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Is it a stretch to say that freedom of speech is under attack in the United States of America?


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#1 Hostile

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 03:42 PM

Is it a stretch to say that freedom of speech is under attack in the United States of America?

Well, I could point to evidence that if you question this president, his administration and policies, you come under vicious attack — that much is certain.

It has gotten to the point where Obama's media attack dogs have even gone so far as to accuse me of sedition:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE KLEIN, TIME MAGAZINE: I did a little bit of research just before the show, it's on this little napkin here and I looked up the definition of "sedition," which is conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state. And a lot of these statements, especially the ones coming from people like Glenn Beck and to a certain extent Sarah Palin, rub right up next, rub right up close to being seditious...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Rush Limbaugh was attacked on that same show:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) var adsonar_placementId="1425970",adsonar_pid="1372769",adsonar_ps="-1",adsonar_zw=224;adsonar_zh=93,adsonar_jv="ads.adsonar.com";

JOHN HEILEMANN, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: And you know, Joe's right and I'll name another person, name Rush Limbaugh who uses this phrase — constantly talks about the Obama administration as a regime...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

But the real target isn't me or Rush — it's you. Everywhere you turn, the Tea Party movement is being viciously maligned as dangerous, racist, crazy or stupid:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

JANEANE GAROFALO, ACTRESS: They have no idea what the Boston Tea Party was about, they don't know their history. This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of tea-bagging rednecks.

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: A lot of the things that have been said, they create a climate in which people who are vulnerable to violence because they are disoriented, like Timothy McVeigh was, are more likely to act.



REP. JOHN CONYERS, D-MICH.: We're here now to understand the frustration of the tea baggers and the people that are angry because many times when you're angry, your rational abilities are compromised.

REP. JOHN DINGELL, D-MICH.: Well, the last time I had to confront something like this was when I voted for the Civil Rights Bill and my opponent voted against it. At that time we had a lot of Ku Klux Klan folks and white supremacists and folks in white sheets running around in a lot of other things causing trouble.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

Really? Have we come to the point in America where we can't question our government with boldness anymore? Clinton talked about getting back to the constitutional speech that our Founders intended. If they didn't intend for just this type of speech — political free speech, the ability to criticize our government with vigor — what were they protecting?

And what happened to this sentiment?

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

THEN-SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, D-N.Y.: I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you're not patriotic. And we should stand up and say, "We are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration!"

(END AUDIO CLIP)

Come to think of it, let's look at the free speech our Founders intended.

Here's an example from our Founders, a pro-John Adams federalist paper, during the presidential campaign of 1796 between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, calling Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father… raised wholly on hoe-cake made of coarse-ground Southern corn, bacon and hominy — with an occasional change of fricasseed bullfrog."

Going after his parentage is one thing, but accusing him of being raised on "Southern corn made hoe-cake"? Now that's hitting below the belt.

It didn't end there. In the 1800 campaign, Adams' allies wrote about what to expect if Jefferson were elected: "Murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood and the nation black with crimes."

The prestigious Jeffersonian Murder, Rape and Robbery Schools were tough to get into, but if you could get a scholarship to one, you were set for life.

Now, no one is advocating for these kinds of smear campaigns, but the point is maybe Bill Clinton should at least know the history of the country before opening his mouth about free speech as our Founders knew it.

The current onslaught against free speech is all-encompassing. The Marxist-led group Free Press is using "Net Neutrality" to attack speech on the Internet as well. Never in world history have a people been able to express themselves as freely as we can right now over the Internet and we all know it. That's why they have to create this bogus, non-existent crisis to stop it.

The Department of Justice has also gotten in on the act, going so far as to claim that Americans have no right to implied privacy of location and that they can use your cell phone to track you.

This is what Barack Obama and his administration are fighting for. These are the same people who screamed about warrantless wiretapping and the Patriot Act during the Bush years — both of which he has now made permanent and has gone far beyond what George Bush ever dreamed.

In a completely unrelated story, the Library of Congress also wants to archive every tweet, just for the sake of history. I'm sorry, I don't trust them anymore. I don't want them cataloguing tweets, checking our e-mails, tracking our cell phones — I just don't want it.

Let me ask Obama supporters a question: Do you see any problem yet? Is all of this still absolutely fine? We heard you loud and clear during the Bush years, expressing your concerns over the Patriot Act. Not only is it still in force, Obama has now removed the sunset clause, so it now has no expiration date.

I know the inevitable response: Where were you when Bush was president? First of all, I was expressing strong concerns then, too — but if you were there then, where are you now? The fact is, all you were yelling about then is much worse now. In addition to the action taken by Obama that we've pointed out when George Bush was brutally attacked by his critics, not only did he not try to silence them, he didn't even respond to them.

Has everyone so soon forgotten what was said about him?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC: This, Mr. Bush, is simple enough for even you to understand... You're a fascist. Get them to print you a T-shirt with "fascist" on it.

KANYE WEST, MUSICIAN: George Bush doesn't care about black people.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: President Bush said as recently as this week the United States does not torture detainees.

FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER: That's not an accurate statement.

BLITZER: You believe the United States, under this administration, has used torture.

CARTER: I don't think it, I know it, certainly.

BLITZER: So is the president lying?

CARTER: The president is self-defining what we have done and authorized in the torture of prisoners, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

No one called them seditious. No one called them traitors. President Bush didn't send out his minions to attack MSNBC or Hollywood. Cindy Sheehan camped outside his home in Texas nearly every weekend and he didn't address it, except to say she had the right to be there.

Now, cries of sedition, traitor, anti-American are common — just for speaking out. They even send out their goons to the Tea Parties to try to shut down legal, peaceful protests in the street.

Barack Obama has pushed the most radical agenda in history, and he got health care passed despite a huge majority of the American people vehemently opposed to it. And rather than try to heal the nation after a divisive fight, he's now trying to jam at least two more wildly divisive issues down our throats: cap-and-trade (despite a totally discredited climate change industry and zero warming for over a decade) and comprehensive immigration reform (even as violence, drugs and chaos has spiraled out of control on the border.)

Then when opposition to that agenda arises, it's shouted down and we're divided even more. It's not even about the issues anymore; it's about fundamental transformation. Our system is not even smearing people anymore, it's training people to hate each other.

Do not confuse the truth with hatred.

So, here's what I believe we must do: We must use our free speech to go in the other direction. Spread the positive message of peace; of faith, hope and charity. Exercise your freedom of speech while you still have it: use Twitter, use Facebook.

Not racist, not violent, just not silent anymore — put this message everywhere.

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#2 Bart

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 03:51 PM

First, format your post. It's hardly readable

Have people been thrown in jail or assassinated because of something they said? As long as that doesn't happen, there is freedom of speech.

The Department of Justice has also gotten in on the act, going so far as to claim that Americans have no right to implied privacy of location and that they can use your cell phone to track you.

As bad as that is (if it's even true) it's about privacy, not freedom of speech. Don't confuse the two.

In a completely unrelated story, the Library of Congress also wants to archive every tweet, just for the sake of history. I'm sorry, I don't trust them anymore. I don't want them cataloguing tweets, checking our e-mails, tracking our cell phones — I just don't want it.

If you make a public tweet, that's what is is: public. Not only is this information archived by twitter itself and the library, also by Google and many other institutes.

Barack Obama has pushed the most radical agenda in history, and he got health care passed despite a huge majority of the American people vehemently opposed to it. And rather than try to heal the nation after a divisive fight, he's now trying to jam at least two more wildly divisive issues down our throats: cap-and-trade (despite a totally discredited climate change industry and zero warming for over a decade) and comprehensive immigration reform (even as violence, drugs and chaos has spiraled out of control on the border.)

Shouldn't have voted for him then
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#3 Hostile

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 04:10 PM

Well the formatting is taken from the site, I can't do much there besides include the link to the original story.

But more importantly I thought it was a good piece to bring up because there is a lot of attacks in the media regarding anyone who might disagree with the current administration (or as Rush Limbaugh calls it a regime)

Coordinated efforts that keep reinforcing the fact the the Tea Party is nothing but redneck bigots and that simply isn't true. I see black people at the Tea Parties and they certainly can't be racists rednecks. Also isn't the right to assemble and protest a protected item in the US? Also is the right to demarginlize them.

An interesting point was brought up about Sheehan who camped outside Bushes ranch every weekend for months. The Secret Service never stopped her protests. Yet Obama's ability to tolerate an opposing opinion is very staunch. He attacks them very directly in speeches he gives. Bush simply ignored and remarked, "hey that's the privilage of living in the US, unmolested protests.

Speaking of, the protest from Tea Party people have little police presence because little mischief happens. It's like "yawn, it's the Tea Party people put your batons away."

So why are they so vilified? Wouldn't it be in Obama's best interest to ignore them? Obama can be quite the little pouting child because he doesn't seem to understand SOMEBODY is going to diasagree with him. So he can't keep attacking Fox News, Tea Party people and so on. Get over it and go back to creating a socialist state.

At least Bush wasn't whining all the time about groups of people who disagree with him. That's part of the job description.

#4 Vortigern

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 04:36 PM

I think you may have a point somewhere in there, Hostile. Obama's been so popular with everyone that he can't stand to be disliked, but then in trying to demean his opponents he has only made himself more enemies. Who'd have thought we'd be getting comparisons where Bush comes off better?
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#5 Námo

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 05:13 PM


Free Speech is under attack everywhere around the World.

Surprised it's going downhill in the US, too?

Criminalizing Free Speech: HR 1966 Sec 881
July 12, 2009

Here it comes. Thought crime and hate crime legislation. No one can attest to the vile nature of internet harassment, threats and insults more than I can, but I would never silence my “critics”. This law is unconstitutional, a blatant violation of the First Amendment. It destroys the basic tenets of the Constitution. The left is ripping it to shreds ...

read more ...


Obama's Resolution to Stifle Free Speech on Islam.
October 22, 2009

On October 1, 2009, the Obama administration in conjunction with the Egyptian government, introduced an anti-free speech measure to the United Nation’s Human Rights Council (HRC). It was adopted the next day without a vote.

Earlier this year, when the United States sought a seat on the HRC, it was a controversial decision. Many who found the HRC neither credible nor useful, opposed the move. Yet, others were more optimistic that America could change the HRC from within. Perhaps the U.S. could spur debate stemming from its opposition to China, Sudan, Libya, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia on critical human rights votes.

Little evidence suggests that Americans on either side of the aisle contemplated the US entering the ring and supporting the opposition’s anti-freedom measures. Yet now, the current administration has done worse: it’s leading the charge.

read more ...

Various entries on 'Fairness Doctrine' on International Free Press Society


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#6 Pasidon

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 06:09 PM

Yea. Sadam Husain attacked freedom of speech all the time. And that whole Revolution Muslim crap is a campaign using freedom of speech to fight freedom of speech. It's in and out of the country all the time.

But this is all mostly true. Yet then again the way Obama fights freedom of speech is more by ignoring people. I remember in his healthcare campaign he didn't answer one question from the media or the public. Wait... he's still doing that it seems. And when people uprise like the little Tea Party ladies... I mean these people wouldn't poke a goat to harm it and Obama's defense is calling them blood thirsty radicals with a death wish. In response to the Tea Party ladies, I remember hearing on the news of some congressman, "The term 'republican' sound be a swear word." Well that can't be a wish to limit speech even more.

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#7 Rob38

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 06:15 AM

Barack Obama has pushed the most radical agenda in history, and he got health care passed despite a huge majority of the American people vehemently opposed to it. And rather than try to heal the nation after a divisive fight, he's now trying to jam at least two more wildly divisive issues down our throats: cap-and-trade (despite a totally discredited climate change industry and zero warming for over a decade) and comprehensive immigration reform (even as violence, drugs and chaos has spiraled out of control on the border.)

I wouldn't call a "huge majority" of Americans opposed the healthcare bill. It was a pretty divided issue and the greatest difference was 60% opposing the bill and 40% supporting it. I've seen other polls that were much closer.

As for Obama having "the most radical agenda in history", I simply do not see that. If you want to talk about radical, go back to the Johnson administration where Medicare and Medicaid was developed. Now that was radical/revolutionary health reform. ;)

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#8 duke_Qa

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 11:53 AM

The tea party movement is alot more radical than any movement that was running around during Bush's presidential period. European Politicians are actually afraid that we might get organizations over here that follow the same philosophy.

I have not studied this group beyond the short definitions given about them in the media, they have no clout on the media over here. My definition of them right now is as a far-right populist group funded by rich men to cause political mayhem; No attempts of political compromise or cooperation, just bigoted naysaying and noise.

Freedom of speech is on the defensive all over the world. A connection to the war on terror, radical religious fanatics and mass media can be made. But I'd dare say that the USA is not in any bigger danger right now than the rest of us. The fact of the matter is that the right-side of the spectrum in the western world can appear alot more threatening than the left-side, and media is most of the time left to center and shoots down these right-wingers quicker than left-wingers. Nothing new about that. If anything, people are much more likely to get their voices heard because of the internet these days. unfortunately, those voices usually has to scream something profane to be heard...

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#9 Radspakr Wolfbane

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 02:39 PM

Not being an American I can't really make any real opinions on this as it doesn't affect me directly.
So I'm going to do what I always do,talk about my own country.
;)

Australians don't actually have Freedom of Speech (most Aussies don't know that) it's more implied.
Until recent times this has worked very well here as politically and financially we tend to be somewhat Laissez faire.
However in recent times starting with the Howard Government and into the Rudd Government various liberties have been tested as they have been in the US (probably not to the same degree) and one of the big tests on liberties is the proposed ISP level Internet filtering.
Australia is on it's way to becoming a nanny state and it's freedom of speech coming under fire.

People should have the right to speak freely but not all should do so.
A lot of idiots talk to much and too loudly.
Crackpots tend to get greater media attention than they deserve.

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#10 Vortigern

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 02:47 PM

The problem is when people confuse freedom of speech with impropriety. The legal right to say whatever you like does not mean you can or should go around slinging verbal abuse at any and everyone.
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#11 Mathijs

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 03:10 PM

The problem is when people confuse freedom of speech with impropriety. The legal right to say whatever you like does not mean you can or should go around slinging verbal abuse at any and everyone.

Ding ding ding, we have a winner!

#12 Pasidon

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 07:05 PM

We can easily tie this into Revora politics.

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#13 Tom

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 09:27 PM

You are only just realising that Liberty is under attack in your country Hostile? Where have you been the last 10 years?

#14 Beowulf

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 09:43 PM

Hey. At least it's less so than the UK. Suck on that, you hippie.

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