Why our First Amendment is so important

In Defense of ‘Hurtful’ Speech PDF Print E-mail
vrijdag, 24 juni 2011
Yesterday was a beautiful day for freedom of speech in the Netherlands. An Amsterdam court acquitted me of all charges of hate speech after a legal ordeal that lasted almost two years. Yesterday, the Dutch people learned that political debate has not been stifled in their country. They learned that they are still allowed to speak critically about Islam and that resistance against Islamization is not a crime.
I was brought to trial despite being an elected politician and the leader of the third-largest party in the Dutch parliament. I was not prosecuted for anything I did, but for what I had said. My view on Islam is that it is not so much a religion as a totalitarian political ideology with religious elements. While there are many moderate Muslims, Islam’s political ideology is radical and has global ambitions. I expressed these views in newspaper interviews, op-ed articles and in my 2008 documentary, “Fitna.”

I was dragged to court by leftist and Islamic organizations that were bent not only on silencing me but on stifling public debate. My accusers claimed that I deliberately “insulted” and “incited discrimination and hatred” against Muslims. The Dutch penal code states in its articles 137c and 137d that anyone who either “publicly, verbally or in writing or image, deliberately expresses himself in any way that incites hatred against a group of people” or “in any way that insults a group of people because of their race, their religion or belief, their hetero- or homosexual inclination or their physical, psychological or mental handicap, will be punished.”

I was dragged to court for statements that I made as a politician and which were meant to stimulate public debate in a country where public debate has stagnated for decades. Dutch political parties see themselves as guardians of a sterile status quo. I want our problems to be discussed. I believe that politicians have a public trust to further debates about important issues. I firmly believe that every public debate holds the prospect of enlightenment.

My views represent those of a growing number of the Dutch voters, who have flocked to the Party for Freedom, or PVV. The PVV is the fastest-growing party in the country, growing from one seat in the 150-seat House of Representatives in 2004, to nine seats in 2006 and 24 seats in 2010. My party’s views, however, are so uncommon in the Netherlands that they are considered blasphemous by powerful elites who both fear and resent discussion.

That’s why I was taken to court, despite the fact that the public prosecutor saw no reason to prosecute me. “Freedom of expression fulfills an essential role in public debate in a democratic society,” the prosecutors repeatedly said during my trial. “That comments are hurtful and offensive for a large number of Muslims does not mean that they are punishable.”

The Netherlands is one of the few countries in the world where a court can force the public prosecutor to prosecute someone. In January 2009, three judges of the Amsterdam Appeals Court ordered my prosecution in a politically motivated verdict that already focused on the content of the case. They implied that I was guilty and ordered my prosecution. The case was subsequently referred to the Amsterdam Court of First Instance.

The judges who acquitted me yesterday already had a peremptory ruling from the appeals court on their desk. They decided, however, to follow the arguments of the public prosecutor, who during the trial had once again reiterated his position and had asked for a full acquittal.

Though I am obviously relieved by yesterday’s decision, my thoughts go to people such as Danish journalist Lars Hedegaard, Austrian human-rights activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff and others who have recently been convicted for criticizing Islam. They have not been as fortunate as I. In far too many Western countries, it is still impossible to have a debate about the nature of Islam.

The biggest threat to our democracies is not political debate, nor is it public dissent. As the American judge Learned Hand wrote: “That community is already in the process of dissolution . . . where faith in the eventual supremacy of reason has become so timid that we dare not enter our convictions in the open lists to win or lose.” It has been a tenet in European and American thinking that men are only free when they respect each other’s freedom. If the courts can no longer guarantee this, then surely a community is in the process of dissolution.

Legislation such as articles 137c and 137d of the Dutch Penal Code disgraces our democratic free societies. On the basis of such legislation, I was prevented from representing my million-and-a-half voters in parliament because I had to be in the courtroom for several days, sometimes up to three days per week, during the past year-and-a-half. Such legislation should be abolished. It should be abolished in all Western countries where it exists and replaced by First Amendment clauses.

Citizens should never allow themselves to be silenced. I have spoken, I speak and I shall continue to speak.

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff was tried on charges of “incitement to hatred” and “denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion.” She was found not guilty on the first charge, and guilty on the second; she was fined €480.

Her crime? She claimed that Muhammad was a pedophile and that he married a six-year-old girl, ‘A’isha, sexually consummating the marriage when she was nine. This is not something in serious dispute; the Muslims don’t like Mrs Sabaditsch-Wolff referring to it as pedophilia. Lars Hedegaard of Denmark was convicted by the Eastern High Court (after being acquitted in lower court; prosecutorial appeal, or double jeopardy, is something from which Americans are protected by the Constitution) of making racially offensive comments about Muslim men and fined 5,000 kroner (roughly $1,000). He had said, “Girls in Muslim families are raped by their uncles, their cousins, or their fathers,” and “When a Muslim man rapes a woman, it is in his right to do so.”

I found it interesting that Mr Hedegaard’s defense was that his comments were made in private, and he did not expect them to be made public. Even while celebrating his (initial, lower court) victory for freedom of speech, he was, inter alia, acknowledging that it could be criminal to say such things in public.

And while the two mentioned above were only fined, it should be noted that some people have been imprisoned for offensive speech claiming that the Holocaust didn’t happen.

Aaron Worthing fisked a TIME Magazine article by Richard Stengel, an article which held that the Constitution was not intended to protect the individual from the federal government, and Jeff Goldstein noted the idiocy which is Fareed Zacharia, and his musing that Iceland’s decision to rewrite their constitution was a good thing, while the aversion to modernizing our own was bad.

But, to me, the differences between the European way of thinking and our own is perfectly illustrated by the picture on the right. That, my friends, is the (now defeated) proposed European Constitution, and it’s a whole book! If the liberal modernists had their way, our First Amendment wouldn’t say that Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, but pay homage to freedom of speech, while throwing in all sorts of exceptions, including “hate speech,” derogatory speech, most certainly speech by corporations. That kind of thing, after all, is what freedom of speech means in Europe, and what some in the United States would have it mean as well.

146 Comments

  1. I think BO would love to get rid of the First Amendment and put people in jail for “hate” speech. Just an opinion of mine based on observation. So don’t ask for a citation. It’s gut reaction to me, and I trust my gut reactions.

  2. Our activist SCOTUS is already rewriting the Constitution, as in deciding election winners and as in ruling that a corporation is a person with regard to the Bill of Rights.

  3. Our activist SCOTUS is already rewriting the Constitution, as in deciding election winners

    More lies from Perry. How tedious.

  4. Perry wrote:

    Our activist SCOTUS is already rewriting the Constitution, as in deciding election winners and as in ruling that a corporation is a person with regard to the Bill of Rights.

    The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Could you point out for me where in the text of the First Amendment it is specified that only “persons” have the freedom of speech? I’ve read it several times, and can’t seem to find that part.

    Rather, the text says that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press . . . .” Why doesn’t that mean exactly what it says, that Congress shall make no law in that regard, rather than somehow meaning that it applies only to legal “persons?”

    I did not name Perry in the main article, when I wrote, “and what some in the United States would have it mean as well,” but his past arguments were certainly present in my attention at the time.

    I would suggest that it is time for an article on Bridging the Gap, telling us why the First Amendment does not mean exactly what it says, and why some people’s freedom of speech ought not to be protected.

  5. Looks like I spoke too soon. When I wrote, “I would suggest that it is time for an article on Bridging the Gap, telling us why the First Amendment does not mean exactly what it says, and why some people’s freedom of speech ought not to be protected,” I had not realized that Perry has done exactly that. In Our Conservative Supreme Court: Activist?, perry tells us that:

    the Founders could not possibly have predicted the specifics of the future, therefore they intended that the principles set forth be adapted to the future, whatever new specifics the future may present.

    Of course, the Framers recognized that . . . and that is why they included an amendment process in the Constitution. If Perry, or anyone else, doesn’t like the fact that the First Amendment is written in terms which prohibit Congress from restricting teh freedom of speech, let him propose and pursue a constitutional amendment to change it. I had even suggested, here, the proposed changes:

    Amendment XXVIII

    • Section 1: The First Amendment to this Constitution is hereby repealed.
    • Section 2: Freedom of speech, publication and broadcasting is guaranteed, save that speech which incites hatred, animosity or violence based on race, ethnicity, non-Christian religion, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identification may be prohibited.
    • Section 3: The free exercise of religion is guaranteed, save that no individual expression of religious faith may be professed in public. No religious belief which would discriminate against any person based on race, ethnicity, non-Christian religion, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identification is protected by this amendment, or may be protected by any statute of any level of government.
    • Section 4: Neither the United States nor any political subdivision therein may recognize, promote or protect any form of religious institution, belief or opinion. The Congress and the states shall have the power to enforce this provision through appropriate legislation.
    • Section 5: (a) The freedom of speech applies solely to individuals. No company, corporation or other organization, save those which exist as representatives of working people, or certified journalistic sources may claim the right to unrestricted speech under the provisions of Section 2, nor may any organization other than a registered campaign organization or political party, engage in any speech or spend any money in support of or opposition to any political candidate.
      (b) No individual member of any organization, save those which exist as representatives of working people, or certified journalistic sources, may claim individual status to circumvent the provisions of Section 5 (a) unless certified by the Federal Election Commission.
    • Section 6: The Congress may enact any legislation required to enforce the provisions of this Amendment.

    Always glad to be of help!

  6. “Of course, the Framers recognized that . . . and that is why they included an amendment process in the Constitution.”

    Dana, an amendment is not needed. What is needed is an apolitical, non-activist SOTUS which is focused on the meanings of the words in the context in which they were written. In that context, I maintain that our First Amendment was addressing only the free speech rights of an individual. In that context, neither a corporation, or a union are individuals, therefore should be subject to limitations as per the legislative process, like in campaign finance limitations. Otherwise, from a practical standpoint also, we will continue to permit the powerful corporations, or unions, to corrupt and/or take over our country, which is exactly what is happening as we speak. This is not healthy for our democratic processes, which must reside in our legislatures unfettered by bribery and pay-offs.

  7. Dana, an amendment is not needed. What is needed is an apolitical, non-activist SOTUS which is focused on the meanings of the words in the context in which they were written. In that context, I maintain that our First Amendment was addressing only the free speech rights of an individual.

    Do you support the right to burn a flag, Herr Fossil? Please show me where it give that right in the First Amendment:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Since when is setting an inanimate object on fire “speech,” Herr Fossil?

  8. Our activist SCOTUS is already rewriting the Constitution, as in deciding election winners and as in ruling that a corporation is a person with regard to the Bill of Rights.

    Uh huh. Your grasp of this history is as inept as that surrounding slavery and the 3/5 Compromise.

    In the United States, corporations were recognized as having rights to contract, and to have those contracts honored the same as contracts entered into by natural persons, in Dartmouth College v. Woodward, decided in 1819. In the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 118 U.S. 394, the Supreme Court recognized that corporations were recognized as persons for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment.[1][2]

    Oh wait, I get it — Our current SCOTUS utilized the new George Bush/Dick Cheney-devised time travel device to travel back to the early (and then late) 19th century so that they themselves could decide those cases in favor of corporation rights!

  9. Perhaps he does, but that’s something also prevented by our First Amendment.

    But there’s no First Amendment in Europe.

  10. Perry wrote:

    “Of course, the Framers recognized that . . . and that is why they included an amendment process in the Constitution.”

    Dana, an amendment is not needed. What is needed is an apolitical, non-activist SOTUS which is focused on the meanings of the words in the context in which they were written. In that context, I maintain that our First Amendment was addressing only the free speech rights of an individual. In that context, neither a corporation, or a union are individuals, therefore should be subject to limitations as per the legislative process, like in campaign finance limitations. Otherwise, from a practical standpoint also, we will continue to permit the powerful corporations, or unions, to corrupt and/or take over our country, which is exactly what is happening as we speak. This is not healthy for our democratic processes, which must reside in our legislatures unfettered by bribery and pay-offs.

    Given that the Framers were perfectly aware of groups speaking, such as the Sons of Liberty, you cannot (reasonably) hold that they were referring solely to individuals since they never imposed such a restriction on freedom of speech. Even the Federalist Papers, written in support of ratification of the Constitution, were a group effort by James Madison, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, but all signed as “Publius” when published, would have to be considered the work of a group.

    Moreover, what you assume that they believed is still not what they actually wrote. They wrote, specifically, and the Congress passed, and the states ratified, that “Congress shall pass no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press . . . .” That makes no provision for the Congress to pass some laws, based upon who is speaking, to restrict speech.

    Nor would you make such an argument about other things. If I noted that the Framers were almost all Christians, and though they were at least aware that Judaism and Islam existed, certainly did not conceive of some of the new-age claptrap that has manifested itself here and there, and claimed that thus the First Amendment wouldn’t really prohibit the Congress from outlawing the Hare Krishna, you’d laugh at such logic.

    You think that some speech is just too bad to be allowed? Fine, that’s your right. But at least have the honesty to admit what the First Amendment says, and means, and propose going through the amendment process the Framers provided. To try to amend the Constitution by interpreting the text into meaning something the Framers never intended is simply dishonest.

  11. Hube wrote:

    Do you support the right to burn a flag, Herr Fossil? Please show me where it give that right in the First Amendment:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Since when is setting an inanimate object on fire “speech,” Herr Fossil?

    Actually, I will support the right of protestors to burn the flag as freedom of speech. As long as they are not destroying someone else’s property, someone else’s flag, then they are using their own property in a manner designed to communicate their disapproval of something.

    And, quite frankly, it’s pretty effective speech, too, because it just plain urinates off millions of Americans, who might otherwise simply ignore the protestors. I don’t have to like their message to recognize that it still falls within First Amendment guarantees.

  12. Actually, I will support the right of protestors to burn the flag as freedom of speech. As long as they are not destroying someone else’s property, someone else’s flag, then they are using their own property in a manner designed to communicate their disapproval of something.

    And, quite frankly, it’s pretty effective speech, too, because it just plain urinates off millions of Americans, who might otherwise simply ignore the protestors. I don’t have to like their message to recognize that it still falls within First Amendment guarantees.

    I support that right too, Dana. I was just asking Perry if, since in his opinion corporations should not be afforded 1st Amendment protections based on the actual wording/intent of the Right, how setting an object on fire = “speech.” (And, how that right — recognized a lot closer to the present than corporation rights — isn’t a SCOTUS “overreach.”)

  13. I maintain that our First Amendment was addressing only the free speech rights of an individual.

    Sorry, but free speech also applies to groups of people. Indeed, both the Declaration and the Constitution are examples of speech done by groups of men.

    Your argument is specious.

  14. PS I noticed that one of Perry’s comments was hidden due to low ratings. While I consider Perry to be passive-aggressive and sometimes a two faced snake in the grass, I don’t think comments should be “Censored” in this manner. Which just seems to be one of the negative consequences of having this voting system.

  15. Eric noted:

    Indeed, both the Declaration and the Constitution are examples of speech done by groups of men.

    Great point; I wish that I had thought of it!

  16. While I consider Perry to be passive-aggressive and sometimes a two faced snake in the grass, I don’t think comments should be “Censored” in this manner. Which just seems to be one of the negative consequences of having this voting system.

    I agree. Herr Fossil’s inanity should be on display for all to see!

  17. Eric wrote:

    PS I noticed that one of Perry’s comments was hidden due to low ratings. While I consider Perry to be passive-aggressive and sometimes a two faced snake in the grass, I don’t think comments should be “Censored” in this manner. Which just seems to be one of the negative consequences of having this voting system.

    Really? Which comment was that? If that is a feature of the comment rating system, I will disable it.

  18. To try to amend the Constitution by interpreting the text into meaning something the Framers never intended is simply dishonest.

    Not to mention, dangerous.

  19. Really? Which comment was that? If that is a feature of the comment rating system, I will disable it.

    It was the one near the top, where he complained about the Supreme Court fixing elections. It now says “Hidden due to low ratings”.

  20. I found the comment and modified the parameters; a comment would now have to get hundreds of negative votes to hide it. I couldn’t find a setting which disables the hide feature for a disliked comment. If it becomes a problem again, I’ll disable the feature completely.

    I was unaware that it hid disliked comments.

  21. I was unaware that it hid disliked comments

    Amazon.com operates the same way for comments about book reviews. You can click the comment to get it to show, but ordinarily it remains hidden.

  22. What is needed is an apolitical, non-activist SOTUS which is focused on the meanings of the words in the context in which they were written.

    Wait, when did you become a Scalia-style originalist, Perry? ;-)

    Context is important only when the words are ambiguous. There’s not a whole lot of ambiguity in the First Amendment.

  23. Context is important only when the words are ambiguous. There’s not a whole lot of ambiguity in the First Amendment.

    Uh-huh. Were corporations “people” to whom free speech was a right, in the writers’ opinions? Was bribery of politicians “free speech”?

  24. Pho, you do realize Jeff is a Liberal, right? Just click over to his evil blog site. He might as well be Lenin’s spawn. (I kid, Jeff, but only a little bit.)

  25. Pho, you do realize Jeff is a Liberal, right?

    You do realise that not everyone in the world subordinates facts, logic, civility or honesty to tribalism, right? Most people are not like you.

  26. Wait, when did you become a Scalia-style originalist, Perry? ;-)

    As any ‘activist’ would say, Jeff, it depends on the issue! :)

  27. The Phoenician wrote:

    Context is important only when the words are ambiguous. There’s not a whole lot of ambiguity in the First Amendment. (Jeff)

    Uh-huh. Were corporations “people” to whom free speech was a right, in the writers’ opinions? Was bribery of politicians “free speech”?

    Does the First Amendment limit freedom of speech to the people, or does the First Amendment specify that Congress shall pass no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech?”

    “Congress shall pass no law” seems pretty unambiguous to me. Perhaps you believe that the First Amendment was poorly written, but it says what it says.

  28. Does the First Amendment limit freedom of speech to the people, or does the First Amendment specify that Congress shall pass no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech?”

    An interesting question.

    However, the Constitution starts off referring to “We the People of the United States [...acting to...] secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves”, and Amendment Nine (being in the same Bill of Rights as the First) states “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

    I would therefore assert that, as seems obvious, UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED, the people who wrote the documents believed rights adhered to actual people and not to chickens, horses, garbage dumps, or corporations.

    Does the First Amendment protect the right to free speech for roosters, Dana? It doesn’t say that it DOESN’T, after all…

  29. I know of no law, or any attempt made at passing a law, which would prohibit “cock-a-doodle-do!” But, the last bit of sarcasm aside, you have raised a valid point, and I clicked the “Like” button for you.

    However, even if you “would therefore assert that, as seems obvious, UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED, the people who wrote the documents believed rights adhered to actual people and not to chickens, horses, garbage dumps, or corporations,” in the First Amendment it is otherwise stated; it states that “Congress shall pass no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press . . . .” The only place that “people” are mentioned is in the right to peaceably assemble, and even that is part of the “Congress shall pass no law” provision.

    I’d point out that other sections of the Bill of Rights do specifically mention “the people,” so such was clearly a formulation with which the First Congress was aware.

    Further, even if the members of the First Congress did mean solely the people and not groups of people — strange, considering that James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay wrote, collectively, under the pseudonym “Publius” in what are now called the Federalist Papers — that’s not what they actually wrote and passed and sent to the states for ratification.

    A corporation, as you have noted, is not a living human being (though one person can be incorporated, and be the entire corporation himself). As organizations, corporations most normally speak through published material, whether print or some form of audio or audio-visual medium. In that, they would also fall under the First Amendment guarantee that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press. While some newspapers were pretty much one-man shows in the late 18th century, larger newspapers were known, and thus the members of the First Congress were aware that the freedom of the press would accrue to groups of men, not just individuals.

    Finally, “the people” is, in itself, a plural term, not an individual one.

  30. pollcode.com free polls
    Given the absolutist language in which the First and Second Amendments are written, do we need to amend those Amendments
    Both the First and Second need to be amended Only the First Amendment needs to be amended. Only the Second Amendment needs to be amended. Neither should be changed, but they should be interpreted under modern conditions Neither should be amended, and they should be interpreted as written   
  31. Congress is not permitted to abridge freedom of speech. Private groups are permitted to abridge freedom of speech as part of the bylaws for maintaining status within the private groups. And Communist Party USA does precisely that: abridge free-speech rights of its members.

  32. Look at the history of Communism. The Hungarians tried to exercise some freedom from Soviet domination, in 1956; Red Army tanks rolled in to put down that silly nonsense. The “Prague Spring” of 1968, when reformist leader Alexander Dub?ek came to power in Czechoslovakia, and loosened restrictions on the media, speech and travel. The Soviets didn’t look kindly upon that, either, and Warsaw Pact troops invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia.

    It was the brave exercise of freedom which toppled the Soviet Union. It was Lech Walesa energizing the Polish trade union Solidarity, at great personal risk, which helped topple Communism, it was the election of Polish Cardinal Karol Wotyla to become Pope John Paul II, which gave a brave Pole an international platform and gave the Polish people a public hero other than someone approved by the Communist Party which helped topple Communism.

    The freedom of speech is anathema to Communism, it is the mortal enemy of Communism; they cannot coexist.

  33. Uh-huh. Were corporations “people” to whom free speech was a right, in the writers’ opinions? Was bribery of politicians “free speech”?

    Well, corporations are groups of people, right? They should have the same right to speak collectively that I’d have if I got together with my neighbors, pooled resources, and put up a billboard. And this isn’t about bribery, it’s about political advertising, which is something different altogether. The First Amendment doesn’t allow bribery, but it does allow people to speak collectively.

    Money is only worthwhile in politics as far as people will let it be worthwhile. You’re not required to believe all the dreck you hear in political ads. You want to take money out of politics? Encourage people to ignore any and all 30-second soundbites and spend a little bit of time every day learning about the issues and getting several different perspectives on them. It’s a lot harder to buy an educated populace.

  34. We’ll make you a squish yet, Jeff. It’s just a wee bit of a detour to the right of where you stand now. ;) You’re already rather close with your position on the First Amendment and your concern about over-regulation in the restaurant industry.

  35. I know of no law, or any attempt made at passing a law, which would prohibit “cock-a-doodle-do!”

    Uh-huh. Try keeping a rooster that crows at the break of dawn in a town or city, and you’ll be had up on “disturbing the peace” or “creating a nuisance” or some such. And if you try to argue your rooster has “freedom of speech”, you’ll probably end up under psych evaluation.

    But, the last bit of sarcasm aside, you have raised a valid point, and I clicked the “Like” button for you.

    Dude, seriously, who gives a toss?

    Well, corporations are groups of people, right? They should have the same right to speak collectively that I’d have if I got together with my neighbors, pooled resources, and put up a billboard.

    Corporations are not just groups of people. They have a limited liability, a charter which (supposedly) limits their activities, and a “life” which extends beyond any actual person. As envisioned in the time the Constitution was written, they existed to implement specific, limited purposes, supposedly with the agreement and to the benefit of the wider community. Corporate charters actually meant something back then.

    And this isn’t about bribery, it’s about political advertising, which is something different altogether. The First Amendment doesn’t allow bribery, but it does allow people to speak collectively.

    Pardon me, but when case law allows companies to channel massive amounts of money to politician’s campaigns, and said politicians are both able and usually do channel taxpayer money back, this is pretty much bribery. What is routine practice in the US would get people thrown in jail elsewhere.

  36. Uh-huh. Try keeping a rooster that crows at the break of dawn in a town or city, and you’ll be had up on “disturbing the peace” or “creating a nuisance” or some such.

    Our schools had 4-H. Kids did have those birds in towns. No problem with it, actually. But you’re stretching things beyond the absurd just to try to make your absurd and losing point.

  37. Corporations are not just groups of people. They have a limited liability, a charter which (supposedly) limits their activities, and a “life” which extends beyond any actual person. As envisioned in the time the Constitution was written

    The New York Times is a corporation. Do they not get free speech rights?

  38. hey existed to implement specific, limited purposes, supposedly with the agreement and to the benefit of the wider community

    Corporations hire people, they provide goods and services, and they offer stock for investors to buy. All of these things benefit the community.

  39. All of the quibbling arguments of who or what constitutes a “person” aside, at the heart of this question is: should we be denying freedom of speech to anybody? I remember the sixties and seventies, and the perception was that it was the wicked conservatives who didn’t favor free speech, the conservatives who wanted to criminalize protest, while it was the liberals who were the true advocates of freedom of speech. Well, sixties perceptions aside, it isn’t the conservatives who want to limit speech these days; it’s our friends on the left who believe that some speech is just so inherently dangerous that it simply must be regulated.

    I must admit: that fact still baffles me.

  40. The Phoenician wrote:

    Pardon me, but when case law allows companies to channel massive amounts of money to politician’s campaigns, and said politicians are both able and usually do channel taxpayer money back, this is pretty much bribery. What is routine practice in the US would get people thrown in jail elsewhere.

    Oh, that’s certainly true enough! People in the democratic countries of the European Union and in Canada have been hauled before the courts and charged with crimes for denying the Holocaust, for saying that Islam is a dangerous movement, for saying that there is something wrong with homosexuality, for saying all sorts of things considered verbotten by the further left countries, and some of those people have been fined, and some imprisoned.

    Of course, the Phoenician lives under some of those restrictions. From Wikipedia:

    New Zealand prohibits hate speech under the Human Rights Act 1993. Section 61 (Racial Disharmony) makes it unlawful to publish or distribute “threatening, abusive, or insulting…matter or words likely to excite hostility against or bring into contempt any group of persons…on the ground of the colour, race, or ethnic or national or ethnic origins of that group of persons.” Section 131 (Inciting Racial Disharmony) lists offences for which “racial disharmony” creates liability.

    We don’t have that here. Anyone can say whatever he wishes, and the only penalty for offensive speech is the disrespect of others. To Americans, the dangers of restricting speech are far worse than the consequences of unrestricted speech. But, then again, that’s why American exceptionalism is justifiable; we really are exceptional!

  41. Dana, I checked “dislike” on you here, because you did not respond to PiaToR’s point, which was:

    “Pardon me, but when case law allows companies to channel massive amounts of money to politician’s campaigns, and said politicians are both able and usually do channel taxpayer money back, this is pretty much bribery. What is routine practice in the US would get people thrown in jail elsewhere.”

    He is talking about excessive campaign contributions to the extent that it is a seriously disrupting and corrupting influence. You responded talking about hate speech.

    The problem is, this has gotten much worse with the Citizens’ United ruling.

    There have to be limits, Dana, to preserve an orderly society, otherwise we will have chaos. Reason must be used. For this reason, The First Amendment cannot be construed as an absolutist statement, so I oppose your continuing desire to do so.

  42. Perry wrote:

    He is talking about excessive campaign contributions to the extent that it is a seriously disrupting and corrupting influence. You responded talking about hate speech.

    The problem is, this has gotten much worse with the Citizens’ United ruling.

    Bribery is still illegal, Perry, but somehow, some way, for all of the complaints that people are buying elections, almost no one is being prosecuted for, much less convicted of, bribery.

    Think what the basis of the Citizens United ruling was. An independent organization had produced an anti-Hillary Clinton message, but was being charged with violating the McCain-Feingold Restriction on Speech bill for showing it, within thirty days of an election, because they weren’t an official campaign organization. There could not be a clearer example of freedom of speech and of the press being restricted.

    The solution to speech you don’t like is more speech, not government restricting speech.

    There have to be limits, Dana, to preserve an orderly society, otherwise we will have chaos. Reason must be used. For this reason, The First Amendment cannot be construed as an absolutist statement, so I oppose your continuing desire to do so.

    Doesn’t matter, Perry: it is “construed” as an absolutist statement because that is how it is written! If you think it has to be updated, then propose a constitutional amendment to change it. But to try to “interpret” the absolute statement “Congress shall make no law” to mean “Congress shall make only a few laws” is fundamentally dishonest, and does violence to the whole concept of a government of laws.

  43. “Doesn’t matter, Perry: it is “construed” as an absolutist statement because that is how it is written!”

    Let me put it this way, Dana: There is no such thing as an absolutist statement. In order to understand the meaning of any statement, it must be viewed in context. Historians spend lifetimes doing just this. The context of the First Amendment when it was written is not the same as the context in which we now live, so that has to be taken into consideration in order to glean meaning from this historical statement in today’s context.

    My second point is that we must take into account the impact of any ruling. In this case, the Citizens’ United ruling gives license for corruption of government by large, rich entities like corporations, even unions. Moreover, this ruling in effect nullifies limits on campaign contributions. Thus, the impact is that the power which comes from large concentrations of wealth in effect takes over the running of our government. We have this situation now, and it is going to get worse. I don’t believe this is the intended operation of a democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people which the founders visualized.
    Thus, corporations, unions, …, are not people, which is one more concern I have for the Citizens’ United ruling.

    I see the Constitution as a vision behind the laws of our nation, but not a series of absolute statements that have one meaning and one meaning only. Again, the context of the times has to be taken into account, and this certainly includes the impact of SCOTUS rulings.

    On absolutism, I can understand how a devout Roman Catholic would look at absolutism, because absolutism comprises certain foundations of your church. That is fine for religious folks, for Roman Catholics or whatever, but to transpose an individuals’ personal absolutism, based on personal faith, to the workings of government, or even to the workings of jurisprudence, is not appropriate, which is why we have a SCOTUS, which is why we have judges. If we were operating on absolutes, as in a black and white world, we would not need judges. The reality of the world is not black and white, but Roman Catholic Doctrine is black and white, where the ultimate absolutist is the Pope. The SCOTUS cannot behave as if it were the Pope.

    As an aside, I find it noteworthy that the Conservative majority on the SCOTUS, all five of them are Roman Catholics, indoctrinated in the same kind of black and white ideological, theological thinking that you are.

  44. Bribery is still illegal, Perry, but somehow, some way, for all of the complaints that people are buying elections, almost no one is being prosecuted for, much less convicted of, bribery.

    Yes, but we’ve already stated that the US has a corrupt and decaying political system. Bribery is always illegal under law in the places where it is most practised in fact, with no-one being convicted for business as usual.

  45. Uh-huh. Try keeping a rooster that crows at the break of dawn in a town or city, and you’ll be had up on “disturbing the peace” or “creating a nuisance” or some such.

    The cynical among us will note that “disturbing the peace” only exists as a law so that police can enforce whatever un-legislated social norms they want with impunity.

    Corporations are not just groups of people. They have a limited liability, a charter which (supposedly) limits their activities, and a “life” which extends beyond any actual person.

    True, but what in that set of privileges would allow the government to restrict their free speech rights? Corporations are still groups of people at their core. Remember, in our philosophy the government is not the granter of rights but the guarantor of them. Why should some people lose their natural right to free speech because of the way they’re organized?

    Put it this way. Let’s say you’re standing on a street corner talking to a group of people. Someone else sets up shop next to you and pulls out a megaphone. Should we make it illegal to talk through megaphones because you’re being drowned out?

    One more point. The constitutionality of campaign finance laws notwithstanding, their practical effect is to create a maze of regulations so byzantine that it makes running for office a luxury available only to those who can afford a team of high-powered lawyers. This blog might refer to it as “stregulation.”

  46. Perry wrote:

    “Doesn’t matter, Perry: it is “construed” as an absolutist statement because that is how it is written!”

    Let me put it this way, Dana: There is no such thing as an absolutist statement.

    Certainly there is: “The speed of light is 186,282 miles per second.” That is an absolutist statement. “George Washington was the first President of the United States.” That is an absolutist statement. Heck, even “2 + 2 = 5″ is an absolutist statement, even though it’s incorrect. And “Congress shall make no law” is an absolutist statement as well.

    In order to understand the meaning of any statement, it must be viewed in context. Historians spend lifetimes doing just this. The context of the First Amendment when it was written is not the same as the context in which we now live, so that has to be taken into consideration in order to glean meaning from this historical statement in today’s context.

    Sorry, but no. If a statement truly is ambiguous, you might have a point, but an unambiguous statement, one in which the statement is clear and the definitions of the words have not changed, then no, we don’t have to examine the context. No means no.

    My second point is that we must take into account the impact of any ruling. In this case, the Citizens’ United ruling gives license for corruption of government by large, rich entities like corporations, even unions. Moreover, this ruling in effect nullifies limits on campaign contributions. Thus, the impact is that the power which comes from large concentrations of wealth in effect takes over the running of our government. We have this situation now, and it is going to get worse. I don’t believe this is the intended operation of a democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people which the founders visualized.
    Thus, corporations, unions, …, are not people, which is one more concern I have for the Citizens’ United ruling.

    If that’s what you believe, then do the honest thing: work to amend the Constitution to change the First Amendment. The Framers knew that they weren’t perfect and they knew that times change; that’s why they included a defined constitutional amendment process. But it is dishonest to claim that the written words of the Constitution don’t mean what they say.

    I see the Constitution as a vision behind the laws of our nation, but not a series of absolute statements that have one meaning and one meaning only. Again, the context of the times has to be taken into account, and this certainly includes the impact of SCOTUS rulings.

    Then you see the Constitution as meaning nothing at all, Perry, as something which can simply be ignored if someone in a position in power believes that a particular provision is bothersome. You would have us not be a nation of laws, but a nation of whichever side happens to get into power.

    I’d call your attention here to the decisions of Bowers v Hardwick (1986), in which the Court held that homosexual activity could be legally proscribed by the states, and Lawrence v Texas, which held only a few years later that it couldn’t be. The Constitution wasn’t amended between those two rulings; they were simply the rulings of what the Justices wanted to do at the time.

    The reality of the world is not black and white, but Roman Catholic Doctrine is black and white, where the ultimate absolutist is the Pope. The SCOTUS cannot behave as if it were the Pope.

    But, actually, it does. The Pope speaks to us concerning the meaning of the biblical texts, some of which can be ambiguous; the Court tells us what the provisions of the law and the Constitution mean.

    Tell me, Perry, if you believe that the absolutist language of the First Amendment can be arbitrarily interpreted as not meaning that Congress shall pass no law on the mentioned subjects, would you not also have to believe that, given the conditions of today, the Supreme Court could legitimately say that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside,” from the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment doesn’t really mean that children born in the United States to people who were here illegally are citizens of the United States?

    I mean, the first sentence of the Fourteenth Amendment sure looks like an absolutist statement to me, but I’m sure that there are a lot of groups out there who would be pleased to know that nope, it ain’t, and we can simply interpret it away!

    As an aside, I find it noteworthy that the Conservative majority on the SCOTUS, all five of them are Roman Catholics, indoctrinated in the same kind of black and white ideological, theological thinking that you are.

    They are pretty smart fellows, aren’t they? Of course, I never really knew that it took a Wile E. Coyote super-genius to be able to understand that “Congress shall make no law” actually means “Congress shall make no law.”

  47. Jeff, you are failing to consider the impact of the Citizens’ United decision, which simply cannot be ignored, which I discussed right here.

    I also made some points about meanings in context, where changes in context may provide new meanings.

    “Put it this way. Let’s say you’re standing on a street corner talking to a group of people. Someone else sets up shop next to you and pulls out a megaphone. Should we make it illegal to talk through megaphones because you’re being drowned out? “

    It may already be illegal in terms of disturbing the peace or exceeding a noise volume limit. The point is, we need reasonable limits. Citizens’ United removed reasonable limits, in my view.

    “One more point. The constitutionality of campaign finance laws notwithstanding, their practical effect is to create a maze of regulations so byzantine that it makes running for office a luxury available only to those who can afford a team of high-powered lawyers. This blog might refer to it as “stregulation.””

    This is because we have yet to write a less complex law that clearly set limits on campaign finance and advertising. We also need to limit the length of our campaigns, like other civilized nations have done. Moreover, our campaigns have become exploited for profit by our megalomaniacal media. Maybe we’re too far gone!

  48. Perry wrote:

    This is because we have yet to write a less complex law that clearly set limits on campaign finance and advertising. We also need to limit the length of our campaigns, like other civilized nations have done.

    Perry, knowing how much you want to consider the “intent” of the Framers, when the members of the First Congress were considering what has become our First Amendment (it was actually the third approved, but the first two were not ratified), they didn’t know about photography and the didn’t know about movies and DVDs, and maybe some people would argue that they certainly never meant to include pornography as speech, but they most certainly were aware of political speech: that was what had helped change resentment into revolution against the Crown, and that was what gained them their offices. If they were protecting any kind of speech, it was surely political speech.

    Yet, here you are, saying now that we should find some way to stifle someone who wants to run for political office, to not allow him to speak outside of a specified time frame! Further, you want to limit political advertising, surely an infringement of freedom of the press.

    John Hitchcock has a post up, There Oughtta Be A Law…, on his site. In it, he has three suggestions for things he thinks ought to be mandatory (There oughtta be a law requiring all who want a Driver’s License to spend 6,000 miles in the passenger seat of an Over-The-Road Semi.; There oughtta be a law requiring everyone under 20 to do 8 months of Marine Corps training, to include Basic Training and Infantry Training; and There oughtta be a law requiring every manager or supervisor do a year of grunt work in the job that he’ll be managing or supervising.), but he prefaces the whole thing by saying, “**Note** I do not support any of these law suggestions because I believe too strongly in Constitutional Principles.” In effect, he’s telling us how he’d like to see society organized, but he isn’t serious about saying that such things ought to actually be the law.

    I’m wondering if maybe that’s what you mean, and just haven’t been clear on taking the distinction Mr Hitchcock did, or whether you actually believe that freedom of speech ought to be restricted in the ways you have suggested.

  49. In John’s “There Oughtta Be a Law”, I agree in principle with his ideas of running an effective business, and I agree with his conclusion that these items are no place for a law, unless the business practices turn toward being abusive. That was/is an interesting essay by John. Kudos!

  50. Perry wrote:

    “Doesn’t matter, Perry: it is “construed” as an absolutist statement because that is how it is written!”

    Let me put it this way, Dana: There is no such thing as an absolutist statement.

    Certainly there is: “The speed of light is 186,282 miles per second.” That is an absolutist statement. “George Washington was the first President of the United States.” That is an absolutist statement. Heck, even “2 + 2 = 5″ is an absolutist statement, even though it’s incorrect. And “Congress shall make no law” is an absolutist statement as well.

    Good point, Dana, although you are incorrect about the speed of light, which is not an absolute. It is approximately 186,282 miles per second to six significant figures. This then is not an absolute number, because the speed of light is dependent on our measurement of time, which has uncertainty associated with this measurement.

    We now state the speed of light to nine significant figures: 299,792,458 meters per second. This figure is exact (but not absolute) since the length of the meter is defined from this constant and the international standard for time. Thus, the speed of light is not an absolute, because it is subject to measurement imprecision and inaccuracy based on the measurement of time with an atomic clock, which is measured based on an electron transition in cesium at temperatures as near to absolute zero as possible. The precision is 1 part in 10^14, or 1 second in 30 million years. In other words there will always be imprecisions and inaccuracies in measurements, even of the time standard, so that the time standard and all physical constants derived therefrom are not absolute values.

    Moreover, it should be pointed out that the above represents the speed of light in a vacuum. Light slows down when passing through any dense medium, thus the actual speed of light depends on the context, so to speak, just like any statement made in the US Constitution.

    Maybe it is somewhat easier for a person schooled in science and practicing same to understand the distinctions between statements which are absolute and those which are not.

    Your examples of 2+2=5 and George Washington was our first President are not dependent on context, therefore are indeed absolute statements, so I stand corrected on this and should have known better.

  51. Perry wrote:

    Light slows down when passing through any dense medium, thus the actual speed of light depends on the context, so to speak, just like any statement made in the US Constitution.

    Are we to infer from that statement that your interpretation of the Constitution as somehow meaning something different from what it actually says is the result of it traveling through a dense medium? :)

  52. “Are we to infer from that statement that your interpretation of the Constitution as somehow meaning something different from what it actually says is the result of it traveling through a dense medium? :)

    That depends on the content of the dense medium; you know that Dana! :)

  53. “Yet, here you are, saying now that we should find some way to stifle someone who wants to run for political office, to not allow him to speak outside of a specified time frame! Further, you want to limit political advertising, surely an infringement of freedom of the press.”

    Since it is my stated belief that the First Amendment cannot be characterized as an absolute statement, due to obvious contextual differences through time, I do think it reasonable to set limits on campaign financing and on the duration of campaigns. I believe that even you, Dana, would admit that our campaigns have become out-of-control and counterproductive for our nation. Other countries, like the UK, can teach us how to do this. Too bad our Founders did not have the foresight to set us up with a parliamentary system, such that governments would rise or fall on the major issues of the day.

  54. Let me put it this way, Dana: There is no such thing as an absolutist statement. In order to understand the meaning of any statement, it must be viewed in context. Historians spend lifetimes doing just this. The context of the First Amendment when it was written is not the same as the context in which we now live, so that has to be taken into consideration in order to glean meaning from this historical statement in today’s context.

    Perry, in this context, the opposite of absolute is arbitrary. Do you REALLY want the Constitution to be an arbitrary document where it means whatever a particular person in power says it means? That route is dangerous, and would surely lead to chaos.

  55. Since it is my stated belief that the First Amendment cannot be characterized as an absolute statement, due to obvious contextual differences through time, I do think it reasonable to set limits on campaign financing and on the duration of campaigns. I believe that even you, Dana, would admit that our campaigns have become out-of-control and counterproductive for our nation.

    Not at all. I like the idea of long campaigns (especially at the presidential level) since it gives us a chance to get to know the candidates in great detail. I don’t know about you, but I want to learn the maximum possible about these people for the obvious reason they will be running the country. And I want the maximum amount of information about them to get out, which means lots and lots of advertising and other forms of free speech. Your idea would simply keep the voters in greater ignorance about their potential politicians.

  56. PS Perry, the only reason you oppose the Citizens United decision is because you hate business and want to see them screwed at every opportunity. The thought that a court would actually defend their rights, whether to participate in the political process or anything else, thus drives you insane. Your position on this issue is based purely on emotion, not reason.

  57. “PS Perry, the only reason you oppose the Citizens United decision is because you hate business and want to see them screwed at every opportunity. The thought that a court would actually defend their rights, whether to participate in the political process or anything else, thus drives you insane. Your position on this issue is based purely on emotion, not reason.”

    You are making assumptions again, Eric, and you are wrong, again!

    I oppose the Citizens’ United ruling because it treats corporations and unions as if they are individuals. I don’t believe the First Amendment had any other than individuals in mind. Moreover, the ruling places practically unlimited power in the hands of the wealthy elite. Don’t you think our government is corrupted enough by the influence of big money. I understand that the SCOTUS is not supposed to consider the impact; that is the job of Congress, so I am hoping that Congress will pass legislation to limit campaign spending and campaign time. I understand that the SCOTUS will probably be called upon for another ruling. So be it. We just keep trying, until either reason sets in or we get Justices on the court who are not strict constructionists, taking into account contextual changes over time. Certainly our Founders never visualized the source of gross corruption of Congress!

  58. Perry, the practical impact of the Citizens United ruling is immaterial to this discussion. Many well-intentioned laws with positive effects for society are nonetheless unconstitutional.

  59. Perry, the practical impact of the Citizens United ruling is immaterial to this discussion. Many well-intentioned laws with positive effects for society are nonetheless unconstitutional.

    While I’d quibble about the wording of the second sentence, I agree overall.

  60. “Perry, the practical impact of the Citizens United ruling is immaterial to this discussion. Many well-intentioned laws with positive effects for society are nonetheless unconstitutional.”

    On the contrary, Jeff, an activist, doctrinaire minded SCOTUS majority can act in consort to squelch significant legislation. This is hardly immaterial to this discussion. The Citizens’ United ruling warps the interpretation of our First Amendment in the context of our present times, thus making it impossible to exert any limits whatsoever on campaign financing, thus turning over more power to the already powerful.

    Even if you are an originalist re the Constitution, I don’t see how the Citizens’ United ruling can be rationalized, because there were not these huge corporations in those days.

    Finally, I am not at all surprised that this activist majority are all Roman Catholics, steeped in the doctrinaire absolutism that these people experience from early childhood. I call it being brainwashed. Take Dana for example: We have a SCOTUS majority made up of five Danas. :) Enough said! (No offense intended, Dana!)

  61. If we actually had a Supreme Court majority made up of five Danas, this country would be a much better place.

    But you still haven’t explained to us just how we can “interpret” the law and the Constitution to mean things different from what they actually say, and still be a government of laws.

    If the Framers were unaware of corporations, it’s also true that they knew nothing about the internet. Using your logic, why couldn’t the Congress pass a law, as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, saying that any criticism of President Barack Obama made over the internet was obviously racist in intent, and ban that speech? Why couldn’t the Congress have passed, in 2003, a law stating that any criticism of President Bush and his policies in Iraq and Afghanistan clearly provided aid and comfort to the enemy, and outlawed such?

    As you start to tell us just what speech is simply too dangerous to be allowed, or at least go unregulated, you have to recognize that the people you like won’t always be the decision-takers in taking such determinations. After all, if corporations were (mostly) unknown in the late 18th century, so too were trade unions. The Supreme Court said, relatively early in the nineteenth century, that corporations were legal persons for the purposes of the law, but never made such a statement about trade unions. Why could not a Congress decide that yes, corporations could speak, but trade unions could not?

  62. “But you still haven’t explained to us just how we can “interpret” the law and the Constitution to mean things different from what they actually say, and still be a government of laws.”

    Dana, I’ve explained it many times. Hube wonders why I have to repeat myself over and over. This is a reason why: Ears that won’t hear, eyes that won’t see.

    Hint: My explanation has to do with contextual changes over time. Do you disagree with this explanation? If so, on what grounds?

  63. “The Supreme Court said, relatively early in the nineteenth century, that corporations were legal persons for the purposes of the law, but never made such a statement about trade unions. “

    Interesting, and revealing about the historical mindset of our demeaning attitude toward our workers/employees being so ingrained in our cultural heritage. I’m glad you brought that up. Doesn’t this attitude bother you terribly? It has disturbed me for decades!

    We exhibited this same demeaning attitude toward Native Americans, as demonstrated in our unwillingness to live up to our treaties with them. So-called ‘American exceptionalism’ needs to take this kind of behavior into account, otherwise we deceive ourselves, making it that much more difficult for self-improvement as we continue to wallow in our myths and distorted visions of our past. I am really surprised that our amateur historian here does not concern himself with these issues.

  64. “If the Framers were unaware of corporations, it’s also true that they knew nothing about the internet. Using your logic, why couldn’t the Congress pass a law, as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, saying that any criticism of President Barack Obama made over the internet was obviously racist in intent, and ban that speech? Why couldn’t the Congress have passed, in 2003, a law stating that any criticism of President Bush and his policies in Iraq and Afghanistan clearly provided aid and comfort to the enemy, and outlawed such?”

    Those are reasonable points. Although Congress could pass such laws, I don’t think they would do so, because both examples are obviously blatant examples of violations of protected free speech.

    I think the issue here is whether free speech must at times have limits. Citizens’ United in effect removed the limits on free speech by corporations and unions and the like, thus providing free rein for unlimited spending on election campaigns. The impact of this then serves to further empower the wealthy to the detriment of the majority who are not wealthy. So there is the impact question again. Somehow we must resolve this dilemma, otherwise we will continue down the path of government corruption by powerful and wealthy interests. What is your solution, Dana?

    I continue to view the Citizens’ United ruling as political in nature, meant to nullify the Dems success in empowering the young, black, and hispanics in the election of 2008. This, combined with the voter suppression activities we see the Repubs engaged in across the country appears to be an orchestrated effort by the Right to swing the 2012 elections in their favor. How else can these actions be explained?

    Doesn’t governing by employing democratic principles imply a granting of power to individual people?

    Does “of the people, by the people, for the people” have any significance any more to us Americans?

  65. I continue to view the Citizens’ United ruling as political in nature, meant to nullify the Dems success in empowering the young, black, and hispanics in the election of 2008. This, combined with the voter suppression activities we see the Repubs engaged in across the country appears to be an orchestrated effort by the Right to swing the 2012 elections in their favor. How else can these actions be explained?

    Perry has officially entered blubonnet territory. Get the straitjacket someone, please.

    Consider how utterly non-sensical this Fossil rant is: The SCOTUS applies what is an almost 200 year precedent in recognizing corporation rights, and expands, not contracts, the meaning of free expression, yet this is detrimental to freedom. Next, he continues to engage in the bigotry of [very] low expectations by claiming that minorities, et. al., cannot get a simple photo ID in order to vote, which even some of the poorest countries in the world require. Yet, this is the same dolt who rants incoherently about voter fraud in Florida and Ohio (only GOP-based fraud, of course). A simple step to help ensure the integrity of the franchise, yet it is “suppression.”

    What is really “suppressed” is any semblance of common sense in the Fossil.

  66. BTW, Herr Fossil, you want to do away with Citizens United? Muster up the necessary support and get a constitutional amendment proposed and passed. It’s how checks and balances work.

  67. You are making assumptions again, Eric, and you are wrong, again!

    Sorry, but you ongoing hatred of business has been duly noted, thus making my assumption RIGHT>

    I oppose the Citizens’ United ruling because it treats corporations and unions as if they are individuals. I don’t believe the First Amendment had any other than individuals in mind.

    It simply applies to people, which obviously means groups of people. Besides, you are a hypocrite. I’m sure you wouln not want groups of people like the ACLU or NARAL having their free speech and being allowed to participate in the political process restricted, so your objection above is not based on principle but rather on your partisan hatred of business.

    Moreover, the ruling places practically unlimited power in the hands of the wealthy elite.

    It hardly places unlimited power in the hands of anybody. That’s just a hysterical exaggeration on your part. All it does is give people the freedom to voice political opinions. It doesn’t mean anyone has to listen to them!

    Don’t you think our government is corrupted enough by the influence of big money.

    Fear mongering. Have you any actual “Evidence” of said corruption?

    I understand that the SCOTUS is not supposed to consider the impact; that is the job of Congress, so I am hoping that Congress will pass legislation to limit campaign spending and campaign time.

    They already did, and the Citizens United ruling slapped it down, at least in part. Congress, having been spanked once, is unlikely to try the same thing twice.*

    I understand that the SCOTUS will probably be called upon for another ruling. So be it. We just keep trying, until either reason sets in or we get Justices on the court who are not strict constructionists,

    In other words, justices who are made of mush, who have no steel in their spines, and who have no objective standards. Justices who see the Constitution as an arbitrary document that can mean what whoever is in power says it means.

    Certainly our Founders never visualized the source of gross corruption of Congress

    There IS no gross corruption, only an infantile paranoia on your part. You hate business because, gee, I dunno, they are SUCCESSFUL or something. This is in line with my theory that left wingers, at their core, hate success at pretty much every level. Indeed, this whole rant on your part is based on a childish resentment of the successful. You want an arbitrary ruling of free speech to get the specific ruling YOU want, not because it’s the principled thing to do.

    *PS John McCain and Russ Feingold authored the latest campaign finance low. The thought they were keep “corruption” out of politics but in reality, by restricting campaign contributions to ordinary candidates, they gave a big edge to independently wealthy ones like our present governor, Mark Dayton. Is THAT your idea of campaign fairness??

  68. On the contrary, Jeff, an activist, doctrinaire minded SCOTUS majority can act in consort to squelch significant legislation. This is hardly immaterial to this discussion. The Citizens’ United ruling warps the interpretation of our First Amendment in the context of our present times, thus making it impossible to exert any limits whatsoever on campaign financing, thus turning over more power to the already powerful. (Perry)

    Perry, I’m guessing you have no objections to the Roe vs Wade decision, never mind the Justices acted with near dictatorial authority in overruling the abortion laws of all of the 50 states. This, in addition to plucking a Constitutional “Right” right out of thin air. But I predict Perry will show no objection to Roe because he liked the direction of that decision, thus showing him to be a hypocrite when he wails against Citizens United.

    [Edited to fix blockquote and attribution problem; no changes in the text made. -- DRP]

  69. On the contrary, Jeff, an activist, doctrinaire minded SCOTUS majority can act in consort to squelch significant legislation. This is hardly immaterial to this discussion. The Citizens’ United ruling warps the interpretation of our First Amendment in the context of our present times, thus making it impossible to exert any limits whatsoever on campaign financing, thus turning over more power to the already powerful.

    Perry, I’m guessing you have no objections to the Roe vs Wade decision, never mind the Justices acted with near dictatorial authority in overruling the abortion laws of all of the 50 states. This, in addition to plucking a Constitutional “Right” right out of thin air. But I predict Perry will show no objection to Roe because he liked the direction of that decision, thus showing him to be a hypocrite when he wails against Citizens United.

    I’m not sure what the Roe ruling has to do with the Citizens’ United ruling, since Roe is a Fourteenth Amendment issue, and CU is a First Amendment issue. But let me respond anyway on Roe.

    Roe represents giving women “choice” with a compromise that attempts to take into account viability in arriving at the limit of the first term. I support it because I support women’s choice, and I support the compromise as the best of a bad solution, wherein the best solution is to carry to term. The law should not be written to force all women to carry to term, because again, that decision is a woman’s choice, because of the absolutely unique situation where the fetus belongs to the woman who is carrying it inside, not to anyone else and not to the State. And btw, to write such a law would be to restrict the freedom of a woman to do with her body what she deems appropriate for her. After all, the fetus, though a separate life, belongs to its mother totally, prior to birth.

    The Constitutional basis for Roe, cited by the ruling majority, is the due process phrase in the Fourteenth Amendment Section one as follows:

    “Section I: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; *nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;* nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    I don’t see any dictatorial behavior by the SCOTUS by this ruling. As a matter of fact, the dictatorial behavior belongs with the various states which in effect violate this ruling by making legal abortions difficult for a woman to obtain, even by terroristic tactics in some cases.

    On Citizens’ United, I just ran across a good summary of the ruling:

    “In 2008, Citizens United, a nonprofit corporation, produced a documentary film critical of then-Senator Hillary Clinton. Senator Clinton was, at the time, a candidate for the Democrat party’s nomination for president. Citizens United wanted to make the film available to cable subscribers through video on-demand within 30 days of the primary elections. The organization produced television ads, but due to its concern about McCain-Feingold’s civil and criminal penalties, Citizens United sought declaratory and injunctive relief, arguing that civil and criminal penalties were unconstitutional as applied to the ads for their documentary.

    On January 21, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court held that independent political advocacy (expressly advocating for the defeat or support of a political candidate on the federal level) by corporations and labor unions could not be limited under the First Amendment. The court also overturned the ban on corporations’ and labor unions’ use of their general treasury funds to make independent expenditures for “electioneering communication.” An electioneering communication is any broadcast, cable or satellite communication that fulfills each of the following conditions:

    (1) the communication refers to a clearly identified candidate for federal office;
    (2) the communication is publicly distributed shortly before an election for the office that candidate is seeking; and
    (3) the communication is targeted to the relevant electorate (U.S. House and Senate candidates only).

    While the court’s decision did not overturn the general ban on direct corporate and labor union contributions to political parties or candidates, the Democrats, attempting to suppress one of the nation’s foundational rights-the right to free speech, especially political speech, guaranteed by the Constitution-are drafting legislation to restrict political speech and defy the ruling of the court.”

    It is interesting that the court did not overturn bans on direct contributions, as given in the emboldened passage above!

    What especially concern the Dems are the following:

    (1) foreign ownership 20% or greater,
    (2) a majority of the board of directors comprised of foreign principals, or
    (3) the U.S. operations fall under the direction or control of a foreign entity, and
    (4) more disclosure for the sponsor of political speech supporting, promoting, or opposing a candidate.

    In other words, the unfettered, absolutist application of the First Amendment is still not favored according to the SCOTUS ruling, and especially not favored by the Dems.

  70. “… so your objection above is not based on principle but rather on your partisan hatred of business. “

    Another assumption by Eric, and wrong again, as usual.

    “In other words, justices who are made of mush, who have no steel in their spines, and who have no objective standards.”

    No, in other words Justices who are not political activists, and can make decisions not based on ideological absolutism based on their Roman Catholic cultural heritage, but based on the perfectly reasonable conclusion that meanings of language depend on the context, and that context changes through time. The mushy ones are those who refuse to acknowledge this, or even consider it, like you, Eric! Your brain is mushy and full of fog!

    “There IS no gross corruption, only an infantile paranoia on your part.”

    And you are serious, Eric? Maybe you are unable to be! And once again, your theory about the Left hating success, is fantasy, made up to support your political religion, otherwise known as right wing extremism. Have you signed up to campaign and donate for the Bachmann campaign yet? If not, your words are only words, no actions!

    You lost me on this one. You’ll need to do a better job explaining that. Couldn’t be that Dayton has you your state closed, and that he is a Dem, could it Eric? That means that to you he is an automatic bad guy. Don’t you think it is about time that you Repubs get together with him to work out compromise solutions? Dem Fritz Mondale has stepped up and is doing his best. I think Dayton has called your bluff, unfortunately at the expense of many folks. The no-tax increase stance of the Repubs is the main bottleneck, so please don’t blame the good Governor. What is so terrible about raising the state income tax on the upper 2%? We should do the same at the Federal level!

  71. No, in other words Justices who are not political activists, and can make decisions not based on ideological absolutism based on their Roman Catholic cultural heritage, but based on the perfectly reasonable conclusion that meanings of language depend on the context, and that context changes through time. The mushy ones are those who refuse to acknowledge this, or even consider it, like you, Eric! Your brain is mushy and full of fog!

    Perry, the bottom line is you want to use the government to ban or restrict the speech of persons or groups of people that you don’t happen to like. That is the very definition of arbitrary justice. Of course, one wonders what you would think if one of us, say Dana or myself, wanted to use the government to ban or restrict the speech of persons or groups of people that you happen to like. If the latter happened, you would be howling bloody murder, thus showing what a complete hypocrite you are on this issue.

  72. erm. The law should not be written to force all women to carry to term

    That is a lie. With the singular exception of rape, all pregnancies are voluntary, so nobody is “Forced” to do anything.

  73. Eric, our lives are full of limits, that is simply a fact of life. Whatever the limits that are set by law of course should be across the board – contrary to your assumptive statement, I accept that!

  74. Roe represents giving women “choice” with a compromise that attempts to take into account viability in arriving at the limit of the first term. I support it because I support women’s choice, and I support the compromise as the best of a bad solution

    Perry, this is total bullshit. There is no compromise in Roe vs Wade, it bends over almost completely in favor of abortion. Indeed, for proof you need only note that late term abortions are freely practiced in this country, most notably by the late Dr. Tiller

    , wherein the best solution is to carry to term. The law should not be written to force all women to carry to term, because again, that decision is a woman’s choice, because of the absolutely unique situation where the fetus belongs to the woman who is carrying it inside, not to anyone else and not to the State. And btw, to write such a law would be to restrict the freedom of a woman to do with her body what she deems appropriate for her. After all, the fetus, though a separate life, belongs to its mother totally, prior to birth.

    Since when is a human being mere property to be used or abused at will? Where DO you come up with this bullshit? Even dogs get more protection than this inasmuch as it is illegal to torture a dog to death the way a baby is killed in an abortion.

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  75. erm. The law should not be written to force all women to carry to term

    That is a lie. With the singular exception of rape, all pregnancies are voluntary, so nobody is “Forced” to do anything.

    Eric, disagreeing with you is hardly a “lie”, it is a disagreement! I’m giving you a thumbs down for your mistake.

  76. and can make decisions not based on ideological absolutism based on their Roman Catholic cultural heritage

    Great. In addition to lies, we now have anti-Catholic bigotry from Perry.

  77. Eric, disagreeing with you is hardly a “lie”, it is a disagreement!

    If it’s factually dishonest, then it’s not a disagreement or a mere difference of opinion, it’s a lie.

  78. Eric, our lives are full of limits, that is simply a fact of life. Whatever the limits that are set by law of course should be across the board – contrary to your assumptive statement, I accept that!

    My point is you want to limit the free speech of people you don’t like, yet you would howl in indignation if someone tried to limit the speech of people you do like, thus making you a total hypocrite.

  79. Perry, this is total bullshit. There is no compromise in Roe vs Wade, it bends over almost completely in favor of abortion. Indeed, for proof you need only note that late term abortions are freely practiced in this country, most notably by the late Dr. Tiller

    The compromise, as I meant it, involves drawing the line at viability, instead of making abortion legal for the whole term of gestation.

    Regarding late term abortions being “freely practiced”, you need to provide my a citation to back up that allegation, otherwise I will consider it made up stuff and not credible!

  80. “Since when is a human being mere property to be used or abused at will? Where DO you come up with this bullshit? Even dogs get more protection than this inasmuch as it is illegal to torture a dog to death the way a baby is killed in an abortion.”

    I do not support the abuse of a fetus, ever. However, I stand by what I said as factual, that the fetus belongs to the woman, therefore her choice must take priority over the dictates of people like you, Eric. Your job, as is mine too, is to convince women that carrying to term is the moral thing to do, for the sake of the living fetus being birthed, at which time the woman no longer owns the baby, a human being independent of the birth mother, but certainly temporarily dependent on caretakers for a number of the early years.

    What is your wife’s position on this issue, Eric?

  81. What especially concern the Dems are the following:

    (1) foreign ownership 20% or greater,
    (2) a majority of the board of directors comprised of foreign principals, or
    (3) the U.S. operations fall under the direction or control of a foreign entity, and
    (4) more disclosure for the sponsor of political speech supporting, promoting, or opposing a candidate.

    Why should this “Concern” anyone? If a foreign company does a significant amount of business here, and is affected by our laws, then they should have a right to have a say in our political process. If Mercedes Benz wants to lobby the government not to raise fuel efficiency standards to sky high levels (scheduled to rise to an insane 56 MPG in the not too distant future), then they should have every right to do so.

  82. Regarding late term abortions being “freely practiced”, you need to provide my a citation to back up that allegation, otherwise I will consider it made up stuff and not credible!

    Look up Dr Tiller, who practiced in Wichita, Kansas. Of, for that matter, just look up Partial Birth Abortion.

  83. I do not support the abuse of a fetus, ever.

    Good. Then you should join Dana and me in wanting to ban abortion outright. The goal of every single abortion is to murder the baby, which by definition is the ultimate form of abuse.

  84. However, I stand by what I said as factual, that the fetus belongs to the woman, therefore her choice must take priority over the dictates of people like you, Eric.

    However, Herr Fossil also believes that it isn’t the choice of a jury of a convicted killer’s peers to decide on the death penalty for him/her. It isn’t their choice which must take priority over the dictates of people like Perry; Perry’s choice should be enacted.

  85. However, I stand by what I said as factual, that the fetus belongs to the woman, therefore her choice must take priority over the dictates of people like you, Eric.

    However, Herr Fossil also believes that it isn’t the choice of a jury of a convicted killer’s peers to decide on the death penalty for him/her. It isn’t their choice which must take priority over the dictates of people like Perry; Perry’s choice should be enacted.

    Hube, this still is a flawed comparison, which you keep repeating over and over. (And you accused me of repeating the same thing over and over – hypocrite!)

    First of all, the accused does not “belong” to the jury like the fetus belongs to the woman.

    Secondly, I could ask you since you support state sponsored premeditated murder (the death penalty), why do you not also support the abortion death of a fetus?

    At least I am consistent on this point: I oppose both abortion and the death penalty. When will you be getting your act together vis a vis consistency, Hube?

  86. We’ve debated this a million times already. The fetus belongs to the woman, therefore she should have the final choice on HER fetus. You and Dana, on the other hand, insist on dictating your will on the woman, by means of the State. That’s wrong! Her fetus does not belong to the State!! As well, you are in the minority. From where, then, comes the authority to take away a woman’s choice about HER fetus? You simply cannot deny biological facts, Eric. Now accept the compromise ruling in place in Roe v Wade as a reasonable solution to an extremely difficult problem.

  87. First of all, the accused does not “belong” to the jury like the fetus belongs to the woman.

    First of all, he is not “accused,” he is “convicted.” Someone merely “accused” is not sentenced to death. And someone convicted of murder (or worse) does indeed belong to the state, or, if you prefer, a jury deciding his ultimate fate.

    Secondly, I could ask you since you support state sponsored premeditated murder (the death penalty), why do you not also support the abortion death of a fetus?

    Secondly, capital punishment is not “premeditated murder.” It is just that — “capital punishment,” or, if you prefer, “execution.” I’ve little problem executing a convicted (without a doubt) murderer who taken the life of another human being, while at the same time preventing the taking of a life of one who is totally, completely, 100% innocent.

    At least I am consistent on this point: I oppose both abortion and the death penalty. When will you be getting your act together vis a vis consistency, Hube?

    You’ve made that clear, yes. You’ve also made it clear that you would nothing to persuade the state to outlaw abortion, yet you would persuade the state to outlaw capital punishment. Why would you want to preserve the lives of heinous killers but not the lives of purely innocent babies? That’s some stance on life you have there!

    (And you accused me of repeating the same thing over and over – hypocrite!)

    UUUURNT. Nice try. My repeating this is merely in response to your usual rehash of the same topic. You wanna keep at it, I’ll keep pointing out your morally repugnant hypocrisy on this issue.

    Now accept the compromise ruling in place in Roe v Wade as a reasonable solution to an extremely difficult problem.

    Oh, sure, like you accept the compromise ruling made by the UN with regards to the partition plan of Palestine??? A reasonable solution to an extremely difficult problem …??

    Once again, hypocrite, heed thine own words before dispensing advice.

  88. The fetus belongs to the woman

    What a crock. Ever since slavery was banned, no person can legally own another.

    From where, then, comes the authority to take away a woman’s choice about HER fetus?

    From where comes her authority to KILL IT? That, plus I HATE that euphemism “Choice”. Tell me, what “Choice” does the baby get?

    You simply cannot deny biological facts, Eric

    Here’s a biological FACT. Abortion is the INTENTIONAL killing of a perfectly innocent unborn baby. Deal with it.

  89. Now accept the compromise ruling in place in Roe v Wade as a reasonable solution to an extremely difficult problem.

    Except “Compromise” in the context of the sentence above is complete bullshit. Roe vs Wade, as it has been put into practice, effectively allows almost NO restrictions on abortions, even late term ones. Did you look up Dr. Teller as I suggested earlier? Are you afraid to?

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  90. Why would you want to preserve the lives of heinous killers but not the lives of purely innocent babies? That’s some stance on life you have there!

    I nominate this for “Quote of the Week”, hell, forget that, quote of the year! Bingo!

  91. The fetus belongs to the woman

    What a crock. Ever since slavery was banned, no person can legally own another.

    From where, then, comes the authority to take away a woman’s choice about HER fetus?

    From where comes her authority to KILL IT? That, plus I HATE that euphemism “Choice”. Tell me, what “Choice” does the baby get?

    You simply cannot deny biological facts, Eric

    Here’s a biological FACT. Abortion is the INTENTIONAL killing of a perfectly innocent unborn baby. Deal with it.

    Again, Eric, the fetus belongs to the woman. Moreover, it certainly does not belong to the State, nor to you, who calls for taking away the woman’s right to choose. What right have you to do that, Eric. Where in the Constitution does it say that, to ask you the same question you Righties always ask?

    Secondly, you cannot invent a new language to support your ideology on this issue. The fetus is not a baby, not a child, and not a person; it is a fetus. And again, it belongs to the woman who carries it and nourishes it inside her womb – this is a biological fact.

    I am in agreement with you on being anti-abortion, as I have said many times. It is just that I think that ultimately woman’s choice takes precedence over anything that you have said. And by the way, that is the law, short of viability. If you don’t like it, work to get it changed. Have you yet taken any steps to get it changed, other than to mouth off on this blog, Eric? What are you waiting for?

  92. Now accept the compromise ruling in place in Roe v Wade as a reasonable solution to an extremely difficult problem.

    Except “Compromise” in the context of the sentence above is complete bullshit. Roe vs Wade, as it has been put into practice, effectively allows almost NO restrictions on abortions, even late term ones. Did you look up Dr. Teller as I suggested earlier? Are you afraid to?

    No restrictions on abortion? That is not true, Eric, and you should know that. After the first trimester, performing an abortion is illegal unless continuing the pregnancy puts the life of the mother in danger.

    Regarding Dr Teller, if there is something you want to tell me about him, provide me with a cite.

  93. Why would you want to preserve the lives of heinous killers but not the lives of purely innocent babies? That’s some stance on life you have there!

    I nominate this for “Quote of the Week”, hell, forget that, quote of the year! Bingo!

    As you most certainly must know by now, Eric, my position is perfectly consistently pro-life. I want the lives of both the fetus and the lives of heinous killers preserved. It is you, and Hube, who are inconsistent, therefore pro-life on one, and pro-death on the other!

  94. Pingback: The CSPT Write Your Own Restrictions on the First Amendment Contest « Common Sense Political Thought

  95. Again, Eric, the fetus belongs to the woman.

    You can say it all you want, but that doesn’t make it so.

    Moreover, it certainly does not belong to the State, nor to you, who calls for taking away the woman’s right to choose

    Except, in this case, “Choose” is just a weasel word to avoid saying what you REALLY mean, namely, the woman’s right to KILL.

  96. Perry wrote:

    As you most certainly must know by now, Eric, my position is perfectly consistently pro-life. I want the lives of both the fetus and the lives of heinous killers preserved. It is you, and Hube, who are inconsistent, therefore pro-life on one, and pro-death on the other!

    So, then, we should assume that if the First State had proposed legislation outlawing capital punishment, you would oppose it because, after all, that should be an issue for the jury to decide, not the state, right?

  97. The fetus is not a baby, not a child, and not a person; it is a fetus.

    Only according to you. Your opinion on something hardly makes it a FACT.

    And again, it belongs to the woman who carries it and nourishes it inside her womb – this is a biological fact.

    Baloney. The only fact is that an unborn baby is a developing human being. Whether it “Belongs” to the woman or not isn’t a biological “Fact”, but rather a legal one.

    Seriously, Perry, why do you even bother pretending you’re pro-life? If you see the baby as a mere object, something that belongs to the woman and therefore has no rights at all, including the right to life, then why bother trying to protect it?

  98. As you most certainly must know by now, Eric, my position is perfectly consistently pro-life. I want the lives of both the fetus and the lives of heinous killers preserved. It is you, and Hube, who are inconsistent, therefore pro-life on one, and pro-death on the other!

    Yet, why would you NOT lobby to outlaw abortion, but WOULD lobby to outlaw capital punishment? Why do you care so little for the totally innocent, yet so much for heinous killers?

  99. If you don’t like it, work to get it changed. Have you yet taken any steps to get it changed, other than to mouth off on this blog, Eric? What are you waiting for?

    Since this matter is one that, since 1973, only the Supreme Court can decide, the only way I can try to affect abortion policy is indirectly, specifically by voting for candidates for president and the Senate who agree with me.

  100. No restrictions on abortion? That is not true, Eric, and you should know that. After the first trimester, performing an abortion is illegal unless continuing the pregnancy puts the life of the mother in danger.

    You’re living in fantasyland if you believe that. The restrictions are for life or health of the woman, a loophole large enough to drive a truck through since “Health” can be defined to mean almost anything.

  101. If you don’t like it, work to get it changed. Have you yet taken any steps to get it changed, other than to mouth off on this blog, Eric? What are you waiting for?

    Boy, ever think of taking this very same advice when it comes to Citizens United, Herr Censor?

    The restrictions are for life or health of the woman, a loophole large enough to drive a truck through since “Health” can be defined to mean almost anything.

    Most correct, Eric!

  102. Regarding Dr Teller, if there is something you want to tell me about him, provide me with a cite.

    I’m sure you can look him up on Wikipedia if you want some more facts. My point in mentioning him is that he used to routinely do late term abortions, including Partial Birth Abortions, thus proving false your claim that Roe vs Wade is a “Compromise” that prohibits such abortions.

  103. As you most certainly must know by now, Eric, my position is perfectly consistently pro-life.

    Then why do you consistently spout pro-abortion talking points?

  104. I want the lives of both the fetus and the lives of heinous killers preserved. It is you, and Hube, who are inconsistent, therefore pro-life on one, and pro-death on the other!

    Implied in the term “Pro-life” is “Pro-innocent life”. That means always protecting the innocent, from unborn babies to murder victims. Indeed, these moral midgets who invariably show up to protest some evil murderer’s execution seem to show much more sympathy for the murderer than the people he killed.

  105. A typo! I certainly know of each, quite well. Moreover, I know Tiller was murdered by a terrorist fanatic for doing his job. We have one on here who might be but a heartbeat away from doing the same thing himself.

  106. “Implied in the term “Pro-life” is “Pro-innocent life”. That means always protecting the innocent, from unborn babies to murder victims. Indeed, these moral midgets who invariably show up to protest some evil murderer’s execution seem to show much more sympathy for the murderer than the people he killed.”

    First of all Eric, a baby is a birthed organism. Before birth, the proper word is fetus. What is it that prevents you from using the English language properly? Might it be propaganda for the sake of promoting your propaganda? Your arguments alone, based on correct language usage, should be enough to express your opinion on this abortion issue. That you do not do so means that you are leading from an acknowledged position of weakness.

    Secondly, moral midgets are those who support taking a life using state sponsored, premeditated murder. You should know that! Where do you stand with that, Eric, with the “moral midgets”?

    The death penalty is an act of revenge. Is this what you support? Do you think Jesus Christ would support such an act? If so, cite book, chapter, and verse.

  107. A typo!

    Uh huh. The “I” and “E” are so close to one another on the keyboard. I guess “Wheeler” for “Whistler” was also a “typo,” eh? LOL!!

    I know Tiller was murdered by a terrorist fanatic for doing his job. We have one on here who might be but a heartbeat away from doing the same thing himself.

    Ah, the “new civility.” Add yet another notch to the interminable notches of hypocrisy on Herr Censor’s belt.

  108. As you most certainly must know by now, Eric, my position is perfectly consistently pro-life.

    Then why do you consistently spout pro-abortion talking points?

    You have not been paying attention, or you are twisting my words, as usual. I have been consistently spouting that, although I oppose abortion, the final decision on abortion is not mine, rather it belongs to the woman. Instead, you wish to take that away from her. I thought you were a small government advocate. Taking the decision away from women is far from small government, Eric!

  109. Secondly, moral midgets are those who support taking a life using state sponsored, premeditated murder.

    Then what do you call someone who supports the premeditated murder of a 100% innocent baby? A moral behemoth?

    The death penalty is an act of revenge.

    And abortion is frequently an act of convenience.

    Still want to discuss “moral midgets,” Herr Moral Midget?

  110. So, would those here who support capital punishment but oppose abortion be willing to trade away legalized capital punishment in exchange for making abortion illegal? And would those here who support legal abortion be willing to trade away legal abortion in exchange for making capital punishment illegal?

  111. I have been consistently spouting that, although I oppose abortion, the final decision on abortion is not mine, rather it belongs to the woman. Instead, you wish to take that away from her. I thought you were a small government advocate.

    Since when doesn’t government play a role is preserving life?

  112. I know Tiller was murdered by a terrorist fanatic for doing his job. We have one on here who might be but a heartbeat away from doing the same thing himself.

    I have long since been tired of your vile attempts at criminalizing my speech, you arrogant worm. You are one of the most contemptible people I have ever “met” online. You disgust me. Your very words are evil incarnate.

  113. So, would those here who support capital punishment but oppose abortion be willing to trade away legalized capital punishment in exchange for making abortion illegal?

    Would those in favor of water be willing to trade all of it away in perpetuity for food?

    Principles traded away become wishes not worthy of being wished.

  114. Perry never did face up to the fact DANA said he approved of those photos on his blog. Perry never did face up to the fact I explicitly stated where I got the photos and even linked to the site as he continues to lie and claim I gave no attribution with them.

    Perry is a disgusting pit viper.

  115. Regarding Dr Teller, if there is something you want to tell me about him, provide me with a cite.

    I’m sure you can look him up on Wikipedia if you want some more facts. My point in mentioning him is that he used to routinely do late term abortions, including Partial Birth Abortions, thus proving false your claim that Roe vs Wade is a “Compromise” that prohibits such abortions.

    First of all, how about you look it up in Wiki and provide a pertinent citation. I hate to disturb your very busy day with such a request, but the burden is on you, if you care about the credibility of your point.

    Secondly, under certain rare circumstances, late term abortions are legal. Did you know that?

    Did Dr Tiller perform illegal late term abortions? If so, citation please!

    Finally, Roe certainly was a compromise, between outright banning all abortions and outright allowing all abortions. So it went part way, allowing some, banning some. That’s a compromise, Eric, and truly a unique decision for a SCOTUS to make!

  116. Finally, Roe certainly was a compromise, between outright banning all abortions and outright allowing all abortions. So it went part way, allowing some, banning some. That’s a compromise, Eric, and truly a unique decision for a SCOTUS to make!

    Wrong, Herr Censor. They could have done nothing and it would have been exactly as it was — decided by the states. Some states would have outlawed it completely, and some would have allowed it in virtually any circumstance.

  117. Perry wrote:

    The death penalty is an act of revenge. Is this what you support? Do you think Jesus Christ would support such an act? If so, cite book, chapter, and verse.

    Matthew 5:17: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”

    Capital punishment was specified in Scripture for a whole host of crimes, something of which Jesus was certainly aware. He preached that we should forgive one another for their crimes against them, but hardly said that a murderer should go free. St Paul noted, in Romans 3:31, “Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.”

    The command to forgive is best seen in the light of faith: forgiveness can only exist where transgression has occurred, and the faithful are commanded to observe the law.

    Of course, the religious law is far stricter than what we have for civil law, and the punishment imposed, in the end, by the religious law was far harsher. 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10, says, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”

  118. I have been consistently spouting that, although I oppose abortion, the final decision on abortion is not mine, rather it belongs to the woman. Instead, you wish to take that away from her. I thought you were a small government advocate.

    Since when doesn’t government play a role is preserving life?

    I’ve stated my position very clearly, Hube, so reread it if you still don’t understand it. You complain when I get repetitive; well I have to when people like yourself forget, due to your one-track/never wrong mindsets.

  119. I’ve stated my position very clearly, Hube, so reread it if you still don’t understand it.

    That’s highly debatable; that being said, it is certainly a morally ambiguous/repugnant position, to be sure.

  120. First of all Eric, a baby is a birthed organism. Before birth, the proper word is fetus.

    Sorry, but the term “Unborn baby” is both perfectly acceptable and perfectly accurate. Do medical staff (doctors, nurses, etc.) refer to a woman’s fetus or her baby when talking to her? The sole reason people like you use “Fetus” is that it is a dehumanizing term, it makes it easier to justify killing the baby if you call it something else. And, since you insist on using pro-abortion terminology (indeed, you also arrogantly insist other do so as well) then it is quite obvious that, whatever your protestations to the contrary, you are pro-abortion yourself. Now just have the guts to come out and admit it.

  121. Dana, your Biblical essay was interesting to read, but noteworthy in that you were not able to come up with anything specific to support the death penalty. I will venture to say that you know in your heart that Christ would not have condoned the death penalty, since he was all about forgiving your sins if you believe in Him and what his life on earth represented.

    Finally, did not you say once on here that you do not support the death penalty?

    I’ve gotta go now to visit family in VA Beach!

  122. Secondly, moral midgets are those who support taking a life using state sponsored, premeditated murder.

    No one supports state sponsored, premeditated murder, so obviously your comments are insane.

    The death penalty is an act of revenge.

    No, it’s an act of justice.

  123. Fetus is the correct term to use, Eric. A baby is a birthed organism. There is no arguing with that. Moreover, you are wrong again to characterize my view as pro-abortion, since I have stated my view clearly on here multiple times! Please don’t put your words and your biases into my mouth.

  124. Then why do you consistently spout pro-abortion talking points?

    You have not been paying attention, or you are twisting my words, as usual. I have been consistently spouting that, although I oppose abortion, the final decision on abortion is not mine, rather it belongs to the woman. Instead, you wish to take that away from her. I thought you were a small government advocate. Taking the decision away from women is far from small government, Eric

    It is the proper role of government to prevent the innocent from being killed. As for the rest, you just prove my point. You are always defending the pro-abortion point of view while almost always attacking the pro-life POV. You can spout all sorts of phony baloney about how you’re really pro-life, but your own words betray you.

  125. Fetus is the correct term to use, Eric.

    Says the “guy” who uses “state-sponsored pre-meditated murder” in place of “capital punishment.”

    ‘Ya just gotta laugh …

  126. Finally, Roe certainly was a compromise, between outright banning all abortions and outright allowing all abortions.

    Yeah, it was a “Compromise” that gave the pro-abortion side almost all they wanted, and the pro-life side almost none. It’s sort of like the “Compromise Neville Chamberlain signed with Adolf Hitler.

  127. “No one supports state sponsored, premeditated murder, so obviously your comments are insane. “

    That is an accurate description of the death penalty, Eric. Just because you don’t want to face up to your pro-death position on this issue does not mean you can out of hand dismiss an accurate description of the act.

    Moreover, you simply cannot go on calling yourself pro-life, since clearly, as here, you are not, else an out and out liar.

  128. Perry wrote:

    Secondly, under certain rare circumstances, late term abortions are legal. Did you know that?

    You have said, many times, that abortions are legal only during the first trimester, and, as quoted above, only rarely legal in the later terms. You are simply wrong on this.

    Abortion refers to the voluntary termination of a pregnancy, resulting in the death of the fetus or embryo. Abortions performed prior to the third trimester are legal in the United States, although the issue has polarized mainstream political parties. Almost all state Democratic Party platforms support abortion while almost all state Republican Party platforms oppose it.

    In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, [505 U.S. 833 (1992)], the Court threw out the old trimester system of Roe v Wade, [314 F.Supp. 1217 (1973)] and replaced it with “viability marks the earliest point at which the State’s interest in fetal life is constitutionally adequate to justify a legislative ban on nontherapeutic abortions.” (Opinion of the court.) Justice O’Connor continued from there to note that fetal viability, which was roughly 28 weeks of gestation at the time Roe had been decided, was reaching 23-24 weeks at the time Casey was considered, and advances in medicine could push it back ever further.

    Thus, under Casey, no state may make abortions prior to viability illegal; if 24 weeks is the current standard, that means late into what we would once have labeled the second trimester, since 24 weeks is 60% of the standard 40 week gestation period. But several states have not restricted abortion at that point, but allow it further into gestation, well beyond viability.

  129. “No, it’s an act of justice.”

    What happens if justice makes a mistake, Eric, as it has on numerous occasions?

  130. That is an accurate description of the death penalty, Eric. Just because you don’t want to face up to your pro-death position on this issue does not mean you can out of hand dismiss an accurate description of the act.

    So then an accurate description of abortion must be “premeditated murder for convenience”?

  131. First of all, how about you look it up in Wiki and provide a pertinent citation. I hate to disturb your very busy day with such a request, but the burden is on you, if you care about the credibility of your point.

    I already know my point is valid, so I don’t need to look it up. It is YOU who are making false claims, which is why I gave you a source so you could see my point is true.

    Secondly, under certain rare circumstances, late term abortions are legal. Did you know that?

    Yes, I knew that. Except the circumstances needn’t be “Rare” at all. Did you read the part where I said that abortions could be done for the “Health of the mother” which, in practical terms, means for almost any reason at all?

    Did Dr Tiller perform illegal late term abortions? If so, citation please!

    He didn’t have to perform illegal abortions. The law already allowed him to do almost all the late term abortions he wanted, a fact you would know if you looked up the source I cited.

  132. I’ve said before, Dana, that I favor pushing the Roe ruling back, recognizing that viability is moving back due to advances in medical science. In fact, I wish we did not have abortion at all, but women’s choice must the higher priority, because the fetus belongs to her, as I have said before many, many times.

    On your point about late term abortions, I haven’t got the time now to address your point.

  133. “I already know my point is valid, so I don’t need to look it up. It is YOU who are making false claims, which is why I gave you a source so you could see my point is true.”

    God, Eric, you are always passing the buck. You must have driven your teachers bats with your laziness and stubbornness, when you could have been doing so much better, obviously. Actually, I did go ahead and look it up in Wiki:

    In accordance with Kansas state law, Tiller performed late-term abortions, which helped to make him a focal point for anti-abortion protest and violence. Tiller treated patients who discovered late in pregnancy that their fetuses had severe or fatal birth defects. He also aborted healthy late-term fetuses, in cases where two doctors certified that carrying the fetus to term would cause the woman “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”"

  134. Perry wrote:

    Dana, your Biblical essay was interesting to read, but noteworthy in that you were not able to come up with anything specific to support the death penalty. I will venture to say that you know in your heart that Christ would not have condoned the death penalty, since he was all about forgiving your sins if you believe in Him and what his life on earth represented.

    This is an example of the over-legalesed American mind at work. If Jesus ever mentioned whether capital punishment should be used specifically, it has not been recorded. Jesus did say, “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you, whoever is angry 18 with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.” However, capital punishment was very common in those days, and he stated that he had not come to abolish the old law, but to fulfill its promise. The law was full of prescriptions for execution for certain offenses, and “being liable to judgement” for murder was almost always a death sentence itself.

    Finally, did not you say once on here that you do not support the death penalty?

    I have said that and continue to say that, but what I did was to point out a factual error on your part. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains Catholic teachings on this very well:

    §2266 The State’s effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of watching over the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime. the primary scope of the penalty is to redress the disorder caused by the offense. When his punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation. Moreover, punishment, in addition to preserving public order and the safety of persons, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.67

    §2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.

    “If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
    “Today, in fact, given the means at the State’s disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender ‘today … are very rare, if not practically non-existent.’[John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56.]

    In effect, execution may be justifiable in some cases, but it does not mean that execution is always necessary in those cases; execution removes the chance for the condemned man to finally repent and seek forgiveness of his sins.

    However, I do not base my opposition to capital punishment on the Catechism, though it is certainly influenced by it. Rather, I view capital punishment as a societal defense mechanism, but note that the function of societal self-defense is already met through incarceration. Killing is sometimes necessary, but when it is not necessary, it is simply wrong. That is true of capital punishment, and it is true of abortion as well.

  135. Fetus is the correct term to use, Eric. A baby is a birthed organism. There is no arguing with that. Moreover, you are wrong again to characterize my view as pro-abortion, since I have stated my view clearly on here multiple times! Please don’t put your words and your biases into my mouth.

    Perry, your own words betray you. Like I said earlier, you always spout the pro-abortion Party line and your attacks on this issue are always directed at pro-lifers so it’s obvious which side of the issue you come down on. Thus your insistence on using the word “Fetus” instead of unborn baby, never mind the tatter term is totally accurate, but you won’t use that term since it makes the baby sound more human and thus attracting more sympathy to him or her, making the baby harder to kill.

  136. Perry wrote:

    I’ve said before, Dana, that I favor pushing the Roe ruling back, recognizing that viability is moving back due to advances in medical science. In fact, I wish we did not have abortion at all, but women’s choice must the higher priority, because the fetus belongs to her, as I have said before many, many times.

    Once again, tyhe unborn child is simply property to you.

  137. “So then an accurate description of abortion must be “premeditated murder for convenience”?”

    Yes, you could say that. Then it is on the woman, Hube, which is one important reason, if not the main reason, she needs to be counseled not to go through with the abortion. Going through with the abortion may well be the worst mistake she makes in life, overhanging her entire life, causing the purposeful death of her fetus. Regardless, in my view, she must be able to make that choice herself. This is no place for the State, for reasons already given.

    Now I really am out of here.

  138. That is an accurate description of the death penalty, Eric.

    No it isn’t. It deliberately uses loaded words for the purpose of propaganda. Now, don’t tell me you’re not smart enough to know you aren’t doing this deliberately.

    Moreover, you simply cannot go on calling yourself pro-life, since clearly, as here, you are not, else an out and out liar.

    Sorry, but YOU don’t get to define who is pro-life or not.

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