The Free Speech Thread

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  • finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member




    A look at the global state of free speech.



    By Mike Sacks, Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor / October 2, 2010



    Quote:

    Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states that "[e]veryone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression." Today, decades after the UN's 1948 adoption of the declaration, Article 19 continues to be an ideal actively pursued in some countries and aggressively denied in others.



    For example, in Turkey, a constitutional republic, expression considered insulting to the nation itself is a criminal offense under a 2005 penal code. And writers and journalists have been prosecuted for recognizing the Armenian genocide of 1915-17 ? an event the Turkish government officially denies.



    Many European countries, on the other hand, have criminalized the denial of crimes against humanity. This summer, Hungary became the latest to do so, passing a law imposing three years' imprisonment for those who deny Nazi and Communist genocides.



    In addition, much of Europe has also enacted hate speech laws that allow for prosecution of expression where the United States does not. Had Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., taken his "International Burn a Koran Day" overseas and arrived in Stockholm wearing one of the "Islam Is of the Devil" T-shirts that his church sells, he could have been charged under Sweden's prohibition on expressing disrespect for a group based on their faith.



    In the Netherlands, ultranationalist politician Geert Wilders is currently on trial for illegally insulting Muslims and inciting hatred against Islamic immigrants. As grounds for the prosecution, the Dutch government has cited, among other statements, Mr. Wilders's comparing Islam to Nazism and producing a film that included a Danish newspaper's inflammatory cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in the opening and closing frames.



    While the First Amendment protects such expression in the US, Americans may still find themselves to be targets of violence for their speech. Molly Norris, a cartoonist for the Seattle Weekly, has taken the FBI's advice to change her name and move after her "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" cartoon last spring landed her on an Islamic cleric's hit list.



    Meanwhile, Iceland is erecting a legal framework to protect from prosecution those who seek to expose governmental and corporate whistle-blowers.



    Already one of the countries most protective of free expression, Iceland wants to be the most protective. In June, its Parliament passed the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), a proposal that promises to turn the small North Atlantic island into a "transparency haven" for whistle-blowers, journalists, and concerned citizens.



    The creators of the IMMI believe that in addition to inspiring other countries to follow suit, the initiative will also encourage media organizations and human rights activists to use Iceland as the operational hub for their Internet-based communications.



    The IMMI includes an "ultramodern" Freedom of Information Act inspired by the laws of Estonia and Britain; whistle-blower, libel tourism, and legal process protections inspired by US federal and state laws; and source protection laws inspired by those in Belgium.



    These measures may not save the Russian reporter from assassination, the Iranian protester from torture, or the Chinese blogger from imprisonment. However, the IMMI does aim to provide cutting-edge protections for "the wide range of media and human rights organizations that routinely face unjust sanction," notes the IMMI website.



    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice...went-to-Sweden
  • finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member




    A Supreme Court case challenging the Westboro Baptist Church anti-gay protests will test the limits of free speech, with First Amendment implications for other forms of expression such as Quran burning and racist demonstrations.



    By Warren Richey, / Staff Writer / October 2, 2010



    Quote:

    On Oct. 6, the US Supreme Court takes up a case examining whether members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., went too far when they staged a protest at a fallen marine's funeral in Maryland. The demonstrators hoisted signs proclaiming: "You Are Going to Hell" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."



    Quote:

    It was Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who in 1919 first gave voice to the task of separating speech deserving protection from dangerous speech that did not.



    "The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent," Justice Holmes wrote. "It is a question of proximity and degree."



    This "clear and present danger" test was used for decades to uphold the arrest of perceived government opponents and suspected communists, who ? in retrospect ? never posed much of a threat to the nation. Over time, the standard evolved, beefing up free speech protections. The evolution eventually led to the 1969 Brandenburg landmark ruling protecting the advocacy of unlawful action.



    Behind it all is a conviction expressed by various members of the Supreme Court through the years that what is being protected in the First Amendment's free speech clause is the free flow of ideas ? the lifeblood of a democracy. It is the principle that the best way to counter a stupid idea, a hateful idea, a dangerous idea, is through the expression of better ideas.



    Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis identified this dynamic in a 1927 case.



    "To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion," Justice Brandeis wrote.



    "If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education," he said, "the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."



    Quote:

    That's what happened in response to Jones's threat to burn the Quran. Muslims expressed outrage. Jones received more than a hundred death threats. But something else happened. Many others spoke out against burning the Quran, including President Obama, Gen. David Petraeus, and a number of religious leaders. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a personal appeal to Jones in a telephone call. This outpouring of ideas fostered an international debate and an opportunity for education.



    The debate culminated on the morning of Sept. 11 when Jones announced on NBC's "Today Show" that he had changed his mind about burning the Quran. "Not today, not ever," he pledged.



    "That is the greatness of freedom of speech," says Goldberger, the law professor and former lawyer to a Nazi who wanted to march through Skokie. "It is the power of reason to persuade."



    He adds: "What better lesson does the First Amendment teach us all than that the freest democracy is one where there is a give and take, where people listen and are capable ? based on what they learn ? to modify their course of conduct."



    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice...irst-Amendment
  • finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    By Leigh Montgomery, Staff Writer / October 2, 2010



    Quote:

    The First Amendment guarantees of free speech, press, religion, and assembly may be the constitutional provision most widely understood by Americans. Adopted in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights, it reads:



    Quote:

    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.







    First Amendment protections have been subject to challenges, particularly in regard to hate speech, wartime security, and the practice of religion as it intersects with the state.



    Some landmarks in these areas include:



    NATIONAL SECURITY



    1798: The Alien and Sedition Act made it a crime to disparage or ridicule government officials with the intent to undercut public support for the government.

    1918: The Sedition Act made it illegal to criticize the government or the US effort in World War I.

    1950s: The general trend toward widening First Amendment rights hit serious shoals in this period when US-Soviet tensions were running high. The ?Red Scare? ? fears of the spread of Communism in the United States ? propelled Sen. Joseph McCarthy?s notorious House Committee on Un-American Activities to identify and designate various loyalties and organizations as subversive.

    1971: The Supreme Court upheld the publication of the Pentagon Papers (a top-secret Defense Department report on Vietnam), ruling that prior restraints against speech or publication violate the First Amendment except in instances where the government can show an imminent threat to national security.



    POLITICAL SPEECH



    1969: The Supreme Court ruled that it was a violation of the First Amendment for an Iowa school district to suspend high school students for wearing black armbands with peace symbols.

    1969: The First Amendment protects speech advocating criminal activity and even the overthrow of the government, the Supreme Court ruled in a case reversing the conviction of a Ku Klux Klan leader in Ohio. In contrast, the court said incitement to imminent lawless action by a speaker is not protected free speech.

    1978: The right of a neo-Nazi group to march through Skokie, Ill., a largely Jewish community, was upheld by a federal appeals court. While hurtful, the threatened march ? which never actually happened ? was deemed a protected expression.

    1989: On free speech grounds, the Supreme Court upheld the right to burn or desecrate the American flag for protest. The court said government may not prohibit the verbal or nonverbal expression of an idea merely because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable.

    2010: The Supreme Court invalidated a portion of a federal campaign finance law that made it illegal for corporations and labor unions to spend money to influence federal elections. The court said corporate officials and union leaders have a free speech right to spend money for advertisements and forms of political speech during election season.



    RELIGION



    1947: The Supreme Court upheld a New Jersey law that allows all parents ? including those sending their children to parochial schools ? to receive government reimbursement for bus transportation to and from school. The 5-to-4 decision set the stage for future debate over how high the ?wall? should be separating church and state. The case is also the first time the high court enforced the protections of the First Amendment?s religion clause against state governments rather than just the federal government.

    1962: The Supreme Court struck down an attempt by New York school officials to develop a neutral, nondenominational prayer for schoolchildren. The court ruled that any kind of prayer composed by public school districts, even nondenominational prayer, is unconstitutional government sponsorship of religion.

    1963: The Supreme Court found Bible reading and prayer in school unconstitutional because its primary effect is to advance religion in violation of the First Amendment?s prohibition of an establishment of religion.

    1980: The Supreme Court struck down a Kentucky law authorizing the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools. The court ruled that it violated the First Amendment because it had no secular legislative purpose.

    1992: The high court ruled that a prayer offered by a rabbi at a high school graduation ceremony violated the First Amendment?s establishment clause because it created coercive pressure for the graduates and their guests to participate in a religious activity.

    2000: A prayer delivered by a student prior to a high school football game in Texas was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, which said it amounted to an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

    2005: In a mixed decision, the Supreme Court ruled that a Ten Commandments display be removed from a Kentucky courthouse, but decided that a six-foot-tall Ten Commandments monument outside the Texas Capitol could remain. The Kentucky display crossed the line as an unconstitutional endorsement and entanglement with religion, the court said, while the Texas display was part of a larger secular grouping of historic monuments.



    PRESS



    1964: In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court made it significantly harder for public officials or public figures to successfully sue a news organization for libel. Under the test established in New York Times v. Sullivan, a public figure may prevail only if the news organization knew the challenged statement was false or acted in reckless disregard ohttp://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2010/1002/Free-speech-Some-First-Amendment-landmarks/(page)/2f the accuracy of the statement.



  • finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
  • mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." -- Evelyn Beatrice Hall (writing as Stephen G. Tallentyre)
  • jazzgurujazzguru Posts: 6,435member
    "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." -- Thomas Paine, Dissertation on First Principles of Government, December 23, 1791
  • finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    Quote:

    I am thankful for all the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.



    ~Nancie J. Carmody



    Quote:

    We have a natural right to make use of our pens as of our tongue, at our peril, risk and hazard.



    ~Voltaire, Dictionnaire Philosophique, 1764
  • finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member




  • hands sandonhands sandon Posts: 5,270member
    "Our Liberty is not given to us as a matter of fact liberty is pretty meaningless, we adapt to all kinds of stuff all the time"

    ~ Hands Sandon



    "We have all the freedoms of slaves and then some."

    ~ Hands Sandon



    "All great nations will prosper if the right people in those nations prosper and prosper big time."

    ~ Hands Sandon





    "The people are only as free as their masters allow, at least until the next election cycle."

    ~ Hands Sandon





    "Great people will do great things at a time of great struggle, however that's a fat lot of good for most people."

    ~ Hands Sandon





    "I stand for equality for all men, women, child and beast of any kind."

    ~ Hands Sandon



    "All men are created equal by their creator but he's still mysterious"

    ~ Hands Sandon
  • segoviussegovius Posts: 9,872member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." -- Evelyn Beatrice Hall (writing as Stephen G. Tallentyre)



    "I disapprove of your plans to stop my free speech, ban my beliefs, demonize me and wipe me from the map - but I will die in your slaughterhouse to defend you and make sure you succeed."



    B B Black-Sheep.



    Circa 10,000 BC - 2010 AD
  • mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    All Laws Have Teeth:



    Quote:

    It's been five years since the feds took aim at nasal decongestant. Under George Bush, a normal part of everyday civilized life became a criminal act, namely the over-the-counter purchase of Sudafed and many other products containing pseudoephedrine. You can get it now, but it is seriously rationed. You have to present your driver's license and no one without one may purchase it. The limits on quantities you are permitted to purchase fall far below the recommended dosage, and buyers rarely know when they are buying too much.



    The rationing and criminalization of this product appeared as part of the Patriot Act. The replacement drug phenylephrine is far less effective on noses but more effective in Washington: the company that makes it, Boehringer Ingelheim, spent $1.6 million lobbying Washington in 2006 (the latest data) and the same amount the year before. The makers of the drug everyone actually wants are diffuse and spread all over China. Pseudoephedrine was targeted in the name of the drug war because apparently you can use it to make methamphetamine. Since the near ban, there are indications that production of the drug has gone up, mostly due to smuggling in Mexico. Even a quick google demonstrates that the gray market is thriving.



    I've written with sympathy toward those who have been caught in the legal tangles; many buyers are not actually doing anything wrong. Anyone who attempts to buy it is treated like a criminal and one never knows for sure when one is buying more than the legal limit. In several cases I've highlighted, people have bought without the intent to manufacture drugs but were ensnared in any case. In other cases, people have been asked to buy for friends who may or may not have been plotting to make meth. Still other cases involve shady figures with criminal records and suspicious associations who are thereby discredited and hounded by police and judges.



    In my view, every person who is ensnared deserves to be defended. Their rights are being violated. One lady in my own community faces 20 years in jail solely for buying 4 boxes in a 12-day period. News reports suggest that she is a bad person for many other reasons, and, for that reason, there has been little public sympathy for her ? in the same way that people under alcohol prohibition were snagged on alcohol grounds even though the motivation for getting them was different (could be taxes or something else).



    Something as serious as laws and jails should be used for punishment of those who infringe on person and property, not for self-medicating. If this lady is bad, she should be punished for things she did wrong, not for some trumped-up reason.



    In any case, as with all stupid laws like this, the innocent are eventually harmed. It's strange how most people are willing to give the police and the courts the benefit of the doubt, and pretend as if the system somehow knows something that we do not know. Anyone hauled off to jail probably deserved what is coming to him, even if we don't know the specifics. People should do a better job at staying out of harm's way, of being beyond reproach. Don't play with fire and you won't get burned ? this is how people tend to think of these cases.



    They are blaming the victim. Somehow I suspect that the same sentiments were pervasive even in the worst totalitarian states. By the time people wake up to the reality that the law and the law enforcers are the problem, it is too late.



    Just this morning the following email arrived:



    Quote:

    In doing some internet research, I came across your article "Free the Clogged Nose-25" and I want to thank you for showing me that I'm no where near alone in my way of thinking and that the current situation that my husband and I find ourselves in is most certainly not uncommon. You see, we have 3 teenage children still living at home. In April of this year, their ages were 17, 16 and 15. Both my husband and I, along with our 3 teenagers suffer from terrible seasonal allergies and we have tried every over the counter medicine available as well as a few prescription meds. The only one that offers us any relief is Sudafed or the generic equivalent.



    So, as you already know, my husband and I are the only ones in our family who can buy Sudafed. I will and have been the first to admit that in order to keep enough of the medicine for all of us, both my husband and I made purchases from more than one drug store. I knew we were exceeding our allotted amount but I also knew that the code of Alabama stated that purchasing over the allowed 6 grams per month was only unlawful "with intent to manufacture." So, since we had no intent to manufacture anything, I didn't see it as we were breaking the law.



    In March of this year, local news media released word that a law was passed that would create a statewide database for all businesses selling pseudoephedrine so that customers could not bypass the limit by going from one pharmacy to another. That was the extent of the press release related to that new law. About the middle of May, my husband and I learned the hard way that they had conveniently left out a very important part of that new law when announcing it to the public. Apparently, "with intent to manufacture" had been dropped from the Alabama law regarding pseudoephedrine purchases. I'm sure you can easily guess the rest of the story. He and I were arrested for "buy/sale precursor chemicals" which on the first offense is a Class C Misdemeanor. My husband is a USMC veteran so he has a criminal record (bar fights, etc.) but never any drug charges. I have never had so much as a speeding ticket and I'm a criminal justice major in college.

    Even after explaining the situation to the judge and pointing out that we are law-abiding citizens just trying to offer some comfort to our kids during allergy season, the judge still found us guilty. We have appealed that decision and will go back to court in December. We cannot hope to beat this with just the truth because obviously the truth doesn't matter, so I am going to pray that "mistake of law" will get us a not-guilty verdict this time around ? or I'm going to have to find a new major!



    At the time we were arrested, our oldest daughter (not living at home) was a 4.0 GPA college student majoring in forensic investigation, our middle daughter was just days away from graduating historian of her high-school senior class after already having lettered in softball and volleyball and serving as secretary in the Beta club, our youngest daughter was finishing her 10th-grade year and an A?B student who had just days before made the color guard drill team for the fall, and our son was finishing his 8th grade year, an A?B student and hard working Junior Varsity and Varsity football player. We are very very proud of our kids and hate the fact that they have had to endure any negative associations that have come from our arrest. They are so resilient, though! They know that we weren't actually doing anything wrong so they hold their heads up high and keep going.



    As I suspected, these cases are not isolated. Thanks to Google News, we can learn of many such tragic cases. So far as we know, the majority of cases of arrest involve innocent people trying to unclog their noses. But even if only one in ten cases involve injustice, that is plenty of reason to repeal the law. I don't favor laws against consuming or producing meth, but, if those laws are retained, then it's the taking or making of meth that should be punished, not actions that merely seem vaguely associated with illegal activities.



    In the end, this isn't about drug use or production. It is about special interests. It is about the use of fear and coercion and the expansion of state power. It is about human rights and liberty. Should we care about these things? Yes, if we care about saving civilization from its enemy, the state.



  • jazzgurujazzguru Posts: 6,435member
    The Declaration, the Constitution, and Liberty in Our Time



    Quote:

    Ever since the dawn of recorded history, people's minds have been inculcated with the notion that government is the master and the people are the servants. Hardly anyone, for example, has questioned the notion that government officials have the legitimate authority to manage the economy, or direct the education of people's children, or to control religious activity, or to decide what people can read or watch. It's just been commonly accepted that government officials can do whatever they want, especially in the best interests of society, and that it is the role of the good, little, model citizen to submit and obey in the service of the greater good of society.



    Then one day in 1776 along came a Virginian named Thomas Jefferson who issued a declaration that set that age-old notion on its head. Jefferson suggested in the Declaration of Independence that people had had it all wrong. It's the people who are masters and it is government that is the servant.



    Every person, Jefferson said, has been endowed with certain fundamental, inherent rights. These rights don't come from government and, therefore, people don't need to be beholden to government for them. People's rights are endowed in them by nature and God.



    What is the role of government? Jefferson observed that people call government into existence for the sole purpose of protecting the exercise of these natural, God-given rights.



    And when government becomes destructive of this end -- when it infringes upon or destroys people's rights, the people have the right to ditch the government -- alter or even abolish it and replace it with a government that is limited to its rightful role of servant whose job is to protect the exercise of people's rights.



    The Declaration was the most radical political statement in history. It not only rattled government officials of that time, it continues to do so even today, especially those government officials who are unable to accept the notion that they are mere servants and that the citizenry are their masters.



    Eleven years later, another Virginian, James Madison, crafted the Constitution, with the aim of calling a new federal government into existence to replace the weak central government under which the American people had been operating under the Articles of Confederation.



    However, Americans didn't want to have anything to do with this new government. They simply didn't trust it. They knew history, especially the history of the English government. They knew that a strong central government inevitably would become the biggest danger to the freedom and well-being of the people.



    Madison and the Framers responded that the Constitution would prevent the government from becoming powerful and tyrannical. Since we the people are calling this government into existence as our servant, Madison said, we set the conditions under which it will operate. And one of the conditions is that the powers of the federal government would be limited to those enumerated in the Constitution. If a power wasn't enumerated, government officials would be precluded from exercising it.



    It was an audacious experiment. People around the world were shocked that citizens were actually limiting the powers of their very own government officials. But actually it was an idea that stretched far back into British history -- all the way back, in fact, to the year 1215. That was when the barons of England held their own king, King John, at the point of a sword and forced him to publicly acknowledge that his powers over the people were limited.



    In fact, it was in Magna Carta -- the Great Charter -- that the phrase "due process of law" originates -- a phrase that many centuries later would find its way into the Fifth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.



    The American people were finally persuaded to go along with the new federal government, but only on one condition -- that a Bill of Rights be enacted immediately after the federal government came into existence, one that would expressly protect important fundamental rights of the people from their very own government.



    The Framers responded that that was unnecessary. Since the limited, enumerated powers that were being delegated to the federal government did not include the powers to infringe on the fundamental rights of the people, such powers couldn't be exercised. For example, since there was no power to interfere with freedom of speech or freedom of religion, the government had no lawful authority to do so.



    That assurance wasn't good enough for the American people, however. They knew that the federal government, like all governments in history, would inevitably attract power lusters who would be tempted to break out of the limits of the enumerated-powers doctrine, zealously doing whatever they wanted for the greater good of society.



    The American people insisted on passage of the Bill of Rights, which really should have been called a Bill of Prohibitions because it doesn't really grant anyone any rights, as many federal officials today suggest. People's rights don't come from the Bill of Rights or the Constitution. They come from nature and God. That is, even if there wasn't a Bill of Rights or a Constitution, people would still have such inherent rights as freedom of speech and the keeping and bearing of arms.



    The Bill of Rights prohibits government officials from interfering with people's preexisting rights. The First and the Second Amendments guarantee that federal officials will not infringe upon such fundamental rights as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, and the right to keep and bear arms.



    The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments protect people from the most tyrannical power of all -- the power of the government to arbitrarily seized a person, cart him off to the Tower of London or other facility, torture him, even execute him without any due process of law, trial by jury, or other judicial review. The civil liberties in these Amendments were carved out in centuries of resistance by the British people against the tyranny of their own government.



    Some people warned that the power lusters in Washington would claim that the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights were all the rights that people had. That was the purpose of the Ninth Amendment. It says that simply because the Bill of Rights names certain rights, that doesn't mean that the people don't have other rights. The list is not all-inclusive.



    To make certain that all future power lusters in the government got the point, the people enacted the Tenth Amendment. It says that all the powers that exist in addition to the enumerated powers being delegated to the federal government in the Constitution are reserved to the people and to the states.



    So, the federal government was designed to be a weak government with few, enumerated powers. To make it even weaker, it was divided into three branches, each with its own delegated powers.



    Moreover, the federal system established by the Constitution ensured that state governments would have jurisdiction over their respective geographical areas. And even that wasn't good enough for the American people. They enacted bills of rights at the state level to ensure themselves against the prospect of tyranny by their own state governments.



    Now, we all know that there were severe violations of the principles of freedom in this new society. Slavery was the most horrific. There were also tariffs and many minor violations, especially at the state level, including subsidies to the railroads and other businesses.



    But the practical significance of the Declaration and the Constitution is that a very large percentage of the populace experienced the most unusual -- and the freest -- society in history.



    Imagine: A society with no income taxation or IRS -- people were free to keep everything they earned and there wasn't anything the government could do about it. No Social Security, no Medicare, no Medicaid, no welfare, no systems of public (i.e., government) schooling, no drug laws, no immigration controls, no Federal Reserve, no legal-tender laws, few economic regulations, no gun control, no torture, no huge standing army or military-industrial complex, no going abroad in search of monsters to destroy or to spread democracy with bombs, missiles, and bullets.



    What was the result of this unusual society? Only the most prosperous nation that mankind had ever seen! When people were free to accumulate wealth, massive amounts of savings and capital came into existence, making workers increasingly productive. The reason that thousands of penniless immigrants were flooding American shores every day was because they not only had a chance to survive, for the first time in history they had the chance to become wealthy. People were going from rags to riches in one, two, or three generations.



    It was also the most charitable nation in history. When people were free to accumulate wealth, they voluntarily gave large portions of it away. That was how the opera houses, museums, hospitals, universities, and lots of other things got built.



    All of this should give you a clue as to why today our nation, which has embraced all of those things, finds itself in the depths of despair. Americans have rendered under Caesar the things that belong to God, especially in the area of voluntary charity and the moral duty that people have to honor their parents and to care for others.



    As our ancestors learned in 1861, a nation that violates its founding principles of liberty will reap the whirlwind. And that is precisely what is happening today -- with out of control federal spending, out of control debt, hyperinflation on the horizon, torture, perpetual war, perpetual crisis, perpetual chaos, and perpetual and ever-growing infringements on the fundamental rights of the people.



    That's the price Americans are paying for their abandonment of the principles of liberty on which our nation was founded through their embrace of socialism, interventionism, imperialism, and statism.



    Can the tide be reversed? Of course it can. If the statists could import statism to our land, we can certainly export it out of here.



    But what it will require is a renewed passion for the free society and a deep understanding of the importance of free will and freedom of choice to a society, along with an appreciation for the operations of a free market.



    It will also require a belief in ourselves and, equally important, a belief in others.



    Perhaps most important, it requires replacing the faith that people have placed in the federal government, especially in the area of charity, with an exclusive faith in God to help people confront the hardships and travails that people periodically encounter in the journey from birth to death.



    Can we succeed?



    That's where you come in. You are this era's George Washingtons, the Thomas Jeffersons, the John Adams, the Patrick Henrys. You are Virginians. You have a legacy of liberty. You are perfectly positioned to lead our nation out of this statist morass.



    Benjamin Franklin once wrote that wherever there was liberty, that was his country.



    Thomas Paine responded that wherever there was not liberty, that was his country.



    We happen to have been born and raised and now live in a society that was Paine's ideal.



    Our challenge and quest is to convert it into Franklin's ideal.



  • mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    ?If you want government to intervene domestically, you?re a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you?re a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you?re a moderate. If you don?t want government to intervene anywhere, you?re an extremist.?
  • segoviussegovius Posts: 9,872member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    ?If you want government to intervene domestically, you?re a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you?re a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you?re a moderate. If you don?t want government to intervene anywhere, you?re an extremist.?



    What are you if you ideally want to replace the Government and the concept of Government but don't believe it can happen and until it does don't give a fuck about Governments of any type or stance and think those who do are woefully deceived and exploited?
  • gerald applegerald apple Posts: 334member
    Why is the US giving 60 billion dollars to Saudi Arabia for them to purchase planes and other weapons?Saudi Arabia is the prime enemy in the Iraq war not Iran. Ben Laden is a Saudi.What is going on with this deal?
  • segoviussegovius Posts: 9,872member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gerald apple View Post


    Why is the US giving 60 billion dollars to Saudi Arabia for them to purchase planes and other weapons?Saudi Arabia is the prime enemy in the Iraq war not Iran. Ben Laden is a Saudi.What is going on with this deal?



    US is a hostage to oil and Saudi is a hostage to money. Both are the same really.



    Some points: Saudi are not representative of Islam and are in fact one of the biggest corrupt scumbags on the planet.....hence alliance with US.



    Many Muslims and pretty much ALL Muslim 'States' hate Saudi for this reason and so they need US protection. It's a too way deal: Saudi gets money - US gets preferential treatment on oil (guarantees no taps turned off for example) and also bases in the region for attacking other Muslim nations.



    Many 'terrorists' are actually people who want to topple the Saudi regime - and rightly so as they are perhaps the biggest human rights abuser current today. Some of these terrorists are people like bin Laden - others want democracy.



    No matter. All are labelled 'al Qaeda' and tortured and killed with US connivance.



    Birds of a feather....
  • finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    Gay marriage debate persists in some Nov. 2 races



    Quote:

    In Iowa, voters will decide whether to oust three state Supreme Court justices who joined last year's unanimous decision making the state one of five where gay marriage is legal.



    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101017/...ion_gay_rights



    Quote:

    Polls show Iowa voters evenly split on whether to oust three Supreme Court justices who were part of the decision legalizing gay marriage. If the effort succeeds, it would be the first time since Iowa adopted its current system for appointing judges in 1962 that voters opted to remove a Supreme Court justice.

    The targets include Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, who said the three wouldn't undertake a counter-campaign because they don't want to set a questionable example for judges by campaigning and raising money.

    Brown said removal of any of the justices would be a "game-changer" with national impact.



    When the Judge has to worry about re-elections, how will it affect future rulings. State Supreme Court Justices should serve fixed terms and be selected by independent state judiciary councils.
  • jazzgurujazzguru Posts: 6,435member
    Howard Kurtz: How the Media Blew the Midterms



    Quote:

    The media narrative by now is set in concrete: The voters are teed off, rising up, mad as hell and ready to wreak havoc.



    There is a whiff, if you read between the lines, that the expected outcome is somehow unjust. The Democrats are going to get their backsides handed to them, in this telling, because the Obama administration has clumsily failed to explain what it’s done for the folks, and because of slightly scary passions unleashed by the Tea Party crazies.



    The journalistic tone was somewhat different in 2006, when exasperated voters handed the House and Senate to the Dems, and 2008, when Barack Obama sold himself as a post-partisan savior.



    I’m not saying this is intentional, or that the MSM are mangling the midterms. Many voters are angry, especially about the anemic economy, and it’s their right to toss out whoever they deem to be the bums. But on some level, many journalists believe the White House has accomplished a heckuva lot, and they see the Tea Partiers as inchoate and maddeningly inconsistent—denouncing big bad government while clinging to their Medicare and Social Security benefits. It’s as if the pundits are collectively engaged in a group grope, feeling their way around this strange and sharp-toothed political animal that resembles nothing they’ve encountered before.



    Few have gone as far as the late (and usually great) Peter Jennings, explaining the 1994 Gingrich takeover by declaring that “the voters had a temper tantrum.” But news organizations were late to the Tea Party phenomenon, and are still grappling to explain it—in part because of its amorphous and unofficial nature. They were blindsided by Scott Brown’s win and Lisa Murkowski’s loss.



    “The media profile is of an angry, racist rabble, and that doesn’t match the people I’ve seen in focus groups,” says Republican pollster Whit Ayres, describing the Tea Party movement. “There’s a predisposition in the more liberal elements of the media to paint Republicans as unsophisticated rubes who don’t appreciate all the wonderful things the Obama administration and the Democratic Party have done for the country. It’s just out of touch with the reality.”



    For Jano Cabrera, a Democratic strategist, the subject strikes a nerve. “My wife and I were having this very conversation,” he says. “When we were trying to seize power, we had justified anger, and now we talk about uninformed voters.” Obama inherited unprecedented challenges, Cabrera says, but in politics “you can’t go back and say it’s the other guy’s fault.”



    This is a year in which facts—the preferred currency of the reality-based media—often don’t seem to matter. Journalists report that Sharron Angle had favored privatizing Social Security, spoke of people considering “Second Amendment remedies” and counseled rape victims to turn “a lemon situation into lemonade” by giving birth—and she’s still competitive with Harry Reid. Media outlets report that Christine O’Donnell, the onetime witchcraft dabbler, opposes masturbation and considers evolution “a myth,” and she laughs it off (while trailing in the race). New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino calls gay pride parades “disgusting,” hurls baseless charges about Andrew Cuomo’s sex life (after fathering a child out of wedlock himself) and tells a New York Post columnist “I’ll take you out”—and still hasn’t been laughed out of the race.



    Who, after all, has absorbed more abuse from the “lamestream media” than Sarah Palin, who can hit back with a Facebook post that bypasses the old gatekeepers?



    In such a topsy-turvy season, one simple solution is…blaming the voters! They are so caught up in faulting Obama for everything but bad weather, so mesmerized by the right-wing noise machine that they can’t see straight. Yes, the refrain goes, high unemployment is heartbreaking, but do people really think they’re going to do better under Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell?



    Small problem: These are the same voters who broke with more than two centuries of Oval Office white men by electing Obama. Weren’t many of us praising their judgment and tolerance then? (Yes, I know they’re not the exact same voters, in that turnout is smaller in off-years and many disaffected Democrats are likely to stay home. And Obama, like Ronald Reagan, swept in many party colleagues who could not survive in marginal districts once the wave receded.)



    On the merits, journalists are right that Obama’s accomplishments have been minimized. Health care reform, however it pans out, was a huge achievement; the overall package remains unpopular, the individual parts (such as not excluding kids for preexisting conditions) not so much. Tightening financial regulation was a heavy lift against the forces of Wall Street. Even the much-derided stimulus law saved plenty of jobs.



    All that has been overshadowed because many voters believe the president bobbled the economy while setting his sights on social engineering. But here, too, the short attention span of today’s journalism played a role. The health care and banking battles were covered ad nauseum, but once they passed, the press lost interest and moved on to mosque mess and the Koran-burning preacher and whatever other diversions were available.



    The biggest media blunder, in my view, was the walk-on-water coverage that Obama drew in 2007 and 2008. The only real debate was whether he was more like FDR (Time) or Lincoln (Newsweek). The candidate obviously played a role in creating his own myth, but it was the breathless media that sent expectations soaring into the stratosphere. Once Obama had to grapple with two wars, a crippled economy and reflexive Republican opposition, he had no place to go but down. The press has long since fallen out of love with the president, but the overheated hyperbole did him no favors.



    Who’s to blame for the coming electoral tsunami? We ought to be careful about dumping on the most convenient scapegoat, those moronic voters. In politics, it’s not that complicated: you either deliver or you pay the price.



  • finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    Christine O'Donnell Stuns Audience With 1st Amendment Gaffe

    by FRANK JAMES



    Quote:

    Just when you thought Christine O'Donnell, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Delaware, could do nothing further to top herself, she does.



    At a Tuesday morning debate with her Democratic rival Chris Coons, she appeared to be aggressively ignorant of the fact that the First Amendment requires the separation of church and state.



    The Washington Post reports:



    Quote:

    The exchange came in a debate before an audience of legal scholars and law students at Widener University Law School, as O'Donnell criticized Democratic nominee Chris Coons' position that teaching creationism in public school would violate the First Amendment by promoting religious doctrine.



    Coons said private and parochial schools are free to teach creationism but that Quote:

    "religious doctrine doesn't belong in our public schools."







    Quote:

    "Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?"



    O'Donnell asked him.



    When Coons responded that the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O'Donnell asked:Quote:

    "You're telling me that's in the First Amendment?"







    Her comments, in a debate aired on radio station WDEL, generated a buzz in the audience.



    "You actually audibly heard the crowd gasp,"
    Widener University political scientist Wesley Leckrone said after the debate, adding that it raised questions about O'Donnell's grasp of the Constitution.



    Not only is this extraordinary because O'Donnell is running for the U.S. Senate, but she represents a political movement, the Tea Party, that has made a fierce adherence to the Constitution one of its fiercest principles.



    http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolit...ment-ignorance

  • jazzgurujazzguru Posts: 6,435member
    She might have been referring specifically to the phrase "separation of church and state", which is actually nowhere to be found in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.
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