Tag Archives | freedom of speech

Terry Jones banned from protesting in front of Detroit mosque

Burning a Koran is front of a mosque is a deliberate incitement to violence. The US allows far more freedom of speech than most countries. Germany, for example, bans any favorable reference to Nazism. Even here in the US, there is not complete freedom of speech. You cannot threaten violence against someone or advocate the violent overthrow of the government.

While we should always err in favor of free speech, there are and should be limits. Yes, this can be a long, slippery slope to repression and needs to be guarded against. But Terry Jones’ previous Koran burning did lead to people being killed. He should not be permitted to do it in public and forthe same reason that the KKK cannot burn crosses on public property.

Britain jails extremist who burned Koran

A convicted racist who burned a Koran in front of city centre shoppers has been jailed for 70 days after a judge described the act as “theatrical bigotry”.

He is a member of the virulently racist and arguably fascist English Defence League.

Steve Hynd of Newshoggers, who is Scottish and part of our weekly Polizeros podcast, says in email.

The US laws would let Hitler talk and organise unhindered. In Europe we remember how that turns out in a way Americans just don’t.

I think of America, I think of no experience *in living memory* of facists seizing entire industrialized, advanced, nations and unleashing the full might of modern “shock and awe” on civilians by the *tens of millions*

Terry Jones’ intent in burning a Koran here in the States clearly was to incite violence. 70 days in jail is a sentence for their equivalent of a misdemeanor here.

Should Koran-burning be punishable here or would that be just more of the long, slippery slope down to decreased freedoms? or is allowing incitement to violence a long, slippery slope?

Josh Mull, the moderator of our weekly Polizeros podcast strongly advocates for freedom of speech. Also from email.

When say, John Bolton, goes on TV and threatens Iran (and therefore Iranians) with bombing and nuclear weapons – what is that? Is he inciting violence? What about the Project for a New American Century advocating war on Iraq? What about CPAC advocating deploying the military against Mexican immigrants? Where do you draw the line?

When Larry the Cable Guy goes on TV and says Chinese people talk funny, is that theatrical bigotry? What about if Pat Robertson says gay people cause hurricanes, should he go to jail? What about when PM Cameron, or Tony Blair, supports the occupation of Gaza? His INTENT is to cause the occupation to happen, right?

Curbing speech is stupid, arbitrary, and cowardly. It doesn’t solve any problems, it just makes the frightened and entitled feel better about themselves (like locking up black men for drugs – problem solved!!!)

What do you think?

On Terry Jones wanting to put Mohammed on trial

Steve Hynd, in a fine rant, says Terry Jones is trying to provoke violence in the Muslim world, and the US legal is too lame and too mired in 18th century constitutional fetishism to stop him.

He blasts Andrew Exum, who happily says that US soldiers can die to defend the supposed free speech of Terry Jones, as a perfect example of such lunacy.

Exum’s post begins from the popular myth that the U.S. is “a nation founded by the political and religious dissidents of Mother Europe” rather than the truth – that most of the original settlers were madmen, criminals and psychopaths either fleeing justice or exiled by their governments.

(Hey buddy, my first ancestor here in the States arrived from England shortly after the Pilgrims and was a selfless seeker of freedom. Oh wait, he was actually a privateer AKA a semi-legalized pirate, wasn’t he? Hmmm.)

It then meanders illogically from America’s sensible and ethically correct prescriptions that “protect a man’s freedom to worship God – or not worship God – as he pleases” to calling for Americans to die to the last of them for someone who doesn’t believe in that freedom of religion. I’ve news for Exum – the first rule of human relations, be they ethics or anything else, is that when you refuse to play by the rules of the game yourself you give up the right to be treated according to the rules of the game.

This is the core point. With freedom comes responsibility to the group, something often overlooked by free speech advocates here. In the UK, Jones would be arrested for his antics (he’s already been banned from entering the country) as would Westboro Baptist, as the right of citizens to not be unduly threatened trumps the right to absolute free speech regardless of consequences and with no responsibility.

Does free speech include the right to mouth off like Terry Jones

Stve Hynd, a Polizeros Radio blogging partner, says Terry Jones’ inflammatory burning of Korans perhaps should not be protected by freedom of speech.

Some thoughts.

1) Jones’ church has about 50 members. For the mainstream media to give him such slavish and devoted coverage is twisted and deranged, and more evidence, if any be needed than the MSM cares only about ratings (which in turn generates advertising revenue.) In my opinion, they share equal blame with Pastor Jones for the retaliatory deaths.

2) Those who murdered innocents to protest something they had no involvement with are terrorists pure and simple as they killed non-combatant to make a political point. Jones’ laid a trap. They walked into it. Both sides here are despicable.

3) In Germany, you do not have freedom of speech about Nazism. Those praising it can be arrested and imprisoned. Germany has no sense of humor about Nazism, which is as it should be.

Freedom of speech also implies responsibility, something neither Terry Jones or our mainstream media has.

Terry Jones would be languishing in obscurity if our mainstream media hadn’t chosen to focus on him and make known worldwide. This was made worse by too many politicians here either saying nothing about Jones or cheering him on for their own political gain.

“I shouted out
who killed the Kennedy’s
when after all
it was you and me.”

Milblogs go silent today in protest


Many milblogs (blogs written by those serving in the US armed forces) will be silent today in protest against “an increasingly hostile environment from within the military” and in particular the “treatment of milblogger C.J. Grisham of A Soldier’s Perspective” who now needs money for his legal defense.

Freedom of speech means everyone has the right to speak their mind, not just those you agree with. I probably don’t agree with milblogs about the Afghanistan war. However I do support their right to say it.