Tag Archives | Freedom of Speech

Montana Wins 22 States (and Counting) Backing Over The Citizens United Fight

Seal Of MontanaFeel great if you live in the Treasure State. Reports the AP via the Guardian:

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia are backing Montana in its fight to prevent the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision from being used to strike down laws restricting corporate spending in political campaigns.

The states led by New York are asking the high court to preserve Montana’s state-level regulations on corporate expenditures, according to a copy of a brief written by New York’s attorney general’s office and obtained by the Associated Press.

The supreme court is being asked to reverse a state court’s decision to uphold the Montana law. Virginia-based American Tradition Partnership is asking the nation’s high court to rule without a hearing because the group says the state law conflicts directly with the Citizens United decision that removed the federal ban on corporate campaign spending. The Supreme Court has blocked the Montana law until it can look at the case…

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Authorities Define “Violence” As Any Restriction Of Capital Flows

6269542564_1930ee174e_nCritical Legal Thinking on the German government response to Occupy Frankfurt — peaceful protest is now defined as “violent” if the target is financial institutions:

As debate spilled over into a shouting match in the Hessian State Parliament concerning the effective ban of Blockupy protests this 16-19 May in Frankfurt am Main, the administrative decision that effected this ban has come to light. The key finding being that:

The blockade action cannot be assessed as peaceful. To make blockades and hinder traffic with the goal of closing down the entire financial district...has to be defined as violence. The European Central Bank ‘must be functional, especially in times of financial crisis around the clock’. This includes things like ‘the operation of large-value payment system TARGET2’.

So in effect, a civil disobedience directed against the Eurozone’s financial authorities cannot take place because the obligation of the Frankfurt government to support the operation of the Euro-system overrides the right of European protesters to assemble and demonstrate against that very operation.

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Bill Hicks on Freedom of Speech

Site note: Problem with site, cached version here: Letter Of Note

American FlagThis is beautiful. Via Letters of Note:

In May of 1993, deeply offended by its “blasphemous” content, a priest wrote to Channel 4 and complained about the recent screening of “Revelations,” a recording of Bill Hicks‘s live show at London’s Dominion Theatre some months before (a show which, incidentally, can be seen in its entirety here).

Upon receiving said complaint, Channel 4 passed it on to Hicks himself. Hicks then responded to the priest directly with the following letter. It doesn’t disappoint:

8 June 1993

Dear Sir,

After reading your letter expressing your concerns regarding my special ‘Revelations’, I felt duty-bound to respond to you myself in hopes of clarifying my position on the points you brought up, and perhaps enlighten you as to who I really am.

Where I come from — America — there exists this wacky concept called ‘freedom of speech’, which many people feel is one of the paramount achievements in mankind’s mental development.

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From Kettles To Courtrooms: Authorities’ Backlash Against Protest

policerunVia Red Pepper, Nina Power on the ominous crackdown on our right to protest:

For every uprising, protest and political action there is an unequal and oppressive reaction. 2011 may have been ‘the year of the protester’, as even mainstream magazines such as Time acknowledged, but it also saw severe policing tactics, serious criminal charges and heavy sentences for those taking part in demos and other direct actions.

The past few months have seen students and other protesters charged with major offences – particularly ‘violent disorder’, which carries with it a maximum five-year sentence. Many people, often in their teens and early twenties, have faced crown court trials and been sent to jail for the flimsiest of reasons – throwing a lightweight placard stick, for example – and their lives have been seriously compromised by the stress and humiliation of a trial and the shock of prison. At the same time, policing at protests has been heavy-handed, including the use of kettling, horse charges and batons, and police are pushing for ever more resources (water cannon, rubber bullets) to ‘control’ protesters…

Read More: Red Pepper

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Secret Service Investigates Ted Nugent’s Remarks on President Obama

Ted NugentReports Devin Dwye on ABC News:
The U.S. Secret Service is looking into the incendiary and potentially threatening remarks made by rocker and Mitt Romney-backer Ted Nugent at the National Rifle Association convention over the weekend. “We are aware of them and we are conducting the appropriate follow-up now,” Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie told ABC News. Nugent told a crowd of convention goers that “if Barack Obama becomes the president in November, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” “If you can’t go home and get everybody in your lives to clean house in this vile, evil, America-hating administration, I don’t even know what you’re made of,” he said. The comments were caught on tape and posted online by the website Right Wing Watch.
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Ohio School Bans ‘Jesus Is Not a Homophobe’ Shirt, Gets Sued

Jesus Is Not A HomophobeMichael Allen writes on Opposing Views:
Waynesville High School in Waynesville, Ohio, threatened to suspend a student for wearing a shirt that said 'Jesus Is Not a Homophobe,' according to Lambda Legal, which filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the school on his behalf. Last April, Maverick Couch, a gay junior, wore the shirt during the National Day of Silence, which is meant to raise awareness to anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. Couch said: “I’ve been bullied and called names, I wanted to wear the T-shirt to encourage respect for all students, gay or straight. I wish my school would help me create an accepting environment for LGBT kids, not single me out for punishment.” However, school officials said the shirt was “indecent and sexual in nature” and told Couch to turn his shirt inside out, which he did.
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Why Couldn’t Congressman Bobby Rush Wear a Hoodie in Congress? (Video)

Bobby Rush HoodieThe ONLY person to beat Barack Obama in an election. Reports Peter Grier in Christian Science Monitor:
Hoodies on the House floor are verboten, apparently. Rep. Bobby Rush (D) of Illinois was scolded and escorted from the chamber of the House of Representatives on Wednesday morning, when he attempted to give a speech on the need for a full investigation of the Trayvon Martin shooting while wearing sunglasses and a gray hooded sweat shirt. “Racial profiling has to stop, Mr. Speaker,” said Representative Rush while doffing his suit jacket to reveal his hoodie garb. “Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.”
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Congress Approved H.R. 347 Could Make Most Forms of Protest Illegal

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” —President John F. Kennedy

Tim McCown reports on the Examiner:

On Ron Paul’s website it was duly noted that H.R. 347 could make the First Amendment illegal. No one is really covering this bill and the major media call it non-controversial. The innocent sounding bill titled The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 was passed Tuesday with only three dissenting votes including Ron Paul, and passed unanimously in the Senate. This bill dubbed the Anti-Occupy law was passed without one single Democrat speaking up for the First Amendment.

Once this Bill is signed into law some including Ron Paul believe it will make it a felony to exercise your first Amendment rights of Free Speech. Several of those commenting opined that the nearly unanimous vote proves that despite all the posturing both parties stand shoulder to shoulder in their defense of the greed and entitlement of the 1% from the rest of us.

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Speech-Jamming Gun Unveiled By Japanese Researchers (Video)

SpeechJammerIt's only a prototype, but if it worked for a longer amount of time, wow. Geeta Dayal writes on Wired's Underwire:
Two Japanese researchers recently introduced a prototype for a device they call a SpeechJammer that can literally “jam” someone’s voice — effectively stopping them from talking. Now they’ve released a video of the device in action. “We have to establish and obey rules for proper turn-taking,” write Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada in their article on the SpeechJammer (PDF). “However, some people tend to lengthen their turns or deliberately disrupt other people when it is their turn … rather than achieve more fruitful discussions.”
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