February 18, 2006

No Free Speech on the Senate Floor

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 7, 2006 @ 12:50 pm
Filed under: CensorWorld, Government, Free Speech Hero, Courts

Senators should be able to discuss important issues on the Senate floor.

That includes how the bills they’re debating came before them.

But Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) discovered yesterday: Talk about how lobbyists got a bill into the Senate, get accused of breaking a Senate rule.

Reid was criticizing a bill which hurts workers trying to get compensation from injuries caused by asbestos (tort reform). Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) responded by accusing Reid of breaking a Senate rule against imputing motives.

From Roll Call reporter John Stanton via Raw Story:

During a floor speech Monday afternoon, [Democratic Senator Hary] Reid vowed to defeat the asbestos legislation and, in an effort to tie it to the current lobbying and ethics scandals, argued that the Senate was considering the bill only because 13 “companies spent $144.5 million in two years lobbying to get it here.”

…A clearly agitated [Republican Senator Arlen] Specter came to the floor to confront Reid, accusing the Minority Leader of slandering himself and Leahy in violation of Senate Rule 19 which bars personal attacks against fellow Senators.

“To say that this bill, which Sen. Leahy and I have led for the better part of the last three years, is the result of lobbyists, quote, ‘buying their way into the Senate’ is slanderous. It is a violation of Rule 19,” Specter shot back angrily.

Senate Rule 19.2 states:

No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.

This rule has got to go.

The notion that Senators can’t speak about the impact of lobbyists on legislation is atrocious; to discuss the effect of lobbyists, one has to “impute…motive.”


Oakland Theatre Speaks Out

Posted by Amanda Toering
October 12, 2005 @ 10:07 am
Filed under: Free Speech Hero

The Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland, CA, has turned its marquee into more than just a “Now Playing” ad.

One recent message reads “Bush’s Grandfather Prescott Bush Treasonously Financed Adolf Hitler & The Nazis Until Late 1942.”

Another: “Rehnquist Was the Ringleader of The Gang of 5 Enemies of Democracy That Installed the Criminal Bush Regime.”

And my personal favorite: “Truth Is To The Bush Administration As Sunlight Is To Dracula!”

Check out Flickr for more marquees.

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Does Afghanistan Have Free Speech and Women’s Rights?

Posted by Eric Jaffa
October 6, 2005 @ 11:10 am
Filed under: Government, Free Speech Hero


Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, a man who is the editor of a women’s rights magazine in Afghanistan, was arrested.

From the AP:

Kabul, Afghanistan - The editor of an Afghan women’s rights magazine was jailed after a presidential adviser accused him of publishing un-Islamic material — including an article critical of the practice of punishing adultery with 100 lashes, officials said Friday.

Minority Shiite Muslim clerics in Kabul objected to that article and another in the monthly Haqooq-i-Zan — or Women’s Rights - that argued that giving up Islam was not a crime. Police arrested the magazine’s editor, Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, on Saturday.


Cindy Sheehan Speech Ended by Police

Posted by Eric Jaffa
September 19, 2005 @ 2:47 pm
Filed under: Free Speech Hero

Union Square in Manhattan. Lack of a permit for the microphone? Some details in a Daily Kos diary. Photos at IndyMedia.


Bush Wants More Power

Posted by Eric Jaffa
September 16, 2005 @ 5:36 am
Filed under: Government, Free Speech Hero

George W. Bush used his failure before 9/11/2001 to seize power with the Patriot Act. Similarly, he is using his failure in responding to Hurricane Katrina to try to seize more power.

Bush wants the power to order the military to arrest people in the US. Currently, the military is barred by the Posse Comitatus Act from arresting people in the US. Changing this would negatively affect the nature of our society and the right to protest.

President Bush on Monday…raised the possibility that lawmakers might expand presidential authority to:

…Grant wider leeway for active-duty U.S. military personnel to carry out law enforcement operations.

Once the military starts arresting people in the US, it won’t be limited to natural disasters.

Protests can be declared “emergencies” for soldiers to arrest protestors if Congress changes the law about the role of the military.

What looks to me like a protest, may look like a riot to a government official.

Nor were arrests by the military needed in New Orleans. There were police in New Orleans. What was needed from the military was more food and water than they supplied.

In Bush’s Thursday night speech, he continued with the notion of expanding domestic military power:

“It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces, the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment’s notice.”

Once the military can arrest us, can they then imprison us? Put us on trial? Hold us indefinitely?

Letting a president declare any cities he so chooses “emergency” areas where the military can arrest people for as long as he chooses is too much executive power. We need more relief supplies during an emergency, not arrests, and there are police to conduct arrests when necessary.

Bush was able to respond to previous natural disasters in Florida and elsewhere without being able to authorize the military to arrest people. President Bill Clinton was as well. Bush’s failure regarding Hurricane Katrina means he should have less power, not more power.

We should maintain the distinction between the role of the police and the role of the military.


EBay Censorship?

Posted by Eric Jaffa
September 9, 2005 @ 4:56 pm
Filed under: CensorWorld, Government, Free Speech Hero

About Dr. Ben Marble from Raw Story:

The emergency room physician who told Vice President Dick Cheney to “fuck yourself” was selling a video of the incident on eBay, and the price rose to nearly $700 before it was removed by administrators…

“I then took a picture of him and then yelled ‘Go Fu* Yourself Mr. Cheney ….Go Fu* YOURSELF….Go Fu* Yourself…you asshole.’ I had/have no intention of harming anyone but merely wanted to echo Mr. Cheney’s infamous words back at him. At that moment I noticed the Secret Service guys with a panic stricken look on their faces like they were about to tackle me so I calmly walked away back to my former house.”

Marble said he was later detained.

eBay was not available for comment.

EBay lets people sell Hollywood movies with the word “fuck” in them.

This seems like pro-Republican censorship by eBay.


The video is selling on eBay again.

The issue seems to be that the title of the original eBay ad contained the word “fuck.”

The title has been changed from
DVD of me saying “GO **** YOURSELF” to DICK CHENEY.

Anyway, the auction continues here.

Update 2

The second ad is now down (2:26 PM Eastern time.)

There were no curses in the title of the second ad. Is this pro-Bush censoship?

Update 3

Third ad is at eBay (as of 10:35 PM Eastern Time.)

The seller explains:

primarily i had to change FU** (to) **** throughout the entire text and i went ahead and changed “asshole” to ******* just to be safe….also i had to remove the url to www.hurricanekatrinasucked.com as they said that was a violation of their terms…

However, the third ad includes:

“Mr. Cheney Go F**** Yourself….Go F**** YOURSELF….Go F**** Yourself…you *******”.

and so he didn’t really completely asterisk each “fuck.”

I’m glad that this apparently isn’t pro-Bush censorhsip, but I’m sure visitors to eBay can handle seeing “FU**” in the description of an appropriate item.

Each time Dr. Ben Marble starts a new ad, the bidding starts over, and so these rules may cost him. The second ad had gone up to over $2,0000.

Update 4

EBay took down the third ad, but a fourth ad is here.

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Paul McMasters on Penny Nance and Indecency Regulation; Read This

Posted by Amanda Toering
August 31, 2005 @ 1:10 pm
Filed under: Free Speech Hero

Let’s start with the final paragraph:

Good and smart people differ over what indecency means. But there are two ways we can respond when dealing with whatever it is that we determine indecency to be. The easy way is to get a government official or agency to ban it or regulate it. The hard way is to engage it, decry it, discourage it, present a better alternative.

That is the hard way, but it should be the American way.

Read this.


No Signs Allowed Inside Bush Speeches?

Posted by Eric Jaffa
August 23, 2005 @ 3:34 pm
Filed under: Free Speech Hero

Apparently, a man got through with a small sign:

Bill Moyer, 73, wears a ‘Bullshit Protector’ flap over his ear while President George W. Bush addresses the Veterans of Foreign Wars. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac).” From Bush speech in Donnelly, Idaho today.

This a probably a one-time deal. Security may be checking if people are wearing cardboard signs over their ears at the next Bush speech.


Chesapeake Library Plays “Hide the Innocuous Painting of the Partially Clad Woman”

Posted by Amanda Toering
July 29, 2005 @ 12:25 pm
Filed under: Obscene!, Free Speech Hero

Responding to complaints from two anonymous patrons, library officials in Chesapeake, VA, have relegated a portrait by a local painter to the nether regions of the Dewey Decimal system.

Karen Kinser’s 16″ x 18″ portrait of a woman with a bit of exposed skin (but no nipples or genitalia) caught the attention of 2 of the library’s 12,000 visitors, so library director Margaret Stillman moved the painting to a location where it was less visible.

Kinser is understandably upset.

“Why is one art-ignorant person allowed, and even encouraged, by the public library management to dictate what should or should not be shown in our city’s public library?” Kinser asked recently.

Kinser called the relocation censorship. A library official said she made a practical decision for a public facility funded by taxpayers’ dollars.


“We have a very keen sense of intellectual freedom tenets that are critical to a free library system, but we always apply common sense,” she said. “In this case, we had a complaint about nudity.”

In other news, the definition of “nudity” seems to have changed when I wasn’t looking.

More in the Virginian-Pilot.


Read Karen Kinser’s letter to the Virginian-Pilot. (The Pilot wouldn’t print it. They should have.)

1 Comment

From Hanoi Jane to Falluja Fonda?

Posted by Amanda Toering
July 25, 2005 @ 3:05 pm
Filed under: Free Speech Hero

Actress and activist Jane Fonda is planning cross-country bus tour to call for an end to the war in Iraq.

The magical mystery tour will take place next March, and the bus in question will run on vegetable oil.

“I can’t go into any detail except to say that it’s going to be pretty exciting,'’ she said.


Fonda said war veterans that she has met on a nationwide book tour have encouraged her to break her silence on the Iraq war.

“I’ve decided I’m coming out,'’ she said…. “I have not taken a stand on any war since Vietnam. I carry a lot of baggage from that.'’

Jane Fonda is very brave for jumping into this issue, especially considering that many people still harbor ill-will toward her for her anti-Vietnam stance.

She is to be commended. Many people in her position would simply keep a low, cowardly profile.

In other news, Fonda (presumably along with most other Americans) believes that the war in Iraq will still be raging in March 2006.

More at AOL news.

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