Wednesday, 19 December 2007

GUEST EDITORIAL: NATIONAL REVIEW ON MARK STEYN AND CANADIAN FREE SPEECH

Ken Berwitz

What in the world is going on in Canada?  Has the country really devolved into believing that freedom of speech is a synonym for stifling free speech?

Read the following editorial published in National Review and see what you think:

Free Steyn

By The Editors

Our readers know Mark Steyn well. His witty and learned commentary appears in every issue of National Review, and in many other English publications across the world. What Steyns American readers may not know is that a Muslim advocacy group in his native Canada is doing its best to muzzle him.

On December 4, the Canadian Islamic Congress announced that it had filed a complaint with three of Canadas human rights commissions over an October 2006
article that Steyn had published in Macleans, Canadas leading news weekly. This article completely misrepresents Canadian Muslims values, their community, and their religion, said Faisal Joseph, an attorney representing the complainants, in a press release. We feel that it is imperative to challenge Macleans biased portrayal of Muslims in order to protect Canadian multiculturalism and tolerance.

The article in question was adapted from Steyns recent book America Alone, which argues that Western society may be irrevocably altered and not for the better by unassimilated Muslim immigration. Its no surprise that this thesis is controversial, probably in part because Steyn makes his points so well. But the real threat to tolerance here is the CIC, which would have the state impose penalties on those whose writings it disagrees with.

In doing so it only provides evidence for Steyns thesis. Another group of Canadian Muslims the Muslim Canadian Congress has said as much, denouncing the CICs complaint for affirming the stereotype that Muslims have little empathy for vigorous debate and democracy. But at the moment, the CICs push for censorship advances. Of the three human-rights commissions to which it submitted its complaint, two have agreed to hear the case. (The third has yet to decide.)

Since their founding, Canadas human-rights commissions have done less to protect the rights of minorities than to undermine the liberties of everyone. To get an idea of what theyre like, consider the recent case of Stephen Boissoin.

Boissoin, a Baptist minister, learned that the Alberta Human Rights Commission was funding an initiative that described homosexuality as normal, necessary, acceptable and productive. Boissoin objected to this and wanted to make his views known. As he put it to a Canadian Internet publication: [I] felt that as a taxpayer, and indirect funder of this initiative through my tax dollars, I had a right to communicate my opinion which is reflective of my religious beliefs. In an attempt to do so, I decided to potentially share my opinion at large by submitting letters to the editor in newspapers.

The publication of one such letter brought a complaint from a social justice advocate, and Boissoin was dragged before the very body he had complained about the Alberta Human Rights Commission. That was 2002. It took five years of anxiety-filled and expensive legal proceedings for the commission to rule against Boissoin. They determined that he had violated Albertas laws because there was, as one commission member put it, a circumstantial connection between the publication of the letter and an incident of gay-bashing. Circumstantial connection is of course another way of saying that Boissoin had nothing to do with it. One wonders in passing whether the same can be said of the Koran, and which side the commission would take if Macleans published a few choice Koranic passages on homosexuality.

Even if the human-rights commissions eventually rule for Steyn and Macleans, the proceedings will be costly, and will intimidate others who wish to express controversial views. To his great credit, one conservative Canadian cabinet minister, Jason Kenney, has spoken in defense of Steyn.
Some of the Canadian press is coming to Steyns defense as well. We hope the chorus swells.

And we hope Americans raise their voices too. So far the U.S. media have paid little attention to the case, but it should matter to us. Steyns writings even those in Canadian publications have a large and influential American readership. We trust those readers prefer that Canada remain free.
.

I hope you agree that this editorial provides a lot to be troubled by.  One of the main examples is its last paragraph, which notes how little media interest Mr. Steyn's inquisition has generated in the USA.  

Remember Michael Newdow?  He was the man who demanded that the words "Under God" be removed from the pledge of allegiance on the grounds that he is an atheist and didn't want his daughter forced to say them? (FYI, it turned out both his daughter and her mother were practicing Christians who had no problem with the pledge.)

Media couldn't get enough of that story.  It made Newdow famous.  Now he is a sought-after guest on tv and radio talk shows galore.

But a major writer like Mark Steyn is being challenged, and possibly censored, for the crime of having an opinion about unassimilated Muslims and these same media couldn't care less.

Make of it what you will.  I suspect you already know my opinion.


PRESIDENT BUSH'S FATHER REACTS TO BILL CLINTON'S BS

Ken Berwitz

Yesterday I posted a hot steamy load of what Bill Clinton serves up best.  This particular helping involved the premise that if Hillary were elected president, she would send Bill and the former President Bush around to the world, essentially to assure them that Ms. Clinton would fix the mess created by the current President Bush.

I assume you have an IQ above 46, which is to say that I assume you didn't believe that President Bush's father would ever agree to do this.

Well, if my assumption is wrong and you actually need something besides basic common sense here, let me show you the following piece from CNN:

Bill Clinton said Monday he and former President Bush would go on a diplomatic mission if Hillary Clinton became president.

WASHINGTON (CNN) Former President George H.W. Bush has shot down his successor Bill Clintons idea of a diplomatic mission under a Hillary Clinton presidency that would send him and other notables abroad to assure other nations that America is open for business and cooperation again.

The move came one day after Bill Clinton made the suggestion on the campaign trail in South Carolina, in response to a question from a supporter about his wifes number-one priority upon reaching the White House.

In a statement sent to CNN Tuesday afternoon, former President Bushs chief of staff Jean Becker said that he wholeheartedly supports the President of the United States, including his foreign policy. He has never discussed an around-the-world-mission with either former President Bill Clinton or Sen. Clinton, nor does he think such a mission is warranted since he is proud of the role America continues to play around the world as the beacon of hope for freedom and democracy.

President Bush is excited about several of the excellent Republican candidates running for president, and looks forward to discussing their candidacy once the Republican nominee is determined. .

We're clear on this now, right?

Most people, even many of their supporters, know that Bill and Hillary Clinton are serial liars.  And if they can lie about something this obvious, if they can insult your intelligence this overtly, doesn't it stand to reason that they will lie about less obvious things as well?

Bill and Hillary Clinton lie.  They lie continually.  They lie casually.  They lie about big things.  They lie about small things.  They are liars. 

Period, end of story.

 


A COUPLE OF OBVIOUS POLITICAL SETUPS

Ken Berwitz

Here are two political setups, one Republican and one Democrat.  Let me show you how it's done:

-The Mike Huckabee ad with the floating cross:  That may be a bookshelf behind Mike Huckabee, but it is shot in a way that, visually, makes the corner of the bookshelf into a cross.  And the lighting is done in a way that makes the cross glow as it moves from the viewer's left to right.  Anyone who thinks this wasn't done intentionally is living in a dream world. 

-The out-of-nowhere question about Hillary Clinton's Christianity, followed by the "discovery" her former Sunday school teacher was in the audience:  First the young woman asks Hillary Clinton whether she is a Christian so she can emphatically say "yes".  Then, Ms. Clinton delights in learning that her childhood religion teacher "just happened to be in the audience".  This is as obvious a plant as you will ever find.  The former religion teach in question, Ms. Rosalie Bentziger, may now live in Iowa (which creates the illusion it was just happenstance) but in fact is a campaign worker for Ms. Clinton.  The young woman asks a perfect question for Ms. Bentziger to magically materalize and reinforce Hillary Clinton's answer. What an amazing coincidence!!

The purpose of setups like these is to make fools of people.  Ms. Clinton's campaign apparatus is masterful at it, just as many of them were for her husband, who is the king of them all when it comes to this kind of gamesmanship. 

Mr. Huckabee apparently is no slouch at it either.


SEASON'S GREETINGS

Ken Berwitz

"Russ" (I won't mention his last name because I don't know if he would want me to) just sent me a season's greetings message.  I thought I would pass it along to you. 

I have no comment about it because it doesn't need any:

To All My Democrat Friends:
 
 Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes
 for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress,
 non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice
 holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the
 religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your
 choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or
 traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular
 traditions at all. 

 
I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and
 medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally
 accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the
 calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society
 have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is
 necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the
 Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the
 race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual
 preference of the wishes

  
 
 
 To My Republican Friends:
 
 Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


ANDREW SULLIVAN AND RON PAUL

Ken Berwitz

Andrew Sullivan is a prolific writer and, formerly at least, a gay conservative (he still is gay but his positions are increasingly eclectic). 

This week, on Mr. Sullivan's website, www.andrewsullivan.com, he endorsed ron paul to be the Republican presidential nominee.

Now I have written numbers of times about the attraction nazis and White supremacists have for Mr. paul.  I have written about the overtly racist material he published in his newsletter years ago, his vote last year against re-authorizing the 1965 voting rights act, his vote last year against condemning hezbollah, and other good reasons for nazis and White supremacists to like him.

This being the case, I was astonished that a gay man would support paul.  Is Mr. Sullivan unacquainted with intolerance?  Does he think paul's complete and intractible dedication to states' rights somehow excludes laws discriminating against homosexuals?

I decided to e-mail Mr. Sullivan to find out why he would support a candidate like this.  I detailed everything to Mr. Sullivan that I just cited to you.  That was on Monday.

By Tuesday (yesterday) I had received no response.  So I sent him a second e-mail expressing surprise that he had not answered the first one and again detailing paul's sordid history and despicable support base among hate groups.  Here it is, verbatim:

Andrew
 
I am hopeful that you did not see my e-mail of yesterday.  Because if you did, it is more than a little troubling that you appear to have no interest in responding to it. 
 
Let me repeat:  Ron paul is the favored candidate of the nazi and White supremacist "people" in this country, including david duke, hal turner, hutton gibson, don black, etc. etc. etc.  He is featured on the White power/nazi website www.stormfront.org, complete with a link on the bottom of his home page for contributions.
 
paul voted against re-authorization of the 1965 Voting Rights act, which insures that Blacks in this country are able to exercise their franchise.  He voted against condemning hezbollah, the terrorist organization Israel fought in southern Lebanon last year.  His newsletter (no longer being published to my knowledge) contained overtly racist material which, years later, paul claimed was written by someone else, not him -- as if that exonerated him from publishing it.
 
This is not a good man and his true self is wholly different from what is being presented to a largely unaware public, apparently including you.
 
Please either unendorse paul or provide some reason why the above is not important enough to do so.
 
 
Ken Berwitz .

Well, it is now Wednesday morning, shortly after 10AM Eastern time (9AM in Chicago, which is were I am at the moment) and, as of now, I still have not received any reply.  Not even a perfunctory form e-mail acknowledging receipt. 

I'll let you know if and how this status changes. Frankly, I'm starting to think that Mr. Sullivan doesn't want to know what he doesn't want to know.


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