Category Archives: Free Speech

If This Be Un-American, Make The Most Of It

In what I can only call an extraordinarily disturbing Op-Ed in today’s USA Today, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer leveled an attack against those who are protesting the Democrats’ efforts to “reform” the health care system:

However, it is now evident that an ugly campaign is underway not merely to misrepresent the health insurance reform legislation, but to disrupt public meetings and prevent members of Congress and constituents from conducting a civil dialogue. These tactics have included hanging in effigy one Democratic member of Congress in Maryland and protesters holding a sign displaying a tombstone with the name of another congressman in Texas, where protesters also shouted “Just say no!” drowning out those who wanted to hold a substantive discussion.

These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades.

Pelosi and Hoyer — or, to put it more accurately, the staffer who wrote this drivel for Pelosi and Hoyer go on to claim that Americans strongly support health insurance reform, and more specifically support the plan currently being debated in Congress. Nothing could be further from the truth. If the protests themselves weren’t an indication of this, then all one has to do is look at the polls which show that, at best, the public is deeply divided when it comes to the specifics of HR 3200, that most Americans like the health insurance they have now, most do not agree with Pelosi’s recent characterization of insurance companies as “villains, and that a majority believes middle-class tax cuts are more important than health care reform.

The argument that there is a “consensus” on health care reform in general, or on the merits of HR 3200 specifically, is just a bald-faced lie.

Even worse then getting the facts wrong, though, is the fact that Pelosi and Hoyer have decided to characterize those who disagree with them as “un-American.” They and their supporters will, no doubt, claim that the label is only meant to apply to those who have been disruptive, however it’s worth noting that they never managed to find it necessary to say the same thing when the disruptive tactics were coming from the left, as demonstrated by this Pelosi town hall from January 2006:

Dozens of heckling, sign-toting anti-war protesters tried to take center stage at the congresswomen’s town hall forum on national security — calling for an immediate de-funding of the Iraq war and impeachment proceedings against President George Bush.

(…)

Pelosi never summoned help from police or security. She negotiated with the hecklers and at times even thanked the protesters for their advocacy and enthusiasm.

“It’s always exciting,” she told reporters after the meeting. “This is democracy in action. I’m energized by it, frankly.”

So, a town hall filled with disruptive Code Pink demonstrators is “democracy in action,” but a town hall filled with opponents of ObamaCare is Un-American. Or at least that’s how the calculus works in Nancy Pelosi’s universe.

Glenn Reynolds put it best in a piece yesterday in the Washington Examiner:

Funny how fast the worm — or maybe it’s the pitchfork — has turned. Now that we’re seeing genuine expressions of populist discontent, not put together by establishment packagers on behalf of an Officially Sanctioned Aggrieved Group, we’re suddenly hearing complaints of “mob rule” and demands for civility.

Civility is fine, but those who demand it should show it. The Obama administration — and its corps of willing supporters in the press and the punditry — has set the tone, and they are now in a poor position to complain.

Whether they like it or not — and the evidence increasingly tends toward “not” — President Obama and his handlers need to accept that this is a free country, one where expressions of popular discontent take place outside the electoral process, and always have. (Remember
Martin Luther King?)

What historians like Gordon Wood and Pauline Maier call “out-of-doors political activity” is an old American tradition, and in the past things have been far more “boisterous” than they are today.

Rather than demonizing today’s protesters, perhaps they might want to reflect on how flimflams and thuggishness have managed to squander Obama’s political capital in a few short months, and ponder what they might do to regain the trust of the millions of Americans who are no longer inclined to give the Obama administration the benefit of the doubt.

I’ve been critical over the past week of some of the more sensational of the town hall protesters tactics (see here and here specifically). I’ve denounced those like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and the folks at Americans for Prosperity who have decided that the way to fight HR 3200 is to lie about it. However, the fact that I think their tactics are wrong, or counter-productive, doesn’t mean they’re un-American, or that they should be compared to Nazis, or that they’re racist.

There’s a phrase that comes to mind, and it’s one that we should all be familiar with:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Hoyer should be ashamed of themselves for calling the exercise of a precious Constitutional right “Un-American.”

C/P: Below The Beltway

When You Ask AARP Members to Voice Their Opinions About Healthcare…

…you better be prepared to hear opinions which don’t necessarily support the Democrats proposed government takeover of healthcare. The speaker at this meeting (in the video below) made the mistake of saying “I think we can all agree…”. From there, the AARP members took over.

Really brings a smile to your face huh?

Hat Tip: Boortz

Obama, Gates, Crowley, and the Troubling Controversy that Seemingly Won’t Go Away

Up to now I have purposely avoided this whole disorderly conduct arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. for a number of reasons.

First reason being that compared to the other cases I’ve written about here and elsewhere, this is a very minor case of police misconduct. I have yet to read or hear any reports that Mr. Gates was roughed up even a little bit.

Second, Mr. Gates seems like a real ass. Gates seems to be someone who has a chip on his shoulder and apparently views the world in black and white (i.e. if the police as much as ask a question, s/he is a racist!). A woman saw 2 men trying to break into Gate’s home; unbeknownst to the woman, one of the men was the resident of the home. The woman even said as much on the 911 call:

“I don’t know what’s happening. … I don’t know if they live there and they just had a hard time with their key, but I did notice they had to use their shoulders to try to barge in…”

Now some people are calling her a racist for making the call to the police to begin with!

Third, like President Obama, I “don’t have all the facts” but unlike the president, I’m not going to say definitively that the police “acted stupidly.” There are no videos that documented the encounter and I wasn’t there so I cannot make a judgment as to who acted stupidly or to what degree. My best guess, based on what I have read about the case, is that both Mr. Gates and Sgt. Crowley acted inappropriately and overreacted.

So why have I decided to weigh in now you ask? I think the reason has to do mostly with the fact that this story won’t go away and with so much commentary in the MSM, talk radio, and the blogosphere, I can’t help but offer my 2 cents because certain aspects of this saga trouble me.

I am troubled that this case has turned into a race issue. This was not a case where a white police officer pulled over a black man for DWB. The police responded to a 911 call of a possible break in. This is what the police are supposed to do!

I am troubled that the president would make a public statement without knowing more about the facts of the case. For whatever reason, President Obama thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to opine about the historically troubled relationship between racial minorities and the police. Whether or not the president has a legitimate case to make, this case is not what I would consider a good example of the police racial profiling. What he should have said was something like: “Mr. Gates is a friend of mine but I don’t know all the facts; it would be inappropriate for me to comment about this case at this time.”

I am troubled that (apparently) the police did not leave Mr. Gates home once he identified himself as the home’s rightful resident, thus proving no crime had been committed.

I am troubled with how the police can apparently arrest someone for disorderly conduct for just about any reason they wish. While I do believe that Mr. Gates acted like an ass…since when is that a crime? Sure, he yelled some nasty things at the police when he should have been thanking them for investigating what appeared to be an unlawful break in, but how is making his displeasure known to the police disorderly conduct? I believe Doug is right: arresting Gates in this case was an unconstitutional voilation of his civil rights.

I am troubled by the way certain commentators such as Glenn Beck have gone off the deep end on Obama’s handling of this case, even going as far as calling the president a racist. I didn’t like it when people called Bush a racist and I don’t like it when people call Obama a racist*. That is a hell of a nasty charge to make of anyone (and if one does make that charge, they should have some damn good proof). Like I said before, Obama mishandled this situation but to say he is racist for commenting on race relations with the police (however inappropriate in using this case as an example) is a bridge too far.

I am troubled that other commentators say that because Obama said that the police “acted stupidly” that this is a slap in the face to police officers everywhere…as if he called all police officers stupid. What complete nonsense. I think its worth pointing out that Obama called the actions of the police stupid; he did not call the police stupid. This is a very important distinction. Even the most intelligent, honest, and morally upstanding individual acts stupidly at times. Not even college professors, police officers, or world leaders are immune from this.

Yes, this is indeed a teaching moment. Its just too bad that too many people seem to be learning the wrong lessons.

» Read more

Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do

THIS BOOK IS BASED on a single idea: You should be allowed to do whatever you want with your own person and property, as long as you don’t physically harm the person or property of a nonconsenting other.

Thus begins a book that everyone interested in politics should read; Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in a Free Country by Peter McWilliams.  Published in 1998, it is a damning survey of how the United States had become a state composed of “clergymen with billy-clubs”.  It analyzes the consequences of punishing so-called victimless crimes from numerous viewpoints, demonstrating that regardless of what you think is the most important organizing principle or purpose of society the investigation, prosecution and punishment of these non-crimes is harmful to society.

This remarkable book is now posted online, and if one can bear to wade through the awful website design, one will find lots of thought-provoking worthwhile commentary, analysis, theory and history.

His final chapter, on how to change the system, while consisting mainly of pie-in-the-sky, ineffective suggestions of working within the system, starts of with an extremely good bit of advice that I urge all our readers to try:

The single most effective form of change is one-on-one interaction with the people you come into contact with day-by-day. The next time someone condemns a consensual activity in your presence, you can ask the simple question, “Well, isn’t that their own business?” Asking this, of course, may be like hitting a beehive with a baseball bat, and it may seem—after the commotion (and emotion) has died down—that attitudes have not changed. If, however, a beehive is hit often enough, the bees move somewhere else. Of course, you don’t have to hit the same hive every time. If all the people who agree that the laws against consensual crimes should be repealed post haste would go around whacking (or at least firmly tapping) every beehive that presented itself, the bees would buzz less often.

I highly recommend this book.  Even though I have some pretty fundamental disagreements with some of his proposals, I think that this book is a fine addition to the bookshelf of any advocate of freedom and civilization.

Hat Tip: J.D. Tuccille of Disloyal Opposition.

I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.

Common Ground for the Left and the Right on the Bill of Rights

Trust, blogs, and the FTC?

So, the FTC is coming after bloggers who make money and don’t adequately disclose it:

New guidelines, expected to be approved late this summer with possible modifications, would clarify that the agency can go after bloggers – as well as the companies that compensate them – for any false claims or failure to disclose conflicts of interest.

It would be the first time the FTC tries to patrol systematically what bloggers say and do online. The common practice of posting a graphical ad or a link to an online retailer – and getting commissions for any sales from it – would be enough to trigger oversight.

The Federal Government is the least trustworthy enterprise in the United States. Its leaders and representatives work solely for the benefit of the enterprise, circumventing its own rules and all standards of decency and honesty whenever they deem it necessary. Heck, just this week I received a bill–with penalties and interest–for a tax balance I paid before April 15. Really, how can Washington have any moral standing on this one?

This is Government

According to the Iranian government, the person dying below was a terrorist. No doubt all the people walking around her in apparent unconcern for there were fellow terrorists, and the people she was terrorizing were outside camera range.

She is being called Neda. The person who uploaded the video to Youtube claims that he was nearly half a mile away from the demonstrations when a sharpshooter shot a teenage girl standing nearby with her father. Within a few seconds, she was dead, her eyes turn to the camera before being obscured by the pools blood that pour out of her mouth and nose.

A student at Kent State University gunned down by U.S. government troops.

A student at Kent State University gunned down by U.S. government troops.

Many people are arguing that this is the sort of thing that democracy is supposed to prevent. Of course, democracies also shoot people opposed to the government’s policies.

Why? because government, at its heart, is an organization that uses force to get its way. It is incapable of limiting its violence to socially beneficial causes like apprehending murderers. At some point, it points a gun at a group of people and demands they submit, and anyone who refuses gets a bullet.

This is government. Over there or over here, it is the same; the few exploit the many, and they are ready to use beatings, kidnappings and murder to get their way.

So who are the real terrorists?

I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.

I Don’t Ask Congress To Applaud Iranian Protesters, But I’ll Do It Myself

Congress has voted to condemn the actions of the Iranian government, and as Reason points out, Ron Paul in typical contrarian fashion is the sole “no” vote:

I rise in reluctant opposition to H Res 560, which condemns the Iranian government for its recent actions during the unrest in that country. While I never condone violence, much less the violence that governments are only too willing to mete out to their own citizens, I am always very cautious about “condemning” the actions of governments overseas. As an elected member of the United States House of Representatives, I have always questioned our constitutional authority to sit in judgment of the actions of foreign governments of which we are not representatives. I have always hesitated when my colleagues rush to pronounce final judgment on events thousands of miles away about which we know very little. And we know very little beyond limited press reports about what is happening in Iran.

I applaud Ron Paul for taking his usual principled stand. Our Congress does not need to be spending their time issuing Resolutions toothless moralistic statements about America, much less other countries. Even if I were to retreat from my cautious anarchist tendencies and accept that Congress actually deserves real responsibilities, that responsibility is to legislate, not preach.

But a part of those anarchist tendencies is Heinlein’s rational anarchy. All actions are ultimately morally within the hands of individuals. Immaterial of laws or society, it is the individual who is morally responsible for acting rightly or wrongly.

So I don’t ask Congress to speak on Iran. Taking a chance to personalize H Res 560, let me do it myself:

Resolved, That Brad Warbiany —

  1. expresses his support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law;
  2. condemns the ongoing violence against demonstrators by the Government of Iran and pro-government militias, as well as the ongoing government suppression of independent electronic communication through interference with the Internet and cellphones; and
  3. affirms the universality of individual rights and considers any government which infringes upon those individual rights to be illegitimate.

Iran is at a very important point. In a mere matter of hours, this may come to a head. The mullahs have signaled that they will resort to violence with a call that any who continue protesting “will be held responsible for the consequences and chaos.” Many people in Iran have said that they’re going to protest anyway.

As I write this in California, it is 10:15 AM in Iran. Much will happen in the next few hours. To those Iranians who are not sure what will happen next, I can only wish you safety and success. I’m not sure you’ll have the former, but if you don’t I at least hope you achieve the latter.

Obama’s disdain for free speech

According to Drudge, President Obama plans to take a bigger step closer to totalitarianism regarding the separation of the media and the state.

On the night of June 24, the media and government become one, when ABC turns its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care — a move that has ignited an ethical firestorm!

Highlights on the agenda:

ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House.

The network plans a primetime special — ‘Prescription for America’ — originating from the East Room, exclude opposing voices on the debate.

Of course, ABC promises to keep the coverage fair and balanced.

I sort of welcome this move, as it provides some the transparency Obama promised. If the mainstream media is to be Obama’s propaganda team, why not move their offices over to the White House?

However, Obama doesn’t treat the free speech rights of those he doesn’t like in the same manner.  Obama seems poised to sign a bill which will further erode the rights of tobacco companies to advertise:

The marketing and advertising restrictions in the tobacco law that Congress passed last week are likely to be challenged in court on free-speech grounds, but supporters of the legislation say they carefully drafted the law to comply with the First Amendment.

The law’s ban on outdoor advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds would effectively outlaw legal advertising in many cities, critics of the prohibition said. And restricting stores and many forms of print advertising to black-and-white text, as the law specifies, would interfere with legitimate communication to adults, tobacco companies and advertising groups said in letters to Congress. [snip]

Opponents of the new strictures, including the Association of National Advertisers and the American Civil Liberties Union, predict that federal courts will throw out the new marketing restrictions. They point to a 2001 Supreme Court decision that struck down a Massachusetts rule imposing a similar ban on advertising within 1,000 feet of schools.

“Anybody looking at this in a fair way would say the effort here is not just to protect kids, which is a substantial interest of the country, but to make it virtually impossible to communicate with anybody,” said Daniel Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers. “We think this creates very serious problems for the First Amendment.” [snip]

“The bill has been carefully drafted, and I am confident that the provisions will be upheld,” Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., a sponsor of the legislation, said in a statement Monday.

Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an advocacy group that pushed for the law, said: “Frankly, the tobacco industry and the advertising industry have never heard of an advertising restriction that they thought was constitutional. In this case, great care was taken to permit black-and-white text advertising that permits them to communicate whatever truthful information they have.”

While Obama continues to destroy our economy, wreck the automobile industry and put our health care system on life support, he’s now taking swipes at the First Amendment.

Liberty Rock Friday: Hook in Mouth by Megadeth

md

Megadeth
Hook in Mouth
So Far, So Good, So What! (1988)

Music by D. Mustaine/D. Ellefson, Lyrics by D. Mustaine)

A cockroach in the concrete, courthouse tan and beady eyes.
A slouch with fallen arches, purging truths into great lies.
A little man with a big eraser, changing history
Procedures that hes programmed to, all he hears and sees.

Altering the facts and figures, events and every issue.
Make a person disappear, and no one will ever miss you.

Rewrites every story, every poem that ever was.
Eliminates incompetence, and those who break the laws.
Follow the instructions of the new ways evil book of rules.
Replacing rights with wrongs, the files and records in the schools.

You say youve got the answers, well who asked you anyway?
Ever think maybe it was meant to be this way?
Dont try to fool us, we know the worst is yet to come.
I believe my kingdom will come.

Chorus
F is for fighting, R is for red,
Ancestors blood in battles theyve shed.
E, we elect them, E, we eject them,
In the land of the free, and the home of the brave.
D, for your dying, O, your overture,
M, they will cover your grave with manure.
This spells out freedom, it means nothing to me,
As long as theres a P.M.R.C.

F is for fighting, R is for red,
Ancestors blood in battles theyve shed.
E, we elect them, E, we eject them,
In the land of the free and the home of the brave.
D, for your dying, O, your overture,
M is for money and you know what that cures.
This spells out freedom, it means nothing to me,
As long as theres a P.M.R.C.

Put your hand right up my shirt,
Pull the strings that make me work,
Jaws will part, words fall out,
Like a fish with hook in mouth.

Rewrites every story, every poem that ever was.
Eliminates incompetence, and those who break the laws.
Follow the instructions of the new ways evil book of rules.
Replacing rights with wrongs, the files and records in the schools.

Im not a fish
Im a man

Hook
In
Mouth

Carrie Prejean Is Wrong About Her Rights

During the press conference the other day where Donald Trump announced that Carrie Prejean would not lose her title as Miss California, the new heroine of social conservatives everywhere had this to say:

“I exercised my freedom of speech and I was punished for doing so,” an emotional Prejean said at a news conference. “This should not happen in America. It undermines the constitutional rights for which my grandfather fought for (in World War Two).

As Chris Moody notes, however, Prejean completely misunderstands, or deliberately mis-states, the nature of the rights that her grandfather fought for:

Sorry, Carrie, no constitutional rights were undermined here. To be sure, the government was not involved in any way. You were not censored by a state or by the strong arm of any coercive power. You were ridiculed and attacked by a free people who, yes, were brutal to your character, your religion and your family. But again, no rights were violated.

You agreed to a contract, you were honest, and your views were criticized. You took a national stand on religious principles, and someone legally pointed out that you’re not perfect by bringing up your past. They called you a hypocrite, even though you’re just human. They tried to discredit you, and showed the world a few pictures you might not have wanted anyone to see.

But if your constitutional rights really were undermined, you never would have been able to take those pictures in the first place. Your career as a model would be a crime against the state; your participation in a beauty pageant would have been outlawed; and you would have been thrown in prison for your ideas about gay marriage.

But none of that happened. So please don’t make this about a problem of rights infringement. You fought a voluntary battle for your beliefs and this is the outcome.

Here’s what the First Amendment actually says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

See ? There’s nothing in there that says that Prejean, or anyone else, can speak out on an issue of public concern but that people who disagree with her can’t criticize her, or use evidence from her past to point out what some might consider a hypocritical appeal to her supposed Christianity.

Carrie Prejean has the right to speak out without fear of punishment from the state, that’s exactly what happened, and that’s the only right she was entitled to.

So, let’s stop talking about this now, okay ?

O/P: Below The Beltway

The Limits of Campaign Finance Law Abridgement of the First Amendment Tested in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission

During the 2008 presidential campaign, an organization called Citizens United produced an anti-Hillary documentary called “Hillary: the Movie.” The movie was available on pay-per-view cable channels until the FEC pulled the plug claiming that the broadcast violated campaign finance law. The case, Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, is now being considered by the Supreme Court.

During oral arguments, the government’s attorney revealed that campaign finance law as currently written could be interpreted to restrict not only documentaries such as “Hillary” but any other political speech “broadcast” during a campaign. A banned “broadcast” could include a store advertising the sale of candidate dolls, toys, or action figures. Even if the advertisement makes no direct endorsements nor advocates the defeat of a candidate, the mere mention of a candidate’s name or likeness would violate current election law.

But surely books would be safe…right?

Not if the book is “broadcast” on a device such as a Kindle, says the government’s attorney. While the FEC believes “dead tree editions” are currently safe from FEC regulation, former Chief of Staff and Council of the FEC Allison Hayward, says that such regulations could be imposed if congress brought such an interpretation into the law.

In the very beginning of the video below, Steve Simpson, Senior Attorney for the Institute for Justice says something which bears repeating here because he captures exactly the First Amendment problems found in current campaign finance law:

“The problem is not too much money in politics; the problem is too much power in government. Government regulates everything and of course, people want to affect the course of the government. So the campaign finance reformers ultimately what they want to prevent is that. It’s the ability to affect the course of our government; it’s the ability to affect which way people vote. That’s the dirty little secret of campaign finance law. They don’t just want to control money, they want to control speech.”

I would like to believe that free speech will ultimately prevail in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, but given SCOTUS’s history, ruling on the side of the Constitution is by no means sure thing. I also can’t help but wonder how an Obama appointed Justice would rule if this case was before him or her. Which side would receive the most “empathy,” the federal government or a private organization or individual citizen? We already know that such a judge would not be considering “abstract legal theories” such as entailed in the First Amendment.

Something for the left to think about regarding hate crime laws

As a libertarian, I find Republican Congresswoman Virginia Foxx’s comment that Matthew Shepard’s death was a “a hoax that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills” as reprehensible as anyone on the left ever could.  Although she’s now apologized for the remark, she’s yet another good example of why the Republican Party continues to lose elections.

However, some of the well-meaning arguments used by the left regarding hate crime legislation make no sense to me, either.  Most of my progressive friends are fairly bright people — and they are certainly smart enough to know that they probably won’t control Congress and the White House forever.  It seems that the progressive movement is promoting a slippery-slope issue which will ultimately be used to target the left side of the aisle should the social conservatives ever take over.

When the Department of Homeland Security report branding of most people on the right as potential terrorist threats was made public, I had a difficult time being sympathetic to those who applauded President Bush’s egregious abuse of executive power and blatant disregard for civil liberties.  Now that the worm has turned on them, a lot of conservatives are once again concerned about more than one of the first ten amendments to the Constitution.  Their problem is similar to the same general slippery-slope the left is currently creating with the hate crime legislation soon to hit the Senate floor.

“Personal bias in officers or prosecution is absolutely indicative of what’s going to happen sometimes,” said Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard, on The Rachel Maddow Show the other night. “Not always, but sometimes.”

While it isn’t the point that Ms. Shepard was trying to make, she brings up a very valid topic.  Personal and political bias will happen as a matter of public policy should extreme social conservatives manage to gain political control. Imagine a President Mike Huckabee, Vice President Rick Santorum, Attorney General John Yoo, and Senator Ralph Reed.

If you don’t think social conservatives will do everything they can to define those in opposition to their agenda as hate-mongers, think again.  They already call folks opposed to the Iraq War or the Patriot Act part of the “Hate America” crowd.  With control of Congress and the White House, it would be easy to expand the definition of hate crime to suit their purposes.

Next, imagine that some gay guy murders some straight person. While he admitted some dislike for straight people in his confession, there is still doubt in the minds of some intelligent and reasonable people about his true intent.  What is established is that the police found evidence that the suspect had participated in local Pride parades and his personal library contains works by Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Oscar Wilde and Gore Vidal.

If you don’t think social conservatives would use ownership of books like these as evidence, think again.  If you don’t think the right is capable of stretching a legal definition to suit their own purposes, I’ll suggest that you go ask John Yoo about his definition of torture.

If the intent of the left is to provide some level of federal oversight to crimes ignored at the local level, please do the right thing and amend the Constitution if you don’t feel that the 14th Amendment provides enough protection in these sorts of cases.

By creating and now expanding hate crime laws, the left is unwittedly drawing the papers with which they’ll later be prosecuted.

Even David Duke Has The Right To Free Speech

Friday in the Czech Republic, Czech police detained a foreigner on suspicion of Thoughtcrime. The foreigner in question is former KKK leader David Duke who was arrested and later deported for the Thoughtcrime offense of denying the Holocaust.

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke was detained by police in the Czech Republic on Friday on suspicion of denying the Holocaust.

Police spokesman Jan Mikulovsky said the action was taken because Duke does that in his book “My Awakening,” which is punishable by up to three years in Czech prisons.

Duke traveled to the republic to promote the book’s Czech translation of the book at the invitation of neo-Nazis.

The thought of arresting someone, even a person whose views on the Holocaust and on Jews and other non-whites is hideous like David Duke, for having a belief is repugnant. Especially in a supposedly free country and NATO member like the Czech Republic. Arresting people and deporting them for thoughtcrimes is the hallmark of totalitarian regimes. Is not forgetting the pain and suffering the Nazi tyranny imposed on Czechs the reason behind this law? Instead, this law has been enacted and enforced in the spirit of that same Nazi and later Communist tyrannies that enslaved Czechoslovakia. The Holocaust denial laws are a violation of basic freedom of speech and freedom of thought and should be repealed. The hideousness of the Holocaust can stand up under any scrutiny the Holocaust deniers bring forth.

Also, the lack of response by the United States Department of State toward this violation of Duke’s human rights is appalling. If this was an American promoting democracy in say China and they were expelled for the Thoughtcrime of promoting democracy by the Chinese government, the State Department would be raising hell. Why the silence in this case?

Finally, one thing I noticed in the comments to the original article is the calls by the fascist left in America for similar crimes in this country. I thought leftists were for free speech?

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

DHS Responds To Uproar Over Report On “Right Wing Extremism”

In light of the uproar that we’ve seen over the report that Stephen Gordon brought into the public light earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security has issued this press release:

Release Date: April 15, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

The primary mission of this department is to prevent terrorist attacks on our nation. The document on right-wing extremism sent last week by this department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis is one in an ongoing series of assessments to provide situational awareness to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies on the phenomenon and trends of violent radicalization in the United States. I was briefed on the general topic, which is one that struck a nerve as someone personally involved in the Timothy McVeigh prosecution.

Let me be very clear: we monitor the risks of violent extremism taking root here in the United States. We don’t have the luxury of focusing our efforts on one group; we must protect the country from terrorism whether foreign or homegrown, and regardless of the ideology that motivates its violence.

We are on the lookout for criminal and terrorist activity but we do not – nor will we ever – monitor ideology or political beliefs. We take seriously our responsibility to protect the civil rights and liberties of the American people, including subjecting our activities to rigorous oversight from numerous internal and external sources.

I am aware of the letter from American Legion National Commander Rehbein, and my staff has already contacted him to set up a meeting next week once I return from travel. I will tell him face-to-face that we honor veterans at DHS and employ thousands across the department, up to and including the Deputy Secretary.

As the department responsible for protecting the homeland, DHS will continue to work with its state and local partners to prevent and protect against the potential threat to the United States associated with any rise in violent extremist activity.

I’ll leave it to others to comment more fully, but I will say that it’s worth remembering that Timothy McVeigh got his start with the so-called militia movement, and he ended up killing hundreds of people.

H/T: Little Green Footballs

Hey IRS & DHS, Suck On This!

I’m not going to make it to any Tea Parties today, because frankly I think my personal time is far better spent earning money at my job than engaging in a bit of populism that will likely be forgotten and ignored by the mainstream media — at least those portions of the MSM that don’t actively deride the movement.

But in the wake of this, and of the recent DHS report, I thought a little picture was in order:

My office when I worked from home:

Don't Tread, Bitches!

Some might call it extremism. I call it inspiration. Does that mean my name will end up on a list somewhere (if it hasn’t already)?

$1.00

This is the amount a jury awarded the America hating professor, Ward Churchill in his civil rights lawsuit against The University of Colorado. Despite charges of academic misconduct “deliberate and repeated plagiarism, falsification, and fabrication” Churchill and his legal team turned his dismissal from CU into a First Amendment free speech issue.

Maybe I don’t quite understand how tenure is supposed to work, but this idea that someone is entitled to a job regardless of how his or her actions damage the reputation of his or her employer (CU in this case) is asinine. Ward Churchill’s firing is not a First Amendment issue but a freedom of association issue (in this case, CU decided to discontinue its association with the professor).

The First Amendment protects speech from government reprisals. I suppose one could argue that Churchill’s employer was the State of Colorado (a wonderful example for why all higher learning institutions should be privately owned, operated, and funded) and therefore, was a government reprisal.

Local Denver attorneys and talk show hosts Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman point out that Churchill took an oath pursuant to Colorado State law to uphold the U.S. Constitution. From their legal point-of-view, Churchill violated this oath when he encouraged students (on multiple occasions) to commit acts of violence against private and government institutions as well as private citizens. How can Churchill take an oath to a constitution he finds illegal and immoral, violate that oath, and still have legal grounds to remain employed by the State?

Beyond this, university speech codes, politically correct as they are, how is it possible to say that one professor could be legitimately fired for violating the prevailing P.C. orthodoxy while Churchill is entitled to a job despite praising the OKC bombing and the 9/11 terrorist attacks? Caplis, on his radio show, pointed out that if Churchill had said, for example, that female students on the CU campus deserved to be raped; his career would be over (and rightfully so). Few would be claiming his First Amendment rights were being violated by CU if these were his words.

Ward Churchill may not deserve to be prosecuted for his hateful speech but he doesn’t have the “right” to teach at CU either.

To Mr. Churchill I would just like to say the following:

Congratulations on your $1 civil rights victory (which you do not deserve); don’t spend it all in one place…asshole!

When Did Maricopa County Become Red Square?

This seems even excessive for the Toughest Most Authoritarian Sheriff in America, Joe Arpaio:

Sheriff’s deputies and county Protective Service officers arrested two men and two women in the middle of the [County Board of Supervisors] meeting when they stood and applauded a speaker who criticized Arpaio.

Joel Nelson, Jason Odhner, Monica Sanschafer and Kristy Theilen all were charged with suspicion of disorderly conduct and trespassing, said sheriff’s office spokesman Lt. Brian Lee.

Odhner is a member of the anti-Arpaio group Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability, said the group’s director Raquel Terán. Nelson, Sanschafer and Theilen are members of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. The trio frequently has participated with MCSA members during the group’s anti-Arpaio campaign.

The crackdown brought the anti-Arpaio activist arrest tally to nine in the past four months.

Here’s the video of the incident:

But perhaps the disorderly conduct charges are legit. After all, public meetings have to have order right?

One might be able to accept this explanation until considering this:

A double standard clearly was in effect during the Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday. At one point, public-transit advocate Blue Crowley used part of his public-comment time allotment to sing a birthday song to Kunasek. Kunasek blushed and several people applauded, but none was ordered to leave or threatened with arrest.

However, Kunasek, deputies and security officers refused to tolerate applause after the anti-Arpaio speech minutes later.

Don’t expect any apologies from Sheriff Arpaio for the actions of his deputies. He is THE LAW!

United Nations Opposes Freedom of Religion

Some group calling itself the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution yesterday opposing what they see as the leading human rights issue of our time. You’re probably thinking, maybe they’re now addressing the situation in Darfur, or perhaps they’re talking about Communist China’s treatment of Tibetians. Perhaps there maybe a resolution about Cuba’s continuing persecution of its citizens. If you guessed any of the above, you were wrong. Instead, this little cabal decided to pass a resolution condemning “defamation of religion”.

A United Nations forum on Thursday passed a resolution condemning “defamation of religion” as a human rights violation, despite wide concerns that it could be used to justify curbs on free speech in Muslim countries.

The U.N. Human Rights Council adopted the non-binding text, proposed by Pakistan on behalf of Islamic states, with a vote of 23 states in favor and 11 against, with 13 abstentions.

Western governments and a broad alliance of activist groups have voiced dismay about the religious defamation text, which adds to recent efforts to broaden the concept of human rights to protect communities of believers rather than individuals.

What exactly is defamation of religion? Is criticizing certain Islamic practices such as stoning adulterers defaming Islam? Is criticizing Sharia law because it is a barbaric, seventh century legal code defaming Islam?

Or is flying jetliners into skyscrapers defaming Islam? Maybe the Pakistani government should answer that instead of handing the Taliban parts of their country and demand we shut up.

Of course this is nothing more than an attempt by the nations of the Islamic conference than to further exempt themselves from the conduct of civilized nations, especially on matters of freedom of speech, thought, and coinscience. Under this resolution, just about anything from criticizing an “Islamic government” to demanding human rights for religious minorities and certain groups such as homosexuals as “defaming religion”. This resolution is nothing more than the criminalization of thought.

Another curious thought, what does the Islamic conference in particular and this cabal in general think about anti-Semitism?

Of course there was some opposition to this resolution by more civilized nations.

India and Canada also took to the floor of the Geneva-based Council to raise objections to the OIC text. Both said the text looked too narrowly at the discrimination issue.

“It is individuals who have rights, not religions,” Ottawa’s representative told the body. “Canada believes that to extend (the notion of) defamation beyond its proper scope would jeopardize the fundamental right to freedom of expression, which includes freedom of expression on religious subjects.”

Perhaps Canada’s objections would have a little more merit if Canada wasn’t engaged in its own war on thoughtcrime.

Finally, a simple question of morality. Why does the world take a body seriously that calls itself the “UN Human Rights Council” that has Nigeria as its president and includes such members as Egypt, Russia, Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan? Isn’t this really letting the fox guard the henhouse?

If these countries won’t protect human rights at home, why would they protect human rights around the world?

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.
1 2 3 4 5 6 12