Internet Free Speech Is Under Threat

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The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

Freedom of speech is a God-given right and it is a right given to all people, even those who are rude, insulting, and hateful.

There are some who would like to imprison people for the thoughts and words they blog on the Internet because they believe the Internet is different when it comes to free speech. DOJ Holder and his minions are moving to limit free speech in the social media, particularly if it is insulting to Muslims.

Hate speech as defined by the Holder camp can be anything insulting against a protected class such as Muslims.

Legally, hate speech is a communication that carries no meaning other than the expression of hatred for some group, especially in circumstances in which the communication is likely to provoke violence. It is an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and the like. Hate speech can be any form of expression regarded as offensive to racial, ethnic and religious groups and other discrete minorities or to women. [uslegal.com]

Including “protected” classes in the definition of hate speech is a pending threat to the First Amendment in the hands of Holder and company.

To date, Supreme Court decisions have allowed broad protections of free speech, but DOJ Holder is attempting to define insults as violations of civil rights.

People shouldn’t discriminate, they shouldn’t be rude, and they shouldn’t be hateful, but who gets to decide when they’ve crossed the line and who gets to decide what they can or cannot say or think?

If you are a Christian who believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, are you spewing hate against a protected class?

If you tell a joke about someone’s ethnicity, is that hate?

Why isn’t it hate if you insult middle-age white men?

What if you don’t like the idea of Muslim enclaves or believe that Sharia’h law is a threat to freedom? What if you say anything negative about Muslims? Is that hate speech and should you be arrested for it?

US Attorney Bill Killian, an Obama attorney of the Eastern district of Tennessee, is holding a meeting June 4th to prove to people that Muslims are not terrorists as they have been made out to be in the social media. Muslim terrorists are no different from terrorists in other religions, Killian believes.

Killian also wants to explain at his meeting that if you violate the civil rights of Muslims by saying something negative, it could be considered inflammatory and you could be imprisoned for it.

“This is an educational effort with civil rights laws as they play into freedom of religion and exercising freedom of religion,” Killian told The News Monday. “This is also to inform the public what federal laws are in effect and what the consequences are.”

Killian believes there is moral equivalence between Timothy McVeigh and Michael Page (lone wolf killers of the Oklahoma City bombing and the Sikh Temple killings respectively) and the mass murders perpetrated by the many adherents to the extreme branch of radical Islam.

The following is an example of what Killian believes is unacceptable:

“If a Muslim had posted ‘How to Wink at a Christian,’ could you imagine what would have happened?” Killian said. “We need to educate people about Muslims and their civil rights, and as long as we’re here, they’re going to be protected.”

Killian added that Internet postings violating civil rights are subject to federal jurisdiction. [In other words, you go to a federal pen for a winking at a Muslim joke. Check the reference here. After checking the reference, do you think the man who made the winking joke go to the federal pen?]

Breitbart posted the Killian story yesterday and, as they wrote, is this a country that protects the free speech of hardcore pornographers but not people who disagree with Islam?

Killian’s threat to imprison people who tweet something a Muslim finds insulting takes a hacksaw to the First Amendment. It’s frightening and it’s frightening at a time when it is extremist Muslims who are presenting an existential threat to our way of life.

Perceived insults against Muslims are not the only threat to free speech under the “hate speech” banner. Facebook is being attacked over alleged sexist hate speech which is not being removed from Facebook fast enough according to critics.

Judicial Watch posted a story on May 30th that ties in with the Killian meeting. The Obama Justice Department is now warning us that using social media to spread information considered inflammatory against Muslims could constitute a violation of civil rights. His support for Muslims at the expense of our free speech is meant as a precursor to the Tennessee meeting.

Do you still think you have free speech?

Facebook is a private company and can remove what they want, but when this thinking goes into the public sphere and people are threatened with imprisonment, we must look at it with trepidation.

Racists, hatemongers, cyberbullies, and terrorists do use the Internet and it is a problem, but after hearing Mr. Killian, I know I don’t want Barack Obama or his minions redefining free speech.

The Brandenburg standard was meant to reinforce our free speech rights but it is vague and subjective.

Brandenburg v. Ohio states that “the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”

It was restrictive of free speech, many considered it overly so and as something that could be used to limit anti-government protests.

Does a government elite get to decide your advocacy is lawless? If we relinquish any part of our free speech rights, we leave ourselves open to the tyranny by government hacks.

Internet free speech is protected thanks to another decision, Reno v. ACLU, despite what Mr. Killian might believe.

With the growth of the Internet, some are demanding the Internet free speech decision be reconsidered since free speech on the Interent was made based on traditional media. According to some, the Internet can lead to lawless action sometime in the future, which they believe makes it different from traditional media. Opponents to the current free speech parameters on the Internet say that traditional media was well-established at the time of the decision while the Internet is not.

When records, video, movies, and TV were invented, free speech was not given separate sets of rules for those mediums nor should it be for the Internet.

Free speech means free speech in all public venues.

The First Amendment is not without limits however. True threats such as posting “I am going to kill ___” is not protected. You can’t yell “Fire!” in a theater. Burning crosses meant to intimidate is not protected. Incitement to lawless action is not protected.

We should think carefully before placing criminal penalties on words and thoughts. We would possibly be punishing people not for acting on thoughts but for their very thoughts. For those who think it can’t happen – it already has.

In the IRS targeting, the agents demanded to know the content of the prayers of religious groups who applied for tax-exempt status. They insisted on seeing their social media postings. They also demanded donor information which could then be used against donors.

Eric Holder violated the rights of the AP and of reporter James Rosen. In the case of James Rosen, Holder falsely labeled Rosen a criminal to spy on him and read his e-mails despite knowing Rosen was not a criminal. Holder had no intention of ever prosecuting him. Holder and Obama have both pretended that it was done in the interests of national security. They continue to say it even though we now know that was not the case.

It is already illegal to incite to violence. We don’t need another law against it. Free speech is our God-given right and we must not give an inch on this freedom.

Criminalizing thoughts and words whether on the Internet or not must be treated very differently from criminalizing actions if we are to continue as a free nation. To do otherwise would be to accept tyranny. Tyranny in the name of the common good or public safety is still tyranny.

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