American Elephants


Criminalizing Political Speech, In America? by The Elephant's Child

There is an unpleasant streak in the progressive left of totalitarianism. You must not disagree with them. They will not tolerate dissent. Apparently unacquainted with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, if you say something that displeases them, you must be punished by law. And if the law won’t punish, then the laws must be fixed so they will eliminate the dissent.

Ralph Peters wrote recently in the New York Post that, after a lecture to the Marine Memorial Association, a reporter thrust a microphone towards him and asked if Peters thought he should be tried for war crimes for his columns in The Post supporting our military.

In theory, no one is more aware of the First Amendment to the Constitution than reporters. Do you suppose they just read the phrase “abridging the freedom of the press” and skip the rest? Or is it that they just don’t think about the Constitution at all.

Katrina van den Heuvel, editor of The Nation, said that when she interviewed Nancy Pelosi about her new book, she asked Pelosi “how could she take impeachment “off the table?”. “[Progressives] believe holding this administration accountable for its staggering abuse of power is essential for preserving our Constitution.”

At the Netroots Nation gathering in Austin, Texas, Byron York reported that Dahlia Lithwick of the Washington Post owned website Slate, described a panel discussion she had participated in on what is known as “the first 100 days of accountability”

We’re already falling into this trap of either positing Nuremberg-style war crimes tribunals, or nothing, immunizing everyone from John Yoo up and down…but everybody says there’s a lot of gray area in between that, and that accountability doesn’t necessarily mean Nuremberg, it doesn’t necessarily mean nothing, it means possibly a truth commission, possibly appointing a special prosecutor …

In this constitutional republic, there is no place for “truth commissions” or “gray areas.” This is Stalinism, pure and simple, and there is no place for it in any political party.

Lithwick went on to recommend a massive retrospective investigation of the Bush administration, going through every piece of paper, before moving forward. But she recognized that some might think such an action might be divisive:

We talked a lot about this notion that it’s bad for America , that it will rip America apart if we have hearings or we have criminal trials or if we have war crimes tribunals. And I think it’s really worse for America if we don’t.

These people are serious. Bush Derangement Syndrome has gone so far that people who disagree are to be eliminated. Tried, condemned and executed.

Lawyer and author Vincent Bugliosi has called for George W. Bush to be prosecuted for murder based on his decision to invade Iraq.  Mr. Bugliosi apparently has never read the “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq  Resolution of 2002”, or any of Bush’s speeches.  He is just overcome with BDS. 

In Canada, columnist Mark Steyn has been put on trial for quoting the words of an author in a commissioned book review, because a Muslim claimed the words to be offensive.  But they were not Mark Steyn’s words.  No matter.

Obama’s plan for imposing “Unity” on the nation after he takes office apparently includes a close look at war crimes trials for Bush Administration officials. Thomas Lifson notes an interview with Obama that appeared on a Philadelphia Daily News blog.

Obama said that as president he would indeed ask his new Attorney General and his deputies to “immediately review the information that’s already there” and determine if an inquiry is warranted — but he also tread carefully on the issue, in line with his reputation for seeking to bridge the partisan divide. He worried that such a probe could be spun as a”a partisan witch hunt.” However, he said that equation changes if there was willful criminality, because “nobody is above the law.”

We have heard James Hansen, NASA scientist, calling for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature because they were actively spreading doubt about the reality of global warming.  What!

Columnist Ellen Goodman wrote that “global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.” Imagine.  Disagreeing with computer climate models that have increasingly been proven to have no predictive value is the equivalent of denying that Hitler killed 6 million Jews.  You may believe something passionately, Ellen, but nobody is required to agree with you. And there is always the possibility that you are wrong.  Completely wrong.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has called climate skeptics “traitors”.  The Grist website called for Nuremburg type trials for those who do not adhere to the IPCC dogma.  NASA’s Dr. James Hansen has called for their trials for treason. 

Journalists have attacked Sarah Palin and her family with an unfathomable fury that puts the lie to any pretense of media balance or impartiality. They have no interest in fairness, they clearly want to destroy her.  Many of the accusations and speculations are so ugly that I will not repeat them here.

The founders believed that we should debate and argue.  They established three branches of government with differing responsibilities, and set the legislative branch the task of arguing and debating to determine the content of the laws that they passed. But silencing the opposition?  Bringing the opposition to trial for disagreeing?  And, in actuality, refusing to debate? 

As John Bolton wrote recently:

[T]he pernicious idea is that, based on their own moral self-evaluation, people can take the law into their own hands and determine who is a criminal.  At a minimum, this approach is intended to deny legitimacy in the public square to opposing points of view, and taken to the next level — the threat of physical force — is intended to intimidate those views into silence.  This is, in the worst case, the path first to anarchy and then to fascism.


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