Nancy Pelosi

The Minority Leader Who Cried Wolf in a Crowded Theater

Nancy Pelosi doesn't understand free speech.

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Nancy Rivera / Splash News/Newscom

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) mixed her metaphors this week while trying to argue for free speech restrictions.

During an interview with San Francisco TV station KRON4, Pelosi was asked whether the National Park Service (NPS) should deny a permit to a group of "alt-right" activists who plan to hold a demonstration Saturday in Crissy Field, a federally controlled park along San Francisco Bay. The NPS issued the permit to the Patriot Prayer group, but only after organizers agreed to ban guns and tiki torches from the rally, the A.P. reported. But Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee have criticized that decision, calling for the NPS to police not just parks, but the speech of individuals within those parks.

Pelosi thinks the government has the authority to do that, and here's why:

"The Constitution does not say that a person can yell 'wolf' in a crowded theater," Pelosi told KRON4's Pam Moore. "If you are endangering people, you don't have a constitutional right to do that."

It would appear that Pelosi is confused about the distinction between the infamous cliché "shouting fire in a crowded theater," a line from Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in the 1919 Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States, and the clichéd parable of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," which warns about not overreacting to imaginary threats.

The whole thing is even better because, in this case, Pelosi is playing the role of the boy (or congresswoman) who cried wolf. She's calling for a reaction against a threat that hasn't materialized yet. That's what all prior restraints on speech are, of course, but she's calling for a very specific action to be taken against a very specific group of people who haven't even gathered yet, much less done anything that could be rightfully called "endangering people."

But whether we're talking about shouting "fire" in a theater or "wolf" in a park, the real issue here is that Pelosi seems to misunderstand the very metaphor she's mangling in an attempt to justify limiting speech.

Start with Schenck. That ruling doesn't mean what many people—including, apparently, one of the highest-ranking elected officials in the U.S. government—think it does. Here's the full line: "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic." Holmes is ruminating on the the limits of constitutional protections in a theoretical way, not laying down a bright line for when the First Amendment doesn't apply. Holmes was trying to justify the conviction of two Socialist Party members who had done nothing more heinous than distributing flyers that opposed the military draft. The two claimed a First Amendment right to distribute those flyers, so Holmes concocted a limit to the First Amendment.

That ruling, including the "falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater" bit, is bad law. It's been almost universally recognized as such in the century since Holmes wrote the ruling, and the Supreme Court has taken steps to roll back its limits on free speech.

The only people who trot out the "shouting fire in a crowded theater" line these days are authoritarians grasping for excuses to censor people. That includes Pelosi, yes, but also Feinstein, who has used it to justify keeping conservative speakers off college campuses. New York City Councilman Peter Vallone tried to use it to get Twitter accounts shut down during Hurricane Sandy. Feinstein has used it as an argument for shutting down WikiLeaks; pundits have invoked it when calling for prosecuting the maker of anti-Muslim YouTube videos. "Holmes' quote is the most famous and pervasive lazy cheat in American dialogue about free speech," attorney Ken White, a.k.a. Popehat, wrote in a must-read takedown of the Schenck case.

The modern standard for free speech comes from the 1969 case Brandenburg v. Ohio, in which court ruled that free speech cannot be restricted "except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action."

It's true that the alt-right group gathering in San Francisco is likely to espouse some hateful, noxious speech. When they do, they should be criticized and condemned for it, as their friends in Charlottesville were. But even if you assume they're up to no good, it's pretty clear that their asking for a permit does not rise to the level of "imminent lawless action." The National Park Service was right to award the permit. Doing otherwise would have been a violation of the First Amendment, wolves and fires notwithstanding.

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  1. Pre-crime is so hot right now.

    1. “The only people who trot out the ‘shouting fire in a crowded theater’ line these days are authoritarians grasping for excuses to censor people.”

      This is a fake claim. The important “shouting fire in a crowed theater” principle was specifically cited by the trial judge in our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case, and surely nobody here would dare to defend the inappropriate “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated, so-called judge in that case. See the documentation at:

      https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

      We are talking here not about any sort of “pre”-crime, but about serious speech crimes that need to be rapidly suppressed if we are to survive as a nation. It is simply intolerable to have people trolling around with offensive, inappropriately deadpan “parodies” mocking presidential advisers like Steve Bannon or distinguished members of the academic community, especially ones holding departmental chairmanships at institutions like New York University. Anyone who engages in such crimes should be immediately arrested and imprisoned, regardless of any of the fake “free speech” nonsense we keep hearing from the “First Amendment community” (which itself has revealed itself to be a manifest joke, a fact easily seen when one looks at the politically tailored activities of organizations like the ACLU).

      1. There is no such thing as a “speech crime”.

      2. Rights characterized as “nonsense”, “crimes”, “simply intolerable”, inappropriately deadpan ‘parodies’, is an emotional statement of your collectivist mentality, NOT an argument for the “immediate arrest and imprisonment” of those exercing them. Also, calling defense of rights “fake nonsense” and “a manifest joke” is not “a fact easily seen” by observing some organizations that have members who selectively defend rights. Why? Because the actions of some with a social agenda can coincide with rights defense. They are not mutually exclusive, as you seen to imply.

        1. I am always amused when people speak of “rights” as if such objects actually existed, rather than being the perverse expression of a fundamentally un-American mentality.

          As for speech crimes, let’s be real, not fake. While it might not be a crime to send out an email under X’s name that deceives an audience into believing that X has sent out “holiday greetings,” sending one that portrays X as seeking to “suppress allegations of misconduct” is indeed a crime, based on the content of the speech, and it is a crime even if the alleged misconduct actually took place. That, despite the “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge, is the law in America, the land of “free speech” and Internet liberty, so let’s not go around announcing that speech crimes don’t exist.

    2. “The law is perfectly well settled” Cities do not infringe on the right to assemble when they require a permit to accommodate a crowd. In 1969, the Court said that the cases “have fashioned the principle that the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do … permit a State to proscribe the use of force … where advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”(344)
      It appears to me the Mayors neglecting to enforce this regulation producing imminent lawless action are unconscionable partisan incompetents and should be recalled forth with. Public safety must be their first priority.

  2. Jesus Christ, will someone put an end to that ‘you can’t yell fire’ myth bull shit?

    The other day someone said to me in a discussion about Trayvon, ‘he was only going for Skittles!’

    It amazes me how people can be uncurious and can’t be bothered to, you know, dig for information a little deeper.

    Take care!

    1. Hello.

    2. I would at least hope that Leftists who toss this quote out would realize that it was used to justify punishing a Socialist. Even if they now think said Socialist should have been punished it seems the Left would grasp that this kind of power can be used against them as well as against their enemies.

      But I often hope for too much.

      1. I think it’s a mistake to equate Democrats with the “hard left.” Mainstream Democrats have long been more scared of Socialists than they are of Republicans, going at least back to FDR.

        1. Until I hear Democrats condemning antifa, then I will happily equate the groups,

          1. It’s okay, because They do it, too.

          2. Antifa is substantially more deserving of the treatment the TEA parties received at the hands of the media, yet they get nothing of the sort.

        2. I see what you’re saying but that’s not the point I’m making. Mainstream Democrats seem to have the idea that they can restrict free speech just for one specific group. That mistaken notion is going to bite them in the ass.

          1. Is there any “mainstream” group that would not support limiting the speech of their opponents?

            1. Libertaria…….oh, wait you said “mainstream”

    3. The other day someone said to me in a discussion about Trayvon, ‘he was only going for Skittles!’

      It amazes me how people can be uncurious and can’t be bothered to, you know, dig for information a little deeper.

      Do I need to remind you that people are STILL pissy that Trump equated neo-Nazis and antifa? I mean, one group are fascists asshats while the other group is neo-Nazis, but the press, Dems, and an awful lot of GOP people seem to buy into the “Well, we’re fighting fascism” nonsense.

      1. White Supremacy/Fascism is nearly universally condemned so of course the ruling class is going to social preen to look like the “good guy/gal”. What more people need to do is call them out for this BS posturing. They have no moral ground to stand when they continue to wage endless and pointless wars across the globe.

    4. It says right on the Skittles bag that if someone watches you while you are carrying Skittles it is perfectly acceptable to beat them to death. However, shooting someone carrying Skittles who is trying to beat you to death is not acceptable.

      Of course this assumes that the person is licensed to carry Skittles. Carrying Skittles without a license is punishable by a week in a stockade, deportation and/or a fine not to exceed 10 million quatloos.

      “Skittles and their officers, suppliers and distributors are not responsible for the content of this post”.

    5. What would Jesus do? He’d yell fire in a public theater, using the PA system.

      The “fire” B.S. won’t die because our ruling class desperately needs it. Ultimately, the last defense of the 1st amendment is the 2nd.

      1. As the illegal gun confiscation after Katrina and the draconian, house-house forced evacutions in Watertown showed, gun possession is useless if the will to fight back is not present. Both were trial runs, tests by govt. of the will to resist force with force, by the victimized. The public failed completely.

        What was the aftermath? Did the public learn anything? Did they regret their submission? Let’s hope so.

    6. Yep. Trayvon was only going for Skittles because, well, you can’t make “Lean” without them, right?

      He just happened to stumble across Zimmerman – and decided to attack him… which turned out to be a poor decision.

      Then Obozo claimed Trayvon as “his son” and libtards in Florida government insisted on a trial.

      It turned out to be utterly bizarre. I remember watching the opening statements of the prosecutor and thinking, “Does he know he’s not DEFENDING Zimmerman?”

      1. Without media attention I very much doubt a competent prosecutor would bring that case. Too much evidence supporting Zimmerman’s version of events (especially the autopsy and blood splatter forensics) and too many things that were unprovable, like the actual nature of the confrontation between the two before it got physical.

        No impartial jury should have been able to get around reasonable doubt.

  3. “The Constitution does not say that a person can yell ‘wolf’ in a crowded theater,”

    Pretty sure the Constitution doesn’t include a list of things you can or cannot say.

    1. There is not enough time left in the universe for you to sit here and list the things Nancy Pelosi is wrong about.

      1. With the beauty of the English language, the list has only one word; everything.

      2. The complete doddering idiocy of democrat leaders like Pelosi, Waters, the Wasserbeast, etc. are why the republicans almost look good by comparison. The democrat rank and file are so programmed to reflexively defend their party masters no matter what that they have descended to an incredibly low common denominator.

    2. That is because the Constitution doesn’t enumerate rights of citizens. It enumerates limits on government. As accorded by the authors of the Declaration of Independence, the rights of citizens are Natural Law and unalienable.

      The Declaration was full of hateful language and incitement to violent action, and the signers were unquestionably guilty of treason. It is pretty clear that the guys that actually wrote the Constitution understood freedom of thought and freedom to express thoughts as part of the Natural Law and an unalienable right, even expressions of hatred and incitement to violent and treasonous activities.

      People are always responsible for the consequences of their words and actions. But consequences, by definition, have to follow. The Government has no authority to preemptively punish speech by denying right of assembly in the public domain.

      As an aside, Pelosi’s ridiculous reference to wolves is a Freudian slip. She sees herself in role of the good shepherd. But shepherds only protect the sheep from wolves so that they can shear and/or eat them themselves.

      1. Gee, thanks for the history lesson, professor.

        1. Sorry if my post seems pedantic. I just cringe every time someone says or even hints that the Constitution gives us rights or that we are allowed to do something because the Constitution says we can.

          Also, do people realize that the language Jefferson used in the Declaration was inflammatory? It was the modern equivalent of Tom sauntering up to the king and poking his Majesty in the eye with his big 10″.

          1. Sorry if my post seems pedantic.

            Never apologize to Sparky.

            1. It sets a bad precedent, fo sho.

            2. “Never apologize Mister, it’s a sign of weakness.” Henry Fonda to John Wayne, Fort Apache.

          2. 10″ quill, Jefferson was famed for the size of his quill.

            1. Man, you guys really know your history!

              1. Why do you think Sally went back?

                Other than the slavery aspect, I mean.

  4. What about crying fire in a burning theater, is that allowed?

    1. I was once told that crying for “help” won’t get as quick a response as yelling “fire”, so if you need help you should yell “fire”. So can I be prosecuted for yelling “fire” in a crowded theater if the guy next to me is having a heart attack?

    2. What you can’t do is fire crowds into a wolf theater. That much we know.

      1. Yelling “wolf” in a theater:

        See? Nobody cares.

        1. They would in a college theater! Title IX expulsion for sure.

      2. How about shouting “theater” in a burning fire?

      3. What about firing Pelosi into a crowd of theater wolfs?

        1. I used to work in a theater until I threw a burning wolf into the crowd, and my manager shouted “You’re fired!”

    3. Combustionist.

    4. What about crying “theater” in a crowded fire?

    5. What about yelling “movie” in a crowded firehouse??

  5. I believe Nancy said “No one has the right to call ‘Rolf’ in a crowded theater.” Nancy has always taken a very firm stand against Rolfing. It seems to be a California thing.

    1. If you were “Rolfed” in a crowded theater you would almost certainly cry out.

  6. It’s true that the alt-right group gathering in San Francisco is likely to espouse some hateful, noxious speech

    Is it? I know nothing about Patriot Prayer Group. Do they have a history of that sort of thing?

      1. The founder of the group likes Trump, so that’s probably good enough for a lot of people to go on.

      2. I wouldn’t trust any news source within 500 miles of SF to be honest about these things.

        1. But even from that slanted article, I don’t get much sense that the group itself is racist or anything like that.

          1. Yeah… as I got further down the page, you know, where nobody else reads, I saw that evidence.

      3. Yeah, that article doesn’t make them sound bad at all. I mean, even the SPLC doesn’t list them as a hate group, and they list everyone as a hate group. Maybe they are just too new…

        1. “and they list everyone as a hate group”
          Really? I did not find a single Jihadist group on the list. I did not find antifa on the list. In fact, there were less than 1,000 on the list; it would be less, but they count each chapter of larger groups as distinct.

      4. ?Indeed, the Southern Poverty Law Center which tracks hate groups does not list Patriot Prayer as such, nor is Gibson considered an extremist by the advocacy center;
        ?In fact, the Law Center reported that at the most recent Patriot Prayer event, Gibson shouted from the stage “F*** white supremacists! F*** neo-Nazis!”

        You ain’t much of a hate group if Mo Dees hasn’t even gotten around to calling you a hate group. But we all know the only reason white supremacists denounce white supremacy is to try and pretend they’re not white supremacists but they ain’t fooling nobody, denying you’re a white supremacist proves you’re a white supremacist.

        For some reason about all I can find on the group are news reports referring to them as alt-right, white supremacist, racists, right-wing extremists, etc. – except an early news item referring to them as Trump supporters. Interestingly, they’re referring to a Patriot Prayer rally in support of Trump where they were attacked by Anti-FA “counter-protestors” without explaining what it was exactly the PP people were protesting that would make their opposition “counter”-protestors.

        1. But we all know the only reason white supremacists denounce white supremacy is to try and pretend they’re not white supremacists but they ain’t fooling nobody, denying you’re a white supremacist proves you’re a white supremacist.

          This particular white supremacist went so far as to disguise himself as a mixed-race guy.

          There really is no low too low for them to stoop to.

        2. Because ANTIFA stated goals are the violation of the norms of behavior that are considered violations of the property rights of others for political purposes they are by definition a terrorist organization.
          Ethnocentric individuals believe that they are better than other individuals for reasons based solely on their heritage. Clearly, this practice is related to problems of both racism and prejudice.
          While many people may recognize the problems, they may not realize that ethnocentrism occurs everywhere and everyday at both the local and political levels. White Power, Black Power, even the Sinocentric system developed out of the idea of the “Mandate of Heaven” by Confucius are examples of participants of a practice that many of us consider taboo, i.e. rude but don’t without further action violate the property rights of others therefore there is a major distinction.

    1. From what I can find quickly, it doesn’t seem that they are themselves any kind of racist or white nationalist group. But some of those types have showed up at other Patriot Prayer events.

    2. The guy is non-white and sounds like a “slightly right” libertarian to me.

      … but hey, those pants aren’t going to shit themselves.

      1. One could argue that jumping to the conclusion of pants-shitting is in fact pants-shitting.

        1. Damn it, I thought that we were all done with the pants-shitting pants-shitting.

          1. I’ve been wearing my Depends just for moments like this, Zeb.

            1. So you say.

          2. Are you pants-shitting over pants-shitting over pants-shitting?

            1. Jeez Jerry I like the way it feels after it escapes my diaper and trickles down my leg.

            2. I thought I was in trouble for a minute, but it was just a wet fart.

              1. I can’t tell the difference between a wet fart and a Pelosi speech.

                1. One is some random noises, a bad smell, and a growing feeling of discomfort, and the other one is a wet fart.

                2. “we have to pass it to know what’s in it” has a while new meaning

        2. One could argue that jumping to the conclusion of pants-shitting is in fact pants-shitting.

          You’re right. There will be absolutely no histrionics.

          SF Mayor Ed Lee:

          “The shameful, anti-American trend of hate-filled extremist rallies will unfortunately be allowed to continue this weekend in our city,” Lee said. “Let us show this nation that San Francisco is a city of peace and unity. Do not engage with the members of this group, whose only priority is to incite violence through divisive rhetoric.

          1. Shorter Ed Lee: “What do you tell a white guy with two black eyes? Nothing, he’s obviously already been told twice. Hahahaha! “

          2. hate-filled extremist rallies

            I thought Pride was a few weeks ago.

            *ducks*

          3. “…incite violence through divisive rhetoric…”

            Fuck, that’s not even a dog whistle. That is an explicit suggestion that violence is an acceptable response to speech you do not approve.

            I’m sure Nick Gillespie will get right on this.

  7. I imagine one could fill a book the size of Oxford English Dictionary with all the things Pelosi doesn’t understand.

    1. I do think simply listing out every word that’s ever been used in the language would pretty well cover it in the most efficient manner possible.

  8. At least we can still cry ‘Nazi‘ in a crowded park.

  9. “”””falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater””””

    Concerning a case which had nothing to do with theaters, crowded or not, nor shouting, falsely or not.

    But was about handing out flyers protesting the draft during WW1

    Just think, Pelosi helps write our laws

  10. She and Maxine Waters need to team up to take down President Trump. Add Hillary into the mix and it could be like a Charlie’s Angels kind of thing.

      1. Those women deserve more than to be treated as sexual objects for your self abuse.

        1. They somehow deserve less.

        2. Bill Clinton never treated Hillary as a sex object.

          1. Too many fat chicks in trailer parks and too little time………

    1. That trio could do for erections what pins can do for balloons.

    2. I could see them costarring in a sort of ‘Dumb and Dumber’ buddy picture.

  11. Late night comedy’s lack of desire to make fun of this rich, old, cartoonish hag speaks volumes, especially because her laugh is truly horrifying.

    1. Pelosi seems to mostly slip beneath the general cultural radar, which is a shame, because she’s one of the best arguments out there for strict limits on government power.

    2. She was opposing W and carrying water for his successor. How would any of that add up to someone ripe for The Daily Show ridicule?

  12. Come now, Pelosi, show your even-handed bipartisanship by calling for the similar banning of Marxists everywhere — O, they are your donors? I see, said the blind man as he picked up a hammer and sickle.

    1. Keep calling everyone to the left of Joe Lieberman a Marxist. It will do wonders for your point of view.

      1. Is that about the same as calling anyone to the right of Karl Marx a fascist?

        1. There are plenty of notches between Marx and Trump, a Nazi sympathizer.

          1. So your answer is that one comparison is unjustifiably stupid and one comparison is justifiably stupid. Makes sense to me.

          2. Trump should be a Soviet sympathizer. Those bastards knew how to build walls!

            1. Chuckles, It’s why he secretly loves the Chinese.

      2. I mean the university professors who proudly call themselves Marxists.

        Do keep up, Dear Tony Lad.

      3. Tony, you should have a hammer and sickle branded on your forehead, so everyone will know what you are.

      4. Tony, you should have a hammer and sickle branded on your forehead, so everyone will know what you are.

  13. A wolf in a crowded theater wouldn’t exactly be of no concern.

    1. Your point, Man !!

    2. Which is why it would be pretty stupid for the government to ban people from yelling wolf in a crowded theater.

  14. This is great opportunity for a case to proceed to the Supreme Court, so they can reverse the decision in Sneck v. U.S., 249 U.S. 47 (1919) and get rid of those 1st Amendment exceptions.

  15. this is why private property beats public property: even if the government can’t shut you up in a private setting, the property owners can kick people out. That, combined with free association, let’s like-minded people choose each other and exclude others. Being able to discriminate against racists is a feature, not a bug.

    Now, compare that to public property, which is now a parade ground for assholes with aces to grind, and no one can do anything about it without violating civil rights. What wonderful inclusion and discourse we get in the public square.

    1. Public property doesn’t discriminate against those unable to afford property in the way that private property does.

      1. Doesn’t it? What if five homeless guys decide they all want to sleep on the same park bench?

        1. What if five homeless guys decide they all want to sleep on the same park bench?

          Non-discriminatroy government solution.

          1. No self-respecting bum would sleep sitting up.

            1. And, in fact, in my search for a sleep-proof park bench, this turned up.

          2. The smart solution is that each of them learns to occupy a different quantum reality. Devoid of the other four. Then they can each simultaneously sleep on the same bench without conflict.

        2. No one wants to read your gay-porn fan fiction.

        3. You say that as if you’re all in favor of public housing to prevent such contretemps and eyesores.

          There are no homeless in libertopia because we eat them all!

      2. “”Public property doesn’t discriminate against those unable to afford property in the way that private property does””

        The picture of Chris Christie in a chair on the beach comes to mind.

    2. Exactly. No different than taxation vs volentaryism.

    3. It’s not a competition, Brian.

    4. What wonderful inclusion and discourse we get in the public square.

      Damn right it’s wonderful.

    5. Private companies can engage in any kind of censorship that they wish, however, they can’t break contracts because they find out that someone said something they don’t like.

      Google pulled advertising from climatologist Roy Spencer’s website and possibly assisted in a denial of service attack on Spencer. Why? Spencer wrote a book criticizing Al Gore’s “new” movie. Can you guess who’s on the Google board of directors? That’s right, the ever wrong Al Gore.

      I have no fear of white supremacists not because I’m white but because they are merely a small number of assholes. Antifa, on the other hand represents a serious danger because they have the explicit backing of the universities, and the implicit backing of the media, the Silicon Valley elite and the New York Financial elite on the most important subject, that of government censorship. If some Aryan moron attacks me I have a Colt 1911 to answer him and the law will back me. How do I answer the state when it says I must be silent?

      1. If some Aryan moron attacks me I have a Colt 1911 to answer him and the law will back me.

        I take it you do not live in D.C., or in New Jersey.
        Remember, that is an assault pistol, it loads itself!

  16. .

    So Trump is – he really is – a thin skinned incompetent buffoon.

    Aaaaaaand….here’s one of the leading spokespersons for your alternative. Someone who would be in power if they took over control of the government. Who doesn’t even understand the concept of the “crowded theater” thing, much less that it’s a decision that is 100 years old and is a decision that the Supreme Court sprinted away from about as fast as they possibly could. Or maybe she meant “shout fire in a crowded wolf lair”. Who the fuck knows?

    Maybe I’m feeling apocalyptic because I’m sitting in the path of Harvey, but I think we’re doomed. Is it bad to think that the best thing would be for Kim “Probably Crazier Than Trump But We Can’t Be Sure” Jong-un to just let the missiles fly and damn the consequences?

    1. Is it bad to think that the best thing would be for Kim “Probably Crazier Than Trump But We Can’t Be Sure” Jong-un to just let the missiles fly and damn the consequences?

      Yes it is, you bummer, you.

  17. Nancy Pelosi is a privileged twunt, totally devoid of intelligence (other than a species of low cunning), and long past her expire date.

    Pity her constituents are so stupid they keep reelecting her.

    1. Yes, it’s funny how people who rail so loudly against the “priviliged 1%” keeping electing one to represent them.

      1. Aren’t her constituents the 1%?

        1. Yes. But what EES said is still true.

        2. She represents most of SF. Of course not all of them are “the 1%”.

          1. There’s also the homeless people.

              1. They vote with their feet.

              2. We know how they would vote, so we simply fill out their ballets for them.

              3. Of course, and they vote very often, often the same day.

        3. She is the biggest fundraiser in Democrat party history. That money doesn’t come from food stamp recipients.

      2. Yeah, It’s like complaining about white privilege and voting for Hillary.

        1. She was the first Black First Lady!

          1. What did she play, the triangle?

            1. Hey – the triangle is just as important as every other instrument.

              1. That’s right. No percussion shaming on this thread.

          2. Black-hearted maybe. No, Eleanor Roosevelt was worse.

  18. So the question is – is Pelosi just pandering, or is her understanding of the law really this bad? I might be inclined to generously assume the former, but the fact that she mixed up “the boy who cried wolf” and “shout fire in a crowded theater” lends credence to the latter.

    1. She definitely has the politicians A.B.P. system down (Always Be Pandering). But there’s lots of evidence she really doesn’t understand the law.

    2. Legislators generally have a bad understanding of the law, so I also say both.

    3. I also say both, but because the one pretty much excludes the other – she panders by instinct, and thus she has no interest in/use for the law.

      1. Nancy Pelosi is a mental retard. It really bothers me that Sarah Palin was routinely criticized for being an idiot and this woman never gets an honorable mention. She makes Palin look like a brain surgeon. The woman is an absolute embarrassment to females everywhere. She doesn’t know the law, she’d have to have someone draw pictures for her to explain it. Wolf, fire, confederate statues, whatevs.


  19. The NPS issued the permit to the Patriot Prayer group, but only after organizers agreed to ban guns and tiki torches from the rally

    What the actual fuck? Guns and Tiki Torches? What the fuck have I missed here? So are normal torches allowed?

    1. The Charlottesville Nazis were carrying tiki torches. But I get your point, I don’t know why tiki torches specifically would be banned and not torches generally. Maybe they are and it’s just a reporting issue somewhere along the line?

      1. I think you’re right – I want to say I heard elsewhere it was a ban on open flames generally, but I may be wrong.

        1. Next thing you know, they’ll be banning pitchforks along with those torches.

      2. A general ban on open flames would probably be reasonable and pretty well take care of whatever they are trying to stop by banning tiki torches.

      3. All the media seem to be lying about the nature of the group itself; it’s hardly surprising they’d get every other detail wrong.

      4. I don’t know why tiki torches specifically would be banned and not torches generally

        Nazis literally carried tiki torches. Literally. I’m not being metaphorical. Literal Nazis literally carried literal tiki torches, in a literal manner.

        But your refusal to disavow racism is duly noted.

        1. Those were *Democratic* Nazis.

          1. It is worse than you think. They come in “gun metal finish”:

            https://www.walmart.com/c/ep/tiki-torches

      5. If they’re doing this outdoors, it’s been pretty dry in the western US. I would not advise a lot of open flames for the time being. It would not take much to set off a wildfire.

    2. I’m going to find it ironic if they show up with a burning cross.

      1. “Just one torch, large sized. What, you said tiki torches and this is clearly Roman“.

    3. Isn’t banning Tiki Torches somehow racist against Tahitians or some other south Pacific islander types?? Hmmm?

      1. Stopping white supremacists from cultural appropriation, oh, the irony!

    4. Fuckin nazis. Now I can’t put out my happy hour tiki torches next to my double-wide without the lesbo-couple neighbors getting all in my face.

      1. Lipstick or Butch?

        1. Come on, you k ow it’s going to be double butch. It’s almost never the other way.

    5. They want guns banned so that the Patriot Prayer group will be defenseless and the much larger gang of AntiFAs will be able to slaughter with impunity.

    6. They want guns banned so that the Patriot Prayer group will be defenseless and the much larger gang of AntiFAs will be able to slaughter with impunity.

    7. Nope. Only burning crosses, I guess.

  20. That ruling, including the “falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater” bit, is bad law. It’s been almost universally recognized as such

    By ‘almost universally recognized’, I take that Democrats would be in that small exclusion group.

  21. What truly angers me about the loony left is it puts me in the unfortunate position of defending the rights of the alt-right instead of just ignoring them.

    1. Defending the Constitution ? liking Trump ? liking Nazi ? liking Antifa ? liking the KKK

      Someone please get this to the main stream media STAT!

      1. CNN newsfeed: “Reason.com commenters say that defending the constitution = supporting child molestation”

    2. Make no mistake that this is by design. The whole point of our “new discussions about race” and our new concerns for the trans-gender is 100% about making the left’s political opposition defend bigots so that they can be called bigots themselves.

      1. It’s far worse than that. The left is making it so that defending anyone with middle-of-the-road values is now racist and bigoted.

      2. “Racist” has lost it’s power for the left. They’re moving on to “KKK” and “Nazi.” This is one aspect I’m not liking about getting older. Watching the next couple of generations fall for this shit is getting old.

        Can’t anyone be bothered to pick up a history book anymore? Maybe just go out side and take a deep breath. Go talk to your friends and family and community. The world, contrary to the mainstream media’s portrayal, is not ablaze with prejudice and victimhood.

        1. “”The world, contrary to the mainstream media’s portrayal, is not ablaze with prejudice and victimhood.””

          I think this goes to a thread from yesterday. Intentions, what you mean vs what they want it to mean. It’s ablaze because that what they want to believe, regardless of the reality.

          1. The fire is everywhere just over the horizon.

            1. Is that the fire with all the history books in it?

    3. You could always just not defend them. Nazi.

      /Tony

  22. How crowded is crowded?

    Can I scream fire if there are only 12 people in the theater?

    I’ve never had a problem with someone screaming fire in a theater. I have a problem with morons that will not look around first, and trample you for no other reason than another moron said something.

    1. Nope, you’re not responsible for your actions if someone causes you to panic. That’s their fault.

      1. So if Russia’s actions freak Trump out and he panics and launches missiles. Trump has no fault?

        1. No no no. See Trump is an idiot and a horrible racist Neo-Nazi so he bears all the fault.

          (probably should have included /s on that first post)

          1. Ah!

    2. No. The ticket you bought from the theater company is a contract for them to provide the showing of the film the ticket was purchased for, and you to behave in a quiet fashion so as not to bother the other ticket purchasers. Yelling for repeatedly without and actual fire being present would be a breach of that service contract and they would be within their rights to eject you on that basis.

  23. It’s true that the alt-right group gathering in San Francisco is likely to espouse some hateful, noxious speech. When they do, they should be criticized and condemned for it, as their friends in Charlottesville were. But even if you assume they’re up to no good, it’s pretty clear that their asking for a permit does not rise to the level of “imminent lawless action.” The National Park Service was right to award the permit. Doing otherwise would have been a violation of the First Amendment, wolves and fires notwithstanding.

    The group in SF doesn’t even make SPLC list of “hate groups”, which only requires “is not progressive” to make the list. So, it seems awfully tame. But this is being done to protect antifa who will, as usual, try and shut it down violently and the press will demand Trump denounce Nazis or something.

    1. Try to.

      Try and is incorrect usage.

      1. Speaking of Nazis…

        1. Grammar nazi?
          Femi-nazi?
          Soup nazi?

      2. They will try to shut it down and they will succeed in shutting it down. They will try and shut it down.

        Try to shut it down suggests there’s some question as to whether or not they will be successful in the attempt.

        Irregardless, I could care less about the issue.

        1. godammit Jerry, I always enjoy your posts.

          Well done.

  24. If Trump said this, it would be all over the news and social media as an example of how stupid he is. But they will totally ignore it because it makes their team look bad.

    In partisan politics, no principle goes unmolested.

  25. Can I yell “moron” in a crowded House?

    1. Depends which team you’re on.

    2. Don’t dream it’s over

      1. Ugh I can’t believe I missed that

  26. “Shout ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater” deserves the same (lack of) respect as “Separate but equal” and “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

  27. You’re going to have to pass that permit to see what’s in that permit……

  28. I often go to the theatre and shout, “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind.”

  29. Oath of office? What’s that?

    -jcr

    1. A meaningless gathering where you repeat something the other person says.

  30. Christ, how the fuck does Onion stay in business?

    1. I feel bad for the Onion. They’ve been getting scooped relentlessly by reality for a couple of years now.

      1. “scooped relentlessly by reality” — Brilliant.

  31. Pelosi wants the “Heckler’s Veto” put into law to protect hecklers. This amounts to “If you say that I’ll go crazy and try to kill you so to avoid violence you must be silenced”.

  32. Seems to me Pelosi’s rhetoric would encourage pussy-grabbing Trump supporters to flock to crowded theaters.

  33. Voltaire > Holmes.

  34. Nancy is well past her “use by” date.

  35. It would appear that Pelosi is confused about the distinction between the infamous clich? “shouting fire in a crowded theater,” a line from Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in the 1919 Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States, and the clich?d parable of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” which warns about not overreacting to imaginary threats.

    The Boy Who Cried Wolf is not about overreacting to imaginary threats. It’s about the dangers of lying and how, if you lie, people are reluctant to believe you when you need them to

  36. Eric Boehm needs to do his homework before slapping labels on organizations, which he totally failed to do before writing his piece above. Let me help you out, Eric…

    Good article on the Patriot Prayer group, which is *not* ‘alt-right’.

    Who’s behind this weekend’s right-wing rally at Crissy Field?

    http://www.mercurynews.com/201…..ssy-field/

  37. Good column except the part about the free speech protestors being alt-right and racist. Please research such groups before writing such things. Even the Southern Poverty Law Center does not list them as a hate group.

    One possible source of confusion is that bigots on both sides do like to infiltrate their events and cause trouble. In a free country it is difficult to keep them away but they try.

  38. NS,S! Brain-dead by reason of Botox!

  39. Thanks for sharing the information…….. Vashikaran for Women

  40. I cried wolf in a crowded theater several times and was asked by an usher to stop or I would be asked to leave. It was not the reaction I was looking for and the guy a seat over told me to stop hitting on his date. Nancy Pelosi was right crying wolf in a crowded theater is bad news.

  41. “Nancy Pelosi doesn’t understand free speech.”
    You better believe Pelosi understands Free Speech, that’s why she wants the power to censor it. Free Speech was very important to the Founding Fathers mainly because it was a crime to criticize King George and the English Parliament. The recognized the right of the people to criticize the government, their leaders and anyone else they disagreed with. Free Speech is a two way street, people have the right to voice their opinions, others have the right not to listen. Those advocating censorship are not content with not listening themselves, they don’t want anyone else to listen either.
    What Pelosi and her ilk consider inflammatory speech are ideas and positions that conflict with theirs. In their view there can only be one opinion, theirs. So don’t be fooled, Pelosi understands the danger to her agenda that Free Speech represents.

  42. Nancy, the batty, high maintenance, old bag, is one of a handful of high-profile deplorables that keeps GOP voters motivated, keeps the GOP in power and incapable of reforming. But then if Pelosi was to hold onto the leadership in another Democrat sweep, the only poliitcal coalition that would be forseeably capable of cleaning up their mess afterwards would be lead by a conservative Republican, not Gary Johnson.

  43. Of course Nancy understands free speech. It is her enemy and she has studied how to kill it because (as noted by Ayn) “Thinking men cannot be ruled.” (hence the NEA).

  44. Somehow nobody seems to realize that SCOTUS subsequently repudiated ‘Schenck’. Fewer yet realize the facts of the case, which are as follows. A group of pacifists were handing out anti way leaflets to the people waiting in line at a recruiting kiosk in the Pacific Northwest. They were arrested for sedition. The text of the offending leaflet was the usual, ‘don’t sacrifice your life for war profiteers’, and “Rich man’s war, poor man’s fight.” This is exactly the kind of speech most protected by the first amendment. Holmes himself personally repudiated that statement. Controlling precedent NOW is’Tinker’. Btw, Holmes was hardly a legal giant. His basic philosophy was that morality had no place in the law, and that the job of the judiciary was to provide intellectual cover for whatever harebrained policy the legislature would come up with. It was Holmes who justified the mass sterilization of people with mental issues in”Buck”in which he asserted, “three generations of imbeciles are enough!”, A point not lost on the Nazis, who explicitly quoted Holmes as justification for their mass extermination of the mentally ill and physically disabled

  45. Pelosi is growing increasingly bizarre and incoherent. I think she is suffering from senile dementia. Seriously. Something is clearly wrong with her; she needs medical attention.

  46. James Madison worried about what he called “factions,” which he defined as groups of citizens who have a common interest in some proposal that would either violate the rights of other citizens or would harm the nation as a whole. Madison’s fear ? which Alexis de Tocqueville later dubbed “the tyranny of the majority” ? was that a faction could grow to encompass more than 50 percent of the population, at which point it could “sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens.” Madison has a solution for tyranny of the majority: “A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking.” ANTIFA seeks power and prestige through intimidation, fire, pillage and plunder . The abiding purpose of ANTIFA is to secure more power to erode U.S. sovereignty. It is an odd sensation to live through one of these episodes, especially one as big as to question our Bill of Rights. But its place atop a long line of precedents can no longer be disputed. Keep it civil. Beware the 5th column. Don’t be a pigeon. I recommend a fresh read of Orwell’s 1984. Keep it civil.

  47. Although it’s been explained to me, it still makes no sense with the various groups whether named by the msm or groups naming themselves.

    What in the world does “Alt right” mean? Is there an Alt left?

    Alt could mean alternative. I have an Alt key on my computer keyboard. Or it could mean one who alternates between the right and something else.

    This crap with the names meant to discredit or to shock seems so juvenile — very immature and child-like. It is so tiring to have to deal with children among all the other serious things we have to consider.

    1. very immature and child-like. It is so tiring to have to deal with children

      Is that why you have no idea what it means, and presumably also deny Breitbart exists?

      Steve Bannon declared Breitbart “the platform of the alt-right.” And it has nothing to do with any computer key. As all informed people know. it’s short for “alternative-right” – an alternative to the pussies in the more traditional right, like Goldwater, Reagan, Buckley and Friedman. It tales balls to be an authoritarian suppressing individual liberty.

  48. Like any good liberal–excuse me, “progressive”–Pelosi is for censorship and segregation, and against constitutional restraints. Don’t want to burst the Corporate/degenerate bubble, do we? No need for progressives to know there are people out there who pray, vote conservative, and enjoy bass fishing. Of course, they’ll find out at the mid-term election, but why upset the Lefties needlessly now? Leading The Latte-Swilling Resistance gives them more than enough to think about, doesn’t it?

    1. Like any good liberal–excuse me, “progressive”–Pelosi is for censorship and segregation, and against constitutional restraints.

      Pelosi is alt-right? Who knew!

  49. Every theatre I have been in has well lit and spacious exits. Shouting “fire” would therefore be exceedingly unlikely to cause panic much less harm. If a theatre cannot safely evacuate its patrons then surely they have the issue, especially in these days of over-regulation. That’s not to say the person shouting shouldn’t be ejected and possibly banned, or even sued for loss by patrons who miss the show/film. But I’m pretty sure it isn’t, and shouldn’t be, illegal.

  50. Clearly, this is a site for your average rwnj. Because it is obvious that Donald Tramp does not understand the meaning of free speech (of course, your kind does not care); and the parable about the boy crying wolf absolutely does not mean what you say it does.

    In no way does the parable refer to overreacting to anything. It refers to sounding a false alarm. You know, like Donald Tramp wetting his pants and crying about “fake news” all the time.

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