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Friday, September 14, 2012

Mother May I... (Sugar Drinks, Foreign Riots)

"Mother" - Pink Floyd - The Wall
As children we played a game called "Mother May I..."  The idea was simple: you found a large area, like a playground or turnaround on a driveway.  One person was designated "Mother."  Mother turned her back and all the rest, the "children" lined up at the starting line.

In turn each child would ask "Mother may I ____" where the ____ was "take two steps forward" or something like that.  Mother would agree or disagree and the "child" would have to follow along.

Periodically Mother could survey the children to see if any were cheating by moving more than Mother allowed.

When someone reached Mother they then became Mother.

As the Nanny state Mother of all New York City Michael Bloomberg declared today no one is to purchase a sweetened soda drink of more than 16 oz.

This is like saying we'll no longer sell cigarettes to minors - it sounds good but it doesn't stop minors from smoking.  Now drinking larger quantities of soda will become enticing simply because its forbidden.

I suppose that NYC will have to hire "drink police" to come around and measure everyone's serving size.  For example, in a bar if I order, say, a "Captain and Coke" will I be allowed to have a large glass?

Mother may I have a large glass of an adult beverage?

Free speech is also moving into the realm of "Mother May I..."

Apparently this YouTube video trailer for "Innocence of Muslim's" by "Sam Baclile" has caused the deaths of US Ambassador to Libya along with several people in his entourage.  The real filmmaker is thought to be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula according to this article.

Who ever the producer and director are of this film we know it was produced in the United States.

This fact makes it an expression of free speech.

Just like other anti-religious, satirical films such as Monty Python's "The Life of Brian."  In 1979 this was considered by Christians as a religious outrage and even blasphemous.

Yet no riots ensued after its release in the US (it was produced in the UK).

No members of the UK's US embassy were murdered in cold blood.

However, yesterday it was revealed that the US government is "looking into" the affairs of Mr. Bacile/Nakoula in this WSJ article.

According to this article Mr. Bacile/Nakoula is a convicted (2009) felon (no, not for making movies) for defrauding banks.  He served about 21 months in prison.

Part of his parole agreement is that he may not use the internet.  So the US seeks to punish Mr. Bacile/Nakoula by using indirect legal means to silence him and his film: basically by showing that in order to make the film he used the internet and hence violated parole.

Mother May I make a satire?

Satire has been a mainstay of American journalism for hundreds of years and is explicitly protected by the US Constitution (Amendment I): "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Now some have made the argument that a movie like this is akin to yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater.  However, in this case, as with many other unpleasant forms of speech (such as that of Klansmen and various white supremacy groups) the government can only suppress it in very specific circumstances, e.g., the incitement of an illegal overthrow of the government.

The quality of this trailer (I have not seen the entire movie) as comical.  The quality is what you might expect from a student satire film.

And certainly free speech in the US is not bound by the laws of other countries nor is there (or at least in the past there was not) any limit on films against violent regimes.  For example, here is a list of several dozen anti-Nazi films produced in the US.

Apparently according to various articles Mr. Bacile/Nakoula is a Coptic Christian.

A religious group which in Egypt is noted by Human Rights Watch as targeted for "growing religious intolerance."

Perhaps US officials should investigate Human Rights Watch?

Mother May I cover up the lack of security at my Embassies?

The embassy attack was known to the US administration at least 48 hours in advance.

More than likely all of this noise about this film in the US is to simply cover up that fact that Embassies have poor defenses, e.g., no ammo loaded into their guns, as a result of US State department or other current US leadership bumbling.

Mother May We ALL take two steps backward.

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