Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hey, look! Pigs, flying!

I never thought I'd see the day that a far-left intellectual like Noam Chomsky would take President Obama so bluntly to task.  Well, I was wrong.  He says:

I personally never expected anything of Obama, and wrote about it before the 2008 primaries. I thought it was smoke and mirrors. The one thing that did surprise me is his attack on civil liberties. They go well beyond anything I would have anticipated, and they don't seem easy to explain. In many ways the worst is what you mention, Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project. That's an Obama initiative and it's a very serious attack on civil liberties. He doesn't gain anything from it – he doesn't get any political mileage out of it. In fact, most people don't even know about it, but what it does is extend the concept of "material assistance to terror" to speech.

The case in question was a law group that was giving legal advice to groups on the terrorist list, which in itself has no moral or legal justification; it's an abomination. But if you look at the way it's been used, it becomes even more abhorrent (Nelson Mandela was on it until a couple of years ago.) And the wording of the colloquy is broad enough that it could very well mean that if, say, you meet with someone in a terrorist group and advise them to turn to nonviolent means, then that's material assistance to terrorism. I've met with people who are on the list and will continue to do so, and Obama wants to criminalize that, which is a plain attack on freedom of speech. I just don't understand why he's doing it.

The NDAA suit, of which I'm a plaintiff - it mostly codifies existing practice. While there has been some protest over the indefinite detention clause, there's one aspect of it that I'm not entirely happy with. The only protest that's being raised is in response to detention of American citizens, but I don't see why we should have the right to detain anyone without trial. The provision of the NDAA that allows for this should not be tolerated. It was banned almost eight centuries ago in the Magna Carta.

It's the same with the drone killings. There was some protest over the Anwar Al-Awlaki killing because he was an American citizen. But what about someone who isn't an American citizen? Do we have a right to murder them if the president feels like it?

There's more at the link.  I don't subscribe to most of Prof. Chomsky's views, but I nevertheless recommend that you read this interview with him, in order to get a new (and sometimes surprising) perspective on current issues.  I never thought I'd agree with Prof. Chomsky either - but in this case and on this subject, I do.



Anonymous said...

Chomsky ? Ewwww. No thanks.

LL said...

I think this is useful and the links are informative.

Francis W. Porretto said...

Chomsky, while not a beacon of freedom, occasionally says something respectable, though one might have to swallow hard to admit it. A few years ago, he came out in defense of Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson, whom the French government was prosecuting -- not because he agreed with Faurisson, but because he thinks it's an abomination that a government should claim the power to "define historical truth and punish deviations from it."

Defending the rights of SOBs is one of the hardest things to do...and one of the most important, because that's where a would-be tyrant always plants the thin end of the wedge.

Anonymous said...

A stopped clock is right twice a
day. Chomsky: once a century.
I guess he's finished for this one now.

I had to read some of his unreadable stuff in college. What a waste of
time that was.

Anonymous said...

Chomsky ri... rrr.... right?

"Even a blind pig finds a few acorns"

A reasonable approach to the chi-squared statistics test is "if it happens less than 5% of the time, you're probably seeing a random event". Chomsky being right is a random event.

Joel C said...

"I just don't understand why he's doing it."

That line jumped out at me. It must be hard for Noam to believe that their guy will do anything at all to increase the existence of a police state by creating an ever growing effluence of laws to be innocently broken.

Take away that explanation, and I'd be hard pressed to understand it as well.