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Posts Tagged ‘POLITICAL CORRECTNESS’

WORDS MATTER

In Business, History, Politics, Self-Help, Social commentary on January 23, 2014 at 10:02 pm

“Hitler gave good speeches, too.”

That’s what many Right-wingers say in disparaging the oratorical effectiveness of President Barack Obama.

It’s a slogan that’s misleading on two counts.

First, the people saying it are exactly the type who would have voted for Adolf Hitler.  And who vote for his wannabe dictatorial successors such as Joseph McCarthy, Newt Gingrich and Ted Cruz.

Second, the slogan dismisses the power of language–as though words are entirely divorced from action.  On the contrary: Words–effectively used–can and usually do lead to action.

A classic example: During the desperate months of the Battle of Britain and the London Blitz, Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s soaring rhetoric armed his fellow Englishmen with the will to resist Nazi aggression.

The truth is, words matter.  For good and ill.

Republicans, for example, have long used the power of language to gain and hold power.

Take their use of the phrase, “the death tax.”

The correct term used to be “the estate tax.”  And it applied to a relatively small number of citizens who die leaving large estates.

But Republicans, struggling to make the world a better place for the ultra-rich, convinced millions of ignorant voters who don’t have estates that the tax applies to them.

The result: A Republican-introduced bill to the House of Representatives–”The Death Tax Repeal Act of 2013.”

Its goal: “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes, and for other purposes.”

In short: Relieve the ultra-rich from the unfair burden of paying taxes.

So far, the bill has not been passed.

Or take the 2001 “USA Patriot Act,” which did pass by overwhelming margins after 9/11.

Republicans crammed this full of Orwellian changes they knew Democrats wouldn’t like–such as vastly expanding the powers of the National Security Agency to collect files on American citizens.

So how did they get Democrats to support it?

By calling it the “Patriot Act.”  By choosing this title, Republicans easily put Democrats on the defensive.

Anyone who dared oppose the bill would be attacked: “Why don’t you support the Patriot Act?  Are you unpatriotic?”

The Left has also made use of language to obtain its political objectives.

Consider the highly popular and Politically Correct term, “People of color.”

This is used by blacks, Hispanics, Asians and American Indians when referring to members of their own particular ethnic group.

On the other hand, members of these groups become enraged if they’re referred to as “colored people.”

But what’s the difference?  It’s like saying “jeans of blue” instead of “blue jeans.”

And, in either case, it totally hides what they really mean: “Nonwhites.”

Because to the Politically Correct crowd, “white” is not a color.  Which is another way of saying, “Whites aren’t really part of the population.”

And here’s another Leftist-language achievement: “The Dream Act.”

This is a phrase conjured up by those who essentially want to remove all barriers to illegal immigration–at least as it applies to those mostly in Mexico and other Latin and Central American countries.

Its effectiveness lies in the magical word “dream.”  As in the Walt Disney Cinderella song: “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.”

Thus, the United States now has millions of illegal aliens (the Left prefers to call them “immigrants,” which sounds nicer) who claim to cherish their Mexican heritage and love their native land.

But if they cherish Mexico so much, why have so many of these “Dreamers” fled this “paradise”?

And why is their “dream” to never live in Mexico again?

A final word: At election time, the TV airways are clogged with ads supposedly sponsored by “Citnzens for….”

As in: “Citizens for a Responsible Energy Policy.”

Whenever you see the word “citizens for” or “people for” in a televised ad, don’t believe it.

The only “citizens” who can afford to blitz the airways with millions oof dollars’ worth of propaganda are “citizens” who own wealthy corporations.

And when you read/hear words like “responsible,” watch out:  Who is defining what as responsible?

When greed-based companies are the ones defining responsible, it means: Whatever creates greater profits for them.

You know, like gutting environmental protection laws and allowing behemoth corporations to pay no taxes.

So keep that in mind the next time you see a slick ad that claims your fellow “citizens” seek your support on an important issue.

 

FREEDOM OF SPEECH ISN’T FREE

In Bureaucracy, Business, Entertainment, Social commentary on December 19, 2013 at 1:10 am

There are several reasons to not watch “Duck Dynasty”:

  • You might be opposed to duck hunting–and the fact that the family of Phil Robertson has grown wealthy by selling duck-calling products.
  • Or you may be disgusted at the sight of long hair and beards, which the males in the Robertson family wear with abandon.
  • Or you might be turned off by the sight of so many shotguns and rifles, which the family loves to display.

These are perfectly legitimate reasons to switch channels when this A&E “reality series” comes on.

But there’s one reason that shouldn’t apply: Blacklisting Phil Robertson, the family patriarch, because he expressed his opinion during a Gentleman’s Quarterly (GQ) interview.

GQ itself best summed up the image and values of the Robertsons: “a family of squirrel-eating, Bible-thumping, catchphrase-spouting duck hunters.”

Duck Dynasty Promo.jpg

So when A&E signed them up in 2012, the network should have known what it was promoting–and that the words “politically correct” didn’t apply.

Thus, the network shouldn’t have been surprised when Robertson, asked during an interview for his views on homosexuality, frankly stated them.

At 67, he is an unabashed Christian fundamentalist and a proud member (along with the rest of his family) of the White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ.

Phil Robertson

“It seems like to me, a vagina–as a man–would be more desirable than a man’s anus,” said Robertson, a Louisiana native.  “That’s just me.  I’m just thinking.  There’s more there.  She’s got more to offer.

“I mean, come on, dudes!  You know what I’m saying?  But hey, sin: It’s not logical my nam.  It’s just not logical.

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine.  Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.

“Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers–they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

The First Amendment to the Constitution declares, in part:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech….”

Thus, the most important legislative body in the nation is strictly forbidden from interferring with the rights of Americans to express their opinions.

Unfortunately, the Founding Fathers didn’t have the foresight to imagine wealthy conglomerates such as A&E usurping powers that were denied to Congress.

Thus, when the issue of GQ hit the newsstand–and the Internet–A&E quickly announced that it was indefinitely suspending Phil Robertson from appearing on the “Duck Dynasty” series.

“We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty.

“His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”

The network stated that the rest of the family (who almost certainly share his views, but haven’t done so publicly) would remain on the program.

Of course, the homosexual/lesbian/transgender community were outraged by Robertson’s views–which were precisely those of an Old Testatment-quoting patriarch.

And they have every right to be upset.  They have long been and continue to be targets of abuse–much of it violent.  And no doubt they see Robertson’s views as justifying further such abuse aimed at them.

And they weren’t shy about expressing their views about Robertson–and his beliefs.  According to a statement released by GLAAD (formerly Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation):

“Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe.

“He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans–and Americans–who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples.

“Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.”

From a First Amendment perspective, so far, so good–two diametrically opposing opinions on a vital social issue.  May the best argument win.

But according to A&E, there can be only one prevailing view on homosexuality–whatever view the network’s topmost officials decide is correct at any given moment.

This is the liberal version of the 1950s “Red Scare” reign of Wisconsin Senator Joseph R. McCarthy.  Anyone accused of being a “Communist,” a “Comsymp” or “fellow traveler” could suddenly find himself out of work.

This was especially so in the area of television–where simply being labeled “controversial” could earn you a pink slip.

Love him or loathe him, Robertson has never hidden his views from anyone.

A&E surely knew what it was getting when it signed him and his Louisiana family up for this “reality series” which brings in huge profits from its 14 million viewers.

Only when those profits are threatened by the public statement of views that A&E officials surely knew long ago has the network tried to distance itself from its ratings-winner.

A CHURCHILL FOR OUR TIME: PART TWO (END)

In History, Politics, Social commentary on May 27, 2013 at 6:02 pm

During the 1930s, Winston Churchill, a seemingly failed politican, repeatedly warned his British countrymen against the growing menace of Nazi Germany.

The leaders of Britain, France and the United States–the three great victors of World War 1–hoped that if they simply ignored the increasingly aggressive behavior of Adolf Hitler, they could somehow escape catastrophe.

Winston Churchill

When, in the early 1930s, Hitler began re-building a powerful German army (Whermacht) in open defiance of the Versallies Treaty that had ended World War 1, Churchill gave warning–and was ignored.

When Hitler ordered his army to occupy his native Austria in 1938, Churchill warned that the Nazis would not be content with the conquest of one nation.  And was ignored.

In 1938, Hitler demanded that Czechoslavakia cede the Sudetenland, its northern, southwest and western regions, which were inhabited mostly by ethnic Germans.

Adolf Hitler

When British Prime Minister Nveille Chamberlain surrendered to Hitler’s demands at the infamous “Munich conference,” his fellow Britons were ecstatic.  He returned to England as a hero.

Churchill knew better: “Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonor.  They chose dishonor.  They will have war.”

In March, 1939, the German army occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia.

Hitler next turned his attention to Poland–which he invaded on September 1, unintentionally triggering World War II.

In time, historians and statesmen would regard Munich as an object lesson in the futility—and danger—in appeasing evil and aggression.

It is a lesson that current world leaders have forgotten as Islamic fundamentalists increasingly flex their military and economic muscles–and demand that Western nations bow to their demands.

  • In Iran, scientists continue to fashion a nuclear weapons program–while insisting they intend to use the atom only for “peaceful purposes.”
  • In Pakistan–which has 90-110 nuclear warheads–Osama bin Laden lived less than a mile from the Pakistan Military Academy, the country’s West Point.  So much for America’s “ally” in the “war on terror.”
  • The rising tide of Muslim population growth spells deadly challenges for non-Islamic nations.

Winston Churchill’s warnings fell on deaf ears until other world leaders–most notably Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin–were forced by events to take action.

So did the warnings of Harvard political science professor Samuel P. Huntington.

In 1993, he published an essay in Foreign Affairs called “The Clash of Civilizations?”  In this, he argued that the post-Cold War would be marked by civilizational conflict.  Among his assertions:

  • People are divided along religious and cultural lines.
  • Islamic civilization do not share the general ideals of the Western world–such as individualism and democracy.
  • Their primary attachment is to their religion, not to their nation-state.
  • When the Muslim world conflicts with other civilizations, tensions and wars result.
  • Arab dictatorships were fragile and could be overturned by the masses of unemployed young men. But even if they fell, the new regimes would not modernize along Western lines.
  • A fundamental clash of civilizations between Islam and the West is inevitable.
  • Relations between Muslims and non-Muslims–such as Catholics, Protestants, Hindus, Buddhists and Jews–have been marked by Islamic antagonism and violence.
  • Western nations should distance themselves from Islamic ones.  The more both civilizations interact, the greater tensions between them will be.

Huntington’s critique of Islamic civilizations ignited a firestorm of controversey–especially his statement: “Islam has bloody borders.”

In 1996, Huntington expanded his thesis into a book–also called The Clash of Civilizations.  Once again, he minced no words:

“Some Westerners, including President Bill Clinton, have argued that the West does not have problems with Islam but only with violent Islamist extremists.  Fourteen hundred years of history demonstrate otherwise.”

Huntington cited British scholar Barry Buzan as giving several reasons for an inevitable war between the West and Islam:

  • Western secular vs. Islamic religious values.
  • Past historical rivalry between Christianity and Islam.
  • Jealousy of Western power by Islamic nations.
  • Islamic resentments of Western domination during the post-colonial restructuring of the Middle East.
  • Islamic bitterness and humiliation at the achiveements of Western civilization over the last 200 years.

Much of the fury Muslims were directing toward the West, wrote Huntington, was aimed at its embrace of secularism.  Westerners were attacked not for being Christian but “for not adhering to any religion at all.”

Following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, a quasi-war developed between some Islamic nations and some Western ones.  On the Islamic side: Iran, Sudan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.  On the Western side: The United States and Britain.

“In this quasi war,” wrote Huntington, “each side has capitalized on its own strengths and the other side’s weaknesses.”  For example:

  • Muslim terrorists exploited the openness of Western societies to plant car bombs at selected targets.
  • Western powers used their superior air power to bomb selected targets in Islamic countries.
  • Islamics plotted the assassination of Western leaders.
  • The United States plotted the overthrow of hostile Islamic regimes.

Writing at a time before the United States directed its full military power at conquering Afghanistan and Iraq, Huntington ominously noted:

“During the 15 years between 1980 and 1995…the United States engaged in 17 military operations in the Middle East, all of them directed against Muslims.   No comparable pattern of U.S. military operations occurred against the people of any other civilization.”

The war that Huntington warned was coming and was, in fact, already in progress, has since erupted into full-scale conflict, with no end in sight.

A CHURCHILL FOR OUR TIME: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In History, Politics, Social commentary on May 24, 2013 at 5:42 pm

There is a famous joke about racial profiling that’s long made the rounds of the Internet. It appears in the guise of a “history test,” and offers such multiple-choice questions as:

In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by:

  • Olga Korbut
  • Sitting Bull
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

In 1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over by:

  • Lost Norwegians
  • Elvis
  • A tour bus full of 80-year-old women
  • Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

During the 1980s a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by:

  • John Dillinger
  • The King of Sweden
  • The Boy Scouts
  • Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

In 1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:

  • A pizza delivery boy
  • Pee Wee Herman
  • Geraldo Rivera
  • Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

On September 11, 2001, four airliners were hijacked. Two were used as missiles to take out the World Trade Center; one crashed into the Pentagon; and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers. Thousands of people were killed by:

  • Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
  • The Supreme Court of Florida
  • Mr. Bean
  • Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

It’s well to remember the bitter truth behind this joke, especially in light of the latest Islamic atrocities:

  • On April 15, two pressure-cooker bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing 3 people and injuring 264.  The culprits: Two Muslim brothers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan  Tsarnaev, who had emigrated to the United States from the former Soviet Union.
  • On May 22, two Islamic terrorists, wielding machetes and shouting “Allahu Akbar!” (“God is Great!”)   hacked a British soldier to death on a London street.

Writing in the British newspaper, The Spectator, Douglas Murray issued a warning to his fellow Britons: “Over recent years, those who have warned that such attacks would come here have been attacked as ‘racists’, ‘fascists’ and–most commonly–’Islamophobes.’

“A refusal to recognise the actual threat (a growingly radicalised Islam) has dominated most of our media and nearly all our political class.”

One man who did foresee the present conflicts with stunning clarity–and had the courage to say what has since become Politically Incorrect–was Samuel P. Huntington.

Samuel P. Huntington (2004 World Economic Forum).jpg

Samuel P. Huntington

A political scientist, Huntington taught government at Harvard University (1950-1959, then at Columbia University (1959-1962).  He returned to Harvard in 1963, and remained there until his death in 2008.

The author of nine books, in 1996 he published his most invluential one: The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.  Its thesis was that, in the post-Cold War world, people’s cultural and religious identities would be the primary sources of conflict.

Among the points he makes:

  • Modernization does not mean Westernization.
  • Economic progress has come with a revival of religion.
  • Post-Cold War politics emphasize ethnic nationalism over ideology.
  • Civilizations are fundamentally differentiated from each other by centuries-old history, language, culture, tradition, and, most important, religion.
  • As the world becomes smaller, different civilizations increasingly interact.  These intensify civilization consciousness and the awareness of differences between civilizations.
  • Economic modernization and social change separate people from age-old identities (such as hometowns and familiar neighbors).  Religion has replaced this gap, providing a basis for identity, socialization and commitment that transcends national boundaries and unites civilizations.
  • The West, at the peak of its power, is confronting non-Western countries that increasingly have the desire, will and resources to shape the world in non-Western ways.
  • Cultural characteristics and differences are less mutable and hence less easily compromised and resolved than political and economic ones.

The most controversial part of The Clash of Civilizations focuses on Islam.  Huntington points out, for example, that Muslim countries are involved in far more intergroup violence than others.

And he warns that the West’s future conflcts with Islamic nations will be rooted in the Islamic religion:

Islam’s borders are bloody and so are its innards. The fundamental problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilisation whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power.”

Huntington argues that civilizational conflicts are “particularly prevalent between Muslims and non-Muslims.”  Among the reasons for these conflicts: Both Islam and Christianity have similarities which heighten conflicts between their followers:

  • Both seek to convert others.
  • Both are “all-or-nothing” religions; each side believes that only its faith is the correct one.
  • The followers of both Islam and Christianity believe that people who violate the base principles of their religion are idolators and thus damned.

Other reasons for the Western-Islamic clash are:

  • The Islamic revival, which began in the 1970s and is manifested in greater religious piety and in a growing adoption of Islamic culture, values, dress, separation of the sexes, speech and media censorship.
  • Western universalism–the belief that all civilizations should adopt Western values–infuriates Islamic fundamentalists.

These are not differences that will disappear–overnight or even over the span of several centuries.  Nor will they be sweet-talked away by Politically Correct politicians, however well-meaning.

“BEST-LOOKING” ATTORNEY GENERAL IS BIGGEST LAWBREAKER

In Bureaucracy, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics on April 9, 2013 at 12:03 am

On April 4, President Barack Obama unintentionally created a stir during a Democratic National Committee fundraising lunch in Atherton, California.

Referring to California Attorney General Kamala Harris, he said:

“You have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you’d want in anybody who is administering the law and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake.  She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country.”

Kamala Harris

It was a compliment that was immediately interpreted–by some–as a sexist insult.

According to the Politically Correct crowd, even complimentary comments about a female politician’s physical appearance can diminish her accomplishments.

“It’s even more so when the person–like Kamala Harris–is holding a traditionally-male position like attorney general, the top law enforcement officer in the state,” said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

“That’s just what Obama did by including a comment about her appearance,” Walsh said. “I doubt if he’d say that about a male attorney general.”

According to White House press secretary Jay Carney, Obama called Harris that same evening evening to apologize for his comments.

“He fully recognizes the challenges women continue to face in the workplace and that they should not be judged based on appearance,” Carney said the next day. “They’re old friends. He certainly regretted that [his comments] caused a distraction.”

And Harris reportedly accepted Obama’s apology.

“The Attorney General and the President have been friends for many years,” Harris spokesman Gil Duran said in an April 5 statement. “They had a great conversation yesterday and she strongly supports him.”

If, in fact, Harris was offended by Obama’s compliment, she has a very thin skin indeed.

She could have been far more offended had her Republican opponent for Attorney General dared to tell the truth about her.

Steve Cooley, running against Harris in 2010, had a serious issue to raise against her.  But he didn’t have the guts to do it.

From 2004 to 2011, Harris had served as District Attorney for San Francisco.  In total defiance of the law, she set up a secret unit to keep even convicted illegal aliens out of prison.

Click here: San Francisco D.A.’s program trained illegal immigrants for jobs they couldn’t legally hold – Los Angeles Times

Her program, called Back on Track, trained them for jobs they could not legally hold.

This was a flagrant violation of Federal immigration law.

One such alumnus was Alexander Izaguirre, an illegal alien who had pled guilty to selling cocaine.  Four months later, in July, 2008, he assaulted Amanda Kiefer, a legal San Francisco resident.

Snatching her purse, he jumped into an SUV, then tried to run Kiefer down.  Terrified, she leaped onto the hood and saw Izaguirre and a driver laughing.

The driver slammed on the brakes, sending Kiefer flying onto the pavement and fracturing her skull.

The program, Back on Track, became a centerpiece of Harris’ campaign for state Attorney General.

Until she was questioned by the Los Angeles Times about the Izaguirre case, Harris had never publicly admitted that the program included illegal aliens.

Harris claimed she first learned that illegal aliens were training for jobs only after Izaguirre was arrested for the Kiefer assault.

Harris said it was a “flaw in the design” of the program to let illegal aliens into the program.  “I believe we fixed it,” she told the Times.

Harris never released statistics on how many illegal aliens were included since the program started in 2005.

She said that after Izaguirre’s arrest she never asked–or learned–how many illegal aliens were in Back on Track.

When Harris learned that illegal aliens were enrolled, she allowed those who were following the rules to finish the program and have their criminal records expunged.

It is not the duty of local law enforcement, she said, to enforce Federal immigration laws.

So much for her oath to faithfully defend the Constitution of the United States and that of the state of California “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

From 2005 to 2009, 113 admitted drug dealers graduated from Back on Track.  Another 99 were kicked off the program for failing to meet the requirements.  They were sentenced under their guilty plea, the D.A.’s office claimed.

Harris told the Times that graduates of Back on Track were less likely than other offenders to commit crimes again.  But her spokeswoman refused to offer detailed statistics to back this up.

When Harris became San Francisco District Attorney, she vowed she would “never charge the death penalty.”  Her opposition to capital punishment would be better-suited to a public defender.

Meanwhile, Amanda Kiefer left California.  Interviewed by the Times, she said she could not understand why San Francisco police and prosecutors would allow convicted illegal aliens back onto the streets.

“If they’re committing crimes,” she said, “I think there’s something wrong that they’re not being deported.”

It’s a sentiment that law-abiding Americans agree with.  And it should go double for those who are charged with enforcing the law.

PC IN THE “WAR ON TERROR”–PART TWO

In Bureaucracy, History, Politics on June 9, 2010 at 9:46 pm

During most of the eight-year Presidency of Bill Clinton, the State Department often referred to nations like Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as “rogue states.” In a 1994 lecture, Madeleine Albright, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, defined a rogue state as one that actively tried to undermine the international system.

But in 2000, the State Department declared that it would no longer call such nations “rogues.” Instead, they would now be referred to as “states of concern.”

State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said that “rogue” was inflammatory, and might hamper the efforts of the United States to reach agreements with its potential adversaries.

In short, it’s become Politically Incorrect to refer to even our sworn enemies as enemies.

As Steven Emerson, president of the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) puts it: “If you can’t name your enemy, how can you defeat him?”

The following are excerpts from that June 19, 2000 press briefing where the announcement was made.

Q: On a related matter, the Secretary [of State, Madeleine Albright] said today, this morning, that the United States has abandoned the expression “rogue states” in favor of “states of concern.” I wondered if you could sort of give us an idea of the ideological shift that’s involved in this change in terminology.

MR. BOUCHER: All right. The phrase “states of concern” is a more general phrase. I think that the issue was whether you have one policy that tries to fit all, and when all these states are opposed to the peace process and opposed to the international situation and opposed to any form of liberalization and democracy, it’s easy to describe in one basket.

* * * * *

So the point, I think, is just a recognition that we have seen some evolution in different ways in different places, and that we will deal appropriately with each one based on the kind of evolution we’re seeing and what we think is possible in terms of getting them to live more harmoniously with the international environment and, in particular, to address the concerns that the United States has.

* * * * *

Q: Is “rogue state” then out of the lexicon as of today?

MR. BOUCHER: I haven’t used it for a while.

Q: Is it possible that some states will still be referred to as “rogue states” if they –

MR. BOUCHER: If they want to be rogues, they can be rogues, but generally we have not been using the term for a while, I think.

Q: So it’s not a matter of some countries continue to be “rogue states” and others have progressed to “states of concern;” all of them henceforth are “states of concern”?

MR. BOUCHER: Yes.

Q: But does this lower the bar for what a “state of concern” is, now that there’s no “rogue state”?

MR. BOUCHER: Does this lower the bar? No, because, as I said, it’s more a description than a change in policy, because the issue is: Are various countries whose activities around the world have been troubling to us, are they actually dealing with the issues that we have been concerned about? And if we are able to encourage them or pressure them or otherwise produce changes in their behavior, and therefore a change in our relationship, we’re willing to do that. If they’re not, then we’re going to keep our sanctions on and we’re going to keep our restrictions on and we’re not going to change our policies.

Q: PR-wise, does that make it easier for the Administration if you ease sanctions on a “state of concern” than if you ease sanctions on a “rogue state”? So isn’t this just as much for you as it is them?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I think the determination will be state by state, where if we do something with an individual country that people think is unmerited, I think we’ll hear about it.

Q: Can you tell us how many there are?

MR. BOUCHER: No.

* * * * *

Q: So are the same seven countries – or however many countries it was that were considered “rogue states” before – are they all now considered “states of concern”?

MR. BOUCHER: Yes, they would be. But I have to say the point is not to categorize them; the point is to deal with each country on the basis of what we can accomplish in terms of what we care about.

Q: But when you change the category, that is necessarily a categorization.

MR. BOUCHER: We’ll discuss that over lunch sometime. I think that’s too philosophical for me to deal with from the podium.

PC IN THE “WAR ON TERROR”–PART ONE

In Bureaucracy, History, Humor, Politics on June 9, 2010 at 7:42 pm

On June 8, AOL News carried a story that must have sent Moshe Dayan and David Ben-Gurion spinning in their graves.

“Israel Apologizes for Music Video Mocking Gaza Flotilla,” ran the headline, and then, for those who couldn’t believe their eyes, there was this:

June 8 – The Israeli government has apologized for circulating a satirical video that uses Michael Jackson’s hit single “We Are the World” to mock activists from the Gaza flotilla.

“There’s no people dying, so the best that we can do is create the greatest bluff of all,” one refrain in the parody goes.

Last week nine people aboard the Mavi Marmara, one of six ships carrying aid to Gaza in defiance of Israel’s blockade, were killed under hotly contested circumstances during an Israeli raid on the flotilla. In the video, Israelis dressed up as activists offer their own take on the incident through song.

…The Israeli Government Press Office distributed footage of the music video to foreign journalists on June 4, but then sent an apology to reporters just hours later, insisting it had been an accident.

“The contents of the video in no way represent the official policy of either the Government Press Office or of the State of Israel,” Israel’s Government Press Office later told CNN.

But such a retraction did not stop “We Con the World” from becoming an Internet hit. So far it has been viewed more than 1.6 million times on YouTube.

* * * * *

By issuing such an apology the Israeli government forfeited a vital weapon in its ongoing struggle for not simply sovereignty but survival: Ridicule.

Every great tyrant has feared the laughter of his enemies. For that reason, the Roman Emperor Augustus banished the satirical poet, Ovid, from Rome and the KGB worked overtime to suppress anti-Communist jokes.

And as the same news story affirms, issuing an apology “did not stop ‘We Con the World’ from becoming an Internet hit.” So Israel’s enemies will be ranting every time they hear the original song, because they’ll know that, from now on, there will be those who never forget its parody.

It appears that Israeli bureaucrats, like American ones, have caught a fatal case of the Political Correctness disease, where even the most criminally depraved are off-limits as targets for satire.

During most of the eight-year Presidency of Bill Clinton, the State Department often applied the “rogue state” moniker to nations like Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. In a 1994 lecture, Madeleine Albright, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, defined a rogue state as one that actively tried to undermine the international system.

But in 2000, the State Department declared that it would no longer refer to such nations as “rogues.” Instead, they would now be referred to as “states of concern.”

“Rogue,” said a State Department spokesman, was inflammatory, and might hamper the efforts of the United States to reach agreements with its sworn enemies.

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