Patterico's Pontifications


A Mayor, A President And Freedom Of The Press

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:00 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Last week, just hours after the massacre in France, the mayor of Rotterdam spoke on national televevision. Moroccan-born Muslim Ahmed Aboutaleb delivered a brief, sharply-worded, no-nonsense message to the Muslim immigrant community in the Netherlands:

It is incomprehensible that you can turn against freedom. But if you don’t like freedom, for heavens sake pack your bags and leave.

If you do not like it here because some humorists you don’t like are making a newspaper, may I then say you can f*** off.

This is stupid, this so incomprehensible. Vanish from the Netherlands if you cannot find your place here.

Meanwhile, the White House today announced plans to fight the media in printing “anti-jihad” material. Shamefully using the American military as cover, Josh Earnest explained the administration’s intent to stomp on the First Amendment:

President Barack Obama has a moral responsibility to push back on the nation’s journalism community when it is planning to publish anti-jihadi articles that might cause a jihadi attack against the nation’s defenses forces[.]

“The president … will not now be shy about expressing a view or taking the steps that are necessary to try to advocate for the safety and security of our men and women in uniform” whenever journalists’ work may provoke jihadist attacks.

Earnest justified the plan:

Whenever journalists consider publishing materials disliked by jihadis, “I think there are a couple of absolutes,” he told the reporters.

The first is “that the publication of any kind of material in no way justifies any act of violence, let alone an act of violence that we saw on the scale in Paris,” he said.

The second absolute is the president’s duty to lobby editors and reporters against publishing anti-jihadi information, he said. ”And there is — this president, as the commander in chief, believes strongly in the responsibility that he has to advocate for our men and women in uniform, particularly if it’s going to make them safer,” Earnest said.


Charlie Hebdo Is Back! Plus, Ken White Has Questions for the New York Times

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:58 pm

And this is the cover:

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 6.18.41 PM

Speaking of depictions of Muhammed, Ken White at Popehat has some pointed questions for New York Times editor Dean Baquet. The questions are hilarious because they faux-innocently assume that the folks in charge at the New York Times have thought through the various issues in a responsible manner that recognizes the inherent difficulties of self-censoring speech due to concern over offending one’s audience. They also faux-innocently assume consistency. (There has to be a Greek word for this rhetorical device of pretending to assign a level of seriousness to your opponent that everyone knows you don’t actually assign.) All this leads to just the hilarity you would expect. For example:

6. Do you consider whether claims to offense may be politically motivated? For instance, if some American group (say, religious conservatives) asserted loudly that use of terms like “Happy Holidays” was gratuitously offensive, would you accept that, or would you ignore it on the basis that it was part of a “culture war?” If Americans claimed that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is gratuitously offensive because it is calculated to mock religion, how would you evaluate that claim?

. . . .

13. Do you have a plan for what to do if a group expands its assertions about what is offensive? For instance, suppose that some Muslims begin to assert — vociferously — that depictions of all those it counts as prophets (including Jesus) are offensive and must be avoided, how would you evaluate that claim?

14. There are, as you know, different groups within Islam. What if a reform group began encouraging depictions of Muhammad as a signifier of reform, asserting that the contrary interpretation is false, and that those who attack depictions are wrong about Islam? How would you decide which faction to avoid offending?

Of course, we already know (and Ken White knows) that Dean Baquet’s thought process was hardly so comprehensive and thoughtful:

Mr. Baquet told me that he started out the day Wednesday convinced that The Times should publish the images, both because of their newsworthiness and out of a sense of solidarity with the slain journalists and the right of free expression.

He said he had spent “about half of my day” on the question, seeking out the views of senior editors and reaching out to reporters and editors in some of The Times’s international bureaus. They told him they would not feel endangered if The Times reproduced the images, he told me, but he remained concerned about staff safety.

“I sought out a lot of views, and I changed my mind twice,” he said. “It had to be my decision alone.”

Ultimately, he decided against it, he said, because he had to consider foremost the sensibilities of Times readers, especially its Muslim readers.

And that’s where Ken White comes in. Oh, let’s just have one more of those questions, for the fun of it:

15. Let’s say some blogger starts a trend of using this emoticon: @[–<. It is widely understood that the emoticon is meant by its users to depict Muhammad, in an effort to illustrate that bans on depictions are unprincipled and can easily be made ridiculous. Would you run the emoticon? Or would you just describe it? How would you decide?

We know how he would decide. He would walk around asking a bunch of people their opinions and changing his mind back and forth all day, and then come to whatever conclusion seemed the most politically correct and safe.

Dean Baquet calls Ken White “asshole” in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

MittMentum! GOP Must Now Choose Between Jeb and Mitt!!!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:38 am

Good news! We now have another tired old retread to contend with! Mitt is apparently going to run:

Mitt Romney is moving quickly to reassemble his national political network, calling former aides, donors and other supporters over the weekend and on Monday in a concerted push to signal his seriousness about possibly launching a 2016 presidential campaign.

Romney’s message, as he told one senior Republican, was that he “almost certainly will” make what would be his third bid for the White House. His aggressive outreach came as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — Romney’s 2012 vice presidential running mate and the newly installed chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee — announced Monday that he would not seek the presidency in 2016.

Romney’s activity indicates that his declaration of interest Friday to a group of 30 donors in New York was more than the release of a trial balloon. Instead, it was the start of a deliberate effort by the 2012 nominee to carve out space for himself in an emerging 2016 field also likely to include former Florida governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

This actually is good news. Competition among the squishes is a net positive for actual conservatives.

So is Cruz running or not? If he is, he’s my man. There’s nobody more principled. If not, Walker seems like the best choice. A guy who can fight unions and win is not a bad thing, in my book.

Romney 3.0? I’ll pass, but I’ll watch him duke it out with Jeb with a smile.

Flashback: Barack Obama: There’s a Laziness In Me

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:25 am

You don’t say.

Kurt Schlichter: There Are Decent and Brave Muslims Fighting With Us Against the Terrorists

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:24 am

Kurt Schlichter, the now-retired Army Colonel who writes columns for TownHall, is no pacifist. (He is also a great dinner companion, as I learned Sunday night when I had dinner with him, Ed Morrissey, Andrew Malcolm, Stephen Kruiser, Joel Pollak, and spouses.) His latest TownHall column advocates dealing with radical Islamic terrorists by killing each and every last one of them. The philosophy is simple: Carthago delenda est. Kurt hasn’t just flapped his gums about this, either. He’s been out there fighting the fight, in Desert Storm and other operations.

So Schlichter has some credibility when he says there are Muslims out there fighting on our side:

That leads to the second part of the pen/influencing effort, that of the Islamic world. While it is a lie to say that the terrorists have nothing to do with Islam, it is also untrue to say that all Islam supports the terrorists. All Muslims don’t believe in this jihadi idiocy. In fact, right now – as they have for years – decent, brave Muslims are fighting side by side with our troops against jihadi morons. To ignore that is not only a shameful betrayal of our allies but a foolish squandering of a valuable weapon against extremism.

And good Muslims are fighting back. We waited for years for reasonable, rational Muslim voices to make themselves heard, and it has happened. Egypt’s President al-Sisi – you know, the guy who screwed up President Obama’s plan to turn the most important country in the Middle East over to the Muslim Brotherhood – went in front of Islam’s most noted scholars and chewed them out. He called for a rethink and reexamination of Islam, pointing out that jihadi foolishness was turning the Muslim world into a pariah. That’s huge, but few know about it because of both the focus on the murders in Paris and the general cluelessness of our media.

I thought this was worth passing along, in an era when some people seem to argue that Islam itself is the problem, and that every Muslim on earth is the problem. They’re not.

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