LA Times op/ed writer argues “Innocence of Muslims” does not pass “free-speech test”


I rarely find myself at a loss for words, but this column pretty much gets me there. Excerpts:

While many 1st Amendment scholars defend the right of the filmmakers to produce this film, arguing that the ensuing violence was not sufficiently imminent, I spoke to several experts who said the trailer may well fall outside constitutional guarantees of free speech. “Based on my understanding of the events,” 1st Amendment authority Anthony Lewis said in an interview Thursday, “I think this meets the imminence standard.”

Finally, much 1st Amendment jurisprudence concerns speech explicitly advocating violence, such as calls to resist arrest, or videos explaining bomb-making techniques. But words don’t have to urge people to commit violence in order to be subject to limits, says Lewis. “If the result is violence, and that violence was intended, then it meets the standard.”

Indeed, Justice Holmes’ original example, shouting “fire” in a theater, is not a call to arms. Steve Klein, an outspoken anti-Islamic activist who said he helped with the film, told Al Jazeera television that it was “supposed to be provocative.” The egregiousness of its smears, the apparent deception of cast and crew as to its contents and the deliberate effort to raise its profile in the Arab world a week before 9/11 all suggest intentionality.

The point here is not to excuse the terrible acts perpetrated by committed extremists and others around the world in reaction to the video, or to condone physical violence as a response to words — any kind of words. The point is to emphasize that U.S. law makes a distinction between speech that is simply offensive and speech that is deliberately tailored to put lives and property at immediate risk. Especially in the heightened volatility of today’s Middle East, such provocation is certainly irresponsible — and reveals an ironic alliance of convenience between Christian extremists and the Islamist extremists they claim to hate.

Sarah Chayes, former special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is a resident associate at the Carnegie Endowment and a contributing writer to Opinion.

Professor William Jacobson:

Empowering the people who start fires to determine what we can and cannot say is how freedom of speech dies in this country.

We already are pretty far down that path.

Should we burn the Constitution now, or …?

Update – 7:30 PM: AllahPundit pwns Chayes. Read it all.

Dear President Obama: no, no, no, NO!!!


**Posted by Phineas

This had better just be a rumor:

The U.S. State Department is actively considering negotiations with the Egyptian government for the transfer of custody of Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as “the Blind Sheikh,” for humanitarian and health reasons, a source close to the the Obama administration told TheBlaze.

“Humanitarian reasons” my rear end! If they’re considering this, it’s because their whole foreign policy in the Middle East has blown up in their faces, and Abdel-Rahman’s release has been one of the Islamists’ demands for decades. Just weeks before the current crisis, Egypt’s President Morsi, himself a Brotherhood member, had been pressing for Abdel-Rahman’s release. They’re in a panic.

And who is “the Blind Sheikh?” He was the mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the jihad’s first attempt to bring those buildings down. Six people died in that attack, including a pregnant woman, and more were seriously injured. We were lucky only that the bomb makers underestimated how much explosive they would need. If anything, Abdel-Rahman should have been taken out and hanged.

And we’re negotiating for this savage’s release? Seriously??

According to the DoJ… “Nah, not happening:”

The Department of Justice, however, told TheBlaze that Rahman is serving a life sentence and is not considered for possible “release.” Previous calls to the State Department were referred to the Department of Justice and so far, the State Department has neither confirmed nor denied the report.

Well, that’s comforting. Not. Note that, while they said Abdel-Rahman was not eligible for release, they didn’t say a thing about not transferring him to Egyptian custody “for humanitarian reasons.” (Poor baby’s not been feeling well. I weep.) You can bet what’s left of your 401K that’s what they’re discussing.

But, it’s just a rumor, right? Hold on a minute:

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, who was the lead prosecutor in the Blind Sheikh case, told TheBlaze that he does not doubt the accuracy of the report, saying “there are very good reasons as to why it could be true.”

McCarthy explained that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has been calling for the release of the Blind Sheikh ever since he was elected earlier this year. He said it is a matter of “great importance” to the radical Islamists in Egypt and throughout the Middle East, adding that his transfer to Egypt would undoubtedly lead to the terrorist’s release.

“I think the plan has been to agree to the Blind Sheikh’s release but not to announce it or have it become public until after the election. That is consistent with Obama’s pattern of trying to mollify Islamists,” he added. “Obviously, they did not want this information to surface yet… but sometimes a situation can spin out of control.”

Given this administration is so quick to appease that it would make Neville Chamberlain blush, I find this rumor very credible, too. And that has my blood boiling.

No fan of Obama, but still skeptical, Allahpundit wonders what possible political advantage the White House could see in such a crap sandwich of a deal:

Just one question: What would Obama get out of it, assuming he followed through on this in a second term? His credibility on counterterrorism would be shattered instantly; all the GOP accusations of appeasement, which have failed to get traction against the guy who ordered Bin Laden taken out, would finally have a track to run on. After years of trying, the Dems have finally pulled even with the GOP on the question of which party is better on fighting terror; hard for me to believe O’s going to give that away in one fell swoop. Granted, a lame duck wouldn’t have to worry about his own reelection but he would have to worry about vulnerable Democrats in Congress, whom he’d need to achieve any of his second-term goals. And no, needless to say, “humanitarian and health reasons” won’t be enough to justify the release. That wouldn’t have flown even before Britain gave the Lockerbie bomber back to Libya, but after Megrahi lingered for years after doctors had given him six months to live, that all but ensured no western government will ever try that excuse again.

One problem: Obama doesn’t give a tinker’s cuss about the congressional Democrats. He never has. He’s already factored in a future Republican congress and plans to pursue his agenda through the regulatory powers of the presidency. What he wants is for this mess in the Islamic world to calm down, now, before the press can’t cover for him anymore. A deal with Morsi over Abdel-Rahman might just give him that, especially if he can hold off on the “transfer” until after the election.

You know, when he’ll have more flexibility.

Transferring Omar Abdel-Rahman to Egyptian (read: Muslim Brotherhood) custody would be the ultimate “briar patch” moment for Team Smart Power’s foreign policy, doing exactly what the jihadists want. Not only would it insult the Rule of Law, not only would it be a slap in the face to the victims and their survivors, it wouldn’t even do any good! It would be a craven, cowardly act of appeasement that would only lead to further demands and further American deaths, not peace, because they know they can get away with it.

Churchill once wrote of appeasement:

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile – hoping it will eat him last”

And the crocodile always comes back for more.

via Blue Crab Boulevard

SNEAKY AFTERTHOUGHT: What if the story is true, but someone in the government who still has a shred of decency left was rightfully appalled and leaked this to a friend, who leaked it to a friend, who told another friend who knew Glenn Beck, who was the first to break this? That would be a good way to put a lot of pressure on the administration to put down the stupid idea and back away. If so, well played. Well played.

RELATED: More at Roger’s Rules; Fausta calls it insane. Andy McCarthy has written the definitive book on the 1993 WTC bombing and the prosecution of the Blind Sheikh, called “Willful Blindness.”

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

BREAKING: Politician refreshingly honest on a topic – media, pundits rush to condemn


(NOTE: I’m working to fix the Tweet links in this post so that they show up as actual tweets. Thanks.)

Sigh. Via The Politico:

COSTA MESA, Calif. — Mitt Romney held a hastily arranged press conference here to engage in damage control hours after a video surfaced that showed him at a private May fundraiser describing 47 percent of the country as “dependent upon the government.”

The GOP nominee for president defended his remarks — first printed in the liberal magazine Mother Jones — while conceding they were not “elegantly stated.”

I am sure I can state it more clearly and effectively than I did in a setting like that,” he told reporters assembled quickly at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts before attending a fundraiser.

Romney said the video didn’t fully capture his views or his entire comments about personal responsibility and the role of government in society.

“I am talking about a political process of drawing people in my campaign. … My campaign is about helping people take more responsibility,” Romney said.

“This is ultimately a question about the direction of the country. Do you believe in a government-centered society that provides more and more benefits? Or do you believe instead in a free-enterprise society where people are able to pursue their dreams?”

Romney was responding to the furor surrounding the release of a surreptitiously taped video of him speaking at a closed-door, $50,000-a-person fundraiser describing 47 percent of voters as non-taxpayers so dependent on government services that they’re bound to vote for President Barack Obama in November.
“There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it,” Romney appears to be saying in the video.

On a related note, Mother Jones has released “more” video on Romney’s thoughts on the Palestinian/Israel issue, which Politico correctly points out doesn’t stray much from previous remarks he’s made in public.

Not surprisingly, Romney’s blunt honesty about the disturbing level of victimhood in America and increasing dependency on the state had elite pundits and our mainstream media rushing to ….. condemn.

It is a sad day for America when politicians, who we can’t rely on to tell the full truth the vast majority of the time, actually get real for a change and instead of being praised for it are instead vilified. This is the country we now live in. Railing against the cycle of dependency and being candid about what voters you can try to appeal to provokes this nonsensical lynch mob anti-candidness bull sh*t. This is a backlash we would NOT have seen pre-1960s, before the era in which liberals went full steam ahead with their plans to act in the permanent role of nanny to Americans who they falsely defined as perpetual “victims of society” and therefore “helpless.”

The welfare system as redefined by liberals in the 60s has had a disastrous impact on the black community in particular, which any honest politico (liberal or conservative) will tell you, but has also had a negative impact on other families as well. I’ve seen it in my extended family, and once I matured politically and moved beyond thinking Uncle Sam “owed” me or anyone else anything, I saw first hand the effects generational dependency can have on a family.

This is not me taking a cheap shot at lower income citizens. This is not me saying most people don’t want to work. This is me talking the dire reality of the situation, and it’s time more politicians and other public figures in positions of power and/or importance STOOD UP AND DID THE SAME. Or the cycle will continue to get worse and there will be no turning back. The political correctness on welfare has simply GOT TO STOP.

Perhaps nothing exemplified the mainstream media’s predictable reaction to Romney’s remarks than ABC Nightline’s Terry Moran, who I had a spirited exchange with on the issue last night on Twitter:







Here’s the real story on his claim that about GOP states and welfare (hat tip). Highly misleading, to say the least.

And then my patriotism was questioned:













Any questions as to how the rest of the mainstream media (and their allies in the pundit class and the prominent liberal blogs) will frame this issue as it pertains to Romney from here on out? There shouldn’t be.

Update – 8:14 PM: I was so honored to have my back and forth with Moran documented by Twitchy Media. :)