Helping Mark Steyn’s epic battle to defend freedom of speech

mark-steyn-photo-600x345I’ve written before about Mark Steyn’s epic battle and equally epic Answer and Counterclaim in the suit that discredited “Hockey Stick” artiste, Michael Mann filed against him and the National Review.   What I forgot to tell you is that there is a way you can help Mark Steyn, who is not sharing his defense with National Review, pay the costs of this suit.  (Steyn’s currently representing himself, although I do not know whether he parted ways with his lawyer because they had a substantive disagreement or because Steyn could no longer afford him/her.)

Click here to learn about buying a Mark Steyn gift certificate.  You can choose not to redeem the gift certificate, leaving all the money in his hands, or you can redeem it for actual merchandise, which still leaves him with the profit margin.  It’s a good deal all around.

Did Phil Robertson pave the way for a free speech rebellion amongst the most unlikely people?

Phil-Robertson-813x1024As everyone in the world now knows, Phil Robertson said in a magazine interview that he didn’t understand the attraction of gay sex.  Even worse, he added that, while he wouldn’t presume to judge sexual behavior (or, rather, misbehavior), he had no doubt that God will do some judging.  His words created a thought-police firestorm.  Leading the charge was GLAAD, formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

It’s important to understand that GLAAD is not an advocacy group for LGBTQ rights.  Advocacy groups are valued players in a free society.  GLAAD is, instead, a thuggish organization that works by destroying people’s livelihoods if they fall afoul of its party line.  Robert Oscar Lopez describes how GLAAD uses its tactics of blackmail and intimidation against anyone who suggests that there are downsides to the gay lifestyle or to the social and political agenda the gay lobby pushes.  One doesn’t have to agree with Lopez to be shocked at GLAAD’s truly McCarthy-esque tactics.  So again, the problem isn’t what GLAAD stands for; the problem is its bullying.

As part of its mission to purge people guilty of anything it deems a thought-crime, GLAAD monitors American speech for any statements about gay and lesbians. If this speech isn’t unabashed cheer-leading about the LGBTQ lifestyle, GLAAD instantly declares it “hate speech.”  Then, instead of countering this so-called “hate speech” with more speech, GLAAD leads the charge to destroy the speaker.  Up until last year, when GLAAD attacked a high-profile person or institution, its efforts resulted in one response and one response alone:  craven retreat and abject apologies from the speaker.

Phil Robertson, however, refused to play GLAAD’s game, even when his employer, A&E, immediately caved and fired Phil.  Ranking his God higher than GLAAD’s outrage, he didn’t even bother to mumble an apology for the fact that someone had hurt feelings.  Instead, he stood firm and his family backed him up.  It was A&E, rather than Robertson, who was forced to back down.

The Phil Robertson episode marked the first time that anyone in the public eye refused to let a Leftist thought-control organization bully him.  At the time, I wondered whether, by doing so, Robertson would inspire others to take a stand — and perhaps he did.  In first month of 2013, two stars have stood up to Leftist censors.

Liam Payne One DirectionThe first one to do so was Liam Payne, who belongs to the massively successful pop group One Direction.  He sent out a tweet saying “@williebosshog huge love to you/your family huge respect for your business prosperities and the family values you still all behold. big fan”  GLAAD and its media followers (meaning everyone in the MSM) predictably moved in for the kill, essentially telling Payne that his career was at stake for daring to support the homophobic Robertson clan.

Payne launched an aggressive counterattack against the media for trying to police his speech (slight language alert):

As you can see, Payne’s fight with the thought police happened almost two weeks ago. So far as I know, his career continues to thrive.

Sodastream1Just this past week, yet another superstar found herself in the speech police’s cross hairs. This time, the target was Scarlett Johansson, the voluptuous blonde actress who signed on to become a spokeswoman for SodaStream. SodaStream is a very successful Israeli company that has a factory in a West Bank settlement. It employs Palestinians and Israeli’s alike, paying them equal wages, providing good working conditions, and creating an environment within which Jews and Palestinians can see each other as people, not stereotypes. This is an especially good deal for the Palestinian workers, who usually live in heinous economic circumstances, even as their leaders squirrel away in private accounts the billions in foreign aid that the world’s nations send annually to the Palestinians.

Naturally, the Left can’t have that. You see, for all its talk, the Left has no interest in seeing Palestinians have a decent quality of life. Instead, the Left shares with the radical Islamists the goal of seeing Israel — a capitalist liberal democracy — wiped from the face of the earth. The best way to achieve this is to keep Palestinians living in execrable conditions so as to stoke rage against Israelis.

Put another way, keeping the Palestinian masses in the ghetto is a win for everyone except the Israelis and the Palestinians: the Arab leaders in surrounding nations get to have an excuse for the fact that their people are the impoverished residents of tyrannical rulers; the mullahs and imams get to maintain their control by directing credulous Muslims to engage in an endless Holy War against the Jews; and the Left gets to continue its efforts to destroy the sole liberal democracy in a medieval, tyrannical region.

Enter Oxfam. I learned about Oxfam when I was living in England back in the early 1980s. As a student, I had no money, so my friends told me to check out Oxfam for things I needed. I therefore went to an Oxfam shop, prepared to find that it was something like a Goodwill or Salvation Army store. I didn’t make it past the front door, which was liberally decorated with pro-PLO literature. That is, it was supporting, not just the Palestinians, but the terrorist arm of the Palestinians. I never went near an Oxfam’s again.

Scarlett Johansson, however, probably didn’t realize that Oxfam has always supported terrorists. When she agreed to be an Oxfam representative, she was probably responding to its claim that it works to empower poor people around the world:

One person in three in the world lives in poverty. Oxfam is determined to change that world by mobilizing the power of people against poverty.

Around the globe, Oxfam works to find practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive. We save lives and help rebuild livelihoods when crisis strikes. And we campaign so that the voices of the poor influence the local and global decisions that affect them.

We work directly with communities and we seek to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

In all we do, Oxfam works with partner organizations and alongside vulnerable women and men to end the injustices that cause poverty.

Scarlett-Johansson-Smile-01What Scarlett Johansson just discovered, though, is that when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians, Oxfam does not work “to find practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive.” Instead, its anti-Israel, antisemitic ideological bias is so overwhelming, that it works overtime to keep the Palestinians mired deep in poverty, rather than allowing them to achieve economic success through work with an ideologically liberal Israeli corporation.

In the normal course of things — i.e., in the pre-Phil Robertson days — once the speech and thought police got on her case, Johansson should have been expected to break her contract with Israel and go crawling back to Oxfam. She didn’t, though. Instead, she made a public statement disassociating herself from Oxfam:

While I never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance as part of my affiliation with SodaStream, given the amount of noise surrounding that decision, I’d like to clear the air.

I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine. SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma’ale Adumim factory every working day. As part of my efforts as an Ambassador for Oxfam, I have witnessed first-hand that progress is made when communities join together and work alongside one another and feel proud of the outcome of that work in the quality of their product and work environment, in the pay they bring home to their families and in the benefits they equally receive.

I believe in conscious consumerism and transparency and I trust that the consumer will make their own educated choice that is right for them. I stand behind the SodaStream product and am proud of the work that I have accomplished at Oxfam as an Ambassador for over 8 years. Even though it is a side effect of representing SodaStream, I am happy that light is being shed on this issue in hopes that a greater number of voices will contribute to the conversation of a peaceful two state solution in the near future.

Major kudos to Johansson for resisting the coercive pressure from the Left.  It turns out that there’s a beautiful personality behind that beautiful face.

Did Phil Robertson’s refusal to back down to GLAAD have anything to do with Payne’s and Johansson’s willingness to withstand pressure from GLAAD and Oxfam?  I don’t know.  I just know that sixty years ago, it took just one speech to destroy the apparently unlimited power that Sen. Joseph McCarthy had wielded for so many years in the United States Senate:

Liberal tolerance

Man with mouth taped shut1.  British Christians are slowly being banned from advocating traditional Christian views . . . such as the belief that marriage should involve one man and one woman.  The only allowable morality is that which does not align with traditional Judeo-Christian doctrines.

2.  A well-known Hispanic actress was fired from play because she supports a Tea Party candidate.  “‘Of course she has the right to say whatever she wants. But we’re in the middle of the Mission [District in San Francisco]. Doing what she is doing is against what we believe,’ Lopez [wife of far Left S.F. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi] said.”  In other words, Hispanics are not allowed not hold any views inconsistent with the Democrat party platform.

3.  Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York:  “The Republican Party candidates are running against the SAFE Act — it was voted for by moderate Republicans who run the Senate! Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”  Support the Second Amendment?  New York is not the place for you.  Agree with roughly half the country that pregnant women aren’t the ones making a “sacrifice” when they abort a fetus?  Leave New York.  Now!!

That’s just from the past couple of days.  Please feel free to add any I missed.

Mark Steyn on Pajama Boy and the Robertson firing

Phil Robertson and Pajama BoyAs always, Mark Steyn’s whole essay is worth reading, but this quotation below is the part that bears remembering and repeating:

Look, I’m an effete foreigner who likes show tunes. My Broadway book was on a list of “Twelve Books Every Gay Man Should Read.” Andrew Sullivan said my beard was hot. Leonard Bernstein stuck his tongue in my mouth (long story). But I’m not interested in living in a world where we have to tiptoe around on ever thinner eggshells. If it’s a choice between having celebrity chefs who admit to having used the N-word in 1977 (or 1965, or 1948, or whenever the hell it was) and reality-show duck-hunters who quote Corinthians and Alec Baldwin bawling out some worthless paparazzo who’s doorstepping his family with a “homophobic” slur, or having all of them banished from public life and thousands upon millions more too cowed and craven to speak lest the same fate befall them, I’ll take the former any day.

Because the latter culture would be too boring for any self-respecting individual to want to live in, even more bloody boring than the current TV landscape where, aside from occasional eruptions of unerotic twerking by sexless skanks, every other show seems to involve snippy little Pajama Boys sitting around snarking at each other in the antiseptic eunuch pose that now passes for “ironic.” It’s “irony” as the last circle of Dante’s cultural drain; it’s why every show advertised as “edgy” and “transgressive” offers the same pitiful combination of attitude and impotence as a spayed cat humping.

Piers Morgan gets it wrong AGAIN

Piers MorganPiers Morgan makes money in America, but doesn’t understand America.  Following the Duck Dynasty explosion, Morgan tweeted out that the First Amendment “shouldn’t protect vile bigots” like Phil Robertson.

Au contraire, Piers.  Putting aside the fact that this is not a First Amendment kerfuffle (A&E is not the government), Robertson’s speech is precisely the type that gets First Amendment protection.  Popular speech doesn’t need any protection.  To the extent speech needs protection, it’s unpopular speech that is covered under the First Amendment.

There are limitations, insofar as the Supreme Court has given the government leave to act against speech intended to create imminent acts of violence or that are blatant falsehoods against private citizens.  Otherwise, though, in America you’re allowed to say things that other people don’t like or with which they disagree.  Free speech and guns are each citizen’s primary bulwark against despotic government.

Prancer, Dancer, and Vixen

Phil-Robertson-813x1024I linked obliquely to this video yesterday, but as the Phil Robertson matter heats up, I want to include the following Obamacare video here, with its focus on getting gay  men to sign up.  Please be warned that the video is vaguely NSFW.  There’s no bad language, nudity, or sex, but it’s full of partial nudity and gay sexual allusions that may make you and your colleagues uncomfortable.

As Dan Calabrese notes, although the government probably didn’t fund the video, it’s almost certain that taxpayer dollars funded the video indirectly.  The bigger point, however, is this one:

Now before you start disputing the comparison between this and the Phil Robertson situation, let’s get it straight. Yes, this is a video on YouTube and Phil Robertson could do one of those too. I’m talking about the broader stance of the prevailing culture. Robertson cites and embraces scriptural teaching on homosexuality, and he is suspended because A&E is “disappointed” in him for what he said. These guys prance around in a clear and unmistakable celebration of a) gay sex; and b) ObamaCare; and that’s perfectly fine because hey, what are you, some sorta bigot or something?

Please note that neither Calabrese nor I are saying this video shouldn’t have been made.  What he says, and I agree with this, is that in a truly free society, both videos get made, rather than having the one supporting traditional values get axed.

Two more things:

(1) Couldn’t they have gotten a better singer? Her voice is dreadful.

(2) Is it a coincidence in this carefully staged set piece that one of the prancers and dancers is wearing dog tags?

(I didn’t come up with my clever post title.  The friend who emailed me the link did, and it was such a delicious line that I had to borrow it.)

Now I remember why I don’t like the ACLU

Sometimes the ACLU remembers what it’s about and actually defends civil rights.  Most of the time, though, it’s just another hard-core Leftist organization.  Take its reaction to a Marin County Fair edict, for example.

The Marin County Fair in past years has been plagued with gangs from the Canal District, which is the large Hispanic area in San Rafael.  To try to crack down on violence, the Fair announced this year that it would ban gang-style clothing (which, incidentally, some of the “nice” boys in Marin wear too in an effort to look cool).

The ACLU has stepped in, and its theory basically says that cracking down on gang-wear is racist.  That is, it says that, since most gang members are Hispanic, banning their gang paraphernalia isn’t anti-gang, it’s racist:

Marin’s new ordinance cracking down on gang attire at the fair means that “hundreds, and probably thousands” of fairgoers will run the risk of violations, according to a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, adding that as a practical matter Latino youth are the real targets of a code that in effect formalizes racial profiling.

“Given this county’s identified gang population, it is Latino youth who will be taking a risk … not white youth wearing the identical items,” declared Alan L. Schlosser of Mill Valley, legal director of the ACLU of Northern California.

Undersheriff Mike Ridgway begged to differ, saying the county law does not discriminate and was “carefully crafted by attorneys to pass constitutional muster” while providing a more transparent process that includes advance notice of the gang insignia at issue.

BTW, it’s not a hardship for these young men (they’re always young men) to avoid gang wear. It’s just that the ACLU is claiming that it is inherently racist to ban clothes that lead to open warfare if the majority of those wearing them are minorities — never mind that they’re also the same young men who engage in open warfare.  The syllogism is sick:  Gang members wear gang clothes that are triggers for violence; these gang members are a subset of the Hispanic population; therefore it’s racist to ban gang clothes that are triggers for violence.

The Democrats’ attacks on free speech on their approach to the immigration bill demonstrate what good strategists they are.

Democrats are very organized.  I’m not just talking about their ability to whip up a rally at a moment’s notice or to elect a President with the help of a substantial voter fraud and government chicanery.  (I’m referring to the IRS scandal.)  Those were just the visible signs of Democrat organization.  As Mitch McConnell explained in a speech he delivered at the American Enterprise Institute, the Democrat effort to squelch conservative free speech goes back many years and does indeed start with Obama — but not quite in the way you’d expect.

I have to admit that I’m not usually very good at reading the transcripts from long speeches, but this was riveting.  McConnell reminds us that, when Democrats speak or act, there are no coincidences.  They are the well-ordered, always-got-a-plan crowd, while Republicans just muddle through, batting at balls as they come their way.

Whenever I look at the difference between Republicans and Democrats, I’m reminded of the Germans and the British in World War I.  The Germans, either because they realized early that trench warfare would last a long time, or because they were simply more meticulous, built trenches that were things of beauty:  deep, secure, and comfortable (given the limits on long ditches in the ground in the middle of battlefields).  The British, by contrast, simply dug slap dash holes in the ground, and then made do with them for the next several years.  The men had no protection from the elements, and simply wallowed in louse-ridden mud and filth for years.  That the British prevailed was due to the resources of her Empire, the quality of her fighters, and the fact that America came in and finished the war for her.

When it comes to organization versus chaos, it’s no coincidence that the Senate is set to pass another 1,200 page monstrosity that no one has read, this time on immigration.  The Democrats know precisely what’s in it and they do not want anybody to read it.  If the public finds out what Democrats know, they’d be screaming to the rooftops.  As it is, they’re supine as a bill that destroys American sovereignty and remakes her population (without any citizen input) is rushed into law.

My suspicion is that the Senate Dems actually don’t care if the House stops the bill.  In that event, all they have to do is scream that the Republicans are racist immigration enemies.  The fact that the bill is a disaster that no one should pass is irrelevant.  Since no one knows what’s in it, the Dems and their media can simply set the narrative.

In other words, it’s a win-win for Dems:  either they get a bill that turns us into a permanent low-income, welfare economy or they get to call Republicans racists.  And, with all the aplomb of the British in WWI, the Republicans will stand there shell-shocked, unable to figure out what hit them.

If you go below the fold, I’ve included McConnell’s entire speech here.  You’ll see that McConnell is trying to arouse Republicans and conservatives to intelligent efficiency.  Good luck to him!

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Both mandatory unions and mandatory professional organizations are antithetical to Constitutional Free Speech *UPDATED*

California Bar Seal

The State Bar of California, which I have to pay into in order to practice law in the State of California, long-ago abandoned its core responsibility of ensuring that people who hold themselves out as lawyers to California citizens are at least minimally qualified.  As with all these mandatory organizations, it’s turned into a political advocacy group and, again in sync with all these mandatory organizations, it advocates Left. That is, it forces me to pay money if I want to have a livelihood in my chosen profession, and spends that money on heavily politicized issues such as abortion.  (It hews so far Left that, even when I was a Democrat, I was offended by many of the political stands it took with my money.)

The State Bar isn’t the only professional organization that leans Left.  The American Bar Association is heavily political too in a Leftist kind of way. The difference between the ABA and the State Bar, though, is that the form is a voluntary organization. I was therefore able to cancel my membership when I realized that my money was being used to support political causes that were unrelated to law and with which I disagreed.  Sadly, I can’t opt out of the State Bar — not if I want to be a practicing lawyer, that is.

Looked at this way, I have the same lack of rights as union members who don’t live in in right-to-work states. Here’s the deal: if unions and bar associations limited themselves to their original function, which was to ensure that union workers have good conditions or that lawyers have reasonable qualifications, union dues and mandated bar memberships would be less of an issue. Unions and Bar associations, however, have drifted far afield from these core responsibilities.  They’ve branched out since the 1970s or so to become political action groups taking far Left stands on just about everything.

When states mandate that workers must join unions or that professionals must join professional associations, the state is effectively coercing citizens into funding speech with which they may disagree. Looked at this way, mandatory participation in activist unions and professional associations is a profound perversion of the First Amendment right to free speech. Free speech doesn’t just include the right to speak freely, it also includes the right to refrain from participating in speech with which one doesn’t agree.

All of this popped into my mind when I received an email from the president of the State Bar of California (emphasis mine):

Begging

By now, you should have already received your State Bar of California fee statement. Statements were sent out on Nov. 30, and many of you may be taking steps now to send your payments before the Feb. 1, 2013 deadline. If you have not yet received your statement, it may be helpful to know that you can sign in to My State Bar Profile to calculate and pay your 2013 fees.

As the president of the State Bar, I would like to take this moment to enlist your help with an important opportunity that you have through your annual dues.

As attorneys, other people’s problems challenge us to do our very best. We straighten out transactions gone awry. We resolve property and commercial disputes. We counsel our clients through criminal proceedings and personal difficulties and help with innumerable other problems that ordinary people have every day.

But there is a new challenge. Sadly, our economy has experienced an almost unprecedented downturn with interest rates at historic lows. It is the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account (IOLTA)* revenue that pays for civil legal assistance for indigent people statewide; and it is barely a quarter of what it was in 2008. There is no cushion left as we struggle to close the justice gap – the gap between the legal needs of the poor and the legal help we can provide for them. This is an unprecedented crisis for those we are charged with protecting.

But there is a powerful step each of us can take in seeking a solution to the justice gap. Your tax-deductible donation to the Justice Gap Fund (a component of the statewide Campaign for Justice) will expand access to justice for the millions of Californians with nowhere else to turn. The Justice Gap Fund is the only statewide vehicle to restore critical funding to nearly 100 legal nonprofits that serve our biggest cities as well as the most isolated rural communities.

A gift made at line 10 of your annual dues statement, or online anytime at www.CAforJustice.org, will make a real difference.

Please join me in the Campaign for Justice. Make a life-changing gift to the Justice Gap Fund – it will make a real difference to those who most need our help.

I have to say that my heart strings remain un-tugged.  The Leftist policies of coercive organizations such as the California Bar Association helped lead to a long, deep economic collapse and painfully drawn-out recession.  The Bar, with its speech amplified by coerced dues, managed to out-shout someone like me, who would have had more money if the Bar hadn’t taken it away.  If I could have been left to my own political speech, I might then have been more amenable to contributing to a fund that helps poor people entangled in the political system.  Because the fund is owned and managed by the same group of people who contributed to this mess, however, I’ll hang onto my money until I find more worthy charities.

UPDATE:  You have to check out Michael Ramirez’s perfect editorial cartoon, because it distills to a single picture the whole free speech (or non-free speech) argument I made above.

“Rid the world of those savages!”

Froggy, who blogs at BlackFive, attended the funeral of Ty Woods, one of the former Navy SEALS who died trying to defend the consulate in Benghazi that State Department policy left completely exposed.  Dorothy Woods, Ty’s widow, had the emotional strength to deliver a powerful eulogy for her husband.  Froggy was especially struck by two things that she said:

“It is easy to write a book about being a Navy SEAL, but it is very hard to write an obituary for one.”

“To all the Operators here today I give you this charge: Rid the world of those savages.  I’ll say it again, RID THE WORLD OF THOSE SAVAGES!”

I won’t comment directly on what Dorothy Woods said, because I think it needs no comment. I will, however, pair it with a discussion of Pamela Gellar’s important Free Speech victory against the New York Transit Authority.  It all started when Pamela Geller, who blogs at Atlas Shrugs, wanted to put up an add in the subway system:

Please study the ad carefully to confirm to your own satisfaction that says nothing about Islam or about Muslims generally.  Instead, it asks that American citizens “defeat jihad,” which the paragraph above describes as the side of “the savage” in a way.  Jihad is not a religion, it is not a race, and it is not a religious practitioner.  It is a doctrine:  it is a Holy War intended to kill or subjugate those whom the jihadists deem are “infidels.”  It is about conquest, rapine, death, and slavery.

In the face of protests from Muslim groups (including CAIR), the subway system backed down on the ground that the ad was “demeaning.”  PowerLine asks the right question:  Demeaning to whom?

“Demeaning”? Again, demeaning toward whom? Jihadists. Are jihadists now some kind of protected class?

They are to those Muslims who understand that jihadists (coincidentally, I’m sure) all happen to profess the same faith.  And one of their numbers was upset because, you know, even though his is a religion of peace, if you upset the jihadists, their co-religionists might have to get violent:

Abdul Yasar, a New York subway rider who considers himself an observant Muslim, said Geller’s ad was insensitive in an unsettling climate for Muslims.

“If you don’t want to see what happened in Libya and Egypt after the video — maybe not so strong here in America — you shouldn’t put this up,” Yasar said.

So, the ad doesn’t mention Muslims, but Muslims understand it to mean that they are savages, which they assure us they are not.  Still if you don’t take down the ad, they will be forced into savagery — and it’s all your fault, you infidel!.  Oooh, I’m so confused.

Let me give PowerLine the last word (and PowerLine, in turn, is quoting from the New York Post):

But aren’t they [the words] offensive only to jihadists, which is to say, mass murderers and their supporters? If you advocate mass murder, shouldn’t you expect to be offended? At a minimum?

Opponents say the ads imply that Muslims are savages.

But wait! Aren’t we constantly told that jihadists aren’t really Muslims? That Islam is staunchly opposed to terrorism? So how are all Muslims encompassed within the term “jihad”?

“We recognize the freedom of speech issues and her right to be a bigot and a racist,” said Muneer Awad, the executive director of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. But he said he hopes the MTA and elected officials “take on a leadership role in denouncing hate speech.”

So now jihadists are a race? I am so confused! And does CAIR really think that denouncing jihadists constitutes “hate speech?” If jihadists can’t be denounced, then who can be?

This is the sort of confusion that is, in its own way, clarifying.

Fortunately, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Engelmayer managed to cut through the confusion in order to reach the correct conclusion:  Pamela Gellar’s ad was protected Free Speech.  The transit system must place her ads on its subway trains.

Dorothy Woods knows who the savages are. Pamela Geller knows who the savages are. And you and I know who the savages are. “RID THE WORLD OF THOSE SAVAGES.”

Jonah Goldberg gets to the heart of the matter about Islam and the First Amendment

I wish I’d said it this well:

It’s really quite amazing. In Pakistan, Egypt, and the Palestinian territories, Christians are being harassed, brutalized, and even murdered, often with state support, or at least state indulgence. And let’s not even talk about the warm reception Jews receive in much of the Muslim world.

And yet, it seems you can’t turn on National Public Radio or open a newspaper or a highbrow magazine without finding some oh-so-thoughtful meditation on how anti-Islamic speech should be considered the equivalent of shouting “fire” in a movie theater.

It’s an interesting comparison. First, the prohibition on yelling “fire” in a theater only applies to instances where there is no fire. A person who yells “fire” when there is, in fact, a fire is quite likely a hero. I’m not saying that the people ridiculing Mohammed — be they the makers of the Innocence of Muslims trailer or the editors of a French magazine — have truth on their side. But blasphemy is not a question of scientific fact, merely of opinion. And in America we give a very wide legal berth to the airing of such opinions. Loudly declaring “it is my opinion there is a fire in here” is not analogous to declaring “it is my opinion that Mohammed was a blankety-blank.”

You know why? Because Muslims aren’t fire, they’re people. And fire isn’t a sentient entity, it is a force of nature bereft of choice or cognition of any kind. Just as water seeks its own level, fire burns what it can burn. Muslims have free will. If they choose to riot, that’s not the same thing as igniting a fire.

Have you ever heard of a book called “The Master and Margarita?”

I was doodling about on that Folio Society site I told you about, and I came across a book I’ve never heard of:  The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov.  Here’s the product description:

‘Well, as everyone knows, once witchcraft gets started, there’s no stopping it’

On a hot spring afternoon in Moscow, a poet and an editor are discussing the non-existence of Jesus. A polite, foreign gentleman interrupts their debate, claiming to have known Jesus in person and to have been present when he was condemned by Pontius Pilate. Moreover, he predicts the editor’s death – a bizarre accident which happens exactly as the foreigner foretells. The Devil has arrived in Moscow and, along with his demons and a large black cat, he carves a trail of chaos and destruction through Soviet society. He exposes the hypocrisy and greed of those around him, their willingness to inform on neighbours, their urgent scrabble for power and their fear for themselves. One man seems different: a writer known as ‘the master’ who, in despair, has burned his unpublished novel about Pontius Pilate and has been incarcerated in an asylum. His lover, the passionate, courageous Margarita, will do anything to save him – including serving the Devil himself.

Writing The Master and Margarita in secret between 1928 and 1940, through the period of Stalin’s purges, Bulgakov was already deemed anti-Soviet; his plays were banned, and he had few illusions that anyone would publish this highly satirical work. Like his main character, he destroyed a draft in despair. Yet, as the Devil tells the master, in a phrase which went on to become a watchword of hope: ‘Manuscripts don’t burn’. In 1966-7, more than 25 years after Bulgakov’s death, The Master and Margarita was published with relatively minor cuts. Smuggled past the censors, its subversive message, dark humour and lyrical force combined to make it an instant success and a beacon of optimism and freedom that spread through Russia and the world. Peter Suart’s dramatic illustrations provide a fitting accompaniment to what is one of our members’ most requested titles.

Have you heard of  The Master and Margarita?  It seems like a rather amazing book, along the lines of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s books, which were also smuggled out of the Soviet Union.  Solzhenitsyn’s books were important, because they breached the walls built, not just by the Soviet Union, but also by the Walter Duranty’s of America — apologists who deliberately deceived the American people abut the true horrors of Soviet statism.  Although he is writing satire, Bulgakov also seems to be one of those who was willing to challenge statist orthodoxy, even at great risk to himself.

If this is indeed a Solzhenitsyn-esque book, I think it’s worth reading, not just for its content, but because of what it represents.  I was speaking with a friend today about the abject cowardice that inevitably characterizes people in police states, whether those states are Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Zimbabwe, or the Muslim World.  You’d like to think that you’re brave but, when an act of bravery means that the state will brutally and casually destroy, not only you, but every member of your family and all of your friends (and possibly your acquaintances too), most people, even good people, discover that the cannot be brave.  They’d like to be, and maybe they would be if only their lives were at stake, but few have the courage to sacrifice everyone in their world.  This is especially true in statist situations because the state entirely controls the machinery of communication.  Under those circumstances, sacrifices tend to be in vain.  Each dead person is a tree falling in an empty forest or one hand clapping.

A few years ago, these thoughts about individual courage were purely hypothetical for most Americans.  Things have changed, however.  In the last week, our current government showed that it does not value free speech:

Our media, which ought to be entirely supportive of free speech brutally castigated the only famous American politician (that would be Romney) who was willing to voice approbation of our American right to challenge religious belief.  The LA Times ran an op-ed piece claiming that First Amendment law, which does indeed prohibit the equivalent of shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater, should be applied to insults to Islam.  In other words, because all real or perceived insults to Islam are the equivalent of shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater, insulting Islam, by accident or on purpose, is not protected speech.  Voila!  It’s sharia through the back door.

When free speech ends, it’s the Bulgakovs and Solzhenitsyns of the world that stand between citizens and perpetual servitude to the state.  If I do read The Master and Margarita, I’ll let you know what I think.  And if you have read the book, please let me know what you think.

A brilliant display of grassroots conservative wit

There’s nothing funny about the Obama administration’s decision to trample on the First Amendment in its rush to placate radical Islamists.  Well, almost nothing.  If you give the conservative masses a crack at their still functioning right to free expression, you end up with marvelous examples of political wit.  Here are a few of my favorites, but you really need to check out Zombie’s post, because Zombie trawled through almost a thousand of them to find the best of the best:

Glenn Reynolds explains why Obama should resign

If you read nothing else today, nothing else this week, or even nothing else before the election, you must read Glenn Reynolds as he explains why Obama should resign.  Then, email it to all your friends, tweet it, put it on Facebook, and print flyers to put on people’s windshields.  (Just kidding . . . maybe . . . about that last one.)

Did Obama just deal another blow to Free Speech? *UPDATED*

Obama made a statement today.  Here is the official transcript of what he said (emphasis mine):

I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.

I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.

On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.

The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.

What does that emphasized language mean?  “While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others”?  Doesn’t that sound as if Obama is saying that it’s official U.S. policy to stifle religious criticism?    I know of no such policy.  Obama should have been celebrating free speech and talking about the fact that, no matter how unpleasant it is, it is the essence of freedom. Instead, he says that the United States rejects free speech that speaks negatively of religion.

Keep in mind as you think about Obama’s words that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has been trying for years to push through the U.N. a resolution that would make denigrating a religion a criminal offense.  Just recently, the Obama Administration refused to state categorically that America will never support such an initiative.  And why should it?  Just a little while a, our President, speaking to an international audience, said that the United States rejects denigrating religion.

No.  No.  No.  The whole point of the First Amendment is that the government stays out of controlling religion and that the American people are free to speak about religion and all sorts of other things without fear of their government.

UPDATE:  The above quotation is from the prepared transcript of Obama’s statements.  When he made his actual statement, he expanded upon the prepared text, but kept exactly the same language about speech (emphasis mine):

we’re working with the government of libya to secure our diplomats. i’ve also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world. and make no mistake, we will work with the libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people. since our founding, the united states has been a nation that respects all faiths. we reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, but there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence, none. the world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts. already, many libyans have joined us in doing so, and this attack will not break the bonds between the united states and libya. libyan security personnel fought back against the attackers alongside americans. libyans helped some of our diplomats find safety, and they carried ambassador stevens’s body to the hospital, where we tragically learned that he had died.

Obama also added some inchoate thoughts that indicate his usual moral equivalence, along the lines of “they’re more to be pitied than censured,” because they can’t help themselves:

but we also know that the lives these americans led stand in stark contrast to those of their attackers. these four americans stood up for freedom and human dignity.

And their attackers’ lives stand for radical Islam?  Their attackers’ lives stand for the usual Progressive tropes about poverty?  What does that mean?  He’s clearly implying that the attackers couldn’t help themselves, but he fails to say why.

 

American embassy in Cairo appears to embrace sharia speech codes *UPDATED*

Yes, I understand that the embassy in Cairo is besieged but it does strike me as cowardly to abandon core principles as this juncture (emphasis mine):

U.S. Embassy Condemns Religious Incitement

September 11, 2012

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

You’d think that you wouldn’t have to provide basic constitutional lessons for U.S. Embassy employees but I guess they need a little review:

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.

If we Americans want to say Islam is an incitement to violence, we can. If we want to put Jesus in a vat full of urine, we can. If we want to say Jews are greedy, we can. If we want to say Hindus worship cows, we can. If we want to say Mormons wear funny underwear, we can.  We are allowed to hurt the religious feelings of religious people.  It’s our right as Americans to be rude.  Neither tact, nor forbearance, nor non-mutual respect, nor polite lies are required under our Constitution.

Last thought:  It is possible that the language from embassy — that it’s bad “to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims” — is as foolish as it is because the embassy people meant them ironically. Perhaps the White House said “say something that won’t hurt Muslim feelings,” and some P.O.’d embassy official came back with this nonsensical, unconstitutional PC fecal matter. I mean, the statement is too close to parody to be real. Isn’t it?  Come on, someone.  Please agree with me right about now.

Of course, if that statement is a heartfelt expression from America’s representative on Egypt’s soil, God help us all, because our government is in the hands of dhimmis.

UPDATE:  For more on embassy awfulness (proving that this is no joke, but is their real thinking) just check their twitter feed:


Is it possible that these government representatives do not understand that the essence of free speech is the ability to criticize religion?  No, it may not be very nice, but in a normal, non-sharia, world, this type of criticism leads to a debate that enriches the marketplace of ideas — and may the best idea win.  We do America a profound and lasting disservice if we abandon this core principle to pander to a 7th century mentality, the practitioners of which are deathly afraid to subject their beliefs to an intellectual airing and analysis.

Angelina’s arrogance perfectly exemplifies the Left’s refusal to engage

A woman named Jane Pitt recently exercised her Free Speech rights by sending a letter to a local paper castigating Obama for supporting same-sex marriage and urging people to vote for Romney, because he will support traditional marriage.  She was predictably savaged by Leftists who didn’t merely challenge her beliefs, but effortlessly went to the next step of threatening her physical well-being.

Normally, the MSM would ignore this story.  After all, Jane is guilty of wrong-thinking.  What makes her story news worthy is that her famous son, Brad, and his paramour, Angelina Jolie, disagree with Mom’s views.  Were they normal people, they would say, “We disagree with her views.”  But they’re not normal.  Instead, they’re Hollywood Leftists, with all the arrogance, shading into totalitarianism, that this implies:

Since the letter was published, Angelina has now reportedly asked Brad to teach his mother not to be so outspoken about same-sex marriage, especially since the celebrity couple clearly support it.

‘(She) has told Brad he must educate his mother, but Brad is too much of a mama’s boy,’ a source told the magazine.

‘If Brad won’t do it, Angelina will have to take matters into her own hands and talk to Jane about how, as the mother of such a prominent celebrity, she shouldn’t be writing letters that clash with her son’s personal opinions.’

Let me translate: Angelina says “Shut up, Jane, you ignorant slut.”

This sorry little news squiblet has ramifications beyond proving what we all know, which is that Jolie is a self-obsessed, not-very-nice excuse for a human being. After all, Jolie’s personality, or lack therefore, is a great big “duh.”

As it is, the story deserves consideration because it so perfectly proves the point the inimitable Zombie makes about the latest book purporting to teach Progressives how to win the argument.  You see, George Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling, both Leftist academics, just saw published The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic.

You really have to read Zombie’s erudite and well-researched post to appreciate the full Orwellian-think on display in Lakoff’s and Wehling’s book.  I just want to focus on one aspect, which is the fact that Lakoff says that the worst thing good-thinking Progressives can do is actually to engage at a substantive level with conservatives:

Lakoff is also the reason why liberals and conservatives never seem to be able to communicate with each other. This frustrating problem is no accident, nor a natural result of differing ideologies simply not seeing eye to eye. Rather, it’s a conscious behavior explicitly recommended by Lakoff over the years, and one which he hammers home repeatedly in The Little Blue Book. Page 43 contains the book’s core message:

“Never use your opponent’s language….Never repeat ideas that you don’t believe in, even if you are arguing against them.”

So central is this notion to Lakoff’s thesis that his publicist sent out a list of “The 10 Most Important Things Democrats Should Know” with each review copy, and guess what comes in at #1:

“Don’t repeat conservative language or ideas, even when arguing against them.”

And many politicians, pundits and talking heads have taken Lakoff’s recommendation to heart. This is why conservatives and liberals can’t seem to have the simplest conversation: liberals intentionally refuse to address or even acknowledge what conservatives say. Since (as Lakoff notes) conservatives invariably frame their own statements within their own conservative “moral frames,” every time a conservative speaks, his liberal opponent will seemingly ignore what was said and instead come back with a reply literally out of left field.

Zombie addresses the major problem with this Leftist approach, which is a problem common to all totalitarian systems:  The cognitive dissonance that inevitably arises when the facts on the ground fail to mesh with the totalitarian rhetoric.  Zombie uses the abortion debate to focus on the ground one loses when slogans clash with reality.  I recommend reading that discussion.  If you’re interested in an even more in-depth analysis of the vast chasm between Leftist slogans and reality, not to mention honesty, check out Jonah Goldberg’s The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas. Likewise, you can’t go wrong reading Natan Sharansky’s The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror, which explains that it was this cognitive dissonance that enabled the refusniks and other dissidents to stand against the weight of the Soviet Union.

The totalitarian conversational approach, in the long-term, turns each of its advocates into slightly insane, and definitely untrustworthy people, who spend their time stalwartly advocating something that fact, reason, and logic deny.  In the short-term, though, it has an evil, insidious effect on the Lefts’ political opponents:  It effectively turns them into non-people — that is, people who have no right to hold opinions separate from Leftist dogma or, if they have the temerity to have separate opinions, people who must be silenced.  This totalitarian imperative is so overwhelming that even family members are suspect and must be controlled.  Those of you who lived in the Eastern bloc or the Muslim world probably know precisely what I’m talking about.

Anyone who suspects that Angelina is a self-centered idiot is, of course, correct.  But all of us would be wise to realize that she is also the living manifestation of the Leftist world view.

Anti-bullying is simply another way of saying “paralyzing political correctness.”

Dan Savage made a name for himself as the face of the “anti-bullying” campaign sweeping America’s schools.  He’s gotten lots of money, lots of media face-time, and lots of access within the Obama administration because of his “peaceable” message.  Savage’s own behavior, though, makes clear that his anti-bullying message is just another Leftist scam, meant to silence those with whom he disagrees.  It’s not about civility, it’s about denying free speech to opposing political views.  Savage’s latest bullying attack is on members of the GLBT crowd who dare to deviate from his Leftist orthodoxy.

Fellow Watcher’s Council member Dan Blatt (aka The Gay Patriot) has more about the Cone of Silence the left has erected around this uber-bully.

Maryland judge confused about Free Speech and the marketplace of ideas

I bet all of you all remember “Everyone Blog About Bret Kimberlin Day.”  After all, it took place less than a week ago.  For those unfamiliar with it, this is the way it worked:

Conservatives bloggers learned that Brett Kimberlin, using both the legal system and a bit of self-help, was harassing those bloggers who brought attention to a past that included planting bombs (one of which so terribly maimed a man that the man later committed suicide), drug dealing, and imprisonment.  They also brought to light a series of current unsavory associations with far-Left and some not-so-far Left organizations.

In order to expand the scope of available targets for Kimberlin, thereby substantially reducing his ability to harass any one blogger, conservative bloggers engaged in a blog burst.  Most of them did precisely what the original bloggers involved had done:  they relayed, in straightforward fashion, accurate facts about Kimberlin’s life and associations.  Although I have no specific information on the subject, it appears that some of these bloggers may have gotten carried away and made threats.  Credible threats constitute an illegal activity.

In the normal world, the law goes after the person making the threats.  In Maryland, though, with Kimberlin leading the charge, and Judge Cornelius Vaughey (Ret.) wielding the pen, the person who asked others to tell the truth is imprisoned.  I know this sounds unbelievable in a country ostensibly bounded by the First Amendment’s freedom of speech but, until any contrary information is released, this seems to be exactly what happened to blogger Aaron Worthing, who was one of the first to spread the facts about Kimberlin.  Patterico explains:

Aaron Walker (aka Worthing) was arrested today in a Maryland courtroom. Several days ago, convicted bomber and perjurer Brett Kimberlin had obtained a “peace order” against Walker, and today Walker was arrested for violating the order. My information is that the judge claimed that Walker violated the provision against electronic communication with Kimberlin, because Aaron blogged about Kimberlin — thus “inciting” others to contact Kimberlin.

In other words, as best as I can tell, Aaron Walker was arrested today in the United States of America for blogging about a public figure.

Go to the Patterico link, please, to get the whole picture.

What happened to Aaron Walker/Worthing isn’t just one bad thing happening to one person.  It is a test case.  Patterico again:

One wonders if this is his [Kimberlin's] new strategy: he sues you for your blogging, and simultaneously obtains a peace order saying you harassed him. If you blog about him again, he gets a judge to rubber stamp a criminal complaint for violating the peace order.

Now, if you don’t show up for the lawsuit, he gets a default judgment. If you do, you get arrested for blogging.

Catch 22. And a nice scam if you can get judges gullible enough to go along with it.

This is, I had thought, the United States of America. I thought we had freedom of speech here.

It will take a few days to nail down with precision what happened. But if the account I have given here turns out to be correct — if the basis of the arrest today was that Aaron incited others by blogging about a public figure — I want all lovers of the First Amendment to stand tall and ride to Aaron’s defense.

Because they’re not done. They claim they’re just getting started:

Incidentally, I suspect that Vaughey was just a patsy.  He’s a retired judge, whose tenure on the Court really predated the internet era.  It’s probably that he really did not understand the dynamics here.

Friday is Everybody Blog About #BrettKimberlin Day *UPDATED*

[I've added a newer post, with more links and more facts here.]

Before today, I’d been aware of Brett Kimberlin in only the vaguest possible way, since his name suddenly seemed to be popping on various sites I visit.  Since his name didn’t actually ring any bells, I didn’t stop to educate myself about him.  This morning, though, I’ve had a crash Kimberlin course and, friends, it’s ugly.  It’s also something that requires action from as many people as possible in order to use the sunlight of free speech to bleach out the ugly and costly lies that Kimberlin is propagating against conservative bloggers.

First, a few facts.

Kimberlin is a convicted bomber.  He even has a nickname:  “The Speedway Bomber.”  Back in 1978, he set of a series of eight bombs in Speedway, Indiana, one of which blew the limbs off Vietnam Vet Carl DeLong, who later committed suicide because of his injuries.  Kimberlin is also a convicted drug dealer.  In 1988, he claimed that he sold drugs to Dan Quayle, but there was nothing to corroborate this claim.  Given Kimberlin’s far left politics, it’s reasonable to believe that he was lying for political effect.  Incidentally, you won’t be able to discover any of this through Wikipedia — it’s been scrubbed.

Kimberlin, who is out of prison, has now made it his life’s mission to go after conservative bloggers to have had the temerity to mention him online.  Michelle Malkin explains:

Over the past year, Aaron Walker (who blogged as “Aaron Worthing”), Patterico, Liberty Chick, and now Stacy McCain have been targeted by convicted Speedway bomber Brett Kimberlin because they dared to mention his criminal past or assisted others who did. The late Andrew Breitbart warned about Kimberlin and company.

I have spoken directly with both Patterico and Aaron about their ongoing battles.

The mainstream press, not just the conservative blogosphere, needs to hear and report their stories.

This is a convoluted, ongoing nightmare that combines abuse of the court system, workplace intimidation, serial invasions of privacy, perjury, and harassment of family members. McCain was forced to move with his family out of his house this week, and has just gotten a small taste of what Aaron and Patterico have been enduring over the past year. Aaron and his wife were fired from their jobs after their employer feared the office would be targeted next. Convicted bomber Kimberlin has filed bogus “peace orders” against Aaron, when it is the Walkers who are the victims, not the perpetrators.

And Patterico’s plight will send chills up your spine when he is ready to tell it.

For more information about Kimberlin’s behavior, Lee Stranahan put together a short video:

Kimberlin’s legal actions are not intended to protect himself against unwarranted slander from conservatives.  Instead, they are aimed at squelching free — and truthful — speech.  His theory is that, if he makes free speech too costly, using a combination of physical threats and legal costs, people will stop speaking.  He’s not alone in this belief, since he’s managed to fund his lawsuits with help from various far-left groups that are also deeply committed to ensuring that America’s First Amendment protections are reserved only for pre-approved Leftist speech.

Lee Stranahan offers the best (indeed, the only) way to respond to someone who relentlessly abuses the Free Speech rights America grants — MORE SPEECH:

This is no war of words; Kimberlin is a serial litigator who has filed over 100 lawsuits by his own account and he takes people to court, claiming they are harassing him. He calls their employers.  I stand with all these people, some of whom are my friends. I’m launching a new effort on my own that I hope will help.

The only effective way to fight Brett Kimberlin is for as many people to research and write about him as possible. 

So I’m declaring this Friday, May 25th as Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day.

Here’s what you do to take part…

  1. Research Brett Kimberlin on your own. Don’t trust secondary sources; look for the orginal articles articles published about him, too.
  2. On Friday, May 25th — write an honest, factually accurate post about what you learned and what your OPINION is. Brett may try and sue you, so be accurate, factual and separate fact from opinion.
  3. The post doesn’t have to be long — ANYTHING helps.
  4. After you post, Tweet, share, whatever — get the post out there.

As you can see, I’m doing my part right now, by getting the May 25 ball rolling. Indeed, the ball is already rolling, with sufficient numbers of people writing on this subject for Kimberlin’s list of assigned targets to have grown exponentially. Eventually, there’ll just be too many targets and, with luck, this guy will quietly slink away.

On May 25, of course, I’ll write again about Kimberlin. Can you do something to help out too?

UPDATE OF OTHERS BLOGGING:

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds
iowntheworld.com
The American Thinker
Walter Olson at Overlawyered
Blazing Cat Fur
Donald Douglas at American Power
The American Catholic
The Lonely Conservative
Kathy Shaidle at Five Feet of Fury
Nice Deb
Sundries Shack
PJMedia Tatler
Dan Riehl
Film Ladd
The Coalition of the Swilling
DaTechGuy
Richard Fernandez
Legal Insurrection
Doubleplusundead
Daley Gator
The Camp of the Saints
Wake Up America
Darth Chipmunk
Zilla of the Resistance
Lady Liberty 1885
Goldfish and Clowns
Small Dead Animals
Hillbuzz
Yid with Lid
Evil Blogger Lady
Israel Matzav
Lisa Graas
Bob Owens
Melissa Clouthier
Blackfive
Ace
Day by Day
Noisy Room
Kim Priestap (two links)
Radio Patriot
Gay Patriot
Bruce Kesler at Maggie’s Farm

This enthusiastic participation, from bloggers (and cartoonists) whom you like and respect is a reminder that this is important.  By creating an impossible broad target for Kimberlin and his ilk, we use speech to neutralize entirely his efforts to destroy speech.  It’s the wonderful opposite of a boycott.

Lynch mobs and hit lists

You already know how I feel about the George Zimmerman – Trayvon Martin affair and the Obama Administration and its lap dog-media sycophants ginning up a lynching party to “get” Zimmerman and a few random white people to fill the role pending trial. Zimmerman’s guilt has already been decided in the media’s public square.

Now, via the Wall Street Journal‘s inestimable Kimberly Strassel, comes news that Administration is, in the words of Washington beltway attorney Ted Olson, putting up the names of major Romney donors on “wanted posters” in government offices, releasing their names to the public, and libeling their reputations.

“The message from the man who controls the Justice Department (which can indict you), the SEC (which can fine you), and the IRS (which can audit you), is clear: You made a mistake donating that money”, writes Strassel.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304723304577368280604524916.html?mod=WSJ_article_comments#articleTabs%3Darticle

I don’t know if you can access this article without a subscription, but Strassel’s “The President Has a List: Barack Obama attempts to intimidate contributors to Mitt Romney’s campaign” article in today’s WSJ points out a litany of presidential abuses of power by the Obama regime, including:

  • Making individual citizens the object of his vitriol.
  • Personal attacks on corporations and industry segments.
  • Legal assaults on constitutional rights of free speech by corporations.
Add to that list the looting of American taxpayers through government policy-driven largesse to Democrat crony capitalists and political insiders. For an excellent review on one way how this is done, I highly recommend reading entrepreneur Jerome J. Schmitt’s excellent insights in today’s American Thinker:

We continue our slouch into the serfdom of Liberal Fascism. Sad to say, I suspect that the large segments of the population that are not cheering these developments are either yawning in general ennui or too glued to the mindless drivel of videoworld to realize how our /their wealth and freedoms are irrevocably slip, slip, slipping away.

#BillMaher gives a lovely example of the way the Left uses itself as the template for what’s fair

I always love it when Leftist idiocy highlights some sort of life lesson I just imparted to young people.  Today’s life lesson is that fairness should be a reasonably objective standard, rather than one that, as Bill Maher would have it, depends on whether you, personally, are benefiting from the standard imposed.

Back in 2008, all the Marin children with whom I had contact were claiming that they “would vote” for Obama “because he’s black.”  They were taken aback when I said, “That’s racist.”  To them, racism means negative treatment based upon race.  It never occurred to them that racism includes any treatment that sees one so dehumanize a person that the person becomes nothing more than the color of his or her skin.  I suggested that, if they were indeed interested in the election, they should consider Obama’s history, statements, and ideas, rather than his skin color, in determining whether he was fit for office.  I wish the opportunity had arisen (which it did not) to make the same point to their parents.

Yesterday, I again had the opportunity to help a couple of kids understand that things are not always as they seem.  We were talking about good and bad teachers.  Good teachers, obviously, were the ones who communicated well and, even better, made the material seem meaningful and sometimes exciting.  Bad teachers were poor communicators and managed to make every subject boring.

Within these good and bad divisions, though, something interesting cropped up:  One of the hallmarks of the bad teachers was that they treated students differently within the class.  This didn’t just mean picking on some students, which the kids easily classified as “unfair.”  It also included playing favorites, something that the kids didn’t like, but didn’t recognize as equally “unfair.”  To them, “fair” is good treatment, “unfair” is bad treatment.  A teacher who is too good to some students therefore cannot be considered “unfair.”  They were quite taken aback when I suggested to them that any equal treatment is unfair.  Sometimes the lack of fairness can be justified, but it’s still not “fair.”

I thought of this inability to comprehend that it’s just as unfair to treat people too well as it is to treat them too badly when I read about Bill Maher’s defense when Jake Tapper queried him about the truly vile statements he’s routinely made regarding conservative women:

Bill Maher: The bit I did about Palin using the word c—, one of the biggest laughs in my act, I did it all over the country, not one person ever registered disapproval, and believe me, audiences are not afraid to let you know.  Because it was a routine where that word came in at just the right moment. Context is very important, and it’s also important to remember that stand-up comedy is the final frontier of free speech. Still, I stopped doing that routine, but I would like someone to replace that word if it’s so awful with another one that has the same meaning for a person – not just women, it’s a word you can and lots do (all the British, for example) use for both sexes. It has a very specific meaning.

Jake Tapper: And that’s not comparable to what Limbaugh said about Sandra Fluke?

Bill Maher:  To compare that to Rush is ridiculous – he went after a civilian about very specific behavior, that was a lie, speaking for a party that has systematically gone after women’s rights all year, on the public airwaves. I used a rude word about a public figure who gives as good as she gets, who’s called people “terrorist” and “unAmerican.” Sarah Barracuda. The First Amendment was specifically designed for citizens to insult politicians. Libel laws were written to protect law students speaking out on political issues from getting called whores by Oxycontin addicts.

John Nolte nails down precisely what is wrong with Maher’s self-serving analysis:

Bill Maher is a comedian and commentator. Rush Limbaugh is a commentator. But for some reason, Maher is apparently under the absurd impression that there’s some kind of caveat in the First Amendment that gives him super, secret, double free speech rights over the rest of us.

Well, I’ve read the First Amendment and no such caveat exists.

If there’s a difference between what’s happening to Maher and what’s happening to Limbaugh, it is that Maher is under fire from private citizens and Limbaugh is under fire from a stealth campaign led by the government — specifically, the President of the United States.

Private citizens exercising their free speech rights to protest Bill Maher is the purest form of democracy there is.

The government, however, joining a crusade to silence one of their critics is the very definition of censorship.

(Nolte has much more to say, which you can read here.)

What’s pretty apparent is that, when it comes to fairness, Maher’s understanding of the word is stuck in the middle school years.  For all his sophisticated patina, he’s still a little boy who thinks that his emotional reaction to something determines whether something is fair or not.  If it works in his favor, it’s fair; if it doesn’t, it’s unfair.  Easy-peasy analysis for the small, immature mind, right?