Tuesday, March 27, 2012

‘L’Etat C’est Moi’ Gives $1.5B to ‘L’Etat C’est Mohammed’

From AWR Hawkins at Breitbart:

Obama Bypasses Congress, Gives $1.5 Billion to Muslim Brotherhood

During a trip through Colorado in December of last year, President Obama spoke of his intention to implement his economic policies with or without the approval of Congress. Said Obama, “And where Congress is not willing to act, we’re going to go ahead and do it ourselves.” It now appears that such a mindset applies not only to economic matters but to the distribution of foreign aid as well--in particular, foreign military aid for the Muslim Brotherhood, who now hold the reigns in Egypt.

Congress has restricted and, in fact, halted military aid to Egypt until and “unless the State Department certifies that Egypt is making progress on basic freedoms and human rights.” After all, Christians and other practitioners of non-Islamic religions have had a tough go of it there. And of course, many Egyptian officials harbor such hatred toward the U.S. that one of the candidates for the Egyptian presidency has openly referred to America as the “infidel country” in media interviews.

Nevertheless, the news breaking now is that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will soon announce that President Obama will “resume funding for Egypt’s military, despite Congressional restrictions and objections from human rights and democracy advocates.”

Even Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), a man with whom I’ve never agreed on anything, sees the foolishness of this endeavor: “I believe [sending the aid] would be a mistake. The new [restrictions were] intended to put the United States squarely on the side of the Egyptian people who seek a civilian government that respects fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, and to clearly define the terms of our future relations with the Egyptian military.”

Who knows; perhaps the Obama administration can also circumvent Congress and give the Iranians some nuclear materials or give Hamas some advanced weaponry? I know both ideas sound crazy, but they’re no crazier than giving $1.5 billion in military aid to the Muslim Brotherhood.


The Choke’s on Us, or, Hoodie You Think You’re Kidding?

Jennie Hoodie
Jennifer Granholm reportedly “choked up while discussing the murder of Trayvon Martin on her show on Wednesday night,” according to HuffPoGranholm, Michigan’s first Depression-era governor since Luren Dickinson, wanted to show solidarity with Martin, and maybe pick up some ratings for her talk show on Al Gore’s Current TV.

The picture of Granholm as a thug recalls the days not long ago when she and her fellow political gangbangers were paint-bombing the state with their distinctive economic graffiti.
After leaving Michigan’s economy in shambles, she’s moved on to teaching at Berkley and dispensing advice on comedy news shows on how to create jobs. (Get it?).  Then her “War Room” talk show premiered earlier this year. In her first episode she said,

“I'm obsessed with democracy. . . I've been there on the ground when people have lost their jobs, their homes, their loved ones overseas.”

No one in Michigan can remember anything she ever did about any of those things. But she was on the ground -- not as flat as many of her citizens, but definitely on the ground.

Going by the quality of her past judgments, her decision to side with the Sharpton-Jackson axis during this latest controversy might be a good sign that history and the facts will end up vindicating Zimmerman in the end.  (I take no sides. But for the moment the police are saying that Zimmerman’s story is “consistent”with the evidence).

Ah, well, she’s no longer governor and I’m glad of it. I give her nary a thought now.  But seeing her “I am Trayvon” pic in the Free Press brought back a memory or two. 
It even kind of choked me up.

Monday, March 26, 2012

There Is No Compulsion in Health Care (?)

One summer someone asked Yogi Berra for his thoughts on slow ticket sales, to which he responded: “If people don't want to come out to the ball park, nobody's gonna stop 'em.”

The Affordable Health Care Act is intended to disprove Yogi’s logic by means of its individual mandate, whereby if people don’t want to come out to the health insurance market and buy coverage, the federal government’s gonna stop ‘em.

As the Supreme Court takes up the case in earnest this week, defenders of Obamacare are hitting the public with any reason they can think of why Americans should fall in love with it. “The law would be the largest expansion in the nation’s social safety net in more than four decades,” gushes the AP. That sounds awful appealing, no?  It’s also an historic expansion of government power beyond the allotted bounds of the Constitution, a much less warm-and-fuzzy point to make. Trotted out regularly in the past week is the wildly dissimilar comparison of Obama’s forced commerce plan with states that mandate auto insurance for all drivers. In Michigan we have required no-fault insurance, but no one who doesn’t drive or own a car has to buy it. Under Obamacare, if you breathe, you have to buy insurance. 

I’m not making predictions one way or the other how the Supreme Court is going to rule. I heard one Obama supporter yesterday whistling in the dark that the administration feels they have a pretty strong case or they wouldn’t have wanted it to go to the court just yet.  I draw some consolation that the administration has a lousy record at judging the merits of constitutional issues, as two 9-0 shutouts in Sackett v EPA, and Hosanna-Tabor v EEOC in the past year have made clear.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Like a Pulpit on a String

And speaking of the Voter ID laws, we’re put in mind of the one area where the Left’s dogmatic adherence to the “wall of separation between church and state” has never been enforced: in the cooperation between black churches and the Democratic Party during elections.

As recently reported in the UK Guardian, opponents of state Voter ID laws, overwhelmingly Democratic, are openly working with black preachers to mobilize congregations to vote:

Opponents of the new laws have been waging a multi-front battle either to get the measures killed or to prepare those potentially affected by the laws for what they will need to do to register and vote.

The Congressional Black Caucus, for example, is scheduled to hold a symposium in May in Washington for a nationwide gathering of ministers to explain how the new laws could impact their efforts to mobilize parishioners to vote.

In 2008, several black churches organized "Souls to the Polls" drives in which worshipers took advantage of early voting periods and went en masse straight from Sunday services to their local polling stations to vote. (“NAACP to challenge state voting laws before U.N. panel in Geneva”).

In February President Obama directed a special appeal to African-American voters, even suggesting that some church folk might want to become “congregation captains” to assist in organizing voters.

The President’s campaign website explains it this way:

Congregation captains will take the lead on educating others about the importance of participating in this campaign and how to get involved. Working in your individual capacity, you’ll reach out to key community members and mobilize your personal networks with house parties and other outreach activities, as well as provide assistance in conducting voter registration drives. 

I’ve observed for years how the same media that raises the cry of “Theocracy!” at the barest sign of a religious influence in the political world, (e.g., Falwell or Palin or Santorum), bestow an absolute immunity on black churches that openly endorse the election of Democrats.  The subject is simply never raised.

Dig deeper and you may find that this hands-off policy is contingent on how long the black clergy, many of whom preach social conservatism in their churches on matters like abortion and homosexuality, pliantly continue to lead their parishioners to support a Democratic political platform that radically contradicts those views. In short, the black churches get a pass because liberal opinion makers consider them reliably non-subversive.

What a shame.

# # #

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Swiss Miss, or, We Need All the Alp We Can Get

We see that the NAACP has decided to take its battle against voter ID laws to the United Nations.

WASHINGTON — Taking a page from its past, the NAACP will go before a United Nations panel in Switzerland next week to argue that new voting laws approved by some U.S. states violate civil and human rights by suppressing the votes of minorities and others. (“NAACP to challenge state voting laws before U.N. panel in Geneva”).

Nobody’s kidding anyone that the UN has any jurisdiction over state election law. But on the verge of Obama’s re-election bid, any stink is good stink.

Jealous acknowledged that the Human Rights Council has no direct authority over American states, but he hopes that it can exert influence through public pressure.

"The power of the U.N. on state governments historically is to shame them and to put pressure on the U.S. government to bring them into line with global standards for democracy, best practices for democracy, that's where we are," he said. "There are plenty of examples — segregation of the U.S. to apartheid in South Africa to the death penalty here in the U.S. — of global outrage having an impact."

You may recall that “apartheid” is the Afrikaans word for, ‘You have to confirm your identity to vote.” And we all know that best practices to prevent voter fraud is to require that people can vote without having to identify themselves.

This is my favorite part:

[NAACP president Benjamin Todd] Jealous said the U.N. panel will hear Wednesday from two Americans impacted by the new laws: a convicted felon who served her time and a University of Texas student who might not be able to vote this year because of a law approved by the state legislature requiring voters to show government-approved photo identification.

You can always tell the quality of the argument by the seriousness of the victims.  The convicted felon (who didn’t serve her time, she was granted clemency by Bill Clinton in 2001), is prevented from voting in Virginia by a law that’s been on the books there since 1901. Like it or not, this can hardly be blamed on the Tea Party.

Then the UN will hear from the “University of Texas student who might not be able to vote this year” for lack of government-approved photo identification. I hope the UN panel asks the witness this fair question, “You needed a passport to travel here to Geneva. Can’t you use that?” (Yes, under the Texas law, you can).

Beyond Teflon

Unions that are mainly concerned with protecting workers seem to be going the way of the dinosaur. Now the unions only care about protecting Democrats in office.

Consider this evidence from the AP:

WASHINGTON -- Unions may be united in working to re-elect President Barack Obama, but their leaders also are trying to repair bitter divisions over his rejection of an oil pipeline from Canada to Texas.

Trade unions representing workers who would benefit from thousands of new construction jobs from the Keystone XL pipeline are furious at other unions that joined environmentalists in opposing the project. (“Union leaders look to heal divisions over pipeline battle”).

It was Obama who rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, but the trade unions are furious at – well, it doesn’t matter who they’re furious at, because they’re not furious at Obama.

Or not allowed to be.

After the White House blocked the pipeline in January, Laborers union President Terry O'Sullivan said he was "repulsed by some of our supposed brothers and sisters lining up with job killers like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council to destroy the lives of working men and women."

His harsh words were directed at groups such as the Transport Workers Union and the Amalgamated Transit Union, which said the risk of possible oils spills and environmental contamination outweighed the benefit of new jobs.

There’s no question it was President Obama who blocked the pipeline, but the only people this union boss can think of to be repulsed by are other union people who echoed environmentalist opposition to Keystone XL.  Fine, blame them along with Obama.  But why can’t he blame Obama?

Are the unions jammed so far down into the lint of Democratic Party pockets that their leaders dare not utter one word of criticism against the party’s choice for re-election?   Do we even need to ask?

If necessary, groups bloodied by the President’s disastrous governance can lash out all they want against other groups that lobbied for Obama’s bad decisions, but remember that whatever went wrong, it wasn’t Obama’s fault.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hail to the Gap-Filler-in-Chief

Fresh from last month’s endowment upon America’s women of the unalienable right to free contraception, the White House this month is bestowing a new “right” upon lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples “to live where they choose.” (“HUD secretary announces equal access housing rule”).

Federally subsidized housing must be made available regardless of an applicant's sexual orientation or gender identity under a U.S. Housing and Urban Development rule that went into effect this week.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan touted the new rule Friday morning at a White House conference on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender housing and homelessness at Wayne State University.

Donovan said HUD-funded housing providers cannot inquire about an applicant's sexual orientation or gender identity. Furthermore, Donovan said, Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgage financers are now prohibited from making loan decisions based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

"If you're denying HUD housing to people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, actual or perceived, you're discriminating," Donovan said. "You're breaking the law and you will be held accountable. That's what equal access means. And that's what this rule is going to do." (“HUD's Donovan in Detroit touts equal housing rule”).

By shrink-wrapping this new right in the form of an administrative rule, the President Obama doesn’t have to worry about interference from that pokey institution that convenes in the Capitol Building (known derisively around the Oval Office as “Congress, Shmongress”). For lack of political support from the American people, Congress has never voted to amend either the Civil Rights Act of 1964, nor the Fair Housing Act, to confer the same federal protected status on homosexuals that it does on race, religion, or disability.

The incessant blubbering by gay activists about discriminatory treatment from America’s homophobe majority is concerned less with solving any actual problem than with winning a protected-class status for homsexuals. Federal protected status would supercharge the already highly-effective homosexual lobby, placing virtually all opposition to the gay agenda on the wrong side of powerful antidiscrimination laws.  Think of the amendment of the Civil Rights Act as the LGBT version of Iran’s quest for a nuclear bomb.

But to justify a dubious solution, first you need a pretend problem. Just like last month’s revelation that America’s ivy-league law schools are a ticking time bomb of women pining for unaffordable birth control pills, so the new HUD rule is being announced in the context of the faux problem of “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender . . . homelessness.” 

Believe me, if the problem of LGBT homelessness registered even so much as a blip on the national radar screen, President Obama would never have bypassed standing invitations from Berkley, Harvard, or the University of Chicago to stage his “White House conference” (i.e., campaign event) at Wayne State University – my own alma mater, I should mention – not to mention an institution of higher learning of such note I had a prospective employer in New York City say to me, quote: “Never heard of it.”

Donovan’s operation here was so small he didn’t even have his own Sandra Fluke to regale attendees with the agonizing extent of the LGBT homeless problem. In fact, he more or less admitted they hadn’t actually found a problem yet, but we’re definitely looking.

Donovan said Friday plans are under way to conduct the first-ever national study of LGBT housing discrimination. He called it a “historic and important study” that HUD designed based on town halls conducted on the issue. The study is designed to get “a clearer picture of the problem” and to make “the case that LGBT discrimination is real and that we need to do something about it.”

Of course, if the studies prove that LGBT housing discrimination isn’t real, HUD’s conveniently already done something about it.

HUD’s new rule only applies to federal housing, so it can’t confer full protected status on LGBTs by itself.  But it’s clearly meant to be a stepping stone: According to Donovan’s assistant secretary for fair housing, John Trasvina, HUD’s new rules lack the full force of law until the Title VIII Fair Housing Act is amended. “’We are treating this as a program rule,’ Trasvina said. ’We need Title VIII to be amended.’”

How’s that? Instead of Congress passing laws that are given affect by means of administrative rules, we now have an administrative rule presuming to require Congress to pass conforming legislation to catch up.

Or we can look at it as the executive giving a friendly assist to a fellow branch of government.  Detroit’s U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, who attended the conference at WSU,

applauded President Barack Obama's administration for implementing the rule in the absence of congressional action to fill a "gap" in the anti-discrimination protections of the Fair Housing Act.

"I think this rule is a big deal," McQuade said. "It takes an act of Congress, and, my gosh, we can't even get a budget out of these people."

Well, to be fair, we can’t get a budget out of some of these people. But more to the point, if Congress can’t pass a budget, the President doesn’t get to implement his own – even if it’s to fill a “gap.”

Some things do take an act of Congress.  You can look it up.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

‘Keep Dearborn Clean’ Is Now ‘Keep Dearborn Quiet’

The City of Dearborn’s bank account is $100,000 lighter after paying the legal fees and costs of the Christian evangelist, George Saieg, thanks to a federal appeals court finding that Dearborn police trampled his free speech rights at the 2010 Arab-American festival.

City police in 2010 barred George Saieg and his allies from freely walking sidewalks with literature to convert Muslims to Christianity. Chief Ron Haddad says he was just controlling foot traffic, but a federal appeals court says the city violated the First Amendment. (“Dearborn pays $100,000 in lawsuit by evangelists”).

If you’re interested in reading the court’s opinion you can do so here.

This constitutional violation of George Saieg’s rights can now be combined with the constitutional violation of Terry Jones’s rights found by a Michigan judge last November when he tossed out Jones’s phony conviction. That ruling found a due process violation, but the city and county officials who tossed legal procedure into a sausage-grinder -- Mayor Jack O’Reilly, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Chief of Police Ronald Haddad, and Judge Mark Somers – did it with the specific purpose of silencing Jones from criticizing Islam.

Then there is the case of the four missionaries of Acts 17 Apologetics, who were falsely charged with inciting a crowd at the Arab American Festival in 2010.  The four were acquitted. Andrew McCarthy said of the incident: ““Camouflaged as a crackdown on ‘disturbing the peace,’ [this] was transparently the enforcement of sharia’s prohibition against preaching religions other than Islam.”

Now there is a civil rights case being brought by the Thomas More Law Center and David Yarushelmi on behalf of Acts 17 against the Usual Suspects, including, naturally Chief Ron Haddad and Mayor Jack O’Reilly. I am reasonably confident the city, unless it settles first, will be found liable of violating the freedoms of speech and religion of these plaintiffs.

Does anyone else notice a pattern here?

His Honor may need to write us all another open letter reassuring us how there is no “Sharia law being practiced in the courts or civil law of Dearborn [or] … in our courts, [or] at our City Hall, [or] in any of our places of worship.”

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Meet the Martyrs of Georgetown, or, How’s That Gates of Hell Thing Working Out for Ya?

There are worse things to call Sandra Fluke than the names Rush Limbaugh called her.

I’ll admit to wincing when I heard his comments last Thursday, and then when he doubled down on Friday.

The thing was, Ms. Fluke’s testimony notably avoided all details about her own sexual choices. Consequently, Rush’s use of the terms he used only had the effect of defaming her. In fairness, Rush was also responding to the context of her appearance, and the inferences anyone could draw from it. Here is this young lady willingly making a televised appearance before a Congressional committee, styling herself as spokesman for a body of female law students whose grim faces tell the story of all they’ve “suffered, financially and emotionally and medically,” from a lack of free contraception.

Rush’s comments unleashed several days of the rest of us having to listen to the indignant denunciations of both sides. The left’s opportunistic attacks on Rush there’s no need to chronicle, except to note their consensus that we’ve all just lived through the Foulest Insult Ever Uttered in All of Recorded History. On our side Monday Bill Bennett, whom I swear donned his whitest surplice for the segment, sanctimoniously bullied any callers daring to take issue with his denunciation of Rush, especially if they cited the left’s double standards and hypocrisy. We can’t descend to their level, he intoned.

Their level? We don’t even inhabit the same universe. The two sides aren’t even mad about the same thing. Conservative consciences are outraged by the word Rush used because it impugns a woman’s chastity. But between laughing at the idea of chastity and quoting expert findings that abstinence plays no role in preventing unwanted pregnancies, the left has no track record of treasuring that particular virtue. The only time the word “slut” sets liberal hounds baying is where its use suggests a moral distinction between chastity and the – so far – boundless sexual experimentation for which our forebears fought and died, or something like that, in the storied upheaval of the 1960s. The left doesn’t give any more of a damn about Sandra Fluke’s besmirched honor than they did about Cindy Sheehan’s fallen son: Ms. Fluke is a willing and useful idiot, and both Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama have used her as one the best they could.

Now Rush has apologized, and in true liberal style Ms. Fluke is refusing to accept his apology, because doing so would mean dropping the subject, and these people aren’t ready to drop it yet by a long shot.

And so the opportunistic lefty criticisms of Rush continue, while I guess we’re all stipulating that Ms. Fluke is not a lewd woman. Fine with me.  And I’ve even read a few conservative commentators generous enough to say that, while they don’t agree with her on the contraception issue, they’ve no objection to her activism, which is, of course, her right.

Well, I have an objection to her activism. I don’t see it as morally defensible to select a church-affiliated law school that refuses to fund birth control with the express purpose of undermining its principled position.

Which is exactly what Sandra Fluke did when she selected Georgetown as her law school. As reported at the Jammie Wearing Fools blog, “In one of her first interviews she is quoted as talking about how she reviewed Georgetown’s insurance policy prior to committing to attend, and seeing that it didn’t cover contraceptive services, she decided to attend with the express purpose of battling this policy.” (“Sandra Fluke’s Appearance Is No Fluke”).

And as far as I’ve been able to find out, Ms. Fluke’s not even Catholic.

And yet she has  purposely made herself into a weapon to attack a fundamental teaching of the Catholic faith.  The victory she was aiming for wasn’t free contraception at all, but forcing the Church to step down from the moral high ground to her ground.  She wasn’t so much a student in Georgetown as a sapper.

Obviously, a social activist like Ms. Fluke, savvy enough to get noticed even before all this leading a host of lefty causes -- and then get into Georgetown’s law school -- doesn’t need the Jesuits to buy her birth control. She can get her own. But that isn’t what she wants.

What she wants is for the Church to give her the Pill. She wants the Pope and all those bishops who stand in contradiction to her values to give in, and admit that 98% of Catholics and 100% of the modern world must be right, and Christ and His Church must be wrong.

Kathleen Sebelius, who is a Catholic, showed the same single-mindedness in mandating away the Church’s freedom of conscience. That didn’t have anything to do with achieving any political goal of the Obama administration, either, because Obamacare was already a Leviathan; in fact, Sebelius could have saved the President a lot of flak by just granting the waiver the Church requested. But Sebelius’s motives were elsewhere.

Politics doesn’t explain everything, and it doesn’t explain this, because this isn’t primarily a political clash. Sebelius and Ms. Fluke’s objectives are not political ones, but spiritual, (bearing in mind that “spiritual” isn’t a synonym for “good”): they want the Church’s shepherds to corrupt themselves, and through them, to corrupt the Church.

Cathy Cleaver Ruse at the Wall Street Journal Online asks it this way: “Should Ms. Fluke give up a cup or two of coffee at Starbucks each month to pay for her birth control, or should Georgetown give up its religion?” (“Limbaugh and Our Phony Contraception Debate”).  

Clearly, Ms. Fluke chooses the latter, but for something much more important than her Starbucks. Besides, hasn’t she already  proved her willingness to give things up?  She already told us she gave up being educated elsewhere so she could fight to get the Jesuits into giving up Humanae Vitae.

Whether people know it or not, the Church recognizes sins far graver than fornication -- sins against the soul that are far deadlier than those of mere bodily weakness. In early 20th century Mexico, the bitterly anticlerical government tormented the Church with a hundred humiliations, including forcing priests to marry.  The idea being, once make them break their solemn vow of celibacy, and then what good will they be to the faith? Lacerating the conscience has always been the weapon of choice for the pimp, the pusher, the pederast, and the dictator.

What do I care if Sandra Fluke is sleeping around? Or if she’s prim and pure as Sister Carol Keehan?

That’s not what disgusts me about Sandra Fluke.  It’s not her sexual choices that matter, so much as her spiritual ones.  What disgusts me about her is that she’s out to destroy my Church.

And I don’t really know if there’s a single word to call people like her.

But if there is, it’s a damned sight uglier than “slut.”

Friday, March 02, 2012

‘Blasphemy and Free Speech’

Paul Marshall of the Hudson Institute delivered a lecture in Washington D.C. on February 3rd, on “Blasphemy and Free Speech,” adapted in the February issue of Imprimis. In his lecture, Marshall warns of the threat to free speech posed by Islamic efforts to choke off religious discussion “in the name of preventing ‘defamation of’ or ‘insults to’ religion, especially Islam.”

Even while Americans enjoy the First Amendment’s protections against criminalizing criticism of Islam, Marshall says, those protections are weakened by extra-legal intimidation that leads to self-censoring. This has been especially obvious in the media:

In 2009, Yale University Press, in consultation with Yale University, removed all illustrations of Mohammed from its book by Jytte Klausen on the Danish cartoon crisis. It also removed Gustave DorĂ©’s 19th-century illustration of Mohammed in hell from Dante’s Inferno. Yale’s formal press statement stressed the earlier refusal by American media outlets to show the cartoons, and noted that their “republication…has repeatedly resulted in violence around the world.” . . . .

Many in our media claim to be self-censoring out of sensitivity to religious feelings, but that claim is repeatedly undercut by their willingness to mock and criticize religions other than Islam. As British comedian Ben Elton observed: “The BBC will let vicar gags pass, but they would not let imam gags pass. They might pretend that it’s, you know, something to do with their moral sensibilities, but it isn’t. It’s because they’re scared.”

The second threat Marshall warns of is the Obama administration’s close cooperation with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), formerly the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The OIC is a Saudi-based, 56-member group committed by its charter “to Combat defamation of Islam.” According to Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, the OIC’s anti-defamation philosophy was inspired by the Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa directing that all zealous Muslims were bound to kill Salman Rushdie. “While not explicitly embracing vigilantism,” writes Shea, the OIC “quickly endorsed Khomeini’s novel principle: that Western law should be subject to Muslim measures against apostasy and blasphemy.” (“An Anti-Blasphemy Measure Laid to Rest”).   It was the OIC, for instance, who, after an initial  mild and non-violent response to the publication of Mohammed cartoons in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten in September 2005, deliberately exploited the cartoons to rile up member states during a December 2005 conference in Saudi Arabia. The OIC got the result it wanted when “Muslims across Africa, Asia, and the Mideast set out from Friday prayers for often violent demonstrations, killing over 200 people.”

But imposing anti-blasphemy restrictions by force isn’t limited to Islamic states. As Marshall says:

Western governments have begun to give in to demands from the Saudi-based OIC and others for controls on speech. In Austria, for instance, Elisabeth Sabbaditsch-Wolf has been convicted of “denigrating religious beliefs” for her comments about Mohammed during a seminar on radical Islam. Canada’s grossly misnamed “human rights commissions” have hauled writers—including Mark Steyn, who teaches as a distinguished fellow in journalism at Hillsdale College—before tribunals to interrogate them about their writings on Islam. And in Holland and Finland, respectively, politicians Geert Wilders and Jussi Halla-aho have been prosecuted for their comments on Islam in political speeches.

Marshall properly describes as a grave threat the “the specter of cooperation between our government and the OIC to shape speech about Islam.”

The first indication of this came in President Obama’s Cairo speech in 2009, when he declared that he has a responsibility to “fight against negative stereotypes of Islam whenever they appear.” Then in July of last year in Istanbul, Secretary of State Clinton co-chaired—with the OIC—a “High-Level Meeting on Combating Religious Intolerance.” There, Mrs. Clinton announced another conference with the OIC, this one in Washington, to “exchange ideas” and discuss “implementation” measures our government might take to combat negative stereotyping of Islam. This would not restrict free speech, she said. But the mere fact of U.S. government partnership with the OIC is troublesome. Certainly it sends a dangerous signal, as suggested by the OIC’s Secretary-General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, when he commented in Istanbul that the Obama administration stands “united” with the OIC on speech issues.

Last March Nina Shea reported that the OIC’s decade-long effort to get the UN to pass criminal penalties for “defamation of religions” (Islam) was finally laid to rest in 2011, thanks in part to the Obama State Department’s assistance (though built upon free-speech push-backs begun during the Bush administration). Based on Shea’s article, I’m guessing credit for that course correction belongs to Hillary Clinton, not the president.

Regardless, this one victory isn’t going to force the OIC to give up on its main mission to dictate to the entire human race what we can and can’t say about Islam.

Free speech is in trouble when the current president has so weak a grasp on his constitutional prerogatives as to tell the Muslim world that he is bound to “fight negative stereotypes of Islam whenever they appear.” National security is in trouble, too, when the same commitment is applied by banning “employment of ‘stereotypes about Arabs or Muslims” from FBI counterterror training materials. (“FBI busy purging its training materials of all traces of truth about Islam and jihad”).

Please read the rest of Marshall’s Blasphemy and Free Speech.

Detroit 911

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing was calling on Detroiters Monday to respond to a wave of shootings by young people in the city, imploring citizens, “Let’s stop the madness.” (“Bing tells troubled city: ‘Let’s stop the madness’”).

“When you’ve got parents afraid of their kids, you know you have not done a good job as a parent,” Bing said. “You need to start disciplining those young people when they come out of the womb. Mothers and fathers ... you can’t start disciplining a kid at the age of 12 or 14, it’s too late.”

I sympathize with the frustrations Bing must feel at this seemingly intractable problem. But I have no idea what tools he imagines are available to the government to remedy a culture as pathologically degraded as the one giving birth to this mayhem.

Don’t just shake your head at the drive-by murder of an infant sleeping on a sofa at 4 am. Shake your head at the fight that his mother got into at a baby shower the day before – arguing about seating, turning tables over -- that precipitated the revenge shooting.

And don’t just shake your head at the murder of 12-year-old Kadejah Davis by a 19-year old who shot through the front door of her house.   Shake your head at what led up to the violence:

“A 19-year-old Detroiter was accused this month of killing 12-year-old Kadejah Davis when his mother allegedly brought him to help her settle an argument over a cellphone with the victim’s mother. Joshua Brown allegedly fired shots through the home’s front door that struck the girl. He is charged with first-degree murder and his mother, Heather Brown, is charged as an accessory.”

I’d echo Mayor Bing that it may be too late to start disciplining your kid, when you’re the one chauffering him to finish your childish argument with another “adult” over a cellphone and you know he’s packing a firearm.

Then there’s the 14-year-old who murdered his mother after a feud about sneaking out with his friends. I don’t know what kind of shotgun he was using, but shooting her ten to 12 times meant having to go to the trouble of stopping to reload – repeatedly.

The Detroit News describes a 6-year old in critical condition after being “caught in a hail of indiscriminately fired bullets” during an attempted carjacking.  But they weren’t indiscriminate: the two 15-year-old thugs who fired into the car the child was riding in were outraged that their attempted carjacking wasn’t going as well as they’d hoped.

And what city did Bing mmistake himself for being mayor of when he appealed to “mothers and fathers”  to discipline their kids, whennearly 80-percent of Detroit children born with no daddy’s name on the birth certificate”?

Appealing to Detroit’s adults to set a better example is a laughable suggestion if any of the the adults include the seven grown women punching and kicking each other and security guards at the Motor City Casino last week.

Some Michigan politicians are suggesting a tough new law that imposes a mandatory life sentence for killing someone by shooting into an occupied house.  That sounds right.  But do the kind of people who’ve been drenching Detroit in blood all month really strike anyone as capable of having the kind of forethought a law like that might restrain?

When life is this cheap, when parents and other community elders are passing on to children the lesson that anger and revenge are to be nurtured and acted out rather than resisted, all the community policing the city can afford isn’t going to do any good.