Mitt Romney

Freedom of Speech for Some, Miniature American Flags for Others

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You're still digesting those slabs of pattied beef and washing the firework soot off your flag-colored silk shirt. Why not keep the 4th of July spirit going a little longer with the Boston Phoenix and the 9th annual "Muzzle Awards"? Alongside the expected stories of war-on-terror hysteria (who knew Mitt Romney was a lunatic?), there are between-the-cracks tales like this.

Log on to Conte2006.com—a Web site operated by an antagonist of Worcester County district attorney John Conte—and you will see something unusual: streaming video of a man being arrested in his home.

Here's something even more unusual: even though the video was posted with the permission of the arrestee, State Police have threatened Conte2006.com's webmaster, Leominster resident Mary T. Jean, with arrest, prosecution, and up to two years in prison if she doesn't remove it from her site.

There's also a story about a student pilloried for failing to salute the flag. It's like a bizarro episode of the Sean Hannity show—and I don't just mean author Dan Kennedy has a normal-sized head and a college degree.

NEXT: "No matter how silly the idea of having a queen might be to us, as Americans we must be gracious and considerate hosts."

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  1. This one is pretty bad. A guy has security cameras showing police overreach and abuse. With signs posted and everything. He brought them in to complain and ends up getting arrested under wiretap laws.

  2. This one is pretty bad. A guy has security cameras showing police overreach and abuse. With signs posted and everything. He brought them in to complain and ends up getting arrested under wiretap laws.

  3. Isn’t there some rule about how, if you want readers to take you seriously, you must avoid head-spinning logical errors in your lead paragraph?

    “Fear and repression are the two ingredients that fuel the Bush White House, and anyone who dares say otherwise is branded as unpatriotic at best, a traitor at worst.”

    Um, George Bush would probably say that fear and repression are not the two ingredients that fuel his White House. I don’t think he’d then turn around and ship himself off to Gitmo for the thought crime.

    Dan Kennedy is probably not a sophomore in college, but he sure sounds like a few I knew back in the day.

  4. If you want to be taken seriously as a writer, don’t you have to avoid head-spinning logical errors in your first paragraph?

    “Fear and repression are the two ingredients that fuel the Bush White House, and anyone who dares say otherwise is branded as unpatriotic at best, a traitor at worst.”

    I’ll go out on a limb here and say that President Bush would not say that fear and repression fuel his White House, and that he would not order himself bound, gagged and shipped off to Gitmo after committing said thought crime.

    Give me a break.

    And I really love the peace activists who demonstrate in front of military bases and recruiting stations, yet pretend they’re being oppressed when the military keeps an eye on them. They ought to be happy; the military security types are the only people who pay them much attention.

  5. Dan Kennedy is probably not a sophomore in college, but he sure sounds like a few I knew back in the day.

    Him and the rest of the Phoenix staff. That’s an apt description, seeing as what used to be a semi-interesting alternaweekly is now just a weak analog of the nutty pulp-leftizines I remember from my college days. Now that people don’t need them for their club listings and music reviews it seems like they’re just playing to their base.

  6. In Pasadena, the audit came after the Reverend George Regas delivered a sermon titled ?If Jesus Debated Senator Kerry and President Bush.? According to reports, Degas said at one point, ?Mr. President, your doctrine of pre-emptive war is a failed doctrine.?

    If a nonprofit organization endorses or opposes a candidate for public office, they better damn well get audited and lose their tax-free status.

  7. Except for the ill-fated Prohibition amendment, these would be the only changes to the Constitution that took away rights rather than expanded them.

    From the perspective of slave owners, the 13th also took away rights.

  8. From the perspective of slave owners, the 13th also took away rights.

    That’s a rather odd statement to make. Why make it?

  9. The whole question of rights is interesting. If one believes that the Constitution is primarily there to prevent individual rights from being trampled on, how could anyone have a “right” to own another human being as chattel property?

    “State’s Rights” is a canard used to disguise the fact that the “rights” they were fighting for were the right to deny the humanity and individual rights of other human beings. The war was about slavery.

  10. MP,

    Because it is the truth. There is no natural right to force the community endorse your homosexual relationship as a “marriage”, any more than there is a right to own slaves, or a right to forcibly convert people to your religion, a “right” which was taken away by the 1st Ammendment.

  11. bonsaikc,

    The problem is, the concept of a “right” is overused. In the tradition of natural law, which the Framers were undoubtedly part of, a right is not something that can be granted or taken away at will, but something inherent to the person which can only be recognized.

    When you start talking about the right to an education, the right to a same-sex marriage, the right to a job, or the right to make a hundred copies of someone else’s work, you only cheapen the concept of a right. There is no way of justifying such so-called rights from a natural law standpoint, so a right becomes something granted to certain people in accordance with current fashion, rather than something inherent to humanity for all eternity.

    Basically, if you have a right to everything, you haven’t a right to anything.

  12. crimethink,
    There is no such thing as the “right” to get married period. If there were, we’d have no desperate singles now would we? That homosexual couples want the same legal recognition and benifits that heterosexual couples enjoy is a legitimate complaint. Ultimately, a legally recognized union of any sort, homo or hetero, doesn’t infringe on your personal rights, rather it enforces the rights of the joined individuals to share in both property and debt.

  13. Edit:
    rather it enforces the rights of the joined individuals
    Should have been:
    rather it enforces the legal standing of the joined individuals

  14. crimethink,

    Marraige falls at least partly under the liberty of contract; a natural right long-recognized.

  15. Basically, if you have a right to everything, you haven’t a right to anything.

    I’ve never seen much of a problem considering rights in the broadest sense so long as what is considered a right does not infringe on the rights of others.

    However, I also don’t see that anyone else has an obligation to secure or satisfy every right you may have.

    For example, I would say that you do have a right to an education, a same-sex marriage, etc. in the sense that no one can deny you of these things. But no one is forced to educate or marry you.

    If you can’t find someone to educate you and consequently fulfill your right to an education well you may have reached an impasse, but your right has not been denied in the sense that you are not allowed to be educated should you find someone willing to do so.

    of course, this is just a rough idea and probably full of holes.

  16. Except for the ill-fated Prohibition amendment, these would be the only changes to the Constitution that took away rights rather than expanded them.

    Didn’t the 11th Amendment take aways the right of a citizen in state A to sue state B in federal court?

    Didn’t the 14th amendment (temporarily) take away the right of some former Confederates to serve or be elected to state or federal office?

    Didn’t the 22nd Amendment take away the right to be elected to President more than twice? (OK, that’s sort of pushing it)

  17. FYI, it’s pronounced “Lem-in-ster.” Not “Leo-min-ster.”

    That would make too much sense.

    Leominster is a major plastic producing city. Take a look at the bottom of most any standard five gallon bucket.

  18. crimethink,

    Do you agree with the decision in Loving vs. Virginia that marriage is right? And don’t give me any b.s. “the word marriage doesn’t appear in the Constitution” argument. The word “breathing” doesn’t appear in the Constitution, but it is clearly part of the right to life, just as being allowed to marry your consenting beloved is clearly part of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Second, do you agree with the reasoning behind the 14th Amendment, which states that equal protection under the law is a right?

  19. “State’s Rights” is a canard used to disguise the fact that the “rights” they were fighting for were the right to deny the humanity and individual rights of other human beings. The war was about slavery.

    So why was the conflict prosecuted as suppression of a rebellion rather than war between justly sovereign states? Why did Lincoln write, “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it”?

  20. In Pasadena, the audit came after the Reverend George Regas delivered a sermon titled “If Jesus Debated Senator Kerry and President Bush.” According to reports, Degas said at one point, “Mr. President, your doctrine of pre-emptive war is a failed doctrine.”

    Wait, are Regas and Degas the same person?

  21. If a nonprofit organization endorses or opposes a candidate for public office, they better damn well get audited and lose their tax-free status.

    Do you include the Catholic Church and their opposition of pro-choice candidates in that group?

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