Tag Archives: freedom of speech

Free speech is not absolute, it comes with consequences and accountability

Social media platforms such as Apple, YouTube, Facebook, Spotify and other companies removed or banned the truly vile Alex Jones and his conspiracy theory mongering Infowars from their platforms over the past week or so.

In recent years, Conservatives Have Weaponized the First Amendment:

A new analysis prepared for The New York Times found that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has been far more likely to embrace free-speech arguments concerning conservative speech than liberal speech. That is a sharp break from earlier eras.

As a result, liberals who once championed expansive First Amendment rights are now uneasy about them.

“The left was once not just on board but leading in supporting the broadest First Amendment protections,” said Floyd Abrams, a prominent First Amendment lawyer and a supporter of broad free-speech rights. “Now the progressive community is at least skeptical and sometimes distraught at the level of First Amendment protection which is being afforded in cases brought by litigants on the right.”

Many on the left have traded an absolutist commitment to free speech for one sensitive to the harms it can inflict.

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Constitution Applies to All

I was honored to do the coin toss for Military Appreciation Night at a high school football game recently. Thankfully, the loss of the toss didn’t determine the outcome of the game for the home team. They went on to win the game and I enjoyed the opportunity to talk to many of the other veterans who had attended the game.

One Air Force vet thanked me for my service and after some small talk, he told me how horrible he thought it was for NFL players to “take a knee” during the National Anthem. I told him I had a different take that I’d like to share with him.

I said my perspective was that I had served to ensure those players had the freedom to exercise their First Amendment rights. He hesitated a second and then said “well, I just don’t think it’s right”. I told him that I didn’t think the Ku Klux Klan’s views are “right” nor do I like how they express them. But, to paraphrase what Michael Douglas’ character said in The American President, “I may hate to the core what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it”.

I believe those football players who “take a knee” have as much right to make a statement in any legal way they see fit, as the Neo-Nazi protesters in Charlottesville had to express their displeasure with the statute removal. But…when such expressions turn dangerous and deadly, that’s another matter entirely.

To all those who claim they love our country and support our Constitution, I say you can’t pick and choose who gets to enjoy the rights bestowed on citizens of these United States. Millions of servicemembers paid the ultimate price because they believed in our ideals. We best honor their sacrifice by continuing to live by, and protecting, those ideals.

Poor People’s Party: Occupy Tucson, PDA, and NNU Celebrate Occupy’s 2nd Anniversary

OT-sidewalk96-sig-sm72by Pamela Powers Hannley

Two years ago, the Occupy Movement– with its simple “We Are the 99%!” message– united the world by enlightening us to the workings of the corporate oligarchy and the governments they run (including our own) and how this system is designed to keep us down.
Worldwide, Occupy encampments sprang up in 2011.

On the second anniversary of Occupy, there will be worldwide protests against austerity.
Here at home the anniversary will be marked with a Poor People’s Party.

Here is the information from Occupy Tucson.

This Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, beginning at 6:00 pm, Occupy Tucson, National Nurses United, and Progressive Democrats of America are hosting a Poor People’s Party to offer a collective response to the global austerity measures foisted upon us.

Come to 225 E 26th Street and check out the new national headquarters for the Alliance for Global Justice

We’re having a pot-luck supper, free movies, free games, and a chance to video-record personal responses to “What Austerity Means to Me.”

Please spread the word. Bring your favorite games. Let’s have some fun. That’s the best response to a widening wealth gap, a corrupt political system, and a ramped-up hyper-militarized police state.