I love The Times of Israel. I really do.
What other meshuggeneh publication would allow me to blog essentially whatever I want – including criticism of the publication itself?
Freedom of Speech Endangered
Right now, we find that level of freedom a bit challenging in the United States where, if one supports any initiative of Donald Trump, it is likely one has been subjected to surveillance by some sneaky arm of the IC (“Intelligence Community”) and your identity is likely to be “unmasked” by an anonymous secretary in some bizarre government agency without anyone’s oversight.
Similarly, if one is an opponent of Donald Trump, nearly any lunatic accusation can be leveled against anyone regardless of credence as long as there is an “anonymous source” willing to supply either The New York Times or The Washington Post with some juicy tidbit about your illicit conduct.
But amidst the very serious matters that bubble around the world like an eruption of Vesuvius once threatened Pompei, in the U.S. we are fighting about how bathrooms should be identified; why Hillary Clinton continues to blame others for having blown the 2016 campaign; James Comey: last honest man in Washington or resentful sleazebag with an axe to grind because he got fired; will Media Matters force Sean Hannity out of Fox News and wipe the slate clean for the liberal Murdoch boys; whether our First Amendment protects the free speech of liberal and conservative speakers on college campuses.
How is it that a Brooklyn-born Islamist who doesn’t hide her anti-Semitic views can be invited to be a commencement speaker at the City University of New York, a taxpayer-supported public university, while at The University of California – Berkeley, also supported by taxpayers and the birthplace of the Free Speech movement in the Sixties, violence prevents conservative speakers from making appearances on campus? There is no intervention by police.
The Texas Capitol
In the heart of liberal Austin, the final day of the State Legislature ended with an interesting dust-up. The gallery was filled with people with signs extolling the illegality of their immigrant status and their intent to remain in the state. Ostensibly, they were protesting the recent passage of a bill that declared “sanctuary” cities to be illegal because they defied Federal law. Austin itself is a “sanctuary city” and does its best to shelter illegal immigrants from Federal law, even in cases where those immigrants may be serial offenders of deportations or may have committed multiple offenses of other laws.
On the day in question, a Republican legislator called the Federal authorities to help remove the avowed lawbreakers from the gallery after they had been supported from the floor by several Democrats and State Police had been pulled to the floor when they attempted to remove several of the more vociferous protestors.
There was a physical confrontation between several Democrats and this individual Republican who was threatened when he left the building. Which he would have to do eventually. The Republican told the Democrat gaggle that he had a permit to carry a weapon and, if threatened, he would defend himself accordingly.
The Mayor of Austin’s Priorities
From the ridiculous to the sublime – within the same week – Austin’s mayor, Steven Adler, made national headlines (and The Times of Israel!) for defending “female only” screenings of “Wonder Woman” at Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse theaters.
On the other hand, he and his city council will be joining San Antonio and El Paso in challenging the bill which bans “sanctuary” cities and requires local law enforcement to follow Federal regulations regarding immigration.
It is bizarre to me that Mayor Adler trolls for attention by defending “female only” screenings of “Wonder Woman”, but he and his “moderate” city council voted 10-1 to expend taxpayer funds to challenge the validity of State and Federal law because it is “vague” and “unconstitutional”. The Mayor says he sees this as a “free speech” issue.
Kathy Griffin and Sanctuary Cities
That seems to apply here about as effectively as Kathy Griffin’s employment of the phrase to excuse her mock decapitation of Donald Trump. I’m sorry, but her comedic license should be permanently revoked, just as the mayor of any “sanctuary” city should be arrested for refusing to enforce Federal law.
As private citizens, we don’t have the option to determine which laws we’re going to choose to follow and which we’re going to seek sanctuary from. Unless we’re permitted to reside in Moscow or an Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Or our last name is Clinton.
The same should be true for governmental entities. Lois Lerner, John Koskinen and the IRS should have suffered significant sanctions for abusing their powers for political purposes. The fact that Koskinen is still in office is inexcusable. The Intelligence Community has clearly allowed itself to be used for political purposes, and it is becoming clearer by the day that John Brennan of the CIA is largely responsible for birthing The Russia Conspiracy for the benefit of Democrats.
And the behavior of the media here has been completely unprecedented. One day Steve Bannon is persona non grata, the next he is the “man behind the curtain” like The Wizard of Oz. Jared Kushner, the President’s favored son-in-law, is trusted with a portfolio of critical foreign affairs challenges; why is Jared Kushner who has no diplomatic experience running a “shadow State Department” and constantly at odds with Rex Tillerson? Did Trump fire James Comey because he was getting “too close”?? Stay tuned – further details coming this week when Jimmy reveals all to the Senate Intelligence Committee! Since our Prime Time programming sucks, this is “must see TV” and advertisers will miss out on hitting their prime demos if they don’t commit to spot buys NOW! Hurry – inventory is moving fast!
We’re a bubble off plumb. Rod Serling seems to have pulled a fast one on the Twelfth Imam, gotten here before Him and is firmly in charge.