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FactCheck responds to Polland challenge

Brooks Jackson, Director of FactCheck.org, a nationally acclaimed journalistic organization dedicated to truth in politics, has responded to the recent attack by Ron Polland published in WorldNetDaily. In an email to Obama Conspiracy Theories, Jackson wrote:

On advice of counsel, I am losing not one second of sleep over this comical "challenge."

Donations to FactCheck.org are deductible because we are a part of the University of Pennsylvania, a 501(c)3 organization. So if Polland has actually filed some challenge against FactCheck.org as he claims — and I’ve seen nothing either from him or from the IRS to confirm that — then he’s challenged the wrong legal entity.

Should he realize his error and try to correct it, I think he’ll have zero chance of making a case that an Ivy League university should not be tax exempt.

I’m also mystified at his claim to have filed something with the Federal Election Commission, which has no jurisdiction over tax matters.

That’s a big OOPS, Ron. In my earlier article on Polland’s challenge, I omitted the part about the Federal Election Commission because it didn’t make any sense to me either and I was trying to avoid “piling on.”

43 Responses to FactCheck responds to Polland challenge

  1. avatar
    Daniel December 31, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    The reason is simple…. anything that disagrees with Polland/Polarik must not be allowed to exist.

    Freedom of speech only applies to a birther, and facts only exist if the birtherstan government approves them.

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy December 31, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    One of the questions I raise with myself sometimes is whether this web site is a news site or a blog. That is, am I a member of the press?

    Most of the time, I think the answer to my question is “no”. Most of the “news” here is repackaged from other sources. However, that’s not always the case. In this story I obtained a quote directly from a “news maker.” Other legitimate news articles here include my reports on President Obama’s appearance in Asheville, NC and one on Michele Bachmann’s visit to Spartanburg, SC where I broke the story of her Elvis birthday gaffe.

  3. avatar
    JPotter December 31, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    One of the questions I raise with myself sometimes is whether this web site is a news site or a blog. That is, am I a member of the press?

    Most of the time, I think the answer to my question is “no”. Most of the “news” here is repackaged from other sources. However, that’s not always the case. In this story I obtained a quote directly from a “news maker.” Other legitimate news articles here include my reports on President Obama’s appearance in Asheville, NC and one on Michele Bachmann’s visit to Spartanburg, SC where I broke the story of her Elvis birthday gaffe.

    don’t be so hard on yourself, doc! this is definitely a source of news, as you are reporting (topical) current events. It’s my main source for serious accounts and comments on the subject. The vast majority of news media is repackaging. The question is whether or not your are a reporter … and as you indicate, sometimes you are!

  4. avatar
    CarlOrcas December 31, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: One of the questions I raise with myself sometimes is whether this web site is a news site or a blog. That is, am I a member of the press?

    It’s a little of both in the opinion of this formerly ink stained wretch.

    Most outlets – newspapers, broadcast, etc. – are also full of material from other sources.

    What you are on the leading edge of is narrowcasting and interaction with people interested in this topic. You’ve managed to keep it pretty civilized on a fairly contentious subject. Most general news outlets haven’t figured that part out. They also haven’t figured out how to survive on the web alone but the gods will force that one on them sooner rather than later.

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy December 31, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    I should have given the context of my question, which is the the specific rights and protections given the press by the 1st Amendment. I seem to recall reading one case (libel, I think) in which a court rejected a bloggers claim to be a reporter, saying that the blogger just repackaged content and didn’t do any actual newsgathering, interviews, etc.

    It was my intention after I retired to do more real reporting, and that happened to a limited extent. I wimped out, though, and didn’t go to Terry Lakin’s homecoming (which in retrospect was probably a good thing). We’ll see what 2012 brings.

    JPotter: The question is whether or not your are a reporter … and as you indicate, sometimes you are!

  6. avatar
    G December 31, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    Great points! I agree.

    CarlOrcas: Most outlets – newspapers, broadcast, etc. – are also full of material from other sources.

    What you are on the leading edge of is narrowcasting and interaction with people interested in this topic.

    You’ve managed to keep it pretty civilized on a fairly contentious subject. Most general news outlets haven’t figured that part out.

    They also haven’t figured out how to survive on the web alone but the gods will force that one on them sooner rather than later.

  7. avatar
    CarlOrcas December 31, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I should have given the context of my question, which is the the specific rights and protections given the press by the 1st Amendment.

    You get to an issue here that has been discussed in the hallowed halls of journalism for decades and that, I think, is even more relevant today given the evolution (revolution?)you are part of.

    Many in the business feel and have felt that “journalists” need special protection, special rights.

    My position has always been that anyone that grants special rights (who else, in this case, but the government) will not unreasonably think they can – must – control those they anoint.

    We had enough problems figuring out who got press parking permits (don’t get me started) and passes that police used to control who got past police lines or into government buildings…..like the White House or Congress.

    Imagine what it would be like if the government licensed journalists. Not a pretty picture.

    So……in my humble opinion anyone is, and should be, free to practice the craft (its not a profession) of journalism. It doesn’t matter if you’re the town crier or Doctor Conspiracy or The New York Times. You all have the same rights and responsibilities and that’s what freeedom is all about.

    Stepping off my soapbox now.

  8. avatar
    G December 31, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    I agree with you on that. That sounds in line with the original intent of the 1st Amendment’s protections for a free press…

    CarlOrcas: So……in my humble opinion anyone is, and should be, free to practice the craft (its not a profession) of journalism. It doesn’t matter if you’re the town crier or Doctor Conspiracy or The New York Times. You all have the same rights and responsibilities and that’s what freeedom is all about.

  9. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy December 31, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    Let me give another more relevant (to me) example of preferential treatment. The Department of State provides expedited FOIA processing for press inquiries.

    CarlOrcas: We had enough problems figuring out who got press parking permits (don’t get me started) and passes that police used to control who got past police lines or into government buildings…..like the White House or Congress.

  10. avatar
    CarlOrcas December 31, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    G: I agree with you on that. That sounds in line with the original intent of the 1st Amendment’s protections for a free press…

    Thanks.

    The truth is the first amendment really doesn’t provide any specific protections. It simply proscribes Congress (and by later extension all governments) from abridging freedom of the press…….and speech.

    It’s up to us to make sure the government doesn’t mess with either one and, most important in my opinion, that we don’t give up those freedoms without a lot of thought.

    I have no problem with the “screaming fire in a crowded theater” exception and, for short periods of time, censorship in a war. But.beyond that we need to be very careful…

  11. avatar
    CarlOrcas December 31, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Let me give another more relevant (to me) example of preferential treatment. The Department of State provides expedited FOIA processing for press inquiries

    The rationale behind that sort of restriction and press passes for the White House, for instance, is that they can’t give everyone the same priority and they can’t let everyone into the White House briefing room.

    So, the thinking goes, you provide quick access to those who have the ability to get information to the most people…..wire services, the networks and, today, some websites like Huffington, Politico, etc. (You ought to see what happens if you apply for a WH press pass!)

    As with most things the devil is in the details and from what I’ve seen no one’s being treated very well these days on FOIA requests. Have you seen any data on average response times for the media versus the great unwashed?

  12. avatar
    G December 31, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    Again, well said & I agree!

    I too agree that with your examples of where it can legitimately be restricted.

    Incitement to panic or violence or commit a high crime is definitely an area where I feel restrictions are justified and necessary.

    CarlOrcas: Thanks.

    The truth is the first amendment really doesn’t provide any specific protections. It simply proscribes Congress (and by later extension all governments) from abridging freedom of the press…….and speech.

    It’s up to us to make sure the government doesn’t mess with either one and, most important in my opinion, that we don’t give up those freedoms without a lot of thought.

    I have no problem with the “screaming fire in a crowded theater” exception and, for short periods of time, censorship in a war. But.beyond that we need to be very careful…

  13. avatar
    GeorgetownJD December 31, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    This tax attorney is ROTFLMAO at Ron Polland’s inept excursion into the tax code.

  14. avatar
    Keith December 31, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    G:
    Again, well said & I agree!

    I too agree that with your examples of where it can legitimately be restricted.

    Incitement to panic or violence or commit a high crime is definitely an area where I feel restrictions are justified and necessary.

    So you are in favor of shutting down the websites of WND, Dr. Khate, Orly, …? 😉

  15. avatar
    G December 31, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    They certainly walk a fine line into that territory. I would argue that in many situations, they’ve completely crossed the line, but that definitely is a topic worthy of debate.

    An argument can certainly be made that irresponsible angry crazy people be simply ignored and treated more like a bizarre form of Tourette’s Syndrome on display and that they are simply so lacking in credibility that even their threats can’t be taken seriously.

    Shouting “fire” in a crowded theater is a fairly clear argument as to the risk of actual panic and harm resulting.

    But shouting “fire” in a nearly empty theater…merely stupid and irresponsible, but not posing any serious credible threat.

    So, there is legitimate argument to simply monitor ranting lunatics, without it rising to the level of taking action against them. They deserve to be monitored, for they do carry the risk of inciting lone wolfs amongst the unhinged… but it is really hard to pinpoint when they actually cross that fine line…until there is solid evidence that someone is planning to act out, based on their inspiration.

    Keith: So you are in favor of shutting down the websites of WND, Dr. Khate, Orly, …?

  16. avatar
    CarlOrcas December 31, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    GeorgetownJD: So you are in favor of shutting down the websites of WND, Dr. Khate, Orly, …?

    In those cases I think the issue is incitement to stupid(put a smiley face in here)

  17. avatar
    GeorgetownJD January 1, 2012 at 2:00 am #

    CarlOrcas: In those cases I think the issue is incitement to stupid(put a smiley face in here)

    Except that was not my post.

  18. avatar
    Lupin January 1, 2012 at 4:36 am #

    I for one do not care for your first amendment and, within the framework of properly debated and passed laws and proper judicial review, would be totally in favor of shutting down and levying fines on Orly, Dr Kate and their ilk were they found guilty of sedition, inciting racial hatred, negationism, etc, etc.

  19. avatar
    Northland10 January 1, 2012 at 7:22 am #

    Lupin: I for one do not care for your first amendment

    Neither does Orly or most of the birthers, except when they can use it for their own purpose. Though we are left we having to stomach the vile noise of some, our need to protect the ability to speak out has always outweighed the unfortunate downside. Our occasional brief experiments with alien and sedition acts have, looking back, appeared out of character and in opposition to who we are. As much as I would like to see ones like Orly or Dr. Kate be stopped, the same thinking from another direction creates things like a House Un-American Activities Committee. Would the same thinking from the other side mean that Martin Luther King should not have been aloud to speak for inciting others to rebel against the status quo? (I suspect, many would have like that).

  20. avatar
    JPotter January 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Lupin: I for one do not care for your first amendment and, within the framework of properly debated and passed laws and proper judicial review, would be totally in favor of shutting down and levying fines

    Abhorrent. While it is unfortunate that so many have allowed themselves to be swayed by these fools, even wasting their time and money on them, it is their time and money to waste. And I defend the rights of these nuts to speak their minds, and likewise my right to call them nuts. Until they engage in criminal behavior, they are within their rights.

    Their right to be ostracized, to be publicly castigated, to be dismissed summarily, to regarded as a laughingstock, to be ridiculed, and to receive scorn in record amounts.

  21. avatar
    Joe Acerbic January 1, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    Conspiracy to commit crime is a crime. Wannabe Islamic extremists have gone to prison for much vaguer terror aspirations than even traveling somewhere armed and with intent to attack someone, which birfoons have done inspired and instructed by their leaders’ rants on their websites. Right now birfoon terrorist leaders enjoy special privileges and protection not given to any other terror group except neo-nazis/KKK.

  22. avatar
    G January 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    Both of your points go towards addressing the fine line between where “free speech” rightfully ends and incitement or conspiracy to commit a crime begins.

    I think it comes down to first having some reliable modicum of tangible evidence that the incitement or conspiracy is taking place. Which I why I support monitoring those that attempt to “straddle the line” of inciteful behavior and also giving them friendly “reminder visits” by the Secret Service… so that they have fair warning of just how serious the consequences of their irresponsible statements can be.

    So far, I’d say the US has managed the challenging issue of 1st Amendment rights and allowing a broad freedom of speech in all forms fairly well and in cases of overreach, the courts have been used appropriately to reign them back in.

    JPotter: Abhorrent. While it is unfortunate that so many have allowed themselves to be swayed by these fools, even wasting their time and money on them, it is their time and money to waste. And I defend the rights of these nuts to speak their minds, and likewise my right to call them nuts. Until they engage in criminal behavior, they are within their rights.

    Their right to be ostracized, to be publicly castigated, to be dismissed summarily, to regarded as a laughingstock, to be ridiculed, and to receive scorn in record amounts.

    Joe Acerbic:
    Conspiracy to commit crime is a crime. Wannabe Islamic extremists have gone to prison for much vaguer terror aspirations than even traveling somewhere armed and with intent to attack someone, which birfoons have done inspired and instructed by their leaders’ rants on their websites. Right now birfoon terrorist leaders enjoy special privileges and protection not given to any other terror group except neo-nazis/KKK.

  23. avatar
    Brenda Odonnell January 2, 2012 at 4:32 am #

    Ola! Obamaconspiracy,
    Along the same lines,, The Candidates Weigh In

    Sen. Obama’s campaign responded instantly to people doubts posed by CBN News. Obama’s tax lower phases out for people all-around $a hundred and fifty,000.

    Sen. Hillary Clinton’s marketing campaign did not react, but Hodge believes her proposals give some of her considering.
    “As we glance at Clinton’s proposals, she’s tending to seem at people earning beneath $two hundred,000 or perhaps $250,000 a calendar year” Hodge claimed.

    As for Sen. John MaCain? His campaign also did not react, but Hodge says to look at his proposals.
    “If you look and feel at… his suport of extending the Bush tax cuts, he feels to have a noticeably broader veiw what the center class is, taking into account price of residing and requirements of residing across The us” Hodge claimed.

    Brooks Jackson of (Factcheck.org), which aims to maintain politicians accountable, claims the bottom line is pay out interest.

    “Any voter is perfectly suggested to search surprisingly carefully at what politicians are actually proposing to figure out wether their so-named middle class proposals are heading to benefit them or not.”
    Thanks

  24. avatar
    Lupin January 2, 2012 at 5:38 am #

    JPotter: Lupin: I for one do not care for your first amendment and, within the framework of properly debated and passed laws and proper judicial review, would be totally in favor of shutting down and levying fines

    Abhorrent. While it is unfortunate that so many have allowed themselves to be swayed by these fools, even wasting their time and money on them, it is their time and money to waste. And I defend the rights of these nuts to speak their minds, and likewise my right to call them nuts. Until they engage in criminal behavior, they are within their rights.

    I don’t happen to share your views, while I certainly understand that each country has the right to legislate/regulate what constitutes free speech.

    Most (all?) countries in Europe have more stringent regulations on free speech — hate speech in particular — and I applaud them.

    Also after 60 years of practice I think it works rather well and hasn’t led to some kind of tyranny.

    But you are of course free to disagree.

  25. avatar
    G January 2, 2012 at 5:46 am #

    I can understand and respect your viewpoint, Lupin. I agree that the European models seem to be working as well with their greater restrictions and yet still allowing broad freedom.

    Here in the U.S., it is simply a matter that is enshrined within the framework of our Constitution. so we are simply bound by working within that and our nation so far has seemed to be at its best when it has erred on the side of greater individual liberties than when it has tried to restrict them.

    Lupin: I don’t happen to share your views, while I certainly understand that each country has the right to legislate/regulate what constitutes free speech.

    Most (all?) countries in Europe have more stringent regulations on free speech — hate speech in particular — and I applaud them.

    Also after 60 years of practice I think it works rather well and hasn’t led to some kind of tyranny.

    But you are of course free to disagree.

  26. avatar
    Lupin January 2, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    G: Here in the U.S., it is simply a matter that is enshrined within the framework of our Constitution. so we are simply bound by working within that and our nation so far has seemed to be at its best when it has erred on the side of greater individual liberties than when it has tried to restrict them.

    I understand, of course. The harsh truth is, of course, the Laws (& the Constitution) is ultimately what the people in charge of interpreting it say it is.

    We in France saw some monstrous and purposeful misinterpretation of perfectly fine laws by the Vichy regime, and I recall reading a decision from thew Chilean Supreme Court pretty much giving general Pinochet carte blanche to arrest, imprison, torture, etc whoever he wished.

    While not as nefarious as the Pinochet or Vichy regimes, the US is presently skirting awfully close to this with your Patriot act and indefinite detention law; in the practice, you still don’t have Al Jazeera on your cable channels, and although we in France and Germany can prosecute people who publicly express pro-Nazi views, or deny the Holocaust ever happened, in the US Bill Maher lost its TV show for saying it wasn’t particularly brave to bomb people from above and need I mention the so-called Ground Zero Mosque?

    My point here is that laws on the paper have never stopped tyranny. Berlin in 1939 had some really thriving opposition to Hitler in cabarets and intellectual circles. I believe some lawyer even successfully sued the Nazi Party for some of the damage its goons did and compelled Hitler to testify.

    He never forgave, of course, all all those brave people who had thought the law would shield them ended up dead.

    We do have the occasional silly prosecution that really ought not to happen (such as when the Head of State gets insulted, etc.), because it is kind of medieval, and I’m sorry for that. On the other hand, we’re able to better repress our lunatic fringes, cult-like religious movements, etc, which may and can inflict some real damage on society. I see it as a reasonable trade-off.

  27. avatar
    Majority Will January 2, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    JPotter: Abhorrent. While it is unfortunate that so many have allowed themselves to be swayed by these fools, even wasting their time and money on them, it is their time and money to waste. And I defend the rights of these nuts to speak their minds, and likewise my right to call them nuts. Until they engage in criminal behavior, they are within their rights.

    Their right to be ostracized, to be publicly castigated, to be dismissed summarily, to regarded as a laughingstock, to be ridiculed, and to receive scorn in record amounts.

    “Until they engage in criminal behavior, they are within their rights.”

    True.

    But sadly, it may take too long to sort the drunken, illiterate loudmouths from the murderous birthers like James Von Brunn.

    Here are examples worth considering:

    http://viletweets.com/

    And I still blame Hannity and Limbaugh. How many lone wolves are they grooming?

  28. avatar
    Thrifty January 2, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    So you’re simultaneously saying that the U.S. is suppressing civil liberties with acts like the Patriot Act, and saying that we are too loose with our civil liberties for having the First Amendment. If you’re going to keep up this America hating snotty Frenchman persona, couldn’t you at least be consistent? Right now it sounds like you actually love freedom of speech–provided the speech is something you agree with.

    Birthers and right wing cranks are for the most part annoying and mean. Sometimes they turn violent, but violence with motivations that are completely nonpolitical is much much more common. I don’t see the usefulness of government censoring people just because you find their views annoying or hateful. When religious groups try to ban books or erotic material, we just say “If you don’t like it, just don’t look.” There’s no reason we shouldn’t do the same thing. And again, don’t play that stupid “political extremists are violent” card. Like I said, that stuff is uncommon and vastly outnumbered by drug and gang related violence.

    Lupin: While not as nefarious as the Pinochet or Vichy regimes, the US is presently skirting awfully close to this with your Patriot act and indefinite detention law

  29. avatar
    Lupin January 2, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    Thrifty: So you’re simultaneously saying that the U.S. is suppressing civil liberties with acts like the Patriot Act, and saying that we are too loose with our civil liberties for having the First Amendment. If you’re going to keep up this America hating snotty Frenchman persona, couldn’t you at least be consistent? Right now it sounds like you actually love freedom of speech–provided the speech is something you agree with.

    You really are an idiot and I don’t know why you’re so bigoted and narrow-minded that you have to react with childish invective to any criticism from me when the same and worse can be found on Greenwald, Atrios, DKos and a hundred other blogs which I read and whose opinions I respect.

    Personally I’m not at all upset when people criticize (rightly or wrongly) France or the EU and I welcome the debate, and frankly I don’t care where they come from. And also, they’re all too often right.

  30. avatar
    Joe Acerbic January 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    The U.S. protection of “free speech” is extremely partisan, bigoted, dishonest, smarmy and transparently falsely self-righteous.

    Wannabe terrorists of most any stripes are routinely investigated, convicted and imprisoned for nothing more than babbling among themselves (and with the most active member, the FBI infiltrator) about vague intentions to do something.

    Only the right wing terrorists are always exempt and protected, untouchable until they kill people and even then only the ones doing the physical killing are dealt with while the leaders are stll coddled sacred cows gloriously free to continue preaching to their followers about who needs to be killed.

  31. avatar
    JPotter January 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Lupin: While not as nefarious as the Pinochet or Vichy regimes, the US is presently skirting awfully close to this with your Patriot act and indefinite detention law; in the practice, you still don’t have Al Jazeera on your cable channels, and although we in France and Germany can prosecute people who publicly express pro-Nazi views, or deny the Holocaust ever happened, in the US Bill Maher lost its TV show for saying it wasn’t particularly brave to bomb people from above and need I mention the so-called Ground Zero Mosque?

    Are you alleging that the US gov’t had Maher yanked? That the American governemnt blocks the availability of Al Jazeera? That the City or State of New York and/or the federal gov’t attempted to block the so-called Ground Zero Mosque? You are comparing the French and German law / policy on one hand to blathering points, flawed thinking of individuals and groups in this country. None of the examples you cite are the result of government action, but represent the desires and wishes of biased entities and/or cowardly corporations.

    There are some limits to speech / expression in all(?) countries, including this one. The oft-cited stance on threats against a US President comes to mind, alongside your examples, restrictions regarding Nazism and holocaust-denial in Europe. If these chuckleheads cross the line into making specific threats, they will make criminals of themselves. You would seriously advocate a free-for-all witch hunt of a group advocating an offensive mythology? After the Birthers are made to disappear, would you have a suggestions for the next target(s)?

    Can you see the similarities in your position and the objects of your criticism?

  32. avatar
    mikeyes January 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: One of the questions I raise with myself sometimes is whether this web site is a news site or a blog. That is, am I a member of the press?

    http://volokh.com/2012/01/02/the-original-and-traditional-meaning-of-freedom-of-the-press/ is a good discussion of that very topic. It is not as straight forward as you might think.

  33. avatar
    G January 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    Lupin, thank you. Those were excellent points backed up with excellent examples. The balancing act on freedoms is truly a blurry one at times. Your examples provide important reminders for why intense scrutiny and deliberate debate is necessary anytime laws are considered that alter this balance.

    Yes, we definitely have a few areas of concern and erosion taking place. Not all of the Patriot Act is “bad”…but it sure has a number of provisions that seem rife for abuse and cause for concern and which seem to have arisen out of overreaction instead of prudence.

    Lupin: I understand, of course. The harsh truth is, of course, the Laws (& the Constitution) is ultimately what the people in charge of interpreting it say it is.

    We in France saw some monstrous and purposeful misinterpretation of perfectly fine laws by the Vichy regime, and I recall reading a decision from thew Chilean Supreme Court pretty much giving general Pinochet carte blanche to arrest, imprison, torture, etc whoever he wished.

    While not as nefarious as the Pinochet or Vichy regimes, the US is presently skirting awfully close to this with your Patriot act and indefinite detention law; in the practice, you still don’t have Al Jazeera on your cable channels, and although we in France and Germany can prosecute people who publicly express pro-Nazi views, or deny the Holocaust ever happened, in the US Bill Maher lost its TV show for saying it wasn’t particularly brave to bomb people from above and need I mention the so-called Ground Zero Mosque?

    My point here is that laws on the paper have never stopped tyranny. Berlin in 1939 had some really thriving opposition to Hitler in cabarets and intellectual circles. I believe some lawyer even successfully sued the Nazi Party for some of the damage its goons did and compelled Hitler to testify.

    He never forgave, of course, all all those brave people who had thought the law would shield them ended up dead.

    We do have the occasional silly prosecution that really ought not to happen (such as when the Head of State gets insulted, etc.), because it is kind of medieval, and I’m sorry for that. On the other hand, we’re able to better repress our lunatic fringes, cult-like religious movements, etc, which may and can inflict some real damage on society. I see it as a reasonable trade-off.

  34. avatar
    G January 2, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    This is the line of reasoning on the issue that I prefer to follow as a guideline as well.

    Thrifty: I don’t see the usefulness of government censoring people just because you find their views annoying or hateful. When religious groups try to ban books or erotic material, we just say “If you don’t like it, just don’t look.” There’s no reason we shouldn’t do the same thing.

  35. avatar
    G January 2, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    I don’t buy this at all. I think you are simply perceiving it to be true. I see no evidence that this is actually the case and I don’t like the perpetration of any false memes.

    In fact, I challenge the assumption that people are being prosecuted and convicted off of only a few statements without any evidence to back them up. That simply isn’t how our courts work.

    Bottom line, words that imply a threat do warrant a “red flag” that can garnish further attention. Foolish and irresponsible people might rightly get a visit and a warning to help them grasp that they need to be more responsible for what they say and do and are accountable for their actions. Potentially dangerous people are rightly monitored and investigated to see if there is any credible threat behind their statements. Arrests, prosecutions and convictions only take place if there is sufficient credible evidence to validate a real threat was at hand.

    I see no evidence that this process isn’t being applied fairly consistently within the U.S., regardless of the political or ideological bent it is directed against.

    Joe Acerbic:
    The U.S. protection of “free speech” is extremely partisan, bigoted, dishonest, smarmy and transparently falsely self-righteous.

    Wannabe terrorists of most any stripes are routinely investigated, convicted and imprisoned for nothing more than babbling among themselves (and with the most active member, the FBI infiltrator) about vague intentions to do something.

    Only the right wing terrorists are always exempt and protected, untouchable until they kill people and even then only the ones doing the physical killing are dealt with while the leaders are stll coddled sacred cows gloriously free to continue preaching to their followers about who needs to be killed.

  36. avatar
    Majority Will January 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    G:
    I see no evidence that this process isn’t being applied fairly consistently within the U.S., regardless of the political or ideological bent it is directed against.

    And the long and despicable history of censorship in the U.S.?

    http://civilliberty.about.com/od/freespeech/tp/History-of-Censorship.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_in_the_United_States

    http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/society/A0857225.html

    Just how dangerous is a nipple (especially when graphic violence is o.k.)?

  37. avatar
    G January 2, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    Majority Will –

    I enjoyed your examples and I too do not appreciate censorship and agree that our society needs to be constantly vigilant against those types of abuses when they crop up from time to time. So I’m on your side on that particular argument…

    …However, you are creating a completely broader and different argument way beyond the context of anything I was talking about, so I just want to reign you in from both misrepresenting my position and going off on a whole different tangent.

    The context of my points was clear – the topic at hand was specifically and pointedly a about investigations, arrests and convictions dealing with “threats” of violence associated with them and challenging Joe Acerbic’s assertion that certain groups or ideologies are being treated differently in such potential cases of “terrorism”.

    Your points all deal with issues of “indecency” forms of censorship. A completely different issue and fully outside the context of the types of situations and reactions that I was addressing.

    I stand by my position and words.

    Majority Will: And the long and despicable history of censorship in the U.S.?

    http://civilliberty.about.com/od/freespeech/tp/History-of-Censorship.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_in_the_United_States

    http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/society/A0857225.html

    Just how dangerous is a nipple (especially when graphic violence is o.k.)?

  38. avatar
    Majority Will January 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    G: However, you are creating a completely broader and different argument way beyond the context of anything I was talking about

    Yeah, it was. My point is that the mechanism and ability to censor is firmly in place and it is and always will be political as well as cultural.

  39. avatar
    G January 2, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    We are in agreement on that.

    I just want to be careful of taking one’s point out of context in order to broaden a tangent into areas beyond the original intent and therefore causing the main point to be lost.

    So to recap, I agree that there are clear areas on the broad issue of freedoms of speech, expression and censorship in which even our country is always at risk and needs to be brought back in balance…

    …But on the specific issue of how we handle situations of potential domestic terrorism or violent threats that originate with a threatening statement – on that topic, I think the U.S. has so far been very responsible and consistent with how they treat, investigate and when necessary, prosecute those threats; regardless of the categorical classification of the threat originator.

    Therefore, I completely challenge and disagree with any “meme” being floated that certain categories of offenders are being given either a free pass or harsher treatment in these regards. I just want to make that point very pointedly and very clear and do not want it to get lost or wrapped up into broader issues.

    Majority Will: Yeah, it was. My point is that the mechanism and ability to censor is firmly in place and it is and always will be political as well as cultural.

  40. avatar
    Keith January 2, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    Brenda Odonnell: Ola! Obamaconspiracy,
    Along the same lines,,…

    Whoa! That was weird.

    This kind of fits a pattern I’m seeing lately of spam attacks on other forums. Some foreign text that sort of has some peripheral similarity to the forum’s subject, translated by computer from some foreign text, just suddenly appears out of nowhere.

    I can’t for the life of me figure out what the motivation is, it isn’t like they are going to mine the users site for email addresses or get people to link back to their malware sites.

    Some forum sites have a post count threshold that allows you into more features after some some minimal amount of participation, but these spam accounts will always be banned before they reach that level.

  41. avatar
    Lupin January 3, 2012 at 3:25 am #

    Obviously I was not advocating random censorship.

    Take anti-hate speech laws or anti-holocaust denying laws in France and Germany, for instance.

    Obviously those laws were debated by democratically elected representatives, then passed, so they are truly the law of the land.

    The penalties under said laws are not unduly harsh — sometimes purely symbolic. Loathsome antisemitic fashion designer John Galliano was recently found guilty of hurling antisemitic insults at a couple in a restaurant and condemned to pay — 1 euro. (Personally I’d have socked him for more, but that’s not the point.)

    France and Germany are reasonably free and well-policed society which have decided collectively that there is some speech that is vile and odious and possibly dangerous and that should be punished.

    We have also decided that sects like the Raelians or the Scientologists should be monitored closely and when they cross a line, prosecuted before they can inflict more harm.

    As I pointed out in the end, ultimately neither your Constitution nor our laws are an effective protection against tyranny should such horrible conditions unfortunately arise. So I don’t think of your first amendment as that powerful a shield in the event of an emergency. On the other hand, on a day to day basis, it is used by seditious racists like Dr Kate and Orly to issue their vile propaganda.

    So, all in all, I’ll take our anti-hate speech laws against your first amendment. But of course, each society is perfectly fine to regulate itself as it sees fit. This is purely an academic discussion.

  42. avatar
    G January 3, 2012 at 3:54 am #

    I hear ya. As I said, I have no problem with your system over there either.

    Heck, if America was just being formed today, I’m sure there would be a number of differences in constructing a Constitution to reflect the kinds of concerns or scenarios facing a technologically advanced and interconnected data-driven world.

    I can easily see a strong argument made that under our “modern world” dynamics, society is kept safer and more stable under a more “European” model of restricting and monitoring certain types of vile and inflammatory “hate” speech or restricting the ability of certain types of cult movements…

    Lupin:
    Obviously I was not advocating random censorship.

    Take anti-hate speech laws or anti-holocaust denying laws in France and Germany, for instance.

    Obviously those laws were debated by democratically elected representatives, then passed, so they are truly the law of the land.

    The penalties under said laws are not unduly harsh — sometimes purely symbolic. Loathsome antisemitic fashion designer John Galliano was recently found guilty of hurling antisemitic insults at a couple in a restaurant and condemned to pay — 1 euro. (Personally I’d have socked him for more, but that’s not the point.)

    France and Germany are reasonably free and well-policed society which have decided collectively that there is some speech that is vile and odious and possibly dangerous and that should be punished.

    We have also decided that sects like the Raelians or the Scientologists should be monitored closely and when they cross a line, prosecuted before they can inflict more harm.

    As I pointed out in the end, ultimately neither your Constitution nor our laws are an effective protection against tyranny should such horrible conditions unfortunately arise.So I don’t think of your first amendment as that powerful a shield in the event of an emergency. On the other hand, on a day to day basis, it is used by seditious racists like Dr Kate and Orly to issue their vile propaganda.

    So, all in all, I’ll take our anti-hate speech laws against your first amendment. But of course, each society is perfectly fine to regulate itself as it sees fit. This is purely an academic discussion.

  43. avatar
    Lupin January 3, 2012 at 4:05 am #

    G: Heck, if America was just being formed today, I’m sure there would be a number of differences in constructing a Constitution to reflect the kinds of concerns or scenarios facing a technologically advanced and interconnected data-driven world.

    An excellent point. The internet as a phenomenon somewhat beyond the scope of national laws is really stretching the ability of our judicial systems.

    There was a very interesting legal case a few years ago of people selling nazi memorabilia on ebay (which is illegal here but not in the US) which was litigated both in France and then in California and both legal systems found it hard to cope with the practicalities of the situation. Look it up, it’s quite interesting.