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September 16, 2012

A "Chill On The First Amendment" If There Ever Was One

Consider these things that have happened in the wake of the murder of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and four other Americans on Friday, and the rioting that has continued throughout the Middle East since then:

Martin Dempsey, the chairman of President Obama's Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke Wednesday morning by phone with Terry Jones, pleading with the Florida-based anti-Islamic pastor to stop promoting a film that protesters have cited in the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya that killed at least four American diplomats.

And this:

Over at MSNBC, a riot of consensus broke out when contributors Mike Barnicle and Donny Deutsch as well as University of Pennsylvania professor Anthea Butler all agreed that the people behind the video should be indicted as accessories to murder. "Good morning," declared Butler, "How soon is Sam Bacile [the alleged creator of the film] going to be in jail folks? I need him to go now."

Barnicle set his sights on Terry Jones, the pastor who wanted to burn the Koran a while back and who was allegedly involved in the video as well. "Given this supposed minister's role in last year's riots in Afghanistan, where people died, and given his apparent or his alleged role in this film, where . . . at least one American, perhaps the American ambassador, is dead, it might be time for the Department of Justice to start viewing his role as an accessory before or after the fact.

And worst of all, this

Just after midnight Saturday morning, authorities descended on the Cerritos home of the man believed to be the filmmaker behind the anti-Muslim movie that has sparked protests and rioting in the Muslim world.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies escorted a man believed to be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula to an awaiting car. The man declined to answer questions on his way out and wore a hat and a scarf over his face. He kept his hands in the pockets of a winter coat.

I certainly hope these are isolated incidents that do not reflect a wider opinion on how to handle situations like the one we are going through.

It's bad enough when our government calls pastors and tells them not to do things (even when the pastor is a nut). It's really bad when big-name news commentators call for an end to the First Amendment. But the arrest or detention of the filmmaker is third-world tin-pot dictator territory. When someone pisses off the Head Honcho they arrest him on trumped up charges of corruption or reckless driving or whatever. Anything it takes to get him or her behind bars.

And everyone gets the message; don't piss off the Head Honcho.

Let's also get out of the way; the issue is not what prompted the riots. I don't believe for an instant it was the video, but that's actually irrelevant. The video could actually be the real and proximate cause and it still doesn't matter. No one in the United States government should call anyone and ask them to not do or say something because it might "inflame" someone somewhere.

It also doesn't matter if the maker of the video is guilty of the parole violation his is apparently being charged with. The message the Jihadis will get is that that U.S.government came up with a charge to take down the guy they're mad at. One down, so many more to go.

And the message Americans get is; don't write or produce anything that might piss off the Muslims to where they riot, or your own government will come after you. As has been said, any prosecutor can get a grand jury to indite a ham sandwich, so they can certainly come up with something to get anyone if they try hard enough. And even if you're not convicted, all that court time will break you through legal fees. it's intimidation 101.

Seems like a "chill on the First Amendment" to me.

Law Professor Glenn Reynolds calls it right:

When taking office, the President does not swear to create jobs. He does not swear to "grow the economy." He does not swear to institute "fairness." The only oath the President takes is this one:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

By sending -- literally -- brownshirted enforcers to engage in -- literally -- a midnight knock at the door of a man for the non-crime of embarrassing the President of the United States and his administration, President Obama violated that oath. You can try to pretty this up (It's just about possible probation violations! Sure.), or make excuses or draw distinctions, but that's what's happened. It is a betrayal of his duties as President, and a disgrace.

He won't resign, of course. First, the President has the appreciation of free speech that one would expect from a Chicago Machine politician, which is to say, none. Second, he's not getting any pressure. Indeed, the very press that went crazy over Ari Fleischer's misrepresented remarks seems far less interested in the actions of an administration that I repeat, literally sent brown-shirted enforcers to launch a midnight knock on a filmmaker's door.

But Obama's behavior -- and that of his enablers in the press -- has laid down a marker for those who are paying attention. By these actions he is, I repeat, unfit to hold office. I hope and expect that the voters will agree in November.

Any Jihadi worth his salt gets the message loud and clear: if someone in the United States gets under your skin, riot and kill a few Americans, and the government of the United States will take that person down for you.

In this case it is "only" an obscure video. But what is next? A Hollywood movie? A TV show? A newspaper columnist? Book author?

The Jihadis don't like a columnist? Riot and kill an American, and the chairman of the joint chiefs calls the newspaper or magazine editor? The cops arrest him or her for unpaid parking tickets?

If they figure out they can manipulate us this easy, imagine what this can go.

Finally, via Sister Toldjah, here is the original arrest picture followed by some parodies.

Arrest Picture


Arrest Picture Parody 2

Arrest Picture Parody1

Posted by Tom at September 16, 2012 8:45 PM

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