In this post I wanted to repost some of my past writing on freedom of speech. So, this post might be a little long.
People on both the left and right are “Making America Great Again” now with intolerance and censorship, silencing those whose views or comments are not to their liking. More and more people reject freedom of speech, thought and conscience nowadays.
For instance, the Trump-supporting governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, signed a bill into law that would ban criticism of Israel in public schools and colleges in Florida. I guess Ron DeSantis is now an Israel Firster, not an America Firster. (I have addressed that issue here, by the way.) But you see, unlike in private schools or colleges, in public i.e. government-owned and run schools and colleges there is even more of an obligation to allow the views of all people. The government may not discriminate against any one particular point of view or expression, especially political expression. That is the point of the First Amendment: “Congress (meaning the government here) shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” (But the government shouldn’t be owning or running schools anyway — that’s for a different discussion.)
And then from the left, we see a now familiar theme, in which YouTube is censoring independent and conservative journalists, such as Steven Crowder and Milo Yiannopoulos, and favoring more “authoritative” and “trusted” sources of information such as the loathsome and dishonest propagandists at CNN and NBC, according to Breitbart. (I wrote more about the mass media favoring fake news and censoring the truth here.)
And the feds and the national security state have been persecuting those who expose the war crimes and other criminality of the State, such as jailing Chelsea Manning (Bradley Manning) and Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, because criminals don’t like their crimes exposed, especially government criminals.
So those are just the latest aspects of censorship and persecution of journalists.
But here I wanted to repost some of my past articles and posts on the importance of freedom of speech. (I didn’t check any links, though. Good luck.)
September 27, 2013
While the Rulers debate raising the debt ceiling because they can’t control their selfishness, and attempt to terrify the masses of a possible government shutdown (like that’s a bad thing?), and as the Republicans led by Speaker John Boehner Keynes go on to cave and vote to fund and not repeal ObamaCare, there are other issues being debated in the murder capital of the world.
For those who have been hearing about the U.S. CONgress’s proposed shield law for journalists, no, it is not to protect journalists. It is to protect the government.
It has to do with suppressing dissent.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein wants to define who a “real journalist” is, and she says that she won’t support a shield law that covers “everyone who has a blog.” What she means is that elitists such as she do not like alternative media investigative reporters and bloggers who are actually doing the real reporting that the mainstreamers won’t do, and practicing real journalism: actually asking the who, what, how, why, when and where, actually digging into an issue to get the story behind the story.
In contrast, the mainstream media reporters, writers and editors who merely unthinkingly repeat what government bureaucrats tell them — these are the ones who Feinstein et al. want to “protect.”
They certainly don’t want to “protect” investigative journalists such as Michael Hastings and Andrew Breitbart, and they don’t want to protect other alternative media journalists such as Glenn Greenwald and Alex Jones. Of course not.
Because these Establishment politicians want to protect the secrets of the Regime, the criminality, the corruption. Obviously, they don’t want to protect media outlets such as WikiLeaks, or whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, William Binney or Sibel Edmonds.
No, only protect the propagandists of the MSM, the ones who take the word of government bureaucrats as The Truth, without question and act as stenographers for the State.
Here is my post listing many of Glenn Greenwald’s articles on the mainstream media government-propagandists, by the way.
But the First Amendment exists to protect an already pre-existing right: the right to freedom of speech and thought, freedom of conscience, the freedom of the Press. And yes, Dianne, the First Amendment protects “anyone who has a blog.” That 17-year-old blogger down the street from you, Dianne, who may get some sort of tip from an insider on the latest act of criminality by you and your fellow Senators, yeah, that blogger has as much right to protect his source as do Glenn Greenwald and Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Only fascist elitists think otherwise.
In my view, the right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances,” as it is written in the First Amendment, is a part of our freedom of the Press. In other words, each and every individual has a right to “freedom of the Press,” and it is not up to some government bureaucrat to define who is a member of the Press, who is a real “journalist,” because anyone who wants to be a member of “the Press” has a right to do so. No “credentials,” no licensure or fee, no government approval!
So, on the Dianne Feinstein “shield law” proposals, the Tenth Amendment Center’s Mike Maharrey wrote:
Congress cannot pass a law removing any substance from the right to free speech or freedom of the press. And “the press” did not mean “news organizations” in the founding era. According to UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, it literally means the printing press. In other words, the technology to create the printed word.
And of course, printing press would extend to modern technologies that serve the same purpose, such as the Internet.
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press link together. Essentially, freedom of the press protects the dissemination of “speech” via the press, and both apply to the people, not a select few picked out by Congress.
St. George Tucker wrote the first systematic commentary on the Constitution. He argued that the protecting the people’s right of free speech and freedom of the press was essential for keeping government restrained:
“It being one of the great fundamental principles of the American governments, that the people are the sovereign, and those who administer the government their agents, and servants, not their kings and masters, it would have been a political solecism to have permitted the smallest restraint upon the right of the people to inquire into, censure, approve, punish or reward their agents according to their merit, or demerit. The constitution, therefore, secures to them the unlimited right to do this, either by speaking, writing, printing, or by any other mode of publishing, which they may think proper. This being the only mode by which the responsibility of the agents of the public can be secured, and practically enforced, the smallest infringement of the rights guaranteed by this article, must threaten the total subversion of the government.” [Emphasis added]
So, Congress has no authority to define “journalist,” and it doesn’t even have the power to pass a “shield law.” The First Amendment already provides one. Clearly, federal power to compel those engaging in free speech through the press to disclose sources or documents would abridge that fundamental right.
This bill not only violates the First Amendment, but it assumes undelegated powers.
And, the more feisty Esquire columnist Charlie Pierce had this to say:
Hey, Dianne, here’s the thing on that First Amendment business. I get to define what you do for a living. And if I decide to define what you do for a living is to be a mewling apologist for the national-security community and a lapdog for the surveillance state, I get to do that, and I get to do it in a newspaper, or video, or on-line, or on a pamphlet stapled to a telephone pole outside your door, if I so choose. You get to sit there, collect your government salary, raise money from plutocrats, and shut…the…hell…up.
Which part of “Congress shall make no law…” do you not understand?
There must be something of a cognitive deficiency going on with today’s politicians (and their Goebbels in the media).
Related: A. Barton Hinkle has more on how the Rulers need to control the people’s speech and suppress dissent.
June 16, 2014
Government-persecuted U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley Manning) has written this op-ed in the New York Times. Quite a surprisingly brave publishing decision on the part of the normally war-endorsing Regime-kissing NYT, I think.
Manning details the complicity by the U.S. military in the corruption of Iraqi elections in 2010, and notes that one reason why most Americans weren’t informed of this is because of the way embedded news journalists are chosen by the military. Mainly they choose journalists who had in the past shown a bias in support of the Regime’s current policy or war. Journalists who may have shown evidence of critical reporting were rejected for embedding. Journalists competing against one another tend to end up with reporting that is more flattering to the military officers and ruling bureaucrats than reporting that is accurate or objective.
In my view, the First Amendment really protects any American who wants to take the risk in going overseas to witness what our government and military are doing to people in other countries, and report on it. Contrary to the fascist Feinstein, the First Amendment protects everyone’s right to be a reporter, researcher, and cover news events and write about them. If the U.S. military is invading and occupying foreign territories that are not U.S. territories and thus they have no “right” to be on them and are at their own risk, then ANY American who wants to take that risk can go over there and report on events, with or without a military bureaucrat’s approval. And by “risk” I mean that when anyone goes onto a foreign territory he must abide by the foreigners’ rules and must also understand the dangers of entering foreign territories, and so forth. And further, the American people have a right to know what their government military or diplomats are doing in other countries on their behalf, what deeds (or misdeeds) are being performed by employees of the government who work for the American people.
The right of the people to know what the government is up to as far as coverage of military’s actions overseas also applies to domestic issues such as NSA spying. As Judge Andrew Napolitano pointed out, “In the clash between government secrecy and public transparency, the Framers placed a value judgment in the First Amendment . . . An informed public is more likely to make better decisions than an ignorant one.”
July 13, 2016
There is a #NeverNewt on Twitter. I agree with the #NeverNewters, although Gov. Mike Pence and Gov. Chris Christie are just as bad as far as I’m concerned. The #NeverNewters are saying no to Newt Gingrich for VP under a Donald Trump Presidency.
Why #NeverNewt? Most recently, Newt Gingrich suggested bringing back the House Un-American Activities Committee, to deal with “radical Islam.” Which it wouldn’t do, of course, as it would merely punish and persecute dissenters.
The House Un-American Activities Committee investigated alleged “subversive” and “disloyal” speech and political activism during the mid-20th Century. They “outed” people who had maintained or expressed communist-sympathizing views, and caused the blacklisting of many actors and musicians because of their views, which were seen as disloyal to the United States.
We are seeing a lot of this kind of intolerance toward dissent, in which people who criticize the U.S. government’s terrible policies are seen as “un-American,” even though it’s the other way around: the “un-American” ones are those who are intolerant and who want to censor and banish dissenters, whether the dissent pertains to war, civil rights, climate change, or LGBT perversity.
One of the most American of values is the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects the individual’s right to dissent and to express his dissent publicly without fear of being thrown in jail, getting beat up or killed. Obviously Newt Gingrich does not understand this most American of values. He in fact opposes it.
At a November, 2011 Presidential debate with Gingrich and his fellow Republicans, he was asked about Obama’s drone-assassination of alleged terrorist supporter Anwar al-Awlaki. Questioner Scott Pelley asked Gingrich how Obama could have the authority to kill al-Awlaki without due process, given that he was only a suspect and not an actual convicted terrorist. Gingrich stated that al-Awlaki actually was found guilty, by “a panel that looked at it and reported to the President,” even though it was a White House secret panel that “looked at it” and everything was kept secret with no evidence brought to the public to prove guilt. The U.S. government mainly had drone bombers murder someone based on his criticism of the government, which violates one’s right to freedom of speech and dissent as well as one’s right to due process.
To show his lack of understanding of one of the most of American values as presumption of innocence, Gingrich said at that debate, “If you engage in war against the United States, you are an enemy combatant. You have none of the civil liberties of the United States…You cannot go to court.”
But it was never proven that he “engaged in war against the United States.” Government bureaucrats accused him of engaging in war but they never showed evidence and his was never actually convicted of it. This is the very reason why people have “civil liberties” first, and then if you have evidence against them, then you act, within a system of due process. That’s the American way. It might not be the Soviet communist way, but it is the American way. I am sorry that, like most statists, Republican and Democrat, Gingrich doesn’t understand that, or just outright rejects it.
And this right to civil liberties and due process, and presumption of innocence, by the way, is a human right. Morally and ethically it doesn’t even matter if al-Awlaki was an American citizen. The right to life and liberty are unalienable rights. They are inherent in all of us as human beings.
Every human being has an inherent, unalienable right to liberty, and thus a right to require any accuser to provide evidence against him and a right to respond to the accusations and present evidence in his own defense. It doesn’t matter if the accuser is a government bureaucrat. It doesn’t matter if the accuser is the President of the United States. And it doesn’t matter if the accused is an American citizen, or a foreigner. And it doesn’t matter what the crime is that the accused person is being accused of, whether it’s supporting terrorism, murder, mass murder, and so on.
A lot of statists and authoritarians do not agree with that. Like Gingrich, the statists want the U.S. government to have the power and authority to arrest, detain, jail, torture, or assassinate whomever the agents of the Regime accuse of some criminal act. Until President Hillary wants to target them for their dissent, for their criticism of the government, like the IRS targeted conservatives, and like other federal agencies have been targeting dissenters. So, if you are opposed to commies, Mr. Speaker, stop acting like one of them.
Unfortunately, authoritarians like Donald Trump agree with Gingrich in his un-American, anti-due process views, and this collectivist way of thinking.
Gingrich seems to believe that being critical of the idiot bureaucrats of the U.S. government and military is “disloyal” or “subversive,” even though in many ways it is they in the government and military who have been subversive, as they have been subverting the very Constitution they were sworn to uphold, protect and obey, with wars of aggression and occupations and murders of innocents, the NSA, the NDAA, ObamaCare, and on and on.
The recent Chilcot Report noted that former British PM Tony Blair was made aware of and forewarned that going into war against Iraq in 2003 would result in blowback including terrorist attacks against the U.K.
As Glenn Greenwald points out, that is exactly what happened when London subways were attacked in 2005 by bombs.
Nobody should need official reports or statements from attackers to confirm what common sense makes clear: If you go around the world for years proclaiming yourself “at war,” bombing and occupying and otherwise interfering in numerous countries for your own ends — as the U.S. and U.K. have been doing for decades, long before 9/11 — some of those who identify with your victims will decide — choose — to retaliate with violence of their own. Even Tony Blair’s own Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott acknowledged this self-evident truth in 2015: “When I hear people talking about how people are radicalized, young Muslims — I’ll tell you how they are radicalized. Every time they watch the television where their families are worried, their kids are being killed or murdered and rockets, you know, firing on all these people, that’s what radicalizes them.”
So of course dissidents and non-interventionists should point out and criticize very strongly the government when it is the government which acts aggressively and belligerently against foreigners, and provokes those foreigners to act against the people those bureaucrats are in charge of “protecting.”
But Gingrich wants to criminalize dissent and criticism of the Regime and its criminals and murderers, as well as those who kill people without charges or due process. How extremely un-American. Perhaps if there is to be a House un-American Activities Committee, New Gingrich could be brought before it.
#NeverNewt? You bet.
May 7, 2015
Thanks to Pamela Geller, once again the talk shows are ablaze in their discussions on freedom of speech and what the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment protects and doesn’t protect. Even NPR talked about Geller’s recent publicity stunt in Garland, Texas, a contest for people to draw the Prophet Mohammad. Knowing how extreme some Muslims are in their intolerance of any criticism or satire of Mohammad or Islam, Geller seemed to want to push the envelope, almost as though she wanted to cause the shooting which occurred after the event, in which two self-radicalized jihadis were shot and killed by security personnel.
Sadly, there are some people who don’t understand the difference between words which are direct threats or provocations (e.g. “I’m going to shoot you,” etc., etc.) and words to criticize, mock, insult, or offend others (e.g. “Fat people should lose weight,” “Dom DeLouise is a fatso,” “Islam is extremely repressive,” “Israel oppresses Arabs,” “Jews are greedy,” “Christians are greedy,” etc., etc.). Those people are saying that Geller’s having such a Mohammad drawing contest, knowing that it would offend Muslims, can be considered a provocation or a “threat,” and so it shouldn’t be protected free speech.
From what I’ve heard so far, such attitudes are coming from the Left. However, during the 1980s many on the Left came to the defense of artist Andres Serrano when his disgusting “Piss Christ” was the controversy back then, and they defended the homoerotic and sadomasochistic artist Robert Mapplethorpe and his offensive works which sparked controversies around the same time. Oooh, the Christians and loud conservatives were up in arms over all that stuff, that’s for sure. But for the “liberals,” who now want to ban “hate speech,” the anti-Christian and sicko-sexual stuff is righto with them.
And there are others who can’t distinguish between mere words and actual physical actions. On one NPR show yesterday, On Point, a guest compared the Mohammad cartoon contest to throwing rocks in someone’s window. I couldn’t believe it. Apparently, some people are so thin-skinned they perceive some manner of speech or expression as being an actual physical action. Do they want to arrest and jail the offender, charged with assault or destruction of property? In Saudi Arabia, their rulers and minions behead those who are “blasphemers” and who “insult Islam” or Mohammad. Of course, Saudi Prince So-and-So obviously has direct communication with the Prophet Mohammad and knows for sure that the Prophet has been “insulted,” and so followers should act accordingly.
Some commenters have argued that Geller’s Mohammad drawing contest amounted to a form of “incitement.” She incited the jihadi fanatics to go over there to shoot up the place. No, not really. She may have provoked them or angered them, but because there is something called “free will,” those two wackos went over to the contest area and acted by their own free will. They deliberately chose to do that. The same goes for those accused of “inciting a riot,” by the way, such as Michael Brown’s stepfather in Ferguson who yelled at the crowd to “Burn this ***** down!” as though his speech had criminal responsibility for others’ subsequent acts of arson. No, only the rioters who set fire to cars or buildings — acting on their own free will — are responsible for their own acts, as Murray Rothbard noted.
Even the conservatives are confused on Geller’s right to hold whatever contest she wanted to have, regardless how offensive. While some conservative commentators such as Jeffrey Kuhner and Megyn Kelly have been defending Geller and Co.’s freedom of speech rights to hold that Mohammad-drawing contest, other conservatives (as well as people on the Left) such as those at National Review have been critical of the whole thing.
But while some conservatives defend the right to criticize Islam and “sharia law,” I wonder how many of them defend the right to criticize Israel. Not many. As I have noted before, criticizing Israel is to many people a blasphemous act, and such critics are immediately viewed as “anti-Semitic,” etc. That is because criticizing Israel is the epitome of “political incorrectness” in our modern, intolerant and ignorant Amerika. For instance, many conservatives protested the Metropolitan Opera’s performances of The Death of Klinghoffer (an opera based on the Palestinian terrorist hijacking of cruise ship Achille Lauro), and demanded that such performances be canceled. They referred to the opera as anti-Semitic or Jew-hating, which it was not, and as “glorifying terrorism,” which it didn’t. Obviously, these critics probably didn’t even see the opera but wanted to proudly show the world their ignorance. Does Pamela Geller defend the right of the Met to put on that opera? Hmmm.
But many of these same people who defend the right to criticize the entire religion of Islam and make fun of the Prophet Mohammad just cannot hear any criticism of Israel (and I mean the state of Israel to be specific, not the religion of Judaism). They probably wouldn’t like my bringing up what a generally racist society Israel is, as shown in poll after poll after poll after poll after poll. But we’re not allowed to say the truth about all that. Let’s all live in a world of myths about Israel, and if someone brings up the truth about it, label him “anti-Semite.” And we can’t talk about Israeli soldiers’ war crimes against Palestinian innocents, so that is why an organization called Breaking the Silence had to be created. Let’s stifle and bury the truth, so that the others won’t know about the sad truths of modern “civilization.”
So, I can’t criticize Israel because the Israel Firsters get all upset over it, and an opera can’t be performed so shut it down and don’t let opera-goers decide for themselves whether it’s “anti-Semitic.” And also — speaking of myths — I can’t express skepticism of so-called human-caused global warming or I’ll be called a “denier” in the same way that Holocaust-deniers are called “deniers,” even though we know the Nazi-perpetrated Jewish Holocaust really did occur, but human-caused global warming? Not so sure about that one. The warmists who rely on junk science and computer models but not actual empirical data want to actually throw in jail skeptics or those who disagree with them. They and the anti-Muslim collectivists seem too much like the witch hunters and Inquisitionists if you ask me. Can you people possibly evolve yourselves into the 21st Century? Ya think?
And of course there are those people who call you a racist if you criticize Obama, his fascist health plan a.k.a. ObamaCare, and all of Obama’s terrible policies that have nothing to do with his race but with his incompetence, corruption and criminality. But, because some people are so obsessed with race they really believe that such criticism of Obama = racism. And freedom of speech also means I can make fun of Obama’s alleged homosexuality (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and that he was an alleged Chicago bathhouse frequenter, just as I can make fun of Michelle Obama the food and nutrition buttinsky.
So I say good for Pamela Geller for in some way stimulating a renewed debate on freedom of speech vs. censorship, mere words vs. actual physical violence, for waking people up to the dangers of Islamic extremism and “sharia law” that’s hiding under our beds like the communists in the 1950s, even though she completely ignores (or supports) our own government’s starting wars of aggression overseas these past 25 years which have done nothing but provoke said Muslims to become jihadi fanatics and killers in the first place.
November 18, 2015
For me, freedom of speech isn’t just about spoken words but is a general category also including freedom of thought and conscience, and different forms of expression, such as in writing and various artistic means of expression.
A society that protects and champions freedom of speech and thought is especially important for those with a moral conscience who encounter wrongdoing to expose such wrongdoing.
And if someone disagrees with a social trend, then of course she should have the freedom to express such a disagreement.
For example, an encouragement by a Yale professor for Halloween tolerance was recently attacked by a mob of hyper-sensitive students who apparently felt that such an encouragement threatens their “safe space.” (Bubble Boy, anyone?)
In 2015 America, the most harmless words and phrases are now perceived as a threat to today’s authoritarian snowflakes, the offspring of the flower children of yesteryear.
Many of these young people are being brainwashed to worship nonsense. They are being trained to think and act like irrational dictatorial robots, crying over nothing that actually exists.
Intolerant and authoritarian, these young punks are the future leaders of America, in which it may become illegal to criticize them, or report on them, as well as criticize members of the ruling class.
And regarding the right to exercise one’s moral conscience, many of the authoritarians on the opposite side of the college punks, the “right-wingers,” are the ones who really believe that Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are “traitors” for revealing government “secrets” which exposed various elements of the U.S. government and military as the real traitors in their corruption and criminality.
You see, freedom of speech means that the whistleblower who exposes corruption and criminality is not punished for such revelations with solitary confinement for years before his kangaroo trial on bogus “espionage” charges when his actions were clearly not on behalf of some foreign regime but on behalf of the American people.
Manning truly understood that the American people have a right to know the truth, pointing out that “information should be in the public domain,” and that “without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” And that includes so-called “classified” information, because, as was the case from his initial hearing, as one military officer testified at Manning’s kangaroo trial, not one item of information Manning released was of any threat to any American here in the U.S. or overseas. If you believe otherwise, then perhaps you’ve been too influenced by propaganda distributed by the government and its obedient mainstream media lapdogs.
So freedom of speech includes freedom of thought and conscience, freedom of inquiry and investigation (“The Press”), the right to express your views and criticisms of those in power, and the right of those with a moral conscience to reveal evidence of the power-wielders’ criminality and corruption. Sadly, many authoritarians and nationalists disagree with me on those points. For them the First Amendment has limits. Unfortunately their limits are the very rights which are protected by the First Amendment, especially the right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Here in America our right to criticize, investigate, report on, and discipline or shame our stupid and incompetent rulers was meant to be protected, supposedly, by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
But the truth is, bureaucrats just don’t like to be criticized, so they have their S.W.A.T. raids criminally breaking into reporters’ or government whistleblowers’ homes and stealing or hacking their computers, and so on, and jail or murder critics to shut them up.
And there are sheeple in America — millions of them — who defend the government’s crackdowns, gullibly believing that it’s right, usually in the name of “national security.”
The authoritarian besieging of freedom of speech and thought seems to be turning a once-free America into just another totalitarian nightmare.
For example, in some Islamic countries, the ruling class arrests, detains, lashes, or executes those who have merely criticized those rulers, the country’s governmental administrators. The rulers say the punishment is for “insulting Islam” or “insulting Muhammad.”
Saudi Arabia is one of those extremely repressive countries. If I were in Saudi Arabia, I would probably not have the freedom to ask those officials, “How do you know that Muhammad feels insulted by criticism of the Saudi government or of the clerics? Did you talk to Muhammad? Did you have a seance? How do you actually know he’s insulted?”
Based on what I’ve read about the “Prophet Muhammad,” there is no indication that he would have felt “insulted” by Saudi citizens criticizing their ruling government. So it’s really the royal Saudi King, who is also the head of the government there, and his fellow bureaucrats who don’t like their rule being criticized by those who actually live there.
And I’m sure this might “offend” some people, but in my view there are plenty of authoritarians and nationalists in America who also have that same kind of mindset.
Just bring up the flag-burning issue, and many people will react very emotionally.
There are people who see the American flag as some kind of sacred symbol, and they refer to flag “desecration” which reminds me of the aforementioned “crimes” in Saudi Arabia of “insulting Islam” or “insulting Muhammad.” I know, I know, “How offensive!” to compare some authoritarian Americans to the barbarians in the Middle East who torture or murder innocent people merely for their disobedience and defiance. But when the American flag is burned at a protest, just look in the comments section of news articles and you’ll see just how some Americans value freedom of speech.
You see, there is this emotional attachment that some people have to a flag (or to the Bible or the Koran, etc.). They would rather see a flag-burner be killed than see a flag set on fire.
So there are “triggers” that elicit strong feelings in many people, the American flag wavers, the Saudi rulers and clerics, the Iranian Ayatollahs, the college snowflakes who need a “safe room,” the race-obsessed community organizers, and the Israel Firsters.
Oops. I’m not supposed to refer to “Israel Firsters.” And I’m also not supposed to make any critical comments about Christianity or the Bible, as Obama had done during his first Presidential campaign, referring to people “clinging” to their Bible, and so on.
But when it comes to Israel, many Bible believing Christians refer to critics of the Israeli government or military as “anti-Semitic” or anti-Jewish, or a “self-hating Jew.” Even beyond our criticizing Israeli militarism, the name-calling toward critics is even worse if one criticizes of Zionism itself. The Zionists, or really the Christian Zionists, would claim that Israel is God’s “Promised Land” for the Jews, for all Jews, who are apparently the “Chosen People.” But that’s a very collectivistic notion. The true believers do not seem to understand that we are all individuals, some good, some not so good.
And such assertions are also somewhat condescending toward Jews, frankly.
However, I would say that it was a mistake to gather Jews into one small area completely surrounded by Muslims and Arabs and call that a “safe haven for Jews.” The reason why the Zionists would not accept any other place but Israel was not based on practicality but based on the Bible.
But I’m not allowed to make those observations, even in modern America, as doing so would be “politically incorrect.”
I would ask the Bible believing Christians the same kinds of questions I would like to ask the clerics in Saudi Arabia regarding the Koran, such as, “How do you know that God ‘chose’ Jews as special beneficiaries of a particular territory in the Middle East?” And they might say, “Because the Bible says so. The Bible is the word of God.” Many people believe that, but there is no real proof that the Bible is the word of God, or that morally the Bible’s assertions have any validity. So the faithful believe it all based on … faith.
And Glenn Beck is constantly saying how we need to turn back to God and all that. But why is it that people need to have some sort of authority figure to worship, such as God or Jesus, or Allah or Muhammad? Or the government, police or military for that matter. Many people worship those guys as well.
So now that I’ve probably offended many Muslims, Christians, Jews and flag-wavers, as well as brainwashed college zombies, now on to the atheists. I really don’t worship any “God,” but I do believe that we were created, and not by creators with particularly kind motivations. But to the atheists, I would point out just how complex our own bodies are, the brain, the heart, and the concepts of vision and reproduction, and the extremely tiny odds of all that occurring from random and spontaneous matter or particles forming life. You would have to believe that it all just happened randomly as a matter of faith. I look forward to the day when atheists admit that their beliefs are as much out of faith as the Bible believers’ beliefs.
But even in 21st Century America there is still so much intolerance of other points of view that violence against them is the preferred choice rather than tolerance. I am talking about tolerance of ideas as well as tolerance of challenging authority.
How long ago was it that the flower children had “Question Authority” bumper stickers? But now the “climate change” (formerly “global warming”) fanatics want to jail “deniers.” And the college campus fascists want to expel the Press from covering their protests. Huh?
And can you imagine how a lot of true believers might react if there were a Charlie Hebdo-like “Jesus-drawing contest” in the same way that Pamela Geller had her “Muhammad-drawing” contest? “Freedom of speech for me but not for thee,” and all that.
So freedom of thought and association includes the right to have and express ignorant attitudes that others might find to be repugnant, and the right to “hate.” Yes, that’s right, “hate.” Hate is just an emotion.
That is why “hate crimes” legislation also goes against freedom of speech. If someone physically assaults another, it is irrelevant if the motivation for the assault was “hate.” So with those kinds of laws we have the criminalization of certain kinds of thought. But thinking and emotions are not crimes. “Hate” can’t hurt anyone, except hurt someone’s feelings.
Remember, you don’t have a right to not have your feelings hurt, or a right to not feel offended.
The LGBT activists who take Christian conscientious objectors to court for not providing labor involuntarily, and the “transgender” police are exposing the destructive nature of “civil rights” laws. With the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. government went beyond merely repealing fascist Jim Crow laws. It erased the line between public and private property. So rather than just applying “civil rights” to public property and government-run functions such as the buses, the schools, parks, City Hall, etc., the social intruders succeeded in empowering themselves to force their way into privately owned businesses. The pretext was “public accommodations,” but nevertheless applying to private property. The activists and bureaucrats made private property less privately owned and more publicly owned from that point onward.
But of course people have a right to associate with whomever they want and a right to not associate with whomever they don’t want to associate. And for any damn reason. That might bother a lot of guilt-ridden people who are afraid to say the truth about freedom of thought and conscience, and freedom of association, but so what? The important distinction here, as Lew Rockwell referred to recently, is private property.
People do not have a “right” to forcibly enter someone else’s property or to force others to associate with them, or to silence those perceived as “hateful” or hurtful or those with whom they disagree. The totalitarian idea of thought crimes needs to find its way into the dustbin of history, really.
February 13, 2014
The Institute for Public Accuracy’s Norman Solomon, author of the book, War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death (which later became a documentary), writes about Amazon.com’s partnership with the CIA in Amazon’s contract to provide the CIA with cloud services.
I have previously written about such a contract in my suggesting possibly boycotting Amazon.com, but my post didn’t seem to get very much attention. Since then I have avoided linking to Amazon.com.
In his article, Solomon suggests that with Amazon’s new deal with the CIA therefore Amazon is complicit in aiding the CIA’s drone-inflicted war crimes against innocent civilians in Pakistan, and may also be complicit in the case that the Obama Administration might go ahead with extra-judicially and unconstitutionally assassinating an American in Pakistan.
And given that Amazon founder, chairman and CEO Jeff Bezos has also purchased the Washington Post, Solomon suggests that therefore the Post ought to provide its readers with a disclosure of such a relationship with the CIA in association with the Post‘s coverage of the CIA and its drone murder program.
In his book, War Made Easy, Solomon shows just how enabling the mainstream media have been over the past 50 years in the U.S. government’s illicit wars overseas. That goes for the war in Vietnam and the two Iraq wars, and, by the way, the drone murders program, and the Obama Kill List, all very successfully propagandized by the mainstream media. So given the Washington Post‘s occasionally being known as a defender of the Regime (like the New York Times), I think it is not realistic to expect its editors to provide journalistic accountability regarding its CIA coverage.
The Washington Post, the New York Times, as well as electronic media outlets, have shown that they are more a part of the State than they are a genuinely Free Press. That is part of the reason why U.S. government officials get away with their crimes against foreigners, and against the American people as well.
As an aside, I think that Bezos’s investment in buying the Post was a mistake, given that the print media are going the way of dinosaurs. Newspapers have been struggling, with layoffs and so on, partly because of competition from the Internet and a little due to the fact that Americans really don’t read as much as they used to.
But, if you want to find out what’s really going on, these mainstream newspapers really aren’t reliable. For honest journalism, at least as far as these wars, the surveillance state and this government-provoked terrorism stuff are concerned, you’d have to go to the Internet, such as with Sibel Edmonds, Jonathan Turley and Arthur Silber, among others.
And I suppose Glenn Greenwald as well. But he seems to have gotten himself entangled a little too much in the whistleblower leaking matters, as well as his new venture with Pierre Omidyar. As I’ve noted before, if Greenwald has been given information on U.S. government criminality and corruption by Edward Snowden, then Greenwald ought to just release all the information, immediately. As Bradley Manning pointed out, the information should be in the public domain. Regardless of what “security” bureaucrats have stated, the information is the property of the American people, not of government bureaucrats. Greenwald’s sitting on all the remaining information until whenever he feels like it shows somewhat of an arrogance and control-freakishness, in my view. And Sibel Edmonds and Arthur Silber probably agree with me, at least they have written essays to that effect.
But just recently, Greenwald has this piece up at his new venture’s Internet venue, the Intercept, on the fear-mongering of Obama’s top national “intelligence” bureaucrat, James Clapper, and the related fear-mongering of the Obama Administration’s predecessors. Clapper apparently has been referring to journalists as “accomplices,” in some of their disclosures as “helping terrorists.” But as Greenwald points out, Clapper has not provided actual evidence to support his assertions.
Worse than these bureaucrats merely making assertions without evidence have been the lazy-minded, unchallenging mainstream news media stenographers. Over these years since 9/11 the news “journalists” have been just taking the word of government officials and their spokespeople without any request of these officials to provide evidence to back up their assertions.
In fact, during the time of 9/11, did we ever hear anyone in the mainstream media make any references to what was going on before 9/11 that led up to those attacks? No, of course not. The bureaucrats in charge relentlessly repeated “We were attacked,” “We were attacked,” and “bin Laden,” “Muslims,” “Islamic Holy War,” and the media repeated their propaganda over and over for months to help the government bamboozle the American public to accept new wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, both wars of aggression based on lies and not evidence. No reporters demanded that the Bush-Cheney regime show any evidence to prove their case, and no one seemed to ask (or remind the public) what the U.S. government was doing in the years and decades prior to 9/11.
For example, Bush’s war in Afghanistan was not based on any evidence that Afghanistan was involved in 9/11 (which it wasn’t, nor was the Taliban), or that Afghanistan or the Taliban were of any threat to the U.S. (they weren’t). After 9/11, it was assumed (based on evidence regarding the African embassies bombings) that Osama bin Laden had been the “mastermind” or had some kind of involvement in 9/11. Bin Laden was being harbored by the Taliban. And George W. Bush then demanded that the Taliban extradite bin Laden to the U.S. (for trial? execution?), but Taliban leaders required that Bush provide evidence that bin Laden was responsible for 9/11. Given that Bush had no evidence against bin Laden (and to this day, no actual evidence has ever existed implicating bin Laden in 9/11), Bush merely demanded that the Taliban release bin Laden or else Bush would start a war in Afghanistan. But that’s not the narrative the mainstream media provided to the American people. (By the way, to show his knowledge of due process and the U.S. Constitution, Bush was quoted to have stated at the time,”There’s no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he’s guilty.”)
For those in doubt regarding the evidence against bin Laden in 9/11, evidence which has never existed, the FBI had bin Laden on its “10 most wanted” list, but it was only for the African embassy bombings, and not for 9/11. (Note the Washington Post‘s spin in its acting as FBI spokespeople on that issue.) But we can’t expect the mainstream media to have been requiring that Bush or Obama show evidence to prove their assertions, given how lazy-minded and sycophantic these media people have been.
And what about the so-called bin Laden raid and killing? First of all, as with Anwar al-Awlaki, Obama had no evidence against Osama bin Laden and therefore such a killing was just extra-judicial, due process-free murder. But secondly and perhaps more important, some people believe that bin Laden had already died within the first year or two of the aggressions started in late 2001 by George W. Bush. How come reporters never seemed to ask questions about all this? Why do they just believe what government bureaucrats tell them and then repeat it word for word?
And after the so-called Osama bin Laden raid and killing, which did not seem to be accurately reported on, why only a few months later did that helicopter carrying many of the same members of that SEAL Team 6 go down? Why didn’t we hear too many mainstream reporters ask questions about it? (It took family members of some of those who were killed to finally get CONgress to look into it.)
And regarding what led up to 9/11, the terrorists who committed those atrocities were motivated by U.S. government invasions, wars, occupations, sanctions and murders of innocents throughout the 1990s. But did we hear any reminders of our own government bureaucrats’ culpability in those events? Of course not. That would have been “unpatriotic.” To many sheeple, even in the so-called Press, unthinking obedience to and trust in the government is “patriotism.”
Even during the 1990s, Ron Paul warned that because of the U.S. government’s aggressions in those foreign lands there would likely be a terrorist attack within our shores. In the years prior to 9/11, at the Future of Freedom Foundation writers such as Sheldon Richman, Jacob Hornberger, and Richard Ebeling had also made it clear that foreigners are likely to retaliate against us because of what our incompetent, belligerent bureaucrats were doing overseas. That is what the CIA and author Chalmers Johnson referred to as “blowback.”
But were we ever reminded of the U.S. government’s own actions before 9/11 by the mainstream media? Nope. They just took every word that Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Cheney told us as the word of God, without question.
The purpose of government bureaucrat fear-mongering, like the kind referenced by Greenwald in the article mentioned above, is to scare the people into accepting more and more draconian policies and ever-increasingly powerful Leviathan, and that’s it. It’s not to “protect the American people.” That’s bull.
I’m sure that some people reading this post are finding all the information here totally bizarre and foreign to what they already “know” about 9/11 and the post-9/11 “war on terror,” which has really been a war on America and a war on freedom and peace. Well, you can click on all the links and read and connect the dots yourself.