Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Making the Case for Temperate Speech

An altercationFrom time to time in this space we get into some… ahem… discussions about the necessity for what I call “temperate speech”.

It’s Rule #2 of our comments policy: your speech here must be temperate, which I define as containing “no exhortations to commit violence or foment insurrection, etc.”

I’ve taken a lot of flak for enforcing this rule, and have endured my share of reproach and ridicule for my namby-pamby sissified cowardly fear of frank and unrestrained argument. I’ve been accused of succumbing to the dictates of political correctness, and have even allegedly driven one blogger out of blogging through his disgust at my disgraceful example.

But there is a prudent and practical reason for my policy, as demonstrated today by the actions of the federal government towards two prominent blogs, Gateway Pundit and Little Green Footballs.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Mosque threatened, Muslim group says

A national Muslim civil rights organization has asked the FBI to investigate what it considers threats made on the Internet against a Bosnian mosque in St. Louis.

One blog post cited by the group made reference to vandalism and another to the use of dynamite.

Zachary Lowe, a special agent in the St. Louis office of the FBI, said Tuesday that while he could not confirm an investigation, the bureau “takes all threats against people very seriously, especially religious and ethnic groups.”
- - - - - - - - -
The comments were made on at least two blogs and related to a posting about a minaret being built at the mosque. The mosque is the Islamic Community Center, or Madina Masjid, at 4666 Lansdowne Avenue. A minaret is a tower from which the Muslim call to prayer is traditionally sounded.

The author of a blog called “Gateway Pundit: Observations of the World from the heart of Jesusland,” posted three photos of the minaret covered with scaffolding. One of the photos included the caption: “Those calls to prayers ought to go over really well with the people of this South St. Louis neighborhood.”

The “Gateway Pundit” author also cited another blog, Republican Riot, saying the Muslim call to prayer “is to be broadcast several times a day.”

But Madina Masjid’s spiritual leader, Imam Muhamed Hasic, said the minaret is symbolic, not practical. There is no sound system or speakers on the minaret, which is scheduled to be completed next week. He said the minaret will not be used to call Muslims to prayer.

Another blog, called “Little Green Footballs,” linked to the “Gateway Pundit” post, and several comments on “Little Green Footballs,” caused the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations to contact the FBI, said Ibrahim Hooper, the council’s spokesman.

“We ourselves get these kinds of hate messages and threats frequently,” Hooper said. “But you never know who’s just talking and who’s going to carry out some these threats, so you have to check them out.”

On the “Gateway Pundit,” a blogger who identified herself as Kathi, wrote: “It is really hard on us white, non-muslims to have to live with these folks taking over our neighborhood and community. Our government helping these people relocate into America’s heartland is like inviting the enemy into your camp. It’s totally disgusting.”

On “Little Green Footballs,” blogger Amer1can wrote, “Would be a shame if it were to be vandalized or destroyed. Just a shame I tell you….wink wink STL youth.”

Blogger Arthur E. Hippler added: “I suppose dynamite would be considered an extreme response.”

The original post was by Julia Gorin at Republican Riot. Jim at Gateway Pundit picked it up yesterday, and then followed it up with a post today after the Post-Dispatch story hit the streets.

St. Louis minaretOne of the photos of the St. Louis minaret mentioned in the article is shown at right, and Jim’s dangerous, hateful, Islamophobic caption reads: Amazing! (GP Photo) Those calls to prayers ought to go over really well with the people of this South St. Louis neighborhood.

Alert readers will notice that all of the “threats” cited by the article were made by commenters on the blogs, not by the blogs’ owners and authors.

The FBI and the MSM evidently make no distinction between a blogger and a commenter. They’re really not familiar with our milieu — so a commenter is a blogger and a blogger is a commenter; what’s the difference?

However… when the excrement impacts the circulation device, it won’t be the commenters who are targeted for their incitement; it will be the blog owners.

They’re the ones who will be hauled down to the local FBI office, put into a hot little room under a set of bright lights, and talked to for six or eight hours.

It’s the blog owners’ blogs that will get shut down.

It’s the blog owners who will have to retain legal counsel — and drop a couple of large in the process.

It’s the blog owners who will have to pay the fines and do the time.

And maybe — just maybe — after the feds finish getting their jollies with the blog owners, they’ll go after a few commenters while they’re at it. Just a little dessert after the main course, you know.

You Americans think it can only happen in Finland (Tomashot), Britain (Lionheart), Sweden (Dahn Pettersson and Lennart Eriksson), Canada (Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn), Belgium (Paul Belien) , and other similar benighted backwaters.

But it can happen here, too.

The First Amendment is under continuous assault by the forces of Political Correctness, and it’s going to get worse once Hillary Rodham or Barack Hussein gets elected and starts pulling away at the levers of power.

So why not practice for the days of samizdat that are surely coming our way? What’s wrong with a little judicious indirection?

If the time should come when we are required to dissolve the political bands which have connected us with the existing system, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind will require us to state our case clearly.

When that happens, when the powers that be remain deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity, we may, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity for plain speech and forthright action.

But until then I’d like to keep this blog going. I want this forum to remain open.

I don’t want to spend my sunset years talking to polite and well-dressed federal agents in stuffy little rooms.

I don’t want to be driven into bankruptcy by legal expenses.

And, yes, I may well end up standing at the corner of Emmet and Hydraulic, beckoning to passing cars with a sign that reads, “WILL BLOG FOR FOOD”.

But I’d rather not.

So I vote for temperate speech instead.


Hat tip: Larwyn.

65 comments:

VinceP1974 said...

I emailed the paper:

From: Vince
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 8:28 PM
To: 'ttownsend@post-dispatch.com'
Cc: 'pmaples@post-dispatch.com'; 'letters@post-dispatch.com'
Subject: Offensive story regarding Islam

I just read your ridiculous story about harassment against Muslims.. what did you do..? copy and paste this story together in the “Lets portray Muslims as poor little victims because the Muslim Brotherhood (do you even know who they are?) / HAMAS (do you even know who they are?) front group CAIR (which it must be obvious you don’t know who they are and the threat they pose this country) said so”?

There are many of us who educated ourselves about Islam and have come to view it as a grave threat to our way of life.. and what do you do ? You spread the propaganda of CAIR!

Did you even know that CAIR lost its status as a lobby group because of the improper way in which the group’s business is conducted?

I read your private email exchange with LGF’s blogger… my contempt for reporters like you grows by the day.

You are immature arrogant pricks and yet are in the so-important position of providing us our news. I would never imagine in a million years that a reporter would conduct his official business at the level of a 5 year old,.. BUT THANK YOU for waking me up from that delusion.

Speaking of delusion.. what is it with you reporters and your love of just passing along what Islamists say with absolutely no scrutiny?

Here.. read about another incident of journalist malpractice that I write about here:

http://home.comcast.net/~vincep312/church.html

What an incompetent you are.

Vince

The Average Joe said...

My dear Baron,

I agree with (and, to the best of my ability, abide by) your rules on civil discourse. There are places where people can vent their spleens without endangering legitimate public forums. Your blog is not such a place.

In the interest of fairness it should be noted that the content on LGF to which the redolent Ibrahim Hooper objected was: posted in the comments, under the disclaimer, by new subscribers and that said comments were removed by Charles Johnson as soon as he became aware of them.

ScottSA said...

I would point out that the FBI agent's response was boilerplate, not specific. I sincerely doubt that it will act on throwaway lines by some goof.

Having said that, it's hardly worth testing the mettle of the FBI over meaningless throwaway lines, and your concerns about the coming illiberal clampdown by the liberals are valid. They are already talking about reviving the "fairness doctrine" in the US, and all they need is one episode of anti-Muslim violence and it'll be crackdown time.

The more "liberal" the politicians get, the more fascist the politics become. Funny that.

Of course, I'm one of the ones who accused you of PC...

Baron Bodissey said...

Joe,

You are quite correct. However, I never asserted or implied that Charles Johnson agreed with or supported those commenters. The opposite is true; he has made his disgust for that kind of comment quite clear. I was not being unfair to him, or to the vast majority of his commenters. The same goes for Jim at Gateway Pundit.

My point is that blog owners can and do get in trouble for what's on their blogs, and that the MSM and the authorities make no distinction between the blogger and the commenter -- they even use the two terms interchangeably.

Organizations like CAIR have people who do nothing but watch blogs like LGF, waiting for intemperate comments so that they can sic the feds on the blog. Intimidation is the name of the game.

Any counterjihad blog that draws enough traffic will be closely watched.

We're a medium-sized blog, so we may escape that kind of scrutiny. But I don't want to take any chances.

latte island said...

Why did the newspaper article mention Kathi's comment? She didn't advocate violence. It's not remotely like the other comments. Did CAIR complain about it? That comment is obviously protected by the 1st amendement, even if the others may be a bit iffy.

PRCalDude said...

FBI - famous, but incompetent.

Zenster said...

Dear Baron,

Please continue to run this blog exactly as you see fit. We participate here strictly on your terms and have zero right to complain about it. You are a most gracious online host and most certainly have nothing to apoligize for. Please take your Swedish counter-jihad award quite seriously. It means that you are doing something very right and should damn proud of it.

At day's end, the Western world will have yourself and a few dozen other intrepid individuals to thank for saving its collective gluteus maximus.

Personally, I cannot thank you enough for being so dedicated to making sure the message gets out about Islam and its true intentions. Neither Nazism or communism ever posed a similar threat, no matter how nasty they might have seemed. Islam is a modern day Black Plague and its danger must be shouted from the rooftops at every turn. Again, please accept my deepest thanks.

With Heartfelt Gratitude,

Zenster

deadbambi said...

Obviously they're trying to show Kathi's attitude as hateful by identifying herself as " white , non-muslim."

I have to say, it does tend to damage the Counterjihad movement when people differentiate based on skin color. The same is true with basing one's Counterjihadism solely (or even mostly) as an affront to one's own religious doctrine (i.e. Christianity or Judaism).

The Counterjihad movement tends to get the labels of "bigots" and "religious nuts" (ironically they don't label Muslims that way) because of the type of comment Kathi made, even if it was innocuous to some. For example, say a black, Christian guy read her comment, and even if he thought Islam was the vilest ideology on earth, I have to imagine that he would be offended on some level.

The problem is, we will eventually need the liberals to wake up and we will need them to listen to us, as difficult as that will be. They will continue to ignore our message unless we give it to them from another dominant perspective, the perspective that Islam and Jihad are an affront to human rights, women's rights, freedom of religions outside Islam, secular rights, freedom of expression, etc...

Islam's status as "underdog" needs to be debunked as well. Liberals tend to support underdogs, and I find it amazing that they have this perception of Muslims.

Getting the liberals to listen up, though daunting, is possible. They were screaming about the evils of the Taliban before 9/11, so this knowledge has to be in their memory banks somewhere.

deadbambi said...

Sorry, forgot to mention animal rights too. Showing Muslims abusing animals or jailing a man for walking his dog might actually give the Liberals a jolt.

latte island said...

Deadbambi, of course you make good points regarding public relations, but the FBI is investigating these blog comments. So, I'm wondering why the FBI would be interested in a comment that may be politically incorrect and offensive to some of the people we want to reach, but is clearly protected speech. If I comment on a blog that certain people or their buildings are "disgusting," I have the right to not expect the government to take an interest. OTOH, Kathi's comment being included in the article may be a mere mistake by the reporter. But if the FBI is really including that comment, they are way out of line, and I myself have reason to be concerned, because I used to write comments similar to Kathi's on this blog, before the Baron asked us to stop.

Zeke said...

Personally if I wrote a comment as innocuous as "residents of St. Louis are going to like the call to prayer" in a blog and got called in to talk about it with the FBI I would view it as a nice break in the work routine. I would be interested in why they were talking to me, etc. I'm sure I would get as much, or more, information from them as they would from me. Who knows it might make a nice blog posting.

Also, I understand the comments of the people who said that self-identification as "a white Christian" is perhaps not the best way to win over libs or others. But, on the other hand, the extreme disparity in rules governing discussion or race (and religion) is one of the biggest impediments to counter-jihad and counter-other-leftist-stupidity.

We've been bathed in a six month celebration of the greatness of Obama based in large part simply on his race (asserted as black, actually mixed black and white). We annually celebrate "Black History Month". We just completed our annual MLK day celebration with mandatory discussion in all media of the history of Blacks, Black achievement, Black heros, etc.

Many of us have been living in a pro-Black world for our entire lives, where we are supposed to tip-toe around not mentioning our race.

Well guess what, enough of THAT. Obama is the Donkey candidate for POTUS. That means that we've reached functional equality and all rules must henceforth be symetrical. Unless Blacks stop self-identifying as "Black" (for instance rename BET as Booty TV or something) I see no reason for us not to assert who we are on as regular a basis as we choose.

Yours, Zeke - White Christian American (who is tired of the double standards!)

nikolai said...

It's a war. The Jihad aspect is actually the good bit imo as it has woken people up to the unfinished Cold War. The driving force behind the liberal left is still Marx. The Jihad only has a chance and a foothold because of them. Both will fight dirty so it is wise to look at it as a war and think tactically.

If the simple facts weren't so threatening to the enemy then the MSM wouldn't be trying so hard to suppress them. So just getting the facts seen is a great start. I think most people will end up coming to similar conclusions when they get access to the facts.

nikolai said...

Forgot to add. I do understand the rage at the double-standards of course. I have to bite my lip all the time.

But recognizing this is a war and not civilized politics makes it easier. For me anyway.

Felicie said...

"On the “Gateway Pundit,” a blogger who identified herself as Kathi, wrote: “It is really hard on us white, non-muslims to have to live with these folks taking over our neighborhood and community. Our government helping these people relocate into America’s heartland is like inviting the enemy into your camp. It’s totally disgusting.”"

The fact that a comment like this is included in the "investigation" is really-really scary. This is an innocuous comment. There is nothing criminal about it. It doesn't incite violence to any imaginable degree. If the word "white" as self-identification is now considered a criminal offence then I don't know what to say, except "Stalinism is knocking at the door." Our freedoms are chipped away bit by bit. First, we can't say one thing, then another, then another. In the end, we are only allowed to raise our hands in a salute of approval.

Henrik said...

This bugs me. The comments selected for investigation are quite civil, and if FBI even accepts to investigate this, we're having serious trouble with 1st admendment.

What we're up against is intimidation - no more, no less - and we need protection against this. Baron actually reacts as desired, asking people to be more careful in their expression, but that is pretty much what the intimidators desire, and a dangerous path to follow. I'm not happy with it.

I think we need to stand up against this, and to defend LGF and Gateway Pundit in this, perhaps telling the authorities something like "this is unjust indimidation and as such a violation of 1st admendment."

The fact that we had some trouble with LGF in the past should not deter us from defending them now.

As for any possible lawsuits, covering the costs could be a shared burden. I know from the RIAA/MPAA copyright mess that permitting our opponents to establish a precedence against us is dangerous. Then better take the challenge up front.

latte island said...

What about going on the offensive? CAIR is harassing people for using their right to free speech, and wasting the time of the FBI, who should actually be investigating CAIR. Can LGF and the other blogs sue CAIR for harassment and abuse of process, as their complaint here seems pretty frivolous? Or, how about giving them a Bad CAIR day...on a certain day, all anti-jihadi bloggers would post verbal abuse of CAIR. The FBI can't investigate everyone. And that would educate more people about CAIR's agenda of silencing critics.

Spinoneone said...

Baron,
You are right, of course. This is your blog; we follow your rules.

We should remember that although Charles at LGF tries to keep out/control the trolls, he isn't always immediately successful. I have no reason to believe that CAIR couldn't place a "commentator" in the mix over there and do a fifth column infiltration - with obnoxious filth and smearing LGF with it. Clearly within the bounds of "taqiyya" any day of the week.

We all need to keep up our guard. If any of us sees anything clearly inadmissible on GoV or any other of the blogs we write on, tell the administrator IMMEDIATELY. We need to hang together on this one - the PC, CAIR, and the FBI will certainly collude to hang us individually if we don't

Stopmakingsense said...

It is blatently obvious to everyone out there, that the Muslim thought police moniter and complain about anything and everything that may oppose "operation death cult", and its coming to pass.

That is the beauty of Islamic indoctrination.

Their minions will blindly follow orders, and carry them out for the glory of their despotic cause.

They seek to make freedom of speech futile, - and eventually illegal.

We, whom oppose this cult must stand firm on this issue.....

davod said...

I would be more interested in finding out how they got approval to build the minaret in a strip mall.

Annoymouse said...

Boy, that makes me want to say something really intemperate.

The comments tended vile but not overtly threatening in the casual banter that blogging encourages. I suppose that speech on the world wide web is not really protected. Speech in a bar is protected at the discretion of the proprietor. At least until the Feds decide to start mic’ing all public places… as absurd as that seems, the technology is there for voice recognition and computers do all the work. If you don’t believe that start jabbering on international phone lines about uranium in Arabic and see what new friends you gain. Nothin’ to keep the Feds from packet sniffing either. Either way free speech is under attack by cadres of grievance mongers of which the Muslims are the most blatantly abusive of the right to defend against outrageous offence. But these offenses are tending toward thought crime. I hate crimes of intent. It is a felony to conspire to commit a misdemeanor. RICO worked great to roll up the mafia but imagine its consequences when the precise tools of government are wielded by the likes of CAIR. If it is illegal to hate does that mean that I am legislated to love? Or am I to just become numb emotionally by government mandate? Never high never low, thank you dear leader.

Uncontrolled immigration is a hate crime against the citizens of the United States. Teaming masses are coming to the US to demand their rights but until teaming masses of Westerners move to Tehran to demand their rights we need to keep the system in check with balance and reciprocity.

Annoymouse said...

Buzzzzzzz John Spartan you are fined 5 credits in violation of the verbal morality code.

RISE_UP said...

So if CAIR can shut up the internet they will be in high cotton because no one will learn about the majority of their atrocities from MSM. I read the comments and it would really be a stretch to call any of them a threat. These enemies of the u.s. want it both ways. Celebrate free speech when it works for them.Call for beheadings..heck that's not a threat is it? And I,myself would scream out against a tower bleating out any kind of call.Whether it's for ducks or calling cows to come and eat dinner. Keep going LGF keep going Baron and all the blogs it's what keeps them honest (or tries)

Annoymouse said...

The beauty is plausible deniability. CAIR will take care to isolate itself from the words of the extremists that it protects. In this way Islam has a tactical advantage because they talk in code (idiomatic Arabic) that takes place in sanctuary (mosques). They vett out their cohorts thoroughly also. They learned their lessons well from the CIA and now the CIA is a leftist hate group devoted to take down the Republican administration and leak classified information to the press for the sake of speaking truth to power. We’re screwed.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

If nothing else this proves that we're all in this together. No matter what opinions we might hold about each other they should not distract us from the goal we all share. Petty squabbling about who's got which symbol might keep the thought police (or whatever you want to call them) off your back for a little while, get you into a safe position for a few weeks, a month, or a year, but they come for everyone sooner or later. As one of your founding fathers is reputed to have said, we must hang together, or we shall surely hang separately.

Baron Bodissey said...

Henrik (and others) --

Yes, I absolutely support LGF and Gateway Pundit in their right to post what they want.

I believe that the comments cited in the article were innocuous, not incitement, and protected by the First Amendment. Some may have been offensive or stupid, but in a sane country — such as Denmark — none of them would be actionable.

But things are not sane here, and the First Amendment is riddled with holes.

I am cautioning prudence and calling for temperate speech here because, unlike Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn, I can’t write a check for a hundred grand to a civil liberties lawyer.

Since I’m a contractor, not an employee, if I get tied up in conversations with the Thought Police, I will lose what income I have during that time, even if I walk out the door a free man afterwards.

So, for those of you who want me to be a purist and let comments fly withoout worrying about these things, set up a preemptive defense fund with at least $200,000 in it, and deposit a retainer in my name with a team of top-notch First Amendment legal specialists.

Then, and only then, will I consider the possibility letting y’all run off at the keyboard here in our comments without worrying about what you say.

This used to be a free country, but it isn’t quite so free anymore, thanks to John McCain and the Warren Court and William O. Douglas and all the others who have found emanations and penumbrae and airy nothings where our freedoms used to be.

In any case, regardless of the things that LGF and the lizardoids may have said against me in the past, I support without reservation their right to speak and write freely in their forum, no matter how noxious I or anyone else think their sentiments might be.

And Gateway Jim is one of the very best. Send him your lunch money if he needs it for his defense fund.

rohan said...

Kind of ironic that LGF, which see a Nazi under every bush, is investigated for hate speech.

That said, it appears for all intents and purposes that free speech is already dead in this country. If the FBI doesn't get you, or CAIR sues you into bankruptcy, the PC police will be there to kill the wounded. Am I over the top? Think about when you rite a comment of a blog entry. Do you self-censor your thoughts?

I agree that GoV has every right to run the comments however they want. It is just frightening that they have to fear our government, and other entities, over the written word.

rohan said...

"rite" = write My "w" key is missing so I have to mash it really hard. Sometimes I miss!

Henrik said...

Baron, your figure makes an impression. I don't think anyone here would be able to raise *that* kind of money.

As for LGF, anyone heard of karma?

Which of course doesn't keep us from defending Charles. Solidarity is good style, and especially in times of need it is important to lay behind memories of past conflicts.

I like the idea of mounting a counteroffensive. Pick one day and have all bloggers post the most evil smears against that Saudi front CAIR, comments free.

In Denmark, of course, it would be a non-issue. Blog comments are way out of control compared to the civil discourse now being 'investigated' by FBI.

babs said...

It is not so much CAIR's complaint about comments on web sites that troubles me. They are professional grievence mongers, that is what their Saudi overlords pay them to do... And, BTW, I read somewhere that this minaret was funded by KSA. Rather, it is our gov'ts involvement. The very fact that the FBI issued a press release that they were going to "investigate" is truly scary.

When the complaint came in to the FBI, one guy at a desk could have been asked to check it out. End of story. But no, the FBI felt compelled to intimidate every American blogger that speaks about the infiltration of Islam into our culture by issuing a press release... (Possible hate crime/thought crime? Are we really that far off from the Tribunals in Canada?)

As for the minaret in St. Louis; having read all the comments at Gateway Pundit, I think the most astute was that Islam is "incrementalist." Of course it is and this has been discussed ad nausium on this site. I do believe that a mosque in Michigan was allowed and is currently electronically issuing the call to prayer from loud speakers 5X/day... There exists a precedent in the U.S. for this activity. It is not beyond the realm of imagination that this minaret will be completed and, somewhere down the line, the city will be asked for a permit to broadcast from the tower.
When I hear the call to prayer compared to church bells, I just want to gag. Electronically broadcasting a religious prayer from a tower is a far cry from ringing a bell. Especially when you consider that one of those broadcasts takes place every day before dawn.
I have a compromise: No electronic broadcast into a public space of religion. So, you send a guy up to the top of the tower to scream out the call to prayer and we will ring a bell. Sounds fair to me.

Zeke said...

I wonder if people are over-reacting a little bit.

We don't know that the FBI actually did anything, only that the news story writer got access to some agent who said something like "we're looking into it".

Now that is a little scary, but for all we knew he hung up the phone and turned to his office mate and said "What a freaking tool!! She wants us to investigate bloggers!! BLOGGERS!! Lets go get a burger".

It seems to me that if the FBI were going to go after bloggers they would start with the more hard core ones out there. The comments posted at LGF, for instance pale in comparison to what is posted daily at FreeRepublic, which pales compared to Democratic Underground which in turn is still more temperate than somewhere like Stormfront, which includes open discussion of the likely hood of future civil war in the country.

My suspicion is that if the FBI decides to crack down on bloggers and board operators they will start with ones that have multiple idiotic postings and are festooned with swastikas, not with the fairly cereberal personality cult over at LGF.

heroyalwhyness said...

zeke said: "somewhere down the line, the city will be asked for a permit to broadcast from the tower."

In the comments section of the St. Louis Today . . .


Posted: 19 Feb 2008 16:04 pm by commenter 'robem'
My alley butts against Kingshighway, I've lived on this steet 48 years. And I battle noise from businesses on Kingshighway constantly.
Here's my beef. The city should never have issued a permit for a broadcast tower that wasn't to be broadcasting. The notion is absurd, they will be broadcasting. And according to city officials at my last neighborhood meeting, the story has changed, they will be using the tower to call to prayer "on special occasions". I asked if that's weekly or what, they said it's up to them. It's not very nice for a religious organization to come into neighborhood and deceiving the community on their intentions. If it does become daily I'm sure it will get old quickly with the non Muslim community.

The Poster Formerly Known as Gordon said...

This used to be a free country, but it isn’t quite so free anymore, thanks to John McCain and the Warren Court and William O. Douglas and all the others who have found emanations and penumbrae and airy nothings where our freedoms used to be.

This statement is incorrect.

1. I assume your reference to John McCain has to do with the McCain-Feingold Act. While arguably a limit on free speech for the rich, it has no impact on the rantings of blog commenters.

2. The Warren Court significantly added to our free speech rights. In Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) the Court disallowed punishment abstract advocacy of force or law violation. The case involved a noxious KKK leader. In Cohen v. California (1971 - actually a Burger Court case), the Court invalidated punishment of a young man for wearing a jacket emblazoned with "F**k the Draft" on the back as a violation of the 1st amendment. In Sullivan v. New York Times (1964) the Court significantly narrowed the scope of libel laws for public figures. The Warren Court revolutionized 1st amendment jurisprudence - in the direction of MORE free speech, not less.

3. William O. Douglas and his "penumbras and emanations" have nothing to do with free speech. They have everything to do with extending personal freedoms in other directions, most notably in the right for adults to use contraceptives (Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965 - where the term "emanated"), and of course Roe v. Wade (1973). Whatever you think of Douglas penumbras and emanations, they were used to EXPAND personal freedoms, not restrict them.

In fact, the current conservative Roberts Court, with its "Bong Hits for Jesus" case last term, is the one turning away from an expansive interpretation of our first amendment speech rights.

babs said...

Actually hero, I said that.

"somewhere down the line, the city will be asked for a permit to broadcast from the tower."

I am very much aware of incrementalism. About 5 years ago the SUNY medical system applied for and was granted a permit to build an outpatient surgery facility in our community. We have zoning regulations that built environments, like parking lots, must maintain a 50' buffer zone from the adjacent streets. This facility built its parking lot 15' from the adjacent street. We had a public meeting where the representative of the construction team told us it was an "error" by the local contractor. We asked that the portion of the parking lot not in compliance with our zoning laws be dug up. That never happened. In fact, just two years later ground was broken on a facility at least 2X's larger than the original behind the existing facility and, egress to the new building was over the "illegal" prior parking lot.
No one can convince me that the plans for the much larger facility weren't already in the works during the construction of the primary facility. You would have to be a fool to believe that.
So, "incrementalism" is not something limited to Islam, it goes on every day in our society.
And BTW, state facilities pay no taxes to the local municipalities. They actually impose a financial burden for costs of police, fire and rescue, the same as religious institutions.
One might argue the inherent good of having a medical facility in your community, just as one might argue along the same lines regarding a religious facility. The problem is balancing the peaceful persuit of citizens against special groups. In the case I site, that special group would be the State of New York... In St. Louis, the special group would be Bosnian Muslims.

deadbambi said...

Just to clarify - it seems to me that the author of the article is the person who handpicked the blog comments to include at the end of the story. Nothing in the article connected the comments of Kathi to CAIR's complaint. Reread the article. It seems the author decided to add Kathi's comment for emphasis based on his own biases. This is what I meant in my comments about how comments like Kathi's hurt our cause, even if innocuous.

In fact, according to the article, the complaint was only about two comments, "One blog post cited by the group made reference to vandalism and another to the use of dynamite."

The dynamite comment included in the article, however, was also innocuous. It's possible that the author failed to include the actual comment to which CAIR was referring since CJ deletes them once he sees anyone advocating violence. Perhaps the author just chose Arthur E. Hippler's comment randomly as he did with Kathi's? Hippler's comment, in fact, calls the use of dynamite against a mosque as an "extreme response." Maybe Hippler was responding to the post about dynamite that CAIR was scrutinizing? If I were Arthur E. Hippler, I would demand a clarification by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at the very least, and cite defamation against his good nomenclacher by the author.

Also, according to the story, Zachary Lowe, the special agent the article's author interviewed at the St. Louis FBI office, said he could not confirm an investigation, but that the bureau “takes all threats against people very seriously, especially religious and ethnic groups.”

Even though the US government, through its CAIR-sponsored sensitivity training provided to law enforcement, including the FBI, would have us all thinking the FBI has gone soft, believe me -they know what's up, they know the threat of Islam, and they are not fooled in the least. The problem is their hands are often tied by the politicos in DC. They are just as frustrated as we are.

Also, I agree with Baron on thought crimes and made mention of the direction the US is heading in a post on my blog re: Lionheart. http://deadbambi.blogspot.com/2008/02/lionheart-to-be-arrested-for-blogging.html

Ironically, you'll also see at the top of my blog an unfavorable post regarding Charles Johnson that I posted before Baron's post on this came out based on the damage he's caused Lionheart.

Martel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martel said...

Several have commented on how the Marxists play nice with the Jihadists. But the reasons for that should be quite evident. They share similar goals but approach them from different directions. The Marxist hates Western civilization and wants to see it's dinosaur values replaced by the "progressive" society of universal peace and justice (read: "cradle to the grave totalitarian micromanagement"). The Jihadist hates Western society and wants to see it replaced with The Caliphate.

However, what most fail to see is that the Marxists will USE the Jihadists to undermine and destroy the West. Then, once they accomplish their political objectives, they will turn on the Jihadists and destroy them as well. In the final analysis, the end is a society ruled by the radicals in which the dissenters have been silenced. The means are irrelevant. The politik of cultural revolution makes for strange bedfellows indeed.

deadbambi said...

I don't know...

My money would have to be on the Jihadists. The Marxists of today don't have the stomach for the violence that the Jihadists have. Plus, the Jihadists are more determined and believe it is the will of their allah, so more is at stake for them.

I truly hope I don't see the day when bookmakers in Vegas start delivering odds on this match.

VinceP1974 said...

My money is on the Jihadists too.

Martel said...

Oh I'm not saying that The Marxists will be successful. All bets are off in that regard. But I am saying that they share a common pathological hatred of western civilization.

leadpb said...

Free speech can mean the expression of almost anything. But in the case of counterjihad what is *effective* speech? I think it is presenting thoughtful insight about our dilemma in a manner that will attract rather than repel new readers. The vast majority of comments posted at GoV advance this standard but it takes only small missteps to upset the balance. I think this is what Mr Bodissey is on about.

Posting our most emotional and visceral thoughts does not accomplish much for third parties. At least not in the tradition of this site. People can put the pieces together for themselves I think, based on input that is provocative and heartfelt.

But of course we must be on guard since it seems possible that CAIR and their ilk may have the ability-- and certainly the will and funds-- to transform criticism of [their] religion into hate speech.

babs said...

I don't know Leapd... I hope I add to the conversation...
Are my thoughts "emotional and visceral"???
Yes, people can put pieces together, which I am trying very hard to do. Maybe I am just a moron...
Just after 9/11 one of my husband's co-workers, who happened to be Muslim, started on a crusade to introduce us to the Muslim religion in the U.S. I have been to several Muslim cultural gatherings during which I was treated with the utmost respect. Actually given flowers at one event where I was one of a very few women that weren't veiled... What should someone of the west living in the United States think of this; to be seated in a group of people where you are one of the only females not wearing the hijjab? I am making no comment about my treatment as, obviously, it was very respectfull. What I am saying is why would we want our existing culture overrun by this alien culture and, how long before the men of this culture stop giving me flowers and start asking me why I don't wear the hijab?
I actually wouldn't ask this about any other religious culture. It has long been settled that all other cultures respect the decorum of other cultures. Not so of Islam. As a true feminist, I really, really worry about this. Who will protect my "rights?" Gloria Steinam? This thing is going to roll right over her... There will be no one to protect the rights of women as we little by little, inch by inch, conceed female rights to the Sharia... I worry so much for my children because, by the time they tumble to this it will be too late.

Felicie said...

"But of course we must be on guard since it seems possible that CAIR and their ilk may have the ability-- and certainly the will and funds-- to transform criticism of [their] religion into hate speech."

Rational and reasoned criticism of Islam is the one thing that shouldn't be compromised on. Once we start talking about "radical islamists" and "fundamentalists, who have perverted the religion," we have lost, in my opinion.

deadbambi said...

How very timely this topic was...Goose Creek Terrorists could go free on technicality due to deputies' bigoted comments during search

livfreerdie said...

The Thomas More Law Center is a good place to check out and consider donating to.

If it's not incrementalism then is building it a poke in the eye to Christians? Is "religious" infringement a crime? Didn't the FBI go to one those CAIR feel-good-about-islam seminars not long ago? Shouldn't that have been a violation on the church-state separation meme? Surely there is a John Edwards-type that would love to get their paws on some oil money.

I think it's time to "nationalize" oil baron bank accounts and property which would probably end up biting me hard.

Tom

deadbambi said...

With all due respect, Tom, I have to whole-heartedly disagree that we should assist in the financial support of an organization like the Thomas More Law Center.

It fights for exactly what we should be fighting against, marriage of religion and politics. I have no problem with Christianity, but I feel if you push a Christian agenda, then you're really doing the same thing the Muslims are doing. You would have no voice with which to fight against they're incrementalism, because it's advocating the same from a Christian perspective. While I recognize that the Christian perspective is vastly different than a Muslim perspective, there are many in this world who do not.

This is what marginalizes the counterjihad movement.

We have to be very clear about our agenda, which is in my opinion to fight the Jihadists and their cultural/political infiltration into Western political and value systems. We cannot successfully fight this while promoting another religion to replace it.

Once you have opened the Pandora's box of advocating any type of religious indoctrination into our governmental system, including Christianity or Judaism, then you have opened the door for the Jihadists to successfully do the same.

We have to maintain this fight from a secular perspective in order to demarginalize our cause and make it accessible and inviting to non-Christians, atheists, secular humanists, etc... If that doesn't happen, the counterjihad movement will continue to be viewed, ironically, as a fringe group of religious extremists, bigots and haters. As I said in an earlier post, we are going to need the liberals at some point in order to win this thing.

Since I'm not a Christian, I couldn't support the Thomas More Law Center, even if they are fighting Jihadists, because I can't support an organization that litigates to get "intelligent design" included into school curricula. The existence or possible existence of God, Allah, Jehovah, Hashem should not be taught in non-parochial schools. Once one is allowed, the precedent is set.

George Bruce said...

I guess from this point on I shall refer to myself only as "beige."

Brrrodie said...

The minaret has been welcomed by the city fathers in St. Louis. The reason why is that these are "European" Bosnian Muslims who have been concentrated into St Louis by federal policy over the last 10 to 15 years. They are occupying and improving urban neighborhoods close-in to downtown that would otherwise have been overrun by, I'm being blunt here, low-income blacks.

That may seem racist but it is the pattern in many cities, including Chicago, where Polish and Russian immigrants keep blight at bay.

Moreover the presence of new "European" white immigrants -- whether Muslim or not -- reinforces St Louis' traditional role as a melting-pot city. (The city continues to receive Italian and Sicilian immigrants.) They love these guys.

So the Bosnian Muslims are welcome there and some of the comments being received by the blogs from elsewhere in the country simply are clueless.

None of this detracts from the issue of the minaret's ugliness. It really is out of place but I speculate that a much larger mosque will be constructed alongside it in the near future.

Just my 2 cents.

leadpb said...

deadbambi-

You make a very important point. Although it could be argued that Islam advances more easily because of the receding of Christendom in the West, that's not really the point. We don't need the pillar of Christianity to build or justify the case against Islam directly, though I am most happy to know it is there. There can be no doubt of Christianity's role in resisting the Islamic agenda. But Christianity in its modern incarnation/s is artificially politicized by its promotion of a liberal agenda and if anything it could be used against the counterjihad accordingly. Isn't this happening now? Isn't that what we keep rapping Islam for, the fact that it is concerned with not only spirituality and salvation but the kitchen sink, too? It is a delicate matter to unite all peoples who would oppose Islam yet keep their own religions out of the argument. Perhaps this will prove to be an impossible task.

Similar reasoning applies to the effort by conservatives/traditionalists to combat the corrosive and stupefying effects of leftist liberalism. As a rule they play the Christian card ("Not that there's anything wrong with that") and it detracts from the excellent case they build by reasoning and clear thinking alone.

babs-

I think your contributions here are great. What I'm trying to say is that, ideally, a new reader will visit the comments here and go away thinking "Gee, that's really something to think about" and not "Yeah! Let's &$*% those *&*$$# people!" I know I have feelings I would not want to display in writing and more importantly I know they would not help the cause. Sites where such sentiment is welcome are substantively of little use in my opinion.

Epaminondas said...

While comment forums SHOULD be uncensored, one has to wonder where this will end.

If the blog 'owner' is responsible, then why not "Blogger", Wordpress, Movable Type, Server owners where the words reside on 'real estate', ISP's ( a la Sony's attack).

If the big blogging systems are threatened how fast do you think they will END comments?

This is the direction the danger will come from.

Of course with Movable Type, and a broadband connection, and a $1000 worth of server running WIN 2003...

livfreerdie said...

Bambi, then what do you propose. The Muslims are financed by BILLIONS of our own dollars through the purchase of oil. Can you direct me to a secularist law center that would do what needs to be done? The ACLU comes to mind. Can't get much more secularist than that.

Seriously, you want us to again take the "high moral ground" against those that don't play by those rules. I was just offering a possible help source for bloggers. Another one I forgot was Judicial Watch.

I thank our good hosts and will abide by their rules.

Keep fighting the good fight!

Tom

Redneck Texan said...

How big of a prison would it take to hold everyone who has threatened violence against Muslims in the blogosphere?

I dont know that the FBI wants to deal with the blowback that charging an anti-Islamic commenter with a hate crime would spark.

..... I dont know..... I understand exactly where you're comin' from ...... but we're not likely to win the counter-jihad without assuming a little risk from time to time. More Bloggers have been threatened with Fatwas than Felonies...... CAIR remains silent on those occasions.

I guess the best thing to do is, if you feel you have to leave a violence inciting comment..... do it on a Blog that you want the FBI to interogate its owner. (wink wink)

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

Epa: windows? Good lord, man, get a real server OS. OpenBSD, CentOS, Debian, heck even Solaris would be better...

babs said...

Repeated: -"Yeah! Let's &$*% those *&*$$# people!

Is that what your really thought I said? That is truly amazing...

DP111 said...

From Dhimmi Watch

It is reported today that Imbera, a Norwegian firm that hosts the website of Human Rights Service, removed three items from that site without notice because two of them were illustrated with Kurt Westergaard's famous Muhammed cartoon from Jyllands-Posten and one was illustrated with a Muhammed drawing by Lars Vilks. Imbera claimed to be acting in accordance with the EU directive on electronic commerce, and law professor Jon Bing says that Imbera had not only a right but a legal obligation to do what it did. But Nils Øy of the Association of Norwegian Editors disagrees, while Per Edgar Kokkvold, head of the Norwegian Press Association, calls Imbera's action "unacceptable," noting that if Internet hosting services can do this to HRS they can do it to newspapers, too.

http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/020054.php#comments

Then we have the strange situation that The Daily Express has removed two articles that were critical of Islam and Muslim.

1.Leo McKinstry - "LUNATIC BRITAIN REWARDS EVIL"

http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/35549

2. VOTERS WILL NEVER FORGIVE LABOUR FOR MASS IMMIGRATION

http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/35671

both missing.

In the US, we have a situation that LGF and Gateway Pundit are in trouble over some comments.

Are these events just a coincidence, or is it action by the US and the EU in concert? What is up? It has never been like this before.

-----------------------------------
On a separate matter.

In a comment on Jihad Watch, Moorthy Muthuswamy, refers to his book on "The Art of War on Terror: Triumphing over Political Islam and the Axis of Jihad" (Paperback)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0979470404

Dr Muthuswamy analyses the Jihad in India and its relevance to Israel and the West.

If nothing the review is worth reading

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

dp111, my gut instinct tells me that it probably is just a coincidence. The state of the law on this side of the atlantic is such that events like this happen quite regularly, so they were bound to coincide with actions in the US at some point.

leadpb said...

babs said..

"Repeated: -"Yeah! Let's &$*% those *&*$$# people!

Is that what your really thought I said? That is truly amazing..."

You completely misunderstand me. I complimented you to start the paragraph--unless you thought I was being insincere, why would I then imply you were saying foul things? These are, grammatically speaking, fully independent considerations, one personal (the first) and the other rhetorical. They are not in reference to anyone's comments. Please consider the possibilities before jumping to a rash conclusion.

DP111 said...

graham

I'm glad you think you think so.

babs said...

Yeah! Let's &$*% those *&*$$# people!

Maybe I am far behind internet speak however, I have no idea what you were trying to say.
I am trying to debate this issue in a fair and civil way. I don't understand what you are trying to do...
The issue is that Bosnian Muslims are in the process of building a massive minaret in a strip mall in St. Louis. Whether or not they will broadcast the call to prayer 5X/day is still open to conjecture. The fact that they are able to translate the architectural landscape in such a way that their minaret is the tallest building in the area is not. So, whatever you have to say, you best say it in real words rather than $$#%^#kind of language as no one knows what you are saying.

deadbambi said...

Tom,

I fully understand what you're saying and I realize we have few resources at the moment. You make a very valid point and it prompted me to look for an alternative. There is an organization of lawyers that assists people in fighting the PCism that has targeted free-speech called the Individual Rights Foundation. They are featured on David Horowitz's site and they're assisting him in at least one lawsuit. Their website is http://cspc.org/IRF.html. Their position just seems to be protecting our liberties without any other agenda.

Regarding oil dependence, this is precisely why we need to develop alternative fuel sources. We allow a countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE to buy up our real estate, build hundreds of mosques and madrassas, and to dictate what happens at our summits (i.e. Annapolis and Israel's representatives having to enter through another door), all while they're supporting and growing terror. It makes no sense. Our oil dependence is what drives those relationships and it needs to be severed.

As far as taking the higher moral ground, I will again refer to the article I posted from the Charleston Post and Courier. The case against the two Muslims who were picked up for speeding near the Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek, SC, and deputies subsequently found a trunk full of explosives, could be dismissed. It seems the deputies made jokes about "Suicide Bomber School" before they even searched the car. Their prejudicial statements could deem the search unlawful, thereby rendering the explosives found in the trunk inadmissible, thereby rendering the case impotent since the explosives evidence is the foundation of the entire case against these two. We have to fight smart. We cannot afford to let stupidity or our emotions cost us the valuable arrests and convictions of would-be terrorists. Here is a link to the article Post and Courier.

nikolai said...

I self-censor all the time in everyday life. I just try and nudge a person one step away from the PC line rather than try and convert them to full resistance in one go. Sites like this provide great ammo and food for thought.

I think a lot of people still feel they "own" their country. We don't really. While we were sleeping the new Commies were burrowing away inside politics, the media and education and they control a lot of the high ground vis a vis information and public influence.

I think we're actually already in a guerilla type situation with most of the state (unknowingly) in enemy hands--luckily it's just an information war at the moment. The cultural marxists and their (mostly unaware) liberal allies will desperately try and stem the information flow because it threatens their whole project but eventually they'll crack (imo) because there's no way they can control the monster they've been importing.

In the end they'll realise that the monster will definitely eat them but the "new nationalism" that will spring up in reaction might not.

Henrik said...

"I self-censor all the time in everyday life."

I don't. I try to find exactly the wording and the rethorical finesse that makes my point be heard as fact, not anger.

Not that I succeed every time, though.

But my point is that brushing up rethorical skills can go a long way towards fixing the problem.

I read an interesting definition of 'hate speech':

Statements which induce hate due to the recipients' inability to mount an intelligent reply.

Thus, anger can arise either when the recipient is not intelligent enough to respond properly, or when the message is too stupid to deserve it.

An example of the latter would be anti-Semitism. It's so stupid that it is quite difficult to respond in a meaningful manner.

They way I handle bigoted or racists statements is to point out the rethorical tricks employed in them. That dismantles the arguments better than merely countering them. And increases the overall level of debate, too.

Interestingly, I find that Muslims systematically resort to 'ad hominem' attacks when they run out of real arguments, which they usually do very quickly.

As for the minarets, they are the distinguishing feature between a real mosque and a non-mosque. If Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (eh, Istanbul) was to lose its minarets, it would revert to being a church. These towers are very significant.

Bob McCarty Writes said...

Baron -- A paragraph in an article published yesterday in the Lee Newspapers-owned Arizona Star gives me reason for hope when it comes to the the future of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other liberal newspapers owned by Lee:

"Over the past year, Lee's stock has fallen from a 52-week high of $35.65 to $12.08 in trading Tuesday. It hit a 52-week low of $9.51 in January."

Translation: If they keep doing what they've been doing, they'll keep getting what they've been getting. Eventually, stockholders will revolt and changes will have to be made at newspapers like the Post-Dispatch. Perhaps, they'll even experiment with objectivity in reporting. What a concept!?

-- Bob McCarty Writes

Epaminondas said...

Sorry babs, but the server handling that web site, also handles mysql, sql server 2005, and 70k+ page load requests from both, including media, no sweat. It hasn't been reset in 191 days.
The bottleneck has always been TWC's biz connection, not us. We have 5 2003 servers, and they are far more stable than any linux units we have ever tested (which can't use sql server 2005 anyway)
I'll stick.

nikolai said...

"I self-censor all the time in everyday life."

An example just to be clear what I mean.

I think immigration control is the frontline in the counter-jihad (and everything else). A lot of people are brainwashed into thinking any kind of immigration control is "racist" and are therefore easily bullied by the left into keeping their opinion to themselves. Talking to someone like that I'd focus on "illegal" immigration as that provides them with a side-step out of their mental dilemna.

I try and take people one step at a time. That's what I mean by self-censoring.

I think the logic of the current crisis will inevitably take people down a certain path once they've started. Hence why I agree with the Baron vis a vis extreme comments. If we win the information war then there'll be no need to incite anybody. There'll be actual government action to solve the problem.

Kafir_Kelbeh said...

"Zachary Lowe, a special agent in the St. Louis office of the FBI, said Tuesday that while he could not confirm an investigation, the bureau 'takes all threats against people very seriously, especially religious and ethnic groups.'"

Where in this statement did any of you infer an investigation by the FBI???

Let me clue you into something here, people...the FBI is not allowed to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, PERIOD.

But, they do want to give the impression they take threats seriously...without confirming the existence of a case.

Make sense?

So there may not even be a case here at all...we may never know.