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.”
That 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). Why? 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.