February 20, 2008

One-Third of Instapundit 2/20/2008

I posted the following links on Instapundit today while Glenn Reynolds is on vacation.

OBAMA’S ADVISORS are alarming people from Jerusalem to Beirut to Baghdad.

FIDEL CASTRO’S LEGACY debated on the left: Chris Bertram says “let’s hear it for universal literacy and decent standards of health care.” Armed Liberal says “ If the price of universal literacy is prison camps for writers, count me out.”

A BOMB IN DENMARK completely destroyed a shop in Copenhagen following a week of rioting over cartoons and hash. Abe Greenwald comments in Commentary.

ALI ETERAZ writes on the secular resurgence at the expense of Islamists in Pakistan.

BRACE YOURSELF: Moqtada Al Sadr’s ceasefire between the Mahdi Army and the Americans is set to expire Saturday in Iraq. If he doesn’t renew it (and he might not), it will be bad news for him, bad news for us, and bad news for Iraq.

RULES OF JOURNALISM: CNN tells its reporters how to write about Fidel Castro. “Please note Fidel did bring social reforms to Cuba – namely free education and universal health care, and racial integration. [sic] in addition to being criticized for oppressing human rights and freedom of speech.” Was he just criticized for oppressing human rights and freedom of speech, or did he actually, you know, oppress human rights and freedom of speech?

John Derbyshire is right: “Wherever there is a jackboot stomping on a human face there will be a well-heeled Western liberal to explain that the face does, after all, enjoy free health care and 100 percent literacy.”

A JOURNALIST FOR HEZBOLLAH’S Al Manar TV station was arrested and is accused of plotting a terrorist attack in Morocco, of all places.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at February 20, 2008 6:30 PM
Comments

I think that Sadr wants to not get really involved with the US at this point. His concerns seemingly involve his support networks being systematically dismantled in certain of the southern Iraqi provinces. His 'friends' in the Badr brigades are essentially entrenched in the Iraqi Security Forces and are spearheading intensive efforts to kill him off a piece at a time. Just this week the 'non-aggression' pact he had with the Badr types was abrogated by him, due to continuing pressures. This agreement was always like the Stalin-Hitler non-aggression treaty anyway so its inevitable collapse was not unexpected.

Let's be candid here. Sadr is a low-rent, low-class, POS. I have said many times he should have been 'reasoned with' as far back as 2004. He agreed to a ceasefire because he was in big big trouble at the time not because he is a selfless patriot. And he is not really all that better off now from all reports.

I would prefer him to get what is coming to him later rather than sooner, but there are LOTS extra US troops currently in country at the present time. If he insists on being his usual self now is a better time than later for him to do so.

I hope he does the right thing for Iraq but I think he will not. He is really in effect losing now. Losing by inches and with no road available that takes him off the long road to loser-ville.I think he has no choice but to try one last time to win. As the Iraqi Army becomes ever more powerful, his objective position decays apace.

If he does go for it --- He will fail. He is now literally surrounded by enemies and has no political allies upon which to depend since Maliki cast him aside.

Third times the charm, one can only hope. Better a fat dead martyr, than a continuing POS. One can but live in hope.

You are right.

This is bad for everyone. But him continuing outside the State as an alternative Power is an even worse outcome.

Posted by: dougf Author Profile Page at February 20, 2008 8:42 PM

in Morocco, of all places

Guess which Arab country still has a significant Jewish population...

Posted by: Barry Meislin Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 4:12 AM

Morocco actually has a rather small Jewish community, especially when compared to what it used to be. As of 2003 there were less than 6,000 Jews in the country, hardly what I would consider significant. There are about 2,500 in Tunisia, 25,000 in Iran and around 30,000 in Turkey; so it is clear that the presence of Jews alone in a Muslim country is not a motivator for violence.

The disappearance of Jewish communities in the Middle East and North Africa is a great loss. My wife's family are of Sephardic extraction originally from Iraq. They left Baghdad in 1950. I am a bit obsessed with Sephardic Jewish history even though my Jewish ancestry is Ashkenazi. Hunting down vestiges of Sephardic culture in the Middle East and North Africa has been a bit hobby of mine.

Anyway, like I said before, the Jewish population of Morocco has nothing to do with any terrorism coming from that country. The absolute poor conditions of the people there, along with the authoritarian nature of the government, is where the terrorist threat emanates.

Posted by: Marc Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 6:11 AM

MJT,

I'm enjoying the link bonanza and your more active blogging, but I don't want to see the major articles you spend so much time crafting drown in the noise. How about dividing up the front page of the website into "Dispatches" and "Blog"?

Posted by: Creamy Goodness Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 8:26 AM

PS, I didnt read the article about the supposed attack plot until now. It might or might not be true. An Nahar is a notoriously sectarian Lebanese media outlet. It got the news from Asharq al Awsat, a paper owned by a memeber of the Saudi royal family.

Both sources should be taken with a rather large grain of salt.

Posted by: Marc Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 9:18 AM

Here is something from al Jazeera-English. It would be odd to have ultra-extremist Salafi groups working with a militant Shi'a organisation. Kind of like AQI working with as-Sadr and al Jaysh al Mahdi. Talk about an odd couple.

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/B7578283-7349-465D-932B-0B83C590A848.htm

Posted by: Marc Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 9:26 AM

DougF: I hope he does the right thing for Iraq but I think he will not.

You will be happy, then, to be wrong. It looks as if he is extending the ceasefire by six month:
Powerful Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is expected to extend a six-month ceasefire by his Mehdi Army militia, two senior officials in his movement confirmed for the first time on Thursday. They said Sadr had issued a declaration to preachers to be read during midday prayers on Friday at mosques affiliated with the cleric, whose militia was blamed for fuelling sectarian violence with minority Sunni Muslims in 2006 and 2007.
Not definite yet, but promising. Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 9:30 AM

Question here, does Sadr not take his marching orders from Iran, and is the decision whether or not to renew the ceasefire not a reflection of Iranian thinking?

Posted by: MarkC Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 9:51 AM

Question here, does Sadr not take his marching orders from Iran, and is the decision whether or not to renew the ceasefire not a reflection of Iranian thinking?

My understanding of the dynamic is the the SICC, who are part of the government and run the Ministry of the Interior, are Iran's direct proxy in Iraq. Sadr is more of a freelancer, willing to use Iranian influence to further his own agenda when the opportunity arises, but also an Iraq patriot, and unwilling to cede political control of Iraq's political direction to what he regards as a foreign power.

From what I've read, Iran doesn't trust him, and he doesn't trust them.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 9:57 AM

Since I always read Glenn to get an overview of what he's reading, it's good to see what you're reading (& Ann & Megan, too).

I'm quite interested in Iraqi Shia opinion of both Sadr, the Badr Brigades, and the influence of Iran in Iraq.

While I wish Sadr would fight (and lose), I'm also glad for Iraq that he's going for more ceasefire. I'm sure any fight he tries to fight later will be with a weaker set of Iraqi fighters, and facing a stronger Iraqi gov't without him.

I would guess he pushes for more redevelopment cash, right before the gov't starts helping the poor Shia in Baghdad, so he can help too. And claim most of the credit.

Finally, I'm very interested in Basra and the reality of Sharia/ women oppression there.

Thanks for fine work, and may great finds to read.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 10:04 AM

"You will be happy, then, to be wrong. It looks as if he is extending the ceasefire by six month."---DPU

Yes I am. Very happy indeed. Guess his position might be even worse than I had thought. His enemies will continue to eat him up in the Shia South and put their own people in positions of power. I don't think he can stop that without using large-scale violence. and now it looks as if violence is not a viable option either.

Perhaps he was using the threat of renewed War in an attempt to extract some concessions from his many enemies. Maybe he got them behind the scenes and thus feels able to continue the ceasefire.

Or more probably --- not. Just another symptom of a declining political position.

Whatever. Much as I would dearly love to see this guy in pieces (many many many pieces), I can but give thanks that it appears that Iraq can continue to make progress for another 6 months. More death and destruction although it might be 'good' in the long-run if it dealt with Sadr, is something no-one would want to occur if it could possibly be avoided.

I am delighted to have been proven wrong. Dee-lighted.

Posted by: dougf Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 10:13 AM

Guess his position might be even worse than I had thought.

Well, possibly, not necessarily. And keep in mind that if he is losing power, then an Iranian proxy is gaining power.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 10:43 AM

Sadr is more of a freelancer, willing to use Iranian influence to further his own agenda when the opportunity arises, but also an Iraq patriot

Patriot? I thought you objected to the mafia-esque militias that haven't yet been disbanded. Like when you said:

The militias have not been disbanded, and the conditions that spawned them in the first place are still there. From the sounds of things, parts of the country are being administrated by the equivalent of the mafia. This kind of thing generally ends with a dictatorship

If we don't want Iraq to become a dictatorship, then our goal should be the end of all of these militias, whether they're run by 'patriots' or not.

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 11:29 AM

Patriot? I thought you objected to the mafia-esque militias that haven't yet been disbanded.

In what way is "patroit" praise, in this context?

If we don't want Iraq to become a dictatorship, then our goal should be the end of all of these militias, whether they're run by 'patriots' or not.

And what in my comment implied anything different?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 11:42 AM

In what way is “patroit” praise, in this context?

DPU, you're a good writer who knows how to get an idea across. For example, two words express a similar idea, 'nationalist' and 'patriot'. You chose the latter.

And what in my comment implied anything different?

Nothing in that comment, but this comment...

And keep in mind that if he is losing power, then an Iranian proxy is gaining power.

...isn't exactly encouraging anyone to take power away from al Sadr

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 1:55 PM

For example, two words express a similar idea, 'nationalist' and 'patriot'. You chose the latter.

So? If they're similar in meaning, who cares? Do we need to parse simple statements like this for evidence of thought crime or political incorrectness?

...…isn't exactly encouraging anyone to take power away from al Sadr.,?i>

Again, this seems to be a somewhat over-strenuous investigation of the text for signs of political leanings. The fact is that al Sadr is in competition with the Badr Corps for control of the south. The Badr Corps is much closer to Iran than al Sadr is, so them winning means exactly what I said.

Besides, "encouraging anyone"? Do you think that moderate Sadrist are reading this, and will be discouraged by what I said?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 2:17 PM

Do we need to parse simple statements like this for evidence of thought crime or political incorrectness?

We don't have laws against politically incorrect speech here. This isn't Alberta.

The Badr Corps is much closer to Iran than al Sadr is, so them winning means exactly what I said

The Badr Corps were allied with Sistani, weren't they?

Besides, “encouraging anyone”? Do you think that moderate Sadrist are reading this, and will be discouraged by what I said?

LOL. I never thought of that, but people from the wildest places read this blog..

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 3:31 PM

Mary: This isn't Alberta.

Ouch.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 3:34 PM

We don't have laws against politically incorrect speech here. This isn't Alberta.

Lucky you.

I assume you're referring to that publicity stunt by old whatsisname, right? They publisher who pretended that he was being oppressed by the evil right-wing government there?

The Badr Corps were allied with Sistani, weren't they?

I think Sistani has been careful to remain above the fray. But I don't understand the point of your question.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 4:45 PM

LOL. I never thought of that, but people from the wildest places read this blog.

Quite true. We know Hizbullah keeps an eye on the site from time to time, but they're not the only ones. If you poke around in the sitemeter stats, some interesting TLDs make an appearance.

Most of it is probably people Michael has interviewed taking a look at the final article.

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 4:55 PM

I assume you're referring to that publicity stunt by old whatsisname, right? They publisher who pretended that he was being oppressed by the evil right-wing government there?

ITYM 'the wannabe jihadi who felt he was being oppressed by someone reprinting cartoons he didn't like'.

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 5:01 PM

ITYM 'the wannabe jihadi who felt he was being oppressed by someone reprinting cartoons he didn't like'.

You mean this guy?
Having no previous experience with any human rights commission, I was unaware of the ongoing debate about whether such commissions should have narrower or broader mandates, or of the doubts many Canadians have about whether such commissions are the right venue in which to argue questions about hate speech.

Subsequent discussions with several Muslim leaders, and more particularly with some of my Christian and Jewish friends, have led me to conclude that my complaint was beyond what I now believe should be the mandate of such a commission. I now am of the view that this matter should have been handled in the court of public opinion.

Consequently, I am withdrawing my complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission against Mr. Levant's right to publish the offensive and hateful drawings.

...My work has included university teaching and management of major IT projects. Outside of work, I volunteer my time trying to develop greater understanding and better relationships between Muslims and people of other faiths, particularly Christians and Jews. I enjoy excellent relationships with numerous Jewish leaders: In my mosque in Calgary we have studied Jewish festivals, and invite Jewish experts to speak to us.

So if anyone is looking for anti-Semitism, you won't find it in my mosque.

The history of anti-Semitism in Alberta is non-trivial, and it didn't come from newcomers like me, who abhor it. In fact, I'm pretty mainstream and heavily into interfaith dialogue.

Which leads me to an offer to Ezra Levant: We clearly disagree about the cartoons; but I'm willing to sit down with you and discuss it.

Why do you think this guy is a jihadi wannabee? Is there something you've uncovered? Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 5:07 PM

rosignol: Most of it is probably people Michael has interviewed taking a look at the final article.

Actually, I doubt it. I got those hits before I started interviewing people abroad.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 5:21 PM

"I assume you're referring to that publicity stunt by old whatsisname, right? They publisher who pretended that he was being oppressed by the evil right-wing government there?"--DPU

Please amplify this comment as on the face of it I find it to be so outlandish as to merit a large degree of censure. It is sort of inside baseball here, but your drive-by smear totally misrepresents the nature and context of this issue.

Are you really saying that it was the choice of 'old whatsisname' to spend a LOT of his own money, to defend himself in front of a bureaucratic tribunal involved in the pursuit of thought crimes ? And that HE forced himself to appear before a hearing that should never have even been held ?

This is a very disappointing comment, double. It really is. Especially so given your chosen nickname. Very far beneath you, my man. Very far indeed.

And by the by, although the Alberta Government is arguably 'right-wing', the thought police department of the province is decidedly NOT.

Posted by: dougf Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 6:38 PM

...to defend himself in front of a bureaucratic tribunal involved in the pursuit of thought crimes ?

Tribunal? A complaint was made by an individual, the human rights commission contacted Levant to ask some questions to clarify the matter, and Levant decided to publicize the issue.

And that HE forced himself to appear before a hearing that should never have even been held ?

Actually, apparently he was not forced. He could have responded to the questions in writing, but chose to appear in person before a low-level civil servant, make a video the proceedings, then post it on his website. Along with a donation button.

Do you think he was being prosecuted or tried or something for thoughtcime, Doug? In that bastion of communism, Alberta? Really?

If so, how did you get that impression?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 7:46 PM

...And by the by, although the Alberta Government is arguably 'right-wing'...

"Arguably". Good lord, what on earth is your definition of right wing?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 7:49 PM

"Actually, apparently he was not forced. He could have responded to the questions in writing, but chose to appear in person before a low-level civil servant, make a video the proceedings, then post it on his website. Along with a donation button."---DPU

Totally Irrelevant.

The ONLY ISSUE is why should he be compelled to say ANYTHING at all in his defense. Not the exact process by which he is allowed to defend himself.

As you SHOULD know. Except the 'progressives' are all in favor of freedom as long as it is freedom to oppose the MAN. When it is freedom to oppose their value systems --- not so much. If this Islamic doofus is 'free' to do his thing, then anyone else should be 'free' to critique him. Without the thought police deciding that they have a role to play in the process.

Period.

Were I you I would put down the shovel. The hole is of quite adequate size as is. Soon you will be within sight of the 2008 Olympic constructions.

PS --- The issue is NOT the social/political nature of Alberta. It is the nature and purpose of these illegitimate inquisitorial inhibitors of free speech and THOUGHT .

How bizarre that I(a self-confessed no great believer in the power of expression to arrive at the 'correct' conclusions), am defending freedom whereas you appear to be a defender of a State censor to protect the people from themselves.

Strange indeed. And not a good 'strange' either.

Posted by: dougf Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 8:19 PM

How bizarre that I(a self-confessed no great believer in the power of expression to arrive at the 'correct' conclusions), am defending freedom whereas you appear to be a defender of a State censor to protect the people from themselves.

How bizarre that you have made these assumptions regarding my beliefs about hate speech laws. As it happens, I'm opposed to them. As the complainent says, these things should be decided by public opinion.

Are you opposed to the hate speech laws?

Except the 'progressives' are all in favor of freedom as long as it is freedom to oppose the MAN. When it is freedom to oppose their value systems —- not so much.

How sad to see you so emotional that you feel the need to resort to all-capitals.

It may interest you to know that Levant is not opposed to the hate speech laws, and that he himself has publicly urged others be prosecuted under them. Possibly he might be excused from this as he isn't a progressive...

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 9:56 PM

I assume you're referring to that publicity stunt by old whatsisname, right? They publisher who pretended that he was being oppressed by the evil right-wing government there?

I don't know if Levant characterized those hate speech laws as right wing or left wing, but I do know that those hate speech laws are stupid and should be abolished. As far as I know, you agree.

The Badr Corps were allied with Sistani, weren't they?
I think Sistani has been careful to remain above the fray. But I don't understand the point of your question.

Just asking..

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 9:57 PM

Double-Plus-Ungood;

Thanks for response. In spite of the uneasy relationship between Sadr and the Iranians, I would be surprised if he would do anything that went directly against their wishes. That would just be suicide. People have suggested that Sadr may be biding his time, waiting until it's closer to U.S. elections, and then start making trouble, in order to strengthen the anti-war candidate (presumably Obama).

Posted by: MarkC Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 10:02 PM

For those not suffering under the vicious tyranny of Canada's hate speech laws, some background: these were laws that placed restrictions on speech if the said speech were judged to incited societal hatred based on race, religion, etc. They were enacted at a time the neo-nazi groups in Canada were doing things like leafleting schools with racist antisemitic propaganda in an attempt to gain young recruits, and it was felt that the courts needed a way to prosecute these individuals.

Holocaust deniers and the Ku Klux Klan were early targets of the laws.

In this particular case, a complaint was made about a publication by Ezra Levant. The Human Rights Commission was obliged (by law) to perform a preliminary investigation into the complaint, and Levant videoed this preliminary meeting.

It's highly unlikely that anything further would have occurred, but had it, I'm sure the Albertan government itself would have jumped to Levant's defense.

Aside from the question about whether these laws do anything to positively serve society (I don't think they do), I'm not sure what those in a fluster about the Levant case would have the Alberta Human Rights Commission do in this case. Completely ignore the complaint? Not lawful. Ignore frivolous or invalid claims? They can't do so without an investigation to determine that they are invalid, and the investigation is what Levant publicized.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 10:08 PM

People have suggested that Sadr may be biding his time, waiting until it's closer to U.S. elections, and then start making trouble, in order to strengthen the anti-war candidate (presumably Obama).

I think al Sadr has other things to be concerned about than trying to influence US elections.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 10:11 PM

Are you opposed to the hate speech laws?

Emphatically.

-----

Actually, apparently he was not forced. He could have responded to the questions in writing, but chose to appear in person before a low-level civil servant, make a video the proceedings, then post it on his website. Along with a donation button.

...he chose to appear before a low-level civil servant with the legal authority to impose fines and other sanctions, under rules that barred legal counsel from accompanying him.

Under such circumstances, videotaping the hearing and posting the video is an eminently sensible thing to do. If everything is above-board, it would be nothing more than a demonstration that the process works. If something fishy is going on, it's a good way to call attention to it.

Do you think he was being prosecuted or tried or something for thoughtcime, Doug? In that bastion of communism, Alberta? Really?

If so, how did you get that impression?

Dunno about Doug, but what gave me that impression is on page 6 of the complaint.

"
[...]

These cartoons have [illegible] violence, hate and discrimination against my family and me. We feel that our human rights have been violated. Our rights as Canadians and Albertans have been violated. Therefore, we request you to help us in removing these false accusations against our ancestor and our Prohpet Muhammad (peace be upon him) These cartoons have created unbearable stress, humiliation and insult for my family and me. Publishing of these cartoons by Canadian newspapers /journals have caused serious damage to the reputation of all Canadian Muslims as well....

[...]

Mr. Levant was called before this commission because he printed something that someone disagreed with. He is not accused of theft, assault, fraud, or any of the commonly accepted crimes- the entirety of his offense is having expressed an idea that offended someone.

What better definition of thought-crime is there?

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 10:45 PM

It may not be of interest to Sadr whether the next president of the U.S. is McCain or Obama, but it certainly is to the Iranians.

Posted by: MarkC Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 11:05 PM

"Mr. Levant was called before this commission because he printed something that someone disagreed with. He is not accused of theft, assault, fraud, or any of the commonly accepted crimes- the entirety of his offense is having expressed an idea that offended someone.
What better definition of thought-crime is there"
---Rosignol

What he said.

As to the Alberta Human Rights Commission ---

It should not exist under it's current mandate. Nor should any of the other little thought control bureaucracies whose sole purpose is to structure society to their preferred orientation by punishing deviationist thoughts. Would you want ME to conduct one of these witch hunts ? If not then why would you want some time serving bureaucrat to have the exact same power ?

I refuse to get caught up in the 'process' argument you advance, and thereby lose sight of the 'real' issue. I don't care what the 'rules' of an essentially illegitimate structure are. The structure itself is fundamentally wrong, and therefore so are any of the processes it establishes. What was that famous comment by Ward(hero of a certain type of progressive) Churchill ? -- Little Eichmann's I believe it was.

That's what these commissions are. No more.No less.

Posted by: dougf Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 11:10 PM

DPU, you're giving the best defense available to the Alberta "Human Rights" Commission, but I have to side with Doug and Rosignol on this one. The whole thing is a farce. Levant says he spent 100,000 dollars on this crap. If that's true (and I haven't been following it all that closely, so maybe it isn't), then it is absolutely outrageous.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 11:42 PM

" the Jewish population of Morocco has nothing to do with any terrorism coming from that country"

Yeah, who ever heard of an Islamic terrorist, I mean freedom fighter, trying to kill a Jew?

Hezbollah, like Hamas is a violently antisemitic terrorist gang and it is an extremely reasonable inference at any time to assume they are targeting Jews.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at February 21, 2008 11:47 PM

I read the responses to Michael Young's article. It's amazing that some people still think American Soldiers are dying by droves there.

Posted by: lee Author Profile Page at February 22, 2008 12:54 AM

rosignol: Dunno about Doug, but what gave me that impression is on page 6 of the complaint.

The section you quote from the complaint says nothing about being tried or prosecuted. So how did you get that impression?

DougF: I refuse to get caught up in the 'process' argument you advance, and thereby lose sight of the 'real' issue.

Why not? I just demonstrated that it is possible to do so and still not lose sight of the fact that the hate speech laws should be done away with.

DougF: I don't care what the 'rules' of an essentially illegitimate structure are. The structure itself is fundamentally wrong, and therefore so are any of the processes it establishes.

Oh please. You're arguing that people should break the law because you don't agree with it? Hey, there's a bunch of laws that I have fundamental disagreements with. Do you think that I am free to ignore them? Should everyone get into a froth about laws they disagree with and pontificate that they are illegitimate structures that can be ignored?

Michael: DPU, you're giving the best defense available to the Alberta “Human Rights” Commission,...

I'm not defending it - I'm trying to cut through a lot of excited hype about what happened to a lot of people who have a mistaken impression.

What is it about the mindset of the North American conservative mindset that it so loves the idea that it's being persecuted? Every six months there's delighted panic about things like this, or that the Dutch are no longer capitalizing the word "Christ", or that Sharia law is about to be implemented across the northern border.

Michael: The whole thing is a farce.

Sure is.

Michael: Levant says he spent 100,000 dollars on this crap.

On what? (A) He's a competent lawyer (B) He has not been tried or prosecuted in any way. He was asked some questions by a minor civil servant regarding a complaint made about him, and that's it. And where did you see this claim?

Lastly, no one has commented on the fact that Levant himself has publicly urged that others be prosecuted under the same hate speech laws. Does no one see a slight hypocrisy there?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at February 22, 2008 7:56 AM

Also, one might ask the recipients of numerous libel actions brought forward by Levant against a variety of people what they think of his commitment to free speech.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at February 22, 2008 8:08 AM

"Oh please. You're arguing that people should break the law because you don't agree with it?"--DPU

Yes I am. Absolutely. Break the Law and accept the consequences if the State has the nerve to impose them. That is a perfectly moral course of action to pursue.

What's your point ?

Levant did precisely that. Refused to 'play the game' and heroically, told the thought police cipher to go pound salt, and then defied her to do anything about it. As a result she abandoned her role as inquisitor in a flurry of effete angst, and retreated to the safety of her bureaucratic nothingness, and the complainant abandoned his attempt to have the State shut people up and fled the scene muttering about the unfairness of it all.

And by the by, you previously quoted the self-serving propaganda issued by the complainant to wit:

-- "Subsequent discussions with several Muslim leaders, and more particularly with some of my Christian and Jewish friends, have led me to conclude that my complaint was beyond what I now believe should be the mandate of such a commission. I now am of the view that this matter should have been handled in the court of public opinion." ---

A less tendentious reading of his motivations might be that he was getting his head handed to him in that 'court of public opinion', and wisely decided to declare a personal hudna rather than be annihilated in toto. Which was what was absolutely going to happen. I regret that he weaseled out. This case should have continued.

Had Levant 'observed' the normal process, this case would still be proceeding and even if the tribunal had ruled in his favor, it would have been the 'wrong' decision. As it is he has established the absolute correct way to deal with these insidious tribunals.

Namely,

I won't defend myself myself in front of you. Not now. Not ever. Because you have no right to demand that I do so. GFY, if you would be so kind.

Period.

And I don't care who he has sued for libel. That is and has always been a perfectly acceptable and time honored technique to deal with those with whom you might have 'issues'. The situations are not at all equivalent. One is a personal action that might be 'unreasonable' in context, and the other is a State function which is by definition, both unfair and unacceptable and is always 'unreasonable' in a free society.

Posted by: dougf Author Profile Page at February 22, 2008 9:16 AM

I regret that he weaseled out.

Hmm. If he continues his complaint, he's a whacko, if he says he made a mistake, withdraws his complaint, and says that he no longer supports this provision of Alberta law because he now also sees it as infringing on free speech, he's weaseling out.

Refused to 'play the game' and heroically, told the thought police cipher to go pound salt, and then defied her to do anything about it.

Refusing to play the game would be not going to the meeting. And "heroically"? If I had known that all one had to do to become a hero was mouth off to a minor bureaucrat and post it on YouTube, I would have done it long ago.

And I don't care who he has sued for libel.

Ah. Not really surprising. But his demand that others be prosecuted under the hate speech laws? I noticed you left that one out.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at February 22, 2008 9:33 AM

Break the Law and accept the consequences if the State has the nerve to impose them. That is a perfectly moral course of action to pursue.

Then what is Levant complaining about?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at February 22, 2008 9:35 AM

Then what is Levant complaining about?

Free speech includes the right to bitch.

-----

Hmm. If he continues his complaint, he's a whacko, if he says he made a mistake, withdraws his complaint, and says that he no longer supports this provision of Alberta law because he now also sees it as infringing on free speech, he's weaseling out.

According to Levant's blog, he's doing both.

http://ezralevant.com/2008/02/quiz-for-globe-and-mail-reader.html

[...](By the way, Soharwardy's friends at the Edmonton Muslim Council filed an identical complaint against me, so the human rights commission will continue to grind on against me even if he does abandon his complaint, which he has not done yet.)

Now, it's possible that this is just a bureaucratic issue and the paperwork hasn't been processed and delivered to Levant yet. Considering the publicity, it's pretty likely that the complaint filed by the Edmonton Muslim Council will be thrown out.... but I'm not going to be celebrating until things are final.

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at February 22, 2008 3:31 PM

Free speech includes the right to bitch.

Of course it does, but that was not what I was referring to. My question was in response to Doug's statement that he should accept the consequences of breaking the law he disagrees with. It hardly seems that he is accepting the consequences.

By the way, I see that no one has yet commented on Levant advocating that others be prosecuted under hate speech laws.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at February 22, 2008 3:59 PM

Of course it does, but that was not what I was referring to. My question was in response to Doug's statement that he should accept the consequences of breaking the law he disagrees with. It hardly seems that he is accepting the consequences.

Well, based on what I know of the case, which is not perfect, it seems that Mr. Levant does not believe he has violated the law, and it appears that the relevant authorities have not determined that he is guilty of breaking a law, so why should Mr. Levant accept a punishment before he has been found guilty? Has presumption of innocence been abolished in Canada?

As far as Doug's comment is concerned, I find your implying that you are ignorant of the concept of Civil Disobedience to be incredible.

By the way, I see that no one has yet commented on Levant advocating that others be prosecuted under hate speech laws.

I have yet to see any evidence supporting your assertion that he has done so. Post some, and I'll consider commenting on it.

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at February 22, 2008 6:41 PM

Well?

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at February 25, 2008 3:00 PM
Post a comment









Remember personal info?




Winner, The 2008 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Read my blog on Kindle



blogads-blog-button.png


Recommended Reading




Warning: include(): http:// wrapper is disabled in the server configuration by allow_url_include=0 in /home/mjt001/public_html/archives/2008/02/onethird-of-ins.php on line 774

Warning: include(http://michaeltotten.com/mt_essays.php): failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /home/mjt001/public_html/archives/2008/02/onethird-of-ins.php on line 774

Warning: include(): Failed opening 'http://michaeltotten.com/mt_essays.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php') in /home/mjt001/public_html/archives/2008/02/onethird-of-ins.php on line 774