“The First Amendment served us well for a time, but now it’s outdated.“
Remember reading that England had arrested a guy for anti-Muslim Twitter postings in the aftermath of the Woolwich slaughter? And remember thinking, “Well, this is America, that can’t happen here”?
US Attorney Bill Killian, Obama’s Attorney for the Eastern district of Tennessee wants you to know that if you say something untoward (negative) about Muslims, the Federal government may imprison you.
Killian and Moore will provide input on how civil rights can be violated by those who post inflammatory documents targeted at Muslims on social media. “This is an educational effort with civil rights laws as they play into freedom of religion and exercising freedom of religion,” Killian told The News Monday. “This is also to inform the public what federal laws are in effect and what the consequences are.” … Killian said Internet postings that violate civil rights are subject to federal jurisdiction.
The posting he offers as a “for instance” is an egregious one. And yet this country has long protected, absolutely, egregious speech, such as hardcore pornography, for a simple reason: Either you are at liberty to say what you will or you are not. If you are constantly double-thinking every word you might say, for fear of being prosecuted, you are self-censoring, in anticipation of a possible prosecution by the government.
Rather than having a system in which people were constantly worried about imprisonment for speech, our country has evolved a simple bright-line code: Speech of all kinds, with a few exceptions that can be counted on three fingers, is absolutely protected.
Remember, the importance of this bright-line, no-exceptions rule of free speech was preached to us, even when some of us might not have liked it so much, as when hardcore pornography was afforded absolute protection under the First Amendment. In the case of hardcore pornography, it was argued — successfully — that having each artist weigh the possibility of an obscenity prosecution was too much of a burden on his free speech rights, and would have, unavoidably, a chilling effect on speech.
That was the rule then, and that was the rationale.
But now comes the Obama Administration to tell you that Yes, you just might be imprisoned for something you say online, so you’d better Watch What You Say.
Remember when Ari Fleischer said that, without suggesting any kind of legal penalties? Remember how the media freaked out?
But now comes the US Attorney for the Eastern district of Tennessee explicitly telling you that you may be imprisoned if a political appointee decides your political speech has crossed a line.
Somehow, I don’t think Tim Robbins will be portentously howling us that a “chill wind” is blowing across our rights of free expression this week.
editorial footnote: We are arriving at the period of time in America when the herd will be thinned. We are asking ALL Americans to continue to post, write and distribute your thoughts as you please. Approaching us now are the days of the true warriors. Let the paper tigers fall and burn. It is easy to stand up for what you believe in when there are no consequences for your actions, but the true definition of boldness is standing up for what you believe in when you have everything to lose. If you are scared.. then, stand behind us.. because we are not going anywhere. Our rights and our freedoms were endowed to us by our Creator.. and with us they shall remain. – s. montague
In a Constitution Subcommittee hearing, Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-02) questioned Assistant Attorney General, Thomas Perez, over the Administration’s commitment to 1st Amendment rights. Franks’ questions were prompted by a Daily Caller article from late last year in which Perez was quoted as warmly embracing the proposals of Islamist advocates in a meeting at George Washington University, among them a request for “a legal declaration that U.S. citizens’ criticism of Islam constitutes racial discrimination.”
Perez reportedly ended the meeting with an enthusiastic closing speech and was quoted as saying, “I sat here the entire time, taking notes…I have some very concrete thoughts … in the aftermath of this.”
In this hearing, Chairman Franks asked Perez to affirm that the Administration would “never entertain or advance a proposal that criminalizes speech against any religion?” Perez refused.