I recently wrote two more articles on our thin-skinned culture, in which college students and professors get disciplined for uttering the slightest “offensive” language, labeled “sexist” or “racist,” and in which whole new phony concepts such as “microaggression” are made up to justify the thin-skinned ones’ intolerance and desire to control others.
However, the worst of the worst regarding who are the most thin-skinned? That’s the government bureaucrats and their enforcers and adjudicators, of course. The latest victims of such government intolerance of speech have been Reason magazine and 6 commenters to its website who made thoroughly constitutionally-protected vitriolic comments in reactions to Judge Katherine Forrest’s extremely vicious sentence for Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht. A life sentence for some guy involved with Internet drug sales, mainly having to do with his attitude of disobedience toward arbitrary bureaucratic drug-war diktats.
According to Reason, the government issued a subpoena to the libertarian journal to submit to bureaucrats those commenters’ user information, and the government imposed a gag order so that Reason could not discuss the subpoena with others or with readers. (Gag me with a spoon, that is)
So they want to go after innocent people who used colorful yet clearly non-threatening language criticizing a bad judge (as a means for the U.S. Gestapo to intimidate and silence critics in the future), and then attempt to keep it in the dark, through further intimidation.
Now, who is the one making the real threats here?
Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch at Reason write:
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara subpoenaed all of the identifying information we had about the authors of such comments as, “Its (sic) judges like these that should be taken out back and shot.” And, “Why waste ammunition? Wood chippers get the message across clearly. Especially if you feed them in feet first.” This last comment is a well-known Internet reference to the Coen brothers’ movie Fargo.
The subpoena also covered such obviously harmless comments as: “I hope there is a special place in hell reserved for that horrible woman,” and “I’d prefer a hellish place on Earth be reserved for her as well.”
The comments are hyperbolic, in questionable taste–and fully within the norms of Internet commentary.
So they go on to describe their attempts to get the government to allow them to share the subpoena with the commenters so that the commenters could defend themselves against these government bureaucrats’ cowardly acts of intimidation.
Gillespie and Welch also noted:
Many of our regular commenters voluntarily display either personal website information or their email addresses. In fact, three of the six commenters subject to this very subpoena voluntarily displayed public links to personal blogs at Blogger as part of their comments, one of which further links to a Google+ page. Raising the question: How can the government view these so-called “threats” as so nefarious when people posted them in such a non-anonymous fashion?
(Because many government bureaucrats are retarded?)
And they conclude:
To live in a world where every stray, overheated Internet comment—however trollish and stupid it may be—can be interpreted as an actionable threat to be investigated by a federal grand jury is to live in a world where the government is telling the public and media to just shut up already. As we gather and publish more information on just how often this sort of thing happens, we pledge to always be on the side of more speech rather than less.
Now, I would have to say that I was extremely surprised at Judge Forrest’s ruling and her harsh words for Ross Ulbricht, given that in 2012 Forrest was the judge who struck down the indefinite detention of Americans provision in the government’s and Obama’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
That was the case brought to court by journalist Chris Hedges and numerous others against Obama. The government shouldn’t have the power to have its military apprehend and detain people indefinitely, without charges, anyone deemed by a President, a military bureaucrats or soldier to be a terrorist, criminal or “combatant,” or anything. Accusers need to provide evidence against the accused and use that in a court of law if you want to imprison someone, whether there’s a war or not. So this kind of government empowerment is especially worrying, given that Obama and his ilk have stated that those who are critical of the government, “constitutionalists,” religious Christians, those who believe in individual liberty, and preppers and survivalists, are “threats” and “terrorists.”
In her 2012 decision striking down the threatening indefinite detention of Americans provision of the NDAA, Judge Forrest actually wrote, “The public has a strong and undoubted interest in the clear preservation of the First and Fifth Amendment rights.” Sadly, the government for whom she works disagrees with her when it comes to Internet commenters’ First Amendment rights in response to Forrest’s Silk Road decision.
Government prosecutors can be tyrannical when it comes to being the objects of criticism or mockery.
But regarding the NDAA indefinite detention case, here is how vicious government bureaucrats can be in their desire for power and control. After Judge Forrest struck down that NDAA indefinite detention provision, Obama had his administration flunkies run to another court to appeal that decision, which was then given a temporary stay by Obama-appointed Judge Raymond Lohier.
President “Hope and Change” desperately wants that power to imprison and silence those who harshly criticize the Dear Leader.
Then the all Obama-appointed three-judge appeals court panel, Lohier, Denny Chin and Christopher Droney extended the stay. And finally in July, 2013, a three-judge panel from the same appeals court struck down Judge Forrest’s ruling which had attempted to defend our First and Fifth Amendment rights especially. That appeals court panel consisted of Lohier (appointed by Obama), Lewis Kaplan (a Bill Clinton appointee) and Amalya Kearse (a Jimmy Carter appointee, cobwebs and all). So much for “right-wing Republicans” being against due process and freedom of speech!
The bureaucrats are becoming more and more thin-skinned and intolerant now. Eventually they will get away with hauling off to the dungeons those who dare investigate government’s shenanigans and war crimes, and those who openly criticize and mock the government as well as those who anonymously do so.