Intolerance and Lost Freedom in the U.S.A.

On Friday, George Will wrote about a photographer in New Mexico whom the government penalized thousands of dollars for declining to take pictures at a same-sex commitment ceremony.  Meanwhile, a public school in Colorado has confiscated two sets of Rosary beads from a student, with disputed insinuations of gang activity and erroneous counts of the number of prayer beads on it.
Normally, I wouldn’t mention these incidents for two reasons.  First, they’ve become a bit too common to penetrate a to-write list in turbulent times, especially when each occurred so far away.  Second, the culture wars extend beyond the scope of the Ocean State Current, in most of their manifestations.
It seems to me, though, that the environment in which such things are commonplace helps to explain why this dramatic photograph hasn’t been plastered across news media of all sorts, rightfully becoming a subject of controversy and national soul-searching debate:
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula taken away
Continue reading on the Ocean State Current

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KenW
KenW
9 years ago

Justin, The video clip was made to incite rioting in the Middle-East which the protest got hijacked by a militia group to attack and kill Americans at a US consulate was done by a fringe group of individuals misusing the freedom of speech so guaranteed in the USA. The photo of American-Egyptian Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (Coptic Christen) getting into the LA sheriff’s car was taken in the morning not night as he is freely going to a probation interview and the extra force was for his protection as he has received threats. See he is on 5 yrs. probation for federal bank fraud and part of probation he was not to use computers, internet and stop using alas names. He has not been arrested. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (aka Sam Bacile) was the producer and script writer (he wrote script wrote in prison) and soft porn director Robert Brownell (aka Robert Brown) was the pre-production director of the film “Desert Warrior” which was extensively modified and dubbed over in voice during post production into the offending “Innocence of Muslims” film without the cast and film crew’s knowledge. Anti-Muslim activist Steve Klein was the script consultant and is now the main film promoter along with Pastor Terry Jones who burnt Qur’ans causing riots in the Middle-East last year. The person who poured the gasoline and fanned the fire is Egyptian Morris Sadek (Coptic Christen) a lawyer and anti-Muslim activist living in the Washington, DC area and friend of Pastor Terry Jones. Sadek is the person that translated the film trailer and sent it to Egyptian news media outlets causing the Middle-East attention, protests and mass distributed the link to the film trailer in the US. Egypt in 2011 revoked Morris Sadek’s citizenship and banned him from entering the country for his anti-Muslim… Read more »

Justin Katz
Justin Katz(@justin)
9 years ago

I love this part of what you write: “taken in the morning not night.” It was around 12:30-12:45 a.m. That isn’t night to you? That’s a very telling twist, on your end. That you’ve turned international unrest and violence into a GOP conspiracy is downright shocking.
But look, I never said the government’s defending the principle of free speech would be easy. The fact is that officers took the guy away in the middle of the night.
And now he has apparently disappeared… gone into hiding, and officials don’t know where he is. Of course, that’s what they’d say if they were bringing him into protective custody. But the entire scene, even if a setup to ensure his safety, is terribly damaging to principles of free speech.

chuckR
chuckR
9 years ago

It is hard to see how the way this was done could possibly be more ineptly done.
1) Brown shirts
2) at midnight +/-
3) with timing that leads our Islamic enemies to believe that they brought it about and can have hope for suppression of our 1A rights
Who are the people who ran this and could they possibly be more incompetent?
The guy Bacile, or whatever he calls himself, is a bum. However, national interest suggests that we wait a bit before checking on whether he violated parole terms. Where exactly was he going to go in the next weeks or months?

Max D
Max D
9 years ago

Are we all sure that there wasn’t much thought put into this photo op…I mean arrest?

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

You’re seriously comparing these sheriff’s officers to Nazis for escorting Nakoula in for questioning “in the middle of the night”? Surely the thought occurred to you that this guy may fear for his life being out in public.

Nakoula, whose name has been widely linked to the film in media reports, pleaded guilty to bank fraud in 2010 and was sentenced to 21 months in prison, to be followed by five years on supervised probation, court documents showed…
But the terms of Nakoula’s prison release contain behavior stipulations that bar him from accessing the Internet or assuming aliases without the approval of his probation officer.
A senior law enforcement official in Washington has indicated the probation investigation relates to whether he broke one or both of these conditions. Violations could result in him being sent back to prison, court records show.

Yes, first they came for the people who voluntarily decided to talk to their parole officers.
You say, “the important thread is the accepted justification of clear violations of individuals’ rights.” Which of his rights are being violated in this photo? You’re flat out lying here and assuming folks won’t look past what they think they see in this photo. Quite possibly the most outrageous and irresponsible posts I’ve ever read on this blog.

Max D
Max D
9 years ago

“Quite possibly the most outrageous and irresponsible posts I’ve ever read on this blog.”
Russ’ famous not so last words.

Justin Katz
Justin Katz(@justin)
9 years ago

Ah, how long ago Russ wasted his credibility for strongly worded statements.
Some questions, for ya, Russ:
* Who has been the driving force in the West, if not around the world, insisting that this silly YouTube film was the culpable cause of turbulence in the Middle East?
* Who outed this man and announced his record and the terms of his parole to the public?
There is simply no way that this isn’t an offensive violation of the very principles articulated in the First Amendment.
In response to the government’s blunder and historic ineptitude, it has served up an individual (by the accounts I’ve seen, a citizen) to the world as a scapegoat and staged a scene that clearly illustrates the consequences of such speech.
The only “lie,” Russ, is any indication you’ve ever given that you hold freedoms on principle and not consequence of their political ends.

Justin Katz
Justin Katz(@justin)
9 years ago

Note, by the way, how all of the armed men called upon to escort him to the car have their backs turned to whatever threat he might ostensibly be fearing…

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

Yes, what do the protesters know about the reasons why they’re protesting? Let’s ignore them. Clearly this is simply a conspiracy in the media. You guys are really over the edge on this one.
I actually agree with you about the first cases. But you lose all credibility when you start calling these sheriffs Nazis. And I’m sure with the respect typically afforded law enforcement by the right I’m not the only one here who thinks it.
“The only ‘lie,’ Russ, is any indication you’ve ever given that you hold freedoms on principle and not consequence of their political ends.”
Ah, yes, personal insults. Very clever. Not sure what you think those political ends would be. I think Obama’s foreign policy has been a disaster and have said so on this blog. But you guys don’t focus on any real foreign policy issues, preferring instead to tilt at windmills on command.

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

Ah, here we go…
“What ‘Instapundit’ Gets Wrong About Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and Civil Liberties”
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/09/what-instapundit-doesnt-get-about-civil-liberties/262454/

I’ve been a constant critic of the Obama Administration’s abysmal record on civil liberties. If President Obama put out a statement saying, “After reflecting on the ways I’ve betrayed the promises I made during the 2008 election, especially in the realm of upholding core Constitutional protections, I’ve decided to resign my office,” I’d enthusiastically cheer his decision. Those causes are more important to me than any others. Obama has been disastrous for them.
Despite my contempt for Obama’s record, which includes serious violations of domestic and international law, I could hardly take Professor Glenn Reynolds’ weekend post calling on him to resign. For me, it epitomizes the blinkered priorities of right-leaning bloggers in post-9/11 America…
So what vexed me about Reynolds’ post*?
Let me put it this way. Since 9/11, two presidents have, between them, done these things without Reynolds calling on them to resign:
– Established and executed a secret torture program.
– Illegally spied on millions of innocent Americans without warrants.
– Launched a war without Congressional approval and in violation of the War Powers Act.
– Extrajudicially assassinated American citizens without due process.
I don’t like that federal agents took this guy, on probation for bank fraud, in for voluntary questioning, but for goodness’ sake, that’s the abuse that has Reynolds superlatively upset? It isn’t that I care to defend the FBI or Obama. I’m just incredulous: Reynolds is really more upset over this than torture, Orwellian spying, an affront to the separation of powers, and extrajudicial killing.

Justin Katz
Justin Katz(@justin)
9 years ago

Per usual practice, Russ enters the conversation with insults and personal condemnations and then gets defensive when the are returned. Protesters raised al Qaeda flags over U.S. embassies based on a YouTube video that’s been out for weeks… and they just happened to do so on the day that al Qaeda slaughtered thousands of Americans going about their daily lives? And they were sufficiently well armed with weapons and intelligence to assassinate American diplomats?
For the record, I did not call the sheriffs Nazis, and I did not call on the President to resign. Funny how people of a political ideology that sees signs of racism and hate in the most mundane expressions seems also to be blind to the optics of this event.

Rus
Rus
9 years ago

“That’s Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Coptic Christian literally being taken away by brownshirts (as Glenn Reynolds emphasizes), who knocked on his door in the middle of the night after a film he’d made put the ruling regime in a difficult and extremely embarrassing situation.”
Sorry, I didn’t realize you were running a fashion blog over there. Silly me, I thought that was a suggestion those officers were part of the Sturmabteilung.

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

“For the record… and I did not call on the President to resign.”
Who said you did? Of course your source did. But the shoe still fits. You’re outraged about this and yet silent on the numerous actual civil liberties under Bush/Obama. Oh, except for when you acted as apologist for the torture program mentioned above. Perhaps I missed something.

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

“Per usual practice, Russ enters the conversation with insults and personal condemnations and then gets defensive when the are returned.”
I suppose I did say you were lying, but if I suggested you were simply misinformed I’d be tarred as condescending. Whether you were insulted that I found your argument irresponsible is really not the same thing. I wouldn’t think to suggest that you don’t hold genuine convictions, a convenient way of dismissing the actual content. Why bother responding when it’s easier to suggest I simply love Obama?

Justin Katz
Justin Katz(@justin)
9 years ago

I don’t think a blanket statement about “actual civil liberties under Bush/Obama” really serves the discussion. There are a number of individual circumstances that differ in each case, and they all have to be considered.
On torture, I’ve written before that I’ve regretted that the timing of those debates fell during periods when I could not devote a great deal of time to thinking and writing about it. To say I was an “apologist” is again to say that “the shoe still fits” because people with whom I agreed in some regards might be interpreted as such.
I oppose torture, although I find the moral implications tremendously complex, not the least because the question can intersect with dire matters of life and death on a massive scale. That calls for a nuanced view, not sloganeering.
In the case at hand, I considered the bigger point to be the part that I spent a few hundred words on, not the paragraph that most interested you. Namely, I’m worried about the relationship between the government and its people apparent in the administration’s rhetoric, and this incident fits offensively within that broader picture.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
9 years ago

There seems little doubt that this was a political action. In the news I have seen he was questioned for a very short period, then released without conditions.
Could he be in “protective custody”? It seems reasonable. What Americans would not stand is his being killed on our soil.
This whole story seems to be unraveling. Hillary claims it is all a result of the video. Libya says it was premeditated. Libayans also claim to have given warning (shades of Pearl Harbor).

KenW
KenW
9 years ago

Justin Katz, You are the one who is taking the photograph and the circumstance which it was taken out of context and trying to turn this person into a martyr for free speech. The LA Sheriff’s (show of force was due to death threats) waited till most all the news media that were camping outside Nakoula Basseley Nakoula’s (aka Sam Bacile) house left before they moved in at 12:25 am (that is morning to me) in the morning to move him to a voluntary preplanned probation meeting and interview for the review of terms for his 5 yr. probation for the current crime he has served time in prison. According to court documents he was not to use any computers, access the internet or use any alas names. He admitted it was Sam Bacile who created account and uploaded the film to YouTube. The photograph was taken by a LA Times reporter that was still there at the time and reported the story: //latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/09/alleged-anti-muslim-innocence-muslims-interview.html From Wikipedia: “Nakoula was arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 1997 after being pulled over in possession of ephedrine, hydroiodic acid, and $45,000 in cash.[13] He was charged with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.[9] He pleaded guilty and was sentenced in 1997 to one year in Los Angeles County Jail and three years probation. He filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in on June 29, 2000.[14][15] The bankruptcy case was converted from Chapter 7 to Chapter 13 on July 18, 2000, but was dismissed on October 27, 2000, for failure to make payments under the Chapter 13 plan.[16] According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney he violated probation in 2002, and was re-sentenced to another year in county jail.[17] “Prior to his bank fraud conviction, Nakoula struggled with a series of financial problems,” including… Read more »

Justin Katz
Justin Katz(@justin)
9 years ago

Ken,
Thank you for so clearly illustrating the basic item of civics theory that people have forgotten (and that perhaps is no longer inculcated): Human rights should be defended even for those whom we don’t want to make into “poster boys” for those rights.
That’s the point of inalienable rights.
I couldn’t care less about this guy or his movie. I care about the freedoms.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
9 years ago

Ken,
I have to agree with Justin. THe FIrst Amendment was not intended to simply protect a modern Coperincus with a new theory on the heliocentric model of the solar system. It also protects the KKK marching in Skokie. “Contempt of Cop” is a concern for Harvard professors.

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

“I oppose torture, although I find the moral implications tremendously complex…”
Well, that’s certainly not what you said about it at the time. You said that you were “ambivalent” about “near-torture” (an apologist term if I ever heard one) and that you thought it “might be immoral.” Let’s recall that at the time we knew the U.S. was engaging in water boarding, a practice we hung war criminals for after WWII, and that the abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody had resulted in numerous deaths. You concluded musing that torture could “appear vindicated” if the ends justified the means in terms of loss of life, an unusual calculus for one so concerned with the rights of man. In any case, it was hardly the stuff of outrage we find in diaries like this one, although I admit you expressed at least some reservations about setting “a dangerous precendent.”

KenW
KenW
9 years ago

Justin and Warrington Faust, As news media continues to dig more names and associations continue to pop up. Is this freedom of speech, first amendment rights, religious tolerance/intolerance, political, or hate mongering when what you do causes people in another part of the world to die? Somebody needs to be held accountable but I guess for now we are still trying to determine who, what and when as the list of key players keeps growing! Joseph Nasralla an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian founder and owner of the California based “The Way TV”, a satellite television station devoted to matters concerning Egypt’s Coptic community that includes a talk show hosted by Steve Klein Anti-Muslim activist (script consultant and promoter of “Innocence of Muslims”). Nasralla is also the founder and chief executive of the California-based “Media for Christ”, the conservative Christian production company that took out the film permit for the production “Desert Warriors” (aka “Innocence of Muslims”). Nasralla is connected to prominent anti-Muslim activists diehard libertarian GOP supporter Pamela Geller (a featured speaker at numerous Tea Party and pro-freedom events across the nation; hard line supporter of Sarah Palin) and Robert Spencer and their conspiratorial anti-Muslim organization, Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). Nasralla has spoken at various SIOA events. Robert Spencer is also the director of Jihad Watch. Both Geller and Spencer are out spoken critics of President Obama. Steve Klein an aggressive anti-Muslim activist founded Courageous Christians United, which conducts protests outside abortion clinics, Mormon temples, mosques, and has started Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment, which preaches against Muslims and publishes volumes of anti-Muslim propaganda that Klein distributes. He also has helped train paramilitary militias at the church of Kaweah near Three Rivers, southeast of Fresno, CA. to prepare for what they believe is a coming holy war with Muslim… Read more »

Mike678
Mike678
9 years ago

Nice distraction, Ken. You just don’t get it, do you? This is about the murder of four Americans by an intolerant mob. Free speech didn’t kill anybody…a mob of intolerant, angry muslims did. Those people need to be held accountable. But all you can do is rant rant and change the subject. Sad…very sad….

Justin Katz
Justin Katz(@justin)
9 years ago

You’re not being fair, Russ.
The post that you’re referencing…
http://www.anchorrising.com/barnacles/008807print.html
… actually argues against more-hawkish hawks on the matter of torture and coercion. And, moreover, the phrase to which you object was a reference to a post a few months earlier in which I described what I meant:
http://www.anchorrising.com/barnacles/007862.html

Justin Katz
Justin Katz(@justin)
9 years ago

Ken,
You’re in extremely dangerous, easily manipulated ground when you accept the principle that what somebody says can cause others to die, in this way. This wasn’t “fire” in a crowded theater, unless you’re so racist that you believe violent rioting is a reflex action among Middle Easterners.

KenW
KenW
9 years ago

Mike678,
It has already been determined that a radical group of militants hijacked the consulate protest to attack and kill Americans at the consulate. Security tapes have identified the individuals and they are being rounded up, jailed and will be legally dealt with and punished accordingly to the law which I am all for.
The problem is we must understand what happened, how it happened, where it happened and when it happened and who all the players involved are plus their motivations, wants, desires and connections to support organizations so the guaranteed rights according the US Constitution, laws and freedoms are not manipulated by fringe groups for their specialized individual personal gains, wants or agenda promotions be it religious, political or hate mongering so it doesn’t happen again without becoming a police state or denying people of their guaranteed rights.
What you are telling me and the rest of the world is the person who actually and knowingly poured the gasoline and fanned the fire, Egyptian Morris Sadek (very vocal and active anti-Muslim activist living in the Washington, DC. area) who translated the film trailer into Arabic and sent it directly to Egyptian TV news media outlets which once aired knew it would cause the Middle-East protests against the U.S.A. because it was a direct attack on their religion plus follow up emails and statements tried to pin the blame on Israelis and confirmed the film trailer was made in U.S.A., should not be held accountable only the militants that did the actual killing Libya.
You sound like Pastor Terry Jones, Steve Klein, Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Joseph Nassralla Abdelmasih (aka Joseph Nasralla), Morris Sadek and a growing cast of others as individually found and interviewed by news media indicating there is no blood on their hands.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
9 years ago

KenW
“a radical group of militants hijacked the consulate protest”
As I said before, I think this story will begin to unravel. Unless you believe it was an Arab “flash mob”, it is only a small step to suggest that the “radical group” orchestrated the entire “protest” in order to “hijack” it.
Sometimes, at this hour, I have difficulty restraining the impetuosity of my thoughts. Why did we not impugn Salmud Rushdie for the “Satanic Verses”? I think a few deaths could be said to have flowed from that one. Ah, Rushdie is probably one of those intellectuals we hear about.
Ken, “water boarding, a practice we hung war criminals for after WWII”. It is always dangerous to seek an analogy from Nuremberg (military justice is to justice what military music is to music). I am certainly not a Nazi sympathizer, but Nuremburg was a “show trial”. The results were pre-determined and minimal defense allowed to the prosecuted. Still, I doubt that many were “executed” for “waterboarding”. Considering the atrocities exposed at Nuremberg, and the much lengthier (but more “fixed”) Japanese war trials, waterboarding seems like a day at the beach.

Max D
Max D
9 years ago

“You sound like Pastor Terry Jones, Steve Klein, Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Joseph Nassralla Abdelmasih (aka Joseph Nasralla), Morris Sadek and a growing cast of others as individually found and interviewed by news media indicating there is no blood on their hands.”
Wow, you have to be kidding. That comment is ludicrous. You’re missing the whole point. This isn’t about them. It’s about the 1st Amendment. Either you’re confusing advocacy for their rights with advocacy for their actions or intentionally trying to entwine the two as a hyperbolic personal attack.

David S
David S
9 years ago

Justin, your whole comment is suspect. You want the reader to assume that attacks on Catholics are commonplace. Your examples are random and do not in any way indicate a trend. Do you really believe that Catholics are under attack?

Justin Katz
Justin Katz(@justin)
9 years ago

Christians, certainly. Pavilions forced to be used for same-sex weddings. MA Catholic Charities forced out of the adoption business. School prayers canceled. The Cranston prayer banner down. Roadside crosses constantly under attack.
To be sure, those doing the attacking (and some of those between the sides) see that as a matter of enforcing government neutrality and all that, but that’s the argument, and it’s part of what makes this all seem so ordinary.

David S
David S
9 years ago

I grew up in catholic RI. No problem at all with that. But times are changing and clinging to the past does no good. The catholic influence is diminished to be sure. You present this as a problem. I see it as a positive. Catholics in this state will be better off the more they remove themselves from the political machinations they have become so entangled with. Catholics have a chance to become more of a spiritual force and less of a political force.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
9 years ago

I have to side with Justin on this one, Christianity is under attack. Those who claim government neutrality seem to forget the entire “Freedom of Religion Clause” of the First Amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”
I think there are few cases on the “free exercise thereof”, but I think it is time we start thinking about it. For instance “MA Catholic Charities forced out of the adoption business”. I don’t blame them for closing their adoption services, the new mandates were contrary to the exercise of their faith. To quote Martin Luther “I can do no other”.
Have we so quickly forgotten the DNC? I remember the booing and cat calls about including God in the platform. Even if you are not a person of faith, you must admit that Christianity has done a pretty good job of providing a moral code, at least for the last few hundred years. It’s operations before that may be open to attack.

Just another opinion
Just another opinion
9 years ago

Ken et al’s blindness is a trend we often see today. One simply cannot offend anyone. If you do, it is your fault. These apologists often hold you responsible for the actions of others…the “victim” is not held accountable. This is, IMHO, a “peace at any price” mentality that enables even more bad behavior. Curtailing my or any US citizen’s free speech is too high a cost.

ANTHONY
ANTHONY
9 years ago

Off point to the protesting Libby’s on this board:Does anybody here really believe a video caused this explosion in the mideast? This was a planned event to coincide with 9/11 comprised of the same lowlifes that bombed the trade center and hate Israel. The battle lines are being drawn up. The “Arab Spring” (that Hussein Obama supports) is turning into a Nuclear Fall.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
9 years ago

OK, the story is breaking down, the White House now admits that it was a terrorist attack by Al’Queda usint the video as a cover story. Too bad about the video story, now the White House is going to have to take some responsibility,

Mike678
Mike678
9 years ago

Why start now?

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