him?

As Muslims consider that fellow the ideal and model for all men, how is it possible to insult Islam?

Revenant said...

He ASKED, NOT demanded. There is a huge difference.

I'm asking you to fuck off and die, Allie. :)

But I'm just asking, so there's no reason to criticize me for making that statement.

America's Politico said...

The best and the greatest speech ever by POTUS at thy UN.

This a speech of a VICTOR!

Relect the POTUS!

Amartel said...

Garagemahal "I would have liked a rushed condemnation of somebody or some thing, preferably while these attacks were occurring. Romney really showed the world how it's done there. But, I guess better late than never!"

Hey, why wait until the attacks are actually occuring? Rush, rush, rush right out there and get the jump on reality by identifying and condemning your enemy (some idiot with a camera and a freely expressed opinion) before attacks even begin! Then, later, you can continue to shift blame their way. Thanks, US Embassy in Cairo.

Here's what Romney said, it's JUST SO HORRIBLE and true:
I'm outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It's disgraceful that the Obama Administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

MadisonMan said...

Relect the POTUS!

Do you want to make he a relic?

Relict the POTUS!

Or do you want to Reelect him?

Baron Zemo said...

Look it is exactly the same thing when they arrest someone for murder and armed robbery and they tell you that you have to take into account the hard life of poverty and abuse that these poor childruns grew up in.

Liberal excuses for muderous barbarians.

We have seen it time and again. Nothing new here.

Inga said...

Revenant, I'm asking you to get your head out of your ass, but it's up there so high, alas, poor Rev, it's stuck.

mark said...

@Inga ... "He ASKED, NOT demanded."

When I call Google. It is a request. When the White House calls Google. It isn't a request.

I could walk up to you and ask you to not share your thoughts. A man with a gun and a badge could do the same. Do you understand the difference?

People in power (with guns, drones, the IRS, and a displayed will to use them) asking you to do something is never simply a request. Fear always walks with power.

Cedarford said...

Revenant said...
"The correct answer is "we don't ban it because banning it would be a gross violation of inalienable human rights"

What is the intellectual basis for claiming there are "inalienable human rights"???

Even if I had any interest in explaining the last few thousand years of western moral philosophy to you, Cedarford, there isn't space here to do it. Live in ignorance.

================
The pity for you is your are ignorant the panoply of human rights you imagine are now defined as "inalienable rights" were absent in most of Western Civ until the Elightenment. But you are too stupid to understand that.

And too stupid to understand that we have a situation where people lecturing 3rd Worlders on contemporary Western values, and 3rd Worlders lecturing us on their values are essentially talking past one another.

Neither the US idea of "accept our ideas in inalienable human rights or we will invade you and reeducate you at trillions in cost to US taxpayers" or the Muslim idea of "accept the inalienable rights as passed to the Prophet by Allah is our own "Sacred Parchment" or we will kill you" seem to be working out too well.

Unknown said...

Erick Erickson at Redstate has it right today: "It is an orthodox Christian belief that Mohammed is not a prophet. Actual Christians, as opposed to many of the supposed Christians put up by the mainstream media, believe that Christ is the only way to salvation. Believing that is slandering Mohammed. That’s just a fact. If you don’t believe me, you go into the MIddle East and proclaim Christ is the way, the truth, and the life and see what happens to your life.

Then Barack Obama went on to say “Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied.” Note he says we cannot “slander the prophet of Islam” but it’s only the image of Christ in the next sentence — not actually Christ himself desecrated. If this is so, why does Barack Obama’s government continue funding the National Endowment for the Arts, which funded Christ in piss, the Virgin Mary painted in dung, etc.?

Now, in point of fact, this is a major difference between Islam and Christianity. Christ came to this world as an enemy of the world and expected to be impugned. He also tells his followers that they should expect to be impugned. There is joy in being persecuted for following the Risen Lord. In Islam, if you impugn Mohammed, you get a fatwa on your butt."

carrie said...

I wonder what he would have said if it hadn't been an election year.

carrie said...

I wonder what he would have said if it hadn't been an election year.

Nomennovum said...

"As President of our country, and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so." -- B.H. Obama

As always, everything becomes about him.

Baron Zemo said...

He said that because the "Prophet of Islam" is the only thing that matters to him.

Christians are supposed to sit down and shut up when their sacred images are violated and their values and beliefs are tossed aside because someone wants free condoms or an abortion.

Don't you get it? How many times does he have to prove it to you?

B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B said...

Sorry about that. Lot of grammatical errors there. Try this:

On the surface, this looks like the right thing to say but there are two levels here.

The first is the confirmation of the right to free speech. Obama did well there.

The cynic in me sees the second level. Obama has deftly removed the question of his administration ignoring free speech rights or at least muted it. At the same time, he promotes the myth that the video and the exercise of free speech was responsible for the attacks. He may not allude directly to the connection, but the inference is there.

He's able to continue to promote the false narrative that it was the video that sparked events, even with hard evidence and his own sidebar admission that this was a planned and coordinated attack and the video merely a serendipitously acquired tool used to assemble a masking crowd. The State Department's bungling, and the administration's questionable foreign policy initiatives hopefully stay muted for the election cycle at least. Any further questioning related to State or the administration's failures in Libya will be met by purposefully confusing association with causation.

Expect to hear variations of:

'Look, Obama stood right up there, condemned the rioting, and defended free speech. So what's the problem?'

take over the MSM narrative.

chickelit said...

Cedarford writes: The pity for you is your are ignorant the panoply of human rights you imagine are now defined as "inalienable rights" were absent in most of Western Civ until the Elightenment.

Highly devoloped brain pans were also a late development in human history. Are you suggesting we give that up too in the interest of staying alive?

BarryD said...

He should have said, "Free expression is an inalienable human right. Besides, have you guys been to see The Book of Mormon yet?"

rhhardin said...

What was crude and disgusting exactly.

Obama could be characterized as crude and disgusting without surprising anybody as to usage.

Say something disgusting about Islam. You'd be hard pressed to make sense of that.

Evidently Obama is claiming really sensitive religious feelings no matter what religion.

A bullshit speech.

rhhardin said...

What will Obama do when an video against organized crime comes out.

That would be exactly parallel. Will it be characterized as crude and disgusting too.

yashu said...

I was also struck by the adjectival qualification of "mindless violence."

I guess you could argue that was just meant to be descriptive, not a qualification, and I'm nit-picking-- and I probably am.

But clearly not all violence is "mindless." That may describe a mob-- but it doesn't describe a terrorist.

NB Stevens's murder was originally blamed (by this administration) on a mindless mob, reacting to a youtube video (the scenario this speech focuses on).

But that scenario was mistaken. In fact it appears that Stevens's assassins were precisely not "mindless" but pre-planning terrorists, whose motives and timing (Sept. 11) have little or nothing to do with a youtube video at all.

But Obama is sticking to the narrative that best works for him. Before the UN audience, he can describe and denounce that little youtube video as "crude and disgusting."

He can't very well describe his own (or post-Bush America's) foreign policy, Guantanamo and drone strikes, OBL's killing (and subsequent football spiking), etc., in such terms. He can't distance himself and point a condemnatory finger at that.

But he can point a condemnatory finger at a little youtube movie and sanctimoniously denounce it. See, people at the UN and across the Muslim world, I (Obama) am on your side after all.

rhhardin said...

Not every religion has enforcers, is the difference.

Reformation took care of that for most.

bagoh20 said...

"...the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete. "

And look guys, we all know how that is a pain in the ass for people like us, but could you all just give me break here, and cut this shit out for a while. I'm running for reelection right now. I can be much more flexible after that, but you do know I got to win first. Please visit my website, hit that tip jar. We're all in this together. Peace out.

wyo sis said...

Obama says:
I, I, Me! Me! something, something, throw a bone to the bitter clingers, justify, justify, and wink, wink, nod.

He says it two weeks after sleeping through the preventable violent deaths of an ambassador and three other Americans in diplomatic service and he gets a big OK from people who should see through his bullshit?

Gee, I wonder why I'm worried about the direction this country is going.

Cedarford said...

Now, I know that not all countries in this body share this understanding of the protection of free speech. We recognize that," said Obama. “But in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete. The question, then, is how do we respond. And on this we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence."

===============
In a sense, "free speech" is now in the position of "right to keep and bear arms" was after technolgy greatly magnified the lethality of top of the line weapons.

There was no need to "trammel the liberties" of private gun owners to have the latest and greatest weaponry the military used until the 20s, when we all sort of agreed that 39 dollar submachine guns freely available to bank robbers and anarchists was a bad idea. Subsequent more lethal gear, high explosives, nerve gas, MANPADS are also part of the body of restrictions on the right to keep and bear certain arms.

Free speech?
In war we have in the past restricted mass communications, pressured filmakers and radio stations to "support the war effort" by making the right sort new media product. And we have made it a point to target enemy free speech vehicles from Nazi Radio stations, to Iraqi TV stations, to shutting down Anwar al-Awlaki's website by shutting down al-Awlaki himself.

Police and authorities have gotten permission to monitor and control some social media that has generated looting flash mobs, organized bullying. We have restrictions on certain free speech in certain mass media banning porn and obscene speech.

So Obama is only half right. While technology now makes mass and instant global communication possible and spread of info canot be totally controlled...it can be regulated in theory and in actual practice in the same way the FCC regulates free speech on public airwaves.
Slurring the Prophet, in theory could be regulated much like a Broadcaster is barred from saying Cunt! - or face legal consequences.
The Internet is controllable through use of firewalls, though many constantly challenge those firewalls by trying to get around them. And of course, despite what Obama says, controllable through violence threatened or coercive laws..like are in place on use of the Internet to spread child porn, facilitating illegal sports gambling in the USA. Or certain disfavored hate group sites in many Western Euro Democrat nations.

MayBee said...

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."

What's that supposed to mean?


I have no idea.
I wonder what Christopher Hitchens would have said about that. Would the world have been so bad with him in our future?

As for the rest of the speech

1)I'd rather Obama explain why we have a First Amendment than state that we have a First Amendment. What a beautiful thing it would have been to get in front of those putrid dictators and defend the right of people to speak!

2)The people committing this violence don't think it is mindless. So this doesn't apply to them, in their minds.

MayBee said...

Explaining the importance of free speech would be American leadership.

Explaining that Americans have free speech but he understands not every country wants that is get-alongism.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

This, even though everywhere else it is understood to be a coordinated attack. Witness the attackers chanting 'we are all Osama, Obama!'

I didn't notice any credits or references from the Youtube clip he is blaming from the angry hordes.

Maybe it was 'Osama is dead, and GM is alive' or perhaps Hillary's 'we came, we saw, he died' with reference to Gaddafi.

"A bullshit speech."

Indeed, when you consider most of the verbiage is cliche' after cliche'.

One thing for sure, he is a practiced sophist.

chickelit said...

Cedarford: In a sense, "free speech" is now in the position of "right to keep and bear arms" was after technolgy greatly magnified the lethality of top of the line weapons.

Bullshit. Only in the sense that a cell phone can detonate a physical bomb. Otherwise you are saying that words (and not sticks and stones) hurt people to such a degree as to afford them self protection.

Shorter Cedarford: Words are guns.

Unknown said...

We'll see Obama's real thoughts on free speech and religious tolerance after his reelection, when he'll have more flexibility.

yashu said...

I'd rather Obama explain why we have a First Amendment than state that we have a First Amendment. What a beautiful thing it would have been to get in front of those putrid dictators and defend the right of people to speak!

That would have been beautiful, indeed. Reaganesque. But that's not Obama's style, at all. And I don't think it's what he really believes in, deep down.

I think it's very telling that he resorted to the example of "people calling me awful things every day."

Remember "Attack Watch"?

deborah said...

"I'm reminded of Obama's much-vaunted, even by many Republicans (but certainly not by me) "civility speech" a week after the Giffords shooting."

And you saying that reminds me of his mind-blowingly tepid reaction to the Ft. Hood massacre.

Nomennovum said...

Overall, not the worst tripe to flow from Barry's mouth. It was pretty typical and basically as expected -- which is to say, equal parts dishonesty and bone-throwing to the Muslims and us Yankee Constitutionalist rubes. Naturally, though, it was too little too late.

As always, though,kudos to the teleprompter.

yashu said...

Heh, no doubt the "people calling me awful things every day"-- i.e. daring to criticize Obama-- are as "crude and disgusting" as that video slandering the prophet!

bagoh20 said...

"And too stupid to understand that we have a situation where people lecturing 3rd Worlders on contemporary Western values, and 3rd Worlders lecturing us on their values are essentially talking past one another."

What is stupid is thinking these talkers are who's lives are at stake in either hemisphere.

I admit that my neocon tendencies are being tested right now, but there is still no doubt that there are millions of real and regular people suffering, being murdered and being treated like animals who will continue to stay in that hell if we don't find a way to push these assholes into the hole that the previous fascists dreamers are lying in.

Our dream is not of control, nor forcing values, but revealing them. The majority may not see us as the deliverers, but they do, for the most part, desire freedom and peace when they see it possible. That's all we want - for them to see it as possible.

That will necessarily go through this period where the wolves grab it first, but they will blow their opportunity, and their power will slip away if we protect the rest long enough to get their chance.

I don't know how we do that, and I don't know if it will succeed, but I know the cost of failure, and it's not better, and we will still pay it one way or another. I think our engagement has to be different, but not less serious, nor less determined.

When a gang assaults your neighbors, you can close the blinds, and feel safe in your own house, but eventually that won't keep them out, and they know where you live, and that you will not fight. This is history, over and over. The 1.2 billion will be 2 billion and more. The problem is not going away.

MayBee said...

I think it's very telling that he resorted to the example of "people calling me awful things every day."

Remember "Attack Watch"?


Ha! Yes.
I also remember when the White House asked people to send in their friends' "fishy" emails.
And the whole "New Tone" bull.

ricpic said...

Why the emphasis that you are a christian like other Americans (taqiyya)?

It has been pure taqiyya since day one of Hussein's administration. Should he win a second term it will be a mixture of taqiyya and the claws unsheathed and finally only the claws.

B said...

Obama needs the Islamic world calmer and he needs that to happen now. It has to be now to let a few news cycles play out before the debates and especially before the foreign policy debate.

We have the release of the Blind Sheik being floated. It will ever happen. It would be ruinous for Obama to do it before the election and the uproar were he to do it after, whether he's in for a second term or not, a smackdown of the electorate with no political upside. What Obama needs is for the Islamic world to believe it MIGHT happen if he can work it but for that he needs them calm. At the same time he needs to have the electorate here convinced that it's just smoke and mirrors.

At the same time he's openly claiming to the Islamic world that the video was a serious affront - after all, one shouldn't diss religion but hey, that's free speech for ya. By association he's claiming that the violence was due to the video and not a SNAFU on his watch for the benefit of the American electorate.

Maybe that balancing act of trying to mollify two conflicting interests would work, past the election anyway, if enough people here and in the mideast still give this administration the benefit of the doubt on promises made. Risky assumption after the last 3 plus years.

Peter said...

"“Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs," he said.

Then again, Jesus' counsel was to turn the other cheek, and to render unto Caesar (the things which are Caesar's).

Whereas a certain other prophet was Caesar, and at least occasionally preached (as well as practiced) holy war against unbelievers.

And so, the fact that our Commander-in-Chief may accept that people are going to call him awful things every day really doesn't and can't speak to those who are committing the violence.

Which is to say, there is no way a pure cultural relativist can defend free speech against those who would deny it. Which implies a need to assert an actual value: specifically, that protecting free speech is a higher value than protection from insult.

So, how is our cultural-relativist president to respond effectively to such outrages?

Seven Machos said...

Obama said almost the perfect things here. Too bad his political instincts are so awful that it took him a week to get things right, and that his initial response was completely, totally wrong.

Sadly, for the United States, many political situations don't conveniently offer such do-overs or such time to contemplate just the right words.

Baron Zemo said...

Because when that call comes at three in the morning the first thing you do is placate the murderous barbarians instead of standing up for our Constitution.

Obama is the Joe Paterno of Presidents.

He won't say anything until it starts to make him look bad.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

It's not a badly-written speech. But "mindless violence" was ill-chosen. We have got to get used to the idea that there are intelligent people who actually disagree with us, and that some of them are armed.

"Mindless violence" suggests that everyone attacking is a dupe, which just isn't plausible.

Seven Machos said...

"Mindless" caught my eye as well. You do have to say something before violence, though, because otherwise you are saying that no speech warrants violence. This isn't true. Some speech does.

I do think there's a better word or phrasing out there, but I couldn't think of it as I was walking down the street, and I'm at least as good a writer as the hacks who put this speech together, so I give them a pass.

Michael K said...

C4 said "Neither the US idea of "accept our ideas in inalienable human rights or we will invade you and reeducate you at trillions in cost to US taxpayers" or the Muslim idea of "accept the inalienable rights as passed to the Prophet by Allah is our own "Sacred Parchment" or we will kill you" seem to be working out too well. "

Actually, you misstate the rationale for invading Iraq in 2003. We had been at a low level conflict with them since the Gulf War in the 1990s. We had a no-fly zone and they shot missiles at our planes every day. Some day they were going to hit one.

After 9/11, Bush had a dilemma. The military wanted to get out of Saudi and relocate our ME headquarters. It was stirring up the Saudis and inconveniencing our military women stationed there. Since bin Laden mentioned it, leaving after 9/11 would look like retreat, not a good idea in the Arab culture and in the circumstances.

On the other hand, it looked like Iraq had more potential for a modern state than any other Arab country. Saddam was hated and they had had a fair sized middle class. Paul Wolfowitz got savaged by the press for saying this plus the fact that Iraq had oil and could be self supporting.

Anyway, that was, I'm certain, the rationale behind dealing with Saddam given the 9/11 reverberations. Arabs respect only force and Bush gave it to them. As it turned out, Iraq was far more tribal than the Bush people realized and the State Department screwed it up as usual. Rumsfeld wanted to turn over the country to the exiles but Bremer decided to be a ruler for a few years. The whole thing blew up in our faces, as things designed by State tend to do.

We can kill Arabs but we made the mistake of trying to occupy the country and we gave them a clear shot at our troops. The Iranians were only too happy to help them shoot at us. Our news media did their share of trying to defeat Bush too, of course. Harry Reid was not far behind and Hillary got her licks in. "Suspension of disbelief" and "General Betrayus."

Like Nixon and China, only a Democrat could unite the country against the Muslim fanatics but those Democrats are long gone.

Steven said...

The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.

That's okay. It takes a lot of work to come up with something that actually slanders a warmongering, treacherous, slave-owning, nine-year-old-deflowering cult leader.

Brennan said...

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."

Maybee: I took that line to be one of the President's rhetorical traps.

I see a lot of people quoting that line and that line alone. But the rest of the paragraph provides the full context. It's another "yes, but" moment.

I haven't had the chance to the listen to the speech, but I'm willing to bet his deliverance of this line uses his stoic high pitch.

creeley23 said...

What's coming up, though, is more serious than "mindless violence." Caroline Glick writes:

On Tuesday, Egypt's chief prosecutor issued arrest warrants against eight US citizens.

Their purported crimes relate either to their reported involvement in the production of the Internet movie critical of Islam that has received so much attention over the past 10 days, or to other alleged anti-Islamic activities.

One of the US citizens indicted is a woman who converted from Islam to Christianity.

According to the Associated Press, Egypt's general prosecution issued a statement announcing that the eight US citizens have been indicted on charges of insulting and publicly attacking Islam, spreading false information, and harming Egyptian national unity.

The statement stipulated that they could face the death penalty if convicted.

The AP write-up of the story quoted Mamdouh Ismail, a Salafi attorney who praised the prosecution's move. He claimed it would deter others from exercising their right to free expression in regards to Islam. As he put it, the prosecutions will "set a deterrent for them and anyone else who may fall into this." That is, they will deter others from saying anything critical about Islam.

This desire to intimidate free people into silence on Islam is clearly the goal the heads of the Muslim Brotherhood seek to achieve through their protests of the anti-Islamic movie.


I'd feel better if Obama's defense of free speech were based on more than the impracticality of censoring modern digital communication.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."

Well, these islamists live in the same world where 'piss Christ' exists.

It is a global, diverse world. I say its time for the islamists to get on board with us and our denigrator-in-chief.

Which means, in a world of guns, religion, civility, sitting in the back of the bus, bringing guns to knife fights, acting stupidly, having more flexibility, and wealth redistribution, there will be plenty of room for things such as 'Bacon Mohammed' pork fests and muslim gay bars.

Diversity makes that necessary.

yashu said...

Which is to say, there is no way a pure cultural relativist can defend free speech against those who would deny it. Which implies a need to assert an actual value: specifically, that protecting free speech is a higher value than protection from insult.

A very interesting way to put it; I agree. It's what Maybee was getting at (when she said she'd prefer to hear the "why" of the First Amendment instead of just the "that"), and I agreed by invoking the "Reaganesque" (e.g. "Mr. Gorbachev: tear down this wall").

The way you frame it makes the problem here not just political but philosophical. And I myself can't just dismiss the cultural relativists, insofar as I'm an atheist who acknowledges the philosophical collapse of transcendental metanarratives-- at least as a matter of metaphysics, as it were. But ethics/ politics is a different sphere.

Not wanting to get into the philosophical weeds, but I find myself thinking of someone like Rorty (total liberal, but an interesting one) and his notion of "ethnocentrism." (Rorty doesn't have the answer, but he raises some of the relevant philosophical problems.)

I guess the point I'd make here is: even if you don't believe in a "transcendental" anchor for your political/ ethical values (as an American), in some ways (say, existentially) that obligates you more to argue for those values, to commit yourself to them and work on the narratives (literary, rhetorical, etc.) that would persuade others, that would persuade them that something (e.g. free speech) is a good, a constitutive part of a good way of life. No apologies. Especially if you're the freaking President of the United States!!!! As Maybee says, "explaining the importance of free speech would be American leadership."

I'm as much of an atheist as Cedarford, but that "sacred parchment" (and especially e.g. the First Amendment) actually is sacred to me. And as far as I'm concerned its vision of "rights" does have a compelling "universal" claim on me. Trying to work this all out philosophically is difficult, of course. But I'm not electing a philosophy professor. I'm electing a POTUS, and if I don't perceive a gut-level, heart-level commitment to American values (those I hold most dear), as far as I'm concerned you're not qualified to be POTUS. (And why would you want the job anyway? Well, maybe if you wanted to "fundamentally transform" the USA.)

Seven Machos said...

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."

How does this statement grab you: "The future must not belong to those who slander Jesus Christ."

Myself, I am a religion-loving agnostic who wants to believe in God, and I support that statement. I support respecting religion. I also support blaspheming it. Clearly, though, respecting it is a better, higher thing to do.

wildswan said...

Reading about the Civil War in America - the regimental histories of the first regiments to go to that war which are now online thanks to Google. The First Maine, the First Texas, etc. It's a thing I picked up from Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror - that in a calamitous, polarized present, reading about a similar but different past, helps to keep your mind free.
The Muslim world seems a bit like the slave-holding South. There's King Cotton and King Oil. There's a rural culture of the past, (even a slaveholder culture) writhing and struggling with an industrial present and convinced that the industrial world will bow the power which King Cotton/ Oil has. So it tells the world to acknowledge its moral superiority or it will start a war and cut off the cotton/oil. The US is "led" by a cowardly trimmer, President James Buchanan/ [fill in the blank]. Members of the government side with the South and ship arms from Northern to Southern arsenals as the South secedes. Militia members climb over walls, seizing US government property. 1860-1861 was not a good year. Yet in that year Lincoln was elected. And in that year the men in the the northern volunteer regiments came forward to fight for the US and against slavery.

MayBee said...

Brennan:
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied. Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims, and Shia pilgrims. It is time to heed the words of Gandhi: “Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.” Together, we must work towards a world where we are strengthened by our differences, and not defined by them. That is what America embodies. That’s the vision we will support.

As you see, that doesn't really provide "context". Of course there is no problem with the future belonging to people who "slander" Mohammed. Or to people like Andres Serrano, who seems to have had a nice time since he desecrated the image of Christ all those years ago.

It is no big deal. The world can handle people who make bad movies and edgy art. It is not *America's* goal to be rid of those kinds of people in the future. We can tolerate all of that. Furthermore, people can choose one religion, or all religions, to criticize. You do not have to be consistent to be credible.

Later, he uses the "future must not belong to..." construct for
Israelis and/or Palistinians who turn their back on peace, and al-Assad in Libya. As if they are similar in importance to criticizing Mohammed.

MayBee said...


How does this statement grab you: "The future must not belong to those who slander Jesus Christ."


Dawkins?
Hitchens?
Matt Stone and Trey Parker?

Is it slander to say He didn't exist? That he wasn't the Son of God?

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"How does this statement grab you: "The future must not belong to those who slander Jesus Christ."

No problem with it, taken in concert with Choom's. Then, its about respect.

Choom's statement by itself assigns a *certain* status to islamists. Clearly a sop to the audience of thugs and dictators, his line sought to defuse a non-problem.

So if nothing else we know he's not beneath dragging out strawmen for any occasion.

Seven Machos said...

MayBee -- I think I covered that in the rest of my comment.

Stone and Parker aren't government officials, though perhaps they should be.

yashu said...

How does this statement grab you: "The future must not belong to those who slander Jesus Christ."

7M, I find that statement just as creepy and objectionable.

"The future must not belong..." is strong rhetoric. There's an imperative there. If the future must not belong to X, then there is a governmental interest in guarding against that discursive eventuality.

A statement not too dissimilar from that one might have been taken to justify the suppression of Galileo's or Darwin's views. A statement like that one would have justified the suppression of a Voltaire or a Nietzsche. Obama's defense of the First Amendment in this speech disavows criminalization of free speech (not even the principle so much as the effectiveness: we "can't control the flow of information," even if we wanted to)-- but there are many ways (especially for a government) to suppress free speech, short of that.

Especially if "the future must not belong to" a particular kind of speech!

MayBee said...

Seven- Obama didn't say anything about government officials, so I'm not sure what you are saying about Stone and Parker.

I, too, think respect is nicer but that isn't what Obama said.
I do not agree with the statement "The future does not belong to those who would slander [name your religion]". I do not see the President of the United States having any reason to make such a pronouncement. As I tried to point out, there are some great thinkers who have slandered religions. It's enough to simply disagree with them.

Browndog said...

Freeman Hunt said...

I like the defense of free speech to an international audience though. It would have been better if crafted as Rev mentioned, but that he did it at all is good and surprising.


Obama: “The Future Does Not Belong to Those Who Slander the Prophet of Islam”

Obama chose his words carefully.

“Slander” is a crime in the United States.

Chew on it, while you rejoice-

MayBee said...

"The future must not belong to those who cannot allow people with beliefs different than their own to live freely. The future must not belong to those who cannot discuss their ethnic or religious differences without resorting to mob violence.""

Seven Machos said...

If the future must not belong to X, then there is a governmental interest in guarding against that discursive eventuality.

I don't agree. In the overall context of Obama's speech, and surely in the overall context of our laws and institutions, the opposite is true. The compelling interest is that free speech trumps it all.

For me, a free speech absolutist, it is troubling that people think the government can or should do anything about speech, particularly political speech. It was troubling when they hauled that filmmaker of awful films away. It's troubling when people say flag-burning should be illegal, not to mention absurd.

At the same time, I celebrate Obama's right to say and our right to believe that it would be a good thing if, in the future, it was not commonplace to have to endure Piss Christ, or its Islamic equivalent. Nothing crazy there, unless you are willing suspend common sense and to believe that we are about to see blatantly unconstitutional laws and actions.

Seven Machos said...

“Slander” is a crime in the United States.

Where?

MayBee said...

it was not commonplace to have to endure Piss Christ,

"Endure" Piss Christ?

I am Christian, and there was nothing for me to endure, except for any taxes I paid for the NEA grant. (oh, on second thought, I endured it during a showing of Obama supporter Sarah Jessica Parker's art competition show on Bravo when Serrano was the guest).

In March, I get to endure Book of Mormon. This week, I hope to endure The Master. I did not "endure" Religulous, but I have several friends who enjoyed it greatly.

Really, it is just so much easier to not get all offended by the words/art/opinions of people who are only expressing their words/art/opinions. I'm fine sharing my future with them.

furious_a said...

Hillary Clinton, then a Senate candidate, defended the right to show the artwork: "Our feelings of being offended should not lead to the penalizing and shutting down of an entire museum."

Where was THAT Hillary Clinton the last two weeks? The Hillary who also attend a Broadway matinee of The Book of Mormon...

Oh, right, Catholics...and Mormons.

The French are showing for spine than TOTUS and Cankles.

Seven Machos said...

it is just so much easier to not get all offended

But people are going to get offended. That's how it goes. The whole point of Piss Christ was to offend. That's the art value of the thing.

I'm not offended, either. Believe me. But there's nothing wrong with being offended by offensive art. People have a right to speak freely to say they are offended.

I think what you are missing is that these things -- Piss Christ, this goofy film "South Park" -- they are rare. That's what gives them any value (though I say "South Park" is the most moralistic show on television, and the morals are libertarian, but that's another debate).

To me, what Obama's comment means is that it's okay to want to have a future world where religion is not widely mocked, where great ideas are valued, and where the high things are higher than the low things. But now you get into the intrinsic value of things, which is a big can of worms.

yashu said...

7M, I maintain that the modal force of the locution "must not"-- must not-- is stronger than your paraphrase of it. You say "the compelling interest is that free speech trumps it all," but the word "must," which specifically precisely literally denotes compulsion-- the compulsion that "the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam"-- contravenes your interpretation.

Of course, this is all rhetoric, and especially in the case of Obama, rhetoric is just rhetoric-- sophistry. But given the worldwide audience and a critical political situation, that rhetoric, that message, from presumably the representative of AMERICA, bears a lot of weight.

And it's not just the word "must" or "future," but "slander" and "prophet." There's an ontological commitment there, as it were. He's granting that that youtube video-- and so, it follows, anything with similar content?-- constitues "slander" (a strong legal term) of a "prophet."

Eff you, Salman Rushdie. You're "crude and disgusting."

yashu said...

PS I agree with you on South Park which I've invoked a lot lately, I love that show.

Browndog said...

“Slander” is a crime in the United States.

Where?


No one has ever been penalized under the law for slander/libel/defamation in the United States?

Browndog said...

@Seven-

Apart from that, how is it possible to "slander" someone that does not exist?

Christian said...

I'm surprised I don't see this being picked up more... as soon as I read the speech I zeroed in on this typical Obama line.

"I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend..."

Notice how everything is about Obama. Obama is so magnanimous that he will defend the first amendment rights that allow people to say bad things about him.

Rather than simply defending the concept the founders envisioned of freedom of speech and expression, he makes the entire first amendment about him and how he is so benevolent that he allows negative speech about himself.

Thanks Mr. President! It really is about you!

Seven Machos said...

I wouldn't have said that line. I agree it was a sop. It would be better to say that we in the United States totally disagree with each other and offend each other and blaspheme each others' god all the time, and fuck you if you have a problem with it. Especially you, Egypt. You have quite a bit of nerve taking our money and then pulling this shit.

These UN speeches are short, though. No way we could explain all that in the time allotted.

Overall, I thought it was a great speech and I am proud of Obama for giving it.

MayBee said...

I love South Park, which is why I keep bringing them up.
Why can't the future belong to them? Why can't the future belong to the people who are able to watch Stone and Parker, laugh along, and continue to respect the rights of their neighbors?

Seven Machos said...

Brown Dog -- I figured as much. Is a slip and fall at Wal-Mart illegal?

You apparently are so uneducated that you don't understand the difference between a crime, punishable by the mechanisms and wherewithal of the State, and what happens in judgments in a civil suit.

I pity you.

MayBee said...

Well, 7M, he could have made the speech even shorter by simply taking that line (or paragraph) out.

Problem solved.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

And notice that he couldn't be bothered to say it to us, the citizens of the United States of America? No, he had to wait until he was addressing a truly important audience, the motley collection of thugocracies, theocracies, dictatorships, and a smattering of legitimate governments known as the United Nations.

You're funny. Foreign participants to violent events that take place overseas should not be addressed, while Americans who have nothing to do with those events are addressed instead?

Public speaking much?

Revenant said...

The pity for you is your are ignorant the panoply of human rights you imagine are now defined as "inalienable rights" were absent in most of Western Civ until the Elightenment

You asked what the intellectual basis of the idea of inalienable human rights was, little brain, not "how long have people believed there were inalienable human rights". You can't hope to understand Hobbes, and Locke, et al, if you aren't familiar with the Greek and Christian philosophy that preceded them. The concept didn't suddenly materialize out of thin air during the "Elightenment". :)

Neither the US idea of "accept our ideas in inalienable human rights or we will invade you and reeducate you at trillions in cost to US taxpayers" or the Muslim idea of "accept the inalienable rights as passed to the Prophet by Allah is our own "Sacred Parchment" or we will kill you" seem to be working out too well.

Correct. The appropriate position of the American government is "respect the inalienable rights of Americans or we will kill you".

Every last one of the people who stormed our embassies should be lying dead in a pool of his own blood and urine right now. They're a bunch of worthless barbarians who invaded American territory and killed Americans. Legally and morally the appropriate response was to slaughter them until they surrendered and threw themselves on our mercy.

It is a simple question: how many of my rights am I willing to sacrifice to keep a bunch of Muslim fanatics around the world alive? And the answer is "none". They can leave us in peace or die screaming.

Seven Machos said...

Foreign participants to violent events that take place overseas

Who in the room was at the events? Think hard. I once sat in those chairs, during those kinds of speeches, so I know the answer.

Also, we await your public-speaking history. I'm sure it's vast.

Browndog said...

Seven Machos said...

Brown Dog -- I figured as much. Is a slip and fall at Wal-Mart illegal?

You apparently are so uneducated that you don't understand the difference between a crime, punishable by the mechanisms and wherewithal of the State, and what happens in judgments in a civil suit.


So, you're so damn educated you think civil suits are happenstance?

"Well, there's no law against falling down at Wal-mart due to their legal negligence, but let's get some guys together and see what they think- fined 20 shillings under the Pirate Code.

Seven Machos said...

Dog -- You called slander a crime. It's not a crime. You are now conflating slip-and-falls, slander, and actual crimes.

Hilarious. Keep digging, dude.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Who in the room was at the events? Think hard. I once sat in those chairs, during those kinds of speeches, so I know the answer.

Um, people with cameras and satellite feeds to broadcast the event worldwide, for worldwide consumption. Just a wild guess, there.

You said an intelligent thing or two earlier. No need to make a flame war out of it for embarrassment of being caught agreeing with me.

JL said...

It's a good thing people "overreacted" negatively to the perp walk of the "film" maker. I'll bet that influenced Obama's evolving position on our first amendment rights over the past two weeks, from apologetic to assertive.

I expect that if he gets reelected, he'll have the flexibility to evolve some more on this issue.

Revenant said...

Here's a question neither Obama nor any of the other people attacking the video seem to be capable of answering:

What's "disgusting" about it? What is "slanderous"?

The video portrays Mohammed as assembling the Quran from Jewish and Christian texts, plus his own additions. It portrays him as not being God's prophet at all, but an ordinary man.

Which is exactly what the world's Jews and Christians think happened..

And you know what? They're 100% right. It is glaringly obvious that the Quran is cobbled together from Judeo-Christian literature with Mohammed's own additions.

The video doesn't show Mohammed smearing himself with feces, or screwing his mom, or doing any of the other "disgusting" things Jewish and Christian religious figures are periodically portrayed as doing. It just shows him... as a fraud. It shows him as what he actually was, and as what the vast majority of the world's people think he was.

Seven Machos said...

people with cameras and satellite feeds to broadcast the event worldwide

But those people can only catch Obama's speech at the UN? Other speeches are purely for domestic consumption? They're private?

How is the Stevens thread going? That crazy conservative. You setting them up and knocking them down over there?

Revenant said...

According to Wikipedia, criminal defamation is a crime in 17 states, and six people were convicted between 1992 and 2004.

So the answer to the question "is slander a crime" is neither "yes" nor "no". It is "that depends on what state you live in".

Obama's a fuckwit either way, of course.

Seven Machos said...

criminal defamation is a crime in 17 states

I saw that, too, and I would like to know the circumstances of those cases. Slander does not mean defamation. Slander is a category of defamation.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

But those people can only catch Obama's speech at the UN? Other speeches are purely for domestic consumption? They're private?

The venue and formats are symbolic. Also, the leaders who are charged with responding to the protesters, sympathizers, or those who feel pressured or intimidated by them were assembled in a political forum, and addressed openly by the president in a global, political forum. That matters. It matters for the same reason that your buddies here freak the fuck out every time the spokesperson for Iran gets up at the U.N. and says unhinged and stupid things.

Are you almost done regaining the "honor" you somehow lost by agreeing with me? Or do your own protesters require even more face-saving and chest-thumping than Egypt's own conservative antagonists do?

Seven Machos said...

Ritmo -- You are right that I will fight tooth and nail to demonstrate that I do not agree with you. You are also right that I am being the flaming asshole in this case, and that's traditionally been your role, and I am sorry, both for usurping your role and for being an asshole.

Common ground is good.

Browndog said...

@seven-


Hilarious. Keep digging, dude.

Going form pity to hilarity?

Digging it.

So, tell me, brainiac-

How does the prophet mohammed file a civil suit against--anyone-- and a judge jury find "slander"?

I guess he can't. Just like President "I love what he says" can't say "insult the prophet", because that isn't against the law. Is it?

Seven Machos said...

Brown -- Are you really going from claiming that there are criminal statutes allowing for the prosecution of slander to the claim that a dead Arab is prohibited from filing a lawsuit for the civil cause of action that is slander?

Really?

Browndog said...

saw that, too, and I would like to know the circumstances of those cases. Slander does not mean defamation. Slander is a category of defamation.

Keep digging.

I realize I haven't been around in a while, but I'd think you'd remember I don't bow to personal attacks. Question my facts--hell, I do-usually before I post them. Come after me personally-Not likely to tuck tail.

Seven Machos said...

Brown -- Defamation is not the same thing as slander. Naturally, you think it is. This is because you are a silly person.

Let's hear some Obama birther theories as long as you are here. What's the latest?

Browndog said...

@seven-

No, I didn't.

The Koran, the Hadith, and Obama did.

Browndog said...

@seven-

Why so personal?

....is it the pity thingy

awe...

Save it--for yourself, I haven't the need.

Seven Machos said...

So, you think that the Koran, certain Muslim stories and wisdom sayings, and Obama make slander a crime in the United States? is that your position?

Just admit that you used really lazy words in a goofy effort to try to bash Obama on a day when Obama did a solid to excellent job.

R. Chatt said...

"The question, then, is how do we respond. And on this we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence."

-- interesting how he can claim he sincerely means mob violence is unjustified because that is how his statement would be understood in the West; and yet at the same he surely knows that his words will have a completely different meaning in the Muslim world.

There what he said means that violence must first be sanctioned by fatwa by an authorized cleric who has determined that blasphemy against Mohammed or Allah or Islam has taken place. With the proper authorization violence is not only acceptable, it is required by religious duty.

So we all agree, except do Westerners know to what they are agreeing?

Browndog said...

Let's hear some Obama birther theories as long as you are here. What's the latest?

Well,since you can only be born once, and the facts of that birth cannot change, nothing "new" since 1961.

Why, you got something?

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"...to try to bash Obama on a day when Obama did a solid to excellent job."

And we must recognize the excellent job brother Choom did with our friends at the U fucking N. Bravo!

For all your bluster Seven you really know how to cement your intellect in the shoes of history.

I'm quite sure you'll have numerous reasons why your observation was so 'adroit'.

Providing blog-level affirmative action is embarrassing.

Browndog said...

@seven-


Just admit that you used really lazy words in a goofy effort to try to bash Obama on a day when Obama did a solid to excellent job.

No, I think many, especially here, were lazy in analyzing what he actually said--because it all sounded good on the surface.

I certainly didn't come here to get into a pissing match with you--especially without a mask.

Revenant said...

on a day when Obama did a solid to excellent job

Giving a half-hearted defense of free speech rights a couple of weeks late qualifies as "a solid to excellent job"?

Sheesh, what's a mediocre job look like?

Seven Machos said...

Rev -- I'm not going to vote for the man.

yashu said...

Overall, I thought it was a great speech and I am proud of Obama for giving it.

Maybe it's just because I'm biased. But it seems to me both Democrats and (often) Republicans grade Obama on a curve. (Like that overpraised "civility speech" which I found one of the most disgustingly calculated and disingenuous speeches ever.)

Come on, seriously. If any POTUS *didn't* offer some cliches in defense of the First Amendement, along exactly the lines Obama did, it would be a scandal. There's nothing unexpected about Obama's speech, at all. (Especially after a week in which Obama was able to absord public opinion, including Romney's early remarks.)

It's funny that sometimes Republicans' (very negative) evaluation of Obama-- the lowest of expectations-- leads them to overpraise something that is merely: adequate. As if Obama would allow himself, rhetorically, in a speech (words being the cheapest of things), to confirm your worst expectations of him!

Please. The 2008 campaign, seducing so many conservatives and far-left-wingers alike, provides the blueprint of Obama rhetoric. In the kaleidoscopic light, Obama's prepared speeches will always appear to say "the right thing."

Seven Machos said...

Yashu -- Good points. My grade is in light of watching a man get hauled off by the pigs for his movie and after the Obama administration calling Youtube to talk about censoring video.

Maybe I am like an abused spouse who Obama didn't beat the shit out of today, so I'm like: terrific!

But I still say it was a good speech. The test is: imagine Bush giving it and imagine your response.

ken in sc said...

I once had a girlfriend named Elsa--not Inga. She was German. I did not know it meant 'she wolf'. That explains a lot. She used to bite and scratch me when she was aroused. If I did not answer the door when she came over, unannounced btw, she would raise hell and kick over things in my front yard and embarrass me in front of the neighbors. Eventually she took up with someone else. Thank God.

Inga said...

Ken, WTH?!

yashu said...

Yashu -- Good points. My grade is in light of watching a man get hauled off by the pigs for his movie and after the Obama administration calling Youtube to talk about censoring video.

Maybe I am like an abused spouse who Obama didn't beat the shit out of today, so I'm like: terrific!

But I still say it was a good speech. The test is: imagine Bush giving it and imagine your response.


Yes, I agree that some (not the totality) of this same rhetoric, coming from Bush, might have impressed me favorably. But the point is the one that (to your credit) you yourself make and acknowledge: in your hypothetical scenario of a Bush speech, we haven't just watched "a man get hauled off by the pigs for his movie and after the Obama administration calling Youtube to talk about censoring video."

My contention is, Obama's defense of the First Amendment here is the minimum requirement of a POTUS. Which is not to say that it's easy peasy to make: defending the First Amendment before the UN (and those entities in the UN) isn't "easy" (like preening on "The View" would be). But the job of POTUS isn't meant to be "easy."

Yet somehow Obama is credited with exceptional courage or integrity (as he was, by many, for that ugh, "civility speech") for merely doing what I'd expect of any American POTUS. The bare minimum. But Obama's hypnotic baritone (for the Dems) and the dramatically lowered expectations (on the right) all too often grade him on a curve.

Revenant said...

imagine Bush giving it and imagine your response

I'm trying to imagine Bush giving a speech about an act of Islamic terrorism in which he paused to scold Americans for saying things that offended the terrorists.

No luck so far. My imagination ain't what it used to be.

ken in sc said...

Inga, someone called you a 'she wolf'. Someone else said that Ilsa (elsa) means 'she wolf' not Inga. That reminded me of Elsa, the woman I used to know. She really was a 'she wolf'. I don't think you are one.

Inga said...

Oky dokey then Ken. Strange place to discuss it though, hmmm?

Cafe thread may have been a better spot.:)

O Ritmo Segundo said...

The test is the impact it has abroad, specifically in that part of the world. Why do so many revert back to reinforcing its impact on Americans? Are there Americans in our midst who attack embassies in retaliation for videos?

If Obama gave even a conciliatory bone to Mid-Easterners regarding the "offensiveness" (however one judges that) of the video, the point to remember is that he has to be persuasive, to younger societies, with shakier foundations for respecting free speech and with a strong traditional element of opposition to blasphemy. It's a concoction you have to work with as president in moving public opinion, and not just about identifying a single faction to support or which, sole stand to take.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Ahmedinejad however should be censured. Or worse. Why are threats against other members' sovereignty/independence allowed to stand?

Revenant said...

The test is the impact it has abroad, specifically in that part of the world.

They were burning him in effigy yesterday, but I'm sure once they hear him dubbed into Arabic they'll be like "we totally see the error of our ways now. We will stop killing American diplomats ASAP."

Such is the power of the Obamessiah. :)

O Ritmo Segundo said...

They were...

Yes! That's it. THe all-encompassing ambiguous third-person plural pronoun. Which "they"? All of them?

I know one thing's for certain. If someone says "they" while lumping me in which this Yosemite Sam look-alike, they don't know shit. About me. Or about my country.

What about you, Revenant? You much of a Terry Jones kind of a guy? I mean, by your own reckoning, you're an AMerican, so is he, and so there you have it. Or is lumping everyone together something you reserve just for people from other countries?

furious_a said...

Yet somehow Obama is credited with exceptional courage or integrity (as he was, by many, for that ugh, "civility speech") for merely doing what I'd expect of any American POTUS. The bare minimum.

"The bare minimum"...and even less than that for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Bryan C said...

"Some folks should feel silly for getting so bent out of shape"

Yeah, I guess you're right, Inga. When the President said:"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”

I got all warm and tingly inside.

Inga said...

Bryan, was there nothing that resonated with you in his speech at all? Some here seem to think it was a good speech.

Revenant said...

Yes! That's it. THe all-encompassing ambiguous third-person plural pronoun. Which "they"? All of them?

Yes, all 1 billion Muslims burned Obama in effegy yesterday. That's why it has seemed so unseasonably warm this month.

Revenant said...

Bryan, was there nothing that resonated with you in his speech at all? Some here seem to think it was a good speech.

Some here would praise Obama's oratory if he broke wind on camera. :)

Baron Zemo said...

I would expect our President to stand up for our Constitution. It is after all what he has sworn to protect and defend.

But that is too much to hope for from this failed Presidency.

He is more worried about the tender sensitivities of murderous barbarians.

It took him two weeks to come to this mealy mouthed defense of our liberty.

Baron Zemo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aridog said...

...there is still no doubt that there are millions of real and regular people suffering, being murdered and being treated like animals who will continue to stay in that hell if we don't find a way to push these assholes into the hole that the previous fascists dreamers are lying in.

Our dream is not of control, nor forcing values, but revealing them. The majority may not see us as the deliverers, but they do, for the most part, desire freedom and peace when they see it possible. That's all we want - for them to see it as possible.


I'm pleasantly surprised....some one has actually said something I've been trying to say for months now. My experience goes back decades to places half a world away, as well as to day to day today. I guess I hope the writer meant it as it reads and sounds.

Either way, well said, and true. The first victims are always those closest to the crazy people. They matter.

Aridog said...

Inga asked...

... was there nothing that resonated with you in his speech at all?

For me is was Obama's declaration, essentially, that no increase in security would have saved Ambassador Stevens' or the others' lives.

There was no security in Benghazi beyond the few hired Libyan renta-a-cops. There was no US security forces in Libya, period. Obama's comment on this "resonated" as a childish assertion that it was neither his fault nor that of his Executive Branch.

I can't respect that. He ducked.

Kirk Parker said...

Alex,

"So C4 does not believe in free speech. "

Surely you're not surprised.


C4,

"... until the 20s, when we all sort of agreed that 39 dollar submachine guns freely available ... was a bad idea"

Great Ghu, speak for yourself. "We all" most certainly did not agree on that.

Kirk Parker said...

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Dunno, but maybe--if the worst-case scenario comes about--it will be because no one besides historians will have ever heard of that "prophet".

Kirk Parker said...

bago,

Your 4:57 comment verges on the eloquent; nicely put!

Kirk Parker said...

Michael K,

"We had been at a low level conflict with them since the Gulf War in the 1990s. "

More precisely, we had a war that had halted with a cease-fire, but never any kind of peace treaty (and no wonder why not.)



Inga (and Ken),

That's not nearly as strange as Ken's presentation of the situation as something he had no power over but fortunately the she-wolf eventually moved on.

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