Efficient as ever, Hillary Clinton attacks 1st and 2nd amendments in one sentence

June 18, 2014

liberal tolerance

Hey, why only gut one amendment in the Bill of Rights when you can trash two at the same time? It’s a progressive win-win!

During a televised town hall, Hillary Clinton was asked about guns, and said that the viewpoint held by gun-rights advocates “terrorizes” the majority of Americans.

The town hall, broadcast live on CNN on Tuesday, closely resembled a commercial for Clinton’s new memoir, “Hard Choices.”

(…)

“We cannot let a minority of people – and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people – hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people,” said Clinton.

Get that? Not only are you allowed to own firearms only at the sufferance of the State, but you are not even allowed to hold a point of view that differs from the majority opinion, presumably as long as that majority happens to agree with the progressive statist position.

And “terrorizes?” Really, Hillary? I’m not allowed to hold the opinion that the natural right to self-defense allows me and all other Americans to arm ourselves and that the Bill of Rights recognizes that unalienable right against government power, because said opinion might make your neighbors in Chappaqua get the vapors? How weird. In all my reading about the American Founding and our constitutional settlement, I never ran across the part that talked about how we have free speech as long as it isn’t scary. I don’t recall Voltaire saying “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it, as long as it does not offend the majority.”

Hey, Hillary? What about other minorities? Blacks in the 1950s and 1960s were of the opinion that they held the same natural and civil rights as other Americans and loudly demonstrated to demand those rights be honored. That surely scared the majority Whites at the time, so should Blacks have not been allowed to hold those opinions? I’m curious for your thoughts on the matter.

File this away for 2016, folks, should Lady Macbeth decide to run: it is the opinion of a leading candidate for President of the United States, who swears an oath to uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution –including the Bill of Rights– that you are only allowed to express your own opinions as long as most people are comfortable with them.

Comforting, isn’t it?

h/t Bryan Preston

PS: Hillary is no outlier for her party: just the other day, President Obama was praising Australia’s draconian gun confiscation law. The simple truth is that the Left approves of the Constitution only when it is convenient to them.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Sharia state of Pennsylvania

February 24, 2012

This is absolutely disgraceful:

A state judge in Pennsylvania has dismissed an assault and harrassment case against a Muslim defendant who admitted attacking the victim. Magistrate Judge Mark Martin, a veteran of the war in Iraq and a convert to Islam, ruled that Talag Elbayomy’s sharia defense — what he claimed was his obligation to strike out against any insult against the prophet Mohammed — trumped the First Amendment free speech rights of the victim.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Read the rest of McCarthy’s post,which includes a link to video of the judge’s stupid remarks. PJM’s Bryan Preston has quotes from the judge’s dressing down of the victim, which includes this beaut:

“Having had the benefit of having spent over 2 and a half years in predominantly Muslim countries I think I know a little bit about the faith of Islam. In fact I have a copy of the Koran here and I challenge you sir to show me where it says in the Koran that Mohammad arose and walked among the dead. I think you misinterpreted things. Before you start mocking someone else’s religion you may want to find out a little bit more about it it makes you look like a dufus and Mr. (Defendant) is correct. In many Arabic speaking countries something like this is definitely against the law there. In their society in fact it can be punishable by death and it frequently is in their society.

Wait, let me get this straight: Is Judge Martin saying that, since it was okay for the Muslim to assault the victim, which is clearly against our law, it would have been okay in the judge’s view for the Muslim to kill him? After all, the guy insulted Muhammad and hurt the Muslim defendant’s feelings. Sharia says kill the guy, so why not go all the way? (1)

Newsflash for Judge Martin: they’re called “unalienable rights” because they are inherent from birth in all men, “endowed by their Creator.” They are universal, even if Islamic countries are too benighted to realize it.

And then there’s this little thing called the First Amendment:

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.

…which has been incorporated into state law for centuries.

I don’t care if this guy dressed up as “Muhammad the transvestite” and shouted at the top of his lungs that Islam’s “prophet” committed lewd acts with the dead. (2) It is immaterial that the Muslim defendant’s feelings were hurt; the victim had the right to act like a jerk, and the defendant had no right to assault him.

The only way “free speech” matters is if we protect speech even when we or others find it offensive. Whether it offends religion, country, or your favorite TV program, it doesn’t matter. As long as it does not directly and deliberately incite violence, it is protected speech.

And it is appalling that an American judge, one who both as a judge and as a soldier swore oaths to protect and defend the Constitution and those very same unalienable rights, should trample on the right to free speech in a fit of cultural relativism.

I’m not sure what the law is in Pennsylvania is for removing a judge, but somebody needs to start working on this jackass’ case right now.

Footnotes:
(1) In fact, in the biographies of Muhammad and canonical hadiths (his sayings and deeds), we know for a fact he had people assassinated for criticizing him.
(2) Which he may well have.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Justice Ginsburg: “Don’t use the US Constitution as a model”

February 4, 2012

Old and outdated?

Pardon me, but …ahem… WTF??

Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on which she sits to rule on constitutional matters, gave an interview to Al Hayat TV on the revolutions overtaking the Arab world and the prospects for democracy. (Video here.) She starts off fine:

Let me say first that a constitution, as important as it is, will mean nothing unless the people are yearning for liberty and freedom. If the people don’t care, then the best constitution in the world won’t make any difference. So the spirit of liberty has to be in the population, and then the constitution – first, it should safeguard basic fundamental human rights, like our First Amendment, the right to speak freely, and to publish freely, without the government as a censor.

Can’t argue one bit with any of that. If there’s one thing fundamental to genuine democratic rule (and one reason why Sharia-based societies can never be truly democratic), it’s the guarantee of freedom of speech.

But then she runs off the rails and into WTF-land:

You should certainly be aided by all the constitution-writing that has gone one since the end of World War II. I would not look to the US constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, had an independent judiciary… It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done. Much more recent than the US constitution – Canada has a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It dates from 1982. You would almost certainly look at the European Convention on Human Rights. Yes, why not take advantage of what there is elsewhere in the world?

“But, for God’s sake, don’t use only the most successful governing document in Earth’s history. It’s so… old!”

I wonder if she and Ezra Klein are related?

Now, to be fair, there is a “this wasn’t a stupid thing for a SCOTUS Justice to say at all” argument. It runs something like this:

The Constitution of the United States arose under conditions unique to the time and place in which it was written, and to the people who wrote it. The traditions of British Common Law and Whiggery with its limitations on the power of government and protection for the  rights of the individual; the Classical examples of Greek democracy and the Roman Republic, which the Founders knew by heart; the Judeo-Christian traditions that separated government from God; and the Enlightenment, which applied reason to government. Thus all Justice Ginsburg is saying is that this mix was unique to 18th century America, and that the new Arab governments should look to examples reflecting more current conditions.

But I don’t buy it.

When she refers to a “charter of rights,” I have to wonder if she’s ever heard of this little thing called the Bill of Rights. It secures the political rights of the people (free speech, free assembly, the right to a jury trial and habeas corpus) and their rights to their own property. (1) Beyond that, it leaves the people to take care of themselves as free citizens.

In that lies the problem, I suspect, for Justice Ginsburg: the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are negative charters. They grant limited powers to the general government and largely circumscribe what it may do, restricting it to those things necessary to the general welfare.

All else is left to the people and the states.

And I suspect that bugs the heck out of progressive liberals, such as Justice Ginsburg. They want government to do more for the people, because the world is too complex and just too difficult for people to take care of themselves:

This isn’t a new phenomenon by any means. It’s old, going back to the roots of American progressivism in the 19th century, what we now call, incorrectly, “liberalism.” It’s fundamental thesis is that the modern world is too complex for a governing system designed in the 18th century for a rural, isolated republic; that legislatures were too fractious and trapped by partisan interest to do what was best; and that these complexities were best handed off to boards of experts and technocrats who could make the correct decisions with scientific dispassion — Orszag’s “depoliticized commissions.” Woodrow Wilson crystallized this contempt for democratic governance when, before becoming president, he argued in essence that the Constitution was obsolete. (See also Goldberg’s excellent “Liberal Fascism.”)

Politically, it’s represented in modern times by FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights” and its modern promoter, Cass Sunstein, as well as the idea of the “Living Constitution” — a document that “evolves” with changing times and needs. Justice Ginsburg would be its judicial exemplar.

Take a look at a portion of one of the documents she praises, the South African Bill of Rights. It speaks not only of political and property rights, but health care, housing, the environment, and linguistic and community rights. That is, welfare state-style economic and social rights, far beyond what we understand as “unalienable rights.” I suspect that she would love to see the courts in the US step in to provide those economic and social rights when the legislatures fail to do so, acting themselves as a sort-of legislature.

But, to get back to Justice Ginsburg’s assertion that the US Constitution is not a good model for new Arab governments, I’d say quite the opposite. The danger in societies under Sharia is repression and the loss of individual rights, especially if one is a woman or a non-Muslim — or both. Sharia is totalitarian, governing every aspect of daily life, and its adherents are a threat to the liberties of others wherever they gain control of government.

And even if not Sharia-based, Arab governments have shown themselves far too willing interfere in their economies in the name of “fairness” (and to keep control for themselves), with results that have ranged from mediocrity to outright wreckage.

Hence what is needed and what new Arab governments should look to, if they want to guarantee liberty and prosperity, are precisely those governing philosophies and documents that limit the power and reach of government.

Gee, something like the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. (2)

It’s a shame that a Justice of the United States Supreme Court doesn’t understand that.

via David Freddoso, Phillip A. Klein, and Weasel Zippers

RELATED: Justice Ginsburg, eugenicist?

LINKS: More at The American Spectator and Hot Air.

Footnotes:
(1) Yeah, I know these have been eroded to one degree or another, here, especially after Kelo. Bear with me.
(2) No slight meant to South African or Canadian readers, though Canada is a bit dodgy from a US point-of-view on free speech.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


No, my blog is not “going dark” today

January 18, 2012

Quite a few sites, including the perennially smug Wikipedia, are “going dark” in protest of the proposed SOPA and PIPA acts (background here).  I won’t, because of my distaste for the sanctimonious political theater the Left is so fond of. (1) (And even if some Right-sites are joining in.)

However, this issue is one of those rare ones that brings both Right and Left together: both bills are badly drawn and grant far too much authority to the federal government to block web sites suspected of piracy. While I have little to no sympathy for copyright pirates, one does not fight it by giving the government power to shut anyone down at any time on just a complaint, with no due process. There is a real threat to free speech in these bills, and they must be defeated.

So, while I won’t be draping this site in black, today, I do urge you to contact your senator to urge the withdrawal or defeat of PIPA. (SOPA is, for now, dead.) Senator Marco Rubio, who had distressingly co-sponsored PIPA, has realized his mistake and withdrawn his support.

Here’s a list of remaining cosponsors. If your senator is on the list, contact him or her to make your opposition known. (2) And if Republicans vote for these bills, regardless of who they are, primary them.

Footnotes:
(1) They like to do strange things such as protesting threats to free speech by doing passive-aggressive stuff such as… suppressing their own free speech. As a friend notes, “Seems a bit like giving up your guns to protest a gun ban.” Must be a quirky “moral authority” thing.
(2) Yeah, I know. I’ve got Boxer and Feinstein. A forlorn hope, but letters sent, nonetheless.

UPDATE: From Moe Lane, a list of Republican senators who’ve changed their minds about protecting free speech.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


“What a Brownback!”

November 29, 2011

There’s an old saying about public figures attacking newspapers who say things they don’t like: “Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.”

Well, it seems we need to update that for the 21st century: “Never pick a fight with a teenager who has a Twitter account.”

It’s a lesson Governor Sam Brownback (R-KS) learned the hard way:

It’s not every day someone turns your name into a noun. But welcome to the big leagues, Kansas Gov. (and former Sen.) Sam Brownback, and all because you trained the state’s resources on an 18-year-old senior at Shawnee Mission East High School who tweeted something mean about you.

Recall the ancient history of last week, when Emma Sullivan boasted on Twitter that she said a “mean comment” to the governor during a Youth in Government event in Topeka where Brownback was speaking. She ended the tweet with the hashtag “heblowsalot.” Team Brownback declared war on the teen and told on her to Shawnee Mission East High School principal Karl Krawitz. Krawitz called Sullivan into the office and demanded she apologize. She refused. Brownback apologized Monday.

Now Brownback faces the wrath of the Twitterverse, including this tweet from @MildlyRelevant: “Gov. Brownback’s office tattled on a high school girl who tweeted ‘#heblowsalot.’ I’m tattling on them for being a colossal Brownback.” There you have it: a proper noun.

Was Emma Sullivan a mouthy jerk? Sure. Just as I’m sure you’re all shocked someone in high school would do something like that. In fact, that a teenager would say something stupid and immature when showing off for friends (and followers) is so unusual and outrageous that it left a state governor and former US senator no choice but to crush her like an insolent bug:

Mr Brownback’s office contacted the school and complained about the tweet.

The following day Emma wound up in the principal’s office, NBC Action News reports.

She said: ‘He laid into me about how this was unacceptable and an embarrassment.

‘He said I had created this huge controversy and everyone was up in arms about it … and now he had to do damage control.’

She said she was told to write a formal apology to the governor, which so far she hasn’t done.

Emma said: ‘I don’t agree with a majority of the things that he is trying to pass.

‘I believe that it is my right to state my opinion.’

The school’s principal said: ‘This is not about political views since none were given in the tweet – it’s about being respectful with a public official whether we agree or disagree with their viewpoints.’

Yeah, right. I imagine what this was really about was the phone call the principal got from Topeka and vague hints of future “career advancement difficulties” if he didn’t force Miss Sullivan to GROVEL BEFORE THE ALMIGHTY GOVERNOR!!

I doubt the principal was all that concerned about the principle.

Not that I’m defending Sullivan’s behavior; she was a smart-alecky, immature jerk of a not-uncommon variety, and maybe her parents should have had a word with her about “respectful disagreement.” But she’s a jerk who also happens to have a right to free political speech, even if said speech is expressed in a manner more befitting an 8-year old, not an 18-year old legal adult with the right to vote.

But if Emma Sullivan was a jerk, then Governor Sam Brownback was a jackass who tried to punish someone for exercising their right to free speech (a right he swore to protect as senator and which is guaranteed under the Kansas constitution) and in the process punched so far under his class that, like President Obama attacking a radio host, he made himself look like a fool.

Or, to use the new buzzword, a “Brownback.”

The real lesson here, I think, is the illustration of the arrogance career politicians of all parties are prone to, where they think they’re protected by some form of law against lese majeste. Far from it; if you’re a politician in a democracy, you have to live with the reality that some people are going to say mean things about you.

And if Governor Brownback can’t handle that and keeps acting like a Brownback, then perhaps the voters of Kansas should give him a lesson in democratic humility at the next election.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Freedom of speech beaten and left bleeding in Australia?

November 18, 2011

This is the kind of authoritarian garbage I would expect from real dictatorships, such as Venezuela or Russia or… Chicago, but not from one of the stalwarts of the Anglosphere:

THE whitewash begins. Now that the carbon tax has passed through federal parliament, the government’s clean-up brigade is getting into the swing by trying to erase any dissent against the jobs-destroying legislation.

On cue comes the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which this week issued warnings to businesses that they will face whopping fines of up to $1.1m if they blame the carbon tax for price rises.

It says it has been “directed by the Australian government to undertake a compliance and enforcement role in relation to claims made about the impact of a carbon price.”

Businesses are not even allowed to throw special carbon tax sales promotions before the tax arrives on July 1.

“Beat the Carbon Tax – Buy Now” or “Buy now before the carbon tax bites” are sales pitches that are verboten. Or at least, as the ACCC puts it, “you should be very cautious about making these types of claims”.

There will be 23 carbon cops roaming the streets doing snap audits of businesses that “choose to link your price increases to a carbon price”.

Instead, the ACCC suggests you tell customers you’ve raised prices because “the overall cost of running (your) business has increased”.

(Emphasis added)

So a barkeep or beauty salon owner in Australia can be fined one million Australian dollars for speaking the truth? (1)

Seriously?

Once again, we see the statist, totalitarian nature of the Green movement laid bare for all to see in a way that would leave Stalin smiling. Dare to criticize the dogmas of the High Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming and you’ll be fined for more than you’re worth. Question their jihad against the demon CO2 and watch as the Carbon Tax Inquisition smashes your business.

If I understand Australia’s electoral system right, the next federal election is in 2013. Julia Gillard‘s minority Labor government was already unpopular for the economy-choking carbon tax it imposed; after this… “nonsense,” I’d be surprised if she could be elected dog catcher. I’ve never known an Australian who would put up with being pushed around like this and I predict voters will shove back hard come election day.

via Watt’s Up With That?

Footnote:
(1) Australia apparently doesn’t enshrine free speech as a natural, preexisting right as we do. Instead a right to free political speech was found to be implied in the Australian constitution in the case Lange v Australian Broadcasting Corporation, decided by the High Court of Australia in 1997.

PS: Be sure to read the rest of Miranda Devine’s article to see just how Aussies are already suffering from skyrocketing electricity prices, which the new carbon tax will only make worse. That is exactly what Obama, his EPA, and the Green Statists have in mind for us.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Occupy Oakland: never bring uptwinkles to a gunfight

November 4, 2011

I think Oakland has just met its next mayor, who knows how to handle rioters:

“We had people who attempted to break into our building,” the landmark Rotunda Building on Frank Ogawa Plaza outside City Hall, [Oakland developer Phil] Tagami said Thursday. He grabbed a shotgun that he usually keeps at home, went down to the ground floor and “discouraged them,” he said.

“I was standing there and they saw me there, and I lifted it – I didn’t point it – I just held it in my hands,” Tagami said. “And I just racked it, and they ran.

Clint would be proud:

Compare Tagami’s action to the pusillanimous whines of appeasement coming from Oakland’s elected “leaders:”

City Administrator Deanna Santana apologized to business owners for the “chaotic events” that enveloped the city. Mayor Jean Quan called the rioters “a small and isolated group.”

“It shouldn’t mar the overall impact of the demonstration and the fact that people in the 99 percent movement demonstrated peacefully and, for the most part, were productive and very peaceful,” Quan said.

Neville Chamberlain is alive and well in Oakland’s city hall.

Citizen Tagami, however, isn’t buying it:

Tagami disagreed, calling the Occupy Oakland encampment “basically concealment and cover for anarchists who are doing this to our city.”

“We’re very concerned that a group of people can be allowed to do this type of destruction to our town and to our image without any repercussions,” Tagami said. “They need to be held accountable.”

Exactly.

In all seriousness, this is what happens when muddleheaded governments break the social contract and fail to protect the rights of all people equally, as they are supposed to.  The right to have one’s livelihood and possessions secure from violence is as fundamental and natural to liberty under the rule of law as freedom of speech. When government officials such as Mayor Quan vacillate and refuse to do the job for which they were elected, it is left to citizens such as Frank Tagami to defend their rights themselves in a state of nature.

Again, no one is saying the Occupiers don’t have a right to protest — they most certainly do. But our very open, very tolerant society provides wide-open avenues for protest that don’t require the logic of violence that lies at the heart of the Occupy movement.

In contrast, witness the myriad, often huge rallies held by the Tea Party: all done within the law, everyone’s rights respected, and the movement’s point forcefully and effectively made through freedom of speech and association.

And not a broken window in sight.

Meanwhile, it’s time for the mayors of the various “Occupy” cities to do their duty by their residents and taxpayers and put an end to the camps, with their lawlessness and their squalor.

Enough is enough.

PS: Tagami for Mayor in 2014!

LINKS: More from Hot Air.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Wisconsin protesters: putting the “low” into “low class”

June 8, 2011

A group of protesters dressed as zombies showed up today in Madison to protest Governor Scott Walker — at a Special Olympics ceremony:

Dudes… seriously??

via Ann Althouse through Blue Crab Boulevard

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sensitivity 101: how to react during an Islamic massacre

April 22, 2011

Andrew Klavan brings us another in his series of public-service educational videos, this time to let us know how we should behave when Muslims go nuts over a perceived slight and kill a bunch of people — how do we stop it and keep it from happening again?

The answer is simple, my friends: we give up our principles. Enjoy the lesson.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


That “wretched buffoon” Lindsey Graham

April 5, 2011

Mark Steyn rips into Senator Lindsey “Free Speech unless someone gets upset” Graham:

Andrew, ever since I ran into a spot of bother in Canada, I’ve found myself giving speeches in defense of freedom of expression in Toronto, London, Copenhagen, etc. I did not think it would be necessary quite so soon to take the same stand in the land of the First Amendment against craven squishes of the political class willing to trade core liberties for a quiet life. I have no expectations of Harry Reid or the New York Times, but I have nothing but total contempt for the wretched buffoon Graham. A mob of deranged ululating blood-lusting head-hackers slaughter Norwegian female aid-workers and Nepalese guards — and we’re the ones with the problem?

I agree with the Instaprof: Lindsey Graham is unfit for office. The good news is there’s no need for the excitable lads of Mazar e-Sharif to chop his head off because he’s already walking around with nothing up there.

It’s Steyn in outrage mode, and you don’t want to miss it.

via Ed Driscoll

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Robot Theater on “getting excited” and self-restraint

April 5, 2011

The Afghan riots and the desire of some to suppress free speech lest Muslims lose control again became the subject of a “robot video.” It’s enjoyable, albeit on a grim subject:

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Free speech is fine, unless it might offend

January 16, 2011

Now a music-industry censor is telling radio stations to retroactively edit songs to avoid offending anyone, eh?

Canadian radio station have been warned to censor the 1985 Dire Straits hit “Money for Nothing,” after a complaint that the lyrics of the Grammy Award-winning song were derogatory to gay men.

A St. John’s, Newfoundland, station should have edited the song to remove the word “faggot” because it violates Canada’s human rights standards, according to ruling this week by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

A unnamed listener to OZ FM in the Atlantic Coast province complained to the industry watchdog last year after hearing the song, which features Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler and fellow rock star Sting.

The council said it realized Dire Straits uses the word sarcastically, and its use might have been acceptable in 1985 when the best-selling “Brothers in Arms” album was released, but said it was now inappropriate.

“The decision doesn’t really relate to the Dire Straits song at the end of the day, the decision relates to the word in question,” Ron Cohen, the council’s chairman, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Actually, Mr. Cohen, it relates to the unalienable right to free speech and treating people like adults who can handle hearing a mildly naughty word without having their self-esteem crushed, particularly when meant satirically. (And even if it were meant as a genuine insult.) Tell me, where does it stop? Re-editing TV reruns? Forbidding the performance of Mozart’s Idomeneo? Censoring poetry readings on the air? If it may give offense, shall we then ban The View? (Okay, you might have an argument with that one.)

Really, this kind of paternalism has no place in a liberal democracy, whether done by the government or a non-governmental agency, and Canadians should give the nannies at the CBSC an uncensored piece of their mind.

RELATED: Other posts on Canada and free speech.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Guardian goes “full Orwell”

January 14, 2011

I realize the UK’s Guardian is pretty far down toward the Left end of the scale, but does Commissar Simon Jenkins realize just how… dumb this headline and summary sounds?

Free speech can’t exist unchained. US politics needs the tonic of order

If America is to speak in a way that heals, as Obama wishes, it needs the curbs and regulations that make freedom of expression real

Didn’t guys named “Benito” and “Adolph” say much the same thing in the last century?

Really, read the whole thing. Not only does this condescending tool push the “evil Right-wing rhetoric drove a deranged man over the edge” meme (A deranged man, who, according to friends, paid no attention to politics and never even watched TV. What did Palin use, Simon? Mind-control rays?), but then he tells this leftist Alice-in-Wonderland version of the opposition to ObamaCare, in which Americans against socialized medicine are ignorant, racist homophobes. Therefore, of course, we need “reasonable regulation” (including the Fairness Doctrine, with terms set by wise men such as Jenkins) of free speech in order to save free speech, because we can’t handle free speech.

And black is white.

And down is up.

And all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Just amazing.

RELATED: Maybe Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-Statist) should get his own column with The Guardian. He’d fit right in.

UPDATE: Thanks for the link, Ed!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Even violent rhetoric is still free speech

January 9, 2011

Jack Shafer has a great rebuttal in Slate to assertions by the Left that violent rhetoric and imagery are to blame for the mass-murder in Tucson, yesterday. His point is that our political speech is often over-the-top, but only the shooter is to blame for what he did — In Defense of Inflamed Rhetoric:

For as long as I’ve been alive, crosshairs and bull’s-eyes have been an accepted part of the graphical lexicon when it comes to political debates. Such “inflammatory” words as targeting, attacking, destroying, blasting, crushing, burying, knee-capping, and others have similarly guided political thought and action. Not once have the use of these images or words tempted me or anybody else I know to kill. I’ve listened to, read—and even written!—vicious attacks on government without reaching for my gun. I’ve even gotten angry, for goodness’ sake, without coming close to assassinating a politician or a judge.

From what I can tell, I’m not an outlier. Only the tiniest handful of people—most of whom are already behind bars, in psychiatric institutions, or on psycho-meds—can be driven to kill by political whispers or shouts. Asking us to forever hold our tongues lest we awake their deeper demons infantilizes and neuters us and makes politicians no safer.

Be sure to read the whole thing. Violent, even hysterical rhetoric has been part of our political discourse since the earliest days of the Republic. Thomas Jefferson himself once wrote:

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

So, did Jefferson have blood on his hands when John Wilkes Booth murdered President Lincoln and shouted “Sic semper tyrannis?”

No, of course not. Again, the only person responsible for the outrage in Tucson is the shooter himself and anyone who may have helped him. Not Sarah Palin, not the Tea Party, not the Republicans, and by no means their rhetoric.

Not that this will stop many on the Left from exploiting this tragedy in a attempt to suppress free speech.

AFTERTHOUGHT: And where were all these clucking scolds when George W. Bush assassination fantasies were all the rage? Or Bush as a vampire sucking the blood of liberty? Or Sarah Palin, herself? Dollars to donuts they saw no problem at all.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Jihad terror plot busted in Denmark

December 29, 2010

I’m surprised Jyllands-Posten doesn’t put armed guards in front of their offices to protect their people, since brave, brave jihadis are still trying to kill them for publishing satirical cartoons five years ago:

Five men planning to shoot as many people as possible in a building housing the newsroom of a paper that published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad were arrested Wednesday in an operation that halted an imminent attack, intelligence officials said.

Denmark’s intelligence service said it arrested four men in two raids in suburbs of the capital, Copenhagen, and seized an automatic weapon, a silencer and ammunition. Swedish police said they arrested a 37-year-old Swedish citizen of Tunisian origin living in Stockholm.

“An imminent terror attack has been foiled,” said Jakob Scharf, head of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, or PET. He described some the suspects as “militant Islamists with relations to international terror networks” and said that more arrests were possible.

PET said it seized a 44-year-old Tunisian, a 29-year-old Lebanese-born man and a 30-year-old who were living in Sweden and had entered Denmark late Tuesday or early Wednesday. The fourth person detained was a 26-year-old Iraqi asylum-seeker living in Copenhagen.

And let’s not forget that some of the cartoonists who drew these “blasphemous” doodlings are still in hiding, in fear for their lives.

Freedom of speech? Forget it. Tolerance of other opinions, even ones you don’t like? Bah! What matters is the promise of rewards in the afterlife for killing the enemies of Allah, as in Qur’an 9:111 :

Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.

NOTE: The image at the top is one of the Dread Cartoons of Blasphemy. Visit Zombietime for the full archive.


Free speech has no meaning in Europe

December 12, 2010

In Denmark, a member of parliament was convicted of violating Section 266.b of the Danish penal code for saying that honor killings and sexual abuse take place within Muslim families in Denmark. Truth was not a defense, nor was he allowed to present any defense, for all the law requires is that someone be offended:

On December 3, 2010 the municipal court in Randers, Denmark found the Danish Member of Parliament Jesper Langballe (Danish People’s Party) guilty of hate speech under Article 266b of the Danish penal code. In accordance with Danish legal precedent he was denied the opportunity to prove his allegation that honour killings and sexual abuse take place in Muslim families. Under Danish jurisprudence it is immaterial whether a statement is true or untrue. All that is needed for a conviction is that somebody feels offended. “With this article in the penal code,” commented Mr. Langballe, “I must be assumed convicted in advance. I have no intention of participateing in this circus. Therefore I confess.”

Mr. Langballe was sentenced to a fine of DKK 5,000 (approximately $1000) or ten days in jail. Here is a translation of Jesper Langballe’s full confession in court.

Americans zealously guard the right to free speech as an essential part of democratic government and a protection against tyranny. And it is precisely speech that offends that needs protection, for placid agreement and pleasant nothings are no threat to any would-be tyrant or dunderheaded politician.

But, in Denmark, fear of offending Muslims is enough to get one punished into silence.

As they might say in Denmark: “Ytringsfrihed? Hvad er det?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sarah Palin vs. the Tyrant Murkowski

October 30, 2010

Last I recall, a Senator of the United States, even one who got her seat as a gift from Daddy, swears the following oath:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

And that support and defense includes supporting and defending the amendments to said Constitution, including the 1st Amendment, which reads:

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.

(Emphases added)

So, when a sitting senator, through her underlings, uses the threat of a federal investigation to drive a critical radio host off the air*, is she not violating that oath six ways from Sunday, in spirit if not in letter?

Sarah Palin thinks so, and it’s made her mad:

Yesterday, Lisa Murkowski’s hired guns threatened radio host Dan Fagan, and more importantly, the station that airs Fagan’s show, with legal action for allegedly illegal “electioneering.” The station, unlike Murkowski, who is flush with millions of dollars from vested corporate interests, does not have a budget for a legal defense. So it did what any small market station would do when threatened by Beltway lawyers charging $500 to $1000 an hour – they pulled Dan Fagan off the air.

Does all this sound heavy handed? It is. It is an interference with Dan Fagan’s constitutional right to free speech. It is also a shocking indictment against Lisa Murkowski. How low will she go to hold onto power? First, she gets the Division of Elections to change its write-in process – a process that Judge Pfiffner correctly determined had been in place without change for 50 years. She is accepting financial support from federal contractors, an act that is highly questionable and now pending before the FEC. And today, she played her last card. She made it clear that if you disagree with her and encourage others to exercise their civic rights, she’ll take you off the air.

The concept of “electioneering” involves several issues, but typically refers to campaigning at the polls, which is appropriately banned. Under federal law, it can also mean paying for advertising on broadcast media during a federal election cycle, and it requires disclosures if done by groups and corporations. Fagan used satire to mock Murkowski’s write-in efforts and encouraged Alaskans to run as write-in candidates. That is not illegal. That is free speech.

(Emphasis added)

With her attitude toward opponents’ free speech, I’m sure Princess Lisa would fit right in with the Obama administration.

Go, ‘Cuda.

*(Yeah, I know the guy who made the complaint is “just” a Murkowski volunteer and the campaign denies any connection. If you believe that, perhaps you’d like to buy this lovely bridge, too.)

LINKS: Ed Morrissey connects this to the debate over the possible return of the Fairness Doctrine.


Jihadist Muslims force US cartoonist into hiding

September 16, 2010

Fatwa this!

The Religion of Tolerance again shows that “irony” has real meaning: Because of threats against her life by Muslims outraged* over her suggestion that everyone draw cartoons of Muhammad to show support for freedom of speech, Seattle political cartoonist Molly Norris has been forced to abandon her identity and go into hiding:

You may have noticed that Molly Norris‘ comic is not in the paper this week. That’s because there is no more Molly.

The gifted artist is alive and well, thankfully. But on the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, she is, as they put it, “going ghost”: moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity. She will no longer be publishing cartoons in our paper or in City Arts magazine, where she has been a regular contributor. She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program—except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab. It’s all because of the appalling fatwa issued against her this summer, following her infamous “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” cartoon.

We’re told again and again that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance, yet, again and again, people are forced to go into hiding or get police protection because they have dared to criticize Islam and have been threatened by Muslims: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Geert Wilders, Lars Vilks, Salman Rushdie, and a bunch of Danish cartoonists, among others, all now run a real risk of being killed and have to live a life on the run. And they’re not just being paranoic “Islamophobes:” the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was gunned down by a Muslim and was stabbed and had his throat slit while begging for his life. All for exercising the liberty of free speech that is our inalienable, natural right.

Apologists will again try to tell us that what happened to Norris was just the work of a tiny minority of extremists who don’t represent the real Islam. (And is that true for Hirsi Ali, Vilks, van Gogh, and all the others, too?) Forget it. The Qur’an tells us that Muhammad is a perfect example for all mankind: his actions define what is moral. Thus the killing of those who criticize Islam carries the imprimatur of Muhammad, himself. While there are many, many Muslims who are rightfully horrified and embarrassed by moments like this, it is without doubt that those Muslims who threaten and act against critics of Islam are just following the path of Islam’s prophet.

I truly hope Ms. Norris, whatever she is calling herself now, has a concealed carry permit, a weapon, and knows how to use it, because it’s all too likely she will have to.

*(What else is new?)

LINKS: More from Sister Toldjah, who asks “How would the media react if Christians had made this threat?” Good question. Also Big Peace and at The Sundries Shack.


Gangster government in action

September 13, 2010

I wrote last week about HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ threat to put companies that criticize ObamaCare out of business by denying them access to the state-controlled health-insurance markets that begin in 2014. That same day, Michael Barone, who I believe coined the words “thugocracy” and “gangster government” to describe the Obama Administration, weighs in:

“Congress shall make no law,” reads the First Amendment, “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

Sebelius’ approach is different: “zero tolerance” for dissent.

The threat to use government regulation to destroy or harm someone’s business because they disagree with government officials is thuggery. Like the Obama administration’s transfer of money from Chrysler bondholders to its political allies in the United Auto Workers, it is a form of gangster government.

“The rule of law, or the rule of men (women)?” economist Tyler Cowen asks on his marginalrevolution.com blog. As he notes, “Nowhere is it stated that these rate hikes are against the law (even if you think they should be), nor can this ‘misinformation’ be against the law.”

According to Politico, not a single Democratic candidate for Congress has run an ad since last April that makes any positive reference to Obamacare. The First Amendment gives candidates the right to talk — or not talk — about any issue they want.

But that is not enough for Sebelius and the Obama administration. They want to stamp out negative speech about Obamacare. “Zero tolerance” means they are ready to use the powers of government to threaten economic harm on those who dissent.

I’ve noted before that Barack Obama seems to have a problem with freedom of speech. Apparently Secretary Sebelius has that problem, too.

EDIT: I shortened the quote to remove some redundant information.


The Thugocracy in action, health-care division – UPDATED!

September 10, 2010

So, the whole point of ObamaCare (well, one of the points) is to put private insurance companies out of business and pave the way for single-payer national health care:

And yet, when those same targeted private insurance companies complain about ObamaCare and raise rates to meet the new costs it imposes, the President’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, gets annoyed and tells them to shut up and take it, or they’ll be put out of business even sooner:

President Barack Obama’s top health official on Thursday warned the insurance industry that the administration won’t tolerate blaming premium hikes on the new health overhaul law.

“There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a letter to the insurance lobby.

“Simply stated, we will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections,” Sebelius said. She warned that bad actors may be excluded from new health insurance markets that will open in 2014 under the law. They’d lose out on a big pool of customers, as many as 30 million people nationwide.

In other words, company executives who dare exercise their First Amendment rights to speak the truth about the harm ObamaCare will do to their firms will… get hurt.

For some strange reason, I’m picturing Frank Nitti, backed by a couple of his goons, in an insurance CEO’s office looking around and saying “Nice company youse got here. Be a shame if something happened to it.”

Must be a coincidence on my part.

LINKS: Ed Morrissey see this as evidence that the entire administration is peevish, not just the President.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

UPDATE: Irony alert – The GAO says Secretary Sebelius herself is misleading Medicare recipients:

The Government Accountability Office says a Medicare mailer sent out by Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, to Medicare recipients on the new health-care law isn’t accurate.

In fact, according to the GAO, the brochure, which cost $18 million in taxpayer dollars to publish and emanated from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, presented a view of the health reform law that is “not universally shared,” that it “overstated the benefits” of health reform,” and that it failed to note the possibility of less generous Medicare benefits and higher costs.

While the GAO cleared the administration of putting together a purely partisan or propagandizing brochure, it was nonetheless critical of its content.

Will this mean she has to put herself out of business?  Confused

(via Gabriel Malor on Twitter)


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