Sunday, June 25, 2017

Charlie Hebdo

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Earlier this week the New York Times published a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI made completely out of condoms.

The decision to publish Niki Johnsons “artwork” called “Eggs Benedict” stands in sharp contrast to the Mohammad cartoons that ran in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo – an act of Free Speech and Free Press that two Muslim terrorists used as an excuse to storm the magazine’s Paris headquarters and kill 10 of its employees.

In making their “editorial decision” the New York Times didn’t pause to consider if the image would be offensive to Catholics or Christians at large… or that its’ publication might provoke violence because that’s not what Christians do.

Radical Muslims on the other hand promise – and deliver – lethal violence against those who “offend the prophet” by first drawing and then publishing the result in their daily pages. That’s probably why the NYT did not republish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons because they were deemed “too offensive” to print.

NYT’s act of journalistic self-censorship proves that America’s self-appointed cultural elites know they can sell newspapers by insulting Christianity and defaming its’ leaders without fear of reprisal because doing so does not violate Sharia Law.

According to Johnson, her portrait was “not hate-based”. Rather, it was meant to “critique” Pope Benedict’s views on sex and contraception while “raising awareness about public health.”

“What I want to do is really destigmatize the condom, normalize it,” she told the newspaper. “I’ve watched kids and parents talk about condoms. It opens a door to talking about what those things are and what they do.”

Forget for a moment that “watching kids and parent talk about condoms” is what kids and parents are supposed to do in the privacy of their homes, at a time of their choosing and in a way that is sensitive to the innocence of youth.

Johnson on the other hand is impatient for the conversation to begin. Johnson believes it is her job to come between parent and child… to shake things up like a bull in a china shop… force a conversation on difficult issues like abortion and contraception… and insult Catholics worldwide if necessary to do it.

The Times’ decision to run an image of “Eggs Benedict” comes just five months after the paper announced that it would not show Charlie Hebdo’s infamously provocative artwork.

The newspaper’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, said in public statement at the time that the French satirical magazine’s cartoons were simply too offensive for publication.

“Was it hard to deny our readers these images? Absolutely. But we still have standards, and they involve not running offensive material,” Baquet told the Washington Examiner in January.”

“And they don’t meet our standards. They are provocative on purpose. They show religious figures in sexual positions. We do not show those.”

Without speaking to the accuracy of Baquet’s descriptions of the drawings, are we to believe that the Mohammed cartoons are provocative on purpose but that the “Egg Benedict” image of the Pope made out of condoms that they rushed into print is provocative by accident?

Does this line of reasoning justify the attack on Charlie Hebdo’s Paris offices that left 10 journalists dead – a just outcome for a magazine that repeatedly mocked Islam and Muhammad on purpose?

Pounding his chest in self-righteousness, Baquet points out in a statement to Politico:

“[L]et’s not forget the Muslim family in Brooklyn who read us and is offended by any depiction of what he sees as his prophet…” “I don’t give a damn about the head of [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] but I do care about that family and it is arrogant to ignore them.”

Times’ associate managing editor for standards Phil Corbett goes further telling The Washington Examiner in defense of the newspaper’s decision to publish Johnson’s “artwork” that:

“There’s no simple, unwavering formula we can apply in’ situations like this. We really don’t want to gratuitously offend anyone’s deeply held beliefs. That said, it’s probably impossible to avoid ever offending anyone…”

“We have to make these judgments all the time. Reasonable people might disagree about any one of them,” he said.”

That said, Corbett went on – using the pages of his newspaper as a cudgel – to “gratuitously offend” 1.2 billion Catholics who don’t express their outrage by killing people with whom they disagree.

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Alinsky Terrorism Islam

Yesterday, we published an opinion piece by former Congressman Bob Barr.

The piece addressed issues of censorship in relation to Charlie Hebdo and the attacks on the publication’s staff.

Readers of Liberty News Now had mixed reactions to the piece but one reader in particular brought up a few facts that are worth discussion.

“Kentclizbe” reacted with this comment:

You can’t be serious can you Bob?
“Free Speech?”
Charlie Hebdo and its staff were/are communists!
They fired a cartoonist in 2009 for “hate speech!” For a cartoon he published in their magazine!
In fact, they had him criminally prosecuted! For “hate speech” and “anti-semitism!”
Yay for Free Speech!
Who do you think you’re in bed with?
And, as you say, “The irony is, these chest-pounders are the ones stifling that very freedom here in the United States.” Isn’t it a bit ironic that the same communists at Charlie Hebdo who want to publish “hate speech” about Islam with no consequences, have their own cartoonists arrested for “anti-semitism?”
51% of Americans want to “criminalize hate speech?”
Well, guess what? Your new best friends in France already have!
Why, they’ve arrested 54 people in the last week, on charges of exactly that: “hate speech!”
Whose side are you on?

We took a look at these facts, and sure enough they are correct.

Charlie Hebdo, despite their tragedy, was a hypocrite of a publication.

But this gets into the deeper discussion of the lines that were drawn that led to this tragedy by two unyielding factions, Socialists and Radical Islam and their similarities.

Both Socialists and radical Muslims demand adherence and respect for their views, culture and laws.

Both factions also use tactics of aggression against their opposition. With Hebdo, it was delivered with a pencil, with the radical Muslims, it was delivered with a bullet.

Both can be devastating.

Among both groups, “hate” is a tank that must be filled daily.

The biggest difference between these factions is in their strategy in dealing with conflict and achieving victory.

Radical Muslims get straight to the point and start blasting without the chitchat.

Socialists on the other hand intentionally instigate violence to gain sympathy.

This is straight out of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals:

Rule #10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.

And if you take a look of Alinsky’s 11 other rules, you’ll find that the Charlie Hebdo followed those rules to perfection.

While there is no excusing the despicable acts of the murderers who killed 12 people in France, the narrative leading up to the attacks should be a wakeup call to the opposition of the political left.

One of their goals is to push their opposition so hard, through ridicule and debasement, to the point were violence is the outcome – as Alinsky put it in Rule #5, “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.”

While the cultural mindset of a radicalized Muslim doesn’t allow them to simply ignore ignorance, for Christians, conservatives and libertarians, decades of political and cultural conflict with socialists and liberals have led to benign reaction in the face of provocation.

Others like Rush Limbaugh and James O’Keefe have turned Alinsky’s tactics against the left – which has and will continue to lead to violent reactions.

Because, in the end, Socialists and radical Muslims share one other common trait – irrational violence.

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Charlie Hebdo Attacks

“It might sound a bit pompous to say,” Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier, editor of France’s satirical Charlie Hebdo, told Le Monde in 2012, “but I prefer to die standing than live on my knees.” The interview was conducted as the newspaper was once again publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, something it had already been sued, hacked and firebombed for by Islamic extremists in previous years. Charbonnier, and the staff knew they might one day be victims of terrorism to silence them, but they refused to surrender their rights to intimidation from armed thugs or those in the government.

The savagery of the assassination of those on Charlie Hebdo staff, as well as the symbolic nature of the target, was an unequivocal message of war against not just those who “insult Islam,” but the very pillar of free expression – a principle that holds the West above societies founded on fear and repression. “Je Suis Charlie!” [translated: “I am Charlie”] became the rallying cry for not just the 1.6 million people, including 40 world leaders, who marched through the streets of Paris in solidarity against extremism last weekend, but millions around the world as well.

Of course, like most cause célèbre that involve a popular, feel-good position, bleeding-heart liberals could not wait to jump on the “Je Suis Charlie” bandwagon; to pound their chests and declare how much in favor of free speech they are. The irony is, these chest-pounders are the ones stifling that very freedom here in the United States. Thanks to the insidious and continuing creep of political correctness rampant in governments at all levels, and especially in academia, rarely has it been so dangerous to express oneself in America.

The Left likes to pretend to support free expression, but rather than fight speech that is ignorant, hateful, or unpleasant with, say, more speech, it seeks to silence that speech with threats of lawsuits, or worse, outright criminalization. Today, people are going to jail for composing rap music on social media as a means to cope with a divorce (a case currently being decided by the Supreme Court). At supposedly “prestigious” institutions of higher education, we have trigger warnings for objectionable content so students are not “offended”; even codifying the words college students must use to legally engage in sex without risk of being accused of “sexual harassment.”

To cap it all off, a study conducted last year found that 51 percent of Democrats favor the criminalization of “hate speech.” Given the strong, anti-expression forces at work here at home, it is strange that so many liberals feel compelled to support the work of a foreign newspaper they would have condemned only a few weeks ago.

For example, New York Democrat Rep. Hakeem Jeffries posted to Twitter following the Paris terror attack: “We all stand with the people of France in the face of terror. Vive la liberté.” Yet, last year, Jeffries sponsored a bill that would have mandated the federal government study “hate speech” on the Internet, which the Washington Times described as “the latest effort to deputize the federal government as the online speech police.” Jeffries then went a step further and used the Paris attacks as further justification for fully funding the Department of Homeland Security, another federal agency that places the rights of Americans at the bottom of its priority list.

It is this duplicitous attitude about free speech that has allowed the culture of political correctness to take hold as it has; and all without needing to fire a single bullet.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, President George W. Bush visited Ground Zero, where he stood on top of a fire truck and shouted through a bullhorn to the first responders trying to clear the still-smoldering rubble of the Twin Towers: “I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!” For all of his faults, President Bush, if just for a few seconds, captured the true essence of the American spirit in that moment; unbroken and unyielding to the powers that try to destroy it. His impromptu and unscripted speech also had a much more significant meaning than merely reassuring the people of New York that the nation was with them. It also said, loudly and clearly, that American freedom – our freedom — will never be silenced by the actions of our enemies. Unfortunately, far-reaching laws passed, and executive policies implemented in the aftermath of 9-11, have severely dimmed Bush’s lofty words and sentiments.

As we move forward from the Paris attacks, we must ask ourselves if truly we are prepared to defend free expressions from all its enemies, not just against those who use guns, bombs, and planes. Clever hashtags, symbolic profile pictures, and public demonstrations in support of French cartoonists are popular right now, and are easy steps to take; but these are superficial, quickly forgotten, and easily pushed aside. The real test comes when we look in the mirror and see how the silent killer of political correctness and soft censorship here at home is destroying and chilling free speech at a far deeper substantive level than a couple of terrorists are able to do: “Today we are Charlie Hebdo,” writes Nick Gillespie at Reason. “But what about tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow?”


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