February 18, 2006

The Week at SpeakSpeak

Posted by Eric Jaffa
December 16, 2005 @ 8:07 pm
Filed under: SpeakSpeak, Right Watch, Free Speech, Cable/Satellite, Government, Media Watch, TV, Flag Burning, Religion, Radio

• Bill O’Reilly admits that “Happy Holidays” isn’t offensive after all. LINK

• Hillary Clinton proposes legislation that could be used to jail a protester who burns an American flag for a year. Senators should be thinking up ways to INCREASE our freedom, but no. LINK

• Departing FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy says indecency fines are “probably the hardest area for me as a commissioner. This is one where I could argue both sides very easily. I am a firm believer in the First Amendment and the right of free speech. And at the same time, I appreciate the need to protect children.” How about writing clear rules, if one could easily argue something is indecent or that it’s not indecent under the current rules? LINK

• Meanwhile, what is “indecent” in the general sense of the term? How about Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) wasting “$223 million of pork earmarked for the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ to be used by about 50 Alaskans”? LINK

Bill O’Reilly’s reporting about bans on red-and-green clothing (Christmas colors) is false. No surprise. Will O’Reilly have to resign like Dan Rather did (for a flawed story which was more ambiguous and better researched?) LINK

• New Hampshire’s liberal radio host Arnie Arnesen: She may get fired because she’s criticized SUVs. Car dealerships are threatening to pull advertising from her radio station. LINK

Ted Koppel says ABC News has fewer foreign correspondents today than it did 30 years ago. LINK

• “A la carte” cable would mean people get exposed to less diversity in programming, says AdAge columnist Simon Dumenco. LINK

• Gay groups and the American Family Association took opposite positions on whether Ford should advertise cars in gay magazines. Ford originally said it would pull its advertising from magazines with mostly gay content. Eventually, the gay groups won. LINK

• The US military is spying on civilians who oppose the Iraq War. This includes Quakers. LINK

• Conservative groups disagree on whether Congress should mandate “a la carte” programming. The Parents Television Council and Concerned Women for America argue that a la carte is the best solution to the “indecency” problem. Meanwhile, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and TBN’s Paul Crouch, Jr., fear (logically) that a la carte programming would vastly decrease viewership of religious channels. LINK

• A trend in entertainment is increased consumer options in how to view content. Therefore, I argue that Congress should be hands-off for the next few years regarding indecency and mandated a la carte. Let things develop. LINK

• Bush told the NSA to spy on US citizens. LINK

• $300 million of our tax dollars are being spent on propaganda — for example, covertly planting stories in the press of other nations. That includes allies’. Planting propaganda is legal abroad, but not in the US. LINK

• Clear Channel owns billboards, as well as radio stations and concert halls. The company refused to post a billboard which would say, “‘Wal*Mart: Killing Local Businesses…One Main Street at a Time.” They had no problem hosting a billboard that states “George W. Bush, Our Leader.” LINK

• NPR is soooo liberal. If you believe the hype. If you look at statistics, however, NPR favors conservatives. LINK

Howard Stern aired his last show on broadcast radio. He was driven out by the pressure of FCC indecency fines. Sad day for free speech. Howard Stern will start a show on Sirius Satellite Radio on January 9, 2006. LINK

• Time Warner describes its “family tier,” which may debut next spring. LINK

Hillary Clinton Blames the Victim

Posted by Eric Jaffa
December 12, 2005 @ 9:16 am
Filed under: Free Speech, Government, Flag Burning

Suppose a protester burns an American flag and is punched by an upset onlooker.

Hillary Clinton wants the the person who was punched to be punished “by up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine.”

Hillary Clinton’s values are upside-down. This is a despicable inversion of the norms of civilized behavior.

Civilization is based on tolerance, but Hillary Clinton would glorify intolerance with this disgusting statute.

From the St. Petersburg (FL) Times:

The measure she has co-sponsored along with Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, is the Flag Protection Act of 2005. One provision would make it a crime punishable by up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine, to burn an American flag of “any size” if a person knows that it is “likely to produce imminent violence or a breach of the peace.”

The crime is not the act of burning the flag (since old and tattered flags are burned regularly by veteran groups) but to burn a flag in criticism of the American government when someone is nearby who cannot control his impulses. This gives remarkable power to those in our society who resort to violence in response to disturbing speech and messages.

The Democratic Party doesn’t need another candidate who lacks the backbone to take a clear, principled stand, and it certainly doesn’t need a candidate who doesn’t believe in the First Amendment.

Marches led by Martin Luther King, Jr., were often met with violence. Under Hillary Clinton’s logic, that means his marches should have been illegal.


Flag Burning Amendment: The Vitriolic Perpsective

Posted by Amanda Toering
July 6, 2005 @ 11:08 am
Filed under: Flag Burning


The Seacoast Online’s Chris Elliot delivers a truculent tirade on the perenially proposed flag burning amendment.

The visceral disgust that the sight of a flag being burned in protest provokes is being leveraged by a Republican administration that seeks to gin up patriotic fervor, at least partially to distract attention from the daily rising body count in Iraq. Any smoke screen that diverts attention away from Dubya’s Vietnam is welcomed by the White House, and this here-we-go-again stinker of a proposed Constitutional amendment is no exception. Every time this proposal is floated, the bullet-headed thugs in the House of Representatives pass it, and then the more sensible Senate shuts it down.

This time, however, it seems that the right-wing propaganda machine might actually have enough zombie Senate Republicans and pantywaist Senate Democrats sufficiently bamboozled to tack this antonym to the first amendment onto the other extreme end of the document. Should it come to pass it will be one of the biggest judicial messes this nation has have ever foist upon itself.

The proposed amendment should be rejected on practicality alone. Passage will foster frivolous prosecutions of persons such as myself, who in protest of the flag-burning amendment will blithely shred its credibility by burning a flag with 49 white stars and one green one.

Next it will be a flag that bears an uncanny resemblance to an American flag, but that has 14 stripes, or perhaps one with aligned rather than staggered stars, or seven whites stripes and six red ones rather than the other way around, or even a flag of the future with 51 stars — portentous of the eventual annexation of Puerto Rico.

The language of such an amendment would be impossible to construct without leaving holes big enough drive a truck through. If it were worded to prohibit flag burning, it would implicitly permit and thereby invite urination on the flag, blowing one’s nose in the flag, flag design toilet paper, and various other forms of flag desecration. Were the amendment’s language to include the broader term of general desecration, an ambitious Texas district attorney might go after Willie Nelson for wearing a red, white and blue headband.