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Just A Turd In A Gilded Cage

Well, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went and spoke at Columbia, and the world didn't end.

And, surprisingly, he didn't leave with an honorary degree. I guess he should have timed it for commencement.

Rather, he did pretty much what I expected: he tried to put a human face on his nation's brutal theocracy, polish the gilded cage a bit, polish the turd that is the government of Iran. And, to some, he did just that. Others, though, could see the Mr. Hyde lurking behind the Dr. Jekyll mask, which slipped a bit when he made the absurd assertion that "there are no gays in Iran." I think Cox & Forkum captured the moment perfectly:


Still, I'm a bit disappointed.

My opposition to Ahmaninejad's invitation to speak was based on two principles. The first was the choice of forums. Columbia University, in my opinion, has absolutely no standing whatsoever when it comes to making "freedom of speech" arguments. One need look no further than the treatment Jim Gilchrist of The Minuteman Project received when he spoke there. Columbia students rushed the stage and shouted him down, bullying him off the stage -- and Columbia didn't do a damned thing about this ugly incident of mob rule.

The second is based on the notion that "free speech" does NOT include the right to speak without being challenged. So many times I've seen criticism labeled as censorship, repeating the words of others denounced as oppression. Ahmadinejad's speech was designed to be just that: an address, a lecture, a one-sided method of communication. There was no "fairness doctrine" in place, no "fair and balanced" presentation, no "equal time" provision -- the thug was being allowed to give his lecture pretty much unchallenged.

Well, Columbia's president allayed some of my concerns, when he spoke to Ahmadinejad in ways the thug is probably not used to hearing -- at least, not without turning the speaker over to his Brute Squad.

It was a small step for Columbia to truly being a bastion of academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas, but it was a step in the right direction. The real test will be to see if Bollinger's "calling a spade a spade" moment was a flash in the pan and an aberration, or the beginning of a real reform.

Because lord knows modern academia needs a lesson in what free speech really means.


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Comments (26)

Caroline Glick at RCP.<br /... (Below threshold)

Caroline Glick at RCP.

Things are taking a frighte... (Below threshold)

Things are taking a frightening turn in this country.

Okay, I just read Kevin's s... (Below threshold)

Okay, I just read Kevin's story which is just next to this one, and we've now got "polished turd" and "gilded turd"...is there a theme running through today's program?

No matter what the brutal d... (Below threshold)

No matter what the brutal dictator said or how he was taken to task, Iran nut job achieved his goal: To speak to students at an ivy league college. He and his people will twist the appearance in the middle east to show how he was warmly received. He used Columbia and Columbia willingly complied. Not very smart at all. ww

Caroline Glick's point is t... (Below threshold)

Caroline Glick's point is that by making the survival of the Jews a subject of discussion, Columbia has put itself outside the pale.

Columbia gave Ahmaninejad t... (Below threshold)

Columbia gave Ahmaninejad the legitimacy that he never should have received.

It was nearly on-par with Carter's embracing that murderous thug, Arafat.

.. and yet, Columbia will not allow the Minutemen a similar forum, nor let a military recruiter on campus without harassment.

Exactly - the world didn't ... (Below threshold)

Exactly - the world didn't end. Free speech is something Jews need to learn to live with.

We Christians are far more often offended than they (and often by their thugs - like the ADL).

This whole episode only makes clearer that Mearsheimer and Walt have a good point when they say in relations with Israel - American's have the right to put America's interests first. But that right all-too-often get's shouted down.

WW:He and his ... (Below threshold)


He and his people will twist the appearance in the middle east to show how he was warmly received. He used Columbia and Columbia willingly complied. Not very smart at all. ww

Do you mean like this headline in the Alalam, Islamic Republic of Iran?

"President Ahmadinejad to Enlighten Americans"

You can read the whole thing at the link provided but here are a couple passages that caught me eye.

Some American officials plan to demonstrate outside Columbia University on Sunday and near the United Nations while Ahmadinejad is scheduled to speak. New York City politicians and Jewish groups have led the opposition to Ahmadinejad's visit.
"Nice spin," wonder what American officials those are?

Gotta love this part:

Ahmadinejad also plans to meet "intellectuals and independent American politicians" during the trip.
Yeah I bet he cut a striking figure with the "intellectuals" wearing that cheap assed looking suit.

Anyone here of any "independent American politicians" that had plans to meet him? Maybe they mean Kucinich.

And BTW... what's the norma... (Below threshold)

And BTW... what's the normal moonbat refrain?

Oh yeah... ya gotta talk to them. OK does it sound like they wanna talk, here are the words of Iran's Pelosi. (Speaker of parliament)

TEHRAN: Following recent reports about a meeting between Iranian reformists and a U.S. senator, the speaker of the Majlis [Iran's parliament] said that seeking the help of aliens shows a lack of public support and that the Iranian nation condemns any such resort to "the aliens, specially the United States."

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel said that the Iranian nation undoubtedly condemns any resort to Americans, "and that all political groups should realize that resorting to the support of aliens is evidence of the final and definitive failure of a domestic political movement."

Not much room for talkin' there.

No son, free speech is not ... (Below threshold)

No son, free speech is not something Jews have to learn to live with; Ahmadi-Nejad needs to learn to live with it.

Puck, you miss Caroline Gli... (Below threshold)

Puck, you miss Caroline Glick's point; speech threatening life is not to be free and is to be resisted. That forum was immoral.

I feel that the university ... (Below threshold)

I feel that the university did Americans a favor. They let the lefties see, once and for all, that the turd from Iran is a turd. Of course Iran will spin it to their advantage. Our own politicians spin manure to what ever advantage they can to make themselves and their party look good.

And with all this headlining about the turd going on, we are still fighting a war, and some in congress are still trying to punish the NY Times about the political ad moveon.org had. Why doesn't congress, especially the ones crying about the ad, work at trying to win the war? Instead of the BS about a ad the lefties posted, who learned about ads from the swiftboaters.

So now the nincompoops of C... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

So now the nincompoops of Columbia openly invite a known terrorists supporter give a speech what treason and i dont ever suppose they would ever consiter inviting thw MINUTEMEN,NRA,ACU, or the military or even a good man of god like they do for terrrists supporters

Hey Jay Tea, are you ever g... (Below threshold)
Hey fast food at least they... (Below threshold)

Hey fast food at least they had the gonads to strike something which you wimps on the left don't have. Set on it dumbass.

Ah, FF, what you get for li... (Below threshold)

Ah, FF, what you get for listening to Larissa. These questions. Why was North Korea upset? Why were the six power talks suddenly postponed?

Typical Free-Dumb: <p... (Below threshold)

Typical Free-Dumb:

You'll notice that 1) he's off-topic here, and B) he didn't bother to challenge me at the time, only after more information (still not fully verified) came to light.

Also, my piece was speculative, not absolute. I knew that the info was questionable (and still is).

As I said before: considering how far his head is up his ass, it's not surprising that he has such great hindsight.

I'm kicking around a followup piece, because the details are getting more and more interesting. And whether I do or not, FreeDumb, will not be influenced in the slightest by you.


Damnit Jay Tea. What is wr... (Below threshold)

Damnit Jay Tea. What is wrong with you? Why in the world would you comment on a story from the Sunday Times of London to be accurate when everyone knows that Raw Story is a far more reliable and factual source of news. My God Raw Story even quotes anonymous current and former intelligence officials. You don't get any more accurate than that.

If you are going to comment on an article you read in the news, then do it right. Kind of like FreedomFries chose to comment based on the article he read in the news.

And holy shiite you got the whole facts of the story wrong. The Israelis didn't blow up North Korean nuclear material in Syria. They blew uo North Korean missiles in Syria that were being armed with chemical weapons. Cheese and crackers pal, get it right.

I have to wonder what kind ... (Below threshold)

I have to wonder what kind of country we live in when one of the largest, if not the largest, supporters of international terrorism is given free reign to speak, and lie, in his case, on whatever he so desires at one of our colleges.

Yes, yes, yes, I can hear the moonbats screaming "Free speech!" already, but a few issues with that. First, he is not exactly an American citizen. Second, as with any right, free speech has within it an implied weight of personal responsibility, much though the liberals would try to convince you otherwise. Third, this guy's administration and country are actively supporting those individuals who are killing and wounding our soldiers overseas.

I guess it really is too late for our society... but if one of my future children ever expresses the slightest desire of going to Columbia, they will be bloody well paying for it themselves.

"One need look no further t... (Below threshold)
Republican thinker:

"One need look no further than the treatment Jim Gilchrist of The Minuteman Project received when he spoke there. Columbia students rushed the stage and shouted him down, bullying him off the stage -- and Columbia didn't do a damned thing about this ugly incident of mob rule."

Well it is important to say that mob rule is ok, when Republicans do it. Look at the way we gang up on barney and threaten to boot him when he says things we don't like. Also notice we don't let those Silly Liberals write any of the articles on this site.

We do this because, while The free exchange of ideas is very important, it is essential that those ideas be a Republican controlled ideas. The last thing we want is for anything that Republicans disagree with to be spoken.

That is why moveon should be kicked out of the country. Puns that imply that a millitary man is lying are grounds for execution.

Free speech is not absolute (even if no limitations are placed on it in the constituition). and letting a man who says things so silly that the draw nothing but collective groans of laughter is unamerican and makes me wonder sometimes what happend to my country? How did this much liberty happen and can we stop it?

repub unthinker:<e... (Below threshold)

repub unthinker:

Well it is important to say that mob rule is ok, when Republicans do it. Look at the way we gang up on barney and threaten to boot him when he says things we don't like. Also notice we don't let those Silly Liberals write any of the articles on this site.

Ah... NO.

Baghdad barney has been repeatedly warned about his thread hijacking, off-topic comments and various other transgressions he exhibs here.

All of which are outlined many times.

As for silly liberals, at least your honest in your selection of names to toss around, however show me a single conservative blog other than Wizbang that has set-up a FREE area (wizbang blue) for liberals to blog at?

Just one asshat.

Better yet, show me a single liberal blog that provides a FREE blog for conservatives to use.


Marc,A true conser... (Below threshold)
Republican thinker:


A true conservative would be against any Republican site that gave free speech to anyone. Bagdad Barney is clearly hijacking this site when he posts something you could easily skip over if you chose.

Also, I suppose you think moveon should not be kicked out of the country for exercising their first amenmend rights don\'t You? THis is because you are a communist and not a true Republican. A true Republican knows that ideas MUST be controled. that if the president of Iran speaks he will fool everyone and the world will lay down while he takes over the world!!

This cannot happen free speech only goes so far and Republicans are the people to determine how far. So, no free speech for move on! No free speech for gays! And don\'t let the president of Iran speak!

People won\'t see that he is crazy when he denies the holocost. I mean just think if the president spoke for two hours and was never interupted. THINK OF THE DAMAGE!!!! For one thing his ideas would be out there. OUT THERE!! Don\'t you see??!!!, people would hear what he had to say.

When they concluded that he was crazy it would be because of making up their own minds after hearing him talk as opposed to to making up their minds because they were told too. This is VERY dangerous. People cannot think without being told by fox news it is not the Republican way. So stop acting like a communist you asshat!

Hey Marc, go fuck ... (Below threshold)
Hey Marc, go fuck your mother.
WOW... just WOW!

I was never sure I had a brother or sister, guess this confirms the rumors.

One another more serious note, baghdad barney... is that you?

Republican thinker, that Gi... (Below threshold)

Republican thinker, that Gilded Cage noted in the title sure is a restriction isn't it?

What you say the point is missed?

OK, you are a turd of the first order.

"Republican thinker, that G... (Below threshold)
Republican thinker:

"Republican thinker, that Gilded Cage noted in the title sure is a restriction isn't it?"

I know! and I can't beleive we do it. We let the liberals post on our board (as long as they don't do anything that pisses us off) however, at least we are smart enough to realize that liberals should not get to write columns here. I mean that would be like saying there should be a counter balance to the speech the president of iran made. ich!

"What you say the point is missed?"

the point is missed because I am republican that is what a true republican would do. most of the time (about 99%) you manage to do this but every once in a while you almost understand and that makes me think you are with the islamo nazis.

"OK, you are a turd of the first order"

Republican thinkers are not turds you moonbat.

You can stop. You've batte... (Below threshold)

You can stop. You've battered your little wings against the cage.






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