About the post French Cartoon killing debate

This post is about the free speech issues and journalistic reaction to the French cartoon shootings.

I am not trying to pile on beleaguered Muslims who say that they often feel like this:


No, I don’t expect my Muslim colleagues and neighbors to feel responsible for stuff that they didn’t do nor encourage.

Issue one: Should other journalistic outlets feel compelled to reprint the cartoons in some sort of show of solidarity? Some argue: “no”.

I can see the argument. People print stuff that conforms to THEIR standards and if you think that a cartoon is either bigoted or just not very good, there is no reason to print it.

But I see the other side in this argument. The idea: try to censor by violence, and lovers of free speech overwhelm the would be censors (sort of like a Streisand effect).

Issue two Is there a double standard at work here? After all, don’t other religious groups complain loudly when their toes are stepped on?


Now, complaints and peaceful protests are fine. After all, everyone should have free speech. I think that The Onion gets it right. They point out:
no one murdered


See the difference? You can look at my sidebar and see plenty that would get me in deep trouble in Islamic countries had this been directed toward the Koran.

One major problem, as I see it, is that in the Muslim world, views like this are mainstream (albeit the minority viewpoint in many places) and not relegated to “crackpot” status:

As far as data:

Compared with attitudes toward applying sharia in the domestic or criminal spheres, Muslims in the countries surveyed are significantly less supportive of the death penalty for converts.19 Nevertheless, in six of the 20 countries where there are adequate samples for analysis, at least half of those who favor making Islamic law the official law also support executing apostates.

Taking the life of those who abandon Islam is most widely supported in Egypt (86%) and Jordan (82%). Roughly two-thirds who want sharia to be the law of the land also back this penalty in the Palestinian territories (66%). In the other countries surveyed in the Middle East-North Africa region, fewer than half take this view.

In the South Asian countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, strong majorities of those who favor making Islamic law the official law of the land also approve of executing apostates (79% and 76%, respectively). However, in Bangladesh far fewer (44%) share this view.

A majority of Malaysian Muslims (62%) who want to see sharia as their country’s official law also support taking the lives of those who convert to other faiths. But fewer take this position in neighboring Thailand (27%) and Indonesia (18%).

In Central Asia as well as Southern and Eastern Europe, only in Tajikistan (22%) do more than a fifth of Muslims who want sharia as the official law of the land also condone the execution of apostates. Support for killing converts to other faiths falls below one-in-ten in Albania (8%) and Kazakhstan (4%).

I do see some of this starting to change though. I sure hope that the moderates make is safe for moderates around the world; everyone will be better off.

A sample from the link:

not in my name

I am hopeful.

January 11, 2015 Posted by | religion, social/political, world events | , , , | 1 Comment

Abuse of government power in the news…

Yes, as a rule, I am quite docile with police as I don’t want a fight. Not only am I physically overwhelmed, I probably would lose in a courtroom to boot.

And yes, many who get beat, kicked and shot by police are those who, well, behaved stupidly by striking police.

But, here, Mano Singham is right. Being rude really isn’t against the law, and the law should NOT require that we become docile. Note: I’ve never had trouble with police, though I did once get profiled while driving on I-55.

Then, the Senate released their “torture report”. It is disgusting. But don’t expect the Republicans to admit any wrong doing…expect their tired old “blame America First” canard.

December 10, 2014 Posted by | civil liberties, politics, politics/social, world events | , | Leave a comment

Yes, this is from Fox and Friends…

But give Fox News its due: I like this.


September 27, 2014 Posted by | world events | , | Leave a comment

Scottish Independence: not going to happen…this time anyway

It has become a rout on the sports books:


What continues to amuse me is how so many people will predict something will happen on the strength that they want it to happen. This appears to be a bipartisan phenomena.

September 18, 2014 Posted by | world events | | Leave a comment

Scottish Independence: probably will fail

The odds: the line is roughly 1/4 for “no” winning (e. g., to win 1 dollar you have to bet 4) and 3/1 for “yes’ (you can win 3 dollars by betting one).

From here.

Screen shot 2014-09-15 at 8.12.43 PM

The vote is this Thursday.

September 16, 2014 Posted by | politics, world events | | Leave a comment

Obama and Iraq

It looks as if the media is playing up the difference of opinion between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on Iraq.

Basically, Secretary Clinton wanted more proactivity and President Obama was more conservative; personally I agree with the President. President Obama points out that much of what is going on with Iraq is a political problem that force isn’t going to solve.

August 11, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, hillary clinton, Middle East, world events | , , | Leave a comment

Why the US sides with Israel, in one photo

Pro-Israeli Activists Hold Rally In Chicago

Seriously. Think about it: when picking sides, humans tend to decide for emotional reasons and THEN use intellect to confirm the decision. So, who are most Americans going to relate to: more Western Israelis or head scarf clad Palestinians?

Yes, I know, I know; that doesn’t justify disproportional uses of force, civilian carnage and the like. But to side with those “more like us” I think is human.

It might be changing though

(yes, this photo was taken IN CHICAGO and this is, more than likely, an American. But my conjecture is that American Jews seem “less exotic” than American Muslims to many and that feeling might drive American sympathies, at least on a subconscious level) The photo was from

August 3, 2014 Posted by | Middle East, social/political, world events | | Leave a comment

Butts and Boobs for Israel Defense Forces….really

I stumbled across this Facebook page:

Screen shot 2014-07-25 at 8.34.49 AM

The page is full of photos like these:



There are many more such photos.

Of course, I like the “butt” photos but this isn’t what struck me. It is perceived that the US coverage of this latest outbreak of violence is slanted toward Israel, and it is no secret that the US supports Israel more than the western European countries do. The “why” is an interesting question.

Part of the reason may be that the US is the first country to recognize Israel; I know that when I was growing up, the perception was that Israel was a romantic underdog that frequently defeated the bumbling Arab countries that attempted to “push it to the sea.” Part may be that Israel enjoys support from both our liberal wings and our conservative wings (the latter: Christian conservatives).

Part of the reason might be that the Palestinians are often conflated with Hamas and, well, the behavior of the Islamic Republics has been shameful with regards to women, free speech, religious freedom, gay rights and the like.

But part of the reason might be that, on a social, emotional level, we relate to Israel a whole lot better.

Can you imagine Muslim women posing in thong bikinis for their soldiers? Now what about (many) American women?

Now, of course, NONE of this is pertinent to the level of response of the IDF. But when it comes to perceptions, being able to identify with the people of a country matters.

July 25, 2014 Posted by | big butts, bikinis, Middle East, social/political, world events | | Leave a comment

Israel and Palestine

Jon Stewart notes that this is a difficult subject to talk about.

And finding genuinely balanced reporting is all but impossible, at least in the US, as Rula Jebreal pointed out on a show with Chris Hayes.

One quibble: I am not so sure that the US siding with Israel more than the rest of the world during this outbreak of violence is due to one-sided reporting.

The US has always had a natural affinity with Israel; the US was the first country to recognize Israel’s existence. For many years, Israel was seen as a romantic underdog fighting off hostile neighbors.

And to be sure, Israel is a more successful country (domestically) than its neighbors, and the horrible human rights record of the surrounding Islamic Republics (their treatment of gays, atheists, apostates, women) doesn’t win the Middle East Muslim community many fans in the US.

Put this together with the fact that Israel has allies in the Democratic party (Jews tend to vote Democrat, especially when one corrects for wealth) and in the Republican party (Christian right wing) and add the fact that Israel has effective lobbying efforts…and you can see the reason for the imbalance.

Even honest, fair reporting isn’t going to change this least not quickly.

July 23, 2014 Posted by | Middle East, social/political, world events | | Leave a comment

Obama Derangement Syndrome

Ok, the airline shoot down was a horrible thing; we need to let the facts come in. It was shot down (BUK?) and we need to know: Russian Military? Rebel forces with Russian equipment? guessed it; our wingnuts are all over President Obama.

Here, they attempt to compare President Reagan’s response to USSR Air Force fighters shooting down a Korean Air Lines plane to the current President Obama response.

Uh, wingnuts:

1. President Reagan’s address was on September 5, 1983, and the shoot down was on September 1, 1983.

2. The Korean plane was shot down by official Soviet fighter jets; we still don’t know the details of TODAY’s shootdown (who, with what?)

Also, some are jumping on President Obama for…eating lunch and doing other duties?

These people have forfeited the right to be taken seriously; they are a joke.

By the way: I note that they don’t mention the US shooting down an Iranian Airliner while President Reagan was still in office.

July 18, 2014 Posted by | ranting, social/political, world events | | Leave a comment


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