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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Freedom of Speech Crushed in Dearborn

One of the major tenants of our Constitution was crushed under the weight of "people not wanting to upset others" justice.  If this type of justice continues to be administered, our rights to speak out, to write, to blog, to express our opinions will be dramatically restricted.

Last night, a jury determined that Reverend Terry Jones would have to post a "peace" bond so as to speak in front of the Islamic Center in Dearborn, Michigan. The judge reduced the bond to $1.  The Reverend refused to pay and was sent to jail. He was later released after the bond was paid.  That is the story up to now.

However, as Paul Harvey used to say, now for the rest of the story.  Questions abound, some that immediately come to mind are:  Why was he in  court in the first place, before anything happened?  Why did the judge have a jury trial? Why did the Reverend represent himself in court, without an attorney? How did the jury decide that he had to file a peace bond, in case of violence? 

As I have said before, I believe that Dearborn is totally incorrect in their actions.  Reverend Jones was arrested upon his arrival in Detroit, before any event had occurred.  Is this pre-emptive justice?  Since when can police arrest you by saying you are going to do something. The only exception is if you threaten to do  bodily harm to others or yourself.  This was not the case so where does Dearborn come off acting in this way?

During the Civil Rights era, cities tried to imprison and to fine leaders of the movement. Those actions did not stand up then and neither should this travesty now.

Ironically, the actions of the City of Dearborn illustrate what Reverend Jones was saying better than his words ever could.  The city is composed of a significant number of Muslims (the largest outside the Middle East) and therefore the city fathers are sensitive to the Muslim issue. So, to placate the populace, the City took "decisive" but illegal actions against the Reverend. The Judge did not want to sound anti-Muslim, so he called for a jury trial.  The police arrested Reverend Jones as he arrived before he could utter a single word.

The same type of actions occur everywhere in the West when Muslims cry they are being discriminated against.  The powers to be act to "protect" them at every turn until Muslim power is so strong that government can do nothing about it.  For example,there are parts of cities in France where the police will not go as the Muslims control the area and will attack the police regardless of the crime that was committed. So, do we want this for the United States?  I do not think so.

The United States is different from most countries in the world. We have a strong Constitution that gives all o citizens certain rights. We must not give these rights away to placate a population of immigrants who have not embraced American ideals.

Rarely can I say this, but even the American Civil Rights Union (ACLU) are opposed to the actions taken  by the City of Dearborn, its Mayor, its Judge and its police department.  This is such an extreme case that conservatives can agree with the ACLU!  That should be clear as it gets.

  Dearborn should pay and it should pay dearly for this miscarriage of justice. It violated a man's right to speak, to assembly and to be free from governmental interference with his life. His arrest violated all three of these provisions of our Constitution. If these actions are allowed to stand, can any one's rights be safe?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Freedom of Speech verses Freedom of Religion Part II

This morning after reading over last night's posting, I realized there was an additional comment that I should make.  Regardless of the vileness of someone's speech, the very act of restricting that speech is damaging to all of our speech rights. We cannot have a free society when we limit someone else's speech.  This has to be the premise that the decision in Dearborn has to be made. If not, all of our free speech rights will be impacted.

The problem of limiting speech is that we do not know whom is the "all-knowing arbiter" of what is and what is not right.  What is disgusting and degrading to me, might be just your way of talking.  What causes me discomfort, could be normal for you. No two people look at the world through the same prism.  Our experiences, upbringing, and view of the world, colors how we interpret things.  Therefore, it is imperative that few limits (yelling fire in a crowded theatre, for example) should be placed on our freedom.

I believe the Skokie, Illinois issue mentioned last night is a great example of how free speech rights must be granted even to the most disgusting of our fellow citizens.  The last thing the Jewish population wanted was a Nazi Party parade down the very streets of their town. However, the Nazis had the right to express their opinions,  using their free speech rights.  Although I detest the Nazis and everything they stand for, I will stand by them and their right to express their ideas until my dying breath. You see, if I do not,  my own rights to say and yes to blog my opinion, very possibly could be impacted. Someone might not like what I said or wrote and would want me banned, fined, imprisoned or worse.  Where would have my rights gone?

There is an old joke in Russia. It goes like this.  An American and Russian are speaking about their relative freedoms in each country.  The American brags about his right to go to the White House and call the President all sorts of names, asserts that his mother and father were not married and nothing will happen to him.  The Russian says that he has the same rights. He can go to the Politburo and call the President of the United States all sorts of names and assert that his mother and father were not married and he will be given a medal.

Although the Russian said he had the same right as we do in the United States, he did not. If you talk to Russian emigres you will hear stories about the fear of saying the wrong thing to the wrong person. The fear of speaking your mind for the retribution would be great. I do not want that to happen here.

The freedom of speech is one of the bedrocks of the United States.  Should we lose it, have it minimized in any way, how long will it be before the other freedoms will be lost?  

So getting back to Dearborn.  Although Reverend Jones does not speak for me (nor I for him), I believe that he has the right to speak there. I do not think that he should have to post any "peace bond" to cover the cost of any riots that might occur for I doubt that he will start the riot.

As far as the Muslim population goes, my advice would be to ignore the  Reverend.  He speech will not endanger your rights as American citizens to worship as you wish.  Ignore him, don't give him an audience, go about your daily business as if he did not exist. Any attention given him will only encourage him.

The City of Dearborn should be on call but should keep a low key. The more attention you give both sides of this tinderbox will not be positive. Have the police available to step in, but only to act if violence occurs.  Hold both sides  equally responsible for any damage that does occur. 

However, my prognostication is that today the Court in Dearborn will tell the Reverend that he must post a bond before speaking, the Reverend will say no, tomorrow he will speak  in front of the Islamic Center and will be arrested for speaking without a permit.  When he is released several hours later after posting bail, I am afraid that Muslims will take to the street and demand severe punishment for his disrespect to their religion.

I sincerely hope that everyone will follow my "sage" advice, however, I am not hopeful.  If they do it will be a victory for freedom of speech, if not, we all will lose.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Freedom of Religion verses Freedom of Speech

Does someone have the right to protest anywhere he desires or can a City restrict the right to freedom of speech?  Can someone whose speech is despicable to another person, still have the right to talk?  Can some one's religion have rights that exceed another person's right of speech.  Those are the questions facing Dearborn, Michigan and Reverend Terry Jones.

Reverend Terry Jones is the minister who threatened to burn the Quran and is now threatening to do a protest on Friday in Dearborn, Michigan.  The City of Dearborn has refused to give him a permit to do the protest in front of the Islamic Center but has offered him a couple "free speech" locations, one of which is in front of City Hall. Should he accept the offer or continue with his protest?  That is the question.

Both freedom  of speech and religion are guaranteed by the Constitution and in the past have been in conflict. For example, the American Nazi party was given a permit to march through Skokie, Illinois, a predominately Jewish neighborhood. 

There are many, including Reverend Jones, who feel the Islamic movement throughout the world is the greatest challenge to freedoms of the western world. Should he be able protest wherever he wants regardless of the freedom of religion.

This issue is contentious due to the conflict of these two rights and the very nature of Dearborn which has the largest Arab population outside of the Middle East as well as a very large Muslim community.(Not all Arabs are Muslim, some are Christians.)  Additionally, last year Christians handing out religious materials during the Arab Festival were arrested even though they were outside the festival grounds, were on a sidewalk and were only talking to those who approached them. Additionally, their video camera was seized which backed up their contentions. Their trial resulted in a non-guilty verdict.  So, the City of Dearborn does not come to this event with clean hands.

The burning of ANY book regardless of the nature of that book is horrendous and should never be allowed nor should it be celebrated in any way.  A book should rise or fall on its own merit or lack thereof.  Therefore, I  am very disturbed by the threat of burning the Quran that Reverend Jones made.  So, neither does Reverend Jones come to this fight with the high moral ground.

To complicate things, there are Churches down the street from the Islamic Center. If the protest goes on as Reverend Jones has threatened on Friday, it would interrupt the churches Good  Friday services.  Now it starts effecting others.

In most situations in life, there is a lot of gray in between the white and black that makes up our days. This case is the same. Which way should the situation be resolved?

My opinion is that the Reverend should be given a permit to do his "show." If not, in front of the Islamic Center, somewhere within a  block or two.  This would allow him to have his "speech rights" protected in the proximity of the Islamic Center which he feels is vile.  At the same time, it would not be shoving the protest into the faces of the Muslims who might go to the Center.  Lastly, the churches down the street would not be effected.

Now is this a satisfactory result? I doubt that anyone associated with this case will be happy.  But in the end, the the freedom of speech would have been preserved as well as the freedom of religion.  I think that this is the best we can accomplish.  What do you think?

I have attached a copy of the latest from the Detroit News. It is the latest on the situation.

.Dearborn denies permit, says Quran-burning minister could face arrest

Oralandar Brand-Williams / The Detroit News

Dearborn — Dearborn denied a permit Wednesday for Quran-burning Pastor Terry Jones' planned protest outside the Islamic Center of America on Good Friday.

Jones could be arrested if he goes ahead with the protest outside the mosque without a permit, said city spokeswoman Mary Laundroche. She added that the permit had been denied for "public safety reasons."

Jones said he had not received notification that the permit had been turned down but that he was undeterred.

Jones is due in 19th District Court in Dearborn on Thursday to answer prosecutors' claims that his demonstration could cause a riot and demands he post a "peace bond" to cover police costs.

Dearborn officials said Jones can still demonstrate at one of two "free speech zones," including City Hall. Before denying the permit, city officials expressed concern about public safety, traffic and disruptions to nearby churches.

Jones isn't likely to relent. He's said for weeks that he plans to demonstrate outside the Ford Road mosque with or without a permit. Earlier today, Jones said the mosque is the ideal site for his protest against "radical Islam" and Sharia, or Islamic, law.

"There is no place better than there to present this message," said Jones, the pastor of the Dove World Outreach center in Gainesville, Fla.

Jones said he is planning to bring a pistol to protect himself in case of violence, but has no plans to burn an Islamic holy book.

"We are coming there totally in peace," said Jones, who said he will be joined by several other people including a rabbi.

Earlier today, Dearborn Mayor John B. O'Reilly Jr. released a copy of an "open letter" he wrote to Jones in a last-ditch effort to persuade him to cancel his protest.

In the three-page letter released to the media, O'Reilly urged Jones to conduct his demonstration at one of the city's "free speech zones." O'Reilly also questioned the logic of protesting Sharia in Dearborn.

"Our commitment to the Constitution is unwavering, not merely convenient, which makes your hyperbole about Sharia Law being practiced in the courts or civil law of Dearborn nonsensical," O'Reilly wrote. "So, you are coming to protest against an imaginary threat that doesn't exist in our community. Not in our courts, not at our City Hall, not on our streets and not in any of our places of worship."

The mayor also pointed out to Jones that several churches in the vicinity of the mosque will be conducting Good Friday services and Jones' protest outside the mosque will be disruptive to their traffic as well.

"The members of the Christian churches on Altar Road asked me last week if they should cancel their Good Friday services because of your planned visit. I assured them that they should not because the Constitution does not allow you to violate their rights. I don't know why you selected Good Friday but it wasn't very considerate of the significant Christian services being held at that time. I assure you that you will not make them forfeit their services," O'Reilly wrote.

(313) 222-2027

From The Detroit News:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Inflation Obama Style

In their last blog posting Dick Morris and his wife Eileen McGann, really hit the target with some very good insights. Entitled "Here Comes Inflation," they talk about the coming problems this country will face. One only has to go to the store or fill up your car with gas to see that we are well on the way to inflation like we have NEVER seen before. Remember those days in 1979 with 15% inflation?   We will love to see those days again. Maybe Jimmy Carter will not be the worst President ever!

The last time gas hit $4 per gallon as it has in many parts of the country, the economy fell apart and here we are again. What will be the effect this time?  I suspect we will see $5 gas and an even worse economy. Are you ready?

On top of this, today we hear that S&P reduced the claims paying abilities of the United States from AAA stable to AAA negative. Now, that is not a large step but it is dramatic. Never before in recent history has the credit risk of the United States been downgraded like this.  Is this the first step to further downgrades? If so, the effect on the economy will be disastrous.

And all we hear from this administration is that we need to be more compassionate.  We need more than compassion, we need to cut spending, drastically reduce unnecessary programs, and return to the size of government, not of 2008 but of 1958.  Yes, many programs may hit the scrapheap but these are not the times to take half measures.  We either take major cuts now or we will face problems like Iceland and Greece. The only difference is that ours will be 10 times worse.

In light of the recent budget fiasco, where both sides lied to us, I am not hopeful that we will avoid a catastrophe.  What about you?

Here is the article.



Published on on April 18, 2011

In our book Revolt!, we warn that inflation may well be the dominant legacy of the Obama presidency. While he had Bush's help in creating high unemployment, he has driven us into inflation all on his own.

The latest data indicates that prices soared in March at an annual rate of 6.5 percent, by far the highest increase in decades. Half of the increase was in energy prices and one half point in higher food costs. While the Federal Reserve Board focuses on the "core" inflation rate, that excludes these volatile items, American consumers dip into the same pocketbook to pay for food and fuel that they use to pay other prices.

And there is little likelihood of any leveling off of the prices of either food or fuel. The former is driven by the use of food for energy, diverting corn and other food crops from nutritional use. The later is animated by the instability in the Middle East and North Africa, an international crisis that is likely to worsen in the coming year. Indeed, should the disease that has brought down regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen and is fighting to topple them in Bahrain, Syria, and Libya spreads further into Saudi Arabia, we could face huge increases in energy costs.
And don't forget the likely upward pressure on interest rates. The Fed is likely to end its QE-2 (quantitative easing 2) program in June. No longer will it buy mortgage backed and Treasury securities from banks into order to pump more money into the system. Once the printing press stops, the Treasury will have to start borrowing real money from real lenders and pay real interest. It will no longer be able to borrow back the money the Fed prints at nominal interest rates. With Washington needing to borrow $40 billion a week to finance its deficit, the upward pressure on interest rates will be severe.

Then, there are health insurance costs. With the onset of the requirements of Obamacare, the increase in premiums has averaged twenty percent, further raising costs of business.

Faced with these increases in fixed costs, businesses will have to raise prices. But nobody will be able to pay them because the economy is terrible. That will trigger a loss of customers and ever higher prices to make up the gap. This stagflation cycle is now upon us and will wipe out any gains that the so-called recovery may offer.

Annual inflation of 6.5% is just the beginning, just like $5 gas is just the beginning. The inflationary forces Obama has unleashed by his record deficits and his virtual tripling of the money supply will batter the economy with a violence that will make his re-election impossible.

The storm is just starting.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Poll Results

The most recent poll on Conservative Musings resulted in some interesting insights.  The poll was to determine if participants would vote for Donald Trump as the Republican Presidential candidate.  A surprising 61% of respondents said they NEVER would support Trump.  Just under 25% thought they might consider and the balance were more favorably enamored by the Trumpmaster.

The negative response was surprising due to Trump's  business success, One would have thought that conservatives would be more interested in having him lead the party. However, in conversations with other non-liberals, it appears there is a reluctance to endorse Trump due to his "celebrity" status. Does being a renowned business man who happens to have a television program eliminate him from being President?  Apparently, the answer is yes.

Another negative are the comments he has made regarding President Obama and his birthplace. Trump has said he does not believe the President was born in Hawaii.  As we have previously written, Trump has reinvigorated the debate by the "birthers."

Would he be a good candidate and more importantly, would he be a successful President. Would he have the patience to work with Congress to pass his program or would he resort to his favorite phrase--"you're fired!"

So we see that Conservatives are not enamored with the Trumpster, however, one wonders if he will become a candidate for the Republican at all.  He has promised to declare before June 1st, we all will be waiting on  his decision. We know that he has the ego, the money and (he says) the angst on the direction America is heading. So, will enter the race, time will tell.

Do you agree with the poll? Will Trump become a candidate? Has your opinion changed on Trump?  If not Trump, who would you vote for?

Show Us The Records, President Obama

With all the discussion that has occurred since Donald Trump said he did not believe President Obama was a eligible to be President, one person has been totally quiet on the issue. That person is President Obama.  No comment, no statement, nothing has been said. This has rekindled the "birther" controversy.

We have heard about this issue during his run to be the Democratic candidate, during the campaign, to his election and even before he was inaugurated. There has not been much done to clear up the issue. Of course, there was the "certificate of live birth" which the Obama campaign placed on its website as "proof" that the President had indeed been born in Hawaii and there is the article in the local Honolulu paper which indicates the birth of a son to the Obama's.  However, there are three points the birthers point to support their contention.

Point one is that a "certificate of live birth" is not a full birth certificate and can be obtained by anyone and does not give details of the birth such as doctors, hospitals etc. Point two is the newspaper article could be faked.

However, the biggest point that most people feel is important. Why has the Obama Campaign and now the White House spent so time and effort to keep this secret?  There can only be one reason.  There is something that is not quite right.  Otherwise, why would they not want to put the whole bloody thing  behind them  by revealing the documents and moving on.  Allow the press and all other interested parties to see the Hawaii State documents which will either confirm or deny the "birther" argument.

Also fueling the concern that President Obama is not eligible to be President, is that he has prohibited the publication of his college records from undergraduate to law school.  Why would anyone do that unless there was a reason.  Could he have applied for college admission by indicating that he was a citizen of Indonesia or some other country? Could he indicate on those records that he was born somewhere else  but Hawaii? Could he state that he had never lived in the United States?  Could he have faked college degrees? One can only wonder why these records are sealed which only makes skeptical minds to wander to the nefarious.

I believe it is time for President Obama to put these distractions behind by allowing Hawaii and his colleges to disclose ALL the information they have in their possession.  Without doing this, the birther idea will always be there.

What do you think?