Barack Obama

The 'Costs' of Free Speech

Consequentialism and the First Amendment don't mix.

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Last year the Obama administration updated Washington's official position on what forms of expression are legal. "Whether a given category of speech enjoys First Amendment protection," Solicitor General Elena Kagan argued in U.S. v. Stevens, "depends upon a categorical balancing of the value of the speech against its societal costs."

In April the Supreme Court treated this cost-benefit approach to the Bill of Rights' very first proscription on federal power with the derision it deserved. Writing for an 8-to-1 majority that overturned a 1999 law restricting depictions of animal cruelty, Chief Justice John Roberts called Kagan's argument "startling and dangerous." The First Amendment, he explained, "does not extend only to categories of speech that survive an ad hoc balancing of relative social costs and benefits. The First Amendment itself reflects a judgment by the American people that the benefits of its restrictions on the Government outweigh the costs."

Kagan's claim was a timely reminder that government, everywhere and always, seeks to balance controversial speech against various counterweights: national security, concerns about the influence of money in politics, the desire to protect society from the coarsening effects of obscenity. And if a child plays any role in the cost-benefit calculation—when school safety is supposedly at issue, or in a custody battle—the counterweight is deemed very heavy indeed.

Many, perhaps most, restrictions on speech are popular when they're enacted. The reasons aren't hard to understand. When your overriding goal is to prevent something most decent people find abhorrent (child pornography, corporate malfeasance, terrorism), and when distasteful speech is seen to obstruct that goal, that's when people start to say, "Normally, I'm a First Amendment absolutist, but…"

So it was that the putative free speech champions on the New York Times editorial board praised the Supreme Court's "respectful treatment of the First Amendment" in the Stevens case but in the very same editorial pilloried the Court's 5-to-4 ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, which rejected federal censorship of a political documentary produced by a conservative group organized as a nonprofit corporation. Why the support for crush videos but not for corporate-sponsored political speech? Because legalizing the latter "opened the floodgates for big business and special-interest dollars to overwhelm American politics." And catastrophic floods are no time for arcane constitutional debates.

Fortunately, the Framers understood that political passion too often trumps principle and that the natural reflex of people with power is to accumulate more. That is why the courts' enforcement of constitutional restrictions is so important.

If you read one article about the Supreme Court this summer, make it Associate Editor Damon W. Root's cover story, "Conservatives v. Libertarians." While the mainstream press continues to shoehorn all legal philosophies into a right-left spectrum, Root explores an underappreciated but equally important fault line: the split between conservatives who champion "judicial restraint" and libertarians willing to toss out even decades-old precedents if they flout the Constitution.

As Root's article details, the tensions between these two tendencies can be found not only between established wings of the conservative legal movement but even within the minds of individual justices, especially Antonin Scalia. How those struggles play out on the Roberts court—including the unsettled question of Roberts' own appetite and justification for overturning precedent—will go a long way in determining legal safeguards at a time of enormous government expansion. 

This battle has repercussions far outside the courtroom, with echoes every time someone offers a consequentialist argument for limiting our freedom of expression. The patron saint of conservative judicial restraint, Robert Bork, shares an important trait with The New York Times and other censorious voices on the left: a belief that citizens are powerless to protect themselves from the consequences of unpleasant speech.

"Liberty in America can be enhanced by reinstating, legislatively, restraints upon the direction of our culture and morality," Bork wrote in National Review in 2005. "Censorship as an enhancement of liberty may seem paradoxical. Yet it should be obvious, to all but dogmatic First Amendment absolutists, that people forced to live in an increasingly brutalized culture are, in a very real sense, not wholly free." 

Seeing individuals as powerless in the face of choice, or as empty vessels too easily overwhelmed by nefarious content, is a key component of paternalism. This view denies citizens their basic agency and autonomy, reinforcing the long-discredited but still popular notion that mass behavior is dictated from the top down.

"What we are facing," President Barack Obama hyperbolized about Citizens United in early May, "is no less than a potential corporate takeover of our elections. What is at stake is no less than the integrity of our democracy." It was a gross if common overestimation of corporate influence on our minds, and a grosser underestimation of the American people's ability to think for themselves. Such a mindset explains how MSNBC blowhard Keith Olbermann could say something as profoundly stupid as his comment that Citizens United "might actually have more dire implications than Dred Scott v. Sandford."

A similar note has been repeatedly sounded during the last two years of liberal anxiety over Tea Parties and allegedly resurgent right-wing violence. In April, on the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, former President Bill Clinton wrote a New York Times op-ed that echoed his unforgivably cynical reaction to the bombing when it transpired. Then as now, he linked the murderous act with the words of nonviolent political commentators.

The bombers, Clinton wrote, "took to the ultimate extreme an idea advocated in the months and years before the bombing by an increasingly vocal minority: the belief that the greatest threat to American freedom is our government, and that public servants do not protect our freedoms, but abuse them.…As we exercise the right to advocate our views, and as we animate our supporters, we must all assume responsibility for our words and actions before they enter a vast echo chamber and reach those both serious and delirious, connected and unhinged."

Such talk doesn't just serve the partisan purpose of marginalizing political opponents. It reflects an unseemly condescension to the consumers of political media, and it suggests a path toward censorship. Time's Joe Klein has accused several critics of Obama—including Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Fox News in general—not just of "hate speech" but of the more legally serious "borderline sedition." After Coburn warned that some citizens might be saying, "?'I give up on my government,' and rightly so," Klein charged that the senator's statement "comes dangerously close to incitement to violence." Needless to say, Klein wasn't talking about criminalizing dissent back in the Bush-Cheney years.

Suppressing peaceful speech to prevent potential violence is a kind of pre-emptive heckler's veto. We saw it in another context that same month, when Comedy Central heavily censored a South Park episode that depicted the prophet Muhammad. We see it when partisans try to silence the opposition and when the government weighs the costs and benefits of free expression.

The good news is that the Roberts Court so far is shaping up as a strong defender of the First Amendment. The bad news? Just before this issue went to press, Obama announced as his next Supreme Court appointment the same person who proposed that outrageous "categorical balancing" test for free speech: Elena Kagan. Here's hoping some vigorous political speech influences the selection process. 

Matt Welch (matt.welch@reason.com) is editor in chief of reason.

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  1. That sentence alone should disqualify Kagan from the Supreme Court.

    And I don’t care that she made the argument as an “advocate”. Legal ethics prohibit a lawyer from bringing or defending a lawsuit unless there is a basis for doing so that is not frivolous, which includes a good-faith argument for extension, modification or reversal of existing law.

    Even if you think that argument is not “frivolous” under the rather clear language of the First Amendment, it is only ethical for her to bring it if she does so in “good faith.” If she thinks that is a good faith interpretation of the Constitution, she has no place on the Supreme Court.

    1. Agreed – but unfortunately it won’t disqualify her.

      Sotomayer’s racist judicial philosophy should have disqualified her – but it didn’t.

      Most Americans fail to appreciate the importance of Constitutional rights and freedoms and Constitutional limits on government power. So we get Justices and politicians who have contempt for the Constitution.

      1. “Most Americans fail to appreciate the importance of Constitutional rights and freedoms and Constitutional limits on government power. So we get Justices and politicians who have contempt for the Constitution.”

        They are quite good at appreciating that importance when the opposing party is encroaching on them, but not so good when it’s their own party doing so.

        1. A good observation.

          But I might argue that most Americans are reflexively critical of an opposing party’s policies without fully understanding why these policies might violate the Constitution. They lack the reasoning skills to have a consistent philosophy regarding the Constitution or individual rights/freedoms. When a law attacks a behavior/group they like, they whine about their “rights” but when a law attacks a behavior/group they abhor, even when harmless to others, they are either apathetic or jumping on the bandwagon.

          1. Another way to say that is most Americans are fucking idiots.

            1. I think apathetic and woefully ignorant combined with deliberately misled are more apt. I believe that both parties are extremely uninterested in an informed, educated, and motivated electorate, as such a group would spell an end to the jobs of those sack suited jackasses.

              Indeed, those who do take the time out to step away from what’s taught in the comedy show that passes for high school history and civics to actually learn about the basis for American government and the abuses to which those who claim to be protecting us have put the Bill of Rights and the Constitution are routinely derided as paranoid and the lunatic fringe.

    2. My guess is that in the hearings, Republicans will make hay about abortion, the conservative media will make rumblings about her sexual orientation, and she’ll be confirmed.

    3. The design Louboutin with a number of top designers,his contacts,so he wrting is quite loose,and he breeds and colors to fill the high heels of his preferences.since1992 christian louboutin has its own first store started has always insisted on high-heeled shoes,very elegant and shoe type,he will be a strong color of the Pop Art.? Just think,if the red background exposure,a higher heel,but wearing these shoes simply can not walk easily create beautiful legs but you have to pay a dear price.Louboutin said the heel is not important,the type of shoes is very important,as long as ergonomic shoe type.

  2. “Censorship as an enhancement of liberty may seem paradoxical. Yet it should be obvious, to all but dogmatic First Amendment absolutists, that people forced to live in an increasingly brutalized culture are, in a very real sense, not wholly free.”

    Admit it red teamers. Thanks to the left, we (freedom loving Americans) dodged a bullet when that asshole got rejected.

    1. In that case, put me down as a “dogmatic First Amendment absolutist.”

      1. Your kind must be arrested to suppress your rabid strain of dogma.

    2. Is it just me, or does this sound amazingly close to being an Ayn Rand villain? I mean, even down to his phrasing.

      1. Few people know his full name is Elsworth Bork.

    3. I’ve read a bunch of Bork’s writing (e.g., Slouching Towards Gomorrha) and actually have met him face to face on several occasions. I took a con law class that he co-taught with the dean of the law school, and as part of a special project, I and several other students met with him and interviewed him for the law school’s magazine. I will say that I agree with *some* of the notions he puts forth – as in a desire to adhere to the original understanding of the Constitution. I also will say that much of the criticism against him – notably Ted Kennedy’s speech about the America that would exist under Bork – was hyperbolic and disingenuous ranting.

      But yeah, I do have to admit his understanding of “liberty” is not quite in alignment with mine. He does not like the notion of “rampant individualism.” And yeah, I know what he means – at a certain point you do reach total and utter anarchy, which clearly is unhealthy for a country and “society as a whole.” But I think we’re a good ways away from that line right now, and I tend to ascribe to TJ’s infamous quote that I would rather suffer from the inconveniences accompanying too much liberty than those accompanying too little of it.

      But even if Bork had gotten on the court, I’m guessing he would have ended up being contained by the other justices, and on some of these big issues might have ended up writing his own dissenting opinions that people sort of looked at askance – other than the Ralph Reeds, Jerry Falwells and Orrin Hatches of the universe.

      1. “at a certain point you do reach total and utter anarchy, which clearly is unhealthy for a country and “society as a whole.””

        I don’t see how free speech leads to anarchy, and I’m not convinced anarchy is all that unhealthy for society as a whole. It’s pretty bad for those in power.

    4. I felt badly for Bork for YEARS. Wrongly, it appears.

      Note to self: stop feeling badly for people. It never ends well.

      1. I felt badly for Bork for YEARS.

        Dear God, why?

        1. Man, have you NO empathy for someone who can unselfconsciously wear facial hair resembling a pharaoh?

          1. I sported the Chin Slinky for years… or was it the Amish Outlaw? I can’t remember which, but I do know I wear a LifeAlert ™ bracelet.

    5. Lol yea but they blue teamers didn’t want him ‘borked’ because of this reason. That remark would have endeared him to the heart of a statist.

      They wanted him borked for his strict originalist views. Obviously they weren’t consistent.

      I do wonder if Bork would agree with that earlier remark now.

    6. While I agree with your point, I’m not entirely sure Bork didn’t become unhinged after getting rejected.

      But Judge Bork did me the favor of once again demonstrating one of my first rules of argument. Whenever someone’s argument rests on “everybody knows (‘it should be obvious, to all but dogmatic First Amendment absolutists…’)”, that I’m about to be handed a line of BS that has no factual or intellectual basis.

    7. I probably would have argued with you before reading that quote but not anymore. Blue team wins.

      UNCLE!! UNCLE!!!!

    8. “Censorship as an enhancement of liberty may seem paradoxical.”

      Jeeze, ya fuckin’ think???

    9. Admit it red teamers. Thanks to the left, we (freedom loving Americans) dodged a bullet when that asshole got rejected.

      Now if we can just get blue teamers to admit they believe the exact same thing.

  3. I guess it also depends on how “brutalized” is this culture we’re talking about? I mean, are we talking Beyond Thunderdome, or what?

    1. The funny thing is that I bet his definition of “brutalized” would not look out of place at Feministing. Even though the Feministing types were the ones who hated him most of all.

      1. “He wants to ban the same things we do for different reasons! Burn him!”

      2. Side observation: does anyone find it odd that reason commentors are fully expected to know what Feministing is?

        Even worse, what is the percentage of H&R readers that have a reasonable understanding of what a “Feministing type” is?

        1. If you’ve got a problem with me, just come out and say it.

        2. I’m registered at Feministing. They’re not always hysterically* full of themselves and their feminist cause.

          Just most of the time.

          * I’m fully aware that this is considered a sexist adjective by the politically correct. Screw them.

          1. Q: How many Feministing readers does it take to change a light bulb?

            A: Patriarchy is NOT FUNNY!

            1. Funny!

        3. Well, if you’re even an occasional commenter, Sugarfree and his traveling wild west show will long ago have raised your consciousness regarding the sexy ladies over at Feministing.

          1. I wonder if I can get Dagny to dress up like Annie Oakley.

            1. SugarFree, your are a traveling freak show. I like it.

              PS No, I wouldn’t know about Feministing or Jezebel were it not for visiting Reason…it’s a weird little club here. Again – I like it.

  4. The U.S. infrastructure and human capital (to my mind the most important things in an economy) are the best in the world.

    I think he’s talking about a culture where video games have jokes about unnatural relations with goats.*

    Red Dead Redemption. I about fell off the couch laughing. It was in a mission where you discover that the love of a man’s life (in the fullest possible sense) is his horse.

    1. Jeb’s Love….

      RDR, great single player game. Not RP intensive like Fallout, as your character is already set in stone (for the most part), but a great cinematic-action-sandbox in its own right. Far more enjoyable than GTA IV (the openness of the wild west is a much better setting for this game engine than tight urban quarters are).

      The multiplayer is a bit weak, but good for a few laughs if you have some friends on XBL.

      Can anyone tell me why I keep getting 400 errors when I post, causing me to lose my comments?

      1. Can anyone tell me why I keep getting 400 errors when I post, causing me to lose my comments?

        I’m betting you somehow displeased SugarFree, and now the storms of hell are descending upon you.

        But it could be something else.

        1. I’m guessing that if you stop butt-fucking goats, the error messages will stop.

          Or the restraining orders.

    2. Not a gamer, but my son is ALL about this game. I’ll ask him about the horse-love thing…then quiz him about the constitutional implications.

      1. The combination of horses, guns, a lasso, and innocent victims leads to many outrageous situations. Also dynamite, trains, and fire bottles. And then of course there are the cougars.

    3. Red Dead Redemption. I about fell off the couch laughing. It was in a mission where you discover that the love of a man’s life (in the fullest possible sense) is his horse.

      I was driving behind an old beater the other day. Man driving, dog in the front passenger seat, wife in the back.

      That’s a happily married man.

  5. Massive cut and paste screwup. I’m sure you can figure it out.

  6. The Right doesn’t want you to see boobs, the Left doesn’t doesn’t want to be exposed AS boobs…

    1. Fortunately, there’s H&R – a bunch of boobs looking at boobs, no apologies necessary. Speaking of which, bring back lobster girl!

    2. My right breast is deeply offended that you would compare it to the political left.

      My left breast is equally offended that you think being exposed as a boob is a bad thing.

      1. We would like to see your boobs.

  7. Furthermore, objecting to cap-and-trade has serious consequences. Since those who speak ill of such legislation threaten our safety by allowing global warming to continue and undermine national security by allowing China to have the competitive advantage, it’s time to consider if they should be allowed to object. After, only those who are cynical or misinformed would criticize such an obviously beneficial law.

    1. And everyone who ever said “drill baby drill” should be thrown in prison. I’m gonna find a way to make it Constitutional, because I’m a crazy left-wing fuckstain.

    2. That’s close enough to the truth to be scary

  8. I looked again – did I miss the link to Root’s article? Yes, I am just that lazy that I don’t want to go look for it…

    …but just interested enough that I will.

    1. Duh – July issue. Got it. Never mind….

  9. “The bombers took to the ultimate extreme an idea advocated in the months and years before the bombing by an increasingly vocal minority: the belief that the greatest threat to American freedom is our government, and that public servants do not protect our freedoms, but abuse them.?”

    “…What was I saying? Oh yeah… Our Government (via public servants), therefore, ought to pose a great threat to American freedom by abusing, rather than protecting, the right of increasingly vocal minorities to advocate ideas.”

  10. As usual the fascist libertarians are overreacting. “Free Speech” that is damaging to society, like what the Westbro Baptist Church preaches, should be regulated due to the societal cost it has. But as usual, the fascist Libertarian are to busy screaming for freedom while supporting big business which is an oxymoron to say the least.

    1. The Obama administration is about the biggest supporter of big business there is. Libertarians would rather sever this tie. Who is the bigger “supporter” of big business?

    2. Whoever you are,

      I have expressly stated on these boards that I think the Westboro freaks should win their soldier funeral case.

      In their ridiculousness, and even as a gay man, I consider them allies in the fight to maintain the first amendment.

      1. Where in my response did I say anything about Westboro?

        You said Libertarians support big business, that’s what I was taking issue with.

        1. No, I didn’t, and I wasn’t talking to you.

          1. Your post wasn’t a reply to anyone that I could see, so I felt free to respond.

            So I take it “the fascist Libertarian are to busy screaming for freedom while supporting big business which is an oxymoron to say the least.” was sarcasm?

            1. No, that was some idiot pretending to be me.

              1. I’m the only me.

            2. Oh, I get it! Someone was saying “this is what Tony would say.” Today’s mystery solved!

              Really, it’s better to do those posts with “Ghost of Tony” than just “Tony.”

              1. It doesn’t matter which one is posting – the spoofers are just as good as the original, although the original Tony does bleat that “libertarian = fascist” bullshit, so you know when the real Tony is posting.

                Did I mention it’s bullshit?

      2. They picketed Mr. Roger’s funeral. One could say that such a thing goes beyond “ridiculousness.” If you would like to call them “allies” perhaps you should join them at their next hate-fest and see if you don’t change your mind.

        1. Well put.

    3. There is a difference between free speech and harrassment – Westboro is guilty of the latter.

    4. Yeah, it’s so fascist to be screaming for freedom. Makes sense to me. “…while supporting big business…” could you be any lamer???

      1. Apologies to the real Tony.

      2. If fascism ever comes to America, it will be draped in an American flag, carrying a cross, and yelling “Let freedom ring.”

    5. Did anyone read past the “free speech” in scare quotes?

    6. Tony, the only person who can bring up the WBC and actually make them into a sympathetic cause.

    7. isn’t fascist libertarian an oxymoron?

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  12. Great article, Matt.

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  14. Bork channels the Taliban: “people forced to live in an increasingly brutalized culture are, in a very real sense, not wholly free.”

    1. Actually, he’s channeling Marx, who argued that even if you removed all government coercion, people would not be free, since they would be forced to be oppressed by business owners in order to eke out a livelihood.

      It’s that “freedom is slavery” argument.

  15. But what about videos sponsored by non-profits of politicians crushing animals under their high-heels?

  16. Tony-3:21PM
    Free Speech” that is damaging to society, like what the Westbro Baptist Church preaches, should be regulated due to the societal cost it has

    Tony-3:42PM
    I have expressly stated on these boards that I think the Westboro freaks should win their soldier funeral case.

    Was one of these not really you Tony?

    1. 3:21 wasn’t me

      1. Me neither.

  17. Sorry Tony

    Not cute pretend Tony

  18. Are we in danger of having free speech rights curtailed? After Citizens United we can rest safely knowing that free speech will only be expanded, to cover things not even related to speech, or persons. I expect BP’s oil spill liability will eventually be bravely dismissed by SCOTUS on first amendment grounds.

    1. Tony, How do you figure Citizens United wasn’t related to speech or persons?

      1. How do you know I’m the real Tony?

        1. Because you pushed a hazy, false premise down a undefinable slippery slope that slopes in no particular direction, just toward unrelated bad outcomes, and when asked to clarify you just said “How do you know I’m the real Tony?”…

          …claaaassic Tony

      2. A person is a flesh and blood human being. A corporation is an artificial legal entity. Conflating the two is like looking at a forest and calling it a tree. That should be obvious to anyone who hasn’t gotten a good brainwashing at Yale or Harvard.

        1. 1) Corporations are not controlled by artificial intelligence; they are controlled by living, breathing persons who have rights. That should be obvious to anyone who hasn’t gotten a good brainwashing in our public school system.

          2) Here is the text of the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

          Now kindly point me to where that amendment states that free speech is limited to “persons.”

          1. You didn’t even prove what you were trying to prove. You said, “Corporations are controlled by living, breathing persons that have rights.” That’s right. Corporations consist of people; they aren’t a “person.”

            And it is so obvious that “persons” produce speech, that the framer’s of the constitution did not see it necessary to point that out. If you really want to make the argument that the first amendment applies to something that is not a person, say a forest, then go ahead and do so. It would help if you had a few million dollars “persuade” me with.

            1. Who pays for the ad? Who signs the check? Who writes the words in the ad? If you want to be taken seriously, you should try and come up with a serious argument.

              Do you think that you “proved what you were trying to prove” with a nonsensical argument about what the framers did or didn’t deem necessary? Sorry, but the Constitution says what it says. You lose.

              1. Corporate personhood in not in the fucking Constitution!!! The issue is whether the word “person” can refer to a corporation hence entitle a corporation to be protected by the 14th amendment. It doesn’t have anything to do with what the framer’s said because the precedent for corporate personhood was not made until much later, and that on a mistunderstanding of what a court reporter said.

                I can only guess that you’re still in high school, and hence might be forgiveness for your complete and utter cluelessness.

                1. Forgive me, but wasn’t the discussion about the first amendment? It seems to me that the text clearly says freedom of speech without reference to from what sort of entity that speech might be originating. There is no reference to “freedom of speech of persons only”. “Freedom of the press” seems to apply quite well to the New York Times, which is a corporate entity the last time I checked, unless what you propose is that the founders meant only individuals with a printing press at home.

                  1. Gay Communist Gun Club isn’t smart enough to follow his own arguments. He brought up persons and free speech; I gave him the text of the First Amendment; then he forgot all about the First Amendment and moved the goalposts to the Fourteenth even though the latter clearly does not apply, while waging childish ad hominem attacks in a self-defeating attempt to hide his own ignorance.

                    He also forgets the obvious fact that corporations existed prior to our Revolution. Clearly he missed out on another historical fact, that James Madison, who wrote the Bill of Rights, had previously submitted a draft of them that specifically applied freedom of speech to “persons” (so much for “did not see it necessary to point that out”). “Persons” was later removed.

                    1. My argument was about whether or not a corporation is a person or not. That is the beginning and end of it. Your the one who is trying to change the subject. Despite whatever legal hocus pocus that might be conjured up, a “person” remains a person. Even a statement such as, “A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law. Being the mere creature of law, it possesses only those properties which the charter of its creation confers upon it,” admits that corporate personhood is a contrivance of legalese.

                      For someone who exists in an ivory tower, or who maintains a willful suspension of disbelief due to their economic interests, any old abstraction might suffice to establish that a corporation is a person. The problem with such a reification is that it detaches one from reality.

                      Since the enactment of the 14th Amendment, it was overwhelmingly used to protect the rights of artificial people rather than the people it was actually meant to protect, newly freed slaves. Calling an artificial entity a “person” also raises liability issues. A corporation consists of a group of people. This aspect of collectivity is by design because it limits the liability of any specific individual in the corporation. Furthermore, a person, as part of a group or corporation, behaves in a different manner than they might alone. For one thing, such as in a mob, they will behave more deviantly because they know it is less likely that will get caught. This is no different with a corporation. Incorporation limits the liability of any particular individual which increases the likelihood of corruption. The technical term for this is the “Anonymity Effect.” The fossils that dominate the Supreme Court and much of the US legal system don’t take such discoveries into consideration. They’re still thinking with 19th century brain in the 21st century.

                      The Constitution is the Constituion and will remain as the framework for legal thought for as long as the US exists. But its brevity insures that conflicts of interpretation will persist. If you don’t recognize a 5-4 decision as such, then you are just hiding behind orthodoxy either to relief yourself of actually thinking about things. You can, “The founding fathers were right, and that’s the end of it. Forever.” But its questionable that they themselves would agree with such a statement.

                    2. I hope you don’t think I’m going to read that long of a post.

                      Anyway, the 14th, once again, has no bearing on the 1st. Read the text of the First Amendment again, if you have to. There is nothing about personhood in referenced to freedom of speech. It references laws (“Congress shall make no law”), and it references speech (“abridging the freedom of speech”). If what a corporation has to say is speech, then Congress can’t silence it. Period. What exactly is so difficult to understand about “Congress shall make no law”?

                      Your 14th Amendment would only have any relevance to this freedom if the amendment expressly stated that a PERSON has freedom of speech. So again, YOU’RE (not to be confused with “your”) changing the subject. This article is about the First Amendment, not the 14th. You are obfuscating a very simple issue by bringing into it the totally irrelevant concept of corporate personhood.

                    3. Ok, I didn’t read your post either. Touche

                    4. Aaaaaand you must be about 12.

  19. Are we in danger of having free speech rights curtailed?

    Always.

  20. Now, which Tony is this?

    Will the REAL Tony please stand up?

  21. They said I had to take down the yellow ribbons, not due to speech grounds, but because it was vandalism.

    1. Didn’t they get you for trespass and littering too?

      1. They saved those in case the first charges were dismissed. They were determined to stop my career.

        1. I put them back up.

    2. Keep fucking with me and your head will roll like Ralph’s.

      1. Yer not the real Tony Soprano.

        1. Doesn’t anyone want to know what I think?

          1. What was that crappy show you did in the 80s?

  22. Perhaps we should treat speech as your property. And like other objects you may own, you cannot use it to harm others (slander, libel, harassment, etc.). Think of it in the same manner that you cannot go off shooting random individuals just because you have a right to own a gun.

    1. “Harm others” does not mean what you think it does.

      Oh noes! He said mean things about me! We need the government to step in and stop that!

    2. Shorter rebuttal:

      Saying unpleasant things is EXACTLY like shooting them.

      1. You have to show actual physical or economic harm to prove it. The left probably agrees more with your position as for years (decades?) they’ve been trying to pass laws outlawing hate speech.

    3. Who decides what is harmful? Can I not call somebody a poopy-face, because it’s “harmful?” No, I don’t want to live in that world. You poopy-face.

  23. “a categorical balancing of the value of the speech against its societal costs” would make a lot more sense if the words “freedom of” were added directly before “speech”.

  24. I’m always perplexed by defenses of corporate speech (e.g., Citizens United) at Reason. A corporation is a creation of the government. What a strange thing for a libertarian to defend.

    As a private citizen, I have no recourse against a corporation. I can’t “rebel” against the legislation that it authors and pays politicians to pass–it is immortal, so it has no fear of me or my firearms. I can’t vote to change its policies.

    Regardless, giving a piece of government fiction the same human/civil rights as me denigrates my own. It’s insulting.

    1. I am a 1st amendment absolutist, but I am confused about how the officers of a corporation are being denied their first amendment rights by restrictions on corporations. I’m not saying think, necessarily, that there should be any restrictions, but I’m not seeing how having one prevents any of these people from expressing their personal, political views or spending their own money to do so.

      1. Books, movies and newspapers are created by corporations.

        There is NO distinction in the First Amendment between individuals and groups such as corporations.

        Either the Constitution means something … or it doesn’t. You can’t just pick which parts to follow and make up shit as you go along – otherwise there are no meaningful restrictions on government tyranny.

        1. I’m sure a the CEO of BigMoney Co. can find some time to do some desktop publishing on his own if he really wants to.

          Since BigMoney Co. likely receives favors from all levels of government any money spent is pretty much a bribe anyway. Is bribery free speech too?

          1. Hate Potion Number Nine|6.7.10 @ 9:50PM|#
            “stupid comments”

            It’s just wonderful dealing with ignoramuses whose knowledge of libertarianism is derived from listening to their college roommate who read (well, sorta) the first chapter of Atlas Shrugged.
            Got a hint, dipshit: What you sorta, kinda, hint at has nothing to to with libertarianism; it’s your brain-dead strawman you’re arguing against.
            But then actually *learning* about what you propose to critique would mean pulling your head out of your ass and maybe, *maybe* not getting pissed when they cut your welfare check.

          2. So in other words, you’re pissed off because a rich guy is getting more attention paid to him by the politicians than you do, which must be because he’s bribing them because, after all, that’s what those greedy, evil rich folk do, isn’t it? The envious tone of that statement is just sickening. It’s pretty much “I don’t have the money to do what you do, so that means you shouldn’t be able to do it either”.

    2. “As a private citizen, I have no recourse against a corporation.”

      -Private citizens can’t bring suit on corporations?

      “I can’t “rebel” against the legislation that it authors and pays politicians to pass”

      The government should be separated from the economy and unable to grant special favors and pass laws tailored to their favorite businesses.

      “it has no fear of me or my firearms. I can’t vote to change its policies.”

      Are these qualities special to corporations? Would you like to make me(a literal individual) obey you by threatening me with your firearms?
      Should you be able to vote to change my policies?

      Of course you wouldn’t think corporations should have freedom of speech, you also think you should be able to make them change their prices with your gun.
      I can’t shoot you and corporations can’t shoot you or me. You can’t make me do your bidding by force, you can’t make corporations do your bidding by force, a corporation can’t make you do its bidding by force. You are not, nor is anybody else, supposed to be the ruler(s) of anyone or everyone else.

      1. The government should be separated from the economy

        How? Government can tell me I can’t jaywalk, but it can’t tell a corporation not to, say, cause damage to the environment? Abuse people in various other ways?

        How much liberty actually exists in a world where we spend most of our waking hours in mini autocracies known as workplaces? In theory you would be ok with a total lack of liberty as long as government isn’t causing it.

        1. Tony|6.7.10 @ 10:19PM|#
          “The government should be separated from the economy
          How? Government can tell me I can’t jaywalk, but it can’t tell a corporation not to, say, cause damage to the environment? Abuse people in various other ways?”

          I’ll presume contract and tort law are a mystery to you as are such things as ‘how come things fall down instead of up?’

        2. “Government can tell me I can’t jaywalk, but it can’t tell a corporation not to, say, cause damage to the environment?”

          A government should punish people and corporations for causing real damage to the environment(actual measurable destruction, not statistical computer models and not ecological disharmony). “You break it you buy it or,in some cases, go to jail” should be the government’s rule instead of…”I’ve got a system which I believe will keep anyone from breaking anything but if you don’t obey me, you buy it even if you haven’t broken it– but if someone breaks it while my rules are in place then the American people will bail you out because we wouldn’t want you to lay off good union workers to pay for the damages you caused and then we’ll take just a pinch more of that tax money to stimulate the economy….” The first is the government extracting force from human interaction( economic or otherwise) with retaliatory force, the second is the government initiating force to orchestrate a campaign friendly economy.

          “Abuse people in various other ways?”

          Which various other ways? Fraud? How about a fraud allegation? Murder? A murder trial.

          High prices or low wages, however, are not abuse, they are offers! If they are unattractive offers they should be turned down!

          “How much liberty actually exists in a world where we spend most of our waking hours in mini autocracies known as workplaces?”

          Work is how humans don’t starve to death and there has never been a time in history where humans have been able to spend so few hours working and had so many leisure hours at their disposal.

          So lots of liberty Tony, the most so far, and more to come. Buckle up.

          “In theory you would be ok with a total lack of liberty as long as government isn’t causing it.”

          Nope. That theory you occasionally refer to but never explain must be wrong just like all the conclusions you draw from it.

          1. A shorter work week was not simply due to the magic of the free market but the result of the “shorter hours movement which eventually led to government invervention such as the Federal Public Works Act. Yes, the government, on the behalf of labor unions actually created more freedom in this instance.

            The average American worker now works 45 hours a week. This is up from an average of around 41 hours a week in the early 1980’s, so the trend towards more leisure time is reversing. Workers in developing countries such as China might work anywhere from 70 to 80 hours a week. So your generalization that “there has never been a time in history where humans have been able to spend so few hours working and had so many leisure hours at their disposal” is false on many levels.

            Your statement, “A government should punish people and corporations for causing real damage to the environment” presupposes that this so called “punishment” is great enough to deter significant damage to the environment. In BP’s case, up until now at least, these “punishments,” one might call them “costs,” didn’t outweigh the “benefits,” or profits gained by violating safety laws. Hence, BP racked up hundreds of safety violations where they did so willfully. The smart thing to do would be to prevent safety violations, and their potentially enormous human and environment before they happen, not after. Yet the fines designed to deter this aren’t enough. This is of course by design, via crony capitalism. Yes, seperation of corporation and state is necessary, but that does necessarily mean less regulation. The current system can accomplish that just fine so long as lobbyists rule Washington.
            When you have the best laws that money can buy, the results are pretty.

            “I hope [that] we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already
            to challenge our government to a trial by strength and [to] bid defiance to the laws of our country.” ~Thomas Jefferson

            1. My boss won’t let me work overtime to save up for my wedding because he would, by law, have to pay me time and a half and he would lose rather than make money. Without that law I could work a few more hours/week and easily meet my goal, he would benefit from my extra work and so would our customers. Instead I’ll be at home every Saturday worrying about finances and basking in the glorious extra freedom the beneficent Tony’s of the world have won for me.

              Thanks Federal Public Works Act!

              1. Freedom good!!!

    3. “Regardless, giving a piece of government fiction the same human/civil rights as me denigrates my own. It’s insulting.”-jcalton

      A corporation is the creation of the people who own the corporation, not the government. At best, the government is a midwife, providing the legal framework as to how the corporation works.

      A corporation’s rights are an extension of the rights of it’s owners. How in the world dpoes that denigrate your rights or insult you?

  25. White sneakers look good,but combine it with an eye-catching color and you get a great-looking sneaker.A good example is the Nike Air Max Light 88 ? Orange Blaze/White sneaker which can easily catch attention when placed against the sun’s light.The same is true even if you wear this sneaker on a dancing nightThe sneaker is accented by orange blaze on all the leather panel found on the upper.Your heart will melt once you see the nice combination of white and orange blaze on the midsole.

  26. White sneakers look good,but combine it with an eye-catching color and you get a great-looking sneaker.A good example is the Nike Air Max Light 88 ? Orange Blaze/White sneaker which can easily catch attention when placed against the sun’s light.The same is true even if you wear this sneaker on a dancing nightThe sneaker is accented by orange blaze on all the leather panel found on the upper.Your heart will melt once you see the nice combination of white and orange blaze on the midsole.

    1. “Your heart will melt”

      Ahh, the emotive connection with your product has been made. It is now no longer just a sneaker, but a lover. You and your sneaker will go out for a romantic candle light dinner, then you will take your sneaker back to your apartment for some fine, fine wine and play it some smooth jazz to, you know, get it in the mood. After hours of passionate lovemaking, you wait until your sneaker/lover is asleep then sneak out, go across town to have a liason with your old lover, the Reebok GL6000, whose die-cut EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning always left you wanting more.

  27. ?When you attack black people, they call it Racism. When you attack
    Jewish people, they call it Antisemitism. When you attack women, they
    call it Sexism. When you attack homosexuality, they call it
    Intolerance. When you attack your country, they call it Treason. When
    you attack a religious sect, they call it Hate speech. But…When you
    …attack the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), they want to call it freedom of speech

    1. Fuck off. It IS freedom of speech, you nimrod. All of those things can be called, and very well can be, racism, antisemitism, sexism, etc. But, as long as it’s not calling for physical violence, it’s protected speech. Now go and grow some balls about your precious Prophet, asshole.

    2. Ayat,

      What does the Prophet(JIZZ Be Upon Him) prescribe as the punishment for apostasy? Would you obey the Prophet(Nuts Be Upon His Chin) if you encountered an apostate and nobody was around to stop you? If so, you are evil.

  28. Fiscal Meth, does the word “respect” mean anything to you?

    1. It means so much to me that I do not grant it unilaterally to those who choose to discuss their differences and those would obey their god’s commandment that should one of their fellow believers stop believing that they should “attack him untill he is killed”. That is what I was asking him to condemn.

      I reserve my hatred for those muslims who would actually obey this commandment but I reserve my respect for those muslims who explicitly reject and condemn it. Just as a pro-lifer doesn’t gain any respect from me unless he condemns the murdering of abortion doctors.

      If that makes me horrible, then don’t respect me. If I’m a bad person then you really shouldn’t respect me anyway. If you did, it would be meaningless when you show respect to someone you think deserves it.

      1. I believe what Ayat wants is a simple measure of respect. You assume that he is one of the Muslims that takes everything in the Koran literally, and so actually believes that all “apostates” should be killed. No Muslim I’ve known has actually believed that.

        By mocking Ayat before you even know what he really believes, it indicates that, despite what you say, that you ultimately reserve more prejudice than respect for Muslims.

        But hey at least your against senseless murders. Do you want a fucking medal for that?

        1. What Ayat wants, if you read what he said, is for people to stop “attacking” his prophet which can mean anything at all. Nobody had even mentioned islam or his prophet. We were talking about free speech. It is clear that Ayat is against free speech because it is sometimes used to “attack” his prophet.

          I didn’t assume he took everything in the Koran literally. I ASKED him if he took one specific passage literally and ASKED him if he would be willing to obey it.

          1. “But hey at least your against senseless murders. Do you want a fucking medal for that?”

            No thanks. I’ll take a big trophy shaped in the image of muhammed.

            1. Good. Now if you really want to offend a Muslim, which I know you do, why don’t you shove your Muhammed shaped trophy up your ass. Sideways!

              1. Sure, I’ll put the Prophet(Lube Hopefully Be upon Him) up my butt. Give it the old college try, at least. In order to do it sideways he’d have to be hands-to-toes like he was doing stretches so I could have a reasonable starting point and work my way to His upright torso.

                And secondly, how dare you imply that I would intentionally offend Muslims.

  29. You know, I think Kagan was correct in stating that first amendment protection applied strictly as a function of the value of a speech against its societal costs.

    With the societal costs of her speech being so great, she should be bludgeoned to death for opening her idiot face to vomit her idiot words

    1. idiot

  30. There are certain limits to free speech that are necessary. For example, the criminal offense of inciting a riot or attempting to incite a riot is an infringement upon freedom of speech is absolute. The issue is when does free speech constitute a threat to others.

    Although, such inciting of riot charges do not extend to most politically aggressive rallies, such as KKK or neo-nazi rallies because the threat of violence never becomes close to being realized. However, if a KKK rally resulted in the man on the stage yelling “lynch those *insert bad word here*” and people turned around and spotted a black man and started walking towards him, then you have the line where your speech is no longer protected because your speech has now induced harm towards a person or property.

    So Kagan is correct when she says there is an interest in curbing some types of speech. Now, was she right in the “crush” case. Probably not, but one can see her point that maybe government has an interest in protecting the life of an animal much like it does to human beings, although in today’s world it’s a bit of a stretch.

    With regards to corporations, the issue becomes equal political access. Corporations have more money to spend, much like Bill Gates has more money to spend than I do, but we have laws limiting how much an individual can spend on a candidate. Bill Gates cannot spend more money than I can. So, if corporations have more money that I do (like Bill Gates) and are also viewed as persons in the eyes of the law, why can they spend more money than Bill Gates or myself can? If we all are playing poker, some will have more chips than others (as is normal). However, at our table we have a max bet. But let’s say that someone comes to the table with more chips than anyone else and the house rules that the max bet does not apply to him. Is that fair? While we may not all have the equal amount of money, should the rules not be the same for everyone playing at the table? Is that not what a society based upon equality is all about?

  31. hahahaha… you suck… are you high on dugs or just stupid? what part of “congress shall make no law” don’t you understand?

  32. ******I don’t see how free speech leads to anarchy, and I’m not convinced anarchy is all that unhealthy for society as a whole. It’s pretty bad for those in power******

    Tough guy!… I’m sure you’ve booked your next holiday to Somalia.

    Are these libertarians for real?!

    1. You betcha! And don’t you bad-mouth them lest you cause Atlas to shrug. Yes, the strong hold this world atop their mighty shoulders. And never mind who Atlas might be standing upon to hold him up. Its Atlases the whole way down!!!

    2. Ohhhh, the Somalia thing.
      I’ve got a friend who likes to begin and end all discussion about oppressive government with the retort, “What about Somalia.”
      Get some new material, you statist weaklings.

  33. ***********?When you attack black people, they call it Racism. When you attack
    Jewish people, they call it Antisemitism. When you attack women, they
    call it Sexism. When you attack homosexuality, they call it
    Intolerance. When you attack your country, they call it Treason. When
    you attack a religious sect, they call it Hate speech. But…When you
    …attack the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), they want to call it freedom of speech************

    I agree with you.

    I’m guessing from your post that you have a huge problem with Saudi Arabia not allowing Christians to bring their bibles into the country? Christians they invited because they need their skills, mind you.

    I’m guessing that you are seriously disturbed by the fact that Christians are being driven to extinction in places like Pakistan?

    Probably not, eh

    …. I always think that idiots who subscribe to radical Islam and the dumb Evangelicals with their “christianism” are peas in a pod…. hate filled, brain dead misfits who embrace victimhood tighter than white on rice.

    There’s just too much stupidity about… If you want respect you should demand for others what you demand for yourself. Dare you criticise the Sudanese government (with the backing of the corrupt Saudis) for the genocidal murder of the Christians and animists in their country.

    Some of you only appear to care when the pain is being felt by Moslems… in much the same way that the greedy, cruel, smug and heartless evangelicals only care about their own.

    Hypocrites!

    Despite your hypocrisy I still agree with your sentiments… Islamophobia sucks but so does all those who’d turn their backs on the suffering of others because the perpetrators are of their own religions.

    Do unto others and all that!

  34. You do realize that there are Muslims that crusade… oops, that’s a christian thing, I mean, that work very hard to make places like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia more tolerant don’t you? Probably not, eh.

    1. You do realize that by making a christian crusade joke you’re agreeing with him. Did you read the whole comment? Probably not, eh.

  35. The problem with “freedom of speech” is that it is not “free”. The corporation, by virtue of its wealth is able to purchase time on airwaves and in the press, that the average citizen cannot. This dicotomy of access, inherent in the practice of “freedom of speech”, gives the wealthy a distinct advantage in promulgating their positions and agenda to the broadest audience without the opportunity of a rebuttal.

    Our Democracy is based on the concept of “wide open and robust debate”. The idea of competing ideas is one of the strongest tenets of our constitution. To the extent that the masses of citizens are locked out of the public debate (internet notwithstanding) because of our inability to purchase airtime reflects the “taking” of liberties that our ancestors exercised centuries ago at “real” townhall meetings. How is this present paradigm be progressive or even legal?

    1. We don’t live in a democracy. I went to a government school where they didn’t really bother explaining American history or government but my civics instructor did get around to describing what a democracy is and why we don’t have one. I’m not sure where this myth that we do came from, but I wish it would go back.

      By the way, the fact that you are posting here in a forum where you have thousands of potential readers pretty much goes against that argument that you have no access to public debate, doesn’t it? How can you simply exclude the internet? It’s gotten to be the biggest source of information for most Americans. That would be like excluding the NBA in a debate on professional basketball.

      I’m not sure exactly why you’re upset about this…by your reasoning we should give every mom and pop burger stand equal access to Super Bowl commercial time as McDonalds.

  36. ********You do realize that there are Muslims that crusade… oops, that’s a christian thing, I mean, that work very hard to make places like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia more tolerant don’t you? Probably not, eh.**********

    You can read I presume?

    I doubt you know more about the Moslems who speak up for tolerance… And I don’t mean just the ones who mouth pro-western garbage either, but intellectuals grappling with what it means to a Moslem in the 21st Century in the face of opposition from both the West and the Islamic world.

    I doubt that you respect them more… and given that you appear to have problems reading I seriously doubt whether you’d understand a word they say even if you did know about them.

    The “Moslem-as-victim” nonsense of the sort that was posted on here gets on my last nerve…. Let me repeat it; Islamophobia sucks. But so does the witless special pleading from people who only appear to be bothered when the suffering affects people like them. ANd I don’t mean just Moslems and Evangelicals either… but all of us…

    1. (moniker continued) …Sinking Its Steel Talons into the Tiny Little Balls of Tyranny.

      You all attacked and condemned Ayat before all the facts where in. You framed him as some kind of stereotypical Muslim immediately. If that isn’t Islamophobia, I don’t know what is.

      And its not that I didn’t read your argument, I just found it entirely unconvincing. It appears that your right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing.

  37. I agree completely except that I would say it is racism against Palestinians that should be discouraged rather than what you called Islamophobia. Islam is a belief system not a race.

    I think it is completely proper to be concerned to some extent by people who have accepted Islam as it is a system of ideas which teaches that much of what western civilization is all about is evil. It gives believers specific instructions on what to do about it. If they: 1.agree with the judgements(which I believe most do) AND 2.accept their instructions and resolve to carry them out(which the vast majority does NOT accept) those very few are very, very dangerous. This would be tolerable if the vast non-violent majority were outspoken in their rejection of the violent ones, and they reported terror plots and suspicious activity to the authorities rather than resigning to act as human camouflage for that activity. They do not.

    There is nothing wrong with arguing against dangerous ideas and it is certainly not racist. No race is genetically muslim or any other religion or political system.

  38. TO THE WEAK-KNEED REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRAT…..TO ALL THE COMMUNIST IN THE IG,FBI,CIA,AND U.S. Senators and the left wing media outlets.///// VERY QUIETLY Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama, CITIZENSHIP CASE REACHES THE SUPREME COURT ;;;GOD OPEN YOUR EYES.///For us there are only two possiblities: either we remain american or we come under the thumb of the communist Mmslim Barack Hussein OBAMA. This latter must not occur.
    Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama
    AP – WASHINGTON D.C. –
    In a move certain to fuel the debate over Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama qualifications for the presidency, the group “Americans for Freedom of Information” has Released copies of President Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama, college transcripts from Occidental College . Released today, the transcript school indicates that , underMmslim Barack Hussein Obama, the name Barry Soetoro, received financial aid as a foreign student from Indonesia as an undergraduate. The transcript was released by Occidental College in compliance with a court order in a suit brought by the group in the Superior Court of California. The transcript shows that Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama, (Soetoro) applied for financial aid and was awarded a fellowship for foreign students from the Fulbright Foundation Scholarship program. To qualify, for the scholarship, a student must claim foreign citizenship.
    This document would seem to provide the smoking gun that many of Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama, detractors have been seeking. Along with the evidence that he was first born in Kenya and there is no record of him ever applying for US citizenship, this is looking pretty grim. The news has created a firestorm at the White House as the release casts increasing doubt about legitimacy and qualification to serve as President article titled, Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama Eligibility Questioned,”Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama leading some to speculate that the story may overshadow economic issues on Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama, first official visit to the U.K. In a related matter, under growing pressure from several groups, Justice Antonin Scalia announced that the Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to hear arguments concerning Obama’s legal eligibility to serve as President in a case brought by Leo Donofrio of New Jersey . This lawsuit claims Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama, dual citizenship disqualified him from serving as president. Donofrio’s case is just one of 18 suits brought by citizens demanding proof of citizenshMmslim Barack Hussein Obama,citizenship or qualification to serve as president.

    Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation has released the results of their investigation of Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama campaign spending. This study estimates that Obama has spent upwards of $950,000 in campaign funds in the past year with eleven law firms in 12 states for legal resources to block disclosure of any of his personal records. Mr. Kreep indicated that the investigation is still ongoing but that the final report will be provided to the U..S. Attorney general, Eric Holder. Mr. Holder has refused to comment on the matter…

    LET OTHER FOLKS KNOW THIS NEWS, THE MEDIA WON’T !

    Subject: RE: Issue of Passport?

    While I’ve little interest in getting in the middle of the Obama birth issue, Paul Hollrah over at FSM did so yesterday and believes the issue can be resolved by Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama answering one simple question: What passport did he use when he was shuttling between New York , Jakarta , and Karachi ?

    So how did a young man who arrived in New York in early June 1981, without the price of a hotel room in his pocket, suddenly come up with the price of a round-the-world trip just a month later?

    And once he was on a plane, shuttling between New York , Jakarta , and Karachi , what passport was he offering when he passed through Customs and Immigration?

    The American people not only deserve to have answers to these questions, they must have answers. It makes the debate over citizensh Mmslim Barack Hussein Obamaip a rather short and simple one.

    Q: Did he travel to Pakistan in 1981, at age 20?
    A : Yes, by his own admission.

    Q: What passport did he travel under?
    A: There are only three possibilities.
    1) He traveled with a U.S. .. Passport,
    2) He traveled with a British passport, or
    3) He traveled with an Indonesia passport.

    Q: Is it possible that Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama traveled with a U.S. Passport in 1981?
    A: No. It is not possible. Pakistan was on the U.S. .. State Department’s “no travel” list in 1981.

    Conclusion: When Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama went to Pakistan in 1981 he was traveling either with a British passport or an Indonesian passport.

    If he were traveling with a British passport that would provide proof that he was born in Kenya on August 4, 1961, not in Hawaii as he claims. And if he were traveling with an Indonesian passport that would tend to prove that he relinquished whatever previous citizenship he held, British or American, prior to being adopted by his Indonesian step-father in 1967.

    Whatever the truth of the matter, the American people need to know how he managed to become a “natural born” American citizen between 1981 and 2008..

    Given the destructive nature of his plans for America, as illustrated by his speech before Congress and the disastrous spending plan he has presented to Congress, the sooner we learn the truth of all this, the better.

    If you Don’t care that Your President Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama is not a natural born Citizen and in Violation of the Constitution, then Delete this, and then lower your American Flag to half-staff, because the U.S. Constitution is already on life-support, and won’t survive much longer.

    If you do care then Forward this to as many patriotic Americans as you can, because our country is being looted and ransacked! the commander

    1. tl;dr
      Also, the words I did pick up on, looked retarded.

  39. Dear febrile Limbaugh-brained tin-foilers: Nobody with a definable level of sanity cares where Obama was born. He’s either the right man for the job or he isn’t. Focus on something that matters.

  40. Really good article, thank you for sharing, I will always look at the future, too talented.

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  42. If you do care then Forward this to as many patriotic Americans as you can, because our country is being looted and ransacked! the commander

  43. Yes, the strong hold this world atop their mighty shoulders. And never mind who Atlas might be standing upon to hold him up.

  44. Nobody with a definable level of sanity cares where Obama was born. He’s either the right man for the job or he isn’t.

  45. Your reasoning we should give every mom and pop burger stand equal access to Super Bowl commercial time as McDonalds.

  46. Hello. I found your site perfect for my needs. It contains wonderful and helpful posts. I have read most of them and got a lot from them. To me, you are doing the great work.This is a great inspiring article. I’m pretty much pleased with your good work. You put really very helpfull information. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work.

  47. This document would seem to provide the smoking gun that many of Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama, detractors have been seeking.

  48. I need some time to think about this!

  49. Gotta love engineers 😉

  50. The faculty of reason, rationality, or the faculty of discursive reason

  51. The reasoning for the black box is to document what exactly happens in a crash.

  52. I agree with most of what you wrote down below

  53. Reason is committed to a pluralistic approach, promoting …

  54. do you wanna be my leader ?

  55. si on ne m?lange pas les torchons et les serviettes

  56. Join us now to get access to all our features.

  57. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics

  58. You don’t need to add your email if you are already subscribed by email to Reason

  59. Something like this may be what you’re looking for

  60. get your own private messenger, and so, so much more

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  64. Scary-looking scene, isn’t it? Tear gas flying, protesters running in fear? Soon after this would come the shooting that killed innocent bystanders. But this didn’t happen in some crazy dictator-run country abroad. This happened in a small town in Ohio, on the campus of a state university.

  65. Scary-looking scene, isn’t it? Tear gas flying, protesters running in fear? Soon after this would come the shooting that killed innocent bystanders. But this didn’t happen in some crazy dictator-run country abroad. This happened in a small town in Ohio, on the campus of a state university.

  66. Forty-one years later, we find the world is still full of unrest, people wanting to express themselves over the acts of their government?still being shot for their demonstration.

    May 4, 1970 is a day that has a special meaning to those of us who attended Kent State University, even if we weren’t there on that day, as my stepmother was. The picture above is from the May 4 Archive of J. Gregory Payne, who has collected video and other information about the events of that time. Take a moment on his site and familiarize yourselves with the history of a turbulent time in American culture when young people felt empowered to speak out about a government that was not serving their needs.

  67. Forty-one years later, we find the world is still full of unrest, people wanting to express themselves over the acts of their government?still being shot for their demonstration.

    May 4, 1970 is a day that has a special meaning to those of us who attended Kent State University, even if we weren’t there on that day, as my stepmother was. The picture above is from the May 4 Archive of J. Gregory Payne, who has collected video and other information about the events of that time. Take a moment on his site and familiarize yourselves with the history of a turbulent time in American culture when young people felt empowered to speak out about a government that was not serving their needs.

  68. I guess I’m glad that I’m the boss, and that my freedom of speech is free. And my freedom to be me. And that fact that my hippie mom made me listen to Free To Be You And Me when I was a kid, because that created the cornerstone of who i am and what I beleive we owe to each other.

  69. Here’s a picture that our own Matt Freedman took of me in some crazy face paint and a silver jumpsuit for a fashion show of Burning Man fashions made by a friend of ours. It would be easy to look at it and judge it. But I look at it and see a life blessed with creative talent, brilliant friends and magical adventures. sbobet

  70. Here’s a picture that our own Matt Freedman took of me in some crazy face paint and a silver jumpsuit for a fashion show of Burning Man fashions made by a friend of ours. It would be easy to look at it and judge it. But I look at it and see a life blessed with creative talent, brilliant friends and magical adventures.

  71. Then look at today’s news of countries around the world where young people are feeling brave enough to express themselves and demonstrate against their governments. Keep them in your prayers.

  72. Then look at the young men and women who are serving in our armed forces to help not only Americans, but people everywhere, to be able to hope for democratic movement in their lands. Keep them in your prayers, too.

  73. At Emory University, certain conduct that is permissible off campus is not allowed on campus. Specifically, some speech and behaviors are prohibited in Emory’s version of what are derogatorily labeled “politically correct” codes but are more commonly known as hate speech codes. Emory’s code begins with its definition of banned behavior.

  74. Discriminatory harassment includes conduct (oral, written, graphic or physical) directed against any person or, group of persons because of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or veteran’s status and that has the purpose or reasonably foreseeable effect of creating an offensive, demeaning, intimidating, or hostile environment for that person or group of persons.

  75. There were approximately 75 hate speech codes in place at U.S. colleges and universities in 1990; by 1991, the number grew to over 300. School administrators institute codes primarily to foster productive learning environments in the face of rising racially motivated and other offensive incidents on many campuses. According to a recent study, reports of campus harassment increased 400 percent between 1985 and 1990. Moreover, 80 percent of campus harassment incidents go unreported.

  76. Hate speech codes follow several formats. Some codes, including Emory’s, prohibit speech or conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment. Others ban behavior that intentionally inflicts emotional distress. Still others outlaw general harassment and threats,” without clarifying what constitutes such conduct. Court rulings have prohibited public (state-run) colleges and universities from enacting codes that restrict the constitutional right to free speech based on content. Private institutions, in contrast, are not subject to these decisions. Emory, for example, as a private university, can ignore public law rulings and draft whatever hate speech policy it chooses.

  77. Hate speech codes raise important ethical questions. When civil liberties are pitted against the right to freedom of speech, which does justice favor? Do the costs of hate speech codes outweigh their benefits? Is the harm that results from hate speech so serious that codes to restrict freedom of speech are morally required?

  78. At Emory University, certain conduct that is permissible off campus is not allowed on campus. Specifically, some speech and behaviors are prohibited in Emory’s version of what are derogatorily labeled “politically correct” codes but are more commonly known as hate speech codes. Emory’s code begins with its definition of banned behavior.

  79. Discriminatory harassment includes conduct (oral, written, graphic or physical) directed against any person or, group of persons because of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or veteran’s status and that has the purpose or reasonably foreseeable effect of creating an offensive, demeaning, intimidating, or hostile environment for that person or group of persons.

  80. There were approximately 75 hate speech codes in place at U.S. colleges and universities in 1990; by 1991, the number grew to over 300. School administrators institute codes primarily to foster productive learning environments in the face of rising racially motivated and other offensive incidents on many campuses. According to a recent study, reports of campus harassment increased 400 percent between 1985 and 1990. Moreover, 80 percent of campus harassment incidents go unreported.

  81. Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thanks

  82. Free speech is something we didnt have in our country sicne recently folks, you should be proud that you can say whatever you want to say.

  83. I agree completely except that I would say it is racism against Palestinians that should be discouraged rather than what you called Islamophobia. Islam is a belief system not a race.

  84. Conclusion: When Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama went to Pakistan in 1981 he was traveling either with a British passport or an Indonesian passport.

  85. They are quite good at appreciating that importance when the opposing party is encroaching on them, but not so good when it’s their own party doing so.

  86. Corporations have more money to spend, much like Bill Gates has more money to spend than I do, but we have laws limiting how much an individual can spend on a candidate. Bill Gates cannot spend more money than I can.

  87. This document would seem to provide the smoking gun that many of Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama, detractors have been seeking.

  88. I expect BP’s oil spill liability will eventually be bravely dismissed by SCOTUS on first amendment grounds.

  89. All of the most Americans fail to appreciate the importance of Constitutional rights and freedoms and Constitutional limits on government power. sbobet http://sbobet.sbo-win.com

  90. All of the most America just think that. http://sbobet.sbo-win.com

  91. Everyone who has the right of free speech must respect that right.

  92. because of free speech, i can post this comment.

  93. I mean common, you just cant always say what you want, am I right?

  94. that my freedom of speech is free. And my freedom to be me. And that fact that my hippie mom made me listen to Free To Be You And Me when I was a kid

  95. I agree completely except that I would say it is racism against Palestinians that should be discouraged rather than what you called Islamophobia.

  96. its only a matter of time before our government limits free speech like countries in the middle east

  97. I agree completely except that I would say it is racism against Palestinians that should be discouraged rather than what you called Islamophobia.

    1. This article is a lot of content. Thanks, I’ve read that!

  98. This article is a lot of content. Thanks, I’ve read that!

  99. Thank! for content.

  100. This battle has repercussions far outside the courtroom, with echoes every time someone offers a consequentialist argument for limiting our freedom of expression.

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