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Sky News Loses It After Charlie Hebdo Writer Holds Up Mohammed Cover On-Air



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Anchors at Britain’s SkyNews had a bona fide on-air freakout Wednesday evening after a Charlie Hebdo writer held up for the camera a copy of the magazine’s new best-selling cover depicting Mohammed.

“I’m very sad, very sad that journalists in U.K. do not support us,” said Caroline Fourest, one of the survivors of last week’s attack that killed journalists and cartoonists at the magazine’s Paris office, on SkyNews Tonight. ”That journalists in U.K. betray what journalism is about by thinking that people cannot be grown enough to decide if a drawing is offending or not. Because you are not even showing it.”

“Which is completely crazy that you cannot show as simple drawing as that,” she continued, suddenly reaching down and holding up the cover. “With Mohammed –”

Although the camera only caught the top third of the drawing — up to Mohammed’s turban — the host was scandalized, immediately cutting the video feed.

“We at SkyNews have chosen not to show that cover, so we’d appreciate it, Caroline, for not showing that,” the anchor said. “I do apologize for any of our viewers who may’ve been offended by that.”

The Rupert Murdoch–owned cable news channel joins the BBC in declining to broadcast the image, which shows Mohammed holding up a “Je Suis Charlie” sign under the headline, “All is forgiven.”

Another Murdoch outlet, Fox News, has chosen to show the cover uncensored. American cable channels MSNBC and CNN, as well as NPR and the New York Times, have all declined to show it.

The Complex Question of Firearms and the Suicide Rate



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The Washington Post notes that:

Gun suicides are becoming far more common than gun-related homicides, accounting for 64 percent of all gun deaths in 2012, according to new statistics. And the suicides have become especially common among older white men.

There were 32,288 deaths from firearm violence in the United States in 2012, a rate that’s remained relatively stable over the past few years. But since 2006, gun suicides have increased from 57 percent of all firearm-related deaths, according to research published this month in the Annual Review of Public Health.

Gun deaths by suicide have outpaced homicide-related suicides in the United States over the past 35 years. But since 2006, the decrease in gun-related homicides have almost been matched by the increase of gun suicides, according to the study from Garen Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California-Davis.

It is good to see this being acknowledged. For obvious reasons, anti-gun groups tend to lump the two numbers together, thereby implying that 30,000 people are murdered with firearms each year. Actually, they’re not, which complicates the question of “what to do about the number of deaths” considerably.

The numbers here are all over the place. As the Post records, there are serious racial disparities within the murder record:

Young black adult men, ages 20-29, are 20 times more likely than white men of the same age to be killed by a firearm. And the gun homicide rate is at least five times higher compared to Hispanic men ages 20-29.

And yet African-Americans are far less likely to kill themselves than are whites — between half and one-third as likely, in fact. The balance between murder and homicide varies by age, too. While young people are more likely to be killed by someone wielding a firearm than to commit suicide with one, older people are far more likely to take their own life with a gun than to be murdered with one.

In other words, the data is complex, as are both the likely remedies and the philosophical questions that they raise. It makes sense, for example, for the state to have an interest in stopping one citizen from taking the life of another. But should a government be in the business of trying to stop suicide? And if it should, how does this aim relate to the law, to the broader constitutional questions involved, and to other interests such as self-defense, presumption of innocence, and — yes — to the right to take one’s life? Answering these is tough, especially in a country that has this many guns and that still (thankfully) takes its right to keep and bear arms seriously.

We see a similarly elaborate story internationally. It is often asserted that the ease with which Americans can get hold of a firearm helps to explain their country’s suicide rate. Is this true? Well, it’s difficult to tell. Japan — a country with extremely strict gun-control laws — has twice the suicide rate as the United States, while Cuba and France have suicide rates that are slightly above the American average. Culture matters. On the other hand, more restrictionist nations such as New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Sweden, and Germany do have rates that are slightly — albeit only slightly – lower than America’s. Switzerland, meanwhile, suffers fewer suicides than Britain, even though large swaths of its citizenry are armed with automatic weapons.

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Report: Obama’s Executive Action Already Blocking ICE from Carrying Out Some Deportations



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The president’s executive actions on immigration are already preventing law enforcement from deporting illegal immigrants who are in custody and scheduled for removal, according to a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer who spoke with CIS says the president’s executive action has blocked the agency from deporting illegal immigrants that are awaiting their removal. Many of these illegal immigrants will instead be released and qualify for work permits, the officer says.

Some ICE officers are even spending time on the phone answering calls from illegal immigrants about whether they’re eligible for the president’s executive action rather than focusing on enforcement, according to CIS.

A number of illegal immigrants with pending criminal cases, previous deportations, and traffic violations such as drunk driving were let go at the end of 2014, the report says. More than 600 illegal aliens in all were released from the federal government at the end of the year, according to the report.

Some ICE officials were disgruntled during the child-migrant crisis last summer because they were essentially being forced to stay at their desks rather than go out and do their jobs. Now, the CIS report says, ICE officials are getting orders: Release illegal immigrants it had planned to deport.

Web Briefing: January 27, 2015

NR Seeks Intern (Paid)



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This is a full-time position, three months in duration with a renewable term, and including a weekly stipend, that requires working out of the magazine’s NY office. The applicant must be a recent college graduate. A significant part of this position will be assisting a reporter with investigative work (mostly during afternoons). This calls for a creative type, someone who will go great lengths to satiate a curiosity, someone who is detail-oriented and eager to chase down obscure details and facts quickly. Good grammar and writing are required, and experience with Excel, public records, and the Freedom of Information Act is a big plus. The internship’s other main duty will be helping NRO’s editors in meta-tagging and uploading artwork to published articles and blog posts. Please send your résumé, as well as a writing sample that illustrates both your agility with words and your commitment to detail, to [email protected].​

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Boston.com Wonders: Hey Maybe It Would Be Funny if the Speaker of the House Were Poisoned



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A bartender’s plot to poison Speaker John Boehner was considered serious enough for an FBI investigation and an arrest, but one writer at the Boston Globe’s Boston.com thought it was a good opportunity to have a laugh at the speaker’s expense.

On Wednesday, the website reported the news that Michael Hoyt of Cincinnati had been arrested for contemplating poisoning drinks he served to the speaker. Associate editor Victor Paul Alvarez thinks that might have been kind of funny:

The question is: Would anyone have noticed? Stories about Boehner’s drinking have circulated for years. His drinking inspired a blog called DrunkBoehner, and in 2010 he brought booze back to Washington. Had he been poisoned as planned, perhaps his pickled liver could have filtered out the toxins.

The Boston Herald (the Globe’s rival) noticed that the article’s illustration was captioned, “House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, [sic] has been known to get hammered from time to time.”

Alvarez’s speculative paragraph has since been removed, and the article’s original headline, ”Would Anyone Have Noticed If Bartender Succeeded in Poisoning John Boehner?,” has been changed as well.

The general manager of the site, which is owned by the Boston Globe but editorially independent, acknowledged that the comments had been “off-color and completely inappropriate.” A paragraph with an apology was added to the original article, but Boehner’s office wasn’t pleased.

“It should be obvious to any sentient human being that an item mocking threats against the Speaker and his family is completely insensitive and inappropriate,” a spokesman said.

I Know What You Did Next Summer . . .



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Sounds like a mangled sequel title. Actually it’s a prequel — to what will be one of the best experiences of your life, the National Review 2015 Alaska Summer Cruise. You know, the voyage you’re planning on attending, the phenomenal trip (July 18–25, aboard Holland America Line’s luxurious Westerdam) that features dozens of top conservatives, such as former New Hampshire governor John Sununu, supply-side champion Arthur Laffer, ace economists Stephen Moore and Kevin Hassett, former congresswoman Michele Bachmann, pollster Pat Caddell, National Affairs editor Yuval Levin, Townhall.com editor Katie Pavlich, top social commentators Naomi Schaefer Riley, James Lileks, and Andrew Klavan, military/security experts Pete Hegseth and John Hillen, leading conservative academic Daniel Mahoney, and NR editorial All Stars Jonah Goldberg, Rich Lowry, Jay Nordlinger, Ramesh Ponnuru, Kevin Williamson, Eliana Johnson, Jim Geraghty, Kathryn Lopez, Charles Cooke, John Miller, Patrick Brennan, Jillian Melchior, Andrew Johnson, Joel Gehrke, Reihan Salam, Katherine Connell, and Kaj Relwof.

Why have you yet to reserve your very affordable cabin? Come now, the holidays are over, no more excuses, get to it — visit www.nrcruise.com to discover complete information about the trip, and to reserve (securely) your stateroom (there’s one to match every taste and budget).

What this trip offers — in addition to the glorious beauty of the 49th state, in addition to a wonderful family vacation opportunity — is NR’s exclusive (all inclusive!) program of eight scintillating seminar sessions, three revelrous cocktail receptions, two rib-tickling “Night Owls,” a super-de-dooper late-night smoker (featuring H. Upmann’s world-class cigars and complimentary cognac!) and, on at least two nights, intimate dining with our speakers and editors (escargot with Jonah, filet mignon with Yuval, baked Alaska with Art, fresh salmon with Katie, potato-and-leek soup with Kaj!).

Odds are you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of NR/NRO fans who’ve said repeatedly over the years “Dangit! I’ve gotta go on one of those NR cruises!” Yet, every year you put it off, in what’s amounted to a bunch of reasons that look pretty lame in the rear-view mirror. So follow your heart, go with it where it wants to go — which is on the National Review 2015 Alaska Summer Cruise. You will have the time of your life, and your only regret will be that you didn’t come on one sooner.

GOP Rep: Secure the Border Between Iraq and Syria



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Representative Ryan Zinke (R., Mont.), a Navy SEAL turned freshman congressman, says the fight against ISIS will require a secure border — between Iraq and Syria — which would bisect that region controlled by the terrorists.

“Air operations alone will not be effective against ISIS,” Zinke tells National Review Online. “I do think we need to address, no doubt, isolating the border between Iraq and Syria and that’s a no-fly zone with blocking forces on the ground.”

That would require a greater commitment of U.S. ground forces than President Obama has so far countenanced.

“I have seen the consequences of war and I’ve been to more funerals than I care to mention,” Zinke said. “But I also understand the consequences of inaction, or in the case of this administration, no-show.”

The former Navy SEAL commander said that the U.S. military has to provide more direct support for allies on the ground, as well.

“We are going to have to equip the Kurds directly [and] equip the Sunni tribes that are on our side directly with the logistics necessary to defend themselves and go on the offensive,” he said. “And that’s medical supplies, ammunition, food, as well as our air assets. What we need is our controllers on the ground directing those air assets so they’re effective.”

House and Senate Republicans will discuss possible responses to ISIS during a joint retreat this week in Hershey, Penn., which you can read about here.

Zinke also said that the U.S. southern border needs to be secured, for national defense reasons. “In the last six months, the reports I have [are] that individuals representing 168 countries were apprehended on our southern border,” he said. “This country built a panama canal in the 19th century. I think we’re up for a fence in the 21st.”

 
 

Where’s the Fence on Our Southern Border?



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The Secure Fence Act of 2006 mandated the construction of 670 miles of double-layered fencing along the 1,930-mile border with Mexico. The Department of Homeland Security claims that 352 miles of pedestrian fencing has been erected. But Representative Duncan Hunter (R. Calif.) notes that only 40 miles of that is double-layered, as required.

Critics of the fence assert that it’s a foolish waste of time and resources; it won’t work.

Apparently, Saudi Arabia disagrees.The U.K. Telegraph reports that Saudi Arabia is building a 600-mile ”Great Wall” along its border with Iraq. The barrier will consist of not two, but five layers of fencing, along with ditches, berms, radar, night-vision cameras, and watch towers. In addition, up to 30,000 troops will be deployed along the barrier.

The border barrier is being built to protect Saudi Arabia against the Islamic State–inspired chaos in neighboring countries. Meanwhile, the Obama administration issues the practical equivalent of an open invitation to anyone from neighboring countries (and beyond) who wishes to cross our southern border.

Who’s being foolish?

France: We Believe in Freedom of Speech, But. . .



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As François Hollande has informed us, the French government believes in freedom of speech — and nothing will stand in the way of its protection. Not murder, not terrorism, not — wait. Per the BBC:

Controversial French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala has been detained by police for a Facebook comment appearing to back Paris gunman Amedy Coulibaly.

His is one of dozens of cases opened by authorities in a crackdown on condoning or threatening terrorism.

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said words of hatred and contempt had to be fought with the “utmost vigour”.

Dieudonne already has convictions for inciting anti-Semitism and the courts banned several one-man shows last year.

A judicial source quoted by AFP news agency said he was due to be released on Wednesday evening but would face trial at a later date.

It is downright impossible to simultaneously hold the positions: a) that you believe in freedom of speech, however offensive that speech may be; and b) that you have to fight words of “hatred and contempt” “with the utmost [legal] vigor.” This is why, in order to dodge the charge that they are opposed to free expression, the advocates of government censorship tend to claim that the expression that they wish to prosecute isn’t actually expression at all. “Hate speech isn’t actually speech,” they will say, in the hope that nobody will notice just how utterly disingenuous this claim is. “Hate speech is violence!”

Sadly, Dieudonne is not the only person who has fallen afoul of the authorities since the shooting. The Huffington Post reports that France has

ordered prosecutors around the country to crack down on hate speech, anti-Semitism and those glorifying terrorism and announced Wednesday it was sending an aircraft carrier to the Mideast to work more closely with the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants.

Authorities said 54 people had been arrested for hate speech and defending terrorism since terror attacks killed 20 people in Paris last week, including three gunmen. The crackdown came as Charlie Hebdo’s defiant new issue sold out before dawn around Paris, with scuffles at kiosks over dwindling copies of the satirical weekly that fronted the Prophet Muhammad anew on its cover.

Dieudonne is an utterly hideous human being, as, I imagine, are most of the others who have been arrested. But that’s not really the point, is it? In a free country, one is allowed to be a hideous human being without being punished for it. By prosecuting those who are offensive, France is not acting like a free country.

More to the point, France is not acting like a fair country. A common complaint among Muslims is that the West will tolerate verbal criticism of Islam but that it will not permit any barbs to be cast at the Jews. As a rule, this is nonsense. But how exactly do we imagine it looks when a celebrity is arrested for “anti-Semitism” while half the country is saying, “Je suis Charlie” with impunity?

Mistake.

NR Seeks Intern (Paid)



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This is a full-time position, three months in duration with a renewable term, and including a weekly stipend, that requires working out of the magazine’s NY office. The applicant must be a recent college graduate. A significant part of this position will be assisting a reporter with investigative work (mostly during afternoons). This calls for a creative type, someone who will go great lengths to satiate a curiosity, someone who is detail-oriented and eager to chase down obscure details and facts quickly. Good grammar and writing are required, and experience with Excel, public records, and the Freedom of Information Act is a big plus. The internship’s other main duty will be helping NRO’s editors in meta-tagging and uploading artwork to published articles and blog posts. Please send your résumé, as well as a writing sample that illustrates both your agility with words and your commitment to detail, to [email protected].​

Summer Internship



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National Review is accepting applications for its summer internship. The intern will work in our New York office, receive a modest stipend, participate in every part of the editorial process, and have some opportunities to write. The ideal candidate will have an excellent academic record and some experience in student or professional journalism. If you wish to apply, please send a cover letter, your résumé, and two of your best writing samples (no more, please) to editorial.applications (at) nationalreview.com.

13,000 Constitutionally Illiterate People Want Obama to Kick Ted Cruz off a Senate Committee for Not Being Smart Enough



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Not sure what else there is to say here:

Via Vox’s Tim Lee.

The Unmaking of a Peanut Butter Factory



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The New York Times Food section today has a front-page story on WFB’s love affair with Red Wing peanut butterThe company’s then-president had sent him a jar after WFB had penned a column in 1981 (which I still remember) on the joys of Skippy peanut butter with a note, “We think you’ll like this better.”

He did. The piece quotes WFB’s son, Christopher:

“My dad’s one true quest in life was for the Platonic ideal of peanut butter. And I remember one day he announced, with a look of utter transfiguration on his face, that he had found paradise on earth in a jar with a yellow cap. And it was called Red Wing.”

The story’s news peg is the announcement that Red Wing (now owned by ConAgra) is closing the Fredonia, N.Y., plant that WFB and his wife, Pat, visited in 1982 for the ribbon-cutting of what was then the world’s largest peanut roaster. Red Wing will still make peanut butter, but at another facility in Illinois.
 
The piece ends with a detail I don’t remember reading in Christopher Buckley’s memoir of his parents’ deaths, Losing Mum and Pup:
“The night before his funeral,” he said of his father, “into his coffin I slipped my mother’s ashes, his rosary, the TV remote control — and a jar of Red Wing peanut butter. I’d say no pharaoh went off to the next world better equipped.”

Filibuster Of DHS Spending Bill Looms in the Senate



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House Republicans voted to fund the Department of Homeland Security, along with a series of amendments that President Obama does not get to use the money to fund his most recent ‘adult amnesty’ by executive order, as well as the DACA program for younger immigrants.

The next hurdle: a filibuster by Senate Democrats. Just as House Republicans gained support by dividing the language defunding Obama’s actions into separate amendments, Senate Democrats will try to weaken Republicans by rolling them into one, a Senate Republican aide predicts. There are some Republicans who will vote to withhold funding for the most recent orders, but not for the DACA program. Democrats will likely file a single motion to strip all of the amendments out of the base DHS funding bill — Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has already said that they should pass a “clean” bill without any of the anti-amnesty language.

Senate Republicans should be able to muster the 51 votes needed to table that motion, even if some vulnerable members of the conference fear that this tabling vote will be portrayed in political attack ads as tantamount to a vote against DACA.

“After we table their amendment, we’ll need to get cloture (60 votes) to proceed to a vote on final passage,” a conservative Senate aide explains to NRO. “That’s when they can filibuster. We feel good there are enough Democrats who will not walk this plank for the president and the Senate will send the bill to the president’s desk for him to veto. If they do hold (unlikely), and we can’t get to 60, then we’re stuck on the bill. Nothing we can do at that point to get it passed.” 

 

How Quickly the Senate Acts on the DHS Bill Will Say a Lot About Whether They Want to Stop Amnesty



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As noted below, the House of Representatives just passed the funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security that blocks President Obama’s lawless amnesty decrees. There’s almost a month and a half before the current funding for the department expires, which is important because if the Senate acts and sends the bill the president’s desk in the next couple of weeks, Congress will have time to respond to Obama’s likely veto without the pressure of a looming shutdown of the department. Getting it through the Senate will require six Democrats to reach the 60-vote threshold, which will be difficult but by no means impossible. But the way we’ll know how serious Mitch McConnell is about trying to curb Obama’s lawlessness is whether he starts work on the bill right away or he sits on it, running out the clock on DHS funding to try to force conservative to capitulate.

In this case, last-minute legislating would serve Obama’s immigration agenda. We will soon see whose agenda Senator McConnell really supports.

‘Enough Is Enough!’ Boehner Blasts Obama on House Floor as GOP Votes to Block Amnesty



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Speaker of the House John Boehner lambasted President Obama for his failure to respect the constitutional limits of his authority, striking a defiant tone as the GOP-controlled House voted to block the White House’s push for executive amnesty.

The Republican majority leader took the House floor moments before the successful 236-191 vote, which funded the Department of Homeland Security past February while simultaneously moving to block unilateral executive initiatives granting legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.

“Today I rise, and the House rises, to support and defend our Constitution,” Boehner began, saying there is “no alternative . . . This executive overreach is an affront to the rule of law, and to the Constitution itself.”

“What we’re dealing with is a president who has ignored the people, who has ignored the Constitution, and even his own past statements,” the Speaker said – proceeding to list 22 occasions where President Obama explained his own constitutional limitations on immigration reform.

“To think that the President of the United States actually studied constitutional law is one thing,” Boehner said, referring to the president’s time as a constitutional law scholar at Harvard. “He didn’t just learn constitutional law, he taught it as well. But now his actions suggest that he’s forgotten what these words even mean. Enough is enough!”

The vote comes after intense conservative criticism of Boehner’s leadership earlier this month, with many accusing the Speaker of failing to confront President Obama’s overreach by funding the government through last December’s “cromnibus” spending bill.

The bill now moves to the GOP-controlled Senate, where it must pass the 60-vote threshold to avoid a filibuster. The White House is threatening to veto the bill, betting that blame for an unfunded Department of Homeland Security will fall squarely on Republican shoulders.

Crime, Guns, and the Complexity of America



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The New York Times notes the remarkable drop in crime to which Americans have been treated over the last two decades, and concludes that nobody is quite sure what explains it:

The reasons for the broad drop in crime remain elusive. It has confounded both those from the right who had predicted that waves of young predators would terrorize communities and those on the left who watched crime fall even through ups and downs in poverty and unemployment.

. . .

The major increases in drug and gun sentences in the 1980s and ’90s played some role but only a modest one, most experts say, with soaring incarceration rates bringing diminishing returns while disproportionately hitting minorities.

Various experts have also linked the fall in violence to the aging of the population, low inflation rates and even the decline in early-childhood lead exposure.

But in the end, none of these factors fully explain a drop that occurred, in tandem, in much of the world.

“Canada, with practically none of the policy changes we point to here, had a comparable decline in crime over the same period,” said Franklin E. Zimring, a law professor and an expert in criminal justice at the University of California, Berkeley. He described the quest for an explanation as “criminological astrology.”

Indeed so. In fact, the Washington Post reports, the cause of the decline is such a mystery that:

today’s chart of the day, from the New York Times, is something of a Rorschach test. Everyone sees what they want to see in it. New York Police Commissioner William Bratton puts the decline down to the ”broken windows” theory of aggressive policing. Advocates of harsh sentencing laws can argue that more criminals were spending more time in jail, and that others, threatened with long terms, gave up their accomplices once apprehended.

Now, I don’t know what has happened, and in consequence I have no intention of treating the decline as my own Rorschach test. My instinct is that the remarkable economic growth we have seen since the 1990s has a lot to do with it, but that’s little more than a hunch. Either way, I will note something that interested me: namely that that the decline – which is mirrored in the realm of gun crime, too — has coincided with a significant increase in the number of privately owned firearms in the United States, and with the liberalization of many of the laws that regulate them — including the introduction of concealed carry regimes into all fifty states. Did one cause the other in any significant way? I can’t know. What I can know, however, is that the apocalyptic predictions of the naysayers were wrong. Concealed carry has not transformed the United States’s public spaces into the OK Corral, and nor has the spike in the number of available guns pushed up the murder rate. This matters.

Why does it matter? Well, because we often hear it asserted that there is a simple link between guns and gun crime: more specifically, that the more guns in circulation, the more gun crime there will be. At one level, this is true. Obviously, America has a much higher gun-violence rate than do most Western countries, and, obviously, this has something to do with the fact that it hosts half of the world’s privately owned guns. Nevertheless, beyond noting that a country with lots of guns will have more gun crime than one with no guns at all, the manner in which the raw number of guns interacts with the murder rate is far more complex than it often seems. It is not the case, for example, that a lightly regulated and heavily armed populace is always violent. Vermont, which has high gun ownership rate and almost no laws governing firearms, is extraordinarily peaceful. Nor, as the past two decades have shown, is it the case that to increase the number of firearms is always to increase the number of incidents in which firearms are used for ill. Certainly, if your aim is to rid the country of all its guns, the claim that “guns cause gun violence” makes sense. If one could snap one’s fingers and make all the firearms disappear, there would be no firearms deaths. But if, like most people, you accept that America’s guns aren’t going anywhere and you want to know what can be done to limit their abuse, it is important to recognize the subtleties here.

Bottom line: The drop that the Times is discussing has occurred during the exact period that the right to keep and bear arms has been affirmed, protected, and exercised by an increasing number. America is complex — and far, far more so that we often like to accept.

Is There a Hidden Image in the New Charlie Hebdo Cover?



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Can you see it? 

Let Brad Thor help you.

Surprised by Dieudonne’s Arrest? France Has Had Anti-Free Speech Laws on the Books for Years



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Patrick points to France and Turkey, where government officials waited three days after the rally supporting freedom of speech to return to their normal curtailing of speech.  Over at Reason, Matt Welch has more on the issue:

A shocking 54 people have been arrested for speech offenses in the past week, reports the Associated Press. Jacob Sullum has a column this morning explaining why cracking down on speech is the exact wrong response to anti-speech violence. To which I would add two points:

1) As I argue in my latest editor’s note on policing in America, most laws tend to be enforced more stringently on disfavored minorities. Muslims are the least favored minority in France, which means that any crackdown is likely to come down disproportionately on their heads (despite the Interior Minister’s nod toward “Islamophobia”), increasing both the perception and reality of unfairness. And to the extent that alienation and non-assimilation of the Muslim minority contributes to the pool of potential malefactors, that seems strategically unwise.

2) Any speech made criminally taboo will thrive unchallenged in the shadows, rather than be refuted and ridiculed out in the open. If you’re alarmed by Dieudonné’s infamous quenelle gesture, how popular do you think it will get if he’s behind bars?

This is a worldwide teaching moment for free speech. France so far seems to be flunking.

I have to say I’m not surprised. The French government and most French people believe in free speech — except for all the speech that they think shouldn’t be allowed.

In addition to the law passed in November that has led to the arrest of comedian Dieudonné, there are a number of anti-speech laws already on the books in France: 

Speech in France is regulated by Section 24 of the Press Law of 1881. According to The Legal Project, Section 24 “criminalizes incitement to racial discrimination, hatred, or violence on the basis of one’s origin or membership (or non-membership) in an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group. A criminal code provision likewise makes it an offense to engage in similar conduct via private communication.”

There is also the Gayssot Law of 1990. Named after the Communist Party deputy that proposed it, the law makes Holocaust denial a criminal offense punishable by a year in prison and a fine of €45,000. A similar law was proposed for the Armenian genocide but was overturned by France’s Constitutional Council.

You will Jacob Sullum has some interesting examples about the many words and images that France treats as offensive, and hence, illegal. 

New Video of Hebdo Attack Shows Paris Police Retreating from Terrorist Gunfire



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A new video has surfaced of the two Islamic terrorists who attacked the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo last Wednesday, showing the brothers shouting into the street and forcing a police car to retreat under heavy automatic-weapons fire. 

“We have avenged the prophet Mohammed!” the Kouachi brothers shout in French, in a video apparently shot last Wednesday from a nearby balcony and broadcast by Sky News. The terrorists — who were allegedly trained by al-Qaeda in Yemen — casually examine their automatic weapons before entering their getaway vehicle and driving down the street.

When confronted by police blocking their exit, the terrorists exited their vehicle and poured fire onto the patrol car. The officer hastily reversed, clearing a path for the brothers to escape. The two went on to take a hostage at a suburban Paris paper plant two day later, and may have been trying use a rocket-propelled grenade to shoot down an airliner outside of Charles de Gaulle airport.

The first responders to the Charlie Hebdo attacks were reportedly unarmed, rendering them powerless to resist fire from the terrorists’ AK-47 assault rifles.

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