San Francisco Federal Judge Who Rules For Government Censorship Should Be Impeached

If you wonder how much damage a Presidential putz like Barack Obama can do to the nation, you have only to look at the case of Federal District Judge William H. Orrick III of the Northern District of California in San Francisco. Orrick III was a 2013 Obama appointee.

This is also the clown who ruled against investigative reporting in the case of The National Abortion Federation versus the Center for Medical Progress by issuing a preliminary injunction barring the anti-abortion group from releasing undercover videos taken at annual conferences of the National Abortion Federation.

Orrick III ruled the Center’s First Amendment interest in releasing the videos was outweighed by the National Abortion Federation’s right to privacy, security and association.

Apparently, Federal Judges appointed by Obama are now allowed to reinterpret the First Amendment to the Constitution when hallowed causes are involved.

If the Center had been, say, the New York Times publishing, say, the Pentagon Papers, then presumably Orrick III would have been more lenient in his interpretation, given the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in that case.

Fortunately for most of us, Orrick is swinging the barn door shut after most of the thoroughbreds have escaped and many of the videos are all over the internet, which leaves us with a case of ‘who do you believe? The baby killers’ trade association or your lying eyes?’

Orrick said representatives for the Center for Medical Progress had used false identification and set up a phony corporation to gain access to meetings of the National Abortion Federation. Surreptitious videos taken at the meetings violated confidentiality agreements the officials had signed to gain access to the meetings, Orrick said. Those confidentiality agreements provided for injunctive relief in the event of a breach.

Of course, selling body parts of dead babies which were custom aborted to preserve the parts do NOT qualify for injunctive relief.

Orrick also disagreed that the Center had used widely accepted investigatory journalism techniques. The group’s projects “thus far have not been pieces of journalistic integrity, but misleadingly edited videos and unfounded assertions (at least with respect to the NAF materials) of criminal misconduct.”

The problem here is that CBS News just used the same techniques to look at lawyers who would set up money laundering operations, and nobody even went to the courthouse.

In the immortal words of Chief Justice John Roberts—with whom we occasionally disagree—the job of a Judge is to call “balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat.”

Judge Orrick III is definitely in there pitching—from far left field—and that, more than anything, is why he’s wrong.

Constitutional Law 101 teaches a 1971 case called New York Times Co. v. United States, a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the First Amendment. The ruling made it possible for the New York Times and Washington Post newspapers to publish the then-classified Pentagon Papers without risk of government censorship or punishment.

Ironically, the New York Times had been enjoined by a federal judge pitching for the right from publishing further excerpts of the Pentagon Papers.

The Supremes—which tilted a little left back then—said that the First Amendment means exactly what it says.

Why Orrick III is choosing to re-litigate this issue while pitching for the left is beyond me.

If Roe v. Wade is settled law, surely the First Amendment and freedom of the press is also settled law.

Yet we still have a Judge on the bench who tilts so far to the left that he is willing to simply serve as the handmaiden to the baby-killing industry.

He can rail against the anti-abortion groups all he wants, but government censorship—of anything that happens to be true or even arguable—is going so far that it should put a Federal jurist in line for impeachment.

Here’s What Freedom Of Speech Means To Me

For me, freedom of speech isn’t just about spoken words but is a general category also including freedom of thought and conscience, and different forms of expression, such as in writing and various artistic means of expression.

A society that protects and champions freedom of speech and thought is especially important for those with a moral conscience who encounter wrongdoing to expose such wrongdoing.

And if someone disagrees with a social trend, then of course she should have the freedom to express such a disagreement.

For example, an encouragement by a Yale professor for Halloween tolerance was recently attacked by a mob of hyper-sensitive students who apparently felt that such an encouragement threatens their “safe space.” (Bubble Boy, anyone?)

In 2015 America, the most harmless words and phrases are now perceived as a threat to today’s authoritarian snowflakes, the offspring of the flower children of yesteryear.

Many of these young people are being brainwashed to worship nonsense. They are being trained to think and act like irrational dictatorial robots, crying over nothing that actually exists.

Intolerant and authoritarian, these young punks are the future leaders of America, in which it may become illegal to criticize them, or report on them, as well as criticize members of the ruling class.

And regarding the right to exercise one’s moral conscience, many of the authoritarians on the opposite side of the college punks, the “right-wingers,” are the ones who really believe that Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are “traitors” for revealing government “secrets” which exposed various elements of the U.S. government and military as the real traitors in their corruption and criminality.

You see, freedom of speech means that the whistleblower who exposes corruption and criminality is not punished for such revelations with solitary confinement for years before his kangaroo trial on bogus “espionage” charges, when his actions were clearly not on behalf of some foreign regime but on behalf of the American people.

Manning truly understood that the American people have a right to know the truth, pointing out that “information should be in the public domain,” and that “without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” And that includes so-called “classified” information, because, as was the case from his initial hearing, as one military officer testified at Manning’s kangaroo trial, not one item of information Manning released was of any threat to any American here in the U.S. or overseas. If you believe otherwise, then perhaps you’ve been too influenced by propaganda distributed by the government and its obedient mainstream media lapdogs.

So freedom of speech includes freedom of thought and conscience, freedom of inquiry and investigation (“The Press”), the right to express your views and criticisms of those in power, and the right of those with a moral conscience to reveal evidence of the power-wielders’ criminality and corruption. Sadly, many authoritarians and nationalists disagree with me on those points. For them, the First Amendment has limits. Unfortunately, their limits are the very rights which are protected by the First Amendment, especially the right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Here in America, our right to criticize, investigate, report on, and discipline or shame our stupid and incompetent rulers was meant to be protected, supposedly, by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

But the truth is, bureaucrats just don’t like to be criticized, so they have their S.W.A.T. raids criminally breaking into reporters’ or government whistleblowers’ homes and stealing or hacking their computers, and so on, and jail or murder critics to shut them up.

And there are sheeple in America — millions of them — who defend the government’s crackdowns, gullibly believing that it’s right, usually in the name of “national security.”

The authoritarian besieging of freedom of speech and thought seems to be turning a once-free America into just another totalitarian nightmare.

For example, in some Islamic countries, the ruling class arrests, detains, lashes, or executes those who have merely criticized those rulers, the country’s governmental administrators. The rulers say the punishment is for “insulting Islam” or “insulting Muhammad.”

Saudi Arabia is one of those extremely repressive countries. If I were in Saudi Arabia, I would probably not have the freedom to ask those officials, “How do you know that Muhammad feels insulted by criticism of the Saudi government or of the clerics? Did you talk to Muhammad? Did you have a seance? How do you actually know he’s insulted?”

Based on what I’ve read about the “Prophet Muhammad,” there is no indication that he would have felt “insulted” by Saudi citizens criticizing their ruling government. So it’s really the royal Saudi King, who is also the head of the government there, and his fellow bureaucrats who don’t like their rule being criticized by those who actually live there.

And I’m sure this might “offend” some people, but in my view there are plenty of authoritarians and nationalists in America who also have that same kind of mindset.

Just bring up the flag-burning issue, and many people will react very emotionally.

There are people who see the American flag as some kind of sacred symbol, and they refer to flag “desecration,” which reminds me of the aforementioned “crimes” in Saudi Arabia of “insulting Islam” or “insulting Muhammad.” I know, I know, “How offensive!” to compare some authoritarian Americans to the barbarians in the Middle East who torture or murder innocent people merely for their disobedience and defiance. But when the American flag is burned at a protest, just look in the comments section of news articles and you’ll see just how some Americans value freedom of speech.

You see, there is this emotional attachment that some people have to a flag (or to the Bible or the Koran, etc.). They would rather see a flag-burner be killed than see a flag set on fire.

So there are “triggers” that elicit strong feelings in many people, the American flag wavers, the Saudi rulers and clerics, the Iranian Ayatollahs, the college snowflakes who need a “safe room,” the race-obsessed community organizers, and the Israel Firsters.

Oops. I’m not supposed to refer to “Israel Firsters.” And I’m also not supposed to make any critical comments about Christianity or the Bible, as Obama had done during his first Presidential campaign, referring to people “clinging” to their Bible, and so on.

But when it comes to Israel, many Bible believing Christians refer to critics of the Israeli government or military as “anti-Semitic” or anti-Jewish, or a “self-hating Jew.” Even beyond our criticizing Israeli militarism, the name-calling toward critics is even worse if one criticizes of Zionism itself. The Zionists, or really the Christian Zionists, would claim that Israel is God’s “Promised Land” for the Jews, for all Jews, who are apparently the “Chosen People.” But that’s a very collectivistic notion. The true believers do not seem to understand that we are all individuals, some good, some not so good.

And such assertions are also somewhat condescending toward Jews, frankly.

However, I would say that it was a mistake to gather Jews into one small area completely surrounded by Muslims and Arabs and call that a “safe haven for Jews.” The reason why the Zionists would not accept any other place but Israel was not based on practicality but based on the Bible.

But I’m not allowed to make those observations, even in modern America, as doing so would be “politically incorrect.”

I would ask the Bible believing Christians the same kinds of questions I would like to ask the clerics in Saudi Arabia regarding the Koran, such as, “How do you know that God ‘chose’ Jews as special beneficiaries of a particular territory in the Middle East?” And they might say, “Because the Bible says so. The Bible is the word of God.” Many people believe that, but there is no real proof that the Bible is the word of God, or that morally the Bible’s assertions have any validity. So the faithful believe it all based on … faith.

And Glenn Beck is constantly saying how we need to turn back to God and all that. But why is it that people need to have some sort of authority figure to worship, such as God or Jesus, or Allah or Muhammad? Or the government, police or military for that matter. Many people worship those guys as well.

So now that I’ve probably offended many Muslims, Christians, Jews and flag-wavers, as well as brainwashed college zombies, now on to the atheists. I really don’t worship any “God,” but I do believe that we were created, and not by creators with particularly kind motivations. But to the atheists, I would point out just how complex our own bodies are, the brain, the heart, and the concepts of vision and reproduction, and the extremely tiny odds of all that occurring from random and spontaneous matter or particles forming life. You would have to believe that it all just happened randomly as a matter of faith. I look forward to the day when atheists admit that their beliefs are as much out of faith as the Bible believers’ beliefs.

But even in 21st Century America, there is still so much intolerance of other points of view that violence against them is the preferred choice rather than tolerance. I am talking about tolerance of ideas as well as tolerance of challenging authority.

How long ago was it that the flower children had “Question Authority” bumper stickers? But now the “climate change” (formerly “global warming”) fanatics want to jail “deniers.” And the college campus fascists want to expel the Press from covering their protests. Huh?

And can you imagine how a lot of true believers might react if there were a Charlie Hebdo-like “Jesus-drawing contest” in the same way that Pamela Geller had her “Muhammad-drawing” contest? “Freedom of speech for me but not for thee,” and all that.

So freedom of thought and association includes the right to have and express ignorant attitudes that others might find to be repugnant, and the right to “hate.” Yes, that’s right, “hate.” Hate is just an emotion.

That is why “hate crimes” legislation also goes against freedom of speech. If someone physically assaults another, it is irrelevant if the motivation for the assault was “hate.” So with those kinds of laws, we have the criminalization of certain kinds of thought. But thinking and emotions are not crimes. “Hate” can’t hurt anyone, except hurt someone’s feelings.

Remember, you don’t have a right to not have your feelings hurt, or a right to not feel offended.

The LGBT activists who take Christian conscientious objectors to court for not providing labor involuntarily, and the “transgender” police, are exposing the destructive nature of “civil rights” laws. With the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. government went beyond merely repealing fascist Jim Crow laws. It erased the line between public and private property. So rather than just applying “civil rights” to public property and government-run functions such as the buses, the schools, parks, City Hall, etc., the social intruders succeeded in empowering themselves to force their way into privately owned businesses. The pretext was “public accommodations,” but nevertheless applying to private property. The activists and bureaucrats made private property less privately owned and more publicly owned from that point onward.

But of course people have a right to associate with whomever they want and a right to not associate with whomever they don’t want to associate. And for any darn reason. That might bother a lot of guilt-ridden people who are afraid to say the truth about freedom of thought and conscience, and freedom of association, but so what? The important distinction here, as Lew Rockwell referred to recently, is private property.

People do not have a “right” to forcibly enter someone else’s property or to force others to associate with them, or to silence those perceived as “hateful” or hurtful or those with whom they disagree. The totalitarian idea of thought crimes needs to find its way into the dustbin of history, really.

Scott Lazarowitz [send him mail] is a libertarian writer and commentator. Please visit his blog.

This commentary originally appeared at LewRockwell.com and is reprinted here under a Creative Commons license

CNN Anchor Sends Surprising 1-Sentence Message To All Mizzou Protesters That EVERYONE Should See

In a message that some might say should be received on every campus where the chill winds of restraint threaten opinions self-appointed censors want muzzled, CNN host Don Lemon warned University of Missouri students against walling themselves up within “safe spaces” where no opinions but theirs can tread.

“If you’re afraid of having your feelings hurt, don’t leave your house,” Lemon said Thursday on The Tom Joyner Morning Show.

Lemon criticized clashes between Mizzou students and reporters in which students sought to ban reporters they didn’t like.

“…[T]he only issue I have with what happened at the University of Missouri is their vigorous effort to squash freedom of speech and freedom of the press,” said Lemon, who had earlier praised the college’s football team for forcing out its president. “That is a very dangerous road that no one should want to go down.”

However, it was what protesters did, he said.

“The Twitter account belonging to Concerned Students 1950, the protest organizers, tweeted, ‘It’s typically white media who don’t understand the importance of respecting black spaces,” Lemon said. “It was followed by, ‘We truly appreciate having our story told, but this movement isn’t for you.’”

Lemon said freedom requires unfettered media access.

“Students there should know that in America, a country with a free and open press, that it is dangerous to deny anyone that freedom. In fact, it’s un-American,” he said.

College students, he argued, “should not be coddled by retreating into so-called ‘safe spaces’ because they’re afraid of having their feelings hurt. If you’re afraid of having your feelings hurt, don’t leave your house. College is the place where robust debate should be welcomed and vigorously explored.”

Lemon said students hurt themselves by avoiding those with whom they disagree..

“It is also equally as dangerous and limiting and short-sighted to only speak, associate and engage with people or news organizations with whom you agree,” he said.

Lemon told students that life is not a cocoon.

“In the real world people’s feelings are hurt every single day,” he said.

h/t: Mediaite

CNN Anchor Sends Surprising 1-Sentence Message To All Mizzou Protesters That EVERYONE Should See

In a message that some might say should be received on every campus where the chill winds of restraint threaten opinions self-appointed censors want muzzled, CNN host Don Lemon warned University of Missouri students against walling themselves up within “safe spaces” where no opinions but theirs can tread.

“If you’re afraid of having your feelings hurt, don’t leave your house,” Lemon said Thursday on The Tom Joyner Morning Show.

Lemon criticized clashes between Mizzou students and reporters in which students sought to ban reporters they didn’t like.

“…[T]he only issue I have with what happened at the University of Missouri is their vigorous effort to squash freedom of speech and freedom of the press,” said Lemon, who had earlier praised the college’s football team for forcing out its president. “That is a very dangerous road that no one should want to go down.”

However, it was what protesters did, he said.

“The Twitter account belonging to Concerned Students 1950, the protest organizers, tweeted, ‘It’s typically white media who don’t understand the importance of respecting black spaces,” Lemon said. “It was followed by, ‘We truly appreciate having our story told, but this movement isn’t for you.’”

Lemon said freedom requires unfettered media access.

“Students there should know that in America, a country with a free and open press, that it is dangerous to deny anyone that freedom. In fact, it’s un-American,” he said.

College students, he argued, “should not be coddled by retreating into so-called ‘safe spaces’ because they’re afraid of having their feelings hurt. If you’re afraid of having your feelings hurt, don’t leave your house. College is the place where robust debate should be welcomed and vigorously explored.”

Lemon said students hurt themselves by avoiding those with whom they disagree..

“It is also equally as dangerous and limiting and short-sighted to only speak, associate and engage with people or news organizations with whom you agree,” he said.

Lemon told students that life is not a cocoon.

“In the real world people’s feelings are hurt every single day,” he said.

h/t: Mediaite

When You’re Popular, You Don’t Need Freedom Of Speech

Free speech is not something that people would normally see as a realm of economics, but in many ways, an economic understanding of the support and opposition to free speech can shed a lot of light on what’s happening now in the West.

The first thing that needs to be noted is that the left is winning the culture war. Even though more people identify as “conservative” than “liberal” in the United States, more people now identify as “liberal” than in the past by a substantial margin. Attitudes toward gay marriage shifted extremely quickly toward the left while support for legal abortion stayed mostly steady. And obviously, the media, academia, and Hollywood are far to the left as a study by the non-partisan political analytics firm Crowdpac found (and as anyone who watches anything other than Fox News can tell after about five minutes).

Now, some of this is certainly good, such as the shifting views on marijuana legalization. Some is troubling, such as the growing popularity of socialism.

Regardless though, the left, having ascended to cultural dominance, is no longer in need of free speech. After all, no one ever got in trouble for agreeing with the conventional wisdom. As Noam Chomsky said, “Even Goebbels was in favor of free speech he liked.”

On the other hand, the right is behind the eight ball in the culture wars and thereby supports the concept of free speech because they need it lest their very opinions be outlawed. In an economic sense, this could be called the “diminishing marginal utility of free speech.”

The law of diminishing marginal utility states that while keeping consumption of other products constant, there is decline in marginal utility that a person derives from consuming an additional unit of that product. In this case, the product is free speech. New leftists may have proposed unfettered free speech back in the early 1960s, but that was just because the right was the one in power culturally at the time. Free speech had a high utility to the left at the time and low utility to the right.

Now, the situation has reversed. The right is at the disadvantage, so it appeals to free speech. The left is ahead and no longer needs free speech, so it has discarded it.

If that statement sounds hyperbolic, just think of all of the campus speech codes and the ever expanding list of mostly trivial microagressions that can be taken for “hate speech.” Here is just a small sampling of examples to illustrate how absurd this has become:

  • Brendan Eich was forced to resign as CEO of Mozilla after a massive backlash for having opposed gay marriage.
  • A candidate in the European elections was arrested in Britain for quoting a passage from Winston Churchill about Islam.
  • Gert Wilders, a politician in the Netherlands, was tried on five counts including “criminally insulting Muslims because of their religion.”
  • Conservative radio host Michael Savage was banned from the airwaves in Britain.
  • Both Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant were dragged in front of the Canadian Human Rights Commission on charges of being “Islamophobic.”
  • A man was fired because someone eavesdropped on his joke about dongles and caused a fuss about it on social media.
  • A group called Color of Change applied enough pressure to get Patrick Buchanan fired from MSNBC for expressing politically incorrect opinions in his book Suicide of a Superpower.
  • The “Pickup Artist” Julien Blanc was barred from entering Britain for making sexist comments.
  • A student at Purdue University was found guilty of “racial harassment” for reading (yes, reading) a book called Notre Dame Vs the Klan, in which — it should be noted — the Klan is the bad guy.

Indeed, the list goes on endlessly, and is perhaps best summed up by the almost unconscionable lack of self-awareness required by University of Manchester feminists who recently censored the anti-feminist columnist Milo Yiannopoulos from participating in a debate on — you guessed it — censorship.

Of course, much of this is just social pressure or the decisions of private institutions, which is permissible (albeit not condoned) under a libertarian framework. But much of it does involve outright government force, or the longing to use it. For example, Adam Weinstein wants to literally “Arrest Climate-Change Deniers.”

Indeed, while many believe that the youth of today are the most politically tolerant in history, they are actually the least. As April Kelly-Woessner notes, “political tolerance is generally defined as the willingness to extend civil liberties and basic democratic rights to members of unpopular groups.” Which groups are unpopular, is not the question being asked.

So, for example, someone who believes that a man should be able to marry his pet goat is not necessarily politically tolerant. What would make him tolerant in this sense is whether he is willing to recognize the rights (particularly regarding speech) of those who disagree with him and his marital proclivities.

In this respect, political tolerance has declined substantially. For the first time since it was measured, the political tolerance of young people has fallen below that of their parents and as Kelly-Woessner again notes, “… is correlated with a ‘social justice’ orientation,” at least for those under forty.

Indeed, the inability to tolerate political views that run counter to one’s own, particularly on the left, has become so ridiculous to be comical. Just take, for example, Judith Shulevtiz’s description of the “safe space” set up at Brown University because of a debate between the feminist Jessica Valentia and Wendy McElroy where McElroy was likely to criticize the term “rape culture.”

The safe space … was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.

Well, at least they actually let the debate happen.

But the left has not always had a monopoly on anti-free speech thought and legislation. Nor does the right seem to be opposed to it when it can push such things through today. Helen Thomas was fired from the White House Press Corps for saying “The Jews should get the Hell out of Palestine.” Shirley Sherrod was fired for allegedly anti-white statements, a Kansas woman was fired for a fifty-word Facebook post that was considered anti-American-soldier, and the right went into a fervor over Jeremiah Wright’s “chickens coming home to roost” comment.

Whereas liberals want to ban words such as “slut” and, at least in Sheryl Sandberg’s case, “bossy” too, conservatives used to all but ban those “seven words you couldn’t say.”

When the right had more cultural authority, alleged communists were being dragged in front of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Civil Rights activists were harassed, and the Motion Picture Production Code banned Hollywood directors from showing things such as miscegenation.

But that was then, and this is now. As the pendulum of cultural prominence swung from one side to the other, the left and right swapped their support for free speech.

Nevertheless, I don’t want to draw a false equivalence here and say the right would be just as bad as the left if they were winning the culture wars. Much of the ideology on the left, at least the far left, is derived from the likes of Herbert Marcuse and other cultural Marxists who explicitly wanted to limit the free speech of “oppressor classes.”

Discerning what exactly free speech is can sometimes be challenging, as in cases of libel, slander, and direct threats. But these are really not the issues at heart here. The vast majority of speech being “regulated” today is simply that of an unpopular opinion. Yes, many ideas are bad. And they should be refuted. Moreover, resorting to the use of political force to silence adversaries is a sign of the weakness of one’s own position. But, in using force to silence others, anti-speech crusaders are making another argument. They’re arguing that political force can and should be used to silence people we don’t like. What idea could be worse than that?

This commentary originally appeared at Mises.org and is reprinted here under a Creative Commons license

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.