American Elephants


More Incidents on the Free Speech Front by The Elephant's Child

—Jeff Olson is a 40-year-old man who was being prosecuted for scrawling anti-megabank messages on the sidewalk in water-soluble chalk faced a 13 year sentence. A judge had barred his attorney from mentioning freedom of speech during the trial. The San Diego Reader reported that a judge had opted to prevent Olson’s attorney from”mentioning the First Amendment, free speech, free expression, public forum, expressive conduct, or political speech during the trial.”

Olson faced 13 counts of vandalism. In addition to possibly spending years in jail, Olson would also be held liable for fines of up to $13,000 over the anti-big-bank slogans that were left in washable children’s chalk on a sidewalk outside of three San Diego, California branches of Bank of America, the massive conglomerate that received $45 billion in interest-free loans from the federal government in 2008-2009 in a bid to keep it solvent in the financial crisis.

Olson was a former staffer for a Washington State senator, and involved himself in political activism inspired by the Occupy Wall Street  protest regarding debit card fees. He scribbled slogans such as “Stop Big Banks” and “Stop Bank Blight.com.” One Bank of America branch claimed it had cost $6,000 to clean up the washable chalk.

Darrell Freeman, Vice President of Bank of America’s Global Corporate Security, and a former police officer, decided to take Olson and his friend on.  He threatened them with “running a business outside of the bank,”and when that didn’t work pressured members of San Diego’s Gang Unit on behalf of Bank of America, until the matter was forwarded to the City Attorney’s Office.

Olson did not deny that he scrawled anti-bank messages and artwork outside the banks last year, such as “No thanks, big banks” and Shame on Bank of America.”

His attorney argued that vandalism law required jurors to find something was “maliciously defaced.” He added, “His purpose was not malicious. His purpose was to inform.

The mayor condemned the City Attorney’s Office, calling it a waste of time. Defense attorney Tom Tosdal said it was an “enormous waste of public resources.” He said bank officials demanded the prosecution because they didn’t like his client’s message. The jury agreed and  acquitted Olson.

The judge forbade any mention of freedom of speech or the First Amendment? Wow.

—In West Virginia, a 14-year-old student wore a National Rifle Association tee shirt to school. Uh Oh! His teacher demanded that he remove it, and he refused. Jared Marcum, 14, was charged with obstruction following the April 18 incident after police were called to Logan Middle School. Police said he wouldn’t stop talking. After he was charged, Marcum faced up to a year in jail and a $500 fine.

Ben White, the Marcum family attorney, claimed the demand that he remove the NRA shirt violated his right to freedom of speech. Logan County Circuit Court Judge Eric O’Briant signed an order dismissing the charge.

After Marcum was arrested, students throughout Logan County wore similar NRA shirts in a show of solidarity. Prosecutors sought to have a gag order imposed on Marcum and his family. After reviewing statements from the arresting officer and the school principal, White said he and a prosecutor agreed that creating a criminal record for the 14-year-old boy was not a good idea. Annoying a prosecutor is apparently not a good idea.

—The BBC headline ran “U.S. Bloggers Banned From Entering the UK.” “Bloggers” Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer were denied entry to the country that gave the world the Magna Charta. Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer are both prominent critics of Islamism — the strand of militant Islam that attempts to spread the intolerant ideology of Islam throughout the West through the imposition of sharia.

What Geller and Spencer do is speak. They give lectures, they write books. They were traveling to Britain to participate in a commemorative ceremony for Drummer Lee Rigby, the young soldier who was returning to his barracks when two Muslims ran him down with a car, then stabbed and hacked him to death with knives and a cleaver. Rigby had to be identified with dental records.

Geller and Spencer speak about the intolerance of Islam and the requirements of sharia. A government spokesman said individuals whose presence “is not conducive to the public good” may be denied entry by the Home Secretary. He explained: “We condemn all those whose behaviors and views run counter to our shared values and will not stand for extremism in any form.” We’re trying to be very tolerant, don’t be disagreeing with us or disturbing our fantasies.

Another few incidents in today’s world where freedom of speech means being very, very careful what you say. How did we get here?



The Bill of Rights Was Ratified 222 Years Ago. How Come They Still Don’t Get It? by The Elephant's Child

“I was expelled from Syracuse University for comments that I posted on Facebook.”

Syracuse University School of Education graduate student Matthew Werenczak was just trying to finish his masters degree early when he decided to take a summer course that involved tutoring at a local middle school. But after a comment he posted on Facebook about an experience he had at the school caught the attention of the Syracuse administration, Werenczak would be lucky if he graduated at all.

On the first day of Werenczak’s tutoring program at Danforth Middle School, he and another Syracuse student were introduced to their students by a member of the Concerned Citizens Action Program (CCAP). They happened to be the only two white people in the room. Shortly after the introduction, in the presence of Werenczak and the other white student teacher, the CCAP member, who is black, said that he thought that the city schools should hire more teachers from historically black colleges.

“This [comment] offended me, as well as the other student teacher in the room,” says Werenczak in FIRE’s latest video. “It just seemed inappropriate considering that the two student teachers happened to be from Syracuse and a not a historically black college.”

So Werenczak took to Facebook to write about the incident.

“Just making sure we’re okay with racism,” wrote Werenczak. “It’s not enough I’m … tutoring in the worst school in the city, I suppose I oughta be black or stay in my own side of town.”

“I was kind of trying to see if my friends or other peers, classmates would have a similar reaction to what I had,” says Werenczak about the reason for his posting the comment.

One reaction Werenczak didn’t see coming was an expulsion from the School of Education for the Facebook comments, which the school described as “unprofessional, offensive, and insensitive.” The school told Werenczak he could avoid expulsion by voluntarily withdrawing, or he could fulfill several requirements in order to gain a chance of “re-admittance.”

When Werenczak fulfilled the requirements and was still not readmitted to the school, he contacted FIRE for help.

“Hours after FIRE took the case public, Syracuse University backed down and I was brought back [into the program] and later graduated.”

Why is it always the educators in our universities that don’ t grasp freedom of speech. Our colleges and universities are  hotbeds of attempting to censor speech that they don’t like. Thank goodness for FIRE.



Obama’s Scandal of Murderous Proportions, and It’s No Big Deal? by The Elephant's Child

Benghazi is the worst scandal in memory, and the compliant media — the PR arm of the Obama campaign — is ready to brush it aside as if it were “just a bump in the road.” the president’s own callous designation for four murdered Americans. The administration story clearly departed from what was known and when it was known. Brett Baier has compiled a timeline of events.

It has been confusing, as the administration tried valiantly to insist that it was a spontaneous mob reaction to a 14 minute YouTube video critical of Islam that apparently no one had seen, which resulted in mob violence and attacks on embassies in 20 countries. The administration knew within 24 hours of the 9/11 attack that it was a planned attack by terrorists. Secretary of State Clinton announced on the 13th that she found the anti-Muslim movie trailer that sparked violent attacks on American embassies across the Middle east “disgusting and reprehensible.” President Obama said there were going to be “a few bumps in the road,” and headed off to Las Vegas for a fundraiser.

Nakoula Basili Nakoula who made the You Tube video was ‘coincidentally’ picked up on the 13th for questioning about a probation violation of using a computer. He was judged a “flight risk” and sentenced to solitary confinement for at least a couple of weeks.

To push the video story on September 16, UN Ambassador Susan Rice was dispatched to the Sunday shows, where she obediently, 5 days after the attack said it was a spontaneous uprising in reaction to the video

“We had a substantial security presence with our personnel and the consulate in Benghazi. Tragically, two of the four Americans who were killed were there providing security. That was their function. And indeed, there were many other colleagues who were doing the same with them.”

That wasn’t true either. The “consulate” was an unsecured building, the Libyan security ran away, and the two former SEALS were not there to protect the ambassador or the facility, but lost their lives when they stepped forward to try to help.

So a week after the attack Obama and his administration were still trying to push the video story. Or to rephrase it — they have been deliberately lying to the American public. And eventually they gave up that story and started lying about lying about it.

Mr. Obama has had a great deal invested in his brag about killing bin Laden, and decimating the bin Laden terrorist group. After considerable (a year) hesitation, he agreed to the raid, which any president would have done. The organization is still alive and well.

For clarification I turned to the DiploMad, a former State Department official who reported from Banda Aceh on the 2004 Indonesian tsunami rescue efforts. He said:

The attack on the US facility in Benghazi is a scandal of–literally–murderous proportions. The lack of concern for even basic security procedures, the mishandling of intelligence information, the willful blindness towards the causes of the attack, and the outrageous and outright lying to cover up the incompetence by Carney, Rice, Clinton, Obama, and now Clapper is breath-taking.

The late Ambassador Stevens, I am sorry to say, has a share of the blame for the failure to use common sense and to behave in a manner that would have protected him and his people. This failure  cost him his life and those of three other Americans, and apparently produced a catastrophe for US interests.

I will be criticized for criticizing a murdered Ambassador, but he was the man in charge. His greatest apparent shortcoming, and I would gladly retract this and apologize if the evidence points elsewhere, was allowing that facility, which apparently played a key role in our intel efforts in the region, to operate with nothing that approximated even basic security standards. In addition, he drew attention to the facility by announcing that he would go to Benghazi, and that he would inaugurate an “American Corner” there. He did this although, apparently, he had concerns about the security of the facility in Benghazi, as well as his own safety,

Read the whole thing. It strikes me as straightforward common sense from someone who knows the ropes.

This is a cover-up, a deliberate attempt to hide the truth by an administration that claimed it wanted to be the most transparent in history. It involves the murder of four Americans, one our ambassador, and involves our national security. The attack on the Benghazi safe-house indicates that it was well known to the terrorists, and more than 15 days later the FBI has not been to Benghazi to secure the premises. What documents were taken is still unknown. Why was there an unsecured ‘consulate’ in the first place. We’ve learned that the Administration actually deleted damning State Department memos from the Internet, in which State expressed the view that it had “no credible information to suggest that al-Qaeda or any terrorist group is plotting any kind of attack overseas to coincide with the upcoming anniversary of September 11.”

Congressional Democrats have actually demanded some detailed information. Obama is still out on the campaign trail. Appearances on Letterman, and shamefully on the View were fine, but the President was too busy to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu. This seems to be just another occasion where Obama’s self-concern is larger than the national interest. It is still all about him.

 



Obama Calls For Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United. by The Elephant's Child

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.

Democrats do not like disagreement, so the Supreme Court’s 2010 “Citizens United” decision which knocked down curbs on companies’ political donations that fuel political free speech, is something they really hate. During the Supreme Court’s hearing, an Obama-appointed lawyer said the law could be used to ban political movies or books. The court’s five to four decision brought howls of protest from Democrats, who get a larger proportion of their donations from unions and professionals, but not so much from corporations

Corporations still cannot donate directly to candidates, but they can donate to political action committees (PACs).

Attempting to distract attention from the Republican convention where multitudes of speakers were disagreeing with his policies, President Barack Obama tried to regain the limelight with a call for a constitutional amendment to amend the free-speech rights of wealthy people and corporations. Thy hypocrisy here is breathtaking. Democrats excoriate the Libertarian Koch brothers who head Koch Industries, yet make no mention of  George Soros and the Democracy Alliance, and welcome the funds public sector unions extract from their membership.

“I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United. … Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change,” Obama said during 4:30 p.m. EST online event.

The publicity-grabbing gambit complements his campaign-theme portrayal of himself as the defender of middle-class Americans, and Gov. Mitt Romney as the champion of wealthy, job-exporting plutocrats.

Those “super PACs “fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voice of ordinary citizens,” he claimed, as many of his 2008 Wall Street Donors are supporting Mitt Romney.

 



Scandal! Attack on the First Amendment! Unintended Consequences! by The Elephant's Child

Three must read articles for a Monday.
Victor Davis Hanson, one of clearest and most thoughtful observers of current affairs looks at the increasing national security scandals coming out of the ineptitude of the Obama administration. He compares their significance to scandals from other administrations fairly and cogently. It’s not a pretty picture.

Senator Mitch McConnell,  GOP Minority Leader, addressed the Heritage Foundation with a speech about how the Obama administration is pursuing restrictions on political speech, by every means possible, including bypassing Congress and the federal judiciary. Democrats don’t like to be disagreed with, and they want to stamp out the right to disagree. Conservatives understand that debate is an essential part of the American polity. Liberals want to shut you up by whatever means possible. The speech is here. Long, but worth it.

Douglas Ross, excellence in blogging, looks at ten things that a President Romney can do, by following the example of what the current president has accomplished with the approval of the Media in rescinding laws by executive order. Indifference to the rule of law can have unintended consequences too. This is tongue-in-cheek, but points out the real problems with the president’s actions.



Mindlessness! And They Vote Too! by The Elephant's Child

The intellectual climate of the nation today came from the public schools, where almost every one of us was schooled in the work of the mind.  We are a people who imagine that we are weighing important issues when we exchange generalizations and well-known opinions.  We decide how to vote or what to buy according to whim or fancied self-interest, either of which is easily engendered in us by the manipulation of language, which we have neither the will nor the ability to analyze.  We believe that we can reach conclusions without having the faintest idea of the difference between inferences and statements of fact, often without any suspicion that there are such things and that they are different.  We are easily persuaded and repersuaded by what seems authoritative, without any notion of those attributes and abilities that characterize authority.  We do not notice elementary fallacies in logic, it doesn’t even occur to us to look for them: few of us are even aware that such things exist. We make no regular distinction between those kinds of things that can be known and objectively verified and those that can only be believed or not.  Nor are we likely to examine, when we believe or not, the induced predispositions that may make us do the one or the other.  We are easy prey.
Richard Mitchell: The Graves of Academe

Also, affirmative action had a disastrous effect.  We created two universities during affirmative action.  We had a super-elite university of people who were admitted on the most competitive criteria in the history of the university, but then we had this other university of people who could not have been admitted on those criteria, and who had to have special courses and special departments set up for them.
Now affirmative action meant two completely different things.  When it first started out the definition was that we were going to take affirmative actions to see that people who would never have tried to get into the university before would be encouraged and trained so that they could get admission.  I was all for that —that we were going to get people into the competition.  What happened though, and this was the catastrophic effect, is that race and ethnicity became criteria, not for encouraging people to enter the competition, but for judging the competition.
John R. Searle, Professor of Philosophy, Berkeley

We are telling students what to think, not teaching them how to think.  Without teaching them how to draw meaning, significance and wisdom from those facts, we are teaching mindlessness. Teaching kids how to think means teaching them how to weigh and consider ideas, see implications, follow an argument to a logical conclusion, integrate knowledge, and apply creative and critical thinking to solve problems and make decisions.
Vincent Ryan Ruggerio: Warning: Nonsense is Destroying America



Bill Clinton Wants to Censor and Monitor the Internet! by The Elephant's Child

Bill Clinton doesn’t like all the rumors and misinformation that seem to be floating around on the internet.  He thinks the United Nations or the U.S. Government should create an agency to police the loose talk.

The agency, Clinton said, would “have to be totally transparent about where the money came from” and would have to be “independent” because “if it’s a government agency in a traditional sense, it would have no credibility whatever, particularly with a lot of the people who are most active on the internet.”

Let’s say the U.S. did it, it would have to be an independent federal agency that no president could countermand or anything else because people wouldn’t think you were just censoring the news and giving a different falsehood out.That is, it would be like, I don’t know, National Public Radio or BBC or something like that, except it would have to be really independent and they would not express opinions, and their mandate would be narrowly confined to identifying relevant factual errors. And also, they would also have to have citations so that they could be checked in case they made a mistake. Somebody needs to be doing it, and maybe it’s a worthy expenditure of taxpayer money.

There is some suggestion in the Politico article that Mr. Clinton may have had Wikileaks in mind, but still—for a former president, fully aware of the ability of government to violate the rights of citizens, to suggest such a thing is appalling.  And as paragons of truth and virtue to offer up the very liberal NPR and the very far left BBC as judges of what is true on the internet is simply absurd.

Perhaps it does not seem so to the former president, for liberals see every conservative fact as a lie and only liberal claims as true.  We once shared facts, at least, and differed on the policies the facts suggested.  Now we no longer even share facts.  All is politics and politics is all.



Free Speech, Controlled and Regulated — Isn’t Free! by The Elephant's Child

Simon Jenkins who is apparently a columnist for the leftist British newspaper The Guardian, has written an interesting column.  The column is titled “Free speech can’t exist unchained.  US politics needs the tonic of order.”

The column illustrated that the British Left’s love affair with Barack Obama has definitely cooled.

When Barack Obama addressed a shocked nation in Tucson , Arizona, …he deployed the only weapon left to a crippled presidency; the power of rhetorical cliché.  He deployed it brilliantly.

“Together we thrive,” he cried meaninglessly.  “For all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness.” While American hearts were broken, “yet our hearts also have reason for fullness…The forces that unite us are stronger than the forces that divide us.” Despite pleas to keep war jargon out of political discourse, Obama asked: “How can we honour the fallen?”

The process also involved “debating what might be done to prevent such tragedies in the future.” Americans had to hake sure that they speak to each other “in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.” Mr. Simon is apparently a reader of the New York Times, and swallows the leftist line whole.

Sorry.  A paranoid schizophrenic who had presented all sorts of signs that he was dangerous; who had been expelled from community college because he seemed psychologically dangerous; and had many interactions with the police department, was not taken seriously by the authorities. His obsession with Congresswoman Giffords preceded Sarah Palin’s appearance on the political scene,and the creation of the Tea Parties, and his actions were completely unrelated to Conservative politics.  The Left saw a chance to blame the Republicans for an unnecessary tragedy and went for it, just as Bill Clinton attempted to blame Republicans for the Oklahoma bombing. Whose hate speech?

The violent rhetoric on the part of Republicans has been to demand repeal of ObamaCare, to express anger at the obscene spending by the Obama administration, the huge increases in the national debt to no purpose, and the kind of crony politics being practiced. In America that is protected political speech, and the way it is supposed to be.

“Hate speech” is more accurately practiced by the Left, and a “proud Democrat” called in on a radio show today to express her hatred for Vice President Dick Cheney and the hope that he would die.  That is hate speech.

Europeans have never understood our “Freedom of Speech.” The First Amendment to the Constitution instructs the government that it may make no law abridging freedom of speech.  “Freedom of speech, like freedom of traffic, can only be defined by the curbs and regulations that make it real,” says Mr. Simon, meaninglessly.  What he seems not to understand is that our Constitution was written to make us not British. And the freedoms we have served us well. Again, Mr. Simon:

The vitriol and inaccuracy of the campaign against Obama’s public health reforms last year were like those against abortion and homosexuality.  to many Europeans, the echo across the Atlantic came  from a people isolated from the outside world and unable to handle today’s social and scientific progress.  The debate was infused with nastiness and xenophobia as if the U was a land composed of tribes bred only to hate the outside world, and often themselves.

Sorry, Mr. Simon.  We don’t like the NHS, and we don’t like NICE  We want no part of it. We have the best health care system in the world.   Most of the scientific progress comes from those people isolated from the outside world over here.  And today’s social progress — in Britain?  You are perfectly welcome to criticize us, and we’ll feel free to return the favor.  But do try to get your facts right.



Why Do The Democrats Hate Free Speech? by The Elephant's Child

The Supreme Court handed down a major decision in Citizens United v. FEC, the “Hillary: The Movie” case that was first argued last March, reargued in September, and finally decided last Thursday, January 21, 2010.

Background: During the 2008 election campaign, the nonprofit group Citizens United wanted to make a film available on cable-on-demand that was critical of then-candidate Hillary Clinton.  Because Citizens United is organized as a corporation, under the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law, its speech was banned.  The movie was not allowed to be shown, and the law was backed by criminal sanctions.  Section 441b makes it a felony for all corporations — including nonprofit advocacy corporations — either to expressly advocate the election or defeat of candidates or to broadcast electioneering communications within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of a general election.

Citizens United challenged this ban, and the Supreme Court struck down this provision of McCain-Feingold , reversing a previous ruling — Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce —that permitted the government to ban corporations and labor unions from promoting or opposing political candidates.

Paul Sherman, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, which litigates free-speech cases nationwide points out:

The ruling in Citizens United is a straightforward application of basic First Amendment principles:  “When Government seeks to use its full power…to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought.  This is unlawful.  The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.”

The Democrats are OUTRAGED:  Corporations are not entitled to free speech, political expenditures are not “speech”, protections of the Free Speech Clause properly apply to individuals not corporations, this will corrupt the democratic process,  will radically increase powerful corporate influence in politics, blah, blah, blah. Democrats are afraid that corporations benefit Republicans, and free speech should not apply to anyone who might be critical of Democrats.

The First Amendment is about political speech, and if free speech only applies to speech that is pleasing to you, then it isn’t free, and it isn’t freedom — but tyranny.  You might find it interesting to keep track of the numerous and constant efforts of the Democrats to stifle speech that they don’t like.  For example, President Obama’s ban on Fox News continues.

Just watch.  There will be a concerted effort on the part of the Democrats to overturn or overrule this decision.  The “Democrats” aren’t much on Democracy, the Constitution (needs updating for modern times), especially the First Amendment — although that religion part is useful for getting rid of religious influences.  They’re fairly fond of the “establishment” bit but always, always, ignore the — making no law that might “prohibit the free exercise thereof” part.

Progressives are passionately fond of larger government, the growth of government, and the exercise of lots of government power.  The Constitution puts some firm limits on what government can and cannot do.  They don’t like that.



Misstatement, Disinformation, Prevarication, Falsehood, Whopper, Fabrication, Invention, There Are a Lot of Different Words for a Lie. by The Elephant's Child
August 10, 2009, 8:36 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Health Care | Tags: , , ,

Oh my!  You must see this video.  I cannot post it here because our format won’t accept this kind of video.  But you will find “The Mother of All ObamaCare Lies” here. Some insist that the pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class is a larger lie, and they have a point.  But this video is particularly devastating, and you can decide which is the bigger whopper.

Congress is completely out-of-control.  They are our representatives.  They take an oath to represent us and to defend the Constitution.  Freedom of speech refers to political speech.  And it’s free even when it is loud or shouted.  Diane Feinstein had some old folks who came to her office arrested.  Proponents of ObamaCare have called those who are opposed and trying to be heard, Nazis, un-American, mobs and worse. Some have been attacked.

President Obama made this arrogant, outrageous remark:

But I don’t want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking.  I want them to  get out of the way so we can clean up the mess.  I don’t mind cleaning up after them, but don’t do a lot of talking.

Whatever it is, it’s always someone else’s fault.   Obama will accept responsibility only after everyone understands that he is there to fix things that were someone else’s fault.  He takes no responsibility for his time served in the U.S. Senate or his votes there.  And to prove his respect for the Constitution, he has called out the union thugs of SEIU to show up at events and control beat up those who are raising questions.  His “Town Hall” events are filled only with supporters, so there will be no dissent.

Charles Krauthamer addresses ObamaCare strictly on the facts:

[T]oday’s ruling Democrats propose to fix our extremely high-quality (but inefficient and therefore expensive) health-care system with 1,000 pages of additional curlicued complexity — employer mandates individual mandates, insurance company mandates, allocation formulas, political payoffs and myriad other conjured regulations and interventions — with the promise that this massive concoction will lower costs.

This is all quite mad.  It creates a Rube Goldberg system that simply multiplies the current inefficiencies and arbitrariness, thus producing staggering deficits with less choice and lower-quality care.  That’s why the administration can’t sell ObamaCare.

As far as I can tell, the people who are trying to sell this wretched plan have very little understanding of what is in the bill and what the consequences are.  It is not about health care, it is about control.  That’s why, instead of an open debate, they are so intent on shutting down anyone who disagrees.  That’s why, instead of encouraging discussion,  posting committee meetings on C-span, and posting the bill on the internet, they are hiring  “organized communities” to bully people into acceptance — $10-$15 an hour.  You just have to memorize the script.  You don’t really have to understand anything about it — not anything at all.



Oh Swell, Now We’re All Going to Jail. by The Elephant's Child

Under a recently introduced bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 1966, bloggers would face up to two years in prison if they “harass” public figures by criticizing them in a “severe repeated, and hostile” manner, and thereby cause them “substantial emotional distress.”

Will someone please explain to me why Leftists cannot stand to have anyone disagree with them and feel that disagreement must be prevented by law?  Isn’t freedom of speech the first and most important of all our rights in America?  Political speech, especially, is protected by the Constitution.  Did they never read the Constitution?  Do they know no history?

Greg Pollowitz goes on to explain:

U.C. L.A. Law Professor Eugene Volokh, the author of a First Amendment treatise, has concluded that the bill is unconstitutional. …As a federal appeals court noted in DeJohn v. Temple University (2008), “there is no harassment exception to the First Amendment’s free speech clause.” Speech that causes emotional distress can be protected as the Supreme Court made clear in barring a lawsuit by Jerry Falwell over an offensive parody.

Did no one read about Mark Steyn’s experiences with Canada’s human rights nazis?  Did the travails of Salman Rushdie make no impression?  Do people not realize how precious our Bill of Rights is?




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