Newsworthy …

The news of the day is predominantly predictions and warnings about Hurricane Florence, expected to hit the Carolinas tomorrow.  Our friend Keith is in Charlotte, North Carolina, so I’ll be thinking of him and hoping he and his family are safe.  And, Trump is running his mouth & thumbs again, falsely claiming what a “great job” he did in the aftermath of last year’s Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico, and slamming San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.  I will have more to say about that tomorrow. But a couple of other things crossed my path this morning …

And we thought the NRA was bad? 

In yesterday’s New Hampshire republican primary, a man named Eddie Edwards won over Andy Sanborn by just over 3,000 votes, or 6.8%.  Eddie, endorsed by Rudy Giuliani, is a big Trump fan …

“The president’s doing one hell of a job in Washington. It’s about time we had a president who understood the values of our country and stood up for our country.”

eddie edwardsThat in itself is enough to make one want to head for the nearest bathroom, but that is far from the worst of it.  Edwards is a supporter of the 2nd Amendment, the likes of which we have never seen, not even in the most ardent gun supporters such as the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre.  Hold on to your hats for this one, folks.  Eddie fully supports a total repeal of the background check system.  A TOTAL repeal … no background checks … ever … for anyone.  But wait … there’s even more.

He says he would vote to shrink or eliminate the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF). He would oppose any legislative or regulatory prohibition on “bump stocks.” He also vows to repeal the 1996 federal law that prohibits bringing guns within 1000 feet of schools, to end limits on gun imports that are not for “sporting purposes,” and to even repeal the 1996 Lautenberg amendment that prevents people convicted of domestic violence from owning guns. In other words, not only would he eliminate the background checks, but would also arm more domestic abusers.  Listen to Eddie …

A 2013 poll by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that even in pro-gun New Hampshire, 89 percent of likely voters supported universal mandatory background checks for gun purchases.  Now, aside from the fact that I don’t foresee Congress, even if Mr. Eddie Edwards were to attain a seat in the House, passing laws to make any of Eddie’s dreams come true, I find it extremely disturbing that a man with these ideas could make it as far as he has in politics.  At least 21,767 people  in new Hampshire support this insanity.


Free speech runs amok … again

It’s called the Institute for Historical Review (IHR).  Sounds innocuous enough, yes?  But no.  It is an anti-Semitic hate group whose main ‘claim to fame’ is in denying that the Holocaust happened, even claiming that the Anne Frank’s diary was a hoax and the gas chambers never existed.  This month, IHR has been allowed to place advertisements on San Francisco’s mass transit system, BART (Bay Area Regional Transit). BARTWhy?  Why would BART allow a blatantly, unapologetic anti-Semitic organization to advertise on its trains?  Because …

“You have to look at it for exactly what words are used and what images are used … There is plenty of case law and court rulings that show if you deny the ad, you can be taken to court, and you’ll lose, and that’s obviously costly.”

Anti-Semitism is on the rise … hate crimes and discrimination against Jews rose by 57% in the U.S. in 2017.  To be fair, anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe also, but at least there, they have laws that curtail such abomination as hate groups advertising in public venues.  But here … anything goes under the guise of free speech.  This is not free speech … this robs people of their right to peace of mind!

In 2015, a judge ruled that New York’s MTA (Mass Transit Authority) could not stop an ad from being run that read “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah.” The ad was created by a pro-Israel organization whose president, Pamela Geller, is a well-known Islamophobe.  And just last August, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) took the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to court for refusing a number of ads, including one by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

Those of you who have followed this blog for a while know that I am a staunch supporter of free speech, for I believe that it is the only thing keeping this nation free from a dictatorship.  Even when I don’t particularly like or agree with what is said, I support the person’s right to say it.  However, in my mind there is a line, and advertising anti-Semitism or any other form of hate on public transit crosses that line.  The divisiveness in this country today, and Donald Trump’s support of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups has contributed to this madness.  What’s more, I see no end in sight, but predict an escalation to these types of hate speech.

It is quite possible to support freedom of speech without supporting speech that denigrates others and invites violence.  Think about  it.

40 thoughts on “Newsworthy …

  1. It is quite possible to support freedom of speech without supporting speech that denigrates others and invites violence.

    But it’s not possible to support freedom of speech and also support “laws that curtail such abomination as hate groups advertising in public venues”. Once the law can ban expression of opinion (as opposed to actual defamation), freedom of speech is being infringed.

    The problem in the cases you cited is not a lack of laws banning unpopular speech — the problem is judges (and laws, apparently) that won’t let the transit authorities make their own decisions about which advertising to accept. They should not be forced to provide a platform for groups like the IHR, and allowing them to refuse such advertising would not constitute censorship, any more than your or my right to reject blog comments we object to constitutes censorship. But laws to silence such people would be an entirely different matter.

    And don’t forget, if we ever scrap the First Amendment and actually have laws banning “hate speech” in this country, it won’t be you that gets to define what constitutes “hate speech”. It will be Trump and Ryan and McConnell, and Eddie Edwards and people like him. They’re the ones who are in power.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Because you are allowed to say whatever you want should not guarantee that you are allowed to spread that message indiscriminately anywhere you want. This is another side of the adage, “Money talks.” If you can afford it, and are willing to pay for it, you can say the USA should use their nuclear weapons to wipe out whole nations. Is this really what you want someone to be able to advocate just to give you the right to say, “Trump sucks!” Those statement are not comparable, (and Trump is probably going to find a way to to stop you anyway, like he tries to stop everything else that disagrees with him).
      No, in this case there should be freedom of choice to not advertise what you do not believe in, if it rouses people to hatred and violence. I am not advocating shutting anyone up, just limiting their access to certain avenues of spreading their beliefs.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have considered all these points, and I don’t disagree with you. We do start down a slippery slope when we begin to curtail any freedom. Where to draw the line? The only reason, though, that I would argue with you, even while agreeing, is that many countries in Europe DO have laws against certain forms of hate speech, predominantly those associated with Hitler and the Nazis, and yet they still retain their rights to free speech in every other area. I have friends in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, all countries where there are laws against certain forms of hate speech, and none of them have any complaints about the laws. So, I think it is possible to have some limits without completely scrapping the 1st amendment.

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      • And as I’ve pointed out before, those laws in Europe are used mostly to harass and intimidate people who criticize Islam — people like me, in other words. Your friends may not have a problem with that, but I do.

        Nothing in my comment even mentioned a slippery-slope argument. Please read what I actually said.

        – The problems you reference are caused by judges and laws who won’t let the transit authorities decide for themselves which advertising to accept, not by lack of laws banning hate speech.

        – Laws banning expression of any opinion are inherently bad. Again, I did not make a slippery-slope argument. Banning any opinion is an infringement on free expression, regardless of whether or not it leads to further infringements.

        – If we ever do get hate-speech laws, it is those in power, not you, who will get to decide what constitutes hate speech. You probably wouldn’t like the results.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I brought up the fact that it is a slippery slope argument, not because you mentioned it — I was aware you did not mention it — but because that is how I see it. Where does one draw the line. I acknowledge that you believe there should be zero infringement on free speech, and I do respect and understand your thoughts. I respectfully disagree, however, for as long as unfettered hate speech is protected in the way it is today, I foresee that the divisiveness in this nation today will ultimately lead to bloodshed in the streets. The current levels of tension are not sustainable, and will only be fed by allowing hate groups to spew their hate in all venues.

          You are correct when you say that judges ought to allow companies the choice of what advertising to allow. But consider the case I wrote about some time ago, about the man who owned a hardware store and placed a sign in his store window saying, “No gays allowed”. Should that be okay, in your opinion?

          I do not like the idea of imposing restrictions on free speech, either, but … I am willing to make some concessions in order to save lives and promote the peace. This nation today is not one of which I am proud or in which I am comfortable. Every right is accompanied by responsibility, and of late, this nation has eschewed the responsibility that comes with both the 1st and 2nd amendments of the Constitution. When we refuse the responsibility, we lose a portion of the right. In my humble opinion. And yes, I realize I am likely in the minority on this, but I no longer wish to live in a nation where hate is spewed by Nazis and white supremacists. I’m tired of it. I want to see respect for others come back into our society, and advertising anti-Semitism on buses is not the path toward mutual respect and tolerance.

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          • as long as unfettered hate speech is protected in the way it is today, I foresee that the divisiveness in this nation today will ultimately lead to bloodshed in the streets.

            Now that is a slippery-slope argument. The problem is that there are so many things that someone could argue might somehow lead to violence if they aren’t forbidden, that once you start banning things on that basis, you rapidly lose any semblance of a free society. Freedom involves risk. Hell, being alive involves risk. It’s worth it. As Franklin said, those who give up liberty for security deserve neither and will end up with neither.

            I think it’s more likely that censoring unpopular opinions would lead to violence. People are more likely to become violent if they feel that non-violent avenues of advocating what they want are closed off.

            about the man who owned a hardware store and placed a sign in his store window saying, “No gays allowed”. Should that be okay, in your opinion?

            No, but the problem there is that the store owner has a policy of discrimination, not that he’s expressing an opinion. Discriminating against gays is and should be illegal. If he were to make an argument that he should be allowed to discriminate against gays, that’s just expressing an opinion and it is and should be legal.

            I no longer wish to live in a nation where hate is spewed by Nazis and white supremacists. I’m tired of it.

            I’m tired of hearing people spout bigoted religious nonsense and advocate censorship. That does not mean it is OK to have laws banning those things. Other people’s right to express opinions shouldn’t be limited by what I (or you) feel uncomfortable with. And there are undoubtedly lots of people out there who are “tired of” viewpoints like the ones you express, and “no longer wish to live in a nation where” such views are allowed. Certainly there are millions of people who feel that way about the things I say on my own blog.

            Again, you think that if there were hate-speech laws, you and people like you would get to define what constitutes “hate speech” and is banned. You wouldn’t be. And again, in Europe those laws in practice are mostly used to intimidate people who criticize Islam. That is, they are used to silence the critics of a bigoted and violent ideology, not to silence its advocates. In practice, the kind of laws you advocate would wind up targeting me. And I do take it personally.

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  2. Well there is SOME good news tonight. I just saw that Florence was downgraded to a category 2 storm. Dangerous, but better than it was. I think that Eddie dude is just running his mouth to get votes. Let’s just go back to the old west, shall we? And I was VERY upset about the bus stuff when I read about it yesterday. This country has lost its mind. I am an avid sci-fi fan and have read a lot about alternate realities, but I NEVER in a million years thought I’d live in one. Btw, have you ever seen the movie “Denial” with Tom Wilkinson?

    Liked by 1 person

    • On reading your comment, I dashed over to the Weather Channel to check, and sure enough, it has been downgraded, but yet they are saying it is still growing in size. Odd. I have friends in North Carolina and have been keeping an eye on it.

      I’m sure you’re right about Eddie, but what bothers me is that people want this … unlimited guns in the hands of any, even wife-beaters. No limits on assault weapons, bump stocks, etc. Why, can you imagine such a society?

      You are not the first reader tonight to say those exact words “this country has lost its mind”. Actually, one reader said the world has lost its mind, and I won’t argue against that, either. I sometimes have trouble recognizing the world … it isn’t one I can relate to anymore. Frankly, I am glad I am old and won’t live to see what it’s like in 10-20 years. And that is a sad statement, isn’t it?

      No, I haven’t seen the movie Denial. Should I?

      Hugs, my friend.

      Liked by 2 people

      • “Why, can you imagine such a society?” I think it’s because we’re all egocentric at heart. It’s whatever is good for ME. And if I perceive ANYTHING as a threat, I can use the 2nd Amendment to defend myself, my family, my territory, and my philosophy (no matter how warped it may be).. I reckon people will always be two things: warlike and poor.

        “Denial” is a true story about a college professor here in the US who used some material out of a Holocaust denier’s book in her class as reference material to disprove his disproof (or something along those lines). She was sued by him anad had to go to court in Britain to defend herself. He’s British. It’s about the trial — basically the judge had to decide if HE thought the holocaust had happened. I found it so interesting. Was amazed that people could actually believe it didn’t given all the publicity there was when the soldiers liberated the camps. I mean TONS of pictures. The first time we went to the Holocaust Museum in DC I broke down and cried and cried at an exhibit of a mound of children’s shoes (who had been gassed). I don’t think anything has ever touched me so deeply.

        And I was so shocked after reading the book “The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” (fiction) to learn that the US had put Japanese Americans in internment camps! Isn’t that just what Trump wants to do???

        Liked by 2 people

        • I think the holocaust deniers are really Jew haters and they try to cover it by some warped misinformed, misconstrued information to make it look like a legitimate summary. They know it’s really true, but they spread these lies due to pure hatred.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I will definitely have to check out Denial … sounds interesting, and I’m like you … how the Sam heck can anybody deny what was well-documented, and even confessed to by some at the Nuremberg trials? I always thought that when people deny the Holocaust (or climate change, for that matter) they do so either for attention, or to make their own lives more convenient. As in, “If it never happened … if I can put my blinders on and pretend it never happened … then I don’t need to feel any sense of guilt or responsibility.”

          I had a best friend in High School whose parents and grandparents had been in the internment camps in California during WWII. One of our darkest moments, if you ask me. They lost their homes, most of their possessions, and years of their lives. And all because of their ethnicity. Yep, it is reminiscent of what Trump wants to do with Latinos and Muslims.

          Liked by 1 person

      • That is exactly how I feel about being older…maybe 10/15 years top. What horrors will I see, even in that time frame? I feel like the world has gotten on a runaway train heading for a cliff and no way to stop it, but fall on over and see if there are any pieces to pick up.
        And I remember in Obama’s latest speech, he said trump is a symptom but not the cause and he is correct. This has all been a growing cancer for some time…ignorance, racism, hate, lies, guns, war and on and on. It’s just picking up steam now and is endorsed by a good bit of earth’s population, not just here in the US. Changes are occurring in Europe as well. China and Russia seem poised for something.
        It reminds me of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Evil has sprung, but there is no ring to try to destroy.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, Edwards seems to be running off the rails with no background check. If the NRA followed its original intent, they would be all about gun safety, education and governance over guns. Edwards is posing a poor path forward.

    As for the man in the White House, I would advocate a lie detector test if he took it as well. He would light that up like a Roman Candle.

    Thanks for the well wishes. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree … I don’t think any other than perhaps the House Freedom Caucus would even consider such a move, and likely Edwards knows that, but it is a selling point for his campaign. I equate him with Ben Carson … a sellout.

      A lie detector test on Trump would likely set fire to the White House as it short-circuited. Or … remember the old tv show, Lost in Space? The robot saying, “This does not computer”. 😀

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      • Jill, I just saw Bob Woodward interviewed. He responded to questions that what we are witnessing now is “survival deniability,” meaning these folks must appear to support the President. What they should realize is Woodward has 100 hours of tapes. One of his great worries is what people like Mattis, Tillerson, Kelly et all have noted is Trump does not want to hear about how the peace has been kept for 70 years by these relationships, calling it BS. This is supposed to be the leader of the free world.. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Now I’ve seen everything. black man voting to put more guns in the hands of Whites. He should be out there ‘on the other side’ trying to make sure his people don’t lose all their rights to vote and that racism is brought under control and that offensive ad’s can’t b put up in public places. The world has gone mad.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 3 people

    • That is exactly what I say on a daily basis anymore … “The world has gone mad!” I liken Eddie Edwards to Dr. Ben Carson, the former neuro-surgeon, now Secretary of Housing and Urban Development … an African-American who is trying to raise fees on low-income housing, take food assistance away from the poor, and a host of other abominations against the very people whose rights he should be fighting for! Sigh. 😔
      Cwtch

      Liked by 2 people

  5. There is a fine line that has been crossed when we talk about our liberties. Apparently, it’s our right to hate and talk about violence towards others in public places. I lived in Massachusetts for more than half my lifetime and I can’t even wrap my head around this candidate or this election in New Hampshire. Their state motto was “live free or die”. They have been leaning Republican for some time.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Dear Jill,

    There are so many issues on my list that I want Democratic Lawmakers to work on when they become the majority party in the US Congress, and one would be to bar Ads that promote hate.

    What would you think would happen if someone were to pay for an Ad to send all White Evangelicals to Russia since they are party to turning a blind eye to the fact that Russia attacked the US elections infrastructure in 2016?

    Promoting hate ads =promoting violence.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 4 people

    • Heh heh heh … I am having fun just trying to imagine one of the white evangelicals who so love Trump stepping onto a bus one morning and seeing an ad just such as you have described! Why, the hue and cry would be felt throughout the land! There is a definite double standard. I’m with you … it’s a slippery slope, but I think the time has come to start imposing some rules about what is ‘acceptable’ free speech. I just fear it could be taken too far, especially in today’s political climate.
      Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. SURELY those 21,767 people that supported Mr. Edwards were unaware of his political position! SURELY they voted for him simply because they didn’t like his opponent. SURELY, they voted for him because he supports Trump. SURELY, they voted for him because they wanted to support a black candidate. SURELY … ??!!?

    This guy’s platform is obscene!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh but of course! The SURELY didn’t vote for him because they are fans of the NRA! Once they realize what he stands for, they will all switch their loyalty and vote for the democratic candidate, yes? {Let me know when you awaken from the dream, my friend} 💤💤💤

      Like

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