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Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

Here’s how a “living constitution” works

Posted by Richard on February 17, 2016

When it comes to protecting the rights of individuals, it doesn’t. Case in point: Great Britain. The British don’t have a written constitution, with fixed language and a Bill of Rights that explicitly denies the government the power to infringe on individual rights. Instead, they have what’s called an “uncodified constitution,” and its primary purpose seems to be to protect the “rights” of the nation’s legislators:

After the Glorious Revolution in 1688, the bedrock of the legislative British constitution has been described as the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, according to which the statutes passed by Parliament are the UK’s supreme and final source of law.[3] It follows that Parliament can change the constitution simply by passing new Acts of Parliament.

This is the American leftists’ wet dream.

The English Bill of Rights of 1689 is merely a statute enacted by Parliament, and its protection of free expression extends only to speech within Parliament. Thus Britons express thoughts that are disapproved of by their government at their peril:

British police have promised not to tolerate any speech that could cause offence on social media regarding Syrian migrants, after arresting a man for Facebook comments made about recent arrivals on his small Scottish Island.

The tiny Isle of Bute in the Firth of Clyde, which had a total population of just 6,498 in 2011, is expected to take in around 1,000 Syrian migrants, with 12 families already arriving since December last year (picture above).

However, commenting on the comparatively huge and sudden influx of Muslim immigrants online just became a very risky business for local residents.

Police have confirmed they have arrested a 41-year-old local man under the Communications Act, after receiving a report of a supposedly “offensive” comment made on Facebook regarding the migrants.

A police spokesman was unequivocal, that any harsh criticism of the Muslim influx would not be “tolerated”. …

Don’t feel too smugly superior to the Brits. Suppression of free speech is the norm on about half of American college campuses, and has been actively promoted by the Obama administration.

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Rep. Earnest Smith: no right to make fun of anyone

Posted by Richard on February 17, 2013

Did you know that the First Amendment to the Constitution doesn’t apply to satirical photoshopping of legislators? Neither did I. But Georgia state Rep. Earnest Smith thinks so (emphasis added):

A Georgia state lawmaker with an unconventional grasp of the First Amendment is backing a bill that would make lewd photoshopping a crime punishable by a $1,000 fine.

Rep. Earnest Smith pointed, as proof of the problem, to a picture of his head that was recently edited onto a pornstar’s body. That image was created by a blogger who used the image to mock Smith.

The Augusta-based legislator said he was not worried the bill would step on First Amendment rights.

“Everyone has a right to privacy,” he told FoxNews.com. “No one has a right to make fun of anyone. It’s not a First Amendment right.”

The lawmaker did not provide any specifics of the legislation when contacted by FoxNews.com. After being pressed to provide details, he said, “At this juncture, I am not at liberty to share anything with you. I don’t have to. If and when this bill passes we can revisit the issue and if I choose to give you details at that time I will, but until then I don’t have to tell you anything.”

Ah, the Pelosi argument: you can find out what’s in the bill after it passes.

Remember when Democrats defended the First Amendment against Republican attempts to limit it? Oh, OK … you’re not old enough to remember that. Well, take my word for it — the Democratic Party used to be the party of free speech. Really. I’m not making this up!

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Self-censorship

Posted by Richard on February 8, 2012

Nick Cohen writing in Literary Review:

The grand posture of writers in liberal democracies is that they are the moral equivalents of dissidents in repressive regimes. Loud-mouthed newspaper columnists claim to ‘speak truth to power’. Novelists, artists, playwrights and comedians announce their willingness to transgress boundaries. Their publishers look for controversy like boozers look for brawls because they know that few marketing strategies beat the claim that a courageous iconoclast is challenging establishments and shattering taboos.

To maintain the illusion that they are part of some kind of radical underground, intellectuals must practise a deceit. They can never admit to their audience that fear of violent reprisals, ostracism or crippling financial penalties keeps them away from subjects that ought to concern them – and their fellow citizens.

Although it is impossible to count the books authors have abandoned, radical Islam is probably the greatest cause of self-censorship in the West today. …

Read the whole thing. Cohen is mistaken in one respect, however. He states that:

… It is a mistake to think of repression as repression by the state alone. In much of the world it still is, but in Britain, America and most of continental Europe the age of globalisation has done its work, and it is privatised rather than state forces that threaten freedom of speech.

That may be true of the fear of having your throat slit by some random Islamofascist. But state forces are clearly at work in his other example, Britain’s egregious libel laws (which he correctly describes as “(c)ontrary to common law and natural justice”).

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SOPA/PIPA sponsors bailing

Posted by Richard on January 19, 2012

Support for HR 3261, the Stopping Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), which prove that technologically challenged legislators have no business regulating the Internet, is collapsing in the face of widespread public opposition, with 14 former cosponsors dropping their support. Americans for Limited Government issued a press release today in which its president, Bill Wilson, urged other lawmakers to drop their support (emphasis added):

“The American people have spoken, with the urging of popular websites like Wikipedia, through hundreds of thousands of emails and phone calls to members of Congress in opposition to a big government takeover of the Internet. It led to no less than 14 cosponsors of SOPA and PIPA to drop their support, eight in the Senate alone. Now it is time for other cosponsors to respond to the will of the American people as well.

“There simply is no constituency for legislation that, in the name of protecting copyright, institutionalizes a system of blocking entire websites, removing visibility from search engines, and targeting ad providers, all based merely on the accusation of intellectual property theft. Existing law already provides for the removal of copyrighted material from the Internet domestically, and dealing with foreign infringement requires diplomacy with relevant nations overseas, not a regime of censorship here at home.”

Under current law, if someone uploads copyrighted content to, say, YouTube or my blog, the copyright owner can demand that it be removed. That’s reasonable. The site owner can comply or dispute the copyright claim, in which case a court will determine who’s right. But under SOPA, a single unsubstantiated claim of copyright infringement would be sufficient for the government to shut down the entire site immediately, with no judicial review.

For more information about the bills, the imploding of support, and why such legislation simply isn’t necessary to protect copyright, see the long list of references attached to the ALG press release, and especially this NetRightDaily post. To tell your senators and representatives that you don’t want the government’s boot on the Internet, click the button below.

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Dire Straits censored in Canada

Posted by Richard on January 18, 2011

Dire Straits was one of the greatest rock bands of the 80s and 90s, and 1985's Grammy-winner "Money for Nothing" was their biggest hit. Mark Knopfler wrote it in an appliance store, capturing in its lyrics some of the phrases he heard an employee there utter while watching MTV. I prefer "Sultans of Swing," "Lady Writer," and "Skateaway," but there's no question that "Money for Nothing" is a great song.

Now, the Canadian government is censoring it for violating Canada's "human rights standards." Because someone complained. Because of this verse:

The little faggot with the earring and the makeup
Yeah buddy, that's his own hair
That little faggot got his own jet airplane
That little faggot he's a millionaire

At least one Canadian radio station has defied the ban, playing the song repeatedly for an hour. 

IMHO, anyone who's offended by "Money for Nothing" hasn't really listened to it or understood it. And is either an idiot or one of those "offense thieves" who takes offense where none was given. Here it is. Turn it up and enjoy. 


[YouTube link]

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The cyber-collectivist threat

Posted by Richard on July 23, 2010

I was vaguely aware that a group of radical leftists had formed a new organization named "Free Press." And I assumed that their goal was to put control of the flow of information back into the "proper" hands. That they wanted to silence me. Well, not me specifically; they've never heard of me (let's be honest, how many people have?). But everyone like me.

I was right. Adam Thierer has the gory details (emphasis added):

There are many battle fronts in the war for human freedom, but perhaps the least-appreciated of these is the battle over America's communications and media marketplace and whether free markets or government mandates will ultimately rule them. This battle takes on added importance since all other public policy debates depend upon an unfettered press and robust, independent channels of communication.

What many on the far Left have long understood, and many defenders of freedom have failed to appreciate, is that the battle for control of media and communications policy is fundamentally tied up with the broader war for control of our economy and society. "Instead of waiting for the revolution to happen, we learned that unless you make significant changes in the media, it will be vastly more difficult to have a revolution," argues the prolific Marxist media theorist Robert W. McChesney. "While the media is not the single most important issue in the world, it is one of the core issues that any successful Left project needs to integrate into its strategic program."

Normally we wouldn't need to pay attention to what unrepentant ‘60's radicals or neo-Marxist university professors think about media and communications policy. In this case, however, it is essential we pay attention. First, McChesney is right in one sense: history reveals that almost every successful effort to impose sweeping controls over an economy / society was accompanied by government efforts to control press and communication systems. If the State is going to have any luck gaining widespread and far-reaching control of an economy, gaining more control over "the Press" – which means all of us these days – becomes an essential part of the "strategic program" for control. Second, we need to pay attention to these radicals because McChesney and the group that he and John Nichols of The Nation co-founded – the insultingly misnamed Free Press – have given this fight new immediacy with their relentless agitation for media and communications policy "reform." And they are not the only ones.

Read the whole thing. Thierer is correct: control over the flow of information is critical to control over the people. And control over the people is what McChesney, Nichols, and their many friends and ideological allies in the current administration want. 

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Journalists and legal scholar agree: government should shut down Fox News

Posted by Richard on July 22, 2010

JournoList was a private email list of leftist news and opinion journalists started and run by the Washington Post's Ezra Klein. Klein shut it down (ostensibly) after the Dave Weigel scandal. Leaked JournoList emails revealed that Washington Post reporter Weigel, who covered the conservative movement, loathed conservatives and used his reporting to undermine and discredit them at every opportunity.

In recent days, additional JournoList archives have been leaked to the Daily Caller, and they contain some eyebrow-raising revelations: journalists plotting to cover up the Jeremiah Wright story and take steps to protect candidate Obama from negative news, arguing in favor of smearing some right-wing pundit ("Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares") as a racist in order to "raise the cost on the right of going after the left," and wanting to watch Rush Limbaugh die of a heart attack because "he deserves it." 

Any number of commentators have weighed in on this ongoing story, like John Fund, James Taranto, Greg Gutfeld, and Alexander Marlow. The latter focused on the latest Daily Caller story's "far-from-shocking revelation" that the JournoList folks really hate Fox News. The discussion of how to control or shut down Fox News, which included people from Time magazine, the Guardian, and the New Republic, is interesting. But the part that really struck me was this: 

Jonathan Zasloff, a law professor at UCLA, suggested that the federal government simply yank Fox off the air. “I hate to open this can of worms,” he wrote, “but is there any reason why the FCC couldn’t simply pull their broadcasting permit once it expires?”

Broadcasting permit?? Fox News is a cable network. It doesn't broadcast. So it doesn't have or need an FCC license (not permit). Even ABC, CBS, and NBC don't have FCC licenses, only their local affiliates do. Because the networks themselves don't broadcast over the "public airwaves," only their affiliates do. I'm stunned that an apparently respected professor at a purportedly prestigious law school doesn't know this.

(Of course, the situation could change if FCC chair Julius Genachowski's "net neutrality" scam becomes the camel's nose in the tent regarding FCC regulation of non-broadcast communications.)

I wondered how Prof. Zasloff came to be so incredibly ignorant. Well, according to UCLA Law School, this is how:

Jonathan M. Zasloff
Professor of Law
B.A. Yale, 1987
J.D. Yale, 1993
M.Phil. International Relations, Cambridge, 1988
M.A. History, Harvard, 1990
Ph.D. Harvard, 2000
UCLA Law faculty since 1998

Wow. I'm feeling smugly superior, and damned glad I was never intellectually crippled by an Ivy League education.

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Bowing to the Saudis

Posted by Richard on June 5, 2009

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann recalled the fuss a couple of months ago over whether President Obama bowed to King Abdullah (I think it's clear that he did, but judge for yourself) and argued that he's really bowing to the Saudis on his current Mideast trip: 

First, he is bypassing Israel. Visiting the Middle East and not going to Israel would be like touring North America and omitting a stop in the United States. It only makes sense if you interpret it as a deliberate slap in the face of Jerusalem and a statement to the Arab world that America's pro-Israeli policy is changing.

But as he goes to Saudi Arabia, the United States State Department, headed by Mrs. Hillary Clinton, has announced that it has accepted the ground rules for media coverage of the Obama visit to the royal family and its domain. Reporters will only be allowed to cover the actual meetings between the Saudis and Obama and will not be permitted to visit the rest of the country or report on anything else they see during the trip. Those reporters who violate these terms are subject to arrest and imprisonment by the Saudi government!!

Hillary and Obama accepted these terms.

Since when does the U.S. government act as the assistant to the Saudi monarchy in charge of controlling the media? And since when would an American president permit this shackling of the media and still proceed with the diplomatic visit without a murmur of protest?

Since when? Since Obama became president determined to appease Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and all of the extremists while slighting Israel and turning his back on democracy.

Diana West found confirmation at Time magazine's Swampland blog, where Michael Scherer published the instructions he received from the State Department:

The Saudi government is permitting journalists accompanying President Obama entry into the country without a visa or the usual customs procedures.  While in Saudi Arabia, therefore, journalists are expressly prohibited from leaving the hotel or engaging in any journalistic activities outside of coverage of the POTUS visit.  Those who do so risk arrest and detention by Saudi authorities.

Disgusting.

But wait! West noted that Scherer had updated his post with the following: 

Qorvis Communications, which represents the Saudi Government in the United States, emailed reporters Monday night with an statement saying the announcement of restrictions, which was sent from the State Department, is incorrect. The Qorvis email says that the Saudi Ambassador has said journalists can get visas and will be free to go wherever they would like. I am not yet sure the source of the confusion. Will update when I know.

If that's true, it suggests that folks at the State Dept. are eagerly embracing even more dhimmitude than the Saudis have asked for. No less disgusting. (And by the way, I'm certain that most American journalists are decidedly not "free to go wherever they would like" — non-Muslims who enter Mecca or Medina can be put to death.)

But wait! Now it gets weird. I personally saw the above update on Scherer's post early this morning. I just returned to the post to link to it, and the update is gone (the original post remains). Is it just a glitch? Or did Scherer or Time determine that the Qorvis claim was questionable or false? If so, shouldn't there be another update explaining?

For that matter, isn't this kind of kowtowing to medieval autocrats worthy of being reported in the news, not just noted in a blog post that almost no one will see? 

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Censoring television

Posted by Richard on May 5, 2009

The Democrats' economic policies amount to Peronism and threaten to turn us into a crony-capitalist third-world nation, but at least we no longer have to worry about social conservatives imposing their morality, censoring television, and the like. Right?

Um,wrong. I spoke too soon, according to Reason's Jacob Sullum (emphasis added): 

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) has reintroduced legislation that would require the Federal Communications Commission to treat ads for Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs as indecent, meaning they could be legally aired only between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. In 2005, when he introduced a similar bill, Moran complained:

You can hardly watch primetime television or a major sporting event with your family without ads warning of the dangers of a "four-hour experience" airing every 10 minutes….They just push the envelope too far….There's just too much sexual innuendo.

But there's hope, according to Reason's Jesse Walker. Last week in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court refused an appeal in FCC v. Fox (a case involving the airing of "obscene" explitives) on narrow procedural grounds. But Walker noticed that the argument against government censorship of broadcast TV seemed to have what some would consider an unlikely ally among the majority — the notorious "right-wing zealot," Clarence Thomas, who typically wrote his own opinion (emphasis added): 

While siding with the commission on the technical legal question immediately at hand, Thomas signaled his sympathy with the argument that the rules violate the First Amendment. The two precedents that supported the FCC's authority—1969's Red Lion decision, which upheld the Fairness Doctrine, and 1978's Pacifica decision, which upheld the government's right to restrict indecent language—"were unconvincing when they were issued," Thomas wrote, "and the passage of time has only increased doubt regarding their continued validity." He continued:

Broadcast spectrum is significantly less scarce than it was 40 years ago….Moreover, traditional broadcast television and radio are no longer the "uniquely pervasive" media forms they once were. For most consumers, traditional broadcast media programming is now bundled with cable or satellite services….Broadcast and other video programming is also widely available over the Internet….And like radio and television broadcasts, Internet access is now often freely available over the airwaves and can be accessed by portable computer, cell phones, and other wireless devices….The extant facts that drove this Court to subject broadcasters to unique disfavor under the First Amendment simply do not exist today.

Walker thinks the case, remanded to the Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, will eventually come back to the Supreme Court. Good. I look forward to reading Thomas's majority opinion affirming the First Amendment. Or more likely, given Thomas's history, his separate opinion concurring with the majority opinion, but making a more forceful, less weak-kneed argument for freedom of speech. 

Have I mentioned how intensely I admire Clarence Thomas? His appointment was one of the few good things to come out of the George H.W. Bush administration, and almost makes up for the appointment of Souter.

Recently, I finally got around to reading his autobiography, My Grandfather's Son (given to me by a good friend). I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It's a terrific read, and he doesn't gloss over his family conflicts or personal failings, including his problems with alcohol. Especially if you're not a fan and think you know all you need to know about Thomas — read this book. If you're at all fair-minded, you'll reconsider your opinion. And you'll end up respecting and admiring him, even if you don't agree with his judicial philosophy. 

Which you should.

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Support Harry’s Place

Posted by Richard on July 12, 2008

I've had Harry's Place in my blog roll almost from the beginning and have linked to it several times. It's the voice of Britain's sane, anti-authoritarian left that "gets it" regarding the threat of Islamofascism and its historical and intellectual ties to European fascism.

Reading Harry's Place will convince you that they have a better class of leftists in Britain than we have here — far more articulate, reasonable, funny, and interesting than the American nutroots left. They're evidence, as I once said, "that being economically illiterate doesn't necessarily mean you're divorced from reality in all respects. :-)"

Now, their existence is threatened by a jihadist legal assault. Here's the story from NeoConstant:

Harry’s Place, a UK blog dedicated to promoting the ideals of freedom and democracy, is being sued by Mohammed Sawalha, the President of the British Muslim Initiative, which has been linked to Hamas and the Islamic Brotherhood, both terrorist organizations.  The blog reports that Mr. Sawalha, according to the BBC…

“master minded much of Hamas’ political and military strategy” and in London “is alleged to have directed funds, both for Hamas’ armed wing, and for spreading its missionary dawah”.

In their revelation of the impending lawsuit against them leveled by Mohammed Sawalha, they write:

Mr Sawalha claims that we have “chosen a malevolent interpretation of a meaningless word”. In fact, we did no more than translate a phrase which appeared in an Al Jazeera report of Mr Sawalha’s speech. When Al Jazeera changed that phrase from “Evil Jew” to “Jewish Lobby”, we reported that fact, along with the statement that it had been a typographical error.

Mr Sawalha has been the prime mover in a number of Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood associated projects. He is President of the British Muslim Initiative. He is the past President of the Muslim Association of Britain. He was the founder of IslamExpo, and is registered as the holder of the IslamExpo domain name. He is also a trustee of the Finsbury Park Mosque….

…Mr Sawalha says that the attribution of the phrase “Evil Jew” to him implies that he is “anti-semitic and hateful”. Notably, he does not take issue with our reporting of the revelation, made in a Panorama documentary in 2006, that he is a senior activist in the clerical fascist terrorist organisation, Hamas.

It looks like Harry’s Place is going up against some pretty top-notch lawyers on this one, and they’ve got guts, but as the post goes on to say:

If Mr Sawalha persists in attempting to silence us with this desperate legal suit, we will need your help.

We won’t be able to stand up to them alone.

This is why we’ve started this blogburst, to get the word out that we won’t let members of Hamas or any radical terrorist group censor us or any of our fellow bloggers.

If you're a blogger, join this blogburst in support of Harry's Place by posting this message. I'm hoping that in the future, there will be an opportunity to offer financial support as well. I'll let you know.  

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Speech Nazis retreat in Canada

Posted by Richard on June 28, 2008

Two down, one to go. Another "hate speech" charge against Mark Steyn has been dropped:

The Canadian Human Rights Commission has dismissed a hate speech complaint against Maclean's magazine.

Brought by Mohamed Elmasry, national president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, the complaint was the centrepiece of a three-pronged offense against what he sees as Islamophobia in the national newsweekly, with columnists Mark Steyn and Barbara Amiel the main offenders.

An identical complaint, brought with the help of three Muslim law students who became the public faces of the complaint, was rejected in Ontario on jurisdictional grounds. The third was heard this month by a British Columbia tribunal, which is now deliberating.

Announcing the decision (the CHRC does not publicize dismissals of complaints), Maclean's said in a statement that it "is in keeping with our long-standing position that the article in question, "The Future Belongs to Islam," an excerpt from Mark Steyn's best-selling book America Alone, was a worthy piece of commentary on important geopolitical issues, entirely within the bounds of normal journalistic practice."

"Though gratified by the decision, Maclean's continues to assert that no human rights commission, whether at the federal or provincial level, has the mandate or the expertise to monitor, inquire into, or assess the editorial decisions of the nation's media. And we continue to have grave concerns about a system of complaint and adjudication that allows a media outlet to be pursued in multiple jurisdictions on the same complaint, brought by the same complainants, subjecting it to costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars, to say nothing of the inconvenience. We enthusiastically support those parliamentarians who are calling for legislative review of the commissions with regard to speech issues."

The heinous acts that Steyn and Maclean's committed? They were accused of promoting Islamophobia by quoting radical Muslims. Human rights commissions, my ass.

At The Corner, Mark Hemingway opined:

There's also the very real problem that these commissions might sidestep penalizing Steyn and Maclean's out of self-preservation. They know that in going after high profile targets they've bitten off more than they can chew — any action against them would likely stir political action to do away with the commisions altogether. If they drop the complaint against Steyn, the political pressure will simply go away and they're free to continue zealously violating the rights of lesser known individuals and organizations.

Just yesterday, Ezra Levant posted about one of those "lesser known individuals" that they're already going after. In Vancouver, stand-up comic Guy Earle was heckled by two lesbians, and as comics are wont to do, he heckled back. Now the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has agreed with one of the lesbians that Earle's jokes weren't funny, so he's going on trial for his "hate speech."

If you're shaking your head about that, be sure to read Levant's follow-up post about his TV appearance with NOW Magazine editor Susan Cole. She insisted that only lesbians can legally joke about lesbians, only blacks can joke about blacks, and so on. This absurd notion caused Levant to come up with some interesting questions:

What kind of jokes could Barack Obama tell? His mom was White; is he Black enough to tell Black jokes? How about someone who is one quarter Black? One eighth? Are they only allowed to tell gentle Black jokes, but the really tough ones are reserved for very black-skinned Blacks?

Could a straight woman pretend to be a lesbian in order to tell jokes about lesbians? How would Susan Cole propose to check her bona fides? And how about bi-sexuals?

Could a transexual — a man who "became" a woman — tell jokes about women? Even if he was still six feet tall, and looked pretty masculine?

Can anyone tell a joke that begins "a priest and a rabbi walk into a bar", or would you need two people to tell that one?

Read the whole thing. In fact, if you want to catch up on the free speech rights battles in Canada, and keep up going forward, Levant's blog is your one-stop source. Highly recommended. Along with Free Mark Steyn!, whose cool banner I really should add to my sidebar.

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Islamofascism awareness

Posted by Richard on October 26, 2007

I completely forgot that this was Islamofascism Awareness Week, featuring speeches and other events on college campuses across the country. It's sponsored by David Horowitz's Terrorism Awareness Project. Participants included Horowitz, Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq, Tammy Bruce, Daniel Pipes, Cyrus Nowrasteh, and Nonie Darwish.

On many campuses, the leftists took time out from supporting feminism, GLBT issues, tolerance, and peace to ally themselves with the most mysogynistic, homophobic, intolerant, and violent religio-political movement on the planet in an effort to silence discussion and criticism of that movement.

At Emory University, they succeeded. The university administration chose not to remove the protesters, implicitly stating that their freedom to "speak" (i.e., shout, harass, and disrupt) trumped scheduled speaker David Horowitz's freedom to speak (and the rights of those who came to hear him). So the lecture was terminated and police escorted Horowitz away. 

At other campuses, they tried, but failed. Horowitz was allowed to talk at George Washington, mainly because the conservative Young America's Foundation was in charge of the event and controlled ticket distribution. So folks like these had to protest across the street instead of attacking the stage:

 jihad klan

 The 1389 Blog has lots of info and links about the left's censorship efforts on various campuses. Incorrect University is chock full of related entries, with lots of video clips. Including a Democratic Party strategist defending the leftists who forcibly silence opposing viewpoints as "people who are desperate to having their voice heard." Yeah, right, because leftist ideas are never given a chance to be heard on college campuses.

Muslims Against Sharia commented on Nonie Darwish's appearance at Berkeley (emphasis in original):

… As usual, Islamofascists and their Dhimmi supporters have shown their unwavering resolve to crush any type of dissent. One the members of the "Students for Justice in Palestine" claimed that the purpose of the "Islamofascism Awareness Week" is to reinvigorate anti-Muslim and anti-Arab campaign. Given the fact that the speaker, Nonie Darwish, is both Muslim by birth and Arab it truly shows the depth of brainwashing on campus.

Not only that, but Darwish is from Gaza, so she's Palestinian, too. But to the left, only radical Islamists are authentic Muslims, only those who despise the West are authentic Arabs, and only crazed Jew-hating murderers are authentic Palestinians. 

The Dhimmi AwardIn recognition of the efforts by Berkeley's leftist students and faculty to defend Islamofascism, Muslims Against Sharia gave Berkeley The Dhimmi Award.

Muslims Against Sharia looks like a pretty fine group of people. Here's an excerpt from their manifesto:

Islam, in its present form, is not compatible with principles of freedom and democracy. Twenty-first century Muslims have two options: we can continue the barbaric policies of the seventh century perpetuated by Hassan al-Banna, Abdullah Azzam, Yassir Arafat, Ruhollah Khomeini, Osama bin Laden, Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, Hizballah, Hamas, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, etc., leading to a global war between Dar al-Islam (Islamic World) and Dar al-Harb (non-Islamic World), or we can reform Islam to keep our rich cultural heritage and to cleanse our religion from the reviled relics of the past. We, as Muslims who desire to live in harmony with people of other religions, agnostics, and atheists choose the latter option. We can no longer allow Islamic extremists to use our religion as a weapon. We must protect future generations of Muslims from being brainwashed by the Islamic radicals. If we do not stop the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, our children will become homicidal zombies.

Bravo, and best wishes to these brave Muslims. 

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Regulating political speech: the next step

Posted by Richard on October 4, 2007

The long national nightmare of the Bush-Cheney-Halliburton police state continues unabated, and the authoritarian forces determined to stifle all dissent in Amerikka are ready to unleash the next nefarious step: some lackey of George W. Bush with not a shred of respect for or understanding of the U.S. Constitution wants to censor those who disagree with him, enforce "standards for political discourse," and establish a rating system (I'm not making this up) for political speech. The nerve of these facist neo-con Republicans!

Oh, wait … I was a bit confused. It's not a lackey of George W. Bush, it's a lackey of Hillary Rodham Clinton: namely, the Butcher of Bosnia and one-time weird presidential candidate, Gen. Wesley Clark. Allahpundit has the video, and McQ has the transcript highlights.

I've said it before: it's getting harder and harder to satirize the left these days. Scott Ott at ScrappleFace still does a great job, but just look how quickly reality caught up with Ott's satire from this past Monday (emphasis added):

Phony Vets for Truth, an non-profit group comprised of ex-military personnel who have publicly and deceptively disparaged the United States, the president or fellow U.S. troops in time of war, applauded “Sen. Reid’s bravery, and his appropriate use of senate debate time to discuss Mr. Limbaugh’s scurrilous remarks.”

In a statement completely independent of the Democrat National Committee, Phony Vets for Truth, a non-partisan think tank, also said: “When private citizens start to believe that they can say whatever they want without being subject to the normal democratic process of selective sound-bite editing, and selective outrage, then it’s time for Congress to take action.”

Obviously, just two days later, Wes Clark was speaking on behalf of Phony Vets for Truth. 

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Venezuela descends into darkness

Posted by Richard on May 27, 2007

Hugo Chavez has taken another big step toward turning Venezuela into a commie police state. He's shut down the most popular television station in the country (with a 40% market share), Radio Caracas Television, for being openly critical of his increasingly vicious and dictatorial regime. Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have rallied in protest, but Chavez is sending tanks and troops against them.

Publius Pundit has lots of info, links, and pictures — including many pictures of lovely Venezuelan protest babes, in the Publius Pundit tradition, which would be a lot more enjoyable if the news were less grim. Warning: the page is slow to load due to the many pictures. But it's worth it. There's a roundup of editorial reaction around the world (with links), which noted that condemnation of Chavez spanned the political spectrum — even the ultra-lefty Le Monde condemned Chavez.

Gateway Pundit has later info, including pictures of government troops using water cannons and tear gas on the demonstrators.

Free RCTV has a chilling short film by journalists concerned about freedom of expression. It includes footage of Chavez that reveals him as a cross between Castro, Stalin, and the homeless raving lunatic you cross the street to avoid.

Visit Free RCTV (a project of the Human Rights Foundation) and send a protest letter to the Venezuelan embassy. You can edit the proposed content, and I suggest you do so. For instance, change "my concern" to "my outrage." Click the logo below.

Free RCTV: Say No to Censorship!

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Rated R for graphic smoking

Posted by Richard on May 11, 2007

The Motion Picture Association of America is going to consider smoking (by adults) as a factor, along with sex, violence, and language, in determining whether a film gets a restricted rating. Critics are complaining that the MPAA isn't going far enough. They want any image of tobacco use to automatically get an R rating, so that no child under 17 can see on the screen what they can see just outside the door on their way out of the theater:

"I'm glad it's finally an issue they're taking up, but what they're proposing does not go far enough and is not going to make a difference," said Kori Titus, spokeswoman for Breathe California, which opposes film images of tobacco use that might encourage young people to start smoking.

Titus said film raters should be as tough on smoking as they are on bad language to minimize the effects of on-screen smoking on children, including her own 5-year-old daughter.

"I don't want her using that language, but last time I checked, she's probably not going to die from that," Titus said. "If she starts smoking from these images she sees in movies, chances are she's probably going to die early from that."

Apparently in anticipation of such criticism, the MPAA had already lined up defenders to argue that their level of nannyism is sufficient:

While Titus' group wants tougher ratings restrictions, the MPAA released statements of support for its plan from John Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, U.S. Sen. Joe Biden and filmmaker Rob Reiner, among others.

"By placing smoking on a par with considerations of violence and sex, the rating board has acknowledged the public-health dangers to children associated with glamorized images of a toxic and lethal addiction to tobacco," Barry Bloom, dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, said in a statement.

So, the public debate is whether images of people lighting cigarettes are worse than or merely as bad as images of rape or disembowelment.

How long do you suppose it will be before some group of nanny-state nazis calls for restricted ratings on films that depict the consumption of doughnuts or french fries? 

UPDATE: A caller to Rush had a brilliant idea. He pointed out that the MPAA's statements and actions amount to an acknowledgement of culpability by the film industry. How many millions of us watched Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and others smoking on the silver screen in film after film, and thought they looked oh-so-cool, and decided to emulate them? Could we perhaps get John Edwards or one of his law partners to file a class action suit on our behalf? Or do Edwards and his pals only go after industries that aren't dominated by leftist Democrats?

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