Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Courts Rule Free Speech Trumps Grief

March 31, 2010
Colorado, USA

Dissident Daughter In March 2006, Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder's funeral was sullied by radical protesters from the infamous, hate-mongering, christian-posers of the Westboro Baptist Church Cult, (Topeka, Kansas). Protesters carried signs that read "You're going to hell", "God Hates You" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."

The father of the Marine killed in Iraq, Albert Snyder filed suit against WBC June 2006. In November 2007 a United States District Court decided in favor of Albert Snyder. United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit heard the case in September 2009. Federal appeals court dismissed the suit on First Amendment grounds earlier this month and threw out a $5 million award against the protesters. The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ordered Snyder on Friday (March 26, 2010) to pay Fred Phelps, the leader of Kansas' Westboro Baptist Church in excess of $16,000.

Snyder told Fox News: "I don't think I'm going to be writing a check until I hear from the Supreme Court."

The high court agreed to consider whether the protesters' message is protected by the First Amendment or limited by the competing privacy and religious rights of the mourners.

From the web site MatthewSnyder.Org: The family of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, US Marine Corps, has begun this civil lawsuit against Mr. Phelps and certain members of the so-called Westboro Baptist Church to bring an end to the reign of terror and abuse that they inflicted upon the grieving families of US service members killed in defense of our nation. Using innocent children to deliver their twisted message of hatred and fear, the defendants in this suit have sought to attack the memory of our departed heroes, to strip their loved ones of their dignity, and to use abuse and intimidation as a tool for preventing surviving family members from reaching closure over their loss.
Following are gloating remarks from the WBC:

Among the teachings of the church, which was founded in 1955 by pastor Fred Phelps, is the belief that God is punishing the United States for "the sin of homosexuality" through events such as soldiers' deaths.

Margie Phelps, the daughter of Fred Phelps and the attorney representing the church in its appeals, also said the money that the church receives from Snyder will be used to finance demonstrations. But she also said that the order was a consequence of his decision to sue the church over the demonstration.

"Mr. Snyder and his attorneys have engaged the legal system; there are some rules to that legal engagement," said Phelps, a member of Westboro who says she has participated in more than 150 protests of military funerals.

"They wanted to shut down the picketing so now they're going to finance it," she said.
A perfect and generous response from Bill O'Reilly, Fox News:

No. 1 cable news host Bill O'Reilly said Tuesday that he will personally write a check to cover $16,500 in legal costs for the father of a fallen U.S. Marine who sued the members of a church who picketed his son's funeral.

On Tuesday's The O'Reilly Factor, however, the host stepped forward.

"That is an outrage," he said. "I will pay Mr. Snyder's obligation. I am not going to let this injustice stand."

O'Reilly added, "It's obvious they [WBC] were disturbing the peace by disrupting the funeral. They should have been arrested, but our system is so screwed up, so screwed up, that loons are allowed to run wild. Snyder is fighting the good fight, and he is taking his case to the Supreme Court as he should. We are behind him 100 percent."
OK My Turn:

I am, much to my admittedly self-inflicted dismay sometimes, a die hard advocate for Free Speech. I strongly advocate self-censorship, meaning if you don't like what you are hearing or seeing or reading - turn it off, tune it out, put it down. In some cases, I advocate drowning it out.

Many years ago I read an ACLU article and kept this excerpt: How much we value the right of free speech is put to its severest test when the speaker is someone we disagree with most. Speech that deeply offends our morality or is hostile to our way of life warrants the same constitutional protection as other speech because the right of free speech is indivisible: When one of us is denied this right, all of us are denied.

FREE SPEECH: First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Bill of Rights. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

And then, there's the disconcerting fine flux line between FREE speech and HATE speech...

HATE SPEECH: Hate speech is loosely defined as any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group.

FYI: In 1942, the Supreme Court sustained the conviction of a Jehovah's witness who addressed a police officer as a "God dammed racketeer" and "a damned fascist" (Chaplinksy v. New Hampshire). The Court's opinion in the case stated that there was a category of face-to-face epithets, or "fighting words," that was wholly outside of the protection of the First Amendment: those words "which by their very utterance inflict injury" and which "are no essential part of any exposition of ideas."
From: Exploring Constitutional Conflicts

Which by their very utterance inflict injury... is all but cancelled out by the following statement: "which are no essential part of any exposition of ideas."

No matter how insanely hateful, the WBC has been expounding upon their lunatic exposition of ideas since the 1950s. They have been challenged time and again. Time and again the First Amendment has come to their rescue.

Why? The First Amendment protects even despicable speech, including that of a vile nature. In the United States it is not a crime to be hateful or repugnant or insane or stupid or wrong. The First Amendment protects our right to dissent even if that dissent is based on what appears to be idiotic doctrine. (WBC claims that it is America's tolerance of homosexuality that causes GOD to strike down our soldiers.)

I repeat: Which by their very utterance inflict injury... is all but cancelled out by the following statement: "which are no essential part of any exposition of ideas."

No matter how heinous... how objectionable, how morally bereft and offensive are the words spouted by the Phelps clan... they [the words] are not libelous, or slanderous or even threatening... they do not target an individual... so they cannot be deemed criminal in the legal sense of the word. They protest in public spaces, fully within their peaceable assemblage rights. As far as I know, they have not committed a crime nor have they caused anyone to commit a crime based upon their speech. This is a savvy group. They have been at their venomous task for a very long time. Margie Phelps is an attorney and by all accounts, an adept in her field.

What I have long felt reprehensible about the Phelps clan and the WBC is:
First and foremost, their complete and utter lack of regard and respect for the families of fallen soldiers.
Second, their claim of being a Christian-based religion. The WBC brand of Christianity is severely warped, for lack of a better word - a perverted abomination.
Third, their willingness to subjugate the law of the land to suit their unquestioningly demented beliefs.

My fear is the Supreme Court will uphold WBC freedom of expression claims... and thus destroy State Rights to impose and enforce laws (many already on the books) restricting funeral protests and a ban by Congress prohibiting protests at federal cemeteries.

I believe in Free Speech, even in the pathologically demoralizing form as it is practiced by the WBC. I also believe - and if you knew me well, you wouldn't believe your ears - that Free Speech in the form of protest should be banned from all funeral homes, all funerals, all cemeteries, all grave sights, all griever's residences and close proximity (that would be within range of sight and hearing) to all of the above. I believe sore, grieving hearts deserve absolute respect and a grace period of peace to bury their loved ones. I do not believe any political, religious or other radical interference should be allowed during that grieving process. Yikes, that was hard for me to say. But, just like it is unlawful to yell FIRE in a crowded theater - I think it should be unlawful to yell ANYTHING or show ANYTHING that could be deemed disrespectful at a funeral.

On the other hand, I can't imagine the arguments attorneys could make out of that one or how disastrous would be the long range ramifications of such an act. I can well imagine that next up would be suppressing protesters at gay weddings or abortion clinics... it could go on and on and on... and it goes without saying it wouldn't end well for the First Amendment.

I think we should label mourners a "protected group." I think if we could label funereal protests HATE speech or "fighting words" which they most certainly are... we might achieve some point where the basic right is not compromised - just more intricately defined.

Better yet, if we could figure out why we tolerate that sort of speech coming from an alleged church or religion... oh... never mind.

Bigger minds than mine have puzzled over this question for decades without solving it.

So, in the end - would I advocate limiting or restricting or toying with FREE speech, even to correct such an obvious wrong?


But... I will seize every opportunity to exercise MY right to free speech and drown them out.

Source: Fox, Marine's Father Will Not Pay Court-Ordered Funeral Protesters' Fees (my apologies for this source), Dead Marine's father ordered to pay protesters' legal costs
News, O'Reilly Pays Legal Bill for Fallen Marine's Father
Honor the Fallen, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder
Read all about this case and make a donation for Snyder's legal fees at: MatthewSnyder.Org

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spelling it out... Freedom or rather, the lack of it

March 27, 2010
Colorado, USA

Dissident Daughter Our Freedom. Individual Freedom. It is the ideology we take for granted every day as we go about the business of life. Freedom is about choice - nothing more.

Freedom is choice. Freedom is choosing a carrot over a candy bar and vice versa. Freedom is on the table. The government and a mob of uninvited guests just took a huge bite out of it. The mockster-in-chief does not have good table manners. He disdains the cook and the dishwasher and the patriot who sits at the head of the table. He stupefies our children with smug rhetoric and talks with his mouth full of lies. He pokes fun at our values while consuming our hard-earned offering. He offers a piece of our pie to the world without our permission. He was not raised like you and me. He does not believe what we believe. He thinks he knows better how we should live our lives and he has the power to force a poison pill down our throats. He is a greedy gobbler and a guzzler.

He is already in our schools teaching our children an alternative history with himself as the savior-of-the-world-in-chief. He tells them that parents and grandparents are clueless and stupid. He vilifies the founders of our nation and the law of the land. Soon he will be in our den 24/7 on Obama-TV (formerly known as ABC, CBS, NBC - CNN) on the only channels allowed by the Fairness Doctrine. He will be adjusting the thermostat in the hall. He will be in our garage where sits our POS Obama-Car beside the clunker pickup truck we cannot drive because we cannot afford $8 per gallon gasoline. He will pluck the flowers and vegetables from our gardens because he will mandate what you can grow and how much you can water them and who will enjoy and consume them. He will balance our checkbook and determine we owe more to some other person's welfare and education. He will test our children and dictate education that may or may not provide them with the skills to be what they aspire to be. Therefore, he will determine how our children prosper, if at all. He will count our heads and our bathrooms and determine our property would better suit another, larger family. Finally, he will look at our health in our senior years and determine our contribution, our history, our stories are no longer beneficial to society as a whole and will provide a sad... but, keep in mind, comfortable end to our lives.

It sounds like a really bad futuristic movie... but the erosion of our freedom is a heinous path to all of the above and more. Social Justice sounds on the surface like a really good thing. It is not. It is redistribution of wealth and property. It is theft of free speech and the open exchange of ideas and knowledge. It is the end of free enterprise, capitalism and prosperity. It is the end of America, once the greatest country on earth, as we know it. It is the death panel serving notice to Liberty that its existence is no longer required.

As O'Reilly writes in the closing of the following article, the lines are drawn - pick a side. If Freedom is more than just an overused and abused word in your mind, then arm yourself with the means to fight for it. I've got some ideas about how to do that... stay tuned. -- DD

The Freedom Factor
by Bill O'Reilly

"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." -- Kris Kristofferson

The raging debate over Obamacare is not exactly all about health. It's really about freedom, or lack thereof. It's simple when you cut through all the overheated rhetoric: The anti-Obama folks believe the president is imposing a massive federal presence that will erode personal freedoms. The pro-Obama crew supports a huge federal apparatus to impose "social justice," believing that is the government's moral responsibility.

The personal freedom issue is pretty clear, as well. We have less of it today than we did this time last year. In an aggressive power grab, the feds now control the health care industry, and the IRS has increased its already enormous power, as it will enforce Obamacare mandates. In addition, your private medical records will no longer be private. They will be accessible by federal bureaucrats. If that doesn't make you queasy, nothing will.

And then there's higher education. The president wants the feds, not private lending institutions, to distribute college loans, and it looks like that will happen.

And then there's the banking industry. The Obama administration seeks tough oversight rules and wants to call major shots in the financial world. Federal regulation could strangle some banks and force most of them to do exactly what the government wants.

And then there's the energy industry. The president wants to mandate how private business consumes energy and to dish out financial punishment if federal rules are not followed. That's the cap-and-trade deal.

In addition to the direct intrusion on business and private behavior (through health insurance), the redistribution-of-wealth train is roaring toward its next destination. That would be a national sales tax like they have in Europe. The president well understands the huge debt that is piling up because of all the federal spending. He has to raise more money. Wealthy Americans are going to get hammered by income tax and capital gains hikes, but there are simply not enough rich folks to counter the red ink. So get ready for a proposed new tax on stuff you buy.

Even though everyone will pay the sales tax, there will be a variety of rebates for poor Americans so they will not suffer from the sales tax. The middle class will most likely bear the brunt of it. But it may not happen -- Democrats in Congress might well be voted out of power next November. That's one of the high stakes in the midterm election.

Not since the early days of the Vietnam War has there been such a stark divide between liberal and conservative Americans, between Republicans and Democrats. The battle lines are clearly drawn: individual freedom versus federal power. Take your pick.

Source:, The Freedom Factor

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

If this is what change looks like - I do not like the look of it...

March 24, 2010
Colorado, USA

Dissident Daughter It is no wonder Nancy Pelosi stumbled over words from the Constitution while gloating over the ObamaCare victory. I reckon the Devil would stumble over the words to the Lord's Prayer if called upon to recite it. Why? Unfamiliarity. If you don't live it, if you don't believe it, you choke on the words. It's as simple as that.

Pelosi: "Americans will look back on this day as one which we honored the character of our country and honored our commitment to our nation's founders for a commitment to 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'

Here's an example of politics gone wrong:

Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings (impeached and removed from the bench as a federal judge, before being elected to the House): "There ain't no rules here, we're trying to accomplish something... All this talk about rules... When the deal goes down... we make 'em up as we go along."
Many were dismayed by Biden's smug, off-color, open mike, "Big F-word-ing Deal" comment. Why? Many people still believe the politicians running our government into the ground are decent, law-abiding people who command respect simply by virtue of their very lofty positions. They are supposed to be the shining ideal, but I see nothing but tarnish and rust. Ask any citizen - politician might as well be a four-letter word.

The President has made promise after broken promise. This administration consistently mocks and downplays the role of the Constitution in government. They swore to uphold and protect it but apparently an oath of office matters little in Obama-tics.

Obama is a smart guy. Never doubt it. His chief henchman (Reid) and mistress of torture (Pelosi) are devoted to the point of paranoia. The administration as a brain-washed whole is corrupt. Congress is a joke. Democrats and Republicans alike have made a laughing stock of our government and the legislative process. They cannot be trusted. They are poised to continue the destruction of America.

Oh, there are a few who get it...

Congressman John Boehner: "If we pass this bill, there will be no turning back. It will be the last straw for the American people. And in a democracy, you can only ignore the will of the people for so long and get away with it. And if we defy the will of our fellow citizens and pass this bill, we are going to be held to account by those who have placed us in their trust."
Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann: “On August 13, 1800, Thomas Jefferson wrote the following:

‘Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government. Public servants at such a distance, and from under the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer and overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens, and the same circumstance, by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite the public agents to corruption, plunder and waste. And I do verily believe, that if the principle were to prevail, of a common law being in force in the United States…, it would become the most corrupt government on the earth…What an augmentation of the field for jobbing, speculation, plundering, office-building, and office-hunting would be produced by an assumption of all the State powers into the hands of the General Government.’

Poignant words, and as our federal government expands its grip over one-sixth of our nation’s economy with the passing of this legislation, maybe now President Obama and Speaker Pelosi will finally take the time to find out what’s in it.

This past year, the President and Democratic leaders in Congress gathered in back rooms away from the American people and twisted arms to get just enough votes through deals and handouts to pass their legislation. They broke promises of open debate and transparency, and instead of working with Republicans and implementing common sense reforms that wouldn’t break the bank, they went it alone and spent more money we just don’t have.

Future generations will pay the price for our government’s arrogance and recklessness, and the American people won’t ever forget the irresponsible actions of this Administration and Congress. After all, government answers to the people, not the other way around, and the fight for the soul of this nation continues on.”
I have to wonder if the few who get it are enough. I have to wonder if Citizen Dissent is enough. Whether it is or it is not does not change where I stand. I am not against health reform but I am against this bill (excuse me law). I am against the President's now thinly-veiled agenda to transform America into a pale and sickly version of her former self. I am against an administration who outright ignores the will of the people. I will not be dismissed. I did not vote for change. And, if "this is what change looks like" as the President so often remarks, I do not like the look of it. I will stand against it, vote against it, speak out often and loudly against it.

Many people are shouting REPEAL. I would add something to that demand. REPEAL and IMPEACH. Those who flagrantly flaunt their treasonous will over the law of the land should be removed from office and if at all possible - the planet.

Support Attorney Generals who are taking the people's fight to the courts. Support Term Limits. Support the bill that prohibits politicians from exempting themselves from laws they pass for me and you. Support legislation that prohibits former politicians from becoming lobbyists. And remind cowardly politicians their time is at an end. Remind them again and again and again.

Read the following articles and remember we the people have lost a battle - not the war to preserve our country and our liberty.

This Will Not Stand: Newt On the Passage of Obamacare
The American people spoke decisively against a big government, high tax, Washington knows best, pro trial lawyer centralized bureaucratic health system

In every recent poll the vast majority of Americans opposed this monstrosity

Speaker Pelosi knew the country was against the bill. That is why she kept her members trapped in Washington and forced a vote on Sunday.

She knew if she let the members go home their constituents would convince them to vote no.

The Obama-Pelosi-Reid machine combined the radicalism of Alinsky, the corruption of Springfield and the machine power politics of Chicago.

Sunday was a pressured, bought, intimidated vote worthy of Hugo Chavez but unworthy of the United States of America.

Healthcare Reform: This Will Not Stand

The fight will continue in the states where 38 of them have filed or are planning to file legislation that rebukes Obamacare’s “individual mandate” that requires you to purchase insurance even if you would rather pay directly for medical care. In addition, Attorneys General from several states plan to file lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the healthcare bill’s individual mandate.

And most importantly, the fight will continue at the ballot box for the millions of Americans who refuse to be ignored. In the end, it is only by repudiating those politicians who voted for the health bill in free and fair elections that we can repeal this bill and start over on common sense, market-oriented, patient-centered health reform.

Patriots for America Video

March 24, 2010
Colorado USA

Patriots for America

Out of touch - out of control

March 24, 2010
Colorado, USA

Cartoon - We the Government

Monday, March 22, 2010

IF it's good for me... why isn't it good for you?

March 22, 2010
Colorado, USA

Nothing plays fair coming out of Washington these days - I do not know why we would expect otherwise - Grassley can't win this one. It is a long shot at best. But he can make sure Americans know this elitist administration is not interested in FAIR. They have won this round - or so they think...

RE: Page 158 of the legislation, appears to create a carveout for senior staff members in the leadership offices and on congressional committees, essentially exempting those senior Democrat staffers who wrote the bill from being forced to purchase health care plans in the same way as other Americans.

Senate Republican Wants to Make President Obama Use New Health Care Reform

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-IA, in his usual scrappy form, has announced that he will introduce an amendment this week, during reconciliation debate, that mandates that the President, Vice President, and the entire Obama Cabinet get their health insurance through the newly-created exchanges.

Grassley, with Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, one of only two physicians in the chamber, succeeded in getting an amendment approved last year to the Senate bill that the House just passed and the President will sign Tuesday at 11:15am, that says all members of Congress must get insurance through the exchanges.

BUT -- in a last minute twist, before the Senate bill became law, Democratic leadership got their staff and committee staff exempted from the requirement. Their reason stated at the time was that these staffers deserve consistency in their coverage, which they get through the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP).

Grassley is not likely to win on this amendment, because Democrats are trying to keep any changes at bay. Any change whatsoever, and the bill must go back to the House for consideration. No Dem wants to risk a Round 2 in that chamber.

"It was hard enough the first time," one senior Senate Democratic leadership aide told Fox.

Grassley said, in a statement released to reporters, “It’s only fair and logical that top administration officials, who fought so hard for passage of this overhaul of America’s health care system, experience it themselves. If it’s as good as promised, they’ll know it first-hand. If there are problems, they’ll be able to really understand them, as they should.”

Source: Fox, Senate Republican Wants to Make President Obama Use New Health Care Reform
Source: Red, Senior Congressional Staff EXEMPT From Health Care Bill

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What happened to the Party of NO?

March 3, 2010
Colorado, USA

March 3, 2010 Cartoon

Dissident Daughter Nancy Pelosi identifies with Tea Party Patriots while defending Charlie Rangel's ethics. For certain, there should be nothing wrong with politicians vacationing in the Caribbean - what's the harm in a little corporate sponsorship? In an interview on ABC last Sunday, she claimed she has much in common with the Tea Party - this after belittling the movement time and again. Then she follows the comment up with remarks that the Tea Party movement is orchestrated or hi-jacked by Republicans.
We share some of the views of the Tea Partiers in terms of the role of special interest in Washington, D.C., as -- it just has to stop. And that's why I've fought the special interest, whether it's on energy, whether it's on health insurance, whether it's on pharmaceuticals and the rest.

Van Jones, self avowed Communist and Revolutionary sends Glenn Beck love from the podium of the NAACP awards.
The last thing I want to say is this. To my fellow countryman, Mr. Glenn Beck, I see you and I love you, brother. I love you and you cannot do anything about it. I love you and you cannot do anything about it. Let's be one country! Let's be one country. Let's get the job done.

Mar 2 Obama embraces GOP health care proposals
The meeting was a good opportunity to move past the usual rhetoric and sound bites that have come to characterize this debate and identify areas on which we agree and disagree," he wrote. "I left convinced that the Republican and Democratic approaches to health care have more in common than most people think."

Well, it's easy to make nice, especially for political gain or if it serves your agenda. But, do you believe it? Do you really believe Rangel didn't know he was doing wrong?

I think Republicans made a big mistake attending the Health Care Summit. I thought the plan was to offer an ALTERNATIVE to the massive health care bill Obama and Company are trying to ram through with complete and utter disregard for the will of the American people. Instead, Republicans have contributed to the problem and hung themselves in the process. Obama didn't consider the GOP alternatives as viable... or stand alone or anything of the sort. He's merely incorporated GOP suggestions into the chaos of his plan, smiling all the time with that smarmy way he has about him while he turned the screws a little tighter.

Was that the plan Republicans? What happened to throw Obama-Care out and let's start over with simpler, more common-sense plans? It's a disaster. Now we have a little red ink swimming in a sea of blue ink. Now, do you have to sign or risk being called a hypocrite? Do you stand your ground and embrace being the party of NO or will you capitulate and sign on?

FYI: I liked the party of NO.

It was a smooth move on Obama's part. Very crafty. Just call him Shape Shifter in Chief because as he offered the proverbial olive branch he was working his ju-ju-hoo-doo on the GOP and I don't think anything is gonna break this spell.

Do you really think Pelosi identifies with Tea Party patriots? Do you really believe Van Jones has suddenly found the love for Beck? Do you really believe the President gives a hoot what's in the Obama-Care plan as long as it passes - one way or another?

NO and NO and NO and just for emphasis NO.

Since politicians don't have a clue where they stand or if they do know they don't have the gumption to stand that ground, let me be perfectly clear about where I stand and where millions of other Americans are standing.

I/We do not want Obama-Care. We do not want the Democrat version. We do not want the Republican version. We do not want the scaled down Obama-Care-Lite version. We certainly don't want some tragically morphed Demo-Bama-Can version. I hate to break it to you guys but where I stand on this is firm - you vote, sign on, even smile upon Obama-Care in any form - I will take it as a personal challenge to see you voted out of office... every spineless one of you.

Source: CNN (apologies for linking here) Obama embraces GOP health care proposals
ABC News, Pelosi and the Tea Party share views
Fox News, Obama to Consider Adding Some GOP Ideas to Health Care Plan
Democratic Underground, Van Jones NAACP Speech

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Any questions?

March 2, 2010
Colorado, USA

The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable, on certain occasions, that I wish it to always be kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.
--Thomas Jefferson – 1787