Better 88 Years Late Than Never

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Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer has posthumously pardoned 79 World War I-era citizens who had been prosecuted under the Sedition Act.

Seventy-nine Montanans were convicted under the state law, considered among the harshest in the country, for speaking out in ways deemed critical of the United States. In one instance, a traveling wine and brandy salesman was sentenced to 7 to 20 years in prison for calling wartime food regulations a "big joke."

"I'm going to say what Gov. Sam Stewart should have said," Mr. Schweitzer said, referring to the man who signed the sedition legislation into law in 1918. "I'm sorry, forgive me, and God bless America, because we can criticize our government."

As Reason reported last week, this "we can criticize our government" deal is still being worked out.

NEXT: Icarus Cole

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  1. Since a Democrat pol might have a lot of dead people voting for him, I guess pandering to them comes on quite naturally and is thus ok.

  2. Big newsflash corporatarians!

    Halliburton, exxon mob, and bechtel pre-pardoned for war profiterring!!

    Good to see you all are still on the job protecting our liberty.

  3. We’ve got drx in this thread, Jersey in another. Bring back Dave W. and we’ll have the freak show trifecta!

  4. Thoreau,

    So, I’m to take it that you are one of those pro-war-profiteering FAKE libertarians?

    JMJ

  5. Jersey, you and Dave W. are probably the only people on this forum to mistake me for a war supporter.

  6. Not that Thoreau needs any help from me, JMJ, but it does seem that your contribution to the discourse of late is limited largely to calling people names, stringing together unsupported facts and generally attempting to elevate yourself at the expense of others…see I’m just like you now 😉

  7. Thoreax says “freakshow” and that’s okay – I ask why, but that’s not okay.

    Phonies.

    JMJ

  8. I apologize for my original post in this thread. That was unfair of me.

    As to the original topic of this thread, I wonder if some day we’ll have a bunch of pardons for miscarriages of justice committed during the War on Terror.

  9. sure it’s ok. I just liked reading your stuff better when it tried to make a logical arugment for your position…unlike your recent posts. Thoreau gets a pass because most of his posts do that…

  10. “Thoreax says “freakshow” and that’s okay – I ask why, but that’s not okay.”

    I think that just might say something about the value of one’s reputation.

  11. a bunch of pardons for miscarriages of justice committed during the War on Terror.

    I suspect that the charges likely to be filed against senior member of the current administration will require something like that…

  12. How exactly does one make the logical leap from “I think it’s good that these ordinary citizens finally had their sedition charges overturned” to “Ha! This just proves you support war profiteers?”

  13. PLEASE stop responding to it. It’s going to stay around and troll as long as it gets a response.

  14. Montana did it, let’s hope that a number of other state’s follow suit.

  15. I don’t think I mistook you for a war supporter, T. If I did, then I stand corrected.

    On the other hand, the Iraq War has been a disaster for the libertarian ideal that this particular freek holds dear (specifically lower gov’t spending). When I get criticized for not being sufficiently libertarian in areas that have not to do with government spending (eg, product warning labels, tort law, antitrust), I think about how partial and lukewarm was here to the Iraq War, especially last year when I started following HnR regularly.

    In other words, my libertarianism is no freakier than that of anybody who voted for Bush in ’04. I just get a harder time here is all. That is okay. Because that is going to change. What you call it a trifecta I call the future of the movement.

  16. –how partial and lukewarm opposition was to that unneccessary excercise of government power and spending we call the Iraq War–

  17. I’m still waiting for Bill Clinton for bringing Monica Lewinsky into the public eye.

    Really, my eyes are still hurting from that one.

  18. thoreau,

    We’ve got drx in this thread, Jersey in another. Bring back Dave W. and we’ll have the freak show trifecta!

    That’s not very nice.

  19. I’m still waiting for Bill Clinton to apologize for bringing Monica Lewinsky into the public eye (whether he wanted to or not).

    Really, my eyes are still hurting from that one.

  20. Sorry.

  21. People think the “Free-speech zones” are bad (I do) – they pale in comparison to the antics of George Creel, the CPI, and Wilson during WW1.

  22. Thoreau,
    You’re insulting freaks everywhere.

  23. Does anybody know if the people who received long sentences actually served the full term? Did they get clemency after WWI ended?

  24. Without naming names, several different people who have commented on this entry deserve an “o rly?” owl for their troubles.

  25. I apologize for providing an example of what happens when one posts insults rather than reasoned commentary.

  26. Does anybody know if the people who received long sentences actually served the full term? Did they get clemency after WWI ended?

    Everything that I’ve read says no. SCOTUS heard their appeals two years after the end of the war and upheld the convictions under the act.

    A number of naturalized citizens were deported under the terms of the act.

  27. “o rly?” owl

    Funny you brought him up. I have this vision of Bush meeting with Wolfowitz and Cheney and Rumsfeld in August 2001 and getting that memo about “Bin Laden determined to strike in US.” As copies of the memo are passed around the big table, I imagine them all looking up with that Orly The Owl look as the memo sinks in. Then Karl Rove enters to give his talk on the likely political fallout of a successful Islamic terrorist attack on US soil.

    Of course it didn’t happen that way. I don’t even think Orly was invented in 2001!

  28. thoreau,

    At least some of the more famous defendants at least – Debs, Stokes, etc. – either had their sentences commuted or made a successful appeal.

  29. David W.,

    Thank you for sharing the good news.

  30. I apologize for providing an example of what happens when one posts insults rather than reasoned commentary.

    THat’s the best non-apology, apology I have ever seen

  31. I apologize for providing an example of what happens when one posts insults rather than reasoned commentary.

    That’s the best non-apology, apology I have ever seen

  32. I apologize for providing an example of what happens when one posts insults rather than reasoned commentary.

    That’s the best non-apology, apology I have ever seen

  33. I apologize for providing an example of what happens when one posts insults rather than reasoned commentary.

    And what have u learnt from your example, T.? Hopefully u were able to confirm joe1’s folkwisdom about pigs’n’dirt without cutting up another piglet.

  34. Well, this is good, maybe the sentiment will help keep the tragedy from happening again.

  35. At least some of the more famous defendants at least – Debs, Stokes, etc. – either had their sentences commuted or made a successful appeal.

    IIRC, Harding pardoned Debs. But I always interpretted it as a poke in the eye to the Democrats rather than a gesture of sympathy towards Debs.

  36. -Seems to me that Buffalo Bob, handler of the Texas Howdy Doody, is from Montana. That this pardon ever even occured is amazing.

  37. That’s not very nice.

    Yes, but it was pretty damn funny. It certainly made up in humor what it lacked in politesse. 🙂

  38. – Save your comments, good people; I just checked and it turns out that Buffalo Bob is actually from Wyoming, not Montana. There’s an old joke that goes “He moved from town A to town B, thereby raising the average I.Q. of both towns” but that joke doesn’t apply here. Think I’ll lay down and rest my fevered brain.

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