American Elephants


Jack Dorsey Has Banned Political Advertising From Twitter by The Elephant's Child

What precisely is “hate speech”? Everybody talks about it, but it seems to boil down to — speech you don’t like. It is mentioned all the time, but what makes it hateful? We have had a fairly new entrant in the judging speech area in the popular name of Twitter. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter has announced that he is going to ban all political ads from the platform. This follows a long discussion about political ads in general and the Twitter workforce apparently wanting to ban all Republican ads. Law and Liberty.org made fairly short work of that.

Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, is basking in accolades for his decision to ban all political ads from his platform. That is Twitter’s call to make, but if Dorsey is going to wrap himself in a populist defense of the common man’s voice, he might conjure a justification whose posture toward that man is less condescending.

Dorsey argued that the reach of political messages “should be earned, not bought.” To what extent anything on Twitter is “earned” through 280 characters of substantive, nuanced political conversation is questionable. Shallow outrage is likelier to “earn” retweets, which is not to say that Twitter—which can encourage concision, a precondition of wit—does not have its place. Regardless, Dorsey’s claim is the populist celebration of social media: Anyone can speak and, with a sufficiently compelling message, reach a limitless audience.

Yet Dorsey’s reason for pulling political ads is that the same everyday people whose voices deserve projection are so easily duped by readily disprovable claims that they must be protected from seeing them in the first place. A people that cannot exercise sufficient discernment to separate propaganda from information has no business governing itself. Why a people Dorsey so characterizes is qualified to participate in his call for “more forward-looking political ad regulation,” which he acknowledges is “very difficult” but which is actually very unconstitutional, is unclear.

The United States of America was founded on the idea of freedom of speech, but the current generation is a little short in the history department, and doesn’t seem to understand the meaning. What Dorsey means by his statement that “political messages should be earned, not bought” is another mystery. How do we have free speech while calling much of the conversation out there “hate speech?” Does calling the winner of the last election and the people who voted for him “Deplorables” count as “hate speech”or do you have to add in her conclusion that God had picked her out to be the president of the United States? Or just the names she called those who voted for the other side?

Free Speech is hard to understand. You are free to disagree, but you don’t get to demand that you not be allowed to say your piece. You are, of course, responsible for what you say, but you don’t get to be banned.

“There is no such thing as government regulated free speech.”

That’s from Barry Brownstein writing at FEE. “Without Free Speech, All Speech Becomes Government Speech.

When I viewed this video, I wondered if it was a hoax. I thought it must be a group of actors trying to make a point about how far restrictions on speech have gone. Unfortunately, the video captures reality in Scotland in 2019.

The video picks up an exchange between a Scottish high school teacher and a student. The class was asked to sign up for a website, and according to the student, the teacher commented on how old fashioned the website was for listing only two sexes. The student, Murray, remarked, “But sir there’s only two genders,” and the teacher insisted they continue the discussion outside the classroom.

Much of the problem is located in our schools, and though this example took place in Scotland, you probably could have found the same conversation on any one of a good many American campuses.

There is a clear reason why the very first Amendment to the Constitution says Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…Too bad the folks in Silicon Valley don’t seem to get it. Or understand why it is needed.



About the Constitution and The First Amendment by The Elephant's Child

We talk a lot about Free Speech in America because we believe deeply in the First Amendment. I’m not sure that all of us are aware that it is solely directed at the government, not at us. You can say whatever you want, but it may get you expelled or censored or punched in the nose.

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.

Europeans are free to say only what the courts allow them to say.

When he was 50, the prophet of Islam took as his wife Aisha, who was then six or seven. The marriage was consummated when Aisha was nine.

This is not a smear. It is an accurate account of authoritative Islamic scripture. (See, e.g., Sahih-Bukhari, Vol. 5, Book 58, Nos. 234–236.) Yet it can no longer safely be discussed in Europe, thanks to the extortionate threat of violence and intimidation — specifically, of jihadist terrorism and the Islamist grievance industry that slipstreams behind it. Under a ruling by the so-called European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), free speech has been supplanted by sharia blasphemy standards.

Mrs. S appealed, relying on Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. That provision purports to safeguard “freedom of expression” although it works much like the warranty on your used refrigerator.  It sounds as if you would be covered, but the fine print doesn’t follow through.

Article 10 starts out: Europeans are free “to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.”  Followed by the legal details: One’s exercise of the right to impart information, “carries with it duties and responsibilities.” What is called “freedom” is actually “subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties” that the authorities decide are “necessary in a democratic society,” including for “public safety” and for “the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others.”

Translation: Europeans are free to say only what they are permitted to say by the unelected judges of the European courts. Truth is irrelevant. As the jurists reasoned in the case of Mrs. S., a person’s freedom to assert facts must be assessed in “the wider context” that balances “free” expression against “the right of others to have their religious feelings protected,” as well as “the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace.”

In other words, you cannot say anything that might upset Muslims. Child marriage, violent jihad, the duty to kill apostates, the treatment of women as chattel, that sort of things. Doesn’t matter if these tenents are accurately stated or supported by scriptural grounding makes no difference. Reliance on what their scriptures say could be classified as “an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam, which could stir up prejucdce and put religious peace at risk.

There is no free speech in Islam. Sharia does not merely forbid speech that insults or denigrates Islam; they regard as blasphemy – and punish viciously – any form of expression that places Islam in an unfavorable light. Enacting laws against child marriage would be tantamount to saying that Mohammed was in the wrong, and that is unacceptable. So child marriage, among other things, remains a major problem in Islamic countries. In Saudi Arabia, efforts to establish the marriage at age 15 and some hope to raise it to 18 have been rejected by sharia authorities.

As we have said before, Europe seems bent on committing suicide.

Here, the Left’s increasing reliance on feelings as the most important guidepost is worrisome, and their contempt for the Constitution is even more a matter for very deep concern.



What the Heck is “Hate Speech” Anyway? by The Elephant's Child

I do worry rather a lot about language, perhaps because I was an English major. More correctly, because the Left attempts to control the dialogue by changing the meaning of words. Immigration or immigrant is one example, by conflating the term with illegal immigrant, illegal alien, (both perfectly acceptable and accurate terms) refugees (and how that word is defined). But I have posed this question before.

The more problematic case of language is much more difficult.  The words are “hate speech.” Exactly what is hate speech? From the current dialogue, it is apparently any speech that you don’t agree with. Clearly that is an impossible definition, yet that is the basic problem in college campuses all across the country.

Students have been taught that they do not have to listen to speech that offends their delicate sensibilities by not agreeing with their preconceived ideas. Enough professors have spoken out in the media to indicate their despair that the students they are expected to teach—simply don’t know anything. They are unfamiliar with the most basic history, geography, civics and science. Not the hard stuff. They don’t know who won the Civil War. They don’t know who we fought in the Revolution. I could go on at length, but just those two missing facts summarize the situation fairly well.

Headlines from the battle: “Student activists demand college ‘take action’ against conservative journalists.” American Thinker.  “Students claim Objective ‘Truth’ is a ‘White Supremacist Myth,”Breitbart. “Why Colleges Have a Right to Reject Hateful Speakers Like Ann Coulter” New Republic.  “It’s Time to Crush Campus Censorship” National Review, “Those ‘Snowflakes’ Have Chilling Effects Even Beyond the Campus” WSJ, “On Political Correctness” The American Scholar  “Report: Women’s and gender studies courses have increased 300% since 1990” The College Fix  “College makes it easier to graduate by requiring students to learn less: The College Fix.  Those are just a few of dozens.

Middlebury has become famous for rioting to refuse to listen to Dr. Charles Murray, a noted social scientist.  Claremont students refused to hear Heather MacDonald. It was very clear that the students had no idea whatsoever what the speakers represented, or what they might say. In the case of Dr. Murray, the Southern Poverty Law Center (a far-left fringe group made false claims about Dr. Murray). In the case of Heather MacDonald, it was “Black Lives Matter” giving a completely false impression of what she might say. Sad. The kids in both cases would have profited from and learned something valuable from the speeches.

The students are wrapped up in the idea that they should not have to listen to anyone with whom they might disagree, and completely ignorant of the facts. The fault lies with faculty and administration who should have packed up the offenders the following morning and sent them home to perhaps be admitted the following semester — if they had learned anything. That’s what happened to friends of mine for significantly lesser offenses, but that was a long time ago.

You see how the words “hate speech” have corrupted the situation. There is no such thing as hate speech. There are inflammatory words, there is incitement to riot,  there’s shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater, but I submit there is no such thing as hate speech. We are watching daily, people thrown in prison, sentenced to hard labor for 15 or 20 years, as the fat junior Kim just did to two Americans, as happens throughout the Middle East — and some people can’t get it through their heads that the Freedom of Speech guaranteed to us by the Constitution matters. There aren’t all that many places in the world where you can’t be jailed for speaking your mind. In a moment in time when the language out there (do you read the comments?) has been vile, insulting, vulgar, and just plain offensive. Well, we do live in interesting times.

ADDENDUM: Over at the Federalist, John Daniel Davidson also wrote about Hate Speech, and wrote even more thoroughly about what it is and isn’t, and it’s very well done. The photo at the top of his post is not of college students, but of older folks with pre-printed signs from the “antiwar committee” urging viewers to “Stop the War on Muslims at Home and Abroad,” “Unite Against Islamophobia,” “End Racism,” and “Stop Racism, Islamophobia and War!” It should be observed that there is no war on Muslims, no such thing as Islamophobia, our problems with radical Islam have to do with their war on the West, their habit of chopping off heads, throwing people off of tall buildings, or burning them alive if we don’t submit to their radical religion. We have not yet declared war, since Obama abruptly pulled the troops out of a hard-won peaceful Iraq, but he has left a nuclear North Korea and a nuclear Iran for his successor to deal with. Again the Federalist photo is a good example of using language inaccurately to make their point, which thanks to our Constitution, they are completely free to do. But we are also completely free to make fun of them.



Charles Hurt: Obama Would Routinely Keep Some Reporters out of Gaggles by The Elephant's Child

It wasn’t a big deal until it was the New York Times who was not included. A little confusion about the First Amendment. It isn’t just Freedom of the Press. The reason that it is called Freedom of the Press is because in the days when the Constitution was written, it was printers who disseminated the news on papers they printed. There was no idea of the modern newspaper or networks.But there were Town Criers.

The Amendment also includes some mention of Freedom of Religion and its free exercise, the right to peaceably assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. It’s not all about the press.



Standing in Defense of Free Speech—Even When It’s Hard. by The Elephant's Child

The Supreme Court heard arguments this week in a case aimed at overturning an Ohio law that makes it a crime to make false statements in a political campaign. Should you be able to make a commercial, write a column, put up a billboard, or make statements on the radio about a candidate that you know to be false, and are likely to affect the outcome of the election? Or is that a violation of free speech, and you should be able to say whatever you want, because they have the opportunity to deny it?

Rasmussen Reports took up the question.  “Should the government be allowed to review political ads and candidates’ campaign comments for their accuracy and punish those that it decided are making false statements about other candidates?”

Fifty-five percent (55%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe the government should be allowed to review political ads and candidates’ campaign comments for their accuracy and punish those who are making false statements. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 31% oppose such government oversight. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided. Here are the survey questions’ wording. So only 31% have an understanding of freedom.

Mark Steyn believes that free speech in America is under serious attack, and I think he’s right. The notion that we must not offend anyone is characteristic of the left—yet ignored when they want to take someone on. (See Harry Reid) Some believe that the fear is not warranted, but look to the appalling firing of Brendan Eich at Mozilla. That wasn’t even words, but a six year-old political donation to an issue with which most Americans agree. American colleges and universities now have speech codes, and some even have “free speech zones.” Two colleges recently banned students from handing out free copies of the Constitution.

Free speech is essential for our country, yet always poorly understood. Everybody is for free speech until it is their ox that is getting gored. Free speech means you can be mortally offended, and all you get to do is talk back. Harry Reid can say the most obnoxious things about Republicans, and we can only point out that he is an ill-mannered jerk who is unfit the be a member of Congress, let alone a “leader.”We can suggest that the people of Nevada fire him when he next faces election — and that is our free speech right back at him.

Putting government in charge of monitoring free speech in electoral campaigns goes directly to the heart of the First Amendment, and it seems inconceivable that 55% of the people understand the First Amendment so little and in spite of all evidence to the contrary believe “the government” is a good and benign guardian of such things.

If you are proud of this country and you care about its future, teach your children about the First Amendment and its meaning, and arm them against those who would take away their rights.



Catherine Engelbrecht’s Testimony: A Heroine For America. by The Elephant's Child

Catherine Engelbrecht has had enough. She started out to be a citizen activist, she had seen vote fraud up front and ugly, so she founded True the Vote, a nonprofit organization for election integrity, and King Street Patriots, a citizen-led liberty group.

She and her husband had a small manufacturing business for twenty years, and had never had any contact with government agencies until she founded these two groups. Suddenly she was the object of agency interest—In 2011, her business and personal tax returns were audited  by the IRS, each audit going back for a number of years.

In 2012 her business was subjected to inspection by OSHA when neither she nor her husband were present, and though the agency wrote that it found nothing serious or significant, they issued fines greater than $20,000.

In 2012 and again in 2013, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms conducted comprehensive audits at her place of business.

Beginning in 2010, the FBI contacted her nonprofit organization on six separate occasions — wanting to cull through membership manifests in conjunction with domestic terrorism cases. They eventually dropped all matters and have now redacted nearly all her files.

Eventually, all those attempts to intimidate have an effect. For Catherine Engelbrecht, it made her more determined.  Her testimony included these rousing words:

But know this, my experiences at the hands of this government in these last five years have made me more determined than ever to stand before you and America and say I will not retreat. I will not surrender. I refuse to be intimidated. I will not ask for permission to exercise my Constitutional rights.



Anti-Bullying Bill Infringes on Free Speech by The Elephant's Child

Being opposed to bullying is a currently righteous position. Who could possibly be in favor of bullying, being mean, offending, or cruel — offending? Where do you draw the line? How about right where the Bill of Rights does? Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. The current flap is about celebrity Paula Deen apparently using the dreaded “N” word 20 or 30 years ago. I am not familiar with Ms. Deen, who I understand is a celebrity chef and writes cookbooks. What I have gleaned from the media is that decades ago, she used a forbidden word, and for that crime, she is to be shunned, disgraced, her business ruined, and her livelihood destroyed. Really?

This has gone too far. We have called it “political correctness” and don’t exactly know what to do with it. We cringe, try to laugh it off, and are embarrassed by those who insist on taking it seriously. If a male, in the workplace, touches a woman’s arm to get her attention, he may find himself in trouble with Human Resources for a sexual assault, or for that matter for telling a woman that she looks nice. The U.S. military has in recent years become politically correct. The increasing inclusion of women and homosexuals has added to the tension. The current military concern is about sexual assault. One would think it would be about winning wars, but that’s not on the agenda. Unfortunately it turns out that most of the victims of sexual assault — are men.

You must not offend. If you offend, you will be punished. What offends depends entirely on the person offended, not on your own judgment or intent. The punishment will be dire, because the object is to stamp out all offensive speech. Or to rephrase it’s about control.

Life is hard, bad things will happen. You will be offended, perhaps deeply. Your feelings will be hurt. You will be embarrassed, humiliated, and shamed.  There is no law that anyone can make that will protect you from offense. When you have the opportunity, you might remind people of the meaning of that precious First Amendment.

 



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.



If Congress Won’t Do What You Want, Just Bypass Them! by The Elephant's Child

You may not remember Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court decision that was first argued in March 2009, re-argued in September and finally decided on January 21, 2010. You can rest assured that Democrats remember.

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.

The Democrats were 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.

Democrats have never given up. A Senate bill titled the DISCLOSE Act — a bill they have been unable to get past the Senate, would require political organizations to publicly name their donors and the amounts they give. Now the Obama administration is attempting to bypass Congress and force publicly-traded companies to reveal their political donations through regulation. If Congress won’t pass the law we want, we will just do it with a regulation from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Bypassing Congress

Obama does not understand the tripartite nature of the three divisions of government, does not accept the equal power of the other two branches, and wants to overrule the other two with executive orders or agency regulations. He does not grasp the limits of executive orders, and has no intention of paying attention to them anyway. File this under ‘arrogance.’

The free speech clause in the First Amendment to the Constitution refers specifically to political speech. If free speech only applies to speech that is pleasing to you, then it isn’t free, and it isn’t freedom, but tyranny.

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.”

What enrages Democrats even more than the idea of corporations engaging in political speech, is the idea of the Koch brothers making donations. These Libertarian philanthropists have become the Democrats’ boogie-men. They are blamed for everything, receive daily death threats, and Democrats just want to make them personally illegal. Whatever George Soros donates or controls is fine, as are all the massive donations from the Democracy Alliance representing big numbers of Democrat millionaires and billionaires.  Powerline has a collection of pieces on the Democrat’s War on the Koch Brothers, that is worth your time. It’s funny too.

In August, Obama participated in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” question-and-answer discussion in which he announced that he would consider amending the Constitution “to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it.)”

And only today he took an oath “to preserve, protect and defend…” Guess he didn’t mean it.



Birth Control Prevents Climate Change? Oh Puh-leese! by The Elephant's Child

I want to go back to the origins of this kerfuffle. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who has been given the authority to make hundreds of rules and regulations pertaining to ObamaCare, announced that all employers who offered health insurance for their employees, workers or members would be required to offer birth control, sterilization, and abortifacients at no cost. Catholics were appalled. This was a direct attack on the first amendment freedom of religion clause. Catholics were quickly joined by members of many other denominations.

They notified Secretary Sebelius that the requirement was unacceptable. Catholics provide a large percentage of the hospitals in this country, about 615, and not just hospitals but large medical centers, and 499 Long Term Care facilities. The hospitals are among the nation’s finest. There are around 6,900 k-12 schools, and many colleges and universities. All would come under the new regulation, which is in direct opposition to Catholic doctrine. The First Amendment is not about “separation of church and state,” but bans the state from making any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

Dr. Richard Land, one of the most influential evangelical leaders is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He said flatly “We will not comply” with the HHS mandate.  When Catholic bishops said they would have to close their hospitals — the American medical establishment said there is no way they could absorb that many patients. Do not misunderstand this controversy. It is a battle about freedom of conscience and religious liberty. It is not about “birth control,” nor is it about a “war against women.”

President Barack Obama, who swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, doesn’t have a lot of respect for that old worn-out document. Progressives, in general, see the Constitution as something to get around. They would prefer to re-draft it, bring it up to date — so it doesn’t interfere with things they want to do. Shallow, really shallow. Obama decided that he would take on the Catholic Church, that they were undoubtedly bluffing, and the rule was written into the Federal Register as law.

But what if the Bishops aren’t bluffing? The confrontation was not going the way Progressives wanted it to. Progressives determined to “redefine” the problem.  Chairman Darrell Issa of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announced that he would hold hearings. Just before the hearings were to open, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi wanted to run in a more promising witness to testify.  Chairman Issa looked at her qualifications, and decided that she was not only not qualified to speak, but had nothing to offer. So former Speaker Pelosi and cohort set up their own (pretend) committee hearing so they could get their witness’s testimony out to the public.

Enter the spurious Ms. Sandra Fluke (rhymes with cluck), a supposed 23-year-old coed in her 3rd year of law school at Georgetown Law, a Catholic institution.  She testified that her active sex life made it necessary for her to spend $3,000 over 3 years for birth control. Well, she turned out  to be 30 years old, the cost of birth control was no more than $9 a month at a nearby pharmacy, and she was a long time feminist activist who chose Georgetown because it was a Catholic institution and she wanted to take them on about abortion and birth control.

Now we have to go back a few years to the Bush administration, when Progressives were whining loudly in the press that they didn’t have any ideas because they didn’t have any think tanks like Republicans did. So they got together some big money from the Democrat 1%, and founded Think Progress — their very own think tank to give them ideas.

The problem was that their understanding of a think-tank differed from the Republican understanding of a think-tank. The big, long-established think-tanks like Heritage, the American Enterprise Institute, The Hoover Institution, The Competitive Enterprise Institute, Cato (Libertarian) , The Hudson Institute, and the Manhattan Institute all employed scholars to do serious research on policy. They attempt to provide the background of research that will help Congress to understand the pros and cons of legislation, and what research shows works and what doesn’t.

Progressives were more interested in getting and keeping power. Think Progress undoubtedly does research, but its interest is in strategy of how to defeat Republicans and how to win. That’s where the redefining of problems comes from. So the GREEN division of Think Progress came up with this gem: “Access to Birth Control is A Fundamental Component of Climate Survival” February 10, 2012.

Any morally acceptable pathway to prevent catastrophic global warming includes broad access to affordable birth control for the world’s women. The conservative war on birth control is a war on women’s rights, and thus on the rights of us all. Manmade global warming is one of the most troubling symptoms of economic and social injustice around the planet, and the ”countries in the developing world least responsible for the growing emissions are likely to experience the heaviest impact of climate change, with women bearing the greatest toll.” Researchers have found that empowering women to reduce unplanned pregnancies is one of the most cost-effective ways to combat greenhouse pollution.

Well. There is a perfect example of redefining the problem! Suddenly neither the argument nor the conversation is about the attack on the First Amendment to the Constitution and religious freedom for Catholic Hospitals and Schools in the United States — it is about “reproductive health for the world’s women and empowering them to reduce unplanned pregnancies.” A world where women and girls have more power is a healthier world.

Think Progress is really quite good at what we might call “changing the subject.” Republicans, earnestly trying to accomplish something effective for the country are always blindsided by their unexpected approach.

Who could have thought that the phony testimony of Sandra Fluke (rhymes with cluck) would lead to an attempt to rid the airwaves of the Left’s favorite demon, Rush Limbaugh; Ms. Fluke’s acquiring an agent, and PR representative to book her for TV appearances, for her future stardom, and controversial attorney Gloria Allread rushing to her defense, since she hadn’t been charged with anything except completely misrepresenting herself and her history, and obviously needed a lawyer.




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