Sunday, January 15, 2017
Australia's Kirralie Smith tells it like it is
Being critical of Islam is not "extremist" or "right-wing". It's fake news to say so
In "Laokoon" by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, we read: "Reiz ist Schönheit in Bewegung" (Charm is beauty in motion). Kirralie has charm above
Obama boasts of better race relations, 75 percent of cops disagree
Concerned about their safety, the overwhelming majority of police are now less likely to do their job because of fatal encounters between law enforcement and the black community.
According to new polling from the Pew Research Center, 93 percent of police officers are concerned about their safety on the job; 72 percent are less willing to stop suspicious characters; and 75 percent report increased tension between cops and the black community.
While the majority of police officers, 67 percent, insist those encounters are isolated, the episodes have made viral news and front page headlines throughout 2016. The shooting of a 32-year-old Minnesota man, for example, was broadcast on Facebook Live, sparking local and national protests. As a result, 60 percent of the public disagrees with police and believe the shootings reflect a broader problem.
Last year, according to the Washington Post, 963 people were shot and killed by police.
Politicians from both parties have suggested solutions to the problem. The majority of police suggest greater accountability and favor tougher tactics. Two in three cops say they're ready to wear a body camera on the job. At the same time, 45 percent believe that getting physical is the answer for unruly individuals.
The findings provide an interesting footnote to Obama's farewell address. Though polls suggest that the majority of American believe race relations have worsened in the last eight years, the outgoing executive believes the country's made progress in this area.
"Now I've lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were 10 or 20 or 30 years ago," Obama told supporters in Chicago Tuesday, "no matter what some folks say."
It seems, however, that the majority of America's police disagree.
Texas Judge Rejects ‘Clock Boy’s’ Defamation Lawsuit Against Conservative Pundits
A Texas judge on Monday rejected a defamation lawsuit that was filed last September by the father of “Clock Boy” Ahmed Mohamed against several conservative outlets pundits.
The Center for Security Policy (CSP), one of the defendants in the case, announced that Dallas County district court judge Maricela Moore dismissed the suit, the Daily Caller reported.
Mohamed Mohamed, “Clock Boy’s” father, filed the suit in September against CSP, its executive vice president, The Blaze, Inc., its founder Glenn Beck, Fox News, and several conservative pundits, including Ben Ferguson and Ben Shapiro, all of whom criticized his son.
Mohamed gained international attention and a White House invite when he was arrested in Sept. 2015 after he took a clock that closely resembled a timed bomb to his Irving, Tex. high school. One of Mohamed’s teachers referred him to school administrators, and the then-14-year-old was briefly arrested.
The incident led to a massive nationwide uproar as activists and Muslim civil rights groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) claimed it was a case of Islamophobia. President Obama praised Mohamed and invited the teen to the White House.
CSP executive Jim Hanson told Beck in an interview on The Blaze that he believed the lawsuit was a “PR stunt.”
“It’s a RadioShack clock that he put in a briefcase, and in a briefcase it looks like a bomb,” Hanson argued. “They did that to create the exact scenario that played out.”
Former Breitbart News editor Ben Shapiro also criticized the lawsuit and said that it was “a hoax.”
“This was a setup and that President Obama fell for it because it confirms a couple of his pre-stated biases against police and against people who he perceives to be Islamaphobic,” he said.
American Freedom Law Center senior counsel David Yerushalmi, who represents CSP, argued in court on Monday that the lawsuit was “a classic Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation or ‘SLAPP’ case and should be dismissed.”
There are 28 states, including Texas, that have adopted laws that protect defendants against SLAPP cases.
CSP said that Judge Moore, who is a Democrat, asked Mohammed’s attorney Susan Hutchison to provide facts to support the claim that defendants made any false or defamatory statements about the plaintiffs.
“After spending a painfully embarrassing 15 minutes flipping through reams of paper, Mohamed’s lawyer was unable to provide any such evidence,” CSP said in a press release.
Racist opinions are hateful, but that shouldn’t make them crimes
By Jeff Jacoby
Hate crime laws are in the news on multiple fronts this week.
* In Charleston, S.C., jurors in federal court Tuesday sentenced Dylann Roof to the death penalty. Roof, a 22-year-old white supremacist who murdered nine black parishioners at Charleston’s Emanuel AME church in 2015, was convicted last month on 24 federal hate crime charges.
* In Chicago, four young black men and women have been charged with Class 4 hate crimes, as well as with counts of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated battery assault, after abducting and torturing a mentally impaired white teenager, all the while livestreaming their attack on Facebook.
* In Washington, the Senate Judiciary Committee opened confirmation hearings on Senator Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general. Sessions’ approval is likely, but one argument made against him is that he opposed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, which made sexual orientation and disability protected categories under federal hate crimes law.
Though they’ve been in effect since the 1990s, hate crime statutes have always been constitutionally and morally unsound. At best they are a symbolic declaration that crimes inspired by certain types of bigotry are especially odious. At worst they are a vehicle for grandstanding prosecutors eager to make a political point. Either way, they should disturb anyone who believes criminals ought to be punished for their harmful actions, not for their ugly opinions.
Faced with racism, we first choose sides rather than lament its attendant violence that was normalized long ago.
To grasp how gratuitous hate crime prosecutions can be, look no further than Roof’s case. The Charleston mass killer is a depraved monster; the day he is put to death, America will be a better, cleaner place. But there was no need for a federal trial to achieve that salutary end. South Carolina’s criminal-justice system was willing and able to do the job. Immediately after Roof’s bloodbath, Charleston County Solicitor Scarlett Wilson charged him with nine counts of murder; she later said South Carolina would seek the death penalty and urged that he be tried in state court first.
But the state’s legitimate interest in bringing Roof to justice was muscled aside by the federal Justice Department, which emphasized its desire to make Roof’s race hatred an explicit centerpiece of the trial. The Emanuel AME attack “directly fits the hate crime statute,” federal investigators told The New York Times. “This is exactly what it was created for.” There was no danger of Roof getting away with murder. But Washington wanted to federalize the case to spotlight the defendant’s beliefs. Those beliefs, revealed in Roof’s website, his Facebook page, and in a handwritten screed composed in jail, are beyond nauseating. But no opinion of his could be more nauseating than nine murders.
Had he never raised a hand against anyone, Roof’s hateful views would be fully protected by the First Amendment. Conversely, had he murdered nine people in cold blood not because of their race or religion, but simply because he craved publicity or wanted a thrill or was trying to impress a gang, he would still have been tried for capital murder and be facing execution.
In other words, all the “hate crime” designation accomplishes is more attention for Roof’s horrific (but not illegal) opinions. Wasn’t that just what he wanted — a platform for his racial animosity? Wouldn’t it have been far better to give Roof’s racism as little attention as possible, and to concentrate solely on his devastating crime?
The same is true of the four thugs in Chicago. Yes, their video showed them spewing racist epithets and mocking the victim’s disability. But in the eyes of the law, the attackers’ opinions should matter not at all. It is their cruel acts of abuse — the gagging, the beating, the cutting, the stealing, the threatening — for which they should be tried and punished. If the victim had been black, would his torture have been less horrible? If his assailants had chanted “We love white people,” would their crimes be any less hateful?
Hate crime laws are now part of the legal landscape, but conservatives like Sessions weren’t alone in opposing them. Many civil libertarians have warned consistently that such laws criminalize beliefs. Former US senator Russ Feingold, an ardent liberal, spoke against them during a 1993 congressional debate, pleading with his colleagues to “pause before we start sentencing people not on the basis of the viciousness of their act or actual harm, but based on what they might have been thinking when they did the act.”
Society has a duty to punish a criminal’s evil deeds. But there is never a duty to punish a criminal’s thoughts, no matter how evil they may be.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.