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Archive for the ‘free speech’ Category

Her name was Nasim Najafi Aghdam. She claimed to be a vegan body builder, though with her tall thin physique you couldn’t really tell it unless she was actually flexing, like in this photo from her now-disappeared web site:

And on Tuesday she snapped and took a California-legal handgun (i.e. 10 round limit) onto the YouTube campus, managed to injure four people (consider what she would have done with an AR-15 with a 30 round magazine! But those are illegal in California), and then committed suicide.

All of her social media accounts have been disappeared down the Orwellian memory hole. All of her writings on the Internet have been disappeared down the Orwellian memory hole. Only fragments can be found in various caches and archives on the Internet.

What is interesting is that, in the few writings that I can find, she claims that there is no freedom on the Internet and that the big Internet media companies dictate what you will see or not see. It is interesting that then the big Internet media companies immediately validate her thesis by disappearing her social media presence Orwellian fashion after she snaps. It’s almost as if they don’t want you to see what she was saying. Interesting how they prove her thesis. Too bad about Nasim though, she committed suicide for no real reason, since virtually nobody actually decided to go look for what she was actually saying as versus what the big media companies claim she said. Not that it’s easy to do so — I expect even those various caches and archives to be cleaned out shortly to finish “disappearing” her down the Orwellian memory hole, leaving us only with the prefabricated image of her generated by the big media companies rather than her own words.

2018. It’s 1984+34. War is peace. Tyranny is freedom. Censorship is patriotic. I love Big Brother, he wants only the best for me. Don’t you love Big Brother too?

– Badtux the “Hmmmm…..” Penguin

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As some of you know, Roger Stone, a close advisor to Donald Trump, got kicked off of Twitter for tweets cursing out and threatening CNN reporters. So how does Roger Stone react to this? Does he laugh and say “well, I disagree with their actions, but they’re a private business and can choose to do business with whomever they please”? Is that how he reacted?

Well, no. First he raised a hissy fit, threatening Twitter via right wing media. Twitter took notice and then made his 3 day suspension into a permanent ban — deleting his entire Twitter account, tweets included. (Actually, Twitter accounts are never physically deleted, they’re kept around in case law enforcement needs to look at them, but effectively it’s gone). Because as a private business, they decided they don’t want Roger Stone as a customer anymore. So they exercised their freedom of association by choosing not to associate with him.

So what did Roger Stone do then? Did he apologize to Twitter in hopes of getting his account back?

Well, of course not. That would require some level of self-introspection. Instead: Roger Stone says that he will sue Twitter.

Will sue.

A private business.

For exercising its freedom of association.

For exercising a right guaranteed by the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States as interpreted by the Supreme Court of the United States of America, the right of freedom of association — or non-association, in this case.

So, Roger Stone: In the past, you supported the right of the Boy Scouts to exercise their freedom of association in order to not associate with homosexuals. So at one time, you apparently believed private organizations had freedom of association. When did you convert to Communism — the notion that private property and private organizations shouldn’t exist? Why do you believe Twitter is or should be public property with no right of freedom of association as guaranteed by the Constitution for private entities?

Curious penguins are… curious!

– Badtux the “Hypocrisy, much?” Penguin

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The government wants to know who this critic really is. Twitter says “nuh-uhn, you have no legal right to ask for that”. The ACLU agrees, and is filing their own lawsuit.

In other news, Real President Bannon stepped down from the National Security Council and was replaced by the World’s Dumbest Hairball, Rick Perry. Now, Rick Perry is in charge of the nukes, so I guess he has a reason to be on the NSC, technically. From a practical point of view, though, all that he will do is lower the collective IQ of the room. Governor Goodhair was a rubber stamp for the legislature when he was governor of Texas, because he had no ideas or clues of his own. But he had good hair. Maybe they’ll make a topiary out of it in the NSC meeting hall just to pass the time…

Thought for the day: Fox News has done to millennials’ grandparents what their grandparents thought violent video games would do to millennials.

Finally: The Bureau of Land Management website used to have lots of pictures of people doing outdoors recreation. Now the header picture, which used to be a family enjoying outdoors hiking in a BLM park, is now a giant pile of coal. Apparently this is the new Trump Administration tourism push — “come see our giant piles of coal! The real America!”. Of the first five photos on the web site, four of them relate to mining or ranching. The fifth has some people in a boat fishing. Apparently the new meaning of the term “BLM” is “Bureau of Livestock and Mining”. And fishing and hunting, apparently. That hiking and backpacking and stuff. Nope. Nopity nope.

Alrighty, then!

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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cropped-Dove-and-Waitz-1
Sheriff Jerry Larpenter of Terrebone Parish, who thinks he’s found an ‘out’ to the Sullivan test by filing criminal charges claiming that his critic libeled an insurance agent who is not a public figure.

For those of you not familiar with the Sullivan Test, it dates back to the civil rights era where Southern politicians regularly sued newspapers for libel when those newspapers reported on their corruption and their mistreatment of civil rights protesters. This culminated in a case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, which raised the bar for libel of a public official to “actual malice” — that is, the politician or public figure not only had to prove that what was published about him was false, but also that the person who published it knew it was false.

Given the Sullivan Test, Sheriff Larpenter can’t file criminal charges claiming that the anonymous blogger who is documenting his corruption has libeled him. A quick trip to federal court with a reference to Garrison V. Louisiana, which invalidated the Louisiana criminal libel statute in any case involving public figures and especially public officials, and he’d be a laughingstock as well as promptly sued for malicious prosecution and violation of 1st Amendment press rights. But Sheriff Larpenter thinks he has found an “out”, which is that Tony Alford, the Sheriff Department’s new insurance broker (and whose office manager just *happens* to be the Sheriff’s wife), is not a public official or a public figure as defined by the Sullivan decision.

Of course the whole concept of “criminal libel” is ridiculous on its face in the first place. Libel is an act that does not cause death or physical injury, thus is more properly classified as a civil offense where the victim sues the perpetrator for damages. But most of the states of the Confederacy (all of them, actually, other than Texas and Missouri) still have these criminal libel laws on their books from the days when they were used against civil rights activists. And our corrupt Louisiana politician of the month, Sheriff Jerry Larpenter, in conjunction with his corrupt crony Terrebonne Parish District Attorney Joe Waitz, intend to use it in order to silence the blogger who is documenting their corruption. Because freedom of the press is not a freedom that Larpenter and Waitz care about. Because to them, the Constitution is just a piece of paper.

And the voters of Terrebonne Parish elected these corrupt anti-Constitution politicians, and will pay millions for the lawsuit settlement after the malicious prosecution lawsuit is filed against them. So it goes. Elections have consequences. If the voters of Terrebonne Parish didn’t want to pay out all that money, they should have elected less corrupt officials. Right?

– Badtux the Corruption Penguin

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babyparts

It is quite clear, by now, that Robert Lewis Dear Jr. was inspired to shoot up a Planned Parenthood clinic via talk of how Planned Parenthood supposedly sold “baby parts”. There’s been quite a bit of rhetoric about that, including Huckleberry saying that he would use the Army to shut down Planned Parenthood, Carly talking about how she saw video of Planned Parenthood actually harvesting baby parts for sale, (note — no such video exists), etc. These people quite clearly incited this violence and while Dear is the one directly responsible, they have some responsibility too.

The question is, is there a criminal case to be made against them for inciting violence against Planned Parenthood? In a word: No. The applicable case law is Brandenburg v. Ohio, a case where a KKK leader by the name of Brandenburg in Ohio made a speech where he said that somebody ought to kill all the niggers, Jews, and so forth, as well as all the “nigger lovers” in Congress and the executive office. The State of Ohio then prosecuted him for inciting violence. He appealed the conviction all the way to the Supreme Court, and thus arose the so-called “Brandenburg test”: Abstract advocacy of violence against broad groups of people is allowable free speech under the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. Only advocacy of specific acts of violence against a specific person or persons is illegal speech.

In other words, because this KKK leader said “somebody ought to kill all the niggers” rather than pointing at a specific black person and saying “kill that nigger!”, he could not be prosecuted. Similarly, evangelicals can advocate killing all the abortion doctors, but unless they tell a specific person or group of people to kill a specific abortion doctor, they cannot be prosecuted for inciting violence.

In the case of Carly, Huck, Donald, etc., their speech quite clearly passes the Brandenburg test. They may have talked about the supposed bad things that Planned Parenthood did, they may have created the whole atmosphere that incited violence in Colorado Springs, but they did not advocate a specific act of violence against a specific Planned Parenthood clinic. Thus they cannot be prosecuted by a court of law for what they did.

In the court of public opinion, of course, there is no Supreme Court. So we can condemn them all we wish in the court of public opinion. For what good it’ll do, given that their audience isn’t listening to us, only to Rush Limbaugh, Faux News, and World Nut Daily…

– Badtux the Law Penguin

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The head of the Fraternal Order of Police, Executive Director Jim Pasco, is a thug. Just like ghetto gang bangers are thugs, except his gang colors are blue. He is now threatening filmmaker Quentin Tarantino for criticizing police shootings of unarmed people (the most recent of which was a 6 year old autistic boy in Louisiana).

We need thugs in blue to take care of the thugs who aren’t wearing blue, but we need them to prey on *other* thugs, not on unarmed people or random mouthy film-makers. Seems to me too many police officers seem to have forgotten what their job is and who they’re working for. They seem to think they’re more important than the citizens they’re supposed to serve and protect. But they’re still dependent upon those citizens for the salaries they get, so I think they might get a nasty surprise in the end if they decide to take it up a notch and start killing even more unarmed citizenry. Americans may be docile sheep, but even sheep can be dangerous if you rile them enough.

Hint: One of my friends lives in a city that actually voted to disincorporate itself when the city police department decided to create a thugocracy with one of their own as mayor. And they did. And every single one of those police officers is now unemployed, as are all the politicians who enabled their behavior. The people in the city now pay their taxes to the county, and the Sheriff’s Department now patrols their streets. At some point they might re-incorporate and hire an all-new police department. Or maybe not. But they certainly dealt with their thugs in blue in a quite decided manner once they finally got pissed enough.

– Badtux the Thug-observin’ Penguin

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So the Fairness Doctrine was killed off in 1987 by the Reagan Administration as their final gift to Rush Limbaugh. The Reaganauts had already not been enforcing it for years — I remember hearing Rush in 1985 — but they nailed a corpse in its body and buried it deep. Or somethin’ like that.

The Fairness Doctrine clearly cannot be brought back in its prior form because we have a different world today. We have 99 channels of cable TV. We have the Internet. None of which use a precious regulated resource like bandwidth and thus cannot be enforced via threat of license cancellation like the Fairness Doctrine in its prime was enforced. Yet clearly there is a need for something like the Fairness Doctrine. It doesn’t matter that there’s widely available and diverse offerings out there, because people can’t watch more than one news channel at once. And if that one news channel only puts forth a single point of view, that’s all they know about. I remember network news before Reagan overturned the Fairness Doctrine. It actually provided news, in a fair mostly factual manner. I cannot stand to watch *any* of the news channels now, they are all ideological shout-fests that regularly lie, deliberately mislead their viewers, and tell only the part of the story that matches up with their ideological bent while all claiming to be “fair and balanced.” You cannot tell me that today’s “news” is higher quality than what I remember from the 1970’s. It just isn’t true. I was there.

On the other hand, “news” might be a clue as to what we *can* do. Okay, so you can lie, deliberately mislead your viewers, and tell only the part of the story that matches up with your ideological bent. But if you do, you can’t label it as news, just like you can’t label partially hydrogenated vegetable oil as “butter”. If it’s labeled as “butter”, it *must* be made from cow’s milk. If it’s labeled as news, it has to comply with the former Fairness Doctrine standards. Otherwise it must be labeled as entertainment.

I’m sure Rush Limbaugh wouldn’t mind labeling his show as an entertainment show, he’s never pretended to be fair and balanced. But somehow I suspect that Faux “News” would be rather upset if they had to announce every thirty minutes “This is an entertainment show, not a news show. There is no actual news reported here”. Still, they’d be free to continue to lie, deliberately mislead viewers, and otherwise be Faux News. There would be no free speech issue, they could still say anything they wanted. They just wouldn’t be able to falsely label it as news.

And the hilarious thing is that this would require no — zero — new laws passed. The FTC already has the authority to regulate labeling of products, and surely what Faux News produces is a product, just like what a bull produces, right ;). Of course, expecting Obama to have the balls to actually do it is a lost cause. Which is why we have two years of gridlock in front of us, and yet more lies posing as news, sigh…

– Badtux the Labeling Penguin

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Just like the Crips. Enforcing the law as defined by the guns they carry, not as defined by the laws in law books.

So, to summarize: Cops are called out by someone in the neighborhood to deal with situation where suspected drug dealers are standing in the middle of the street peddling their wares. So far, so good. They arrest the people standing out in the middle of the street for jaywalking, and soon enough they’ll do a personal search to see if there’s drugs. Either way, they’re hauling these people off to the cop ranch to be fingerprinted, photographed, ID’ed, and otherwise processed so that if they run into’em again on the street, they’ll know who they’re dealing with. Not a difficult operation by any means. Almost impossible to fuck up.

Until one police officer does.

This cop doesn’t like what he’s hearing from an old lady yelling at the cops from 20 yards away, marches over there, tells her to move back or he’ll tase her, she turns her back and starts calling him a honky-ass pig and other such things as she complies and she marches away, and he pulls out his taser and shoots her in the back and drops her right then and there. For activity protected under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. Where the Supremes have ruled. Where the Supremes have ruled multiple times that yes, yelling at cops or calling them names is protected speech, and as long as the person doing the yelling is beyond arm’s length of a police officer or of a secured perimeter (and this 62 year old woman was 20 yards away from the nearest police officer and there was no perimeter set up), there’s nothing that police officers can do. He then files charges stating that she was interfering with the police. From 20 yards away. With words. Which are protected speech under the 1st Amendment. Yeah, that sounds pretty clear cut to me. This old lady was trying to incite the police to violate the law so that she could win a lot of money via the inevitable civil rights lawsuit against the police. Sounds like she succeeded — that cop marched right up to her and violated the Constitution up, down, left, right, and sideways, showing the same amount of respect for the law as a member of the Crips — i.e., none.

Cops are sure to chime in, “but only a few cops are like that.” Perhaps. But the problem, in my opinion, is not the number of bad cops. The problem is that the blue ranks defend the bad cops and make excuses for them, rather than ejecting them like bad seed. It makes all cops look bad to see many cops defending obvious bad seeds in their ranks. I understand the whole “well, that bad cop might be my backup the next time I call for help” rationalization, but that rationalization is just that — a rationalization. It makes all cops look like gang members whose colors are blue. It makes them look like the Crips with better tailoring and better PR.

In the end, in a democracy (as versus a dictatorship), the police can only function effectively if the majority of people agree with their behavior and what they do. This is not a way to build such a consensus. Just sayin’.

– Badtux the “Don’t be a Crip, yo!” Penguin

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Apparently a school principal in Colorado has gotten in trouble for having the students recite the Pledge of Allegiance in French.

J’engage ma fidélité au drapeau des États-Unis d´Amérique et à la République qu’il représente, une nation sous Dieu, indivisible, avec liberté et justice pour tous.

The critics were especially critical of this part of the pledge, which says that the United States is one nation under Dieu rather than one nation under God: “une nation sous Dieu”. We’re one nation under GOD, not one nation under DIEU, who is, like, some French speaking heretical god that isn’t *our* God.

Color me as baffled. Of course, the Pledge of Allegiance is total gibberish to school children regardless of whether it’s recited in English, French, Spanish, Russian, or Pig Latin. I remember wondering for the longest time why those four witches were standing… I pictured them as the witches from The Wizard of Oz, standing around looking for little children to throw into an oven like in Hansel and Gretel. Man, the pledge was *scary* for a little 1st grader!

Oh wait, wait, he had them say it in Arabic, not in French, and the Arabic word for “God” transliterates to “Allah” in Latin letters like the French word for “God” transliterates to “Dieu” in Latin letters. Though in all cases the word is referring to the exact same Judaic deity, since both Christianity and Islam are offshoots of Judaism. Hmm…. but it’s Arabic. That makes it different, right?

Err. Not.

Just sayin’.

– Badtux the Pledged-out Penguin

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Apparently the National Review, which is always scolding us unrepentant lefties that we aren’t sufficiently capitalist and that the magic of the marketplace should always rule, is soliciting donations to fight a lawsuit levied by a climate scientist they libeled because — get this — “National Review is not a non-profit — we are just not profitable.”

Uhm, yeah. Where’s that magic of the marketplace, already? Someone running a failing business dares tell me how to run a business? Man. Those guys at National Reviews got stones that clang. As well as no sense of irony.

Meanwhile, here’s a clue to douchebags like National Review Editor Rich Lowry who think you can lie about anybody and anything: Nope. No can do. You can tell the truth about anybody and anything, but lying is a different story, and “I didn’t know I was lying!” is only a defense if the person you’re libeling is a public person (i.e., a celebrity or politician). If it’s a climate scientist that has never been in the public eye before, you better damn well do your research and make sure you’re telling the truth before you print something potentially libelous about him — or suffer the consequences. Because neither I, God, or the law likes liars. And before you say “well who decides if it’s a lie or not?”, well, you’re about to find out, Mr. Lowry (hint: a jury of your peers. Better hope they are, anyhow).

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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