Be ever vigilant regarding the current administration’s assaults on free speech

All of us have been worried that the Obama Administration, working in tandem with a wildly Democratic Congress, wants to clamp down on freedom of speech.  Heck, in true Orwellian fashion, the House of Representatives has already taken myriad terms off the table for fear that they might be used against their Fearless (albeit whiny) Leader.  We also know that Obama’s new “Diversity Chief” at the FCC, Mark Lloyd, is bound and determined to shut down conservative radio.  The Democratic administration’s cry of “racist” when it comes to any opposition to Obama’s policies is also meant to shut down speech by shaming the speakers.  Still, we have a First Amendment and, ‘though it’s getting battered and bloody, it’s hanging in there and protecting us for the time being.

Things are not so good in other places, and I’m not talking about North Korea, Cuba or Venezuela.  We all watched last year as Mark Steyn, Ezra Levant and Kathy Shaidle were attacked by the Canadian government for having the temerity to offend Muslim sensibilities.  In Canada, for goodness sakes!  We tend to think that our country is an awful lot like theirs (only less tidy), but it turns out that there are fundamental differences in the two countries when it comes to a citizen’s relationship to the state, and the control the state has over its citizens.  The same holds true for England.  We look to England as the mother country, the one that gave us ideas about constitutions and freedom and equal rights at the law, etc., but we forget how far we’ve outstripped England when it comes to those principles — an outstripping that finds its source in our unique American Bill of Rights.

Well, today’s British news served to remind me, once again, how very different a country is when it has a constitutionally enshrined right to free speech from one that doesn’t.  In England, two Christian hotel owners are being prosecuted by the government (this is not just a civil suit between citizens) for having “offended” a Muslim woman when they stated the historically and factually accurate truths that Muhammad was a war lord (and proud of it) and that Islamic dress does not serve women well (emphasis mine):

A Christian couple have been charged with a criminal offence after taking part in what they regarded as a reasonable discussion about religion with guests at their hotel.

Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang were arrested after a Muslim woman complained to police that she had been offended by their comments.

They have been charged under public order laws with using ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words’ that were ‘religiously aggravated’.

The couple, whose trial has been set for December, face a fine of up to £5,000 and a criminal record if they are convicted.

Although the facts are disputed, it is thought that during the conversation the couple were challenged over their Christian beliefs.

It is understood that they suggested that Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was a warlord and that traditional Muslim dress for women was a form of bondage.

They deny, however, that their comments were threatening and argue that they had every right to defend and explain their beliefs.

In other words, in England, even to have a fact-based discussion that offends Muslims can turn you into a criminal.  And I do mean fact-based.  The Koran is one proud boast after another regarding Mohammed’s martial prowess.  To the extent the Koran constitutes both a religious source book and the sole historical record about the man, he was indeed a warlord — and, as it happens, a religious leader too.  Further, I don’t know about you (and it’s very un-PC of me to say so), but Ibelieve reasonable minds could consider the burqa a form of bondage:

Muslim women in burqa

It’s becoming clear that, of all the dangerous things coming out of the Obama White House — the criminal ACORN associations, the cozying up to the worst actors in the world while alienating our friends, the attempt to socialize our economy, etc. — the single most dangerous thing may prove to be the one that’s slipping under the radar, and that’s the assault on the crown jewel of our Bill of Rights:  Freedom of Speech.

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  • Mike Devx

    Mohammed was a warlord, it is true. And the burqa is in fact a form of bondage.
    I believe both of these things, and I’ll say them.

    Come arrest me. If this were England, I’d be waiting for the silly (gunless) bobby on my front porch, sipping tea. No… make that plural – bobbies – for I am such a dire threat to world peace.

    If you didn’t think things were dire over there on the ancestral continent, think again. It’s twilight for Western Civilization over there across the pond, and getting darker every day.

  • suek

    I don’t know if I can find it, but somewhere today I saw that someone official (FCC?) is indicating a move towards the “net neutral” action.

    I don’t pretend to understand the “net neutral” thing – but enough have spoken out against it, and those who have having been generally conservative-leaning people that I think it’s a internet freedom bad thing. I’ll see if I can find a link… In the meantime – if anyone can explain the issues to me, I’d certainly appreciate it.

  • suek

    Bingo. Found it on the first go!

    The article reads as if this is actually a good thing. However being the cynic I’m rapidly becoming, I realize that may not be so. So…I’m still open for information input – if anybody has any.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=8617795

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  • Charles Martel

    I’ll stand with you, Mike, and repeat what I know to be the truth: Mohammed was a bloodthirsty, greedy, Jew-hating, pedophilic fraud who created a Bizarro religion from whole cloth.

    Sorry if that offends the Perpetually Offended. They have my permission to be offended as much as they want. They do not have my permission—ever—to stop me from speaking the Qu’ran’s own truth about their “perfect man.”

  • rockdalian

    suek,

    From the Heritage Foundation Regulation watch blog:

    That same danger was raised last year by Adam Thierer, who argued in a Progress and Freedom Foundation paper that net neutrality regulation was in fact “a fairness doctrine for the Internet.” As Adam explained:
    “It’s a brilliant tactic by the Left. Why exert all your energy attempting to reimpose “fairness” mandates on broadcasters alone when you can capture them, and much more, by regulating the entire Internet? After all, in a world of media convergence and abundance, bright lines dividing distinct media sectors or their products have vanished. Everything from TV shows to text messages run on multiple networks, making the old, broadcast-oriented Fairness Doctrine a less effective means of reestablishing a liberal media monopoly. So the liberals got smart and came up with the perfect solution: use net neutrality as a backdoor way to impose the Fairness Doctrine on the entire media marketplace.”

    http://www.heritage.org/Research/regulation/BlogEntry.cfm?PrettyID=7766&Prev=0

    I trust what the Heritage Foundation has to say.

  • Tiresias

    Nah – Mohammad never rose to the heights of being a “lord” of anything.

    He was a homeless desert bandit, pure slob, and someone the peasants regarded as a peasant – and dangerously ill, to boot.

    “Lord?” It is to laugh.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    I don’t think “net neutrality,” **as now proposed**, is analogous to the miscalled “fairness doctrine.”

    Basically, carriers of Internet traffic would sometimes like to discriminate based on source of the packets, for at least two reasons:

    1)Bandwidth…the cost of carrying a high-bandwidth service like video is higher than a low-bandwidth service like text e-mail.

    2)Competition with their own product mix…if you’re a carrier that handles both voice and Internet, you are making a LOT more $$$ per megabit of bandwidth for the voice…so you aren’t thrilled having people like Skype using your resources to sell stuff that undercuts your own high-margin voice business.

    The bandwidth issue can be dealt with by simply charging customers more for increased bandwidth use, and I don’t think there’s anything in the net neutrality proposal that would prohibit that…I think the real issue with the carriers is the second point.

  • suek

    This is a lot like the economic mess – I don’t know enough to really understand what’s going on. It’s really frustrating…

    http://sweetness-light.com/archive/fcc-backs-googlesoros-net-neutrality

  • Mike Devx

    Obama will probably get to control the news cycles, because the MSM still remains powerful. But its foundations continue to weaken daily. More and more people continue to abandon them.

    Obama will accelerate the process. The more he tries to rein in free speech – to better win the message-of-the-day contest – the faster it will occur.

    Today, the Boston Globe (!!!) reported that cash for clunkers is a bust. As was warned by the smart economists, once the program ended, sales would dramatically slump, and by the end of the year, the total picture would be flat – at BEST. All this is coming true; and the taxpayers have footed the bill for the rebates as well, swelling our national debt. Well done, bright boy Obama!

    He will spin and obscure, and the MSM will assist. But those dealership owners will be talking to people. And the workers who work there will be talking to people. And the TRUTH will simmer away in the background, despite our Great Chosen One’s best efforts at deceit.

    And that is just one example. After weeks of saying there would be no public takeover of health care, Obama’s team today announced “The Public Option is Back On!” Ha. We always knew that the liars’ club couldn’t help lying. Proven true once again. Actually, this is a desperate attempt to shore up his weakening base. I hope the muddled middle are watching as Obama prepares to screw them over yet again.

    In the end, the truth will win out. You gotta hope.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    In the end, the truth will win out. You gotta hope.

    No, you don’t hope. You make it happen. When the system doesn’t give you justice, you take it with your own hands. As those who crippled ACORn did.

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