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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Bit Cross About This Bloody Nuisance

For a definition of the terms used in the title, go here.

Of course I am upset by the spectacle of the entire executive branch of our government, the UN and so forth cracking down on some cracker pastor in Florida for the horrible sin of threatening to burn a Koran. Mind you, I don't think that type of symbolic speech is worthy. It's not as if I approve of that step. I have never felt that the type of symbolic speech involved in burning a collective symbol is very communicative.

But even so, and even though I am sure that I am right on that point, I remain aware enough of my status as one person in a nation of over 300 million to realize that my preferences really should not control the actions of 307,000,000 other people.

But it is clear that the only reason that these pathetic examples of political driftwood can advance to justify the pressure they placed upon him (including sending the FBI down to "reason" with him) is their fear that it will inspire Muslims to violent action. And by making, quite literally, a federal case of it, they have all conveyed the global message that rioting, burning, stabbing and any other type of barbaric Islamic behavior justify the suspension of the US Constitution when it comes to Muslims. In short, very prominent members of our executive are attempting to, de facto, suspend the constitution in such a way that it must inevitably have given the greatest surge of joy to violent Islamic factions since 9/11.

And we must not forget the Supreme Court. Not only does the newest member, Kagan, stand as having advanced several justifications for curbing the First Amendment, we have old "Active Liberty" Breyer trying to assert that burning the Koran is not protected under the First Amendment, and our idiotically mushmouthed president announcing that it is a violation of religious tolerance.

Religious tolerance is what is demonstrated when the country elects a president who was attending a church in which the pastor addressed 9/11 with his ringing "God DAMN America" sermon. That's religious tolerance. Religious tolerance does not mean that the government should enforce what it considers civil speech.

So now we have the Supreme Court implicated.

It's clear that none of these people are speaking out of principle. If they were, they'd be having fits over chocolate Jesuses, Piss Christ, and all that sort of thing. No one - Eric Holder included - worries about the "incitement" of Hitler Youth Week at good old SDU. If they even cared about speech with the potential to cause violence, they'd be at least as worried about something like that. It is completely clear that there is one standard being applied to Islam and one standard being applied to everything else - and it is also completely clear that the only

And we should all be astounded and appalled at the theory that the actions of some podunk little church are going to provide more of a recruiting tool to violent Islamic terrorists than the bombings in Yemen, Pakistan and the actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. The fact that these witless examples of a tragic inability to reason could make that argument in public scares me almost as much as the rest of it. Let's get a grip. Anyone who believes this does so purely out of fear and the will to find an illusory safety.

Personally, I'd be willing to impeach Obama over this. If I were in the House, I would now vote for it.

I have thought for a long time that Breyer's judicial philosophy, which amounts to the claim that the Bill of Rights means nothing if Congress doesn't want it to mean anything, justifies his impeachment.

When Eric Holder was reported to have described the projected Koran burning as "dangerous", he was potentially laying a groundwork for a legal action against this. And Breyer goes on to make it more specific:
“Holmes said it doesn’t mean you can shout 'fire' in a crowded theater,” Breyer told me. “Well, what is it? Why? Because people will be trampled to death. And what is the crowded theater today? What is the being trampled to death?”
For Breyer, that right is not a foregone conclusion.

“It will be answered over time in a series of cases which force people to think carefully. That’s the virtue of cases,” Breyer told me. “And not just cases. Cases produce briefs, briefs produce thought. Arguments are made. The judges sit back and think. And most importantly, when they decide, they have to write an opinion, and that opinion has to be based on reason. It isn’t a fake.”
This is not a fake issue. It is THE issue.

The damage that was done last week cannot be undone quickly or easily. The Ground Zero Mosque guy was cheerfully advancing the theory that the mosque had to be built to avert Islamic violence. It must be admitted that our president and attorney general laid the foundation for that claim and that Breyer also is rowing as hard as he can toward that goal - unilateral surrender.

It must be lived down and corrected as quickly and as decisively as possible by public action. Any citizen of the US who cares at all about the Constitution now should be thinking very intensely about requiring candidates for public office to go on record about these matters.

Certainly the events of last week have gone a long way toward justifying the belief of a surprisingly large minority of the US population that Obama is Muslim. If you look just as his actions, it would appear that he is not on our side.

There is another less obvious implication. The implied disrespect to the vast majority of American Muslims, who do support the Constitution, should not be blinked at. When the FBI warned the podunk pastor that his congregation could be subject to attack, it clearly was implying that Muslim attacks on our soil could not be stopped.

The failure of our executive to make the distinction between violent people who do not believe in the US rule of law and most American Muslims is quite troubling, and the apparent claim that they could not protect the citizenry against Islamic terrorism surely has to worry many American Muslims. It's hardly the way to make Muslims who deprecate violence feel secure in their criticisms, is it? All around the world, it is Muslims who argue against this sort of religious violence who are the most common victims of Islamic violence. And in the US, Muslims who have criticized Sharia and other forms of Islam have received death threats in plenty. Is our government abandoning its will to protect them?

The UN has already gone a long way toward adopting the principle that Islam must not be criticized in any way. Under Obama, the US government has slowly been shading toward acceptance of this principle. It is, of course, a direct threat to the US Constitution. This is why Obama's mention of "religious tolerance" is such a huge red flag. The sense in which he used it is the UN sense, which means that Islam may not be criticized. It does not mean that any Islamic country has to allow freedom of religion within their borders. It is strictly a one-way proposition.

I was silent over this because I wanted to brood over my shock and make sure that it was not an overreaction.

But I will not now change my mind. I think this president, probably thoughtlessly and unwittingly, has violated his oath to uphold the US Constitution. Either he changes course or he should be impeached.

PS: The Aussie professor who smoked pages of the Bible and Koran has been suspended for the blasphemy. If the US abandons ship, all others will also.

PPS: I link to a discussion on Volokh over the Breyer yipyap. Notably, although a number of commenters make the point that banning speech which is likely to cause violence will inevitably encourage violent reaction to speech, there seems to be almost no consideration that historically, the speech which led to the abolition of slavery and civil rights laws for minorities was often very controversial speech that did cause violent reactions. The worse a philosophy or creed objectively morally is, the more likely a violent reaction to criticism of that philosophy or creed will be.

The fact that there are strains of Islam that are the debased expression of backward and contemptible cultures means logically that we are in conflict with those forms of Islam. There's a reason that the Fort Hood shooter (you know, the one with the "God is love" bumpersticker) couldn't find a wife who was subservient enough to his tastes.

Final PS: If this guy was indeed fired from a government agency for burning the Koran, it sounds like the first US court case addressing constitutionality is upon us. There might be some relevant background info in the comments at the Volokh post.

Justice Breyer's children must have been raised by a nanny because any parent who has raised their kids understands that the reason kids throw temper tantrums is only because they don't have nuclear weapons. The point of parenting is to teach them to control their emotions before they have access to anything that could cause real damage. Temper tantrums by a two year old are endurable. Temper tantrums by adults with AK-47's, or worse, nuclear weapons are a different story. Sometimes those adults need to be dealt with more directly.
One of the unsung success stories that I saw in Iraq was that tons of non-Iraqis young men who were looking for an excuse and an opportunity to kill Americans came to Iraq - and were killed by a very efficient US military. These peoples' parents had failed to train them as toddlers. They threw man-tantrums. Big mistake. Reminds me of the Chris Rock skit "How not to get your "behind" kicked by the police."
If Pres. Obama had raised his own kids, he would know that you do not teach your kids to behave in public by giving them everything they demand when they threaten a tantrum. We are in trouble.

I'm with you MOM.

That said, it does not surprise me. The postmodernists, their hangers on, and symps just cannot bring themselves to accept anything a Christian does as anything but a great affront to their view of life. Christians are seen as slobbering idiots who are following a benighted creed. Not only that but it is a creed that has oppressed "people of color."

The fact that the Religion of Peace threatens, insults, and slaughters non-believers seems completely lost on them. "But we offended them," they say. "It is very plain that we must not offend them," they say. And solid citizens in Georgia, Colorado, Texas, and even Washington ask themselves, "WTF!!"

This election may not produce a lot of change, but I'm sincerely hoping it will be a good start. I'm tired of screaming, "WTF!"
I hate to disappoint you, but I think you'll spend the decade screaming, "WTF?"
Who Struck John, is that a promise? At 77, I'll accept another 10 years, even if I do have to keep screaming, "WTF!" It does keep the old ticker pumping. lols.
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Based on reason, you say?

Last chance to see this AND this in the land of the free!
MoM,while I feel that these statements by Obama and Breyer are incredibly stupid and quite likely sufficient to warrant impeachment they are simply a continuation of the prior two administration's attitudes. Remember the "Military commissions act"? all who voted for that should be impeached. Or the Statement that our Constitution is "An Archaic piece of paper"? The bill of rights has been gutted with bipartisan support and we now have what amounts to a "legal" tyranny. An awful end to the Republic,but it has been done in broad daylight to the cheers of both parties. Remember the phrase "So long as I get to be the dictator"?
MOM, I agree with every word in your post, particularly the part about tantrums. If Breyer wants to reward the threats of violence, then he will be condoning violence, for anyone, as a way of getting what that person wants. Breyer will not only be acting against the Constitution, but against the rule of law. But, like Amnesty International, he will only act against threats from people he thinks he can control.

Kagin should have been facing a bar disciplinary hearing, not a nomination hearing. Misleading the court in order to win isnowm I guess, acceptable behavior.

I have argued Bush should have defied the Court on the Guantanamo decision. Congress specifically took jurisdiction away from the Court and Bush should have refused to honor the Court's decision unless Congress gave jurisdiction back to the the Court. It would have been fun to watch Pelosi and Reid try to finesse that one.

Anyway, all those accusations from the left about Bush trampling on the Consitution have come true with this administration. Holder has committed a number of impeachable offenses. Sebelius threatening insurance companies over their speech adds to the stench of fear of free sspeech coming from this administration. It is OK for this administration to lie continuously, but they want to control what others say.

A few impeachments, including Supreme Court Justices, would do wonders for gaining control of this government again.
Those academics, artists, and writers who like to self-congratulate themselves on their courage and "transgressivenss" (often almost breaking their arms by patting themselves on the back so much) now stand fully revealed as to what they really are.

They love to do things that will offend some church lady in Iowa or Alabama because they know that she has no way to retaliate against them...but are very careful to not offend anyone where there might be even a slight risk of physical, career, or social harm.

Cowardice, while not admirable, is at least understandable. Cowards who prate endlessly about their courage are simply despicable.
“Holmes said it doesn’t mean you can shout 'fire' in a crowded theater,” Breyer told me. “Well, what is it? Why? Because people will be trampled to death. And what is the crowded theater today? What is the being trampled to death?”

Breyer should be removed with extreme prejudice.

A crowded theater is a building with a bunch of people in it - a fire WILL kill them. If the police could come and arrest the fire, then no one would care about it.

A guy burning a book isn't potentially killing anyone. He may be fomenting bad feelings, but he isn't armed and isn't leading an insurrection. If he threatens people lives, THEN he can be arrested.

The fact that Breyer can't make this obvious distinction means he is unfit for his job. It would piss me off to no end if the idiocy wasn't so damned entertaining.
"You can't shout 'fire' in a crowded theater," means that you can't do something that would make reasonable people act in a way based on self preservation because in that situation reasonable may hurt others. "You can't shout 'Jew' in a crowded mosque" is not comparable because the people are not reasonable, and they are not acting in self-preservation. Yes, innocent people may get hurt, but the reason is absolutely different. It might be an equivalent statement to say "You can't shout 'muslim' in a crowded synagogue." Then, people might act out of self-preservation to avoid the flying nails and ball bearings. In neither the case of the theater or the synagogue are the innocent people being hurt because of inflamed anger, but because of reasonable fear.

I'm surprised a smart guy like Breyer can't figure that out. What are they teaching in law school these days? He should ask for his tuition money back.

Charles Kiting,

"A guy burning a book isn't potentially killing anyone. He may be fomenting bad feelings, but he isn't armed and isn't leading an insurrection. If he threatens people lives, THEN he can be arrested."


I'm of the belief that if people can burn things in public then they should be allowed to burn American flags if they so desire.

On the one hand, I might despise the act.
On the other hand, it would make me feel free.

That freedom is absolutely worth the price to me. If I was witnessing such an event, I would love the opportunity to point that out.

The last thing this country needs is an "Insult Czar" to spearhead a "War on Insults". Burning a symbol is just one insult out of many. We could ban all public insults I suppose. It has worked to some degree in other countries that I have absolutely no desire to live in.
Mark - but the truth is sometimes also insulting.

Remember the last election? We had McCain, who basically had tried to pass the eternal incumbency bill. And then we had the great unknown.

Politicians are always going to be insulted when you tell the truth. If the government ever gets the ability to control "insulting" speech, our ability to exchange information about our government's doings will be nullified.

It's not as if they haven't already tried it. There is a reason the ACLU filed an amicus brief on the last McCain-Feingold case.

And then let's look at times when our own behavior is so vile that discussing it constitutes a profound insult to us collectively. No one who has read about some of the deaths at Bagram, for example, could not not be horrified or alternatively, an amoral person. Does that mean we should not discuss those cases?

Part of the horror of this idea that speech which might cause a riot in another country should be barred over public safety is involved right there.

If anybody accepts the good general's reasoning, then we shouldn't discuss those cases, or allow disclosures about other abuses.

Our entire society and our ability to address our own failures is a process of accepting short-term risk in order to cut down risks over the long term.

I also still think this was unbelievably insulting to US Muslims, most of whom have absolutely no desire to live in a Sharia-style society.

Politicians are always going to be insulted when you tell the truth. If the government ever gets the ability to control "insulting" speech, our ability to exchange information about our government's doings will be nullified.

Very well said.

Then we will not know the truth, and not knowing the truth will cost us our freedom.

I'm not a religious person but...

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” - John 8:32

Unfortunately, finding the truth on the Internet can be a challenge. Half-truths, misconceptions, and myths spread like wildfire. That's especially true in regards to government activity.

My personal *favorite* is the ever popular "food and energy aren't included in the CPI" myth. Sigh.
Great post; thanks M_O_M.
BTW, the Administration apparently wants to institutionalize the "heckler's veto" that once was Constitutionally forbidden in America. As reported on FOX News:

"The Seattle cartoonist whose artwork sparked the controversial 'Everybody Draw Muhammad Day!' has gone into hiding at the advice of the FBI after being targeted by a radical Muslim cleric, according to the newspaper that published her comics."
Such a wonderful topic for me.I read this article and agree with this article.Thanks to talking us about this article.......
Nox Edge
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