Journalism Dean: “There are limits to free speech”

**Posted by Phineas

freespeech

It’s a measure of how craven and corrupt our political culture has become that even the Dean of a journalism school in a nation founded on free speech and freedom of the press should say “there are limits, however:”

Charlie Hebdo has gone too far.

In its first publication following the Jan. 7 attack on its Paris office, in which two Muslim gunmen massacred 12 people, the once little-known French satirical news weekly crossed the line that separates free speech from toxic talk.

Charlie Hebdo’s latest depiction of the prophet Mohammed — a repeat of the very action that is thought to have sparked the murderous attack on its office — predictably has given rise to widespread violence in nations with large Muslim populations. Its irreverence of Mohammed once moved the French tabloid to portray him naked in a pornographic pose. In another caricature, it showed Mohammed being beheaded by a member of the Islamic State.

While free speech is one of democracy’s most important pillars, it has its limits.

So says DeWayne Wickham, Dean of the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Wayne State University. In a very limited sense, he’s right: I cannot go yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater (1), for example (2). Nor can I incite to violence by, for example, standing before a crowd and telling them to go now and beat up a certain person or persons.

But that’s it. All other political speech is within bounds, regardless of whom it offends. You cannot have a free society unless the it includes the right to freely criticize those in authority — and not just criticize, but to satirize and mock, too. If I as a Catholic want to question Original Sin and the need for Divine Grace, or that Jesus was not Divine until adopted by God, then the Church might well denounce me as a heretic and excommunicate me, but the law cannot punish me for my beliefs, nor should I fear physical violence. If I want to be truly outrageous and place the Crucifix in a beaker of urine, I would be a jackass, but I still should not have to fear either legal sanction nor physical violence.

And the same is true of any religion. If I want to question Muhammad’s status as a prophet, or even if he existed at all; if I want to argue that his earliest biography shows he was a bandit, a warlord, and a torturer; and if I want to criticize Sharia, Islam’s divine law, for calling for the execution of homosexuals, that is my right as a free man — even if I want to draw questionably funny satirical cartoons.

This is the right of any human being and well-within the “limits” of free speech.

Let’s be honest. It’s not a regard for the proper limits of free speech that motivates Mr. Wickham. If he or one of his students offended some Amish who then complained, I’m willing to bet he’d be on his soapbox screaming about “free speech” and “freedom of the press.”

And that leads us to the truth. Amish might shun you. Catholics won’t invite you to Bingo Night. A Buddhist would probably just decide you’re an annoying illusion and don’t really exist.

But all too many Muslims would be quite willing to kill you for insulting their Muhammad. Just ask the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, or Theo van Gogh.

The limit to Dean Wickham’s freedom of speech is his fear of punishment, and thus he is not free at all.

via Michael Walsh

PS: It’s great to see ST back in business. :)

Footnote:
(1) Popehat argues there are serious flaws with that particular justification for censorship.
(2) When it’s not true, that is.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

(Video) Who are the real racists: liberals or conservatives?

**Posted by Phineas

Liberal tolerance racist

If you’re a conservative, or just someone who thinks everyone should be treated equally, you’ve probably been called a racist at one point or another. And if, like most people, you’re a decent person, you’ve probably been taken aback and left wondering if maybe, subconsciously, you did hold beliefs and attitudes that were racist.

Stop wondering. You’re not. In fact, as Derryck Green of Project 21 explains in this Prager University video, it’s the American Left that harbors the racist attitudes, rooted in the assumption that Blacks just can’t compete, the infamous “soft bigotry of low expectations:”

So, relax. You’re not racist for believing we can all be held to the same standards. Far from it.

via Legal Insurrection

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Respect: Canadian MPs fashioned spears to fight off jihadist gunman

flag_canadian_maple_leaf
Apparently House of Commons Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers wasn’t the only badass on Parliament Hill that day. Conservative MPs taking shelter in a caucus room while a Muslim gunman stalked the halls of parliament were determined to fight for their lives:

After they heard gunfire outside their meeting room door Wednesday, members of Parliament snapped close to 15 flagpoles to make weapons.

Some positioned themselves on risers that flanked doors, ready to attack an assailant.

“There were 15 flags up at caucus and all but two were taken down,” one MP recalled.

“These guys were up there holding these spears ready to impale anyone who came in,” the source said.

“It was that or get mowed down,” the member of Parliament said of the threat posed by a gunman who was ultimately shot dead by Parliament Hill security.

The article also reports that Prime Minister Harper was “whisked” into a closet where he hid for about 15 minutes. But, before anyone thinks harshly of him, remember that he was the most important person in Canada, the head of its government, and his safety was his security detail’s responsibility. Just as President Bush’s safety was a top priority on 9/11, thus forcing a delay in his return to Washington, it would have been gravely irresponsible of him to place himself at risk by joining those manning the barricade, given his responsibilities to the nation.

That said, hats off to the MPs willing to lay their lives on the line. Let no one ever say Canadians are wimps.

via Instapundit

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Gwyneth Paltrow: useful idiot for Liberal Fascism

**Posted by Phineas

"Ready for dictatorship."

“Ready for dictatorship.”

So, yesterday President Obama screwed up traffic here in Los Angeles so he could attend a(nother) fund-raiser at the California ATM, hobnobbing over $1,000 a plate meals with the Hollywood glitterati  at the home of actress and Obama fan-girl Gwyneth Paltrow. As Politico reports, her introduction of the President was cringe-worthy on several levels:

Gwyneth Paltrow wants President Barack Obama to know: she’s just like everyone else.

She makes $16 million per movie, sure, but that doesn’t mean that she’s not worried about Obama getting equal pay legislation through Congress.

At a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee held at her house in Brentwood Thursday evening, she called the issue “very important to me as a working mother.”

In front of a crowd that included fellow actors Julia Roberts (who took her picture in front of the presidential limo on her way out) and Bradley Whitford (that’s Josh Lyman from “The West Wing”), Paltrow told Obama she is “one of your biggest fans, if not the biggest.”

Reminding Obama that she hosted an expat fundraiser for him in London when she was living there, Paltrow described Obama as a president who would be studied for generations, and a role model for everyone of this generation.

“It would be wonderful if we were able to give this man all of the power that he needs to pass the things that he needs to pass,” she told the crowd.

Like I said yesterday on Twitter:

Because we all know “working moms” who struggle with making at least $16,000,000 per year, live in huge mansions in Brentwood and Bel Air, and have to get by with only a few dozen maids, nannies, groundskeepers, and cooks. Not to mention personal assistants.

Life must be hell for poor Gwyneth.

But that was nothing compared to the second highlighted statement, in which the “working mother” wishes Obama had absolute power. She yearns not for a constitutional chief executive, whose job is to enforce the laws Congress passes in an evenhanded manner. Nope, what she wants is a king, a caliph, an emperor, a dictator… a fuhrer.

Yeah, I went there. I’m not accusing Paltrow of consciously (1) being a fascist, liberal or otherwise; I don’t believe she’s bright enough or cares to really understand or care about such things. But she makes it clear that fascist leadership, in which all power is vested in a Leader who embodies the will of the nation and knows what’s best for it, is what she wants. Democracy is just too messy, and there are too many unenlightened people pushing their own wrongheaded agendas, in spite of what Gwyneth knows to be right. And so we need to get rid of it and just give Obama all the power he needs, because Gwyneth is sure Barack will only do good with it, progressive superhero that he is.

No, she’s not a liberal fascist. She’s just a useful idiot. A beautiful, smiling, and vapid useful idiot.

Trouble is, there are so many like her in our cultural elites.

RELATED: Other posts in Cult of Personality.

PS: Have a look at this photo of Paltrow staring worshipfully at the man who should have all the power he needs.

PPS: Oh, and here is how she finished her introduction of Him …er… him:‘Then turning over the microphone, she said, “you’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly.”  You may now barf.

PPPS: Speaking of liberal fascism, you need to read… well, “Liberal Fascism.” Trust me, it’s an eye-opener.

Footnote:
(1) There’s only one thing she’s conscious of.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Worst Attorney General ever resigns

**Posted by Phineas

"I am not a crook!!"

Go away.

Okay, maybe he’s in a tie with Nixon’s John Mitchell and Wilson’s A. Mitchell Palmer, but Eric Holder is resigning.

Attorney General Eric Holder — the first African-American to be the nation’s top cop — will announce later today that he is resigning, a Justice Department official told ABC News.

The announcement comes after nearly six years at the helm of the department that were marked by both highs and lows for a man who came in to revamp what many considered a demoralized and scandal-plagued institution.

Under Holder’s leadership, the Justice Department saw “historic gains in the areas of criminal justice reform and civil rights enforcement,” particularly on the issues of gay rights, sentencing reform and voting rights, and in the coming Holder is expected to impose new curbs on racial profiling in law enforcement, a department official told ABC News.

In a recent interview with ABC News’ Pierre Thomas, Holder described his time leading the Justice Department as “demanding” but “the honor of my professional life,” serving the American people.

“I hope I’ve done a good job,” he said. “I’ve certainly tried to do as good a job as I can. There are sacrifices that I’ve had to make, that my family has had to make.”

You want to know what a good job he’s done? Look at this:

What about these children, Mr. President?

Good job, Eric.

That’s the blood of Mexican teens killed at a party by cartel gunmen wielding weapons that Eric Holder Department of Justice knowingly allowed to be bought illegally in the US and be taken to Mexico as part of Operation Fast and Furious. (See also) That’s what Eric Holder “sacrificed” for.

Hell of a legacy, man.

It’s a shame I don’t have time to write about this today; Holder just makes me sick, and I would love to vent. For now, though, If you want to know more of what I think about this corrupt, racialist radical, check out my posts tagged “Eric Holder.” Also, there’s an excellent recent book about Holder’s role as Obama’s enforcer.

By all rights he should walk out of his office and into a jail cell.

UPDATE: More on Holder from J. Christian Adams, a former DoJ elections attorney — Goodbye and Good Riddance:

What can be said about Eric Holder’s six years as attorney general that PJ Media hasn’t already said? The news that Holder is going to resign should be bittersweet to anyone who cares about racial equality and the rule of law. The damage he has already done to the country leaves a turbulent wake that is ill-matched to the financial reward awaiting him at a shameless and large Washington, D.C., law firm.

Our country is more polarized and more racially divided because of Eric Holder. He turned the power of the Justice Department into a racially motivated turnout machine for the Democratic Party. That was his job in this administration, and he did it well.

Be sure to read it all. Mr. Adams is also the author of the invaluable “Injustice.”

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#headdesk Kerry: global warming as great a threat as ISIS and ebola

**Posted by Phineas

We're doomed.

We’re doomed.

I have no words left, I think, to describe what a fatuous buffoon this man is, so I’ll let the Secretary of State of the United States speak for himself:

Secretary of State John Kerry said the threats posed by climate change should be addressed with as much “immediacy” as confronting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the Ebola outbreak.

During a meeting with foreign ministers on Sunday, Kerry said global warming is creating “climate refugees.”

“We see people fighting over water in some places. There are huge challenges to food security and challenges to the ecosystem, our fisheries and … the acidification of the ocean is a challenge for all of us,” Kerry said.

“And when you accrue all of this, while we are confronting ISIL and we are confronting terrorism and we are confronting Ebola and other things, those are immediate,” he added, using an alternate acronym for the terrorist group.

“This also has an immediacy that people need to come to understand, but it has even greater longer-term consequences that can cost hundreds of billions, trillions of dollars, lives, and the security of the world,” Kerry continued.

Let’s see. Ebola is a hideous hemorrhagic disease that has already killed thousands in West Africa, may well spread further –and beyond Africa– and could become a nightmare if somehow it mutates into an airborne form.

And then we have ISIS/ISIL/The Islamic State, a more virulent form of al Qaeda that has claimed the mantle of the defunct caliphate and a divine mission to force Islam and sharia law on the rest of the world. It has killed thousands of people –men, women, and children– by shooting, beheading, crucifixion, and God knows how else. It has declared that Yazidis must convert or die. It has oppressed, killed, and stolen the property of Christians and Muslims of the “wrong sort.” It has sold women into sex slavery. It has promised to wage war on the West. (All of this is in accordance with Islamic law, btw.) If it obtains nuclear or biological weapons, there is no doubt they will use them wherever they can be deployed, inside or outside the Middle East.

Oh, and don’t forget a newly aggressive Russia, slowly dismembering Ukraine and now rattling sabers at NATO members in Eastern Europe, raising the specter of a continental war that would inevitably involve us.

But Secretary of State Kerry thinks the imaginary monster under the bed, human-caused catastrophic warming that leads to devastating climate change, is as great a threat. A bogeyman warming that has not occurred for over 215 months. Anthropogenic climate change that exists only in computer models that have trouble accurately modeling the past. (1)

Is it any wonder our (former?) allies in the Middle East have written him off as useless? This guy makes Thurston Howell III look like Klemens von Metternich.

We have over two years left of this car-clown administration. I’d better stock up on the Tylenol.

Footnote:
(1) Of course, the Earth’s climate is a dynamic, changing system. A series of natural cycles. It’s the misuse of science to perpetrate a huge fraud, man-caused catastrophic climate change, that I’m objecting to.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

California school district buys $14,000 espresso maker to save jobs. Or something.

**Posted by Phineas

"For the children?"

“For the children?”

No, really.

The break room coffee machine is a staple of many a workplace. Usually though, it tends to fall on the “economical” or “value” side of the java spectrum.

But not in Castro Valley, California, where officials with the Castro Valley Unified School District are taking fire for the purchase of a $14,000 espresso maker.

The outrage was immediate. According to KPIX News in San Francisco, the school board’s facebook page was flooded with angry comments when word of the pricey espresso maker – paid for with taxpayer money – got out.

According to a school board official, buying the espresso machine was “an opportunity” to keep a part-time child nutritionist on staff. If you can’t see that, you must hate the children.

Though how a $14,000 espresso maker for the staff and child nutrition go together is a bit baffling. When I was in fourth grade, we were served chocolate milk, not a double shot.

And for an additional fourteen grand per year, maybe they could have made that nutritionist full-time? Or used it to… Oh, I don’t know. Buy new textbooks and school supplies for the kids?

Silly me. I guess a Mr. Coffee is just too déclassé for the Castro Valley school board.

Can’t wait to see the board members justify this to the voters.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

9-11: George W. Bush and his bullhorn

**Posted by Phineas

Lots of people have written today about that terrible morning: where they were, what they remember, maybe honoring the victims or the many valiant heroes of the battle and its aftermath. I wondered what I would write. I decided that, rather than focus on the day itself, something others have done much more eloquently than I ever could, I wanted to share video of what has become one of my strongest memories from that time: the moment, when, three days later, George W. Bush stood amidst the smoldering ruins from which the dead were still being recovered and rallied a stunned and bloodied nation:

That was the day a man who won a disputed, contentious election truly became President of the United States of America, and I’ll forever be grateful for him.

Note: This is a re-posting, slightly updated, of something I wrote for the tenth anniversary; I think it’s a moment that needs recalling.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Benghazi: security contractors claim CIA delayed aid

**Posted by Phineas

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

Help delayed is help denied

Here we go again.

One of the enduring questions from the 9/11/12 massacre at the US consulate in Benghazi and the subsequent attack on a CIA annex there has been “Where was the cavalry?”, when we had forces available in the area that might have saved the ambassador and three others who died.

An investigation by the Republican-lead House Armed Services Committee determined that American forces in nearby countries could not have responded in time, though they blamed the White House for not being prepared. (As do I.) They also concluded that there was no stand-down order for the quick reaction force in Tripoli and that it could not have arrived in time to save lives.

Fair enough. But what about the CIA team in the “annex?” There had been earlier reports that a rescue force was delayed for roughly half-an-hour, before deciding to go on their own volition. Now, in an interview to air on Bret Baier’s “Special Report” tonight at 7 PST, three of the contractors at the annex who survived the battle have accused their boss of holding them back:

The security contractors — Kris (“Tanto”) Paronto, Mark (“Oz”) Geist, and John (“Tig”) Tiegen — spoke exclusively, and at length, to Fox News about what they saw and did that night. Baier, Fox News’ Chief Political Anchor, asked them about one of the most controversial questions arising from the events in Benghazi: Was help delayed?

Word of the attack on the diplomatic compound reached the CIA annex just after 9:30 p.m. Within five minutes, the security team at the annex was geared up for battle, and ready to move to the compound, a mile away.

“Five minutes, we’re ready,” said Paronto, a former Army Ranger. “It was thumbs up, thumbs up, we’re ready to go.”

But the team was held back. According to the security operators, they were delayed from responding to the attack by the top CIA officer in Benghazi, whom they refer to only as “Bob.”

“It had probably been 15 minutes I think, and … I just said, ‘Hey, you know, we gotta– we need to get over there, we’re losing the initiative,’” said Tiegen. “And Bob just looks straight at me and said, ‘Stand down, you need to wait.’”

“We’re starting to get calls from the State Department guys saying, ‘Hey, we’re taking fire, we need you guys here, we need help,’” said Paronto.

After a delay of nearly 30 minutes, the security team headed to the besieged consulate without orders. They asked their CIA superiors to call for armed air support, which never came.

Now, looking back, the security team said they believed that if they had not been delayed for nearly half an hour, or if the air support had come, things might have turned out differently.

“Ambassador Stevens and Sean [Smith], yeah, they would still be alive, my gut is yes,” Paronto said. Tiegen concurred.

“I strongly believe if we’d left immediately, they’d still be alive today,” he added.

An unidentified “intelligence official” denied there was a stand down order, but these three swear those exact words were used to them: “stand down.” The question, if this account is true, is did “Bob” act on his own, or did he have instructions from above?

This is a question that needs answers.  We already have a special select committee investigating Benghazi, and the Chairman has said these new allegations will be part of that investigation.

The victims and their families deserve no less than the truth.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Another US journalist beheaded by ISIS

**Posted by Phineas

Murdered by ISIS

Murdered by ISIS

(Photo source)

The savages of the “Islamic State” have sent another message to the United States:

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit against the backdrop of an arid Syrian landscape, [Steven] Sotloff was threatened in that video with death unless the U.S. stopped airstrikes on the group in Iraq.

In the video distributed Tuesday and entitled “A Second Message to America,” Sotloff appears in a similar jumpsuit before he is beheaded by an Islamic State fighter.

As Bryan Preston of PJ Media points out, our leaders have once again been caught unaware. Maybe they’re still trying to figure out a strategy for dealing with medieval lunatics who are butchering Americans. If Obama and his team are having trouble doing that, let me offer a suggestion:

Hunt these swine down and kill every last one of them.

UPDATE: At the end of the video of Sotloff’s beheading, ISIS shows another captive, Briton David Cawthorne Haines. The implication is clear: unless the US stops its airstrikes, Mr. Haines will be slaughtered like James Foley and Mr. Sotloff.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)