Too many Americans like the idea of free speech, so long as they agree with what is being said

Free speech has been synonymous with America since our founding. Free expression is one of many great things about America. Being able to protest our government without reprisal, going out in public and espousing a particular belief, supporting a candidate (or not supporting a candidate) are all covered by our guiding principles found in our U.S. Constitution. And it is nothing new, after all, the Magna Carta was crafted in 1215.

040:365 Free Speech.
Photo Credit: John Nakamura Remy

But what often happens, some people get offended by all of that freedom. Many people are citing President Donald Trump as being highly critical of media outlets who profile him and his administration, as he says, unfairly. At least Trump is not putting them in jail as would Abraham Lincoln. You see, notions of fake news are nothing new in our constitutional republic and those who are offended by someone’s free speech often go down the wrong road of trying to inhibit that speech.

Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the notion that simply because someone is offended, it does not limit one’s ability to exercise another’s public speech. When it comes to religion, a government entity can allow religion to come into the government nexus, but it cannot show favoritism to any one religion.

For example, here in Boca Raton, Fla, the city government is considering reversing its historical practice of temporarily allowing religious organizations to put symbols of their religion in city-owned Sanborn Square each December. The reason? Someone chose to exercise his free speech rights and offered a contrasting symbol of the “normal” Christian birth of Jesus and the Jewish menorah. Everything was fine until someone offered an “unpopular” religion, so now it is suddenly being proposed that there will not be any displays permitted. The person behind the Satanic symbol that caused all the controversy last year was making the political statement that the city government should not have been allowing the displays in the first place.

Similarly, many state and local governments would hold a prayer before their official meetings and this is against our Constitution unless they offer different religions the same on a rotating basis. It cannot just be a Christian or Jewish “prayer” before official government meetings, it must be open to all religions. This is what made Chaz Stevens and others around the nation did a couple years ago, as a “minion of Satan” offering his invocation before local government meetings. Most city governments ended the practice of praying before their meetings or have at least opened it up to other religions as to finally be lawful under the U.S. Constitution. Though I can say as a frequent guest at city council meetings, this is not always the case. Stevens was simply trying to point out that the government should not be showing favoritism toward any particular religion and for so long as elected officials inject religion into government, it must be non-discriminatory. Afterall, while Christians and Jews make up a large swath of Americans, a near equal number of Atheists, Islamists, Buddhists, and over 300 other religions make up the rest of America.

We have even heard recent talk that some people should not be allowed on television if they support President Trump or his positions. This type of thinking is the complete opposite of what free speech is all about. Media outlets should offer opposing viewpoints on their television stations and on their websites so the public can decide for themselves what is best. It is not up to news media companies to parse through and edit footage to offer up a particular viewpoint to the general public. It is up to news outlets to offer unbiased information from all sides. This is Journalism 101. But we rarely see that in today’s media and that is unfortunate. American journalism is on life support.

Sadly, we see students being disciplined at schools around the country simply for espousing a contrasting opinion. Ultimately, thanks to organizations such as FIRE, these overboard decisions by school systems are held accountable. But such discipline should not exist for a student simply putting for their opinions. If not on a college campus, then where can a young person get the intellectual growth necessary to be a productive human being exposed to multiple points of view?

Another issue on today’s college campuses seems to be people wanting to shut down debates or speeches by those with opposing views. This has been a dramatic upswing this past year where speakers have been shouted down and physical threats have been made if they step foot on campus. OK, so you disagree with what they are saying; you can choose to not attend or you can attend and then during the Q & A offer your strong objections to what they said. But shouting them down for having an opposing view is clearly un-American and doesn’t help public discourse.

Another local case was T.A. Wyner went up again the Florida parks system, challenging their “bathing suit rule” as being unconstitutional. This, because the rule violates state law which allows one being nude in a public place so long that area has been set aside for that purpose and it is not for sexual reasons. In 2003, Wyner, an avid naturist, held a performance art exhibit in MacArthur State Park which included her being without clothes in violation of the state park’s “bathing suit rule.” Although she was arrested, she took the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won. Wyner should not have been arrested for two reasons, (1) she was actively expressing her first amendment right and (2) she was not violating state law.

So, while there are multitudes of people with which I may disagree, I enjoy exchanging ideas back and forth in a non-threatening, intellectual manner. It has been my experience, this works better than going out protesting a person instead of an issue or idea. Hopefully, when those exchanges happen, we both leave the conversation learning something. This is what free speech is all about in my opinion, and it is sad to see so many people willing to throw such discourse literally in the trash.

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NEW CAMPAIGN: 28 pages that could change the world

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AND THIS FROM JIM BABKA of DOWNSIZE DC:

Bush & Obama kept a secret from you; a key ally may have helped the 9/11 terrorists. Re-Tweet this.

Some current and former members of Congress are under a gag order. They cannot say what they know about the 9/11 attacks.

This goes back to 2002. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees investigated the 9/11 attacks. But…

* President Bush censored 28 pages of the final report.
* President Obama hasn’t released those pages even after promising he would.

The few members of Congress who’ve read the pages swore not to reveal their contents. But they say a U.S. “ally” was involved in the 9-11 attacks.

Should Congress find out more before it continues to fund the War on Terror?

Do families of 9/11 victims deserve to know what’s in those pages?

Do you?

If you say “yes” to these questions, tell Congress to demand that the President declassify the pages through DownsizeDC.org’s new “Release the Censored 9/11 Pages” campaign.

The hard-wired message says…

Pass H. Res. 14, urging the president to release 28 censored pages regarding the 9/11 attacks.

You may borrow from or edit these additional comments…

I also want you to demand personal access to read the 28 pages for yourself. Here’s what your colleagues who read them have said…

Rep. Walter Jones (http://1.usa.gov/1Fc7mX4): “[T]he information contained in the redacted pages is critical to our foreign policy moving forward and should thus be available to the American public.”

Rep. Thomas Massie (http://bit.ly/1qDpbFD): “I had to stop every two or three pages and rearrange my perception of history…it’s that fundamental.”

Former Sen. Bob Graham (http://bit.ly/1z9TTZb): “The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier.”

Could it be that 9/11 was really an act of WAR by a foreign State?

If so…

The “War on Terror” is based on LIES.

You must get to the bottom of this. That means…

Before you spend one more dime on surveillance at home and attacks abroad, DEMAND that the censored 28 pages be released.

PASS H. Res. 14!

–END OF LETTER–

Send your letter using DownsizeDC.org’s Educate the Powerful System.

Taking any stance on 9/11 earns you trouble. I know, because I lost two valued friends over it. Remarkably, their positions were polar opposites! So I know lots of folks won’t like what I wrote today. They’ll leave us.

That’s why, today, it’s just not enough to send a letter to Congress, as crucial as that is! We need your financial support, so that we can keep taking firm and principled stands like this.

Please, make a generous donation today, because we’re in danger of running a deficit this month. At our current pace, we’ll be nearly $2,000 shy of what we need to pay April’s bills. Someone reading this, right now, could cover the whole thing. But it will probably require a group of people, contributing various amounts, to get the job done.

And we’ll continue to stand tall if you’ll stand behind us.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer,

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

The Pilgrims and Property Rights: How our ancestors got fat & happy

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The Pilgrims founded their colony at Plymouth Plantation in December 1620 and promptly started dying off in droves.

As the colony’s early governor, William Bradford, wrote in “Of Plymouth Plantation”:

“That which was most sadd & lamentable was, that in 2. or 3. moneths time halfe of their company dyed.”


When the settlers finally stopped croaking, they set about creating a heaven on earth, a society without private property, where all worked for the common good. Everything was shared. Especially bitching and moaning about working for the common good. Bradford again:

“Yong-men that were most able and fitte for labour and service did repine that they should spend their time and streingth to worke for other mens wives and children, with out any recompense….And for men’s wives to be commanded to doe service for other men, as dresing their meate, washing their cloaths, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brooke it.”

With nobody working, everybody was suffering. And in case you think nobody was working simply because they couldn’t understand a damn thing Bradford was saying, chew on this: In 1623, Bradford and the other leaders

“Assigned to every family a parceel of land…this had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more torne was planted then other waise would have bene by any means the Govr or any other could use, and saved him a great deall of trouble, and gave farr better contente.”

In no time at all “any generall wante of famine hath not been amongest them since to this day.”

America would never go hungry again. So this week, before you drift into your annual tryptophan-induced coma, don’t forget to give thanks to the true patron of this holiday feast: property rights.

For more on this topic, including controversy over whether the pilgrims were proto-communists, go to http://reason.tv/video/show/1515

Approximately 2.30 minutes.

Produced by Meredith Bragg and Nick Gillespie. Voices by Meredith Bragg and Austin Bragg.

The Pilgrims and Property Rights: How our ancestors got fat & happy

unnamed

 

The Pilgrims founded their colony at Plymouth Plantation in December 1620 and promptly started dying off in droves.

As the colony’s early governor, William Bradford, wrote in “Of Plymouth Plantation”:

“That which was most sadd & lamentable was, that in 2. or 3. moneths time halfe of their company dyed.”


When the settlers finally stopped croaking, they set about creating a heaven on earth, a society without private property, where all worked for the common good. Everything was shared. Especially bitching and moaning about working for the common good. Bradford again:

“Yong-men that were most able and fitte for labour and service did repine that they should spend their time and streingth to worke for other mens wives and children, with out any recompense….And for men’s wives to be commanded to doe service for other men, as dresing their meate, washing their cloaths, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brooke it.”

With nobody working, everybody was suffering. And in case you think nobody was working simply because they couldn’t understand a damn thing Bradford was saying, chew on this: In 1623, Bradford and the other leaders

“Assigned to every family a parceel of land…this had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more torne was planted then other waise would have bene by any means the Govr or any other could use, and saved him a great deall of trouble, and gave farr better contente.”

In no time at all “any generall wante of famine hath not been amongest them since to this day.”

America would never go hungry again. So this week, before you drift into your annual tryptophan-induced coma, don’t forget to give thanks to the true patron of this holiday feast: property rights.

For more on this topic, including controversy over whether the pilgrims were proto-communists, go to http://reason.tv/video/show/1515

Approximately 2.30 minutes.

Produced by Meredith Bragg and Nick Gillespie. Voices by Meredith Bragg and Austin Bragg.