Backtalk, February 10, 2006

Pledge Week

I want to thank all those whose efforts go into this wonderful Web site. I especially enjoy Justin Raimondo’s articles and as I read them I feel that I have met a friend who shares my exact sentiments on many issues across the board. I donated $100 today and will keep my eye on how the drive progresses. If needed, I’m sure I can find my way to scrape together a little more. Perhaps I can figure out a way to get an exemption whereby I could donate all that is taken from my weekly paycheck and utilized to foot the bill for an immoral and illegal war and for stoking the machinery of the fascist war machine. I have told many people about this Web site and the wonderful articles which can be found here day in and day out, and hopefully it will only be a matter of time before we can turn this nation around and steer it in the direction of sanity.

~ Michael Miller, Ocala, Fla.

Rotten in Denmark

It is very rare that I disagree with Justin’s column. However, regarding his analysis of the causes and reactions to the cartoons mocking Muhammad, published in Denmark and then other European countries, I respectfully disagree with his analysis.

First, religions and politicians are routinely mocked in European papers to a degree that would surprise many Americans unfamiliar with it. This is true even in England, which has more stringent laws on this subject than here in the U.S. And it is definitely true in Denmark. But one doesn’t have to go to Europe to see this kind of thing; even here in the U.S. we encounter this kind of mocking caricature. Remember Piss Christ, that exhibit which featured a cross upside-down in a bottle of urine? Disgusting. But there were no riots. Instead people worked to de-fund such “artists” and the agencies that promoted it. That is the kind of response I would think a libertarian would advocate.

In other words, if you don’t like what the Danish paper is printing, don’t buy it. It’s just that simple. That many in the Islamic world are rioting over this is indicative of their desire to force all people to conform to their own dictates. That view is not a fringe one; it is central to Islamic teachings.

The second point I’d like to raise is that there is some evidence that those who spread this story in the Islamic world deliberately exaggerated the contents of the cartoons. The worst picture, showing Muhammad, or perhaps just an imam, with a pig’s nose and ears (a deep insult to Muslims) was not, in fact, part of the cartoon series in the Danish paper. Yet it has been alleged that it was deliberately included in the effort to spread this story in the Islamic world. If this turns out to be true (and right now there is so much noise going on, I want to emphasize the if), then it would seem that radical Islamic groups may have deliberately exploited this situation for their own purposes. Maybe there is an “anti-Pipes” behind this?

Finally, I’d like to say that I’m really surprised that Raimondo, and Buchanan at, have both sided with the rioters, arsonists, and pillagers. Freedom of speech means that people get to mock your beliefs; that is exactly what it means. My beliefs are mocked all the time. Too bad, but I don’t lose any sleep over it. In other words, my friendly suggestion to Muslims is to get over it.

~ Jim Wilson

Regarding free speech and Muslims in Denmark:

(1) One of the most (in)famous Holocaust deniers published from Denmark for decades. Denying the Holocaust is still perfectly legal in Denmark, though considered quite tasteless. Please note that hundreds of Danish Jews, resistance fighters, and police officers were deported to the KZ-camps of Hitler … and many died there. Freedom of speech is considered more important than the sentiments of [survivors] and their relatives.

(2) We have a Nazi Party with its own local radio station, Radio Oasen. This radio station even receives partial public funding, not because of official sympathy for the Nazis, but because all local radio stations fulfilling certain basic standards (bureaucratic, not moral) are entitled to such funding and denying it to the Nazis would be an indirect form of censorship, which is illegal under the Danish constitution.

(3) We were also the first country in the world (at least in the modern era) to legalize pornography. Whether this should be a source of national pride is debatable, but at least we have been reasonably consistent regarding free speech.

(4) The one real taboo is incitement of violence.

(5) Just a few examples of violence by Muslims in Denmark trying to impose their values on us:

In 2001, Muslim immigrants in Copenhagen attacked a gay march with rocks and bottles. (See “Respekt, ære og krænkelser” – in Danish; the English-speaking press didn’t find it worth noting.) They complained that such a thing offended their religious values.

In 2004, Muslims beat up a teacher in from the Carsten Niebuhr Institute at Copenhagen University because he had dared to quote from the Koran in his lecture. They claimed that it is unacceptable for an infidel to do this. See “Overfaldet efter Koran-læsning.” Apparently, this didn’t make it to “responsible” news sources outside Denmark, just some anti-Muslim blogs, but at least it is mentioned as part of the background for the current crisis here.

Just the other night, two Muslim immigrants attacked a Danish sausage salesman and broke his hands with clubs, allegedly saying “Danish pig! You sell unclean meat!” See “Pølsemand overfaldet med baseballbat.” Again, this was seemingly not deemed fit to publish outside the country. Danish sausages are usually made from pork, which is considered unclean in Islam (as well as in Judaism, but somehow the Jews in Denmark never got around to breaking people’s hands over the issue).

Then, of course, there have been the usual mass rapes of Danish girls, with religious justification. See “Islamisk mufti vækker vrede med udtalelse.” In English I can only find this referenced by anti-Muslim sources. I guess you also failed to see the scene when friends and families of a gang of Palestinian rapists attacked the rape victim outside a Copenhagen courthouse.

Copenhagen imams have also expressed their support for sharia legislation, with some stating they eventually want it introduced in Denmark: “Haarder Calls for Modern Version of Islam.”

Etc., etc., ad nauseam.

I believe the reason it is so difficult to find information about this in the “responsible” press is PRECISELY because of self-censorship, both because many are intimidated by the Muslim militants and because many more are cowed by political correctness.

(6) You, Mr. Raimondo, reveled in Bin Laden’s question: “Why did we not attack Sweden?” Well, perhaps you would care to explain why Denmark is being attacked all over the Muslim world right now? Is it not exactly because they hate our freedom and want to dictate what we can say and do in our own country? I very much agree that it is disastrously and criminally wrong for the West to seek to impose its values violently on the Muslim world. But why is it A-OK with you when it’s the other way around? (See hypocrisy.)

(7) And surely, if Jyllands-Posten had desired an international crisis they would have published the cartoons on the Internet instead of merely in the printed version of the paper. Then it wouldn’t have taken us those many months since September 2005 before this exploded. You are accusing Mr. Rose of being not only an evil conspirator, but also incompetent.

In the words of another hateful Western fanatic and conspirator: Give me liberty, or give me death! His words helped to start a war. Does that make him evil?

~ Morten Nielsen, Denmark

Following Orders Is No Excuse

Dr. Roberts:

I have to say how delighted I was to see an article so similar to my own thoughts on the subject of Colonel Wilkerson and Colin Powell. I have to admit my bias. I’d never think a former editor for WSJ and I would have a damn thing in common. How refreshing to be forced to see beyond my own preconceptions.

While you mentioned how a soldier like Powell seems only capable of toeing the line, so to speak, I spent a little more time on the issue of basic morality, which you nailed with your fictitious UN speech for Powell. To me, it is an issue of elementary morality, the same question I would put to Wilkerson. Nov. 22, 2006, Amy Goodman aired an interview with Wilkerson. On my blog, I begged this question:

“If Mr. Wilkerson found himself so moved by events to actually pen a resignation letter and place it in his top draw for the entire year of 2004, what tugged him in the other direction to ‘stay the course’ and cast a vote for the current Administration and a second term? Why does he admit that his ‘heart sank a couple more inches’ after Powell UN speech, then mention nobody is fired by Bush (i.e. a sign of W’s moral weakness defined by value: accountability), only to find Wilkerson kowtow the course until his job ends? So nearly 10 months after he last worked inside the WH for the Secretary of State the man has something to say? …

“The question is an issue of integrity vs survival. The same question Wilkerson puts to Bush when he says the guy should fire someone, but according to Wilkerson, Bush doesn’t carry it out. So Bush, like Wilkerson, fails the underlying social construct. But Wilkerson appears doubly damned by doing everything in his power to vote these men into a second term. …”

~ Robert Price

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

There is another explanation. Powell was the only high-level dissenter and the only check on the neocon Jacobins. He and Wilkerson may have hoped that the disastrous consequences of the Iraq invasion would strengthen their hands in a second term. Wilkerson would have known that it would look bad for Powell for him to resign. Powell and Wilkerson probably regarded the State Department’s being pushed aside as an aberration, as State usually prevails over the Pentagon. They were also counting on their support among Republicans in the party as a counterweight against the neocon policy wonks. Such hopes and expectations would have reinforced the behavior instilled by the military as I described in my article.

From the Founders to the Felons

David DeBatto writes:

“Why in God’s name can’t the Bush administration do their warrantless wiretaps, then notify the court as the law stipulates? For the life of me, I have not heard one administration official answer that one simple question in all the weeks this controversy has been on the front burner, and I have tried to hear it, believe me! Why is the after-the-fact warrant or court notification so much of a burden on these people? Surely they have enough law clerks at DoJ to can follow up on these cases.”

Surely not.

The administration is engaged in thousands, probably tens or hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of warrantless wiretaps. I’m sure they don’t have enough law clerks at DoJ. But bureaucratic resources aren’t really what’s at issue here. Inadequate resources and red tape are simply a ruse, a watch-the-birdie diversion to deflect attention away from what’s really going on – wholesale and indiscriminate domestic spying.

Complying with FISA is onerous and burdensome because we aren’t talking about targeted wiretaps undertaken with probable cause as the law envisioned. The issue isn’t hot pursuit or a ticking time bomb, which do indeed require immediate action and don’t provide time to obtain a warrant, which is what the law had in mind. That’s why it provides plenty of time after the fact for obtaining a warrant. The presumption is that there will not be a huge flood of instances of probable cause where immediate action is required. Moreover, that is a sound presumption. No evidence has ever been provided to disprove that assumption, and it is hard to imagine a situation in which it would arise.

No, the process is onerous and burdensome because the administration is laying down a dragnet of wiretaps. It would be impossible to jump through the hoops, and more importantly, even if they had the resources to do so, what would happen when they had to report to the court that 99.9 percent of the cases weren’t justified? In other words, it would blow their cover that probable cause wasn’t really the standard being used in deciding whether or not to wiretap.

All of this mumbo jumbo is designed to divert attention from what is really going on here. It is the world’s biggest fishing expedition that violates every tenet of privacy and due process in the Constitution and the various statutes in question.

~ Larry Hunter

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