Sunday, September 30, 2012

New York MTA Gives In To Pro-Savage Complaints, Bans Free Speech In Subway

This advert was too scary for New York's MTA
Sept. 30, 2012 - You KNEW this would happen, didn't you? When New York City blogger Pamela Geller went balls-out and bought space in the city's subway stations for her pro-Israel, anti-Jihad posters, it caused instant controversy.

Sadly, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) of New York is composed of spineless pussies who caved in to the screeches and howls of those who objected to the First Amendment-protected posters.  

Freedom of speech is under assault by the Left, folks: The banning of Gellers subway placards comes on the heels of Barack Obama's recent anti-free speech statement at the United Nations, in which he said, "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam." Obama got that backwards, of course: The First Amendment guarantees you and me the freedom to say whatever we bloody well please about Mohammed, pro or con, or about any other religion or religious figure. The future, then, must never belong to those who would suppress my right to criticize Mohammed, Jesus, Moses, Donald Duck, Winston Churchill, the Chicago Bears or anything else.

The placards simply said, "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad." They were not anti-Islam per se. They were specifically anti-Jihad. Reasonable Americans know what that means: Violent, murderous militant radical Muslims. In fact, the words "Muslim" and "Islam" did not appear in the ads.

Will the ACLU weigh in on this issue? They already did, actually. Fox News reported on Sept. 23 that Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, supported Geller's right to run what she called the "patently offensive" ads. "More offensive would be their censorship," Fox quoted Lieberman as saying, "because that would violate the guarantee of free expression of all ideas regardless of how distasteful they are."

Indeed, the First Amendment is supposed to protect speech even if it offends some people.

Frankly, I find the Geller anti-Jihad placards to be much less offensive than Jihadists' videos of beheadings, suicide bombings and hangings. Don't you prefer Geller's approach to protesting against something she dislikes (jihad and savagery) over the manner in which so many Muslims worldwide take?

Was ChrisStevens killed by savages? Well, yes.
You know, like the killing U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012. Or like the countless numbers of violent protests and attacks and - sure, let's throw these in, too - stoning of women, executions of gay people just because they are gay people, burning hotels and killing guests because they engaged in (gasp) drinking beer ... and so much more.  

"Savage" seems appropriate when describing those things. Doesn't it? Does it describe all Muslims? No, it does not. It only describes the savage ones. This is so simple that it's almost painful.

At first, the MTA used one of their own regulations that allows them to turn down ads if they “demean an individual or group of individuals on account of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation.”

Look at the wording of Geller's placards, and at the MTA regulation that initially banned it, and you see a sort of disconnect from reality. "In any war between the civilized man and the savage," said the placards, "support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad."  Could "savage" be offensive to an unthinking, overly sensitive, guilt-ridden, Jihad-supporting Muslim? I suppose so, but can a reasonable person argue that suicide belt-wearing people bent on killing innocent people just because they are not Muslims are not savages? I think not....

Did Geller "demean" anybody or any group "on account of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation?" No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no and no. Oh, you say she demean Muslims based on religion? I disagree. She demeaned "the savage," and those who engage in murderous "Jihad." If Geller said that all Muslims are Jihadists, I guess I failed to make the same incorrect inference that some folks make.

Geller sued MTA, however, and a federal judge sided with her, ordering MTA to accept the ads. The placards went up. Then the kooks came out...

One of those kooks is Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian-American journalist, blogger and contributor to MSNBC.
She has no respect for free speech or, apparently, property. When she tried to vandalize one of the Geller placards, she was "taken into custody by NYPD officers ... as she was attempting to cover one of Pamela Geller's anti-Islam subway posters with purple spray paint." 

Eltahawy obviously objected to the words "savage" and "Jihad" being used in the same ad.  But on  November 23, 2011, Eltahawy wrote on Twitter that she had been arrested while covering a protest on near Tahrir Square in Cairo, during Egypt's revolution. She said she was beaten and sexually assaulted by Egyptian riot police. According to AhramOnline, Eltahawy late said that she was beaten with sticks, breaking one of her arms. "While they were hitting me they were grabbing my breasts and genital area, putting their hands into my trousers. I kept saying, Stop it! Stop it! All this time they were insulting me, saying, 'You whore, You daughter of ...' They then pulled me by my hair toward the Ministry of Interior, still groping me whenever they could. They were like a pack of wild animals."

Doh! Did you catch that? Eltahawy referred to her attackers - Muslims - as "wild animals." She might as well, and just as accurately, have called her attackers "savages." One wonders if Eltahawy would have attacked Geller's placard had it instead said "In any war between the civilized man and wild animals, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad." How ironic that Eltahawy and her pro-Jihad friends had no problem with her calling her attackers "wild animals" but they have a fit when mass-murdering Jihadists are called "savages."

More irony: The response to Geller's "savage" placards seem to prove her point, at least partially. A brilliant article at today notes that, "ads perceived by Muslims, to be anti-Muslim, such that they justify violence, could conceivably be used to prove that Muslims are unable to tolerate First Amendment norms in the same way as do other ethnic groups.  And that argument itself might, under this theory, incite violence."

On Friday, Sept. 28, the MTA voted to ban what they call "controversial advertising." This came just days after Geller’s ads appeared.

"The MTA didn’t say they were banning political advertising," writes blogger "Angry White Dude."  MTA's excuse was, as AWD put it, that they were banning ads "that could potentially bring violence. In short, the MTA decided to curtail First Amendment freedoms of peaceful Americans because Muslim savages might exercise non-protected acts of violence and savagery. The ruling proves exactly the reasons for the ad posted by Pamela Geller."

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota and the MTA board "are treading on delicate ground. They must proceed with great caution," The New York Daily News said today in an unsigned editorial. They are clearly not fans of Pamela Geller, but the Daily News must be applauded even so for siding with the First Amendment.

"The motivations of Lhota and the board are laudable," said the Daily News. "Their job is to keep mass transit running and not to get involved in potentially explosive controversies. Even so, they have a duty to the First Amendment for as long as they continue to accept issue-oriented ads. They must meet a very high burden of proof that there are excellent grounds to believe a particular advertisement would spark violence that would disrupt transportation. Potential case in point: a proposal to put up placards that include a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed. Lacking such clear-cut evidence of a threat, the MTA must stand with free speech against allowing crazies to gag expression." (My emphasis added.)

I would disagree with the Daily News only with regard to "placards that include a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed." That would be okay, I suppose, if the MTA banned all advertising that had any religious tone whatsoever. Would, for example, the MTA turn down an ad from an atheist group that mocked Christianity? Doubtful: The MTA's new regulations require that future political, religious or morality-based ads include a statement that they do not represent the views of the MTA.

Geller gets the last laugh in all of this, even tough MTA has removed her ads (for now). The whole point of the placards was to get her message out. They did, of course, but the removal has given her message much more juice. The louder the pro-savage savages howl, the more Geller's message reverberates.