Written by Daniel Greenfield
Remember Derek Fenton, the New Jersey transit worker who burned a few Koran pages in New York on his free time and got canned for it across the river by Christie's New Jersey Transit? Well there's a happy ending. Fenton has won back his job, damages and lost wages. The importance of this goes beyond Fenton, warning municipalities against this form of appeasement. Of course New Jersey decisionmakers probably think this brand of appeasement was cheap at the price.
"Our government cannot pick and choose whose free speech rights are protected, based on whether or not they approve of the content of our statements or actions," Fenton said in a statement. "This is the very essence of the First Amendment."
This is what Christie said at the time
The settlement comes after the governor publicly supported Fenton’s firing. In February, Christie said he didn’t ask for the dismissal but called it appropriate because "that kind of intolerance is ... unacceptable."
"I knew he was going to be fired, and I had no problem with it," Christie said at the time. "And I still don’t have a problem with it."
Pick your conservative hero.
Let's contrast this with the UK where Andrew Ryan, a former British soldier, was sentenced to more than two months in prison for burning a Koran. At a time when British soldiers are being jeered by Muslim thugs in Londonistan, it's the soldiers who are being sent to jail.
The charge against Andrew Ryan, according to District Judge Gerald Chalk, was "Theatrical Bigotry", which for some reason was leveled against Andrew Ryan, but not say Caryl Churchill for Seven Jewish Children. What is "Theatrical Bigotry"? It's offending Muslims in a public place.
While being led away, Ryan asked "What about burning poppies?" referring to a Muslim form of protest that doesn't get labeled as theatrical bigotry. Neither does the harassment and violence against Jewish owned stores such as Ahava, by Muslim and pro-Muslim protesters.
Following sentencing, Inspector Paul Marshall, of Carlisle CID, said: "Today's result shows how seriously we take hate crime in the county.
"This incident was highly unusual for Cumbria as we have such low levels of hate crime in the county.
"However, when it does occur we investigate thoroughly so that offenders, and the local community, know that hate crime will simply not be tolerated."
There's that phrase again. "We won't tolerate." "Intolerable". So much intolerance in the name of tolerance. Isn't intolerance in the name of tolerance rather a contradiction in terms.
Andrew Ryan was charged with "religiously aggravated harassment" and given 70 days. But Choudhury, an Islamist who burned poppies, was fined 50 pounds and charged only with a violation of the Public Order Act.
"It's worth mentioning Choudhury's paltry fine, because that is certainly what Ryan's supporters in the English Defence League will do. Why is it that one act of theatrical bigotry merits a fine, and another a 70-day jail sentence? Why does the desecration of a symbol of national mourning merit less punishment than the desecration of a religious text?"
The same reason you can burn and desecrate every other national and religious symbol, but those of Muslims.
Ryan struggled with security guards in court after the sentence was passed. While being handcuffed he shouted: "What about my country? What about burning poppies?"
About 10 people were in court to support Ryan, and as they left the court they shouted "do you call this justice?"
This is Bloomberg, Christie and Lindsay Graham's justice.
Another story making the rounds out of the UK by way of Afghanistan overlaps with it when an unarmed British soldier leaped from his vehicle to capture a top ranking Taliban bomb maker.
The drama erupted when a soldier on a Helmand province patrol spotted a hidden bomb just inches from his foot in Gereshk. Lee was in a Warrior commanded by Lt Martyn Fulford 2km away when they and the crew in another of the armoured vehicles were alerted to the fleeing motorcyclist - suspected of sending squads of suicide bombers to attack Brit troops.
Lt Fulford, of Churchdown, Gloucs, told how he ordered the Warrior's driver to "put his foot down" as the terrorist roared towards the main road that runs through Helmand to make his getaway.
He said: "It was a race towards Highway One. If he reached the tarmac he would have been able to outpace us and escape. We just pipped him. Pte Stephens ripped his headset off and leapt down." Lee said: "I jumped out of the wagon and I grabbed the geezer.
"It was mark one left, mark two right fists. That was it. No weapons, just my hands."
It is a great story, but here's a thought left unaddressed, did Stephens tackle the Taliban bomb maker unarmed because there was no authorization to open fire under their rules of engagement.
Here's a more precise description of events
Shortly after spotting an improvised explosive device, the soldiers saw a motorcyclist approach as they crossed open ground.
Insurgent gunmen then opened fire from behind him pinning the soldiers down and letting him speed off.
Lt Martyn Fulford, 24, from Churchdown in Gloucester, was commanding one of two Warrior armoured vehicles 2km away, which set off to intercept the bike.
He said: "It was a race towards Highway One. If he reached the tarmac he would have been able to outpace us. We just pipped him. I had my rifle out of the turret screaming at him. Pte Stephens ripped his headset off and leapt down."
Pte Stephens, from Solihull, said he grabbed the suspect around the neck and dragged him towards his vehicle. Asked what he was thinking, he said: "My muckers were getting shot at and I thought, 'I'm not having that.' "
The fleeing Taliban commander was not using a weapon and the Warrior was within very close range but no one shot at him. Which suggests there may have been authorization to fire on the attackers, but not on the commander. Of course they might have wanted to take him alive for questioning, but they didn't appear to know who he was at the time. The Taliban commander would have known the ROE's and known that the weapon was an impotent threat.
The difference is big. Was this a heroic maneuver in the field, or forced by restrictive rules of engagement that caused a soldier to tackle a man unarmed that he had no authorization to fire on or stop in any way through the use of armed force.
Let's look at the cost of such regs on British troops back in 2010 and the absurd pussyfooting around required by them.
Two insurgents were seen knocking a “murder hole” through a wall, of the kind used by the Taleban to fire at British soldiers. The insurgents darted between firing positions, peering through fresh murder holes and cracks in the walls.
One appeared to be carrying something wrapped in cloth, possibly a weapon. The airspace above the compound was cleared of helicopters and jets, creating room for the drone to fire a Hellfire missile.
Mackay-Lewis told his men: “Command wants to make sure they are insurgents inside and not civilians.”
The Taleban’s radio spluttered and crackled into life. “We can see the soldiers standing by a wall,” said one of the insurgents. “Be prepared to fire when they approach us.”
The advance paused as the BRF commander decided whether to launch the drone’s missile. He gave the order to engage and then immediately retracted it as he began to doubt that the men were insurgents.
“We decided that there was no imminent threat, so we held back. It’s called courageous restraint and we try to exercise it whenever we can,” said Captain James Boutle.
The commander desperately needed the insurgents to open fire or to reveal themselves in the open, away from the compound, to permit him to call in an airstrike with confidence.
But the BRF commander regretted the decision. “I should have given the order,” he admitted later. “We had them.”
Perhaps a commenter with a military background can shed some light on this.
Moving on. The dominant political story this week is the lack of a story. Obama's popularity is stuck in a quagmire, but so is the GOP. Ryan's plan is about as popular among voters as Obama's Libyan war. The left and the right are disappointed. But so is the average voter.
The Republican establishment having completely forgotten the lessons of Christine O'Donnell are piling on Trump. It's a reflexive strategy, and a stupid one. A sizable amount of voters will just as reflexively embrace whoever the establishment is down on. There's plenty to criticize Trump for, but going all out against him will only help him. And personal attacks and namecalling against a man with the teflon media presence of Trump are not only useless, they make the opposition to Trump look petty.
Focusing on his hair, his ex-wives or his merchandising treats voters like idiots. It's doubtful that there's anyone who doesn't already notice these things about Trump. Reiterating them smacks of Mean Girls snobbery. The best way to beat Trump is to respect the voters and challenge him on the issues. If Trump really has nothing more to offer than hot air, Republican primary voters will see that for themselves. Articles pointing out some of Trump's past positions will help, but they won't close the deal.
Trump has injected the one thing the GOP race needs badly-- energy. And right now Trump looks good for doing what no one else will, aggressively taking on Obama. By doing that he's showing that he has more guts than a lot of the pack. And plenty of people are responding to that. Anyone who wants to beat Trump has to bring energy and passion to the game.
A Republican establishment which is worried about its candidates having to compete against Trump, had better think hard about them competing against Obama. If they can't take on a billionaire TV star, how are they ever going to beat Obama?
The GOP race still looks too much like a bunch of hesitant kids getting ready for a big game of kickball. They stand around, look over the ball and few of them are just willing to jump in and play. So far it's the unlikely candidates, like John Bolton, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain and yes Trump, who have jumped in. And the 'serious candidates' are waiting around, strategizing, to avoid any missteps. But they've already made their biggest misstep. No one cares about them.
What the parties see and what voters see are two different things. The Democrats mistook their wins in 2006 and 2008 for an open ended mandate. Now the Republicans are doing the same thing. And their actual mandate is not as open ended as some bloggers and pundits have begun to think. It is also much less ideological. The Democrats didn't have a mandate for radical social change in 2008, neither did the Republicans in 2010. The more the fights go on, the more the voters despair of both parties. The average American still treats politicians like plumbers, firing them when things don't go right. And what the voters want is action, or at least the appearance of action, on the economy. The practical realities are of less interest and harder to communicate.
High gas prices, high unemployment and difficulty paying the bills is what's on most people's radar. The Republican congress has failed to speak to that, and it creates another opening for Obama, who will now tackle 'oil speculators' (a fairly typical Communist response to any economic crisis was to blame speculators for driving up prices) and Republicans are going to have to hit hard by turning the restrictions on drilling into a major campaign issue. The return of "Drill Baby, Drill".
But all that is a sideshow. The vote will go to the man or woman who can confidently promise better times ahead. That's what Reagan did in 1980. Unless the Republicans put up someone who can step up and promise better times ahead... than Obama's odds of winning aren't bad.
The public doesn't trust Obama on the economy, but how much are they going to trust Random Republican Candidate No. 344?
Obama is focusing on radicalizing his base, on assembling a Get Out the Vote program based on union members and minorities who are frightened of losing what they have. He isn't playing to hope anymore, he's playing to fear. The message to union members is you'll lose your benefits, to Latinos, you'll be deported, to seniors you'll lose your health care, and so on and so forth down the line. Will that be enough to win? Not in 2012. Not on its own. But keep the Republican turnout weak and swing enough voters who aren't crazy about the Republican candidate his way and the numbers look different.
In 2008 it was Obama's race to win or lose. In 2010, it's the Republicans' race to win or lose.
In 1980, Reagan hit Carter and the Democrats hard on their scarcity politics and on economic decline, to position himself as the man to rejuvenate American prosperity. The methods of communicating that were simple. This was Reagan's opening from his convention speech...
Never before in our history have Americans been called upon to face three grave threats to our very existence, any one of which could destroy us. We face a disintegrating economy, a weakened defense and an energy policy based on the sharing of scarcity.
Easily relevant to the present day.
Let's take a look at this supermarket ad from 1984 that highlighted the cost of inflation in an easy to relate to way.
Like most brilliant messages it's simple. Here's another simple metaphor from the 1980 convention speech
First, we must overcome something the present administration has cooked up: a new and altogether indigestible economic stew, one part inflation, one part high unemployment, one part recession, one part runaway taxes, one party deficit spending and seasoned by an energy crisis. It's an economic stew that has turned the national stomach.
None of this is very hard, but it takes the right man to bring the message home.
And now over to Libya, we were in and then we were out and now we're back in. McCain managed to fly over and take media ownership of the war for the usual incomprehensible reasons. Meanwhile there's ample evidence that the civil war is taking on racial Arab vs African components with atrocities committed against African POW's.
“Thousands of Africans have come under attack and lost their homes and possessions during the recent fighting,” a human rights official told the Los Angeles Times. “A lot of Africans have been caught up in this mercenary hysteria.”
But another, more sinister motive lurks behind the current rebel “African hunt” than just Gaddafi’s disturbing use of African mercenaries to put down the rebellion. The ferocious animosity Libyan rebels are showing toward black Africans is actually rooted in a deeply embedded, centuries-old Arab racism the war has inflamed.
This racism has its roots in the institution of Islamic slavery. From the seventh century to the twentieth, it is estimated 14 million black Africans were violently enslaved and transported under harsh conditions to countries around the Islamic world. Due to the blackness of the slave’s skin combined with his menial work and chattel status, Africans became synonymous in Arab eyes with inferiority and even something less than human. And since the Islamic world experienced no abolition movement, let alone a civil war like America’s, that attempted to establish the black slave’s humanity, he continued to remain sub-human in the Arab world view — as Africans today often point out.
One of these Africans is Dutch-Somali writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In her highly acclaimed book, Infidel, Ali experienced the Arabs’ persistent and dehumanizing racist attitude toward black Africans and its Islamic slavery base when attending school in Saudi Arabia. Her Egyptian teacher, Ali recounts, would always hit her, the only African child in the class, with a ruler, calling her “aswad abda,” black slave-girl. Ali writes: “To be a foreigner (in Saudi Arabia), and moreover a black foreigner, meant, you were scarcely human, unprotected: fair game.”
Even the word Arabs use today for black Africans, both Muslim and non-Muslim, is ‘abeed’, or slave. Besides serving as an Arab insult for Africans, this derogatory term reflects the thinking on the part of some Arabs that blacks are still fit only for slavery.
Professor SAAD JABBAR (Deputy Director, North Africa Center at Cambridge University): I tell you, these people, because of their skin, they will be slaughtered in Libya. There is so much anger there against those mercenaries, which suddenly sprung up. I think it is urgent to do something about it now, otherwise, a genocide against anyone who has black skin and who doesn't speak perfect Arabic.
"We left behind our friends from Chad. We left behind their bodies. We had 70 or 80 people from Chad working for our company. They cut them dead with pruning shears and axes, attacking them, saying you're providing troops for Gadhafi. The Sudanese, the Chadians were massacred. We saw it ourselves."
"I am a worker, not a fighter. They took me from my house and [raped] my wife," he said, gesturing with his hands. Before he could say much more, a pair of guards told him to shut up and hustled him through the steel doors of a cell block, which quickly slammed behind them.
At least 5,200 Ghanaians have returned since October, after violence against blacks that, by unofficial accounts, left more than 135 dead. In addition, thousands of laborers from Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan and other nations have fled Libya, taking a strong resentment toward Libyans with them.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference, whose members carry significant weight in the 47-nation Human Rights Council, said it wouldn't consent to holding such a meeting.
"We think that the events that are taking place do not merit some kind of a special session," said Zamir Akram, Pakistan's ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva.
He accused those advocating a special session of double standards, and said the OIC would use any such meeting to focus on human rights abuses by Israel instead.
Dr. Uzi Landau, Israel's Minister of National Infrastructure, warns that in the event of a unilateral United Nations declaration of a Palestinian state, he will call upon Israel to annex the Jordan Valley and large, Jewish populated blocs in the West Bank:
If only. Instead we've got grim tidings that Netanyahu's congressional speech will unveil some surprise. And surprise usually means surprise concession. One of those "bold" steps that will "resolve" the logjam. G-d help us all.
Obama's September target date for an Abbas state is coming up. A number of Chavez's Latin American allies have already recognized a Palestinian state. France has said that it's under consideration. Peres is pushing for Israel to 'write its own' peace plan, which just means more unilateral concessions that don't factor to anything. And Obama's people are reportedly drafting their own plan to present, which includes dividing Jerusalem.
But the good news is that Israel's left, as reported by Haaretz, has a plan of battle to defend their neighborhoods and communities.
The forum hopes to raise the secular majority's voice, which its members say has fallen silent until the danger reached people's doorstep. Meanwhile, they are discussing their local "battle plans" together, using military terms like "war" and the need to "defend themselves."
"We feel they see this [process] as an occupation and we're still at the stage in which each one is fighting for his home, so it's early days yet to tell where the neighborhood forum is going," says Yitzhaki-Toledano.
No, they're not standing up to Muslim terrorists. They're fighting against synagogues moving into their neighborhoods. Anti-tank missiles are being used on schoolbuses, but the lunatic left and Haaretz have their priorities in order. They must defend their way of life.
And the Shalit relations continue their ghoulish publicity stunts, egged on by the left. Noam Shalit had kind words for Hamas, but none for Israel. Zvi Shalit has penned another accusatory letter denouncing Netanyahu for "refusing to free Gilad", as if he were sitting in an Israeli jail, rather than the custody of terrorists. A smirking Haaretz article calls on the Shalit relations to "take off the velvet gloves"and wage a "personal war" against the Prime Minister. To what end? To agree to a Hamas deal which would free terrorists with blood on their hands and surely insure that there will be more Gilad Shalits to come.
Noam Shalit long ago crossed the terminator from needy to ruthless to completely amoral. His own flesh and blood cannot come over the lives of countless others. And he and his family have exploited their sacred position as the relatives to a captured soldier to behave in the most boorish and repugnant manner imaginable. They have turned themselves into proxies for Hamas. They have become the aiders and abetters of the kidnappers of their son.
In Israel, the Free Gilad Shalit movement is freighted with left wing activists, which is why I have written next to nothing about him. I hope that he is rescued. But I completely oppose the Shalit family's mercenary demands, especially in light of the cost of similar deals before, and their leftist handlers. As long as there is a rising Palestinian state, then it isn't Gilad Shalit in prison, but all of Israel. The latest round of attacks are a reminder of that.
The left's phony outrage over Gilad's imprisonment is the height of hypocrisy when they simultaneously empower the terrorists who hold him and the entire country hostage. I support the liberation of Gilad Shalit, within the liberation of the entire country from the terrorists of Hamas and Fatah
From NY to Jerusalem , Daniel Greenfield Covers the Stories Behind the News. Daniel Greenfield is a blogger, author and columnists covering international affairs, the rising threat of terrorism and the growing problems of socialism. His daily blog can be viewed at Sultan Knish.