Friday, October 26, 2007

The Real "Noose" about Jena

Media Myths About the Jena 6

A local journalist tells the story you haven't heard

Thursday, October 25, 2007 3:50 PMBy: Craig Franklin

By now, almost everyone in America has heard of Jena, La., because they've all heard the story of the "Jena 6." White students hanging nooses barely punished, a schoolyard fight, excessive punishment for the six black attackers, racist local officials, public outrage and protests – the outside media made sure everyone knew the basics.

There's just one problem: The media got most of the basics wrong. In fact, I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism. Myths replaced facts, and journalists abdicated their solemn duty to investigate every claim because they were seduced by a powerfully appealing but false narrative of racial injustice.

I should know. I live in Jena. My wife has taught at Jena High School for many years. And most important, I am probably the only reporter who has covered these events from the very beginning.

The reason the Jena cases have been propelled into the world spotlight is two-fold: First, because local officials did not speak publicly early on about the true events of the past year, the media simply formed their stories based on one-side's statements – the Jena 6. Second, the media were downright lazy in their efforts to find the truth. Often, they simply reported what they'd read on blogs, which expressed only one side of the issue.

The real story of Jena and the Jena 6 is quite different from what the national media presented. It's time to set the record straight.

Myth 1: The Whites-Only Tree. There has never been a "whites-only" tree at Jena High School. Students of all races sat underneath this tree. When a student asked during an assembly at the start of school last year if anyone could sit under the tree, it evoked laughter from everyone present – blacks and whites. As reported by students in the assembly, the question was asked to make a joke and to drag out the assembly and avoid class.

Myth 2: Nooses a Signal to Black Students. An investigation by school officials, police, and an FBI agent revealed the true motivation behind the placing of two nooses in the tree the day after the assembly. According to the expulsion committee, the crudely constructed nooses were not aimed at black students. Instead, they were understood to be a prank by three white students aimed at their fellow white friends, members of the school rodeo team. (The students apparently got the idea from watching episodes of "Lonesome Dove.")

The committee further concluded that the three young teens had no knowledge that nooses symbolize the terrible legacy of the lynchings of countless blacks in American history. When informed of this history by school officials, they became visibly remorseful because they had many black friends. Another myth concerns their punishment, which was not a three-day suspension, but rather nine days at an alternative facility followed by two weeks of in-school suspension, Saturday detentions, attendance at Discipline Court, and evaluation by licensed mental-health professionals. The students who hung the nooses have not publicly come forward to give their version of events.

Myth 3: Nooses Were a Hate Crime. Although many believe the three white students should have been prosecuted for a hate crime for hanging the nooses, the incident did not meet the legal criteria for a federal hate crime. It also did not meet the standard for Louisiana's hate-crime statute, and though widely condemned by all officials, there was no crime to charge the youths with.

Myth 4: DA's Threat to Black Students. When District Attorney Reed Walters spoke to Jena High students at an assembly in September, he did not tell black students that he could make their life miserable with "the stroke of a pen." Instead, according to Walters, "two or three girls, white girls, were chit-chatting on their cellphones or playing with their cellphones right in the middle of my dissertation. I got a little irritated at them and said, 'Pay attention to me. I am right now having to deal with an aggravated rape case where I've got to decide whether the death penalty applies or not.' I said, 'Look, I can be your best friend or your worst enemy. With the stroke of a pen I can make your life miserable so I want you to call me before you do something stupid.'"

Mr. Walters had been called to the assembly by police, who had been at the school earlier that day dealing with some students who were causing disturbances. Teachers and students have confirmed Walters's version of events.

Myth 5: The Fair Barn Party Incident. On Dec. 1, 2006, a private party – not an all-white party as reported – was held at the local community center called the Fair Barn. Robert Bailey Jr., soon to be one of the Jena 6, came to the party with others seeking admittance.

When they were denied entrance by the renter of the facility, a white male named Justin Sloan (not a Jena High student) at the party attacked Bailey and hit him in the face with his fist. This is reported in witness statements to police, including the victim, Robert Bailey, Jr.

Months later, Bailey contended he was hit in the head with a beer bottle and required stitches. No medical records show this ever occurred. Mr. Sloan was prosecuted for simple battery, which according to Louisiana law, is the proper charge for hitting someone with a fist.

Myth 6: The "Gotta-Go" Grocery Incident. On Dec. 2, 2006, Bailey and two other black Jena High students were involved in an altercation at this local convenience store, stemming from the incident that occurred the night before. The three were accused by police of jumping a white man as he entered the store and stealing a shotgun from him. The two parties gave conflicting statements to police. However, two unrelated eye witnesses of the event gave statements that corresponded with that of the white male.

Myth 7: The Schoolyard Fight. The event on Dec. 4, 2006 was consistently labeled a "schoolyard fight." But witnesses described something much more horrific. Several black students, including those now known as the Jena 6, barricaded an exit to the school's gym as they lay in wait for Justin Barker to exit. (It remains unclear why Mr. Barker was specifically targeted.)

When Barker tried to leave through another exit, court testimony indicates, he was hit from behind by Mychal Bell. Multiple witnesses confirmed that Barker was immediately knocked unconscious and lay on the floor defenseless as several other black students joined together to kick and stomp him, with most of the blows striking his head. Police speculate that the motivation for the attack was related to the racially charged fights that had occurred during the previous weekend.

Myth 8: The Attack Is Linked to the Nooses. Nowhere in any of the evidence, including statements by witnesses and defendants, is there any reference to the noose incident that occurred three months prior. This was confirmed by the United States attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, Donald Washington, on numerous occasions.

Myth 9: Mychal Bell's All-White Jury. While it is true that Mychal Bell was convicted as an adult by an all-white jury in June (a conviction that was later overturned with his case sent to juvenile court), the jury selection process was completely legal and withstood an investigation by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. Court officials insist that several black residents were summoned for jury duty, but did not appear.

Myth 10: Jena 6 as Model Youth. While some members were simply caught up in the moment, others had criminal records. Bell had at least four prior violent-crime arrests before the December attack, and was on probation during most of this year.

Myth 11: Jena Is One of the Most Racist Towns in America. Actually, Jena is a wonderful place to live for both whites and blacks. The media's distortion and outright lies concerning the case have given this rural Louisiana town a label it doesn't deserve.

Myth 12: Two Levels of Justice. Outside protesters were convinced that the prosecution of the Jena 6 was proof of a racially biased system of justice. But the US Justice Department's investigation found no evidence to support such a claim. In fact, the percentage of blacks and whites prosecuted matches the parish's population statistics.

These are just 12 of many myths that are portrayed as fact in the media concerning the Jena cases. (A more thorough review of all events can be found at – click on Chronological Order of Events.)

As with the Duke Lacrosse case, the truth about Jena will eventually be known. But the town of Jena isn't expecting any apologies from the media. They will probably never admit their error and have already moved on to the next "big" story. Meanwhile in Jena, residents are getting back to their regular routines, where friends are friends regardless of race. Just as it has been all along.

Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week

An Urgent MessageFrom the Desk of David Horowitz

Dear Newsmax Member,

Even before our Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week began, we were being attacked by radical leftists with a fake flyer at George Washington University- a deceitful hoax that was revealed in the Washington Post and on Fox News.

And now during the week we're seeing our opponents mount new attacks, threats and intimidation daily. They want to kill this event because they knew know that awareness about Islamo Fascism means the end of their homicidal enterprise. I'm asking for your help to keep them from succeeding.

For Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week we've organized events on well over 100 campuses across the country. Our campus coordinators - brave young men and women willing to go up against the radical left to get the truth to their fellow students - are working night and day against incredible odds to make the Week a success.

Our goal is to give our enemy the name it deserves- Islamo Fascism; to lay bare the unholy alliance between American leftists and our enemies in the war on terror; and to create a national movement that will call it what it is and stand up to it.

We've had dramatic results so far. At Tulane University on Monday, some 1,500 people turned out to hear Ann Coulter. It took 15 police officers and Ann's personal security to keep the crowd at bay.

Robert Spencer faced a rowdy crowd at De Paul, courageous Arab-American intellectual Nonie Darwish was confronted by a militant communist group at UC Berkeley. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison I shocked even the protesters with a large poster of a Muslim woman on her knees being shot in the back of the head for some real or imagined insult to fundamentalism.

But the most hostile crowd so far was at my Emory University appearance last night, where protesters became so disruptive that the police were called in to escort me off the stage only a half hour into my speech.

Unless the left succeeds in silencing us, Islamo Fascism Awareness Week will be the largest demonstration ever staged by conservatives on American college campuses. By the end of the week, over 30 speakers such as Coulter, Spencer and former Sen. Rick Santorum will have appeared on campuses across the country- from UC Berkeley to Columbia; from Emory to Penn State.

But the opposition is building, both in its intensity and its potential for violence. (I have been forced to provide bodyguards for all our speakers and the campus police have been on high alert at every school where they have appeared).

The entire political left, from the Revolutionary Communist Party to the Young Democrats, is up in arms against us. Campus Progress, a part of the George Soros-Hillary Clinton operation, has put up a "kit" for attacking Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. The violent extreme left is thus urged on with a wink and a nod by the "moderate" left.

They are joined by the whole array of Muslim groups: CAIR, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Muslim American Society, the Muslim Students Association and the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Council - groups who claim to oppose Muslim terrorism, but when the opportunity arises to join us in exposing it, find themselves on the side that defends jihad rather than on the side that defends Muslim women, homosexuals and "infidels" from the homicidal violence of Islamo fascists.

In the process of organizing Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week we have discovered hundreds of courageous students who organized the events on their campuses in the face of constant attacks not only by fellow students but by professors and administrators who control their academic future. We are working with a new generation of conservative young people who will actually believe the War on Terror is worth fighting and their country worth defending, despite the left’s best efforts to intimidate them.

I write you now to ask you to support these brave students and the new, pro-American and anti-jihad movement they are creating. I write also to ask you to help me keep Islamo Fascism Awareness Week from being derailed by the left’s violence and intimidation.

This must be a permanent campaign - to help these young people continue the awareness campaign . . . to organize on more campuses... to make sure that the left does not silence what some are already calling one of the most important public information campaigns of our era- to publicize the message about Islamo Fascism beyond the campuses, to the American people at large. Follow this link to make a secure, online donation today.

No contribution you’ve ever given before will have such a dramatic effect as what you give now. Every dollar you pledge will help us to keep building awareness about the Islamo fascists who wish us dead and our country crippled. This is our chance to strike back at them and to build a movement that will deny them an intellectual haven on America's college campuses.

Finally, we are waking up Americans to the real nature and seriousness of the threat against us. We must continue to build on our success, and we can't do it without your help. Please give whatever you can afford today.

My Sincere Thanks,

David Horowitz President & Founder

P.S. Our speakers are under even more threat than we anticipated. In addition to the funds we need to continue the campaign, we need your immediate financial help to hire additional security for the ongoing events of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. I will be hugely grateful for anything you can give. It is important the people threatening those who speak out against Islamo-Fascism are sent the message that we will not be stopped!

Not a Noose in Sight!

Racial ‘Cleansing’ in L.A.

Federal prosecutors say a powerful Latino gang systematically targeted rival black gang members and innocent black civilians in a reign of terror.

By Andrew Murr

Newsweek Web Exclusive
Updated: 3:10 PM ET Oct 24, 2007

A south Los Angeles Latino street gang targeted African-American gang rivals and other blacks in a campaign of neighborhood "cleansing," federal prosecutors say. Alleged leaders and foot soldiers in the Hispanic gang Florencia 13, also called F13, are being arraigned this week on charges stemming from a pair of federal indictments that allege that the gang kept a tight grip on its turf by shooting members of a rival gang—and sometimes random black civilians. The "most disturbing aspect" of the federal charges was that "innocent citizens … ended up being shot simply because of the color of their skin," U.S. Attorney Thomas O'Brien told reporters in announcing the indictments.

No one is sure what started the war between F13 and the black gang known as the East Coast Crips in the Florence-Firestone area of unincorporated L.A. County. Simple neighborhood demographic shifts played a role, as formerly black areas have become majority-Latino. The two gangs are also rivals in the lucrative drug trade. Much of the F13 indictments lay out a conspiracy alleging that gang members controlled drug houses where they sold large amounts of cocaine, crack and methamphetamine. Some say the killings began after the Crips pulled a large drug heist against F13 several years ago. Whatever the causes, L.A. Sheriff's Department statistics chart the war's violent toll: 80 gang-related shootings in the past three years, including 20 murders.

The federal charges name 61 alleged F13 members in two indictments. The gang-violence charges came in a 53-count RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) indictment against 24 alleged gang leaders, charging them in a conspiracy to sell drugs, possess weapons illegally, and assault and kill black gang members and civilians. In the second indictment prosecutors charged the rest of the men on federal drug-distribution charges. More than 40 of the defendants pleaded not guilty at arraignments Tuesday, according to prosecutors. Michael Khouri, an attorney for Luis Aguilar, 35, says his client left the gang "several years ago" and served recently as a gang negotiator. "Mr. Aguilar will plead not guilty, and he is not guilty," says Khouri. Fifteen of the accused remain fugitives.

The indictments provide a telling snapshot of the changing nature of gangs in south L.A. According to federal prosecutors, F13 has grown into a tightly controlled gang of 2,000 members in 30 cliques led by convicts and parolees who are members of the prison-based Mexican mafia. It's a far cry from the '80s, when the black drug gangs, including the Crips and the Bloods, predominated, mining the crack epidemic with ruthless efficiency. Compared with looser Latino gangs that were seen as turf-conscious fighters, the black gangs were organized and disciplined. "The stereotype was that [the black gangs] were all about the [drug] business," says gang researcher Cheryl Maxson, an associate professor of criminology at University of California, Irvine. With the black gangs, "there was a millionaire in every neighborhood" perched at the top of the crack distribution pyramid, adds gang expert Alex Alonso, who edits

Now it's the Latino drug gangs that seem tighter and more highly controlled. "The Hispanic gangs like F13 were incredibly regulated, from the street level to the leadership in the prisons," says Olivia Rosales, a hard-core gangs prosecutor for the L.A. district attorney's office who prosecuted F13 and Crips homicide cases for two years. She now heads one of the DA's satellite offices. "The East Coast Crips weren't as organized."

Top-down organization in F13 aided the assaults on black gangsters. The federal indictments charge that Mexican mafia leaders "make sure that all the F13 cliques were participating in the assaults of African-American rival gang members." But the assaults went beyond rival gangs; they "target[ed] African-American individuals for assault," according to the indictment. Gang leaders even allegedly instructed foot soldiers in how to hunt blacks in the most efficient manner, the feds maintain. A wiretap cited in the RICO indictment reveals that one gang leader allegedly told an underling that "when he went looking for African-Americans to shoot, only a driver and a shooter were needed."

The targeting of blacks by the Latino F13 appears to be an anomaly; experts say the majority of gang violence still involves a gang member and a victim of the same race. "On average, the violence just isn't race-based," says UC Irvine criminologist George Tita. "Our studies show there's no pattern of black-brown crime." Between 2000 and 2006 black offenders in south Los Angeles were more than seven times more likely to kill black victims, according to a study recently published by Tita and colleagues; Hispanic killers targeted fellow Hispanics twice as often.

But clearly race was a motivating factor for the F13 gang. In one case in the indictment, two Florencia gang members came upon a black couple on Florence Boulevard in September 2005. One shouted "F— Cheese Toast" (a derogatory name for the East Coast Crips) and ordered the other to shoot the pair. (The feds say the couple weren't affiliated with any gang.) Instead they stole the woman's purse, Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Hernandez, the case's lead prosecutor, tells NEWSWEEK. An unnamed black victim at a bus stop the month before hadn't been so lucky, Hernandez says. F13 members shot him "three or four times, but he survived."

The F13 indictment marks the third high-profile Latino gang charged with attacking blacks in the past two years. Last year federal prosecutors won life sentences against four members of the Latino Avenues gang for civil rights violations of blacks they had murdered simply for moving into the gang's Highland Park turf. State prosecutors say the Latino 204th Street gang targeted African-Americans not affiliated with gangs, writing graffiti such as "187 N———" (187 is shorthand for "kill"; it's the California penal code section number for homicide). Two 204th Street members face an upcoming trial on state murder charges for the slaying of 14-year-old Cheryl Green, a black teen killed on the street last December.

For all the evidence of race-based targeting of victims, federal prosecutors haven't filed civil rights charges against F13 members, though Hernandez says the idea remains under investigation in the ongoing case. (Hernandez explains that the charges are difficult to prove and wouldn't increase prison time for those convicted of the other charges, anyway.)

But law enforcement officials say the F13 members—and the Crips—frequently targeted victims based on race. "The way it came out was that any young black man could be the target of [F13] and any young Hispanic man was the target of the [black gang]," says Rosales. "All they see is race."

L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca tells NEWSWEEK that early wiretaps in the case recorded phone calls in which a senior F13 member ordered a young gang "soldier" to kill a particular East Coast Crip. But when "the soldier called back to say he couldn't find the [Crip], the gang leader told him to shoot any black," Baca says. "I disagree that it wasn't a hate crime." In response to the gang war, Baca flooded the Florence-Firestone neighborhood with deputies in 2005, after the area had suffered 41 murders. Last year the number dropped to 19.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Facing the Islamist Menace

Facing the Islamist Menace
Christopher Hitchens

Mark Steyn’s new book is a welcome wake-up call.

In the prologue to his new book, America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, Mark Steyn sarcastically alludes to two people whom, in different ways, I know well. The first is novelist Martin Amis, ridiculed by Steyn for worrying about environmental apocalypse when the threat to civilization is obviously Islamism; the second is Jack Straw, formerly Tony Blair’s foreign secretary, mocked for the soft and conciliatory line he took over the affair of the Danish cartoons.

The dazzling fiction writer and the pedestrian social-democratic politician are for Steyn dual exemplars of his book’s main concern: the general apathy and surrender of the West in the face of a determined assault from a religious ideology, or an ideological religion, afflicted by no sickly doubt about what it wants or by any scruples about how to get it.

I might quibble about Steyn’s assessment—Amis has written brilliantly about Mohammed Atta’s death cult, for example, while Jack Straw made one of the best presentations to the UN of the case for liberating Iraq. But it’s more useful to point out two things that have happened between the writing of this admirably tough-minded book and its publication. Jack Straw, now the leader of the House of Commons, made a speech in his northern English constituency in October, in which he said that he could no longer tolerate Muslim women who came to his office wearing veils. The speech catalyzed a long-postponed debate not just on the veil but on the refusal of assimilation that it symbolizes. It seems to have swung the Labour Party into a much firmer position against what I call one-way multiculturalism. Prime Minister Tony Blair confirmed the shift with a December speech emphasizing the “duty” of immigrants to assimilate to British values.

And Martin Amis, speaking to the London Times, had this to say:

There’s a definite urge—don’t you have it?—to say, “The Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order.” What sort of suffering? Not letting them travel. Deportation—further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like they’re from the Middle East or from Pakistan. . . . Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children. . . . They hate us for letting our children have sex and take drugs—well, they’ve got to stop their children killing people.

I know both of these men to be profoundly humanistic and open-minded. Straw has defended the rights of immigrants all his life and loyally represents a constituency with a large Asian population. Amis has rebuked me several times in print for supporting the intervention in Iraq, the casualties of which have become horrifying to him. Even five years ago, it would have been unthinkable to picture either man making critical comments about Islamic dress, let alone using terms such as “deportation.” Mark Steyn’s book is essentially a challenge to the bien-pensants among us: an insistence that we recognize an extraordinary threat and thus the possible need for extraordinary responses. He need not pose as if he were the only one with the courage to think in this way.

The most alarming sentences that I have read in a long time came from the pen of my fellow atheist Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith, at the end of a September Los Angeles Times column upbraiding American liberals for their masochistic attitude toward Islamist totalitarianism. Harris concluded:

The same failure of liberalism is evident in Western Europe, where the dogma of multiculturalism has left a secular Europe very slow to address the looming problem of religious extremism among its immigrants. The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists. To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: It does not bode well for the future of civilization [italics mine].
As Martin Amis said in the essay that prompted Steyn’s contempt: “What is one to do with thoughts like these?” How does one respond, in other words, when an enemy challenges not just your cherished values but additionally forces you to examine the very assumptions that have heretofore seemed to underpin those values?

Two things, in my experience, disable many liberals at the onset of this conversation. First, they cannot shake their subliminal identification of the Muslim religion with the wretched of the earth: the black- and brown-skinned denizens of what we once called the “Third World.” You can see this identification in the way that the Palestinians (about 20 percent of whom were Christian until their numbers began to decline) have become an “Islamic” cause and in the amazing ignorance that most leftists display about India, a multiethnic secular democracy under attack from al-Qaida and its surrogates long before the United States was. And you can see it, too, in the stupid neologism “Islamophobia,” which aims to promote criticism of Islam to the gallery of special offenses associated with racism.

The second liberal disability concerns numbers. Any emphasis on the relative birthrates of Muslim and non-Muslim populations falls on the liberal ear like an echo of eugenics. It also upsets one of the most valued achievements of the liberal consensus: the right if not indeed the duty to limit family size to (at most) two children. It was all very well, from this fatuously self-satisfied perspective, for Paul Ehrlich to warn about the human “population bomb” as a whole, just as it is all very well for some “Green” forces to take a neo-Malthusian attitude toward human reproduction in general. But in the liberal mind, to concentrate on the fertility of any one group is to flirt with Nuremberg laws. The same goes for “racial profiling,” even when it’s directed at the adherents of an often ideological religion rather than an ethnic group. The Islamists, meanwhile, have staked everything on fecundity.

Mark Steyn believes that demography is destiny, and he makes an immensely convincing case. He stations himself at the intersection of two curves. The downward one is the population of developed Europe and Japan, which has slipped or is slipping below what demographers call “replacement,” rapidly producing a situation where the old will far outnumber the young. The upward curve, or curves, represent the much higher birthrate in the Islamic world and among Muslim immigrants to Western societies. Anticipating Harris in a way, Steyn writes:

Why did Bosnia collapse into the worst slaughter in Europe since World War Two? In the thirty years before the meltdown, Bosnian Serbs had declined from 43 percent to 31 percent of the population, while Bosnian Muslims had increased from 26 percent to 44 percent. In a democratic age, you can’t buck demography—except through civil war. The Serbs figured that out—as other Continentals will in the years ahead: if you can’t outbreed the enemy, cull ’em. The problem that Europe faces is that Bosnia’s demographic profile is now the model for the entire continent.
This is a highly reductionist view of the origin and nature of the Bosnian war—it would not account, for example, for Croatian irredentism. But paranoia about population did mutate into Serbian xenophobia and fascism, and a similar consciousness does animate movements like the British National Party and Le Pen’s Front Nationale. (Demographic considerations do not appear to explain the continued addiction of these and similar parties to anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism.)

Nor can there be much doubt that the awareness of demography as a potential weapon originates with the Islamists themselves. Anybody who, like me, has publicly criticized Islamism gets used to the accusation that he has “insulted a billion Muslims.” A vague but definite threat underlies this absurd charge, and in parts of Europe it already intimidates politicians. Gilles Kepel, the French scholar of Islam, once told me that when he lectures in North Africa his listeners often ask how many Muslims live in France. If he replies that he believes the official figures to be mostly correct, scornful laughter erupts. The true figure, his listeners say, is much higher. France is on its way to becoming part of the dar-al-Islam. It is leaving the dar-al-Harb (“House of War”), but without a fight. Steyn has no difficulty producing equally minatory public statements from Islamist triumphalists. And, because his argument is exponential, it creates an impression of something unstoppable.

Yet Steyn makes the same mistake as did the late Oriana Fallaci: considering European Muslim populations as one. Islam is as fissile as any other religion (as Iraq reminds us). Little binds a Somali to a Turk or an Iranian or an Algerian, and considerable friction exists among immigrant Muslim groups in many European countries. Moreover, many Muslims actually have come to Europe for the advertised purposes—seeking asylum and to build a better life. A young Afghan man, murdered in the assault on the London subway system in July 2005, had fled to England from the Taliban, which had murdered most of his family. Muslim women often demand the protection of the authorities against forced marriage and other cruelties. These are all points of difference, and also of possible resistance to Euro-sharia.

The main problem in Europe in this context is that many deracinated young Muslim men, inflamed by Internet propaganda from Chechnya or Iraq and aware of their own distance from “the struggle,” now regard the jihadist version of their religion as the “authentic” one. Compounding the problem, Europe’s multicultural authorities, many of its welfare agencies, and many of its churches treat the most militant Muslims as the minority’s “real” spokesmen. As Kenan Malik and others have pointed out in the case of Britain, this mind-set cuts the ground from under the feet of secular Muslims, encouraging the sensation that many in the non-Muslim Establishment have a kind of death wish.

Steyn cannot seem to make up his mind about the defense of secularism in this struggle. He regards Christianity as a bulwark of civilization and a possible insurance against Islamism. But he cannot resist pointing out that most of the Christian churches have collapsed into compromise: choosing to speak of Muslims as another “faith community,” agreeing with them on the need for confessional-based schooling, and reserving their real condemnation for American policies in the war against terrorism.
This is not to deny Steyn’s salient point that demography and cultural masochism, especially in combination, are handing a bloodless victory to the forces of Islamization. His gift for the illustrative anecdote and the revealing quotation is evident, and if more people have woken up to the Islamist menace since he began writing about it, then the credit is partly his. Muslims in one part of England demand the demolition of an ancient statue of a wild boar, and in another part of England make plots to blow up airports, buses, and subway trains. The two threats are not identical. But they are connected, and Steyn attempts to tease out the filiations with the saving tactic of wit.

I still think—or should I say hope?—that the sheer operatic insanity of September 11 set back the Islamist project of a “soft” conquest of host countries, Muslim countries included. Up until 9/11, the Talibanization of Pakistan—including the placement of al-Qaida sympathizers within its nuclear program—proceeded fairly smoothly. Official Pakistani support for Muslim gangsters operating in Afghanistan, Kashmir, and India went relatively unpunished. Saudi funds discreetly advanced the Wahhabist program, through madrassa-building and a network of Islamic banking, across the globe. In the West, Muslim demands for greater recognition and special treatment had become an accepted part of the politically correct agenda. Some denounced me as cynical for saying at the time that Osama bin Laden had done us a favor by disclosing the nature and urgency of the Islamist threat, but I still think I was right. Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have had to trim their sails a bit. The Taliban will at least never be able to retake power by stealth or as a result of our inattention. Millions have become aware of the danger—including millions of Shi’a Muslims who now see the ideology of bin Laden and Zarqawi as a menace to their survival. Groups and cells that might have gotten away with murder have wound up unmasked and shut down, from Berlin to Casablanca.

Of course, these have not been the only consequences of September 11 and its aftermath. Islamist suicide-terrorism has mutated into new shapes and adopted fresh grievances as a result of the mobilization against it. Liberalism has found even more convoluted means of blaming itself for the attack upon it. But at least the long period of somnambulism is over, and the opportunity now exists for antibodies to form against the infection.

Steyn ends his book with a somewhat slapdash ten-point program for resistance to Islamism, which includes offhand one-line items such as “End the Iranian regime” and more elaborate proposals to get rid of the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Authority, and (for some reason) NATO. His tenth point (“Strike militarily when the opportunity presents itself”) is barely even a makeweight to bring the figure up to ten.

Steyn is much more definite about the cultural side of his argument, in other words, than about the counterterrorist dimension. If I wanted to sharpen both prongs of his thesis, I would also propose the following:

1. An end to one-way multiculturalism and to the cultural masochism that goes with it. The Koran does not mandate the wearing of veils or genital mutilation, and until recently only those who apostasized from Islam faced the threat of punishment by death. Now, though, all manner of antisocial practices find themselves validated in the name of religion, and mullahs have begun to issue threats even against non-Muslims for criticism of Islam. This creeping Islamism must cease at once, and those responsible must feel the full weight of the law. Meanwhile, we should insist on reciprocity at all times. We should not allow a single Saudi dollar to pay for propaganda within the U.S., for example, until Saudi Arabia also permits Jewish and Christian and secular practices. No Wahhabi-printed Korans anywhere in our prison system. No Salafist imams in our armed forces.

2. A strong, open alliance with India on all fronts, from the military to the political and economic, backed by an extensive cultural exchange program, to demonstrate solidarity with the other great multiethnic democracy under attack from Muslim fascism. A hugely enlarged quota for qualified Indian immigrants and a reduction in quotas from Pakistan and other nations where fundamentalism dominates.

3. A similarly forward approach to Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the other countries of Western Africa that are under attack by jihadists and are also the location of vast potential oil reserves, whose proper development could help emancipate the local populations from poverty and ourselves from dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

4. A declaration at the UN of our solidarity with the right of the Kurdish people of Iraq and elsewhere to self-determination as well as a further declaration by Congress that in no circumstance will Muslim forces who have fought on our side, from the Kurds to the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, find themselves friendless, unarmed, or abandoned. Partition in Iraq would be defeat under another name (and as with past partitions, would lead to yet further partitions and micro-wars over these very subdivisions). But if it has to come, we cannot even consider abandoning the one part of the country that did seize the opportunity of modernization, development, and democracy.

5. Energetic support for all the opposition forces in Iran and in the Iranian diaspora. A public offer from the United States, disseminated widely in the Persian language, of help for a reformed Iran on all matters, including peaceful nuclear energy, and of assistance in protecting Iran from the catastrophic earthquake that seismologists predict in its immediate future. Millions of lives might be lost in a few moments, and we would also have to worry about the fate of secret underground nuclear facilities. When a quake leveled the Iranian city of Bam three years ago, the performance of American rescue teams was so impressive that their popularity embarrassed the regime. Iran’s neighbors would need to pay attention, too:

a crisis in Iran’s nuclear underground facilities—an Iranian Chernobyl—would not be an internal affair. These concerns might help shift the currently ossified terms of the argument and put us again on the side of an internal reform movement within Iran and its large and talented diaspora.

6. Unconditional solidarity, backed with force and the relevant UN resolutions, with an independent and multi-confessional Lebanon.

7. A commitment to buy Afghanistan’s opium crop and to keep the profits out of the hands of the warlords and Talibanists, until such time as the country’s agriculture— especially its once-famous vines—has been replanted and restored. We can use the product in the interim for the manufacture of much-needed analgesics for our own market and apply the profits to the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

8. We should, of course, be scrupulous on principle about stirring up interethnic tensions. But we should remind those states that are less scrupulous—Iran, Pakistan, and Syria swiftly come to mind—that we know that they, too, have restless minorities and that they should not make trouble in Afghanistan, Lebanon, or Iraq without bearing this in mind. Some years ago, the Pakistani government announced that it would break the international embargo on the unrecognized and illegal Turkish separatist state in Cyprus and would appoint an ambassador to it, out of “Islamic solidarity.” Cyprus is a small democracy with no armed forces to speak of, but its then–foreign minister told me the following story. He sought a meeting with the Pakistani authorities and told them privately that if they recognized the breakaway Turkish colony, his government would immediately supply funds and arms to one of the secessionist movements—such as the Baluchis—within Pakistan itself. Pakistan never appointed an ambassador to Turkish Cyprus.

When I read Sam Harris’s irresponsible remark that only fascists seemed to have the right line, I murmured to myself: “Not while I’m alive, they won’t.” Nor do I wish to concede that Serbo-fascist ethnic cleansing can appear more rational in retrospect than it did at the time. The Islamist threat itself may be crude, but this is an intricate cultural and political challenge that will absorb all of our energies for the rest of our lives:

we are all responsible for doing our utmost as citizens as well as for demanding more imagination from our leaders.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Enough Rope

Ann Coulter


Liberals are so invigorated by the story about a noose being found on an obscure Columbia University professor's door that now nooses are popping up all over New York City. Liberals love to make believe the Night Riders are constantly at their doors.

I'll be shocked by a noose appearing on a college campus the day an actual racist does it. Could Columbia at least produce one student or professor who supports racism before holding another "rally against racism"? Every concrete example of the racism allegedly sweeping the nation's campuses keeps turning out to be a fraud. Far from "institutional racism," there is "institutional racial hoaxism" run amok in this country. Will anyone rally against that?

Out of legions, here are just a few hoax hate crimes on college campuses.

-- In 1997, at Duke University, a black doll was found hanging by a noose from a tree at the precise spot where the Black Student Alliance was to be holding a rally against racism. Two black students later admitted they were the culprits and were immediately praised for bringing attention to the problem of racism on campus. Indeed, four years later the president of Duke gave a baccalaureate address nostalgically describing the hoax as a "protest" against racism. Next stop: the Nobel Peace Prize.

-- In 2003, vile racial epithets were scrawled on the dorm room doors at Ole Miss, producing mass protests and a "Say No to Racism" march. And then it turned out the graffiti had been written by black students, against whom no charges were brought. A "Say Yes to Racism" rally at Ole Miss was later canceled due to lack of interest.

-- In 2005, obscenity-laced racist and anti-Semitic messages appeared on dormitory walls at the College of Wooster in Ohio. The fliers were instantly blamed on "typical white males," even though all the letter I's in the epithets were dotted with little hearts. Breadcrumbs left by the culprits included the message "Vote Goldwater" among the obscenities. The matter was dropped and flushed down the memory hole when the perpetrators turned out to be a group of leftist students led by a black studies major.

-- Just this year, anti-Muslim fliers were put out on the George Washington University campus -- by leftists, including a member of "Iraq Veterans Against War." When it was thought the leaflets were from the conservative group Young Americans For Freedom, the dean called for the expulsion of the culprits and the university demanded that YAF officers sign a statement disavowing "hate speech." But when it turned out leftists had distributed the fliers, the matter was dropped faster than Larry Craig was dropped from Mitt Romney's campaign.

The one real example of racism on a college campus in recent memory was perpetrated against white men of the Duke lacrosse team. As that injustice was being perpetrated, gender and ethnic professors at Duke kept droning on about the "racism and sexism" students "live with every day" -- as the professors put it in an open letter that falsely presumed the players were guilty of rape. We don't expect a rally against the prejudiced professors, but an apology might be nice.

Playing the game of He Who Is Offended First Wins, Americans seek status not by claiming to be rich or of royal lineage, but by portraying themselves as victims. In one recent hoax hate crime, a white woman professor at Claremont McKenna College said her car had been vandalized with racist and anti-Semitic graffiti, with the words "Shut Up!" spray-painted on the hood of her car. She was not black or Jewish, but had recently converted to Judaism and spoke out against racism. So she was a victim! After the vandalism of her car, she promptly became Queen for a Day. Far from "silenced," this anonymous mountebank was given a national microphone to bore us with her race-gender-culture theories. The campus was shut down for a day for anti-racism rallies in the charlatan's honor. Then eyewitnesses identified her as the one who had spray-painted her own car, and the pity party was over.

These liberal racism-hunters are like dirty old men who spend their days poring through pornography in order to better denounce it -- but enough about the Warren court. Assuming against all reason and experience that the Columbia noose is not another hoax by a high-status victim, how is it that a pimply adolescent can cause such tumult in liberal New York City?

Liberals claim to believe the Klan has established a beachhead at Columbia University, Bill O'Reilly is head of the Manhattan branch, Rush Limbaugh despises the troops, I'm planning a pogrom from the heart of Manhattan, and George Bush is establishing fascism in America.

Some anonymous liberal hag on Air America Radio, which no one knew was still on the air, fell down outside her Park Avenue apartment this week, and her liberal colleagues were claiming it was Kristallnacht.

If it rains after a liberal washes his car, they say it's a right-wing dirty trick. Liberals love nothing more than these constant self-righteous-athons -- as if they would ever have the courage to stand up for any cause not universally supported by everyone around them.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007




October 10, 2007 -- NOTHING gets a journalist's attention like a subpoena. While authoritarian regimes silence critics by murdering or jailing them, journalists (and other critics) in the United States face gentler, but still effective, intimidation: libel lawsuits.

Over the last few years, radical Islamists have tried silencing reporters, scholars and citizens by suing them for defamation, often successfully. But recent legal cases in California, Massachusetts and Minnesota suggest that the tactic may finally be backfiring, at least in the United States, if not in Britain, where libel laws overwhelmingly favor plaintiffs. The American lawsuits' outcomes represent victories for the free expression and public participation that the First Amendment guarantees.

The latest victory came in August, when an Islamic charity, KinderUSA, and its board chairman, Laila Al-Marayati, dropped the libel suit they had filed in April in California state court against former Treasury Department official Matthew Levitt, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (which now employs him) and Yale University Press.

In 2006, Yale published Le- vitt's book on Hamas, which Washington says supports terrorism. Levitt never mentioned Al-Marayati in his book, but he did assert that KinderUSA, founded to raise money for Palestinian children, had ties to terrorist groups.

Al-Marayati and KinderUSA charged that Levitt had made "false and damaging" charges that caused "irreparable harm to its reputation," and they sought at least $500,000 in damages, a public retraction and a halt to the book's distribution. But Levitt and his co-defendants stood by his claims.

In June, they filed a motion against the charity and its chairman, seeking to quash the libel suit and demanding that they pay all legal fees. They cited a California law that bans "SLAPP" - or "strategic litigation against public participation" - suits, which aim not at winning in court, but at intimidating into silence a group or a publication raising issues of public concern.

Less than six weeks later, Al-Marayati and KinderUSA dropped the suit. Todd Gallinger, who represented the plaintiffs, insisted that the charity had sued not to intimidate or silence Levitt, but rather to force him to correct charges that it still considers libelous.

"They were trying to suppress the charity's legitimate activities," he said. But Kin- derUSA underestimated the costs involved, he acknow- ledged, and the plaintiffs' anti-SLAPP motion was a factor in its decision to drop the suit.

Levitt's case isn't unique. Last May, the Islamic Society of Boston dropped its suit against the Boston Herald, a local Fox news channel, journalist Steven Emerson and 14 others. The society had accused the defendants of libel and of infringing its civil rights by claiming that it had given money to terrorist organizations, received funding from Saudi Arabia and bought land for a mosque below market value from the city of Boston.

Though Massachusetts's anti-SLAPP law does not cover media companies, 10 of the non-media defendants filed a motion to quash the society's suit. When a state judge rejected their motion, a legal discovery process commenced while the defendants appealed.

Bank records and other documents revealed that, contrary to its claims, the society had raised over $7 million from Saudi and other Middle Eastern sources and had funded two groups that the Bush administration has designated terrorist entities: the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development; and the Benevolence International Foundation. Records also showed that society directors had deleted all e-mails about the society's land purchase.

Finally, discovery revealed that the deputy director of the Boston city agency in charge of negotiating the land deal not only was a society member whom it had paid to raise money in the Middle East, but also secretly advised the group about obtaining the land cheaply - a clear conflict of interest. On May 29, soon after the state appellate court heard arguments on the anti-SLAPP appeal, the society abandoned the suit.

In Minnesota, a third lawsuit didn't involve journalists or SLAPP statutes, but it did threaten citizens' right to petition or warn the government on public safety issues. It also prompted Congress to protect people retroactively who report suspicious behavior.

The defendants were anonymous citizens whose complaints about what they considered suspicious behavior by six Muslim imams on a flight in late 2006 led US Airways to remove them from the plane. In a 2007 federal lawsuit claiming discrimination, the imams sued US Airways, the Minneapolis airport and several of the passengers who had complained.
But in August 2007, the "flying imams" dropped all claims against the passengers after Congress approved legislation to protect passengers from retaliatory lawsuits for reporting potentially terror-related activity. Under the measure, as in an anti-SLAPP law, if the plaintiffs can't prove that a passenger lied in his complaint to the government, they can be held responsible for all court and legal fees.

"The imams saw the handwriting on the wall," said Rep. Peter King (R-L.I.), who promoted the bill.

However intimidating and expensive defamation lawsuits remain in America, the challenge is far greater in Britain, where journalists must prove that their allegations are true.

Rachel Ehrenfeld, a New York-based terrorism researcher and the author of "Funding Evil," is among more than 30 writers and publishers whom Saudi billionaire Khaled bin Mahfouz sued for libel in England for accusing him of ties to terrorist groups, a charge he denies. But rather than give him the apology, retraction and $225,000 in fees that a British court ordered, Ehrenfeld fought back.

In 2004, she countersued bin Mahfouz in New York, asking the federal court here to declare the judgment against her unenforceable in America and contrary to the First Amendment protections that Americans enjoy.

But bin Mahfouz no longer needs to sue to intimidate his critics. After he merely threatened Cambridge University Press with a libel suit this spring, the prestigious publisher apologized on its Web site, paid his legal costs and unspecified damages and stopped distributing "Alms for Jihad," a book that outlines bin Mahfouz's alleged financial support for terrorism. Cambridge also asked libraries throughout the world to remove the book from their shelves.

On its Web site, Cambridge states that "under English libel laws, we simply did not have a defensible case." A court victory for Ehrenfeld, and more anti-SLAPP statutes - only some 20 states have enacted such laws - would help curb the pernicious "libel tourism" so inimical to the free flow of information on which an informed citizenry and effective counterterrorism depend.

Ayn Rand -- Capitalist Heroics

Capitalist Heroes

By DAVID KELLEYOctober 10, 2007

Fifty years ago today Ayn Rand published her magnum opus, "Atlas Shrugged." It's an enduringly popular novel -- all 1,168 pages of it -- with some 150,000 new copies still sold each year in bookstores alone. And it's always had a special appeal for people in business. The reasons, at least on the surface, are obvious enough.

Businessmen are favorite villains in popular media, routinely featured as polluters, crooks and murderers in network TV dramas and first-run movies, not to mention novels. Oil company CEOs are hauled before congressional committees whenever fuel prices rise, to be harangued and publicly shamed for the sin of high profits. Genuine cases of wrongdoing like Enron set off witch hunts that drag in prominent achievers like Frank Quattrone and Martha Stewart.
By contrast, the heroes in "Atlas Shrugged" are businessmen -- and women. Rand imbues them with heroic, larger-than-life stature in the Romantic mold, for their courage, integrity and ability to create wealth. They are not the exploiters but the exploited: victims of parasites and predators who want to wrap the producers in regulatory chains and expropriate their wealth.
Rand's perspective is a welcome relief to people who more often see themselves portrayed as the bad guys, and so it is no wonder it has such enthusiastic fans in the upper echelons of business as Ed Snider (Comcast Spectacor, Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers), Fred Smith (Federal Express), John Mackey (Whole Foods), John A. Allison (BB&T), and Kevin O'Connor (DoubleClick) -- not to mention thousands of others who pursue careers at every level in the private sector.

Yet the deeper reasons why the novel has proved so enduringly popular have to do with Rand's moral defense of business and capitalism. Rejecting the centuries-old, and still conventional, piety that production and trade are just "materialistic," she eloquently portrayed the spiritual heart of wealth creation through the lives of the characters now well known to many millions of readers.

Hank Rearden, the innovator resented and opposed by the others in his field, has not created a new type of music, like Mozart; rather he struggled for 10 years to perfect a revolutionary metal alloy that he hoped would make him a great deal of money. Dagny Taggart is a gifted and courageous woman who leads a campaign -- not to defend France from England on the battlefield, like Joan of Arc -- but to manage a transcontinental railroad and, against impossible odds, to build a new branch line critical for the survival of her corporation. Francisco d'Anconia, the enormously talented heir to an international copper company, poses as an idle, worthless playboy to cover up his secret operations -- not to rescue people from the French Revolution, like the Scarlet Pimpernel -- but to rescue industrialists from exploitation by ruthless Washington kleptocrats.

Economists have known for a long time that profits are an external measure of the value created by business enterprise. Rand portrayed the process of creating value from the inside, in the heroes' vision and courage, their rational exuberance in meeting the challenges of production. Her point was stated by one of the minor characters of "Atlas," a musical composer: "Whether it's a symphony or a coal mine, all work is an act of creating and comes from the same source: from an inviolate capacity to see through one's own eyes. . . . That shining vision which they talk about as belonging to the authors of symphonies and novels -- what do they think is the driving faculty of men who discovered how to use oil, how to run a mine, how to build an electric motor?"

As for the charge, from egalitarian left and religious right alike, that the profit motive is selfish, Rand agreed. She was notorious as the advocate of "the virtue of selfishness," as she titled a later work. Her moral defense of the pursuit of self-interest, and her critique of self-sacrifice as a moral standard, is at the heart of the novel. At the same time, she provides a scathing portrait of what she calls "the aristocracy of pull": businessmen who scheme, lie and bribe to win favors from government.

Economists have also known for a long time that trade is a positive sum game, yet most defenders of capitalism still wrestle with the "paradox" posed in the 18th century by Adam Ferguson and Adam Smith: how private vice can produce public good, how the pursuit of self-interest yields benefits for all. Rand cut that Gordian knot in the novel by denying that the pursuit of self-interest is a vice. Precisely because trade is not a zero-sum game, Rand challenges the age-old moral view that one must be either a giver or a taker.

The central action of "Atlas" is the strike of the producers, their withdrawal from a society that depends on them to sustain itself and yet denounces them as morally inferior. Very well, says their leader, John Galt, we will not burden you further with what you see as our immoral and exploitative actions. The strike is of course a literary device; Rand herself described it as "a fantastic premise." But it has a real and vital implication.

While it is true enough that free production and exchange serve "the public interest" (if that phrase has any real meaning), Rand argues that capitalism cannot be defended primarily on that ground. Capitalism is inherently a system of individualism, a system that regards every individual as an end in himself. That includes the right to live for himself, a right that does not depend on benefits to others, not even the mutual benefits that occur in trade.

This is the lesson that most people in business have yet to learn from "Atlas," no matter how much they may love its portrayal of the passion and the glory possible in business enterprise. At a crucial point in the novel, the industrialist Hank Rearden is on trial for violating an arbitrary economic regulation. Instead of apologizing for his pursuit of profit or seeking mercy on the basis of philanthropy, he says, "I work for nothing but my own profit -- which I make by selling a product they need to men who are willing and able to buy it. I do not produce it for their benefit at the expense of mine, and they do not buy it for my benefit at the expense of theirs; I do not sacrifice my interests to them nor do they sacrifice theirs to me; we deal as equals by mutual consent to mutual advantage -- and I am proud of every penny that I have earned in this manner…"

We will know the lesson of "Atlas Shrugged" has been learned when business people, facing accusers in Congress or the media, stand up like Rearden for their right to produce and trade freely, when they take pride in their profits and stop apologizing for creating wealth.

Mr. Kelley, author of "A Life of One's Own: Individual Rights and the Welfare State" (Cato Institute, 1998), is the founder of The Atlas Society.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Fornicate Muhammad

In a photo accompanying a news item posted on the Drudge Report today, the Colorado State University newspaper editor who urged some form of hostile sex upon the president is seen walking with his attorney.

Interestingly, his attorney is Qusair Mohamedbhai, who, I'll bet, is Muslim. The irony jumping out of this photo is invisible. Nevertheless, it is there.

Imagine this: a student editor at Saudi Arabia's leading university publishes an editorial headlined with the same verb used by the CSU editor, but rather than following that verb with the name of our president, he inserts the name of Islam's founder.

What fate might that mythical editor face?

Moreover, is there any chance this mythical Muslim editor would face the wrath of his university's leadership represented by a Christian attorney?

Do we have to answer?

Would his experience match that of his American counterpart?

Yeah. Sure.

The self-indulgent big-mouthed editor has discovered he has a talent and losing friends and influencing people in ways he hadn't intended. The paper might lose $50,000 in advertising revenue as a result of his published outburst. In addition, the staff has been hit with a 10% pay-cut, and staff reductions might follow.

Okay. Well, that's how we do it here in the US. No violence. No calls for death to the editor. Not much, really. Just a slap on the wrist of the editor and undoubtedly an understanding on his part that he has earned the dislike of his staff because he lacks the intelligence to make his point using the vocabulary of an adult. Of course this incident will follow him forever, thanks to the Internet. It's hard to say if this situation will improve his employment prospects if he chooses a career in journalism, or any other field. But no matter what he does, this event will pop up when a potential employer Google's him.

The edited coverage of the aftermath follows:

CSU newspaper editor keeps job, admonished for profanity
By Erika Gonzalez, Rocky Mountain NewsOriginally published 06:01 a.m., October 5, 2007Updated 06:01 a.m., October 5, 2007

Associated Press
Rocky Mountain Collegian editor David McSwane, left, and his attorney, Qusair Mohamedbhai, walk down the hall after meeting with the Board of Student Communications on Thursday at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

FORT COLLINS — J. David McSwane, the editor who caused an uproar for allowing the F-word to run in Colorado State University's student newspaper, will keep his job, a student-run governing board ruled Thursday night.

Instead of dismissing McSwane from his duties as editor-in-chief of The Rocky Mountain Collegian, CSU's Board of Student Communications decided to admonish him for publishing a profane editorial referring to President Bush.

The punishment was one of the least severe the board could impose. The only lesser penalty was to dismiss the allegations against McSwane.

The decision came after a four-hour, closed-door hearing of the board, which includes three faculty members and six students. CSU College Republicans and others had called for McSwane's firing for publishing the Sept. 21 editorial, which simply read: "Taser this . . . F--- Bush, with the expletive spelled out. The editorial was written in response to an incident at the University of Florida, where a student was shocked with a Taser during a forum featuring U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

The board ruled that by publishing the editorial, McSwane had violated standards it and The Collegian had set, which state that: "Profane and vulgar words are not acceptable for opinion writing."

Although the board said it considered the opinion expressed in the editorial protected by the First Amendment, it also acknowledged the impact the piece has had.

In a letter to McSwane announcing its decision, the board wrote: "The editorial has caused harm to The Collegian, Student Media and the university community. It is our judgment that your decision was unethical and unprofessional."

But the editorial ignited a firestorm of publicity, garnering attention from national news outlets and conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. The Board of Student Communications received about 300 e-mails and about a dozen letters complaining about the editorial.

Businesses also pulled their advertising in protest - an action that could end up costing The Collegian and other student-run publications $50,000. Collegian staffers have taken a 10 percent pay cut as a result of the fallout and the director of CSU's student media said he is looking at further cost-cutting measures.

The board could have opted to fire, suspend or reprimand McSwane for the editorial.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Consider this simple bit of healthcare mathematics.

About 20% of the US population receives its healthcare through Medicaid. The cost for this coverage is a little over $300 billion. Or, put another way, it costs $300 billion to cover 60 million people. That's $5,000 per person.

It's universally accepted that Medicaid coverage is subpar. Seriously inadequate.

Meanwhile, about 40 million seniors are covered by Medicare. Their bill is $7,500 per person. A whopping 50% more than the outlay for Medicaid coverage. And Medicare doesn't cover pregnancy, childbirth or post-natal care.

In other words, this country already has government-run healthcare programs on which we can base estimates for a government healthcare plan to cover everybody.

There are 300 million US citizens today. If we spend $7,500 per person, our total bill will hit $2.25 TRILLION, or more than we pay today for our existing medical coverage.

But there's no reason to believe we'll spend only $7,500 per person when so many more medical conditions and so many more patients will receive coverage.

Meanwhile, if this country were to offer medical coverage to all citizens, that huge bonus would become a magnet for people around the world to drop everything, sneak into America and begin having children, who would be citizens at the time of their births.

Moreover, the John Edwards, medical malpractice plaintiffs' lawyers of the US would praise the government healthcare plan as the biggest cash award in the history of huge cash awards.

There would be no end to the medical malpractice lawsuits if the taxpayers were paying the bills. The sums awarded would reach punishing totals. Medicaid has been plagued by the huge cost of medical malpractice awards. And taxpayers pay the bill.

Thus, before there's any possibility of a national government healthcare plan in this country, we have to change our citizenship laws and limit lawsuit awards. But good luck on both fronts. Citizenship by birth and the right to sue are unlikely to experience change anytime soon.