Free Speech In Danger In America

On Friday, The Washington Examiner reported on efforts by Democrats on the Federal Election Commission to limit political speech on the internet. The latest effort by these Democrats was triggered by the fact that unnamed Russians spent $100,000 for politically themed ads on Facebook. Somehow no Democrats on any committees were concerned when Saudi Arabia was funding anti-fracking movies.

The article reports:

Weintraub (Commissioner Ellen Weintraub) also demanded that the FEC address the issue of “internet political communications” at its next meeting on Sept. 14.

Facebook’s involvement and proof of Russian spending on political ads could give Democratic FEC critics of the freewheeling Internet the case they’ve needed.

Republicans on the FEC have claimed for years that the Democrats have been focused on the Internet in part because they want to silence conservative outlets like the Drudge Report, conservative videos, and even movies.

But the Facebook revelation and huge amount of money involved should give the Democrats a new weapon in their fight to regulate spending on Internet sites beyond paid advocacy. Under current rules, paid online ads that say, for example, “Vote For” or “Vote Against,” are regulated. The so-called Internet freedom rule, however, exempts free Internet posts and advocacy by third parties.

This sort of government intervention into free speech never ends well. I have no problem with anyone posting anything on Facebook as long as the source of the post is obvious. Where were these people when conservative groups were being denied tax-exempt status? This is a political move partially caused by the fact that Democratic election and fund-raising efforts are not going well. This is an attempt to slant the playing field to the Democrats advantage. It needs to be stopped.

Starting Tomorrow…

The Washington Times posted an article on September 14th about the turnover of the Internet.

I just want to explain what I think the turnover of the Internet will mean to me personally. My blog is probably not important enough to be impacted (I get about 10,000 to 30,.000 hits a day), but because the organization the internet is being turned over to has members that do not recognize the right of free speech, a lot of my reliable news sources may disappear.

If you find this difficult to believe, consider the following:

In October 2011, elements of the American Muslim Brotherhood wrote the White House demanding an embargo or discontinuation of information and materials relating to Islamic-based terrorism–even insisting on firings, “re-training,” and “purges” of officers, analysts, special agents, and decision-makers who created or made such materials available….Days later, Brennan responded by agreeing on the necessity for the “White House [to] immediately create an interagency task force to address the problem by removing personnel and products that the Muslim Brotherhood deemed “biased, false, and highly offensive.”  from Catastrophic Failure by Stephen Coughlin page 21.

If that abuse of free speech can happen in America, you can be sure it will happen if the Internet is turned over to a group that includes China, Russia, and Iran, none of whom are noted for their embrace of free speech.

The article at the Washington Times reminds us:

The Internet was originally launched as a project of the U.S. Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in the 1960s. Then, in the 1980s, access to ARPANET was expanded courtesy of U.S. taxpayer-funded grants via the National Science Foundation, and, eventually, the Internet as we know it was developed.

So U.S. taxpayers paid for the creation, and development, and maintenance of the Internet. It is, in a very real sense, American property.

Article IV of the U.S. Constitution reads in part: “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States …”

So under what authority, exactly, does President Obama claim the authority to make a decision on the disposition of a U.S. property – to wit, the Internet – without explicit permission from Congress?

Perhaps as important a question to ask is, where in the world are congressional leaders on this, and why are they not screaming bloody murder about yet another executive overreach by this overreach-hungry president?

Enter Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has introduced S. 3034, the Protecting Internet Freedom Act. Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin has introduced a companion bill, H.R. 5418, in the House. The bills would simply prohibit the Commerce Department from moving forward on its plan unless it first wins congressional approval.

We have less than 24 hours to stop this. Please call your Congressman–202-224-3121 for the Senate; 202-224-3121 for the House. Your freedom is at stake.

If you are thinking that this does not impact you, I want you to think about the things we wouldn’t know if we had to depend on the mainstream media. Would we know about the payments to Iran, would we have known about Monica Lewinski’s blue dress? The mainstream media is very good at unearthing and reporting on Republican scandals, but how much have you read in the mainstream about the financial irregularities of the Clinton Foundation?

If you want to maintain the free flow of information, please call your Congressman.

There Are Those In America Who Work Against Free Speech

It isn’t news to anyone paying attention that there are people in America who are working against free speech. Up until the advent of talk radio, the mainstream media, which at that time was slightly left of center and is now seriously left of center, held a monopoly on the news. Americans saw what the mainstream media wanted them to see and heard opinions the mainstream media wanted them to hear. That changed with the advent and popularity of talk radio. The political left has been attempting to regain its monopoly ever since. The political left has maintained its monopoly of thought on almost all college campuses (which is troubling for the future of America), but they have failed to gain a foothold in the marketplace of talk radio and alternative news.

Yesterday World Net Daily posted an article about some information recently discovered by email hackers.

The article reports:

Among the 2,500 documents hacked from Soros’ Open Society Foundation are documents in which Soros’ Open Society Foundation boasts of funding a minority activist campaign against advertisers that succeeded in ousting Glenn Beck from Fox News and Pat Buchanan from MSNBC.

In a memorandum dated March 27, 2012, Bill Vandenberg, the head of Soros’ Democracy Fund, discusses a two-year grant to support the Color of Change, an online organizing group described within the document as the largest online political activist group representing African-American issues.

…Eric Boehlert, reporting in Media Matters – another Soros-funded, leftist organization – wrote on April 7, 2011, in the wake of Beck’s firing, that Color of Change “was advertising,” while neglecting to report that Soros either funded the advertiser boycott campaign or participated in funding Color of Change through his Open Society Foundation.

Another hacked Soros document, a memo from Diana Morris to the U.S. Programs Board of the Open Society Foundation, dated Jan. 30, 2012, makes clear the two-year grant discussed in Vandenberg’s memo cited above was an extension of a pre-existing funding commitment.

“It is important to recognize U.S. Programs’ primary role of granting money to other organizations,” Morris wrote.

“While we undertake our own communications and advocacy efforts, we also invest in others to advance open society in the United States. Some grantees, such as the Center or American Progress, Media Matters, and Color of Change, to name a few, are sophisticate communications machines, while other grantees scarcely engage in any communications efforts,” Morris continued. “There was broad agreement in the working group that it is important to strengthen grantee communications efforts.”

The article goes on to explain the details of the campaign to get Glenn Beck off of the air. This is disturbing. It is an assault on free speech. Worse than that, it is an assault on free speech funded by a foreign citizen with an agenda to tear down America. It would behoove all of us to remember that George Soros made his millions by collapsing currencies.
Because of media bias, which includes not reporting stories that don’t fit the required agenda, the low-information voter in America is either a person who is too busy to pay attention to what is actually happening around him or a person who depends on the mainstream media for his news. A number of months ago, I was talking with some people who are considerably better educated that I am who depend on The New York Times for their news. I shared two stories with them that they were totally unaware of. Unless voters learn to do their own research, we will continue to live in a country run by an elite political class making laws for the rest of us that they choose not to follow. That is not the future I want for America.

Holding On To Free Speech By A Thread

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about a recent vote by the Federal Election Commission.

The article reports:

Finally making good on long-harbored anger at conservative media, Democrats on the Federal Election Commission voted in secret to punish Fox News’ sponsorship of a Republican presidential debate, using an obscure law to charge the network with helping those on stage.

It is the first time in history that members of the FEC voted to punish a media outlet’s debate sponsorship, and it follows several years of Democratic threats against conservative media and websites like the Drudge Report.

The punishment, however, was blocked by all three Republicans on the commission, resulting in a 3-3 tie vote and no action.

The article further explains:

One of the candidates left out filed a complaint to the FEC, charging that Fox was essentially making a contribution to the 17 candidates by letting them have a voice in the debate.

CNN did the same thing, but there is no indication that they faced a complaint.

The quote “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” is attributed to Thomas Jefferson. Regardless of who made the statement, the quote applies to today. There are Americans who want to take away our First and Second Amendment rights. We need to watch the votes in Congress and the Congressional appointments and remove those people from office at the first opportunity to vote.

 

The Move To Shut Down Free Speech

For a number of years, we have had a problem on our college campuses with free speech. Conservative speakers have been shouted down or prevented from giving commencement addresses. This is not new; it goes back a few years. In 1992, Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey was prevented from giving a speech at Cooper Union.

The New York Times reported on October 3, 1992:

Knots of demonstrators in the college’s Great Hall, where Abraham Lincoln spoke on slavery in 1860, prevented Governor Casey from delivering his speech, “Can a Liberal Be Pro-Life?” at the Cooper Union School of Architecture. Nat Hentoff, a writer for The Voice who introduced Governor Casey, repeatedly begged and scolded the demonstrators to let the Governor speak. “Murderers have no right to speak,” demonstrators shouted back, referring to arguments that women will die in illegal abortions if abortion is outlawed.

Because Governor Casey was pro-life, he was shouted down by demonstrators. He was also blocked from giving his pro-life views at the Democratic convention which nominated Bill Clinton in July 1992.

Now the anti-free-speech people are trying to shut down the Republican presidential primary.

Yesterday The Washington Times reported the following:

Moveon.Org is conducting fundraising activities from the Chicago protests against Donald Trump that prompted the Republican presidential front-runner to cancel a rally there Friday, and promises that more disruptions are on the way.

“Last night, without consulting local police, Donald Trump abruptly cancelled a rally in Chicago in the face of massive and overwhelmingly peaceful student-led protests,” MoveOn.org wrote in an email Saturday to members. “We’re being flooded with aggressive emails and social media posts from Trump supporters. Some of them are threatening. We refuse to be intimidated by Donald Trump, Fox News, or anyone else.”

So let me get this right–Moveon.Org is promising more disruptions and then accusing Donald Trump and Fox News of threatening them?

The article further quotes the email:

“We’ve been ramping up our efforts for months — from the ‘We Are Better Than This’ ad we helped organize in The New York Times in December, to our collective advocacy for refugees under attack from the GOP, to the support we provided students in Chicago last night by printing signs and a banner and recruiting MoveOn.org members to join their peaceful protest. We need to double-down in the face of direct attacks on our community,” the email read.

There is nothing peaceful about these protests. They are orchestrated by the same people who put together Occupy Wall Street and the anarchists that routinely disrupt economic summits. This is an effort to shut down free speech that the protesters disagree with. Because our colleges no longer practice free speech, it doesn’t occur to our young people that other people have the right to speak. The roots of this problem go back to the failure of our educational system to teach our rights under the U.S. Constitution and also to instill basic values into our children.

Free Speech?

One of the foundations of our representative republic is free speech. This can be a very mixed blessing. We have the right to speak freely–we don’t have the right not to be offended. Some of our politicians have rather thin skins.

Yesterday Judicial Watch reported that the Laugh Factor, a comedy club in Hollywood, has been contacted by the Hillary Clinton campaign because of a short video (less than three minutes) of a performance at the club which targets Hillary Clinton which is posted on the website of the club. Jamie Masada, who owns the club, says that a Clinton campaign staffer called him and threatened to put him out of business if he didn’t take down the video. The campaign also demanded personal contact information on the performers in the recording.

The article describes the performance as somewhat crass and including some profanity, but that does not disqualify it from being free speech. Anyone who does not approve of the language or the content has the option of turning it off–that’s part of what free speech is about.

The article reports:

Masada told Judicial Watch that, as soon as the video got posted on the Laugh Factory website, he received a phone call from a “prominent” person inside Clinton’s campaign. “He said the video was disgusting and asked who put me up to this,” Masada said. The Clinton staffer, who Masada did not want to identify, also demanded to know the names and phone numbers of the comedians that appear in the video. Masada refused and hung up. He insists that the comedy stage is a sanctuary for freedom of speech no matter who is offended. “Just last night we had (Emmy-award winner) Dana Carvey doing Donald Trump and it was hilarious,” Masada said.

Can you imaging Donald Trump doing this in response to all the jokes about his hair? This should be a red flag for anyone planning to vote for Hillary. The lady is thin-skinned and not above threatening someone to avoid bad press–even if it comes under the heading of comedy.

Where Has Our Freedom Gone?

James O’Keefe is a name many people are familiar with. He exposed ACORN by posing as a pimp with a supposed underage prostitute. He exposed voter fraud in a number of states, and generally he has been a continuing thorn in the side of the Obama Administration. Under normal circumstances that would not be a problem, but evidently free speech in America is truly under attack.

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about James O’keefe’s latest adventures with U.S. Customs Agents in the airport in Nassau, Bahamas en route to Miami.

The article at The Daily Caller includes the entire dialogue with the customs agent as Mr. O’Keefe remembers it. I strongly suggest that you follow the link above and read the entire article, but here are a few highlights:

James: That was the one where I legally waded into the Rio Grande dressed like Osama bin Laden and embarrassed the federal government. DHS secretary was grilled under oath. Are you telling me this is retaliation for that?

Customs: I’m telling you that each time you go through here you will need to give an extra hour because we will do this each time. You have a prior criminal record and broke the law crossing into the United States unlawfully.

James: It wasn’t unlawful, I did nothing but wade back and forth. Millions of Mexicans cross and you don’t detain them for unlawful entry

Customs: You broke the law!

James: I broke the law? I’m a journalist who is trying to expose something important. Deep down in your heart when you set the burocreacy aside you have admit it needed to be exposed.

Customs: Come with me.

If only we were that conscientious with the illegals crossing into the United States illegally.

Is Free Speech The Same As Destruction Of Property?

Is destruction of property a part of free speech? Evidently in Baltimore it is. Baltimore has recently been hit with protests as a result of the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody,

The Blaze reported yesterday:

Protests over the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody, took a violent turn on Saturday, resulting in dozens of arrests and widespread property damage. During a recent press conference, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake confirmed that the protesters were being given “space” to “destroy.”

“While we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on,” the mayor said of the protesters. “We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we work very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to deescalate, and that’s what you saw.”

Someone needs to explain to me how destroying someone else’s property in any way accomplishes anything. Protesting is a right of every American; however, violence and property destruction are not a right–they are a criminal offense. Those who sought to destroy should have been promptly taken into custody–not given space to do so. The message sent to the people of Baltimore is that the police will not defend their businesses. This is not a good message to send. I suspect we will see many businesses move out of Baltimore in the near future because it is not safe to stay there. Also, what impact will the statement of the Mayor have on the cost of insurance for businesses in the affected area.

How Far Does Free Speech Go?

I will admit that free speech is not always comfortable. We have allowed Nazis to hold parades in America under the banner of free speech, and I am sure that everyone has groups they disagree with that hold parades or protest various things. That is their right. Or so we thought.

CBN News is reporting today that a federal appeals court has ruled against a group of Christian evangelists who were forced to leave an Arab-American street festival in Dearborn, Michigan, in 2012.

The article reports:

Festival-goers threw rocks and water bottles at members of the Bible Believers group when they denounced Islam and called Mohammed a false prophet.

In response, Wayne County authorities threatened to ticket the Christian group if they did not leave.

On Wednesday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals backed county authorities, ruling 2-1 that police were only trying to keep public order.

The article included part of the judges’ ruling:

“The video from the 2012 festival demonstrates that (evangelists’) speech and conduct intended to incite the crowd to turn violent. … Although robustly guarded by the First Amendment, religious conduct remains subject to regulation for the protection of society,” the three-judge panel wrote in its ruling.

Think about that for a minute. The judge was judging the intent of the evangelists–not the actions of the crowd. I thought when you threw a bottle at someone, you were responsible for throwing the bottle–I didn’t realize that the person you were throwing the bottle at was responsible for making you mad.

The dissenting judge had an opinion more in line with the First Amendment:

“The First Amendment protects plaintiffs’ speech, however bilious it was,” Judge Eric Clay wrote in his 11-page dissent. “The majority … provides a blueprint for the next police force that wants to silence speech without having to go through the burdensome process of law enforcement. I expect we will see this case again.”

Again, the evangelists were simply speaking–they were not rioting or destroying property. It was their speech that was stopped–not the actions of the violent crowd. We have forgotten who we are.

A Serious Problem For The Future Of Free Speech

Yesterday Frank Gaffney, Jr., at the Center For Security Policy posted an article about the arrest of a Saudi newspaper columnist named Hamza Kashgari in Malaysia.

The article reports:

A Saudi newspaper columnist named Hamza Kashgari was detained in Malaysia, reportedly on the basis of an alert by the International Criminal Police Organization, better known as Interpol.  Reuters quotes a Malaysian police spokesman as saying that, “This arrest was part of an Interpol operation which the Malaysian police were a part of.” It was apparently mounted in response to a “red notice” (or request for help apprehending an individual) issued by Saudi Arabia.  Kashgari was then sent back to Saudi Arabia where he faces almost certain death.

Mr. Kashgari’s crime?  He criticized the founder of Islam, Mohammed, on his Twitter account.  According to press he reports, he addressed the man Muslims call theProphet directly, writing: “ I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you. There is a lot I don’t understand about you….I will not pray for you.”  

The troubling part of this is that Interpol played a part in the arrest. Interpol is supposed to protect human rights and free speech.

The article further reports:

An Interpol spokesman insists that his organization had nothing to do with Hamza Kashgari’s apprehension in Malaysia and involuntary return to Saudi Arabia.  What is clear at this point is that the Saudis sought help apprehending the man who fled their not-so-tender mercies.  It seems likely that the Saudi red notice to Interpol provided the Malays a pretext for intercepting and extraditing a columnist who dared to exercise free speech.

So what–I live in America, what has this got to do with me? Well:

After all, in a December 2009 executive order unveiled on a Friday afternoon in the run-up to the Christmas holidays, President Obama issued Executive Order 13524.  It amended an earlier order by President Reagan that conferred on Interpol some – but not all – of the privileges of a foreign diplomatic mission.  

Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor and one of the finest legal minds and essayists of our time, wrote on the occasion that Obama’s amendments would have the effect of establishing here “an international police force immune from the restraints of American law.”  He added that, thanks to the Obama executive order:

“This international police force (whose U.S. headquarters is in the Justice Department in Washington) will be unrestrained by the U.S. Constitution and American law while it operates in the United States and affects both Americans and American interests outside the United States.”

Are you worried yet?

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Free Speech Under Attack

William G. Boykin

Image via Wikipedia

Frank Gaffney,Jr., at the Center for Security Policy posted an article today about General Boykin cancelling his speech at a West Point Military Academy prayer breakfast due to pressure from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and leftwing political groups.

The article reports:

This proposition is bizarre on multiple levels.  For one, General Boykin, who is a friend and greatly admired colleague of mine, is one of the United States’ most accomplished and decorated military heroes.  He served in and led our most elite special forces units for decades, including in many of our most dangerous recent combat operations.  He also held a number of senior positions in the intelligence community, including as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.

For another, Jerry Boykin is also an ordained minister.  And the sorts of events CAIR has lately insisted he must not address include prayer sessions convened by the mayor of Ocean City, Maryland and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Because he has been honest about the threat of radical Islam to America, CAIR is labeling him Islamophobic and blocking his right to speak.

The article cites other examples of CAIR interfering with free speech in America:

For example, another colleague, former Congressman Fred Grandy, was removed from his position as one of Washington’s most popular talk radio show hosts when he refused to allow Muslim critics to dictate who could appear on his program and what they could say.

Last fall, Stephen Coughlin – one of the nation’s foremost non-Muslim experts on shariah – was similarly subjected to a CAIR-led effort to deny his ability to speak.  In that case, he was denied by the Obama administration the opportunity to provide training to Central Intelligence Agency personnel about what impels our enemies to engage in murderous and stealthy forms of jihad, namely shariah.

More recently, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has been subjected to a campaign of vilification by CAIR and its friends.  His offense?  Mr. Kelly gave an interview to the makers of a superb documentary, “The Third Jihad,” and allowed that film to be used in training his officers.

I have seen the movie “The Third Jihad.” It is narrated by Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim who wants to see Islam actually become a religion of peace. It is a very informative movie that reminds us what the potential impact of radical Islam will be on America.

The article concludes:

Of particular concern is the fact that the U.S. government is now effectively encouraging what amounts to free speech for some – and abetting it.  Team Obama has begun according Islamophobia the status of a serious problem.  Worse yet, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has joined forces with the OIC in trying to find ways to suppress this fictitious problem by treating instances of what should be protected free speech as prosecutable “incitement.”   

To paraphrase the famous German pastor, Martin Niemöller, first they are coming for the “Islamophobes” and for Muslims who oppose shariah’s political agenda.  How soon will they decide that you have no right to speak freely, either?

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