Even the affable, slightly generic, left-of-center Jay Leno cannot escape the hurt feelings of the political correctness crowd

Back in the late 1980s, early 1990s, when political correctness first floated into the realm of mainstream culture, everyone thought it was the same as being nice or having good manners.  It’s not.  Good manners, to my mind, means assuring that the people around you feel comfortable.  Political correctness means controlling people’s thoughts and actions.  It’s a very iron hand draped in a warm and cuddly velvet glove.

Jay Leno, bland, slighty-left-of-the-middle-of-the-road Jay Leno, made a rather pathetic little joke about Romney’s wealth, which consisted of claiming that a beautiful Golden Temple is his home.  The Golden Temple happens to be a Sikh religious site, but you can see how Leno’s writers were attracted by its gold-ness.  In other words, the joke wasn’t about (or, more importantly, directed against) Sikh’s.  Instead, it was about Romney and riches.  Indian Sikhs, however, are up in arms:

A Leno skit showed the temple as the summer home of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Mr Romney has faced taxation questions over his huge wealth and many Sikhs are angry the temple has been depicted as a place for the rich.

The Sikh community has launched an online petition and an Indian minister called the comments “objectionable”.

Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi told reporters: “It is quite unfortunate and quite objectionable that such a comment has been made after showing the Golden Temple.”

The friend who sent me this story zeroed in on a specific quotation:

“Freedom does not mean hurting the sentiments of others… This is not acceptable to us and we take a very strong objection for such a display.”

As my friend said, “Uh, yeah it does, unfortunately,” along with a more pungent (but entirely apropos) comment about the fact that India too has figured out that the only religions in the world that can be the subject of jokes or insults are Christianity and Judaism.

On the subject of free speech, much as I venerate the Constitution, I think the most pithy statement is one that is attributed (incorrectly) to Voltaire:

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Frankly, the contrast between that statement and the political correctness doctrine — “only the arbiters of political correctness, all of whom are Leftist, can determine what speech is acceptable” — pretty much says it all when it comes to the Statists and the Individualists.

Free speech for me but not for thee

American universities pay lip service to multiculturalism and inclusiveness, but one of their despicable secrets is that, while conservative and Jewish speakers are ignored or shouted down with no push-back whatsoever from the university administrations, pro-Palestinian speakers are given a bully pulpit.  The worse their rhetoric — the more anti-inflammatory and antisemitic — the more aggressively the university administrations go the mat for them to defend their right to free speech.  One of the best and most diligent chroniclers of this trend is Bruce Kesler, who blogs at Maggie’s Farm.

Kesler has now turned the spotlight on Cal State University, Northridge, where David Klein, a math professor has a university sanctioned webpage devoted, not to math, but to demonizing Israel in terms that would have made Goebbels, Eichmann, and the whole gang proud.  The good professor, you see, is exercising his “right to free speech.”

Back in the day, I naively understood professorial free speech to mean that, within the context of teaching the subject matter for which he was hired, a professor could not be coerced into limiting his teaching to state/employer mandated doctrine.  To do so would destroy an academic institution’s ability to introduce students to new ideas and new ways of thinking.  Foolish me.  I didn’t understand that academic free speech means that tax payer funded universities are open forums for one thing and one thing only:  the most radical Left ideology on any subject known to man.

“In God We Trust” banned in California classrooms

Do you have any spare change lying around?  Yes?  I thought you might.

My dollar coins say “In God We Trust.”

My dollar bills say “In God We Trust.”

My quarters say “In God We Trust.”

My dimes say “In God We Trust.”

My nickels say “In God We Trust.”

My pennies say “In God We Trust.”

Every time I touch American legal tender, I touch the words “In God We Trust.”

Nevertheless, it turns out that those words are illegal — if they appear, not on a student’s coins, but on his classroom wall:

Saying a high school teacher has no right to “use his public position as a pulpit,” a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that a San Diego County school district was on solid legal ground when it ordered a math instructor to remove large banners declaring “IN GOD WE TRUST” and “GOD SHED HIS GRACE ON THEE.”

Those inscriptions and others that longtime teacher Bradley Johnson displayed on his classroom wall amounted to a statement of religious views that the Poway Unified School District was entitled to disavow, said the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Under U.S. Supreme Court rulings, the appellate panel said, government employees, including public schoolteachers, have no constitutional right to express views in the workplace that contradict their employer’s rules or policies.

“Johnson took advantage of his position to press his particular views upon the impressionable and captive minds before him,” said Judge Richard Tallman in the 3-0 ruling, which reversed a lower-court decision in the teacher’s favor.  (Emphasis mine.)

"Hey, you can't say that in here!"

I especially like Judge Tallman’s reference to “impressionable and captive minds.”  Apparently those young minds can withstand the constant propaganda emanating from legal tender, but put it on a classroom wall and their mushy psyches are completely overcome.  Under that kind of pernicious “God We Trust” influence, the next thing you know, those poor, weak-brained students are going to rush out and commit some heinous acts of morality and decency. You can see pictures of the hypnotic, over-powering banners here.

(By the way, if you’re getting old, as I am, and are trying to fix “God Shed His Grace On Thee” in your mind, it’s from “America The Beautiful,” a song that liberal media stalwart Lynn Sherr identified in her book about its creation as our “nation’s favorite song.”)

We need to stop worrying about al Qaeda and start getting seriously worried about our judiciary.  For three federal appellate court judges to say that the motto imprinted on every coin in America constitutes a private statement of religious views that can be banned from the classroom crosses a line from Progressive to deranged.

The true new McCarthyism

Ted Rall, who is to the left of Left, reveals today’s dirty little secret:

It feels a little weird to write this, like I’m telling tales out of school and ratting out the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy. But it’s true: there’s less room for a leftie during the Age of Obama than there was under Bush.

I didn’t realize how besotted progressives were by Mr. Hopey Changey.

I have to admit that I’ve never found Rall amusing, because he’s a Jon Stewart type — vicious, but not witty. I give him big credit, though, for being brave enough here to state the truth about the Obama worship that is stifling the free flow of information.

One of the things I frequently remind people who know (and hate) that I’m a conservative is that I do not want to do away with the old media.  I simply want it to be honest about its prejudices and to engage forthrightly with conservatives.  Right now, the old media uses its still considerable power to marginalize them and, if possible, silence conservative voices.

Geert Wilders’ speech in Tennessee deserves the widest possible distribution *UPDATED*

Everyone should read this speech. Everyone. While the media swooned about Obama’s Cairo speech (in which he lauded veiling women and ignored thousands of years of Jewish ties to Israel), and Obama’s race speech (in which he insulted white people), and Obama’s recent immigration speech (in which he demonized people who fear the risks to American security and economic well-being from an open border), this speech is the really important one. It goes to fundamental issues of freedom.  So, send this to your friends, whether you post it at your blog, facebook it, tweet it, email it, snail mail it, or read it aloud to them over the phone.

Speech by Geert Wilders, Cornerstone Church, Nashville, 12 May 2011

Dear friends from Tennessee. I am very happy to be in your midst today. I am happy and proud to be in this impressive church.

My friends, I am here to speak words of truth and freedom.

Do you know why America is in a better state than Europe? Because you enjoy more freedom than Europeans.

And do you know why Americans enjoy more freedom than Europeans? Because you are still allowed to tell the truth.

In Europe and Canada people are dragged to court for telling the truth about islam.

I, too, have been dragged to court. I am an elected member of the house of representatives in the Netherlands. I am currently standing in court like a common criminal for saying that islam is a dangerous totalitarian ideology rather than a religion.

The court case is still pending, but I risk a jail sentence of 16 months.

Last week, my friend Lars Hedegaard, a journalist from Denmark, was fined because in a private conservation, which was recorded without his knowing, he had criticised the way women are treated in islamic societies.

Recently, another friend, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a human rights activist from Austria, was fined because she had criticised islam’s founder Muhammad. She had said that Muhammad was a pedophile because he had married a 6-year old girl and raped her when she was 9.

Unfortunately, there are many similar cases.

I am especially happy to be in your midst because here I can say what I want to say without having to fear that I will be dragged to court upon leaving this church.

My dear American friends, you cannot imagine how we envy your First Amendment. The day when America follows the example of Europe and Canada and introduces so-called “hate speech crimes” which is only used to punish people who are critical of islam, that day America will have lost its freedom.

My friends, let us hope that this never happens.

Last week, we celebrated Liberation Day in the Netherlands. We celebrated the liberation from the Nazi occupation in 1945. Many American soldiers, including many young Tennesseans, played a decisive role in the liberation of the Netherlands from nazi tyranny. We are immensely grateful for that. Young Americans gave their lives so that the Dutch might be free. I assure you: The Dutch people will never forget this.

Unfortunately, however, the Europe which your fathers and grandfathers fought and died for is not the Europe we are living in today.

I travel the world to tell people what Europe has become. I wish I could take you all on a visit to my country and show you what Europe has become. It has changed beyond recognition as a result of mass immigration. And not just any mass immigration, but mass immigration driven by the dangerous force of islam.

My friends, I am sorry. I am here today with an unpleasant message. I am here with a warning. I am here with a battle cry: “Wake up, Christians of Tennessee. Islam is at your gate.” Do not make the mistake which Europe made. Do not allow islam to gain a foothold here.

Islam is dangerous. Islam wants to establish a state on earth, ruled by islamic sharia law. Islam aims for the submission, whether by persuasion, intimidation or violence, of all non-Muslims, including Christians.

The results can be seen in Europe.

Islam is an ideology of conquest. It uses two methods to achieve this goal: the first method is the sword. Do you know what figures on the flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a country where Christian churches are banned and Christians are not even allowed to wear a tiny crucifix? There is a huge sword on that flag, just below the Islamic creed. The message is clear. Without the sword islam would not have been able to spread its creed.

The second method is immigration. Islam’s founder Muhammad himself taught his followers how to conquer through immigration when they moved from Mecca to Medina. This phenomenon of conquest through immigration is called al-Hijra. My learned friend Sam Solomon has written a perfect book about it.

I had a copy of Sam’s book sent to all the members of the Dutch Parliament. But most of them are worse than Saint-Thomas in the Bible. Thomas did not believe what he had not seen. Most politicians refuse to believe the things they see before their very eyes.

In Europe we have been experiencing al-Hijra for over 30 years now. Many of our cities have changed beyond recognition. “In each one of our cities” wrote the well-known Italian author Oriana Fallaci shortly before her death in 2006, “there is a second city, a state within the state, a government within the government. A Muslim city, a city ruled by the Koran.” – end of quote.

How did the Europeans get into this situation? It is partly our own fault because we have foolishly adopted the concept of cultural relativism, which manifests itself in the ideology of multiculturalism.

Cultural relativism advocates that all cultures are equal. However, cultures wither away and die if people no longer believe that its values are better than those of another culture.

Islam is spreading like wildfire wherever people lack the guts to say that their values are better than the Islamic values.

Islam is spreading like wildfire because the Koran explicitly tells Muslims that they are “the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind” and that non-Muslims are “the worst of creatures.”

Islam is spreading like wildfire everywhere in the West where political, academic, cultural and media elites lack the guts to proudly proclaim, as I believe we all should proclaim:

Our Judeo-Christian Western culture is far better and far superior to the islamic culture. We must be proud to say so!

Multiculturalism is a disaster. Almost everyone acknowledges this today, but few dare say why. Let me tell you why: Multiculturalism made us tolerate the intolerant, and now intolerance is annihilating tolerance.

We should, in the name of tolerance, claim the right not to tolerate the intolerant. Let us no longer be afraid and politically correct, let us be brave and bold. Let us tell the truth about islam.

Before I continue I want to make clear that I do not have a problem with people. I always make a distinction between the people and the ideology, between Muslims and islam.

Indeed, I have no problems with Muslims, but I do have a problem with the totalitarian Islamic ideology of hate and violence. The fact that there are many so-called moderate Muslims, does not imply that there exists a moderate islam. A moderate islam doen not exist and will never exist.

And because there is no such thing as a moderate islam, the islamization of our free Western societies is an enormous danger.

Only two weeks ago, the British press revealed how the so-called “London Taliban” is threatening to kill women who do not wear veils in the London borough of Tower Hamlets.

In some neighbourhoods Islamic regulations are already being enforced, also on non-Muslims. Women’s rights are being trampled. We are confronted with headscarves and burqa’s, polygamy, female genital mutilation, honor-killings where men murder their wives, daughters or sisters because they do not behave in accordance with Islamic rules.

Polls show that the influence of those Muslims who live according to islam’s aggressive requirements is growing, especially among young people.

Among 15-year-old German Muslims, 40 percent consider islam more important than democracy.

Among Muslim university students in Britain, 40 percent support sharia. One in three of those students considers it legitimate to kill in the name of islam.

Christians are asked to follow the example of Jesus. Muslims are ordered to follow the example of Muhammad. That is why islam is dangerous. While Christianity preaches love, islam preached hatred and practizes violence. Hatred and violence for everyone who is not a Muslim.

Muhammad personally participated in the ethnic cleansing of Medina, where half the population once was Jewish. Muhammad helped to chop off their heads. On his deathbed, he ordered his followers to cleanse Arabia of all Jews and Christians.

To this very day, Christian symbols are prohibited in Saudi-Arabia. If you wear a cross in Saudi Arabia, they sent you to jail.

And now, Europe is beginning to look like Arabia.

Just today, a poll revealed that in Brussels, the capital of the European Union, half the islamic youths are anti-semitic. It is dangerous for Jews to walk the streets in Brussels.

If you wear a cross or a kippah in certain urban areas in Europe today, you risk being beaten up. In the capital of my own country, Amsterdam, a tram driver was forced to remove his crucifix from sight, while his Muslim colleagues are allowed to wear the veil.

In June 2008, the Christian church authorities in the Danish town of Arhus decided to pay so-called “protection money” to islamic so-called “security guards” who assure that church goers are not harassed by islamic youths.

On March 31st, 2010, Muslims entered the Roman Catholic cathedral of Cordoba, Spain, and attacked the guards with knives. They claimed the cathedral was theirs.

Last month, the bishops of Sweden sent out a letter to priests advising them to avoid converting asylum seekers from islamic countries to Christianity, because the converts would risk losing their lives.

In the Netherlands, the city authorities in Amsterdam register polygamous marriages. The authorities in Rotterdam serve only halal meals in municipal cafeterias. Theaters provide separate seats for women who are not allowed to sit next to men. Municipal swimming pools have separate swimming hours for men and women, Muslim lawyers do not have to stand when the judges enter court rooms.

Meanwhile Jews are no longer safe on our streets. In Amsterdam, the city of Anne Frank, Jews are again being harassed in the streets. Even political leaders acknowledged that life has become unsafe for Jews in Holland. Do you know what they said? They advised Jews to emigrate. Jews are already running for Israel. But I say: Jews must not leave, violent Muslims must leave!

What is needed, my friends, is a spirit of resistance.

I repeat: What we need is a spirit of resistance.

Why? Because resistance to evil is our moral duty. This resistance begins with expressing our solidarity to Christians, Jews, indeed, to all people worldwide, who are the victims of islam. There are millions of them.

We can see what islam has in store for us if we watch the fate of the Christians in the islamic world, such as the Copts in Egypt, the Maronites in Lebanon, the Assyrians in Iraq, and Christians elsewhere.

Almost every day, churches are arsoned and Christians are assassinated in islamic countries.

In a report on the persecution of Christians in the world, Archbishop Twal of Jerusalem, wrote recently– I quote: “In the Middle East to be Christian means accepting that you must make a great sacrifice. All too often and in many places, Christians suffer various threats. On some occasions, their homes and churches are burnt, and people are killed. How many atrocities must we endure before somebody somewhere comes to our aid?” – end of quote.

Indeed, how many atrocities before we come to their aid?

Rivers of tears are flowing from the Middle East, where there is only one safe haven for Christians. You know where that is. The only place in the Middle East where Christians are safe is Israel.

That is why Israel deserves our support. Israel is a safe haven for everyone, whatever their belief and opinions. Israel is a beacon of light in a region of total darkness. Israel is fighting our fight.

The jihad against Israel is a jihad against all of us. If Israel falls, we, too, will feel the consequences. If Jerusalem falls, Athens, Rome, Amsterdam and Nashville will fall. Therefore, we all are Israel. We should always support Israel!

Today, we are confronted with political unrest in the Arab countries. The Arab peoples long for freedom. However, the ideology and culture of islam is so deeply entrenched in these countries that real freedom is simply impossible as long as islam remains dominant.

A recent poll in post-revolution Egypt found that 85 percent of Egyptians are convinced that islam’s influence on politics is good, 82 percent believe that adulterers should be stoned, 84 percent want the death penalty for apostates. The press refers to the events in the Arab world today as the Arab spring. I call it the Arab winter.

Islam and freedom, islam and democracy are not compatible.

The death of Osama bin Laden last week was a victory for the free world, but we will be confronted with Islamic terrorism as long as islam exists, because islam’s founder Muhammad himself was a terrorist, worse than Bin Laden.

And here is another truth: The rise of islam means the rise of sharia law in our judicial systems. In Europe we already have sharia wills, sharia schools, sharia banks. Britain even has sharia courts.

In my own country, the Netherlands, sharia is being applied by the courts in cases relating to divorce, child custody, inheritance, and property ownership. Women are always the victims of this because sharia discriminates women.

This is a disgrace. This is not the way we should treat women.

My friends, I told you that we have just remembered Liberation Day to commemorate the young Americans and all the heroes who offered their lives to free the Netherlands from nazi tyranny. It would be an insult to them if we Europeans would give up that precious freedom for another totalitarian ideology called Islam.

That is the goal for which my party and I work day after day. And we are having success.

In the Netherlands, we are successfully starting to roll back islam. The current Dutch government is a minority government which can only survive with the backing of my party, the Party for Freedom.

We have 24 seats of the 150 seats in parliament and we support the government, in return for measures to prohibit certain aspects of sharia law.

We have achieved that the Netherlands will soon ban the burka and the niqaab.

We will also restrict immigration from non-Western countries by up to 50% in the next four years. We are not going to allow islam to steal our country from us. It was the land of our fathers, it is our land now, our values are based on Christianity, Judaism and Humanism and we will pass this on to our children with all the freedoms that the previous generations have fought for.

Let those who want to rob us from our freedoms, stay in their own countries. We do not need them. If you want to wear a burqa, stay in Saudi-Arabia. If you want four wives, stay in Iran. If you want to live in a country where the islamic ideology is dominant, stay in Pakistan, if you don’t want to assimilate in our society, stay in Somalia. But don’t come over here.

We are also going to strip criminals who have a double nationality – for instance Dutch and Moroccan, and who repeatedly commit serious crimes, of their Dutch nationality. We will send them packing, back to their homeland.

My friends, what the Party for Freedom has achieved, shows that it can be done. We can fight the islamization of our societies.

Dear friends, here is my warning. Make no mistake: Islam is also coming for America. In fact, it is already here. America is facing a stealth jihad, the islamic attempt to introduce sharia law bit by bit. Last March, a judge in Tampa, Florida, ruled that a lawsuit against a mosque and involving the control of 2.4 million dollars, should proceed under Islamic law.

My friends, be aware that this is only the beginning. This is also how it started in Europe. If things continue like this, you will soon have the same problems as we are currently facing.

Leaders who talk about immigration without mentioning islam are blind. They ignore the most important problem Europe and America are facing. I have a message for them: it’s islam stupid!

My friends, fortunately, not all politicians are irresponsible. Here, in Tennessee, brave politicians want to pass legislation which gives the state the power to declare organisations as terrorist groups and allowing material supporters of terrorism to be prosecuted. I applaud them for that. They are true heroes.

Yesterday and today, I met some of those brave legislators. They told me that Tennessee in particular is a target of islam. Help them win their battle.

They need your support.

While Tennessee is in the frontline, similar legislative initiatives are also being taken in the states of Oklahoma, Wyoming, South Carolina, Texas, Florida, Missouri, Arizona, Indiana. It is encouraging to see that so many politicians are willing to resist islam.

This gives us hope and courage. I am not a pessimist. We can still turn the tide – even in Europe – if we act today.

There are five things which we must do.

First, we must defend freedom of speech.

Freedom is the source of human creativity and development. People and nations wither away without the freedom to question what is presented to them as the truth.

Without freedom of speech we risk becoming slaves. Frederick Douglass, the 19th century black American politician, the son of a slave, said – I quote – “To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.”

I have already told you about my court case. This legal charade will not, however, prevent me from saying the truth. Never. I will speak out, even if they drag me before 500 courts and threaten to jail me for a thousand years.

The fact that we are being treated as criminals for telling the truth must not deter us. We are doomed if we remain silent or let ourselves be silenced. Let us not forget, this is our first and most important obligation: defend the right to speak the truth.

Second, we must end cultural relativism and political correctness. We must repeat it over and over again, especially to our children: Our Western culture based on Christianity and Judaism is superior to the islamic culture. Our laws are superior to sharia. Our judeo-christian values are better than islam’s totalitarian rules.

And because they are superior and better, we must defend them. We must fight for our own identity, or else we will lose it. We need to be warriors for the good, because the good is worth fighting for. Neutrality in the face of evil is evil.

Third, we must stop the islamization of our countries. More islam means less freedom. There is enough islam in the West already. We must stop immigration from non-Western countries, which are mostly islamic countries. We must expel criminal immigrants. We must forbid the construction of new hate palaces called mosques.

We must also close down all islamic schools because educating children in a spirit of hate is one of the worst things imaginable. We must introduce anti-sharia legislation everywhere in the free world. Enough is enough.

Fourth, we must take pride in our nations again. We must cherish and preserve the culture and identity of our country. Preserving our own culture and identity is the best antidote against islamization.

And fifth, last but certainly not least, we must elect wise and courageous leaders who are brave enough to address the problems which are facing us, including the threat of islam.

Politicians who have the courage to speak the truth about islam.

Politicians who dare to denounce the devastating results of the multicultural society.

Politicians who – without political correctness – say: enough is enough.

You and I, Americans and Europeans, we belong to a common Western culture. We share the ideas and ideals of our common Judeo-Christian heritage. In order to pass this heritage on to our children and grandchildren, we must stand together, side by side, in our struggle against Islamic barbarism.

That, my friends, is why I am here. I am here to forge an alliance. Our international freedom alliance. We must stand together for the Judeo-Christian West.

We will not allow islam to overrun Israel and Europe, the cradle of the judeo-Christian civilization.

My friends, we will stand together.

We will stand firm.

We will not submit. Never. Not in Israel, not in Europe, not in America. Nowhere.

We will survive.

We will stop islam.

We will defend our freedoms.

We will remain free.

Thank you.

UPDATE:  In the first comment to this post, Charles Martel made an excellent point in response to Wilders suggestion that America shut down Islamic schools and mosques:  we have a First Amendment.  The problem is that Islam wears two hats.  One is a religious hat, which falls under the First Amendment; the other is a social/political hat, which doesn’t.  Making the distinction, though, is a problem.  What do you do about a school or mosque that offers both prayers and jihad?

Anyway, a useful complement to the above speech is the video that the audience watched before hearing Wilders speak.  It reminds us that, when it comes to religion and the First Amendment, Islam is sui generis.  I’m not proposing a solution by the way; just identifying a problem:

It is NO BIG DEAL that a Jewish publication got rid of Hillary’s picture

There is much breast-beating amongst the usual suspects about the fact that an Orthodox Jewish newspaper deleted all female images from the Situation Room picture the White House issued after bin Laden’s death.  Hillary was one of those deleted.

The deletion was technically a violation of federal policy, but given the way in which people have been messing with the photo — everything from party hats to superhero outfits — that’s not the issue, is it?  The issue is that the Joos hate women.  Actually, they don’t.  I wouldn’t want to live the life of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman (’cause I’m not a believer at that level), but the religious rules governing them are a manifestation of true respect and not its opposite number.

But here’s the real deal:  a little Jewish newspaper that has no government affiliation can do whatever it wants.  This is not the same as a government, complete with government power, demanding that there can be no images of women in the public sphere.  If Di Tzeitung deletes female images, it does so for two reasons:  (1) principles and (2) knowing its market.  It’s allowed to do that, just the way Hustler is allowed to show way too much of women.

When we should be concerned is when Saudi Arabia deletes women, not just from images, but from society altogether; or when China and India delete women by aborting them.  Those are big issues.  Yet funnily enough, the usual suspects are almost completely silent.  Go figure.

Free speech, in all its glorious ugliness

Barry Rubin sounds a tocsin at Pajamas Media about the way in which political correctness is slowly but steadily eroding free speech in America, leaving us to speech norms more commonly seen in repressive Middle Eastern countries.  As he explains, there’s a reason “the authors of the American Constitution forbade limits on freedom of speech:  because once you start creating off-limit areas the worst thing that happens is the empowerment of people who have a self-interest in setting and misusing these limits. They can administer these no-go zones by declaring anything they don’t like to be a hate crime.”

Since our Founders were brilliant enough to enact the First Amendment, which prevents the Left from using official channels to shut down opponent’s speech, the Left has latched onto social norms as a way of stifling political discourse:

What is needed is a foolproof tactic, one to which there is no institutionalized opposition so that even your enemies must bow their heads in shame and knees in homage when called names.

So how has the Middle Eastern approach revolutionized Western discourse? What slogans are potent enough to shut people up instantly?

Racism! Homophobia! Islamophobia! And to a lesser extent, perhaps, Sexism! The minute you are accused of racism you are finished. There’s no effective response.

[snip]

Thus, freedom of speech, rational discussion, and opposition are trumped by “higher values.” The most basic and long-held principles are quickly jettisoned in fear. Newspapers accept censorship, intellectuals embrace telling lies, and women’s rights groups cheer the suppression of women’s rights in Muslim societies. Those who have spent years fantasizing how they would have been heroic resistance fighters against dictatorship fold, trembling, in the face of a single letter of complaint.

I urge you to read Barry’s entire article.  Then, when you’re done, check out Zombie’s illustrated post about a most unusual Easter celebration in San Francisco.  (And before you get your hackles up in the wrong direction, read the whole thing).  SERIOUS CONTENT WARNING.  DO NOT READ ZOMBIE’S POST IN THE PRESENCE OF CHILDREN.  THINK CAREFULLY ABOUT OPENING IT AT THE WORKPLACE, TOO.

I agree with Zombie’s attitude, by the way.  The behavior you see is deeply offensive to some (indeed, I would that it’s deeply offensive to most decent, moral and honorable people), but that’s what happens in a pluralist society that values speech, no matter how ugly, over censorship.

Both freedom of religion and freedom of speech involve the freedom to ridicule religion and speech.  We can handle ugly.  What we cannot handle is the end of free and open political and social debate.  Once we give in to that, the great American experiment is definitively over.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

The Bookworm Turns : A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land,
available in e-format for $4.99 at Amazon or Smashwords.

“It’s always something — if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.”

If you’re old enough to have lived through the 1970s, you recognize my post title:  Gilda Radner’s famous character Roseanne Roseannadanna would let loose with a foolish tirade, and then wrap it up by saying “It’s always something — if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.”  Someone needs to resurrect that character, or at least that catch-phrase, to appreciate fully what’s going on right now with the Koran burning.

Everyone I know thinks that that Pastor Terry Jones is an insensitive, ill-mannered, publicity-seeking lout for having burned the Koran.  That he did so is un-American, not because it is illegal, but because it runs counter to deep American values that find repugnant the thought of book-burning, especially burning religious books, and that embrace a pluralism that shows respect for different religions.  Ordinary Americans, not crude attention seekers such as Jones, understand that America is blessed with a huge population of peace-loving, law-abiding Muslims, and that it’s a rude, mean-spirited slap in the face to treat their holy book so badly.  Can I make it any plainer that I am disgusted with what Jones did?

Sadly, however, significant numbers of Americans, all (almost all?) liberal (including Lindsay Graham, who is RINO through and through) think that what Jones did requires government intervention, in the form of federal laws banning Koran burning, or religious book burning, or all book burning, or Islam insulting, or whatever the liberal thinks will work to placate the Muslims so that they don’t riot and murder innocent UN workers.  (And while, God knows, I hold no brief for the UN, to invade a UN compound and murder workers in cold blood is the slaughter of the innocents.)

Those who are willing to pass such laws fail to understand two things.  First, one of the things that makes America uniquely American is the reverence we hold for free speech, even ugly free speech.  While we draw the line at two types of free speech — pedophilia and direct incitement to violence, a la “go out and lynch the person right now” — we otherwise believe that free speech can only benefit us.  Ugly, mean speech should be countered by smart speech, compelling speech, apologetic speech (if necessary), persuasive speech, etc.

If we allow the government to ban ugly speech, we suddenly find ourselves in a situation that sees the government determining what’s ugly.  I can tell you with certainty that, during the first two years of the Obama administration, he and Congress, working together, would happily have banned all anti-Obama speech on the ground that it was racist hate speech.  It’s a slippery slope and a censoring government will always slide you down to the midden at the bottom of the hill as quickly as possible.

Second, the other thing that the pro-censorship crowd utterly fails to understand is that banning Koran burning or book burning or smack talk about Islam is only the beginning.  Those who haven’t been paying attention don’t appreciate that this is the religion of perpetual outrage.  “It’s always something — if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.”

If we ban Koran burning, the agitators amongst the Muslims will riot about pigs on tissue boxes, something that excited much outrage in England a few years ago.  If we ban pigs on tissue boxes, they’ll start killing over abstract ice cream logos that, if held at a certain angle and viewed with one eye half closed, could possibly be understood to be Arabic script for Allah, something that also happened in England.  If we ban ice cream labels, they’ll agitate wildly over people entering Muslim-driven cabs with alcohol bottles or seeing eye dogs, as Muslims did in St. Paul, Minnesota.  If we ban alcohol and dogs in cabs, the jihadists and their useful idiots will storm embassies because of cartoons, which is what happened all over the world over some Danish cartoons (pictures that were skillfully augmented by exceptionally vicious anti-Mohamed cartoons that an Imam drew when he didn’t get the proper reaction to the original cartoons).  And of course, if we ban cartoons people have already drawn, the Islamists will hunt down people who merely suggest drawing cartoons, as happened to poor Molly Norris, who had to go into permanent hiding for her suggestion.

If you pay a blackmailer, he won’t go away.  He’ll come back for more.  “It’s always something — if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.”  Those who wish to drain the American bank account by chipping away at Constitutional freedoms will discover themselves bankrupt, burqaed and muzzled.  The radical Islamists will not be grateful for our sacrifice, they will be delighted by our obeisance, and they will push and demand more and more and more.  Further, because they know we haven’t got the stomach for the fight, each demand will be accompanied by bloodshed, along the lines of the Mafioso who slices off an ear or a finger, or blows away a knee cap, to make his point.

To those who say “But they’ll kill our troops,” I have one more thing to say:  What the hell do you think the Islamists have already been doing to our troops for the past eight years?  Everything the troops have been fighting and dying for goes away if we unilaterally surrender our Constitution and bow to our new sharia overlords.

“It’s always something — if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.”

UPDATEThis post perfectly illustrates the one-way street nature of sharia and its adherents.

The only way to have free speech is for the government to control it

I really enjoyed the beginning of this opinion piece from the Guardian:

When Barack Obama addressed a shocked nation in Tuscon, Arizona, yesterday, he deployed the only weapon left to a crippled presidency: the power of rhetorical cliche. He deployed it brilliantly.

“Together we thrive,” he cried meaninglessly. “For all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness.” While American hearts were broken, “yet our hearts also have reason for fullness … The forces that unite us are stronger than the forces that divide us.” Despite pleas to keep war jargon out of political discourse, Obama asked: “How can we honour the fallen?”

The answer came in copious references to heroism, family, home, hearth, to “September 11 … faces of hope … simple wishes … those in need … the American anthem … hand over heart”. True Americans, said Obama, “jump in rain puddles”. In a tribute to a nine-year-old gunned down by a madman, he added: “If there are rain puddles in Heaven, Christina is jumping in them today.”

When it comes to the almost embarrassing banality of the President’s speech, yes, that’s it.

Where Simon Jenkins lost me was his recommendation for protecting free speech in America: let the government control it.  Or, more specifically, to let a Left wing government control conservative speech.  It’s difficult to imagine a more perfectly Orwellian formulation:

Freedom of speech, like freedom of traffic, can only be defined by the curbs and regulations that make it real.

[snip]

Free speech is a Hobbesian jungle. It requires a marketplace where the trade in information, ideas and opinion has a framework of rules, including rules that maintain fair and open competition. Most will be voluntary, but others need enforcement. The US supreme court last year freed from control all political campaign gifts from corporations, on the grounds that this would be a breach of free speech. Ronald Dworkin’s rebuttal of this “devastating decision for democracy” in the New York Review of Books pointed out that freedom of speech was hopeless if vulnerable to the bullying of wealth. Obama warned that it would “open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections”.

After properly castigating Britain’s 2003 Communications Act, which seeks to impose huge and multitudinous controls on British broadcasters (“This is not freedom but authoritarianism”), Jenkins nevertheless turns around and describes his own brand of authoritarianism:

When it comes to Mosley’s defamation or Tong’s twittering, most Europeans would rely on self-discipline on the part of the media, and on the chaotic pluralism of the internet. Even so, they would argue for regulated airwaves, as they would for laws preventing libel, slander and incitement to illegality and racial hatred. Freedom can only flourish in a climate of discipline.

When the art historian and TV presenter Sir Kenneth Clark was asked what quality best defined civilisation, he did not answer with liberty or wealth or equality. He answered with courtesy, the framework of rules governing people’s tolerance of each other, so their discourse might be creative. Most of the time, it is best for that courtesy to be informal. The best rebuttal of the politics of hate is a torrent of love – or, if not love, at least of facts.

But sometimes, as Obama said, there is a yearning “to try to impose some order on the chaos”. If American politics is now going the way of wounding, not healing, it needs the tonic of order. It is the great paradox of democracy. Free speech cannot exist without chains.

What Jenkins fails to understand is that, once the chains are in place, the government in power effectively controls speech, because it gets to define infractions and then police them. It’s not only the beneficiary of the laws, but also the judge, jury and executioner for alleged violations.

Zoning, religion, guns and the Bill of Rights

In the debate over the Ground Zero Mosque, the Left’s trump card has been the language in the First Amendment stating that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”  All of us correctly understand this to mean that government cannot create a state faith, nor can it dictate the religious tenets of an existing faith.  A subset of this, of course, is that government cannot, through indirect laws, make the practice of a given faith so difficult that it is tantamount to a religious proscription.

Shrill voices on the Left are now asserting, however, that the First Amendment must be understood to mean that an ostensibly religious building site cannot be touched by any other laws whatsoever, including zoning laws (which invariably include something about the character of the neighborhood) nor can it be the subject to that other First Amendment right, free speech.

The Left is much less excited about having Constitutional rights trump zoning laws when the subject is guns.  If one operates in a logical world, this is a peculiar Constitutional lapse.

Guns are virtually equal to religion in the Constitutional hierarchy, coming in at Second on the Amendment list:  “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Let me repeat that:  “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  This is very strong language, and arguably much broader in original intent than the First Amendment’s language regarding religion.  The First Amendment merely instructs Congress not to make a law establishing a religion, which we interpret to mean, as well, not to mess with existing faiths.  The Second Amendment, though, rebuffs any attempts whatsoever, whether by Congress or unnamed others (a reasonable inference given the passive voice construction), to mess with the right to bear arms.  It is, as phrased, a sacrosanct right.

Notwithstanding this explicit language, federal and local governments have for decades made laws messing with the right to bear arms.  One of the most significant laws is the way in which we mandate that the government gets to control every legal arms transaction.  Sales have to be in licensed stores, with massive amounts of paperwork, all going into government databases.  I’m not going to argue whether this is an infringement or not, although one could reasonable claim that these are indirect laws making the purchase of guns so difficult as to be tantamount to an arms proscription.  I’ll just note that it happens — and that Leftists are in the vanguard of making it so.

Those on the Left are also perfectly happy dictating the locations for gun shops, with San Francisco offering a perfect illustration.  In that once fair City, a totally legal gun shop, one that’s been in business for 50 years as the same location, is trying to re-open in the Bernal Heights district after a short hiatus.  Even as the local merchants pay lip service to the right to bear arms, they are up in arms (pun intended) that the means for facilitating this Constitutional right could appear in their neighborhood (emphasis mine):

Officially, the organizations are not opposed to people owning guns, Alliance member Jaime Ross told me. They’d just “rather have something the neighborhood could enjoy – a laundry or wine and cheese shop.”

[snip]

[L]local Ingleside police Capt. Louis Cassanego says that as far as he knows, “there’s never been a problem.” The captain is for the permit “so long as certain precautions are taken,” including all legal requirements and then some. But e-mails he’s seeing are running 10-1 against the store’s permit application.

I’m willing to bet, although there is no way that I can prove it, that the same people writing those emails against the store’s permit application are strident in their denunciation of those who contend that the Ground Zero Mosque is inappropriate for the Ground Zero site.  Certainly my assumption would be consistent with the political ideological that animates support for the mosque and disdain for gun rights.

(A nice coda to this story, and one that gives it a lovely San Francisco twist, is the fact that one of the groups most strongly supportive of the store’s reopening is called the “Pink Pistols,” a gay gun rights organization.  An unofficial spokesman for that group explains that, since California has enacted a law prohibiting the sale of ammunition through the mail (yet another indirect law infringing on the right), it’s greener for City residents to be able to walk, bike or bus to the store, than to have to drive to a far away location.)

A perfect illustration of how the Left counterattacks

The mosque debate in America has been instructive when it comes to Leftist rhetorical tactics.  Ordinary Americans make an argument — “the mosque is inappropriate on secular sacred ground.”  The Left then responds, not substantively, but with personal attacks — “you’re racist, Islamophobic, xenophobic and stupid.”

If you think this approach to debate is limited to the American Left, think again.  Precisely the same thing is playing out in Germany.  There, Thilo Sarrazin, a German central bank board member and former senior city official in Berlin, has given an interview and published a book, both of which carry the same message:  Germany is being destroyed by its Muslim immigrants, who take a disproportionate amount of welfare relative to their contributions, who do not contribute to the nation’s intellectual life, and who are having children at a much faster rate than the Germans themselves.

The Leftist response has been predictable.  They’ve produced carefully detailed statistics showing the major economic and social contributions that Muslim immigrants are making to Germany society, and proved that the birthrate argument is a fallacy.  In the face of these reasoned arguments, Sarrazin has backed down.  They’ve hurled myriad personal insults at Sarrazin, and threatened his right to free speech:

Sarrazin’s comments have also made waves outside of the SPD. Green Party head Cem Özdemir called Sarrazin a “tribal leader in the mold of bin Laden” in an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE and said that he has done a “disservice to efforts aimed at improving the dramatic social inequalities in our country, and not just among immigrants.” He said he was disappointed because “the ongoing debate over mutual expectations of Germans and immigrants is much more rational than Sarrazin makes it seem.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel is likewise unimpressed. Through her spokesman Steffen Seibert, she said on Wednesday that Sarrazin’s offerings were “extremely injurious, defamatory and very polemical.” She also called them “completely unhelpful” and said that “a different tone is necessary.”

[snip]

Following Sarrazin’s comments last autumn, the SPD began proceedings to kick him out of the party, but the attempt failed in March. He was, however, disciplined by the German Central Bank, which stripped him of his previous responsibility for cash management as a result of the Lettre International interview. It is unclear whether the SPD will make another effort to strike him from the rolls.

No matter in which country you drop a Leftist, he’s still a Leftist, committed to doctrinal purity regardless of objective reality.

Everybody Draw Mohamed Day — or, you’re not the boss of me

Sometimes, to their creator’s dismay, ideas take on a life of their own.  In the wake of Comedy Central’s decision to censor a South Park episode that didn’t actually draw Mohamed, but merely suggested the possibility of doing so, Molly Norris came up with the idea of “everybody draw Mohamed Day.” Then, terrified by the realization that people actually thought her idea was a good one — and no doubt afraid of becoming the next chick-filet in the Islamic book of dead people — Norris quickly backed off.  As I said, though, good ideas have a life of their own, and drawing Mohamed is definitely a good idea.

It’s a good idea, quite obviously, because modern Western society is predicated on free speech.  Admittedly, there are gradations to that free speech, with America standing at the pinnacle of what is allowed and protected as an ordinary part of civil discourse.  Speech becomes increasingly more regulated as one travels through other Western nations.  Nevertheless, any nation that stands on the shoulders of the Enlightenment gives a nod to the importance of freely expressed ideas and information.  When we give up free speech, we give up a significant part of our identity.

Lately, though, European nations and American TV stations have willingly abandoned any semblance of commitment to the notion of free speech.  And what’s really dreadful about this practice is that it’s not even driven by the traditional rationale for speech restriction, which is to protect the ruling party from internal challenges to its control.  Instead, this is a purely fear-based abandonment.  It has nothing to do with principles or power.  It is, instead, a craven desire to avoid screaming mobs wielding sharp swords.

The various Western nations (and American TV stations) engaged in cultural retreat dress it up as respect for the “other.”  That respect, however, exists only because we fear that “other.”  Sam Harris, in what is probably the most worthy article the Huffington Post has ever published — and one that I strongly urge you to read — gets to the heart of the matter.  After discussing (1) Geert Wilder’s martyrdom at the hands of the Dutch political class for his film Fitna, a film that reveals how closely Islam tracks on Mohamed’s incendiary rhetoric, and (2) Kurt Westergaard’s life in hiding thanks to the very first Mohamed cartoons, Harris explains how Islam is gaming the West:

Wilders, like Westergaard and the other Danish cartoonists, has been widely vilified for “seeking to inflame” the Muslim community. Even if this had been his intention, this criticism represents an almost supernatural coincidence of moral blindness and political imprudence. The point is not (and will never be) that some free person spoke, or wrote, or illustrated in such a manner as to inflame the Muslim community. The point is that only the Muslim community is combustible in this way. The controversy over Fitna, like all such controversies, renders one fact about our world especially salient: Muslims appear to be far more concerned about perceived slights to their religion than about the atrocities committed daily in its name. Our accommodation of this psychopathic skewing of priorities has, more and more, taken the form of craven and blinkered acquiescence.

There is an uncanny irony here that many have noticed. The position of the Muslim community in the face of all provocations seems to be: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn’t, we will kill you. Of course, the truth is often more nuanced, but this is about as nuanced as it ever gets: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn’t, we peaceful Muslims cannot be held responsible for what our less peaceful brothers and sisters do. When they burn your embassies or kidnap and slaughter your journalists, know that we will hold you primarily responsible and will spend the bulk of our energies criticizing you for “racism” and “Islamophobia.”

When we play into this Islamic game — “We, your resident Muslims, promise to live up to our putative reputation for peace as long as you don’t exercise those of your freedoms that put us in a killing rage” — we give up the essence of who we are.  We are no longer the heirs of Voltaire and the Enlightenment, of the Founders and the abolitionists.  We are no longer free people.  Instead, we are slaves to our fears, with our lives increasingly constrained by the random and irrational demands of small subsets of our western societies.

That the demands are irrational is another reason to resist the increasingly shrill imperative to cease and desist from creating and publishing any drawings that offend Muslim sensibilities.  And please keep in mind here that this is not just about Mohamed images.  In our short attention-span world, I’m willing to bet that large numbers of people have already forgotten that, in years past, Muslims have demanded that the countries in which they live change their ice cream logos, clean up the Piglet tissue boxes, and remove their historic statutory (or have it forcibly removed).

Zombie correctly points out that, once we start ceding to resident Muslims the right to determine what is provocative (to them, that is), there is no end:

This is not an argument over the right to be “provocative” or “offensive”; rather, is it something much more significant — an argument over who gets to determine what counts as provocative or offensive in the first place. The Western world dragged itself out of the church-dominated Dark Ages and into the Enlightenment in part over this precise issue: The freedom to engage in speech and actions which formerly had been classified as the crime known as “blasphemy.” It seems such a trivial and quaint issue in retrospect, and hardly worthy of note from our hyper-secularized 21st-century perspective, but tell that to the millions of people who for centuries lived under the yoke of governments which used accusations of blasphemy and other religious misbehaviors as a primary tool of tyranny and oppression. The modern world dawned with the American and French Revolutions and the emergence of the explicitly secular state — the Americans rejecting the Church of England as Britain’s legally enforced national religion, and the French shrugging off centuries of acquiescence to domination by the Catholic Church in civil affairs. In both cases, new governmental paradigms were established in which there was an inviolable separation of church and state, which in practice meant no civil laws enforcing religious doctrines and (most importantly for our discussion) no laws against blasphemy.

So Everybody Draw Mohamed Day is a good thing because it affirms who we are — an Enlightened Western civilization dedicated, in varying degrees, to free speech — and because it reminds everyone that, in a pluralistic society, no one group gets to use violence and intimidation to engage in capricious, and increasingly restrictive, decisions about what is offensive.

To me, though, the most important reason for observing Everybody Draw Mohamed Day is to remind us, not of who we are, but who we are NOT.  As a nation, we are not Muslims.

Of course, some of us are Muslims, but those who are, at least in America, are Muslims voluntarily.  This is, after all, a a nation dedicated to the proposition that its citizens can worship freely.  Provided that we do not impinge on the public well-being, we are allowed to choose our faith, follow our chosen doctrine, and engage in the many and varied religious observances so freely available in this great land.

If I’m Catholic, I get to go to Mass and, if I’m very traditional female worshiper, I can wear a lovely lace mantilla in church.  If I’m Jewish, I attend my services on Friday night and Saturday morning.  If I’m ultra-Orthodox and male, I wear a prayer shawl; if I’m female, I wear a wig and modest clothing.  If I’m Mormon, I wear my ritual undergarments and have reserved to me the special privilege of access to the Temple.  If I’m Buddhist, I engage in contemplation.  If I’m Muslim, I pray five times a day and abstain from alcohol.  If I’m Unitarian, I believe anything I damn well please, as long as I do so in civil and liberal fashion.  Heck, such are America’s blessings that I can be nothing at all, turning my back on God, and sneering every time I see a coin with the imprint “In God We Trust.”   I am what I believe I should be, what my family raised me to be, and what my chosen religious community practices.

But if I accede to Muslim demands that I refrain from drawing Mohamed or pigs or boars or ice cream logos or buddhas, I have tacitly conceded that I am Muslim.  After all, I am conforming my behavior to Muslim doctrine.

Muslims understand this.  Their rage over these images isn’t about the images themselves.  It is, instead, about incrementally drawing all of us into the Muslim faith.  The reality is that, once you’ve stopped creating images offensive to Muslims, and stopped making movies offensive to Muslims, and stopped writing books offensive to Muslims, and stopped saying things offensive to Muslims, and stopped your stores from selling the pork and alcohol offensive to Muslims, and attired your women in burqas to protect them from rampaging Muslims, well — you’re pretty much a practicing Muslim.  You’ve been converted, and you didn’t even realize it was happening.

And once you’ve crossed that invisible line, a line known only to your new Muslim overlords, woe unto you if you try to reverse that conversion process.  Apostates, by turning their back on Mohamed, deserve death.  So really, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.  If you don’t comply with all the Muslim restrictions, they threaten to kill you — and if you do comply with all the Muslim restrictions, they still threaten to kill you.

So this is where the rubber hits the road.  You’re between a Muslim rock and an Islamic hard place.  Do you take a stand now, while your freedoms still mean something, or do you simply acquiesce, step by step, until you find that you have no freedoms at all, that there are no compatriots willing to stand by you in the fight, and that y0ur remaining options are between a living or an actual death?

By the way, it’s that fighting compatriot thing that really matters right now.  As Sam Harris says, after describing Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s life (emphasis mine):

The problem is not, as is often alleged, that governments cannot afford to protect every person who speaks out against Muslim intolerance. The problem is that so few people do speak out. If there were ten thousand Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s, the risk to each would be radically reduced.

Whether you realize it or not, this is war.  When we draw Mohamed today, we don’t do so to be offensive, or provocative.  We do so to assert our identity and to declare, standing shoulder to shoulder with our fellow soldiers in this war, that we are Westerners dedicated to freedom of speech and freedom of worship.

In that spirit, and with all due respect to Muslim sensibilities (meaning I won’t draw Mohamed immersed in urine, covered in fecal matter, attached to animals, or any other such demeaning imagery), here is my image of Mohamed, pictured in this reverential medieval Islamic art as a swaddled baby on the day of his birth:

OTHERS BLOGGING:

Rhymes with Right

Looking for Lissa (who reminds us that Islamists aren’t averse to their own, very vile, cartooning to achieve political goals and intimidation)

Michelle Malkin

You can take the Hot Air poll (with numbers now currently strongly favoring Draw Mohamed Day)

James Hudnall

Brad Thor

Liberty Pundits (which has a nice nod to me, which I very much appreciate)

Mark Steyn

Facebook

And please re-read Broken Windows, which explains why standing up now is so very important

Robert David Graham

JoshuaPundit explains why he isn’t participating, and where our energies would be better spent

[Small update:  I've very lightly edited the post to get rid of verbal tics and redundancies.  They do tend to slip in.]

England swings wildly between the extremes

In 1931, Nancy Langhorne Astor’s son Robert Gould Shaw III was arrested for committing a homosexual act (in a park, I believe).  This was a continuation of a long-standing British public policy of prosecuting “sodomists.”  Arguably the most famous prosecution was that against Oscar Wilde, for public indecency.  The trial, scandal and imprisonment destroyed the noted Victorian wit entirely, and he died in self-imposed, poverty-stricken exile soon after his release from prison.

How times have changed.  In 2010, Dale McAlpine, a Baptist preacher in England, was arrested for stating in a public place that homosexuality is a sin.

Have the English no sense of balance or proportion?  Do they think that criminalizing people’s thoughts and opinions is the only way to balance the scales for the humiliations they visited on homosexuals in years past?

Anyway, rather than opining more on the subject, let me refer you to my previous post on thought crimes.  I think it pretty much covers anything I want to say.

Sit back and watch as America enters “The Twilight Zone”

In the early television era, one of the most innovative and imaginative shows around was Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone.  Certain episodes were so compelling that they entered the popular imagination, and are familiar to anyone over 30.  One of the most brilliant episodes, shown in 1961, was It’s a Good Life, based upon a Jerome Bixby short story.  I’ll let Rod Serling himself explain the episode’s premise:

‘Tonight’s story on The Twilight Zone is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction.

This, as you may recognize, is a map of the United States, and there’s a little town there called Peaksville. On a given morning not too long ago, the rest of the world disappeared and Peaksville was left all alone. Its inhabitants were never sure whether the world was destroyed and only Peaksville left untouched or whether the village had somehow been taken away. They were, on the other hand, sure of one thing: the cause. A monster had arrived in the village. Just by using his mind, he took away the automobiles, the electricity, the machines – because they displeased him – and he moved an entire community back into the dark ages – just by using his mind.

Now I’d like to introduce you to some of the people in Peaksville, Ohio. This is Mr. Fremont. It’s in his farmhouse that the monster resides. This is Mrs. Fremont. And this is Aunt Amy, who probably had more control over the monster in the beginning than almost anyone. But one day she forgot. She began to sing aloud. Now, the monster doesn’t like singing, so his mind snapped at her, turned her into the smiling, vacant thing you’re looking at now. She sings no more. And you’ll note that the people in Peaksville, Ohio, have to smile. They have to think happy thoughts and say happy things because once displeased, the monster can wish them into a cornfield or change them into a grotesque, walking horror. This particular monster can read minds, you see. He knows every thought, he can feel every emotion.

Oh yes, I did forget something, didn’t I? I forgot to introduce you to the monster. This is the monster. His name is Anthony Fremont. He’s six years old, with a cute little-boy face and blue, guileless eyes. But when those eyes look at you, you’d better start thinking happy thoughts, because the mind behind them is absolutely in charge. This is the Twilight Zone.’

The episode walks viewers through the horrors little Anthony inflicts on the town’s residents if they think negative thoughts or engage in behaviors that irk him.  By show’s end, when one of the town’s citizens, having imbibed enough to have some dutch courage, calls Anthony both a monster and a murderer, Anthony turns him into a jack-in-the-box.  Not content with that act of personal destruction, Anthony also causes snow to fall, destroying crops and ensuring the town’s demise.

Even as their destruction stares them in the face, the town’s residents still try to placate the monster in their midst, with the last scripted words spoken being “…but it’s a real good thing you did. A real good thing. And tomorrow….tomorrow’s gonna be a… real good day!”

Rod Serling, of course, provides the perfect coda to Anthony’s reign of terror (emphasis mine):

‘No comment here, no comment at all. We only wanted to introduce you to one of our very special citizens, little Anthony Fremont, age 6, who lives in a village called Peaksville in a place that used to be Ohio. And if by some strange chance you should run across him, you had best think only good thoughts. Anything less than that is handled at your own risk, because if you do meet Anthony you can be sure of one thing: you have entered the Twilight Zone.

The show’s first audience was composed in part of the World War II generation, and entirely of the Cold War generation.  These were people who had seen first hand totalitarian regimes that demanded their citizens’ total obedience.

To enforce that obedience, the spy network for each of these totalitarian governments measured people’s allegiance by closely examining their behavior.  The wrong word, a mis-timed blink or twitch, an unfortunate handshake in the street, and ordinary people would suddenly find themselves in the gulag or the gas chamber.  The regimes surely regretted that they lacked Anthony’s mind reading skills, but with a frightened population, spies in every family, and draconian punishments for even the slightest deviation from total devotion, they were surprisingly effective at creating a Stepford citizenry that, even as the world crumbled, repeated that every government initiative was “a real good thing.”

For decades, Americans assumed that “it can’t happen here.”  American strength and American freedom would inevitably overwhelm any efforts to turn the thought police lose on the American public.  But of course, it has happened here, although not with the bloodshed and torture that characterizes most totalitarian regimes.  Instead, through the medium of political correctness, which preys on Americans’ innate desire to be a good and decent people, we are constantly pushed into “correct” modes of thought.  Deviate from that line of thinking and you will find yourself publicly pilloried as an “-ist” (e.g., racist or sexist), or a “phobe” (e.g., Islamophobe), appellations that have become the ultimate insult that can be visited upon any good American.

Have you given any hint that you think unfettered illegal immigration is deleterious to America’s economy and the security of her citizens?  You’re a racist.

Have you muttered that it’s wrong to destroy collegiate men’s sports programs so that there is numerical parity with women’s sports programs, even though the latter are historically less likely to desire such programs?  You’re a sexist pig.

Have you mentioned that it’s more than coincidence that the common denominator in the vast majority of terrorism attacks around the world is the perpetrator’s devotion to Islam?  You’re a racist Islamophobe.

Did you perhaps contribute a few dollars to the campaign to maintain traditional marriage in America?  You’re a homophobe.

Have you criticized Barack Obama’s policies?  You’re a racist.

Have you criticized Michelle Obama’s arms?  You’re a racist and a sexist.

And so it goes, from matters major to minor:  any deviation from the politically correct norm is subject to withering, soul-destroying insults.  It’s not a physical gulag, but an emotional one.

What’s sad is that, as with Al Gore’s famous boiling frog, we’ve slowly acclimated to this creeping deprivation of the quintessentially American liberty of freedom of speech.  We’ve therefore willingly tried to conform our thoughts to the “right” way of thinking, so that it’s always a “real good day” in America — at least as “good” is defined by the race-obsessed, sex-obsessed, statists among us.

Bad as all this is, I think the worst is yet to come.  Right now, average Americans are censoring their speech, but they’re still thinking the thoughts.  Polls and votes show that people don’t like illegal (as opposed to legal) immigration; that they recognize that Islam is a breeding ground for terrorism (although not all Muslims are terrorists); that traditional marriage is an institution that should be carefully considered before being thoughtlessly overthrown; and that Barack Obama’s policies are disastrous, at home and abroad.  We’re cowed, but our brains our still active.

The New York City bombing attempt may change all that.  Although initial reports were conflicting a couple of things are now perfectly clear about that bombing attempt:  (1) the target was Viacom and (2) the perpetrator was a Muslim (Shahzad Faisal, according to a recent bip on my iPhone).

Viacom, of course, is the parent company of Comedy Central — and Comedy Central is the company that thought better of airing a South Park episode that poked fun at the Islamic obsession, not just with observing its own blackout of Mohamed’s image, but with forcing everyone else in the world to abide by that same religious mandate.  (As an aside, this obsession, while it has a long history in Islam, has never been universally observed.  There are significant numbers of Islam representations of Mohamed.  The current screaming mania is as much a manifestation of jihad as it is of a genuine religious impulse amongst the Islamists.)

So what we have here is a company that self-censored, but still ended up on the receiving end of a bomb.  Viacom’s dhimmi behavior was inadequate to placate the Islamic radicals.  Unlike past totalitarian regimes, which accepted conforming behavior as adequate to deflect the thought police, the new Islamic regime wants to ensure that we don’t even have the thoughts anymore.  Just like little Anthony, Islamists want to make sure that, when it comes to their faith and their prophet, we “had best think only good thoughts.” Entertaining the possibility of any other ideas relative to Islam is likely to be deadly.

In another era, of course, an era that hasn’t been bleached of strength by the PC police, by identity politics, and by increasing statism (and, therefore, decreasing individualism), Americans would have given the Islamists the one-fingered salute they deserve.  Historically, when America, with its size, strength and freedoms, stood up to tyranny, America won.  But we no longer can boast those virtues.

Sure we’re big, but we’re not a strong melting pot.  Instead, we’re a fractious “salad bowl” (the politically correct metaphor for an identity riven nation).

Yes, we’re strong, but we’re weakening all the time, as we give away our energy independence, our economic power, and our weapons.

And lastly, we’re increasingly less free as we willingly hand our lives and our thoughts over to the statists.  As the good people of New Orleans demonstrated in Hurricane Katrina’s wake, when you consign yourself entirely to government care, your ability to care for yourself (and the courage such care requires) rapidly atrophies.

Put simply:  we don’t have the moral or physical strength any more, as a citizenry, to take a stand against threats to our fundamental freedoms.  TV shows will be ever more bland and careful.  Newspapers, echoing the BBC, may well start proactively appending “pbuh” to stories the reference Mohamed.  And ordinary citizens, increasingly cowed by accusations of “isms” (e.g., racism) and phobias (e.g., Islamophobia), will not only keep their mouths shut, but will also keep their thoughts pure.

Welcome to the new American Twilight Zone.

Lowering the bar on incitements to violence *UPDATED*

Unless you’ve been visiting some other planet somewhere in the universe, you already know about Comedy Central’s South Park debacle.  That’s the one, of course, that saw Comedy Central, the oh-so-hip-and-edgy (meaning often offensive) television station brutally censoring a South Park episode that implied that Mohamed was walking around wearing a bear suit — when it turned out to have been Santa in the suit all along.

Comedy Central made this censorship decision when a New York Muslim suggested that airing the show as written might result in a Theo Van Gogh moment.  That would mean that someone associated with the show would soon be appearing on the streets of New York with multiple stab wounds, a partially severed head, and a wildly hostile-to-Western-culture letter impaled on his chest.

There are a couple of points I want to make about this whole embarrassing debacle — embarrassing for Comedy Central, which shows that it’s offensive only when it’s safe; and a debacle, because it’s one more nail in the coffin of the free speech that has always been an integral part of America’s political and social culture.

My first point riffs off something David Hazony said in a Commentary blog post about the South Park episode (emphasis mine):

The core of liberal society is the belief that every new thought, every iconoclasm, every “dangerous” idea, can be uttered somewhere, by someone, as long as it doesn’t openly incite violence — and that every sacred cow is ultimately just a cow.

(I urge you to read the whole post, but the above sentence is the one that intrigued me.)

In the old days, the notion of incitement to violence examined whether the speaker literally incited violence.  For example, the speaker might say to the crowd “Kill the President” or “Kill the Congress person” or “Kill all the meter maids” or something equally incendiary.  The threat of violence wasn’t implicit in the speech; it was explicit.  No civilized society could countenance speech that simply and directly inflamed blood lust.  We in America have always been willing to trade in the world of ideas, but the civil contract demands that we stop short of demanding someone’s head on a pike.

We’ve now entered a brave new world that redefines “incitement to violence” away from its traditional meaning of explicit demands for blood, death or revolution.  Now, “incitement to violence” includes speech or images that hurt someone’s feelings or offend their sensibilities.  As a society, we used to say that it was just tough if someone’s sensitivities were roughed up by speech that falls far short of calling for that person’s (or someone else’s) blood.  We recognized that our civil contract — our constitutional contract — requires for its health resilient people who can deal with hurt feelings.

Now, however, we see our media and political outlets repeatedly defining as incitement speech that lacks any calls for violence but that merely makes the crazy man angry.  Where we would once police the crazy man, we now police ourselves.  Everything we say must be run through the filter of “will it make the crazy man angry?”

Except of course, we’re not talking about any random crazy man.  We’re talking about the sharia-obsessed Muslim crazy man.  And by making that man — that sharia man — the standard by which incitement must be judged, we’re veering sharply away from a constitutional standard of free speech, and placing ourselves squarely within that man’s sharia code.  Which really means that the second American Revolution, the one that sees us forever part ways with our current system of government, will begin, and end, not with flaring muskets and brave midnight battles, but with a whimper and a bowed head.

What’s even worse (I’m at my second point, now), is that we’re out-sharia-ing sharia, and caving, not to the demands of the moderates, but to the extremists.  (Frankly, we’ve become such a PC, identity-politics obsessed culture that we’d cave to moderates too if we felt it would spare the feelings of someone defined as a victim in the PC lexicon.)  The wholesale ban on any Mohamed images whatsoever is an extremist ban.  Take for example this truly beautiful medieval painting, which I got from a pre-911 book:

babymohammed0002

Isn’t that exquisite (despite the scanning flaws arising from the picture’s spread across two pages)?

Not only is it beautiful, it’s also a picture of Mohamed.  The swaddled little baby in the far left corner, with his face fully revealed, cradled in the arms of two loving angels, is Mohamed himself.  Some medieval Muslim, inspired by Christian iconography surrounding the birth of Christ, painted this reverential scene of Mohamed’s birth.

Admittedly, the above painting seems to be a rarity.  Other medieval Muslims painted Mohamed too, but they carefully veiled his face, to avoid something that could be considered a blasphemous or inaccurate image.  (Considering that there are no contemporary images of Mohamed, just as there are no contemporary images of Jesus Christ, the fact is that all images are inaccurate, reflecting the artist’s faith and skill, rather than a carefully limned image of known features.)  The medieval era, therefore, produced myriad pictures, such as this one, portraying Mohamed’s marriage to one of his wives:

bridegroommohammed0001

Mohamed, on the left, has a veil neatly drawn across his face.  The artist has reverentially drawn a scene without exposing himself to the inevitable risk of erroneously portraying the prophet’s face.  Incidentally, if you’re really thinking this through, as the radicals seem not to have done, you might conclude that, although a bear costume isn’t a neat, curtain-like little veil, the effect is identical:  Mohamed is hidden from view.

All of the above, of course, is art historian persnickety-ness.  The real issue is that fact that we, a free society that has never let government dictate to us the terms of our religious worship, are meekly allowing a religion to which we do not subscribe to dictate the terms of our social, political, artistic, ideological and intellectual behavior.  The proscription against potentially blasphemous images of Mohamed should apply only to Muslims.  The fact that Muslims wish to apply it to all of us tells us volumes about their jihad mentality (a world at war, with a winning Islam and a losing everyone else) and our self-abasing victim approach to those chest-thumpers in the Islamist camp who want to make now the time, and this the place, for their world conquest.

Sadly, Comedy Central isn’t an anomaly.  Instead, it seems to be a harbinger of things to come.  It’s conduct is the thin of edge of the wedge when it comes to a cultural decision to give in and, by giving in, give away the constitutional freedoms that generations of our forebearers fought bravely to defend.

UPDATE:  A friend reminded me that Zombie created a full post with exquisite Islamic iconography showing Mohamed’s face.  Please check it out, as the images are better than anything I’ve included here.

Two unions spend $319.2 million over 10 years to affect California political process

Here’s a list of the biggest spenders in California politics for the past decade:

These 15 groups spent more than a combined $1 billion over the past 10 years to influence public policy:

– California Teachers Association: $211.8 million

– California State Council of Service Employees: $107.4 million

– Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America: $104.9 million

– Morongo Band of Mission Indians: $83.6 million

– Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians: $69.2 million

– Pacific Gas & Electric Co.: $69.2 million

– Chevron Corp.: $66.2 million

– AT&T Inc.: $59.6 million

– Philip Morris USA Inc.: $50.7 million

– Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians: $49 million

– Southern California Edison: $43.4 million

– California Hospital Association: $43 million

– California Chamber of Commerce: $39 million

– Western States Petroleum Association: $35.2 million

– Aera Energy LLC: $34.6 million

Source: California Fair Political Practices Commission

What’s striking is that the Teachers’ Union outspent the next biggest spender by almost two to one — and the next biggest spender is also a union.  The Chron, incidentally, tried to make it sound as if the union spending, while at the top, was indistinguishable from the trailing corporate spending:

While the powerful teachers union topped the spending list and the California State Council of Service Employees – which lobbies on behalf of public employees represented by SEIU labor chapters – came in second, at $107 million, business wasn’t far behind. Six corporations funneled nearly $324 million into the political process, including $69.2 million spent by Pacific Gas & Electric Co., $66.2 million by Chevron Corp. and $59.6 million by AT&T Inc.

In fact, on a per corporation basis, corporations were far behind unions, and, collectively, they lagged behind casinos too.  Here are the numbers:  Two unions spent $319.2 million to affect the political process.  Three Indian gambling groups spent $201.8 million to affect the political process.  Three government regulated utilities spent $172.2 million to affect the political process.  And where do the remaining corporate entities come in?  At $373.6 million, which sounds like a lot until you realize its divided between seven corporations, for an average of $53 million per entity over ten years — versus the unions’ average of $159 million per entity over ten years.  So just who is really affecting the political process?

By the way, do you want to know one of the ways in which the Teachers’ Union spent that money?

For example, the California Teachers Association, which represents 330,000 public school teachers in the state, spent $26 million to defeat a school voucher system in 2000 and another $50 million to kill three other ballot measures.

It makes more laughable than ever the Democrats’ hysterical attack on the Supreme Court for making the way clearer for corporate voices to speak.  The fact is, corporations are infinitely more representative of America’s varied voices than are the huge blocks of unions, all of which are aimed at consolidating vast amounts of political power under “progressive” control.

Thursday quick picks *UPDATED*

I’m working on a post, but thought you all would find this interesting in the meantime:

From AJ Strata, something that’s not just interesting, but is also terrifying:  the terrorists are out there and, having gotten the measure of our new president and his administration, they are massing for war.

If you needed a reminder that today’s progressives are warmed over versions of yesterday’s fascists, Rhymes with Right traces the history of the despicable anti-free speech law Obama is now praising in his support for fascists.

Here’s another one of those matched sets I like so much:  An article about the violent and sordid history of yet another Chicago Democratic pol (h/t Danny Lemieux) and Michael Barone’s optimistic prediction for Republicans based upon the Illinois primaries. (Should I remind you here that Obama selected and emerged from this Chicago political cesspool?)

And lastly, an enjoyable 3 minute video about education and young minds.

Telling a lie with a straight face is an art.  Telling nine lies about George Bush in three paragraphs is a Democratic art.  Watch Randall Hoven destroy those lies.  The only sad thing is that most of the people who read the lies won’t be reading Hoven later.

UPDATED:  I love a good mystery, but what happened to Jim Treacher is too unpleasant to be counted as good.  He was cross a street on a “walk” light, got hit by a speeding SUV driver that then left him lying in the street, broke his knee, got a ticket from the D.C. cops for jaywalking, and got told by witnesses that the SUV looked like a Secret Service vehicle.  Just what is going on here?  To mangle Shakespeare, “Something is rotten in the District of Columbia.”  (Here’s Jim’s own account of what happened.)

Alan Grayson tries to punish political speech with 5 years in federal prison

Alan Grayson, last heard of when he accused Republicans of backing a health care plan that told sick people to die, is at it again:

Not everyone thinks imitation is the best form of flattery.

In fact, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando took such offense at a parody website aimed at unseating him that the freshman Democrat has asked that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder investigate the Lake County activist who started the anti-Grayson website “mycongressmanisnuts.com.”

Specifically, Grayson accuses Republican activist Angie Langley of lying to federal elections. His four-page complaint highlights the fact that the Clermont resident lives outside his district, but that Langley still uses the term “my” in “mycongressmanisnuts.com.”

“Ms. Langley has deliberately masqueraded as a constituent of mine, in order to try to create the false appearance that she speaks for constituents who don’t support me,” writes Grayson. “[She] has chosen a name for her committee that is utterly tasteless and juvenile.”

Grayson’s office did not respond with comment other than to confirm the letter exists — including its request that Langley be fined and “imprisoned for five years.”

You can read the rest here, and learn how Angie was riffing off of Grayson’s own website, and how she was trying to raise funds to oppose him in the next election.

Lincoln said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”  With Grayson, if you substitute “paranoid aggressor who doesn’t understand the First Amendment” in place of the word “fool,” you’ve pretty much nailed the situation.

Hat tip:  Sadie

The march of the thought police

You remember Prop. 8, don’t you?  That was the successful California ballot initiative that said that, in America, marriage is between a man and a woman.  Immediately after November 4, gay rights activists sued.  So far, the courts are being helpful.  A court in the Northern District of California just ordered the Prop. 8 backers to turn over all their documents so that the gay rights activists can see whether there’s any anti-gay basis in the documents:

A federal judge said sponsors of California’s ban on same-sex marriage may not delay in handing over campaign strategy documents to gay-rights groups that are looking for evidence of anti gay bias as they try to overturn the measure.

The sponsors had sought to keep the documents while challenging the order to turn them over in an appeals court.

But in a ruling late Friday, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco said backers of Proposition 8 had failed to show that disclosing internal memos and e-mails would violate their freedom of speech or subject them to harassment.

He said they had refused to identify any documents that needed special protection and noted that he could order their opponents to keep any sensitive material confidential.

“It simply does not appear likely that (Prop. 8′s) proponents will prevail on the merits of their appeal,” Walker said.

He said he doubts that a federal appeals court even has jurisdiction to consider the dispute at this early stage of the case.

[snip]

The measure’s sponsors, a conservative religious coalition called Protect Marriage, said voters were entitled to reaffirm the traditional definition of marriage and that the organizers’ alleged motives were irrelevant.

I suspect that every document will be redolent of anti-gay bias.  After all, if one takes the stand, as the activists do, that it’s anti-gay to want to limit marriage to the western tradition of one man and one woman, every document that strategizes about ways to encourage traditional marriage is, by definition, homophobic.

If you’d like a glimpse into what happens when the government seeks to control, not only what we do but what we think, this story out of Britain gives you the answer:

After witnessing a gay pride march, committed Christian Pauline Howe wrote to the council to complain that the event had been allowed to go ahead.

But instead of a simple acknowledgement, she received a letter warning her she might be guilty of a hate crime and that the matter had been passed to police.

Two officers later turned up at the frightened grandmother’s home and lectured her about her choice of words before telling her she would not be prosecuted.
Mrs Howe, 67, whose husband Peter is understood to be a Baptist minister, yesterday spoke of her shock at the visit and accused police of ‘ wasting resources’ on her case rather than fighting crime.

‘I’ve never been in any kind of trouble before so I was stunned to have two police officers knocking at my door,’ she said.

‘Their presence in my home made me feel threatened. It was a very unpleasant experience.

‘The officers told me that my letter was thought to be an intention of hate but I was expressing views as a Christian.’

Interestingly, even a gay rights group in Britain is worried that the government is going too far (which echoes an earlier report I found in which a Muslim rights group also protested the government’s heavy-handedness):

And homosexual equality pressure group Stonewall has branded the authorities’ response ‘ disproportionate’.

All of this is a reminder that, once government takes over “rights,” the whole concept of rights basically vanishes.  Government control and “rights” are pretty much antithetical to each other.

Orwell was amazingly prescient. For so long it seemed silly that he’d set his nightmare story of complete totalitarianism in Britain which was then, despite a Labour government, one of the freer countries in the world. He must have glimpsed something in his nation’s character.

(This story of the White House inveigling kids to a fair and then giving them heavy-handed lectures about diet somehow fits in perfectly with the above theme, doesn’t it?  H/t:  Sadie.)

AP catches up with story about WH attempt to exclude Fox from the news cycle — and the nutroots respond accordingly

Twenty-four hours after the fact, the AP finally figured out that, maybe, just maybe, it’s worth reporting that the White House tried to freeze out a news organization that challenges it, and was stopped only because other news organizations realized that, if they let this one pass, they would forever be barred from voicing any hint of criticism of the White House.  While they may not now be able to imagine criticizing their God, they’re not so stupid that they wish to foreclose the possibility.  I’ve already praised them for their wise decision in my earlier post on the subject.  What I wanted to run here were some of the comments I saw at the San Francisco Chronicle, which has published the AP story at its website.

Just as an aside, its interesting that the AP chose to assign this story, not to a political writer, but to their television reporter.  Talk about reluctantly mentioning that your idol has feet of clay.  But anyway, here are some of the comments:

I can’t stand Faux, errr, Fox News, and I do like our president, but the White House better get it together.

In this country, we have freedom of the press and their access to our elected officials is of paramount importance.

***

Fox is a well funded mirror opposite of the Worker’s World. Half-truths, propaganda, and psy-ops. They should get the same “respect” and “certification” that the communist propaganda rags get: none.

***

This is childish behavior… you don’t like me, Fox, so you can’t play with me and my friends! It’s stupid, and only draws needless attention to Fox News.

***

The WH only needs to make itself available to reputable news outlets and not the Republican’s Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda :Fox.

***

Dude, get with the freedom of speech thing! When it benefits you, you typical dweebs alway cry this and that. Then when people ask a question you don’t like, you want to silence them like passing a law. The city of SF actually presented a law regarding the silencing of opposition from the media, but so much outcry happened even the board of stupidvisors relented. Why are idiots like you so afraid of being asked a pertinent question????

***

The biggest problem I have with Fox News (aside from the relentless stream of hateful invective and hysterical fearmongering) is that they continually present misleading and/or demonstrably false information (otherwise known as lies) as if it were true, wrapped up in the packaging of “news”.
This is highly unethical, it encourages confusion and misunderstanding amongst their audience, and I don’t even think it should be legal, much less profitable.

***

Is Fox News a news organization? Or would it better be called Fox Propaganda?

***

And we know how “fair and balanced” the MSM are:

Campaign donations, 2008
$297,187 was given by people who identified their occupation as “journalist”

$22,076 from 28 people to Republicans.
$275,111 from 312 people to Democrats.

http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?newest=1&type=occ&occ=journalist&search=Search

***

Why back down? Just exclude Faux News. They aren’t journalists, they are far right Republicans.

***

Everybody knows that 99% of Fox News is not news. It’s radical right wing Republican religious nut opinion and propaganda. And, it’s 100% anti-Democrat and anti-Obama. The hacks at Fox are just squawking because somebody finally called them on it. Those nut jobs are the face of the Republican party, and the very reason that only about 20% of Americans identify themselves as Republicans.

What’s so fascinating about those of the above comments that support the White House freeze-out is their absolute disdain for the notion of a free press — meaning free from government interference, control and censorship (and barring a news station from a press event is a form of censorship).  It occurs to none of them that it’s the marketplace of ideas, not the government (and certainly not the White House) that decides what’s news and what’s not.  Like the White House, they fear Fox and they want to destroy it.

I have to admit that I never watch the news on TV (I never get the chance), but I’m inclined to do so now, if only to make a point.  Or better, because watching TV at home is a very silent point, perhaps I’ll go over to the Fox website and click on every single ad, to show that Fox gets the business.