Thursday, January 21, 2010

Free speech isn’t free, and will soon to be a lot more expensive

Our theme for this post: free speech

John McCain issues a not-at-all-stilted statement about his wife’s air-brushed appearance in an anti-Prop 8 ad: “Senator McCain respects the views of members of his family.” You can just hear his teeth grinding.

On the same day the Supreme Court ruled that corporations may “spend freely” to influence elections (when will Goldman Sachs start handing out congressional seats as bonuses?), Hillary Clinton evidently agreed that there was no difference between speech by individuals and speech by corporations. In a speech about the “five key freedoms of the Internet age,” i.e., chiding China on internet censorship, she insisted that, “From an economic standpoint, there is no distinction between censoring political speech and commercial speech.”

However, Trijicon Inc. will no longer put Bible messages on gun sights produced for the military. Evidently the Pentagon’s first reaction to this story was to claim that it was okay, just like printing “In God We Trust” on our currency.

In his partial dissent to one part of the Citizens United v. FEC decision, Clarence Thomas, who stands alone in this, opposes the release of the names of donors to political campaigns, citing the ability of the internet to harass those people. He goes on to cite many alleged instances of death threats and such against supporters of Prop. 8. “I cannot endorse a view of the First Amendment that subjects citizens of this Nation to death threats, ruined careers, damaged or defaced property, or pre-emptive and threatening warning letters as the price for engaging in ‘core political speech, the “primary object of First Amendment protection.”’” Or, alternately, you could pass laws against death threats, damaged or defaced property, etc. Oh, wait.

John Travolta is sending Scientologist missionaries to Haiti. Haiti is saved!

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