The Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, has vetoed a bill that would have allowed business owners who held religious objections to homosexual practices to deny service to gay and lesbian customers.
The issue has been confused by debate as to whether religious belief should trump homosexual “rights”, or vice versa.
That business owners should be able to choose whom they will serve and whom they will not, should not be a question of religious freedom but simply of freedom.
They should be free to withhold their goods and/or services for any reason or none. If they act on sheer whim, that is their “right”.
And if it is because of an opinion – even an opinion that is regarded as politically incorrect – so what?
When the opinions of individuals become the government’s business, government has become totalitarian. An orthodoxy prevails. As in Calvin’s Geneva, Catholic Spain, Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, Wahhabi Saudi Arabia. The thought police are after you. They have ways of making you reveal the thoughts you are trying to keep private.
It is THE LAW that should not discriminate. Judgment in a court of law should be untainted by pre-judgment – or “prejudice” in the true meaning of the word. (Though there are exceptions. The law rightly discriminates on the grounds of age, holding children less responsible for their actions than adults; and on grounds of mental capacity, holding the insane less responsible than the sane.)
But individuals living their private lives, can, do, and must discriminate in all their judgments. We are all prejudiced. Indeed, there is no way anyone could get through life without prejudices. We have numerous ways of quickly informing ourselves about other people. In a flash we have taken in his appearance, race, color, voice, accent, and so on, and in the secret chambers of our hearts and minds are bringing ready opinions to bear on him. It is a short cut without which we would be perpetually bewildered.
We all have first impressions, and what we make of them depends on our prejudices. We all find someone attractive or repulsive, interesting or dull on first acquaintance, and those first impressions are inevitably affected by prejudice. “Oh, he’s this or that, and I like it (or don’t like it).” But then you get to know him a little and find, perhaps, that he’s not this or that after all. We leap to instant judgment, but sensible people quite naturally make the reasonable decision to wait until they know the stranger better to see whether he is someone they want as a friend or employee or whatever.
In fact, no generalization about a person’s origins, race, nationality, descent, religious affiliation, sexual proclivity, age group, or anything else can ever reasonably be applied with certainty to any individual. But still and forever we will bring our vague associations to bear on our judgments. After that, intelligence should guide us to better judgment, because it is in our interest that it should. (Not because, for instance, some religious idealist issued an impossible-to-obey instruction to love everybody.)
Below we quote from an article by John Hawkins at Townhall, dealing chiefly with reasons why Christians who disapprove of gay marriage should not have to provide services for gay weddings. (The issue which gave rise to the Arizona bill.) But he does make a general point that people can refuse their services for any reason.
John Hawkins writes:
Businesses should generally have the right to refuse customers: Because of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow and the other abominations Democrats forced on America, we did choose as a nation to treat race differently than most other issues. So, we do not allow businesses to discriminate based on race – and that’s a good thing. However, businesses can and do turn away customers for almost every other reason imaginable. Shouldn’t they be able to do that?
Shouldn’t the Super Bowl be allowed to decline an advertisement from a porn website? Shouldn’t the NAACP be able to turn away KKK members from a speech? Shouldn’t a movie theater be allowed to tell people who insist on using cell phones in the theater that they’re not welcome? Shouldn’t Wal-Mart be allowed to refuse to carry NAMBLA literature in its stores? Shouldn’t a nightclub be allowed to tell people wearing gang colors that they’re not welcome? Shouldn’t the Democratic Party be allowed to decline ads on its website from the Republican Party? On a personal note, at my website Right Wing News I’ve declined advertisements from porn websites, a dating service for “sugar daddies,” a dating service for people who are married, and even a t-shirt seller I considered to be homophobic. … For every American with rudimentary common sense, these questions answer themselves.
Does the law at present allow that freedom? Surely whatever is not specifically forbidden in law is allowed. (It is obviously impossible to make a comprehensive list of everything anyone might ever do and declare that it must or must not be done.) If at present people are free, in these ever less free United States, to serve whom they will and not be coerced to serve those they’d rather not, then the law Governor Brewer vetoed was superfluous.
Customers choose which business they will patronize without having to explain why they chose that one and rejected others. Why should business not have the same freedom of choice? A businessman might be foolish to turn away someone who wants to give him dollars in exchange for the merchandise or service he deals in, but he certainly should not be forced to serve anyone against his will.
Undoing what America was founded to be – a free nation ruled by law and not men – the present administration is becoming more and more arbitrary, arrogant, and despotic.
This is from an Investor’s Business Daily editorial:
The FBI says it won’t prosecute anyone at the IRS for its admitted targeting of the president’s political foes. This just as the agency claims the law is no longer its main mission. So it’s a political goon squad now.
According to a leak to the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Bureau of Investigation “didn’t find the kind of political bias or ‘enemy hunting’ that would amount to a violation of criminal law.” And so, nobody was likely to be prosecuted for the most blatant politicization of a federal agency within memory.
All the Bureau found was a “mismanaged” agency that enforced rules “it didn’t understand.” In other words, nothing to see here, move along.
That’s strange stuff for an agency whose most implicated regulator, Lois Lerner, invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self incrimination in congressional testimony last year. That she came to congressional attention was only because of her calculated announcement that the IRS had in fact targeted Tea Party groups for special scrutiny — that’s right, admitted to breaking the law — in a preemptive attempt to paint her abuse of power as a customer service problem.
Her minions lied that it was only the work of low-level bureaucratic bumblers in Cincinnati. And after that sleazy string of favors that coincidentally benefited her president, she was permitted to retire on a full pension.
The reality is, the acts reeked of political targeting, the most illegal of acts, a corrupt use of government power, and a worthy target of checks and balances provided by the FBI in the name of law and order.
But for some reason, the FBI has neither interviewed the Tea Party activists targeted for intrusive scrutiny, nor has it noticed anything amiss in light of the White House’s rabid attacks on Tea Party activists. It hasn’t noticed the Tea Party’s demonstrable political strength in its large gatherings during the most intense period of its political targeting, nor noted the president’s record of “joking” about investigating political opponents.
And it hasn’t picked up the clue from the Center for Responsive Politics showing that IRS employees donated to Obama’s campaign by more than 2 to 1 over Tea Party-tied Republicans — let alone that the prosecutor chosen by the president to look into this case is a fat-cat donor to Obama.
If New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie can be criticized for a traffic jam, then the White House’s attacks on political opponents are in a league with what goes on in Venezuela. That the FBI won’t get involved in this and is willing to wreck its reputation for apolitical probity suggests this investigation is leading to a place the bureau would rather not go — namely, the White House.
It’s interesting to note that Rep. Darrell Issa of California announced Tuesday that a top FBI official suddenly won’t cooperate with the House Oversight Committee after meeting with a top Justice Department political appointee. Issa says the FBI is stonewalling. The FBI … was once was known for its squeaky clean image and willingness to enforce the law without fear or favor. Today, it’s slid so far into the Washington morass it no longer considers law enforcement its prime mission. About a week ago, it quite questionably declared its top mission “national security” — an abrogation of its congressionally mandated mission.
Can the public now trust the FBI or the IRS? …
If the FBI won’t enforce the law anymore, who will?
Today The Religion of Peace website rings up
deadly Islamic terrorist attacks since 9/11.
We reflect their daily tally in our margin.
How can Islam be reformed? Is reform of it possible? To change its mission of conquering the world by “holy war” it would be necessary to take the Koran out of the religion.
What would be left?
If you take the water out of the soup, where’s the soup?
The cult is evil and needs to be destroyed. It should be anathematized, its believers subjected to de-Islamification as the Germans were subjected to de-Nazification after World War Two.
And the consequences for jihad violence – such as the murder of a British soldier by two savage Muslims on a London street – should be as severe as the law allows.
The likelihood of any European country re-introducing the death penalty is remote. But a sentence to solitary confinement for life could be a stronger deterrent for religious Muslims than death. No virgins with bones so transparent that the marrow in them is visible to the lascivious eye. No boys with long eyelashes serving drinks in the finest crystal the heavenly superstores can supply. Let the Prophet’s killers eat the bread of sorrow all the days of their miserable lives.
It won’t happen, but as long as we have freedom of speech we will argue that it should.
That might not be very long now if Islam has it’s way; and if Hillary Clinton, who supports Islam’s demand that criticism of it be criminalized, is – appalling possibility! – elected to the highest office.
An American female lawyer and communist, Lynne Stewart, helped Muslim terrorists carry out mass-murder and torture by relaying messages from their jailed leader.
These are extracts from Wikipedia:
Lynne Stewart was convicted on charges of conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists in 2005, and sentenced to 28 months in prison. Her felony conviction led to her being automatically disbarred. She was convicted of helping pass messages from her client, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, an Egyptian cleric convicted of planning terror attacks, to his followers in al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, an organization designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States Secretary of State.
She was re-sentenced on July 15, 2010, to 10 years in prison in light of her perjury at her trial. She served her sentence at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, a federal prison near Fort Worth, Texas.
Stewart was released from prison on December 31, 2013 on a compassionate release order because of her terminal breast cancer diagnosis.
Out she came with the clichés that pass for “thought” in the parrot minds of communists:
Stewart believes that violence is at times needed to correct for the perceived injustices of capitalism. She states that she doesn’t “believe in anarchistic violence but in directed violence,” with directed violence being that which is “directed at the institutions which perpetuate capitalism, racism and sexism, and at the people who are the appointed guardians of those institutions, and accompanied by popular support.”
Muslims as such are not against capitalism, though they have hypocritical ways of taking interest on invested capital so as not to call it that. As for racism, there is no ideology more racist that Islam except its old ally, Nazism. And when it comes to sexism, in theory and in practice, Islam is the world champion. Lynne Stewart apparently saw no need to square her stated “beliefs” with her activity for the benefit of the Muslim terrorists she conspired with.
This commentary on the Lynne Stewart case is from Front Page by Daniel Greenfield.
“Oh, Muslims everywhere!” Omar Abdel Rahman wrote from his American prison cell. “Cut the transportation of their countries, tear it apart, destroy their economy, burn their companies, eliminate their interests, sink their ships, shoot down their planes, kill them on the sea, air, on land.”
This fatwa, or one very similar to it, was distributed to Al Qaeda terrorists in terror training camps while Mohammed Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheikh’s son, lectured them on their duties as Jihadists.
While Al Qaeda was working on terror plots that would eventually develop into the attacks of September 11, the blind sheikh was producing threatening sermons from prison warning that America would bring “destruction” on itself if it interfered with the forces of Islam.
On September 2000, a year before the attack, Bin Laden released a video together with Rahman’s son, vowing to free the blind sheikh while Rahman’s son urged Muslims to “move forward and shed blood.”
A year later they did.
It wasn’t easy for the blind terror chief to remain relevant in prison. His devoted attorney Lynne Stewart helped keep Omar Abdel Rahman relevant by helping him pass messages to his followers from prison. …
Omar Abdel Rahman’s followers carried out the first attack against the World Trade Center. Ramzi Yousef, the perpetrator of the World Trade Center bombing, was a follower of the blind sheikh, and his uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was also the architect of the September 11 attacks.
Afterward, the blind sheikh’s followers unspooled a terror plot larger in scale than September 11 targeting New York landmarks.
Lynne Stewart didn’t just conspire to aid any terrorist. The man she was aiding was a crucial figure in a wave of terror rolling around the world from Egypt to Afghanistan. Islamic terrorists, including Al Qaeda, hung on his words and derived inspiration from his incitement to violence.
Stewart was present when Rahman was told that the bombing of the USS Cole had been carried out in his name and that there were plans to carry out further operations unless he was released. While the sheikh and his follower talked of terror, Lynne Stewart sat and scribbled, pretending to take notes so that the prison guards would not become suspicious.
In an interview, Lynne Stewart suggested that maintaining the blind sheikh’s “exchange value” was part of her job. “It could be very important that that person is still perceived as worth exchanging, perhaps, for someone else,” she suggested. “Once he … becomes a non-person on the international scene, he loses currency, he loses credibility. He is no longer someone who perhaps would be viable for people to consider in some kind of swap or exchange.” …
A year after Rahman was sentenced to life in prison, terrorists from his Muslim Brotherhood splinter organization, the Islamic Group, carried out the Luxor Massacre in Egypt. European tourists had their ears and noses cut off before being killed. The attack had been carried out to take hostages to exchange for Lynne Stewart’s client. A note calling for the release of Rahman was found in a disemboweled body.
When asked about the Luxor Massacre, Stewart accused Americans of being “two-faced about violence” adding that, “The basic desire of people to be free hasn’t changed. And I’m not sure that I want to second-guess what methods other people use.”
In the massacre that Lynne Stewart refused to second-guess, the methods included the murder of Shaunnah Turner, a 5-year-old girl. …
A year before the September 11 attacks, the terror lawyer went too far and held a press conference confirming that the blind sheikh wanted an end to the temporary ceasefire between the Islamic Group and the Egyptian government that had been brokered the year of the Luxor Massacre. … Lynne Stewart was no longer functioning as an attorney. Instead she was acting as the spokeswoman for a terrorist organization. After September 11 fulfilled the fatwa of her client, she expressed her support for Osama bin Laden and said, “I’m pretty inured to the notion that in a war or in an armed struggle, people die.”
The people in the World Trade Center ”never knew what hit them. They had no idea that they could ever be a target for somebody’s wrath, just by virtue of being American. They took it personally. And actually, it wasn’t a personal thing.”
Nothing going on out there is “personal” to a communist. Everything that happens is the inevitable progress of history. “It” only becomes personal when it hits him or her personally.
Lynne Stewart’s career of defending domestic terrorists had prepared her to take this callous view of the lives of the men, women and children murdered by her clients. Stewart had defended Weather Underground terrorists not for money, but because she agreed with their views.
“I am guilty of no crime,” Stewart has said. And she has gone on playing the victim while showing not an ounce of remorse. “Oh, I would do it again in a minute,” she told an interviewer.
And now that Obama has decided to set her free, she may get the chance.
Stewart has cancer and the Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Attorney’s office asked for her compassionate release. The request has been granted. Compassionate releases are rare, but the old radical has friends in high places. Less than a dozen prisoners are granted compassionate release each year. Lynne Stewart won the lottery, but it’s doubtful that luck had anything to do with it.
[Attorney General] Holder has filled the Justice Department with terrorist sympathizers and made it a place where Lynne Stewart would feel right at home.
The American Taliban’s lawyer is now the Acting Associate Attorney General and the Principal Deputy Solicitor General was the lawyer for Bin Laden’s driver. They join at least seven other lawyers who have defended terrorists. Lawyers whom Attorney General Eric Holder declared were “patriots” for representing terrorists.
The Second Circuit Court wrote that Stewart suffered from a “stark inability to understand the seriousness of her crimes.” … She did not accept … that they were crimes. That is something that she has in common with Attorney General Eric Holder.
In her opening argument for the blind sheikh, Stewart contended that ”he has advocated for the suffering of his people at home, in Egypt. He has advocated by any means necessary, and that is not acceptable to this government.”
Omar Abdel Rahman’s idea of advocacy was mass murder. So was Lynne Stewart’s.
Now Stewart is being treated with the compassion that she denied his many victims; including Shaunnah Turner. And if Lynne Stewart lives to continue her crimes, she will repay that compassion the same way that her favorite terrorists always have.
She has no idea that she could be a target for somebody’s wrath, just by virtue of being American.
Though she will never be the target of America’s wrath, just by virtue of being a traitor.
A pity, that.
On entering the new year, Thomas Sowell writes:
Whenever we stand on the threshold of a new year, we are tempted to forget the hazards of prophecy, and try to see what may lie on the other side of this arbitrary division of time.
Sometimes we are content to try to change ourselves with New Year’s resolutions to do better in some respect. Changing ourselves is a much more reasonable undertaking than trying to change other people. It may or may not succeed, but it seldom creates the disasters that trying to change others can produce.
When we look beyond ourselves to the world around us, peering into the future can be a very sobering, if not depressing, experience.
ObamaCare looms large and menacing on our horizon. This is not just because of computer problems, or even because some people who think that they have enrolled may discover at their next visit to a doctor that they do not have any insurance coverage.
What ObamaCare has done, thanks to Chief Justice Roberts’s Supreme Court decision, is reduce us all from free citizens to cowed subjects, whom the federal government can order around in our own personal lives, in defiance of the 10th Amendment and all the other protections of our freedom in the Constitution of the United States.
ObamaCare is more than a medical problem, though there are predictable medical problems – and even catastrophes – that will unfold in the course of 2014 and beyond. Our betters have now been empowered to run our lives, with whatever combination of arrogance and incompetence they may have, or however much they lie.
The challenges ahead are much clearer than what our responses will be. Perhaps the most hopeful sign is that increasing numbers of people seem to have finally – after nearly five long years – begun to see Barack Obama for what he is, rather than for what he seemed to be, when judged by his image and rhetoric.
What kind of man would blithely disrupt the medical care of millions of Americans, and then repeatedly lie to them with glib assurances that they could keep their doctors or health insurance if they wanted to?
What kind of man would set up a system in which people would be forced by law to risk their life savings, because they had to divulge their financial identification numbers to strangers who could turn out to be convicted felons?
With all the time that elapsed between the passage of ObamaCare and its going into effect, why were the so-called “navigators” who were to be handling other people’s financial records never investigated for criminal convictions? What explanation could there be, other than that Obama didn’t care? …
Those who have still not yet seen through Barack Obama will have many more opportunities to do so during the coming year, as the medical, financial and other painful human consequences of ObamaCare keep coming out in ways so clear that not even the mainstream media can ignore them or obscure them.
The question then is: What can be done about it? Nothing can be done about Obama himself. He has three more years in office and, as he pointed out to the Russians, he will no longer have to face the American voters.
ObamaCare, however, has no such immunity. It is always hard to repeal an elaborate program after it has gone into effect. But Prohibition was repealed, even though it was a Constitutional Amendment that required super-majorities in both houses of Congress and super-majorities of state legislatures to repeal.
In our two-party system, everything depends on whether the Republicans step up to the plate and act like responsible adults who understand that ObamaCare represents a historic crossroads that will determine what kind of people we are going to be, for this generation and generations yet unborn – citizens or subjects.
This means that Republicans have to decide whether their top priority is internal strife among the different wings of the party – another circular firing squad – or whether either wing puts the country first.
A prediction on how that will turn out in the new year would be far too hazardous to attempt.
We make no predictions today, but we thank our readers and commenters for their interest and contributions, and wish you all a Very Happy New Year!
These are extracts from a Washington Times report of an interview it had in Moscow with Edward Snowden, the man who “betrayed” the secrets of the National Security Agency (NSA):
Snowden is an orderly thinker, with an engineer’s approach to problem-solving. He had come to believe that a dangerous machine of mass surveillance was growing unchecked. Closed-door oversight by Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was a “graveyard of judgment” he said, manipulated by the agency it was supposed to keep in check. Classification rules erected walls to prevent public debate.
Toppling those walls would be a spectacular act of transgression against the norms that prevailed inside them. Someone would have to bypass security, extract the secrets, make undetected contact with journalists and provide them with enough proof to tell the stories.
The NSA’s business is “information dominance”, the use of other people’s secrets to shape events. … Snowden upended the agency on its own turf. …[and] succeeded beyond plausible ambition. The NSA, accustomed to watching without being watched, faces scrutiny it has not endured since the 1970s, or perhaps ever.
The cascading effects have made themselves felt in Congress, the courts, popular culture, Silicon Valley and world capitals.
The basic structure of the Internet itself is now in question, as Brazil and members of the European Union consider measures to keep their data away from U.S. territory and U.S. technology giants including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo take extraordinary steps to block the collection of data by their government.
For months, Obama administration officials attacked Snowden’s motives and said the work of the NSA was distorted by selective leaks and misinterpretations.
On Dec. 16, in a lawsuit that could not have gone forward without the disclosures made possible by Snowden, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon described the NSA’s capabilities as “almost Orwellian” and said its bulk collection of U.S. domestic telephone records was probably unconstitutional.
The next day, in the Roosevelt Room [at the White house], an unusual delegation of executives from old telephone companies and young Internet firms told President Obama that the NSA’s intrusion into their networks was a threat to the U.S. information economy. The following day, an advisory panel appointed by Obama recommended substantial new restrictions on the NSA, including an end to the domestic call-records program. …
In the intelligence and national security establishments, Snowden is widely viewed as a reckless saboteur, and journalists abetting him little less so. …
It is commonly said of Snowden that he broke an oath of secrecy, a turn of phrase that captures a sense of betrayal. NSA Director Keith B. Alexander and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., among many others, have used that formula. …
Snowden noted matter-of-factly that Standard Form 312, the classified-information nondisclosure agreement, is a civil contract. He signed it, but he pledged his fealty elsewhere.
“The oath of allegiance is not an oath of secrecy,” he said. “That is an oath to the Constitution. That is the oath that I kept that Keith Alexander and James Clapper did not.” …
Beginning in October 2012, he said, he brought his misgivings to two superiors in the NSA’s Technology Directorate and two more in the NSA Threat Operations Center’s regional base in Hawaii. For each of them, and 15 other co-workers, Snowden said he opened a data query tool called BOUNDLESSINFORMANT, which used color-coded “heat maps” to depict the volume of data ingested by NSA taps.
His colleagues were often “astonished to learn we are collecting more in the United States on Americans than we are on Russians in Russia,” he said. Many of them were troubled, he said, and several said they did not want to know any more.
“I asked these people, ‘What do you think the public would do if this was on the front page?’ ” he said. He noted that critics have accused him of bypassing internal channels of dissent. “How is that not reporting it? How is that not raising it?” …
By last December, Snowden was contacting reporters, although he had not yet passed along any classified information. He continued to give his colleagues the “front-page test”, he said, until April. …
Just before releasing the documents this spring, Snowden made a final review of the risks. He had overcome what he described at the time as a “selfish fear” of the consequences for himself.
“I said to you the only fear [left] is apathy — that people won’t care, that they won’t want change.” …
The documents leaked by Snowden compelled attention because they revealed to Americans a history they did not know they had. …
With assistance from private communications firms, the NSA had learned to capture enormous flows of data at the speed of light from fiber-optic cables that carried Internet and telephone traffic over continents and under seas. According to one document in Snowden’s cache, the agency’s Special Source Operations group, which as early as 2006 was said to be ingesting “one Library of Congress every 14.4 seconds”, had an official seal that might have been parody: an eagle with all the world’s cables in its grasp.
Each year, NSA systems collected hundreds of millions of e-mail address books, hundreds of billions of cellphone location records and trillions of domestic call logs.
Most of that data, by definition and intent, belonged to ordinary people suspected of nothing. But vast new storage capacity and processing tools enabled the NSA to use the information to map human relationships on a planetary scale. Only this way, its leadership believed, could the NSA reach beyond its universe of known intelligence targets.
In the view of the NSA, signals intelligence, or electronic eavesdropping, was a matter of life and death, “without which America would cease to exist as we know it”, according to an internal presentation in the first week of October 2001, as the agency ramped up its response to the al-Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
With stakes such as those, there was no capability the NSA believed it should leave on the table. The agency followed orders from President George W. Bush to begin domestic collection without authority from Congress and the courts. When the NSA won those authorities later, some of them under secret interpretations of laws passed by Congress between 2007 and 2012, the Obama administration went further still. …
In the Moscow interview, Snowden said, “What the government wants is something they never had before,” adding: “They want total awareness. The question is, is that something we should be allowing?”
Snowden likened the NSA’s powers to those used by British authorities in Colonial America, when “general warrants” allowed for anyone to be searched. The FISA court, Snowden said, “is authorizing general warrants for the entire country’s metadata.”
“The last time that happened, we fought a war over it,” he said.
Technology, of course, has enabled a great deal of consumer surveillance by private companies, as well. The difference with the NSA’s possession of the data, Snowden said, is that government has the power to take away life or freedom.
At the NSA, he said, “there are people in the office who joke about, ‘We put warheads on foreheads.’ Twitter doesn’t put warheads on foreheads.”
Privacy, as Snowden sees it, is a universal right, applicable to American and foreign surveillance alike.
“I don’t care whether you’re the pope or Osama bin Laden,” he said. “As long as there’s an individualized, articulable, probable cause for targeting these people as legitimate foreign intelligence, that’s fine. I don’t think it’s imposing a ridiculous burden by asking for probable cause. …
When it comes to spying on allies, by Snowden’s lights, the news is not always about the target.
“It’s the deception of the government that’s revealed,” Snowden said, noting that the Obama administration offered false public assurances after the initial reports about NSA surveillance in Germany. “The U.S. government said: ‘We follow German laws in Germany. We never target German citizens.’ And then the story comes out and it’s: ‘What are you talking about? You’re spying on the chancellor.’ You just lied to the entire country, in front of Congress.” …
In hope of keeping focus on the NSA, Snowden has ignored attacks on himself.
“Let them say what they want,” he said. “It’s not about me.”
Former NSA and CIA director Michael V. Hayden predicted that Snowden will waste away in Moscow as an alcoholic, like other “defectors.” To this, Snowden shrugged. He does not drink at all. Never has.
But Snowden knows his presence here is easy ammunition for critics. He did not choose refuge in Moscow as a final destination. He said that once the U.S. government voided his passport as he tried to change planes en route to Latin America, he had no other choice. … “I have no relationship with the Russian government. I have not entered into any agreements with them.”
“If I defected at all,” Snowden said, “I defected from the government to the public.”
We don’t think it likely that the NSA will stop its surveillance of the whole earth and your and our emails. It’s a power beyond the wildest dreams of all governments ever to be able to know everything about everyone, and now that it has become possible, and is being used, it will never be given up. No court judgment will stop it. No act of Congress. Preventing terrorist attacks is the excuse. Power is the reason.
At least we know about it now. For that we have to thank Edward Snowden.
Tolerate the intolerant – or be punished for intolerance?
It just doesn’t make sense, does it? It is illogical.
What does make sense, what is logical is this:
If you tolerate intolerance, you have abandoned tolerance.
Only if you are intolerant of intolerance are you tolerant.
Islam is intolerant. It is therefore not to be tolerated.
But that logic could put you under arrest if the European Union gets its way with its new tolerance decree.
The EU, which is led by mentally challenged pinko nonentities, wants the indigenous peoples of Europe – who have a post-Enlightenment tradition of tolerance (at least in theory, which didn’t stretch all the way to the Jews) – to tolerate the intolerance of the Muslims who are colonizing their continent.
This is how they work it out. If the Muslims go into the public square anywhere in Europe and display banners calling for the end of democracy (“Democracy Go To Hell” ), or the replacement of the law which protects difference of opinion with sharia law that doesn’t – insists in fact that only one opinion, the ignorant cruel Muslim one, be allowed – then their display of intolerance must be tolerated. If they shout that Christians and Jews (the offspring of apes and pigs in their holy writ) must be slaughtered, you must not shout back at them, or argue with them however politely, or write a reasoned article that they’re promoting intolerance and incitement to insurrection and murder, because if you do you are guilty of intolerance. What’s more, you should be punished for it. Why? Because you would be interfering with the Muslims’ right to free speech.
Perhaps you find it hard to believe that the leaders of the EU could really be as dumb as that?
Well, here’s the evidence.
It comes from an essay by Soeren Kern published by the Gatestone Institute, titled Proposal to Monitor “Intolerant” Citizens.
While European leaders are busy expressing public indignation over reports of American espionage operations in the European Union, the European Parliament is quietly considering a proposal that calls for the direct surveillance of any EU citizen suspected of being “intolerant.”
Critics say the measure – which seeks to force the national governments of all 28 EU member states to establish “special administrative units” to monitor any individual or group expressing views that the self-appointed guardians of European multiculturalism deem to be “intolerant” – represents an unparalleled threat to free speech in a Europe where citizens are already regularly punished for expressing the “wrong” opinions, especially about Islam.
The proposed European Framework National Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance was recently presented to members of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, the only directly-elected body of the European Union.
It all began with good people having the best of intentions – as mischief and downright evil so often do begin.
The policy proposal was drafted by the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR), a non-governmental organization established in Paris in 2008 by the former president of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski, and the president of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor.
The ECTR – which describes itself as a “tolerance watchdog” that “prepares practical recommendations to governments and international organizations on improving inter-religious and inter-ethnic relations on the continent” – includes on its board more than a dozen prominent European politicians, including former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar.
Aznar is very unlike most European leaders, being intelligent and genuinely tolerant.
The ECTR first presented its proposal for a Europe-wide Law on Tolerance to the European Parliament in November 2008 as part of the European Week of Tolerance that marked the 70th anniversary of the Kristallnacht, a night of anti-Semitic violence that began the Jewish Holocaust in Germany.
After five years of lobbying in Europe’s halls of power, the ECTR proposal appears to be making headway, as evidenced by the European Parliament’s recent decision to give the group a prominent 45-minute time slot to present its proposal to the Civil Liberties committee on September 17.
Also known as the “Model Statute for Tolerance,” the ECTR’s proposal was presented as part of the EU’s ongoing work towards a new “Equal Treatment Directive” (ETD) that would vastly expand the scope of discrimination to all sectors of life in both the public and private spheres.
Poking into private spheres? So it soon became a pernicious thing, in time for its chance of being accepted by the EU’s Parliament. Though that acceptance would not in itself be too dangerous, as the EU Parliament is an impotent organization that merely rubber stamps laws sent to it by the European Commission. (It serves the purpose of making the EU look democratic – which it is not – because its members are elected with extreme indifference in the various member countries.) But it’s at the top of a slippery slope.
Critics of the ETD, currently being negotiated within the Council of the European Union, say the directive seeks to establish an ill-conceived concept of “equal treatment” as a horizontal principle governing the relationships between all and everyone, thus interfering with the right of self-determination of all citizens.
According to European Dignity Watch, a civil rights watchdog based in Brussels,
The principles of freedom of contract and the freedom to live according to one’s personal moral views are in danger of being superseded by a newly developed concept of ‘equality.’ It would undermine freedom and self-determination for all Europeans and subject the private life of citizens to legal uncertainty and the control of bureaucrats. It is about governmental control of social behavior of citizens. These tendencies begin to give the impression of long-passed totalitarian ideas and constitute an unprecedented attack on citizens’ rights.
… The ECTR document is so audacious in scope, while at the same time so vague in defining its terminology, that critics say the proposal, if implemented, would open a Pandora’s Box of abuse, thereby effectively shutting down the right to free speech in Europe..
It is plain from the defining of terms that idiots took over.
According to Section 1 (d), for example, the term “tolerance” is broadly defined as “respect for and acceptance of the expression, preservation and development of the distinct identity of a group.” Section 2 (d) states that the purpose of the statute is to “condemn all manifestations of intolerance based on bias, bigotry and prejudice.”
That is not what “tolerance” means at all. To tolerate something means you put up with it. You bear with it. You don’t like it, but you are not going to take action against it. You don’t have to respect it to be tolerant of it – in fact the word implies that you don’t respect it any more than you like it. It certainly doesn’t mean that you have to try to preserve it. Obviously, you would happy to see it go. The less it’s expressed the better, and if it’s developed any further you will find it ever harder to tolerate. What you tolerate can be anything from your room-mate smoking to a baby crying all night in an airplane to a bad singer insisting on singing … to a group with a “distinct identity”. The distinct group would be the easiest thing on that list to tolerate – unless they’re a group that is trying to overthrow your laws and kill you.
And as for “intolerance based on bias, bigotry and prejudice”, what they seem to imply is that intolerance can only arise out of emotional distaste. It could never be reasonable. And how the source of anyone’s intolerance could be ascertained is hard to imagine.
In fact, if the precedents set in European courts over the last few years are examples of what the ETD is thinking of, no reasons would be accepted for what they choose to call intolerance. It will always be ascribed to “bias, bigotry and prejudice”. Because …
An explanatory note to Section 2 states: “Religious intolerance is understood to cover Islamophobia”
“Cover” Islamophobia? It is specifically designed to criminalize “Islamophobia” …
but it provides no definition at all of “Islamophobia,” a term invented by the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1990s.
If taken to its logical conclusion, Section 2 would presumably ban all critical scrutiny of Islam and Islamic Sharia law, a key objective of Muslim activist groups for more than two decades.
Yes, that’s what it’s all about. The document, in fact, shows every sign of having been written under the close supervision of Muslims. That’s why it is now likely to be accepted by any official body of the EU.
The document also declares that “tolerance must be practiced not only by governmental bodies but equally by individuals”.
There’s tolerance for you!
Section 3 (iv) elaborates on this: “Guarantee of tolerance must be understood not only as a vertical relationship (government-to-individuals) but also as a horizontal relationship (group-to-group and person-to-person). … “
Notice how government is thought of as being above the people. And that it is okay for it to regulate relations between individuals.
Section 5 (a) states: “Tolerance (as defined in Section 1(d)) must be guaranteed to any group, whether it has long-standing societal roots or it is recently formed, especially as a result of migration from abroad.”
The group from abroad that wants the enforcement of this menacing nonsense is intolerant Islam itself.
Section 6 states: “It goes without saying that enactment of a Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance does not suffice by itself. There must be a mechanism in place ensuring that the Statute does not remain on paper and is actually implemented in the world of reality.”
In other words, sniff out “bias, bigotry and prejudice”, and punish it.
“Members of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups are entitled to a special protection, additional to the general protection that has to be provided by the Government to every person within the State. … The special protection afforded to members of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups may imply a preferential treatment. Strictly speaking, this preferential treatment goes beyond mere respect and acceptance lying at the root of tolerance.”
Interpretation: It’s not enough that you may not hate Islam; you must LOVE Islam. Or else.
One clause prescribes the indoctrination of children in schools at all levels from the elementary grades to the universities. And children who offend will not escape punishment:
Section 7 (b) states that “Juveniles convicted of committing crimes listed in paragraph (a) will be required to undergo a rehabilitation program designed to instill in them a culture of tolerance.”
What will happen to you if you fail to love Islam?
Paragraph 7 (e) states that “victims of crimes listed in paragraph (a) will have a legal standing to bring a case against the perpetrators, as well as a right to redress.”
You won’t only have to pay a fine to the state, you will also have to pay any Muslim who claims you offended him.
Paragraph 7 (f) states that “free legal aid will be offered to victims of crimes listed in paragraph (a), irrespective of qualification in terms of impecuniosity.”
So he, on the other hand, regardless of how rich he is, will have all his expenses paid for by the state – that is to say by you, the tax-paying citizen.
The media must conform to the code of permitted speech, and each government must set up “a mass media complaints commission” to “supervise” the program content of even “privately owned mass media”.
Soeren Kern aptly comments:
The document, if adopted by the European Parliament in its current form, would … establish a right to a freedom from hurt feelings at the expense of the freedom of speech and expression.
Of course any group formed round an opinion is by its very existence forever challenging everyone else. Whether it is a political party, a religion, or merely a school of thought on any subject whatsoever, it is not in agreement with all those who do not hold its opinion. So everyone can be offended all the time.
The entire population of Europe could be crying out in perpetual rage for unendurably hurt feelings.
Or – more likely, since most Europeans have become skulking cowards – a great silence could descend on the continent, as everyone fears to utter a word. Europeans will go about with their heads bowed in case a look at a neighbor cuts him to the bone. They might all put on burkas – men as well as women – so that no piece of them rouses indignation in another’s bosom. They could all decide that it’s safer to become Muslims. Then they’ll abolish the law forbidding intolerance, so Sunnis can be as intolerant as they like of Shi-ites, and Shi-ites of Sunnis – and they can all work together to persecute the Jews.
As the terrorist Bill Ayers promotes a book in which he urges Americans to be “moral people”, one of his victims goes on Fox News to denounce his hypocrisy.
These aptly ironic comments come from an article by Daniel Greenfield at Front Page:
It’s crazy. You’re in a terrorist organization that goes to war with America, you bomb some places and write a book titled “Public Enemy”.
And then for some crazy reason, you’re depicted as a public enemy.
Poor Bill Ayers. I hope he can clear up this terrible misunderstanding before his next bombing.
Speaking from the well-heeled confines of the University of Chicago’s International House …, Bill Ayers said he was “amazed” to see himself on TV “cast as some kind of public enemy” with close ties to Barack Obama during one of the 2008 election’s biggest controversies.
At the event meant to promote his new book Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident, Ayers slammed the “opportunistic media” and the “eager campaign staffs of the right, the middle, and even the moderate left” for resurrecting the Weather Underground, a radical far-left group Ayers co-founded which bombed government property and banks throughout the 1970s.
“Bernadine and I had hosted the initial fundraiser for Obama and uncharacteristically donated a little money to his campaign,” said Ayers, reading an excerpt. “We lived a few blocks apart and sat on a couple nonprofit boards together. So what? Who could have predicted it would blow up like this?”
Sure. I bet if Timothy McVeigh had hosted a fundraiser for Mitt Romney, the media wouldn’t have even noticed.
Ayers said his new book is ultimately not about the election but rather about “teaching and parenting” and living a life that “doesn’t make a mockery of your values.” He urged his audience to “try to be good citizens, try to be moral people.”
Unfortunately all of Bill Ayers’ tips on how to be a good person involve nitroglycerine so they’re not that much use to the layman.
Ayers’ wife Bernadine Dohrn was also at the event, with Ayers introducing her as his “partner in crime,” adding, to laughter from the audience, “she hates it when I say that. It’s a metaphor.”
So when he was trying to kill people, it was, like a metaphor, man.
Bill Ayers doesn’t know what a metaphor is, but he’s reasonably handy with a bomb. Sadly that qualifies you to be a professor in academia these days.
What sort of people were those in the audience who found Bernadine Dohrn’s all-too-real criminality funny, we wonder. She and her husband should have been charged with treason and executed, but she, charged with lesser crimes, was fined a paltry sum, and he escaped punishment altogether on technicalities. She too is a professor. Insane persons with authority to make appointments in the universities apparently regard murderous terrorists as ideal instructors, guides, and models for the young.
“Be you ever so high, the law is above you,” said the English judge Lord Denning (quoting Thomas Fuller, the 17th century historian). That has been the case in England since the Magna Carta was signed by King John in 1215. The idea crossed the Atlantic as an unquestionable and undoubtable principle, and was not doubted or questioned by the Founders of the United States.
But President Obama defies it – while paying lip-service to it.
This is from Phyllis Schlafly’s column at Townhall:
The Democrats are chanting that Republicans must fully fund Obamacare because it is the law of the land, passed by Congress, signed by the president and upheld by the Supreme Court. Therefore, they say, it must be obeyed and can’t be altered by Republicans who want to defund it.
That argument is both wrong and hypocritical. Any federal law can be changed, repealed, amended or defunded by our legislative branch of government, Congress.
The Republican House wants to deal with the controversial huge “continuing resolution” [CR] bill in separate pieces, giving the OK to worthwhile federal spending purposes while leaving others (like Obamacare) without funds. Obama refuses to negotiate and demands a “clean” (blank-check) bill; his position is all or nothing-at-all.
Actually, the Supreme Court decision did not give a “clean” upholding of Obamacare. The Court effectively rewrote the law by allowing states to opt out of Medicaid expansion, and other pieces of Obamacare are still being litigated in federal courts, such as the mandate that employer-required insurance must include objectionable abortifacient drugs.
Obama’s hypocrisy about the issue of considering Obamacare in pieces is obvious from the many times he has unilaterally messed with other matters that are clearly the law of the land. He has frequently refused to enforce other laws of the land he doesn’t like, and he pretends to legislate laws that Congress declined to pass.
Welfare reform is truly the law of the land; it was passed by Congress in 1996 and signed by President Clinton to “end welfare as we know it”. But in violation of the law’s explicit language, Obama unilaterally carved out (in effect, repealed) the “work” (or training for work) requirement for persons receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
Obama’s use of waivers from various laws of the land is notorious. He has given waivers from the No Child Left Behind law of the land to more than half of the states.
Obama has even picked pieces out of Obamacare. He gave a one-year deferral of its insurance employer mandate to large employers, and he exempted Congress and government staff from the requirement on individuals to buy compulsory insurance or pay a significant penalty.
Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, admits that a federal law of the land prohibits the federal government from interfering with or dictating public school curriculum. But Obama used carrot-and-stick tactics to bribe or threaten a majority of states to adopt Common Core, and Duncan pretends it is OK for the feds to require states to be aligned with federally approved Common Core standards and Common Core tests, which will effectively dictate school curriculum.
Obama has repeatedly taken away from other branches of government powers that are specifically granted in the U.S. Constitution.
The Constitution makes an undiluted grant of power to Congress “to regulate commerce with foreign nations.” Obama is trying to co-opt that power for himself by demanding that Congress pass “Fast Track,” an enormous unconstitutional shift that would give Obama the authority to write our trade treaties in secret and then let Congress vote on them under rules that limit Congress’s power to debate or amend them, all within in a short preset time period. …
The Constitution gives the House of Representatives the power of the purse in the Origination Clause in Article I. But Obamacare’s taxing and spending sections actually originated in the Senate, a maneuver not yet ruled on by the Supreme Court.
The Constitution starts with the powerful words, “All legislative powers” are vested in Congress, consisting of a Senate and House. Paying no attention to the Constitution, Obama has done his own legislating.
Congress declined to pass the Dream Act, but Obama is legislating it anyway through regulations. In defiance of the law of the land, Obama has allowed millions of aliens to stay and work illegally in the United States.
Congress declined to pass Cap and Trade, but Obama is legislating it anyway through regulations. His regulations are designed to bankrupt coal plants, skyrocket our electricity costs so we can’t “keep our homes on 72 degrees,” and spend our tax dollars to subsidize inefficient, costly solar and wind energy.
In April 2012, nine state Attorneys General issued a Memo listing 21 violations of law by the Obama administration, and now we have so many more examples. Obama is the one who doesn’t obey the law of the land.
To be religious, to believe in a creator god or divine being of any description, is not intellectually respectable.
Far from deserving respect, religions deserve scorn. And worse. The histories of most of them warrant intense abhorrence.
What prompts us now to utter such blunt, unqualified, hard assertions on this “sensitive” subject? This report, which tells how Muslims are trying to make the whole world a reason-free zone.
We quote from the website of Jonathan Turley:
The effort by Muslim countries to curtail free speech in the name of their religion continues. While the Obama Administration has sought to appease these countries in developing an international blasphemy standard, this case shows how even the more modern Islamic countries (as well as Western countries) are finding blasphemy to be a useful vehicle to control speech and silence critics.
The latest attack comes from Qatar which has proposed a ban that would allow for the prosecution of people in other countries. That’s right, our allies are creating laws to allow them to prosecute people for insulting religion outside their own countries.
The use of the term “defamation” is a new twist to satisfy Western sensibilities and make it sound like this is a recognized form of legal action. However, it is the old blasphemy law in a new and more menacing form. The law would actually be broader than blasphemy which already exists on the books of many Muslim countries. This law would allow for the prosecution of people for all forms of defamation. Derision or denigration of religions and prophets will be considered crimes.
The selling point of the new law was explained by Ebrahim Mousa Al Hitmi, the Qatari justice ministry assistant undersecretary for legal affairs,“The main feature of the draft is that it gives every state the right to put on trial those who abuse and hold in contempt religions even if they are outside the country.”
However this “legal expert” assured people that there is no danger at all to free speech because insulting religion is not protected speech:
The law does not interfere in any way with the freedom of opinion and expression which is well protected and guaranteed. All penal laws in Arab countries criminalize defamation of religions but there are no specific sanctions when an abuser is outside the country. Therefore, the main goal of this law is to deter all forms of defamation of religions and give each country that ratifies it the right to file lawsuits against those who offend religions, even if they are not residents.
See how simple it is? You first declare denigrating religion as outside of the scope of permitted speech and then when you prosecute people for writing or speaking about religion it is by definition not a question of free speech.
These laws reflect an inherent insecurity among religious extremists running these countries that free speech represents a serious threat to orthodoxy. It is not enough that they prosecute and even execute people for apostasy. They are determined to cut off alternative views being spoken about religion on the Internet or in other countries. …
There can be no compromise between free speech and blasphemy. These nations stand against the most basic right of all men and women to speak freely and worship (or not worship) as their values dictate.
Of course the Muslims mean that only their own religion must not be criticized. They will continue to “defame” all other religions – and atheism – and obey their own doctrinal commandment to convert, subdue, or kill non-Muslims whenever they can.
And it may be impractical for them to enforce this decision outside their own areas of jurisdiction. But Europe is already complying with it. The Obama administration is sympathetic to it. And some US judges have already decided cases in accordance with sharia law, and a supreme court judge has argued in favor of doing so.
Those who hold the conviction that all ideas – including and especially religious ideas – should be continually and forever examined in the the light of reason, beware!
And stand your ground.
(Hat-tip for the report, our reader Frank)