Tag Archives | Freedom of Speech

Cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo: Should We Nominate Them for The Darwin Awards?

On Wednesday night, Jon Stewart said something during his opening monologue on The Daily Show which has continued to bother me and nag at my conscience: “Our goal tonight is not to make sense of this because there is no sense to be made of this.” There is plenty of criticism which has been leveled against both Stewart and Colbert in the past, but I find his unwillingness to acknowledge the underlying factors which contributed to this slaughter to be particularly disturbing. Earlier today, I came across this superb article by Maria Bustillos, titled “How Much Did We Need This Blasphemy?” I can only hope that Stewart gets a chance to read it, and that he might consider amending his monologue with something a little more thoughtful and nuanced:

It is unsurprising in the extreme that the most hawkish, pro-Iraq War, pro-Bush and anti-Islamic conservatives are now falling all over themselves to defend Charlie Hebdo.

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The Charlie Hebdo Cartoon Covers

By now everyone is aware of the Paris assassinations of the Charlie Hebdo journalists. We feel sure that Charb and his team would want their work to go far and wide in response to the acts of the murderous Islamists who carried out France’s worst terrorist incident since the 1960s, so here are a couple of the cartoon covers that, in the eyes of some, required the death of the people who created them:

charlie hebdo

For those interested in supporting what’s left of Charlie Hebdo, its lawyer, Richard Malka, has confirmed that next week’s edition of the magazine will be published on Wednesday and will have a print run of one million, instead of the normal 60,000 copies.

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China Criminalizes Spreading False Rumors Online That Go Viral

online rumorsWill the jails of the future be filled with those condemned for trollcrimes? ZDNet reports:

Online users in China who share false information that is defamatory or affect national interest will face up to three years in prison if their posts are viewed 5,000 times or forwarded 500 times.

This is a new judicial interpretation issued Monday by the country’s Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate, which defines the criteria for convicting and sentencing offenders who spread rumors online that defame, blackmail or provoke, China Daily reported.

The judicial interpretation also states that profiting from helping people delete posts is illegal, and anyone who gains more than 20,000 yuan (US$3,270) through this practice will see their case treated as “serious”. So far, prominent Chinese venture capitalist Charles Xue Biqun, investigative journalist Liu Hu, and Weibo users Yang Xiuyu and Qin Zhihui have been arrested and detained for fabricating online rumors.

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California Man Could Face Decade In Jail For Writing Anti-Bank Slogans In Chalk

chalk protest

The local government is acting on instructions from a “high-ranking bank security manager.” KMFB San Diego reports:

A North Park man is looking at more than a decade behind bars for using washable chalk to protest the banking industry. Jeff Olson is being charged with 13 counts of vandalism for writing anti-bank slogans on sidewalks outside three Bank of America branches.

A surveillance camera caught Olson in the act, writing on the sidewalk in front of a Bank of America in North Park. Olson admits it: “I wrote ‘No thanks big banks,’ I wrote ‘Shame on Bank of America,'” he said.

But the city attorney’s office — after receiving multiple emails from a high ranking bank security manager — decided to charge Olson with 13 counts of misdemeanor vandalism.

Olson’s attorney argued in motions Tuesday morning that this is free speech written in easily cleanable chalk, but Judge Howard Shore disagreed, saying this case has nothing to do with free speech.

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Adam Kokesh Released

Via Infowars.comkokeshpapers

May 24, 2013 Political activist Adam Kokesh was released from jail this afternoon. Kokesh was arrested last Saturday for exercising his First Amendment right at a protest. He called for a “new American revolution” to begin on July 4 with a march on all 50 state capitols. The release was announced on his Facebook page with the following message and photograph: Released 130524 with felony charges reduced to citations which I refused to sign. Played hardball. Won. Talk to you Monday.

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“Obey”: A Brutally Honest New Film By British Filmmaker Temujin Doran

I could call this film many things:

“A chilling view of the future”

“A harrowing tale of what we may become”

Based on the book The Death of the Liberal Class by Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, “Obey” brutally conveys our present reality, perhaps in the hope that we may finally wake as a united humanity.

We have been lulled into a state of being in which we are not confronted with monolithic decisions where we choose Liberty or Death; instead we are fed a steady diet of mini-compromises in our lives that we often choose wrongly upon.

I myself and totally guilty of this, but the overall result is a total compromise of every single piece of our dignity and personal sovereignty.  So say that things are as they truly are is a radical notion that may get you shot in the face with a gas canister, like the military veteran of the Oakland Occupy protests or thrown into prison indefinitely like Bradley Manning.… Read the rest

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Headliner Lupe Fiasco Kicked Off Stage At Pre-Inauguration Concert After Making Antiwar Statements

Watch as security guards swarm the stage, cutting short Lupe Fiasco's set at Washington D.C.'s Hamilton Live Theater Sunday night. The rapper had been invited to headline the concert celebrating Obama's second inauguration. The offending lyrics likely were: "Gaza Strip was getting bombed / Obama didn't say shit / That's why I ain't vote for him / I'm part of the problem / My problem is I'm peaceful"
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Hollywood Now Needs Censorship Consultants In China

Two of the booming occupations of the future: government mole who weeds out and reports dangerous movies and cultural works, and consultant who helps creators navigate censorship standards. The Atlantic Wire writes:

China’s censorship has become a huge headache for Hollywood lately, as movie studios struggle to break in to the world’s second largest film market. Every single film bound for Chinese theaters has to make it past China’s all-powerful State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) whose guidelines for what is and isn’t acceptable is more or less subjective and entirely unpredictable. All the studios can do is hire consultants who are familiar with the ins and outs of censorship in China and hope for the best.

Bringing in consultants does help movie studios frame projects in a censor-friendly manner, but after filming begins the filmmakers have to be very careful not to deviate from the plan. SARFT sends spies to the set to make sure everything is going as planned.

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Federal Court Affirms Constitutional Right To Give Cops The Middle Finger

Via the Huffington Post, the most cherished of liberties has been defended. Use it freely and often:

A police officer can’t pull you over and arrest you just because you gave him the finger, a federal appeals court declared Thursday. In a 14-page opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that the “gesture…is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity.”

John Swartz and his wife Judy Mayton-Swartz had sued two police officers who arrested Swartz in May 2006 after he flipped off an officer who was using a radar device at an intersection in St. Johnsville, N.Y. Swartz was later charged with a violation of New York’s disorderly conduct statute.

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Under Proposed Law, Masked Canadian Protesters Could Receive Ten Years In Jail

In surveillance states, concealing one’s face will be considered a significant crime. Via Russia Today:

Canadian lawmakers weren’t exactly in the Halloween spirit when they approved a new bill on Wednesday. The legislation makes it illegal to wear masks during riots and protests. If it becomes law, mask-wearers at riots face up to 10 years in jail.

Parliamentarian Blake Richards, who sponsored the bill, says the measure is aimed at targeting the “growing threat” of vandalism and violence. Lawmakers are particularly targeting the Blak Bloc anarchist group, whose members dress in black and hide their faces with glasses, scarves, and hoods. The group engaged in violence during the Quebec student protests earlier this year.

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