Buy Text-Link-Ads here
Recent Comments

    follow OlbyWatch on Twitter

    In

    John Gibson Welcomes Back the Infamous, Deplorable Keith Olbermann

    tonyome wrote: <a href="http://twitchy.com/2014/07/28/voxs-laughable-praise-of-keith-olber... [more](11)

    In

    Welcome Back, Olby!

    syvyn11 wrote: <a href="http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/keith-olbermann-reviving-worst... [more](9)

    In

    Former Obama Support/Donor Releases Song Supporting Romney/Ryan: "We'll Take It Back Again" by Kyle Tucker

    syvyn11 wrote: @philly I don't see that happening. ESPN has turned hyper left in recent... [more](64)

    In

    Blue-Blog-a-Palooza: Ann Romney Edition!

    djthereplay wrote: By mkdawuss on August 29, 2012 6:17 PM Will John Gibson be having a "Red-B... [more](4)

    In

    No Joy in Kosville...Mighty Olby Has Struck Out

    djwolf76 wrote: "But the FOX-GOP relationship (which is far more distinguished and prevalen... [more](23)

    KO Mini Blog



    What's in the Olbermann Flood Feed?
    Subscribe to Olbermann Flood Feed:
    RSS/XML

    KO Countdown Clock


    Warning: mktime() [function.mktime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /home/owatch/www/www.olbermannwatch.com/docs/countdown.php on line 5
    KO's new contract with MSNBC ends in...
    0 days 0 hours 0 minutes

    OlbermannWatch.com "My Faves" Set

    OlbermannWatch.com Favorited Photos from other Flickr Users

    Got OlbyPhotos? See some on Flickr? DO NOT email us. Send us a FlickrMail instead. Include a link to the photo. If we like the photo you will see it displayed in the Olby Flickr Flood above.

    New to Flickr? Sign up for a FREE Flickr account!


    Got some OlbyVideo? See some on YouTube? DO NOT email us. Send us a YouTube Messages instead. Include a link to the video. If we like the video you will see it displayed in our favorites list in our YouTube page.

    New to YouTube? Sign up for a FREE YouTube account!

    Red Meat Blog
    Keith Olbermann Quotes
    Countdown Staff Writers

    If they're not on Keith's payroll...

    ...they should be...

    Crooks & Liars
    Daily Kos
    Eschaton
    Huffington Post
    Media Matters for America
    MyDD
    News Corpse
    No Quarter
    Raw Story
    Talking Points Memo
    Think Progress
    TVNewser
    Keith Lovers

    MSNBC's Countdown
    Bloggerman
    MSNBC Transcripts
    MSNBC Group at MSN

    Drinking with Keith Olbermann
    Either Relevant or True
    KeithOlbermann.org
    Keith Olbermann is Evil
    Olbermann Nation
    Olbermann.org
    Thank You, Keith Olbermann

    Don't Be Such A Douche
    Eyes on Fox
    Liberal Talk Radio
    Oliver Willis
    Sweet Jesus I Hate Bill O'Reilly

    Anonymous Rat
    For This Relief Much Thanks
    Watching Olbermann Watch

    Keith Olbermann Fanlisting Site I
    Keith Olbermann Fanlisting Site II
    Keith Olbermann Links
    Olberfans
    Sports Center Altar
    Nothing for Everyone

    Democratic Underground KO Forum
    Television Without Pity KO Forum
    Loony KO Forum (old)
    Loony KO Forum (new)
    Olberfans Forum (old)
    Olberfans Forum (new)
    Keith Watchers

    186k per second
    Ace of Spades HQ
    Cable Gamer
    Dean's World
    Doug Ross@Journal
    Extreme Mortman
    Fire Keith Olbermann
    Hot Air
    Inside Cable News
    Instapundit
    Jawa Report
    Johnny Dollar's Place
    Just One Minute
    Little Green Footballs
    Mark Levin
    Media Research Center
    Moonbattery.com
    Moorelies
    National Review Media Blog
    Narcissistic Views
    Newsbusters
    Pat Campbell Show
    Radio Equalizer
    Rathergate
    Riehl World View
    Sister Toldjah
    Toys in the Attic
    Webloggin
    The Dark Side of Keith Olbermann
    World According to Carl

    Thanks for the blogroll link!

    Age of Treason
    Bane Rants
    The Blue Site
    Cabal of Doom-De Oppresso Libre
    Chuckoblog
    Conservative Blog Therapy
    Conservathink
    Country Store
    Does Anyone Agree?
    The Drunkablog!
    Eclipse Ramblings
    If I were President of USA
    I'll Lay Down My Glasses
    Instrumental Rationality
    JasonPye.com
    Kevin Dayhoff
    Last Train Out Of Hell
    Leaning Straight Up
    Limestone Roof
    Mein BlogoVault
    NostraBlogAss
    Peacerose Journal
    The Politics of CP
    Public Secrets: from the files of the Irishspy
    Rat Chat
    Return of the Conservatives
    The Right Place
    Rhymes with Right
    seanrobins.com
    Six Meat Buffet
    Sports and Stuff
    Stout Republican
    Stuck On Stupid
    Things I H8
    TruthGuys
    Verum Serum
    WildWeasel

    Friends of OlbyWatch

    Aaron Barnhart
    Eric Deggans
    Jason Clarke
    Ron Coleman
    Victria Zdrok
    Keith Resources

    Google News: Keith Olbermann
    Feedster: Keith Olbermann
    Technorati: Keith Olbermann
    Wikipedia: Keith Olbermann
    Wikipedia: Countdown
    Wikiality: Keith Olbermann
    Keith Olbermann Quotes on Jossip
    Keith Olbermann Photos
    NNDB Olbermann Page
    IMDB Olbermann Page
    Countdown Guest Listing & Transcripts
    Olbermann Watch FAQ
    List of Politics on Countdown (by party)
    Mark Levin's Keith Overbite Page
    Keith Olbermann's Diary at Daily Kos
    Olbermann Watch in the News

    Houston Chronicle
    Playboy
    The Journal News
    National Review
    San Antonio Express
    The Hollywood Reporter
    The Journal News
    Los Angeles Times
    American Journalism Review
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    St. Petersburg Times
    Kansas City Star
    New York Post/Page Six
    Washington Post
    Associated Press
    PBS
    New York Daily News
    Online Journalism Review
    The Washingon Post
    Hartford Courant
    WTWP-AM
    The New York Observer
    The Washington Post


    Countdown with Keith Olbermann
    Great Moments in Broadcast Journalism
    Great Thanks Hall of Fame
    Keith Olbermann
    MSM KO Bandwagon
    Olbermann
    Olbermann Watch Channel on You Tube
    Olbermann Watch Debate
    Olbermann Watch Image Gallery
    Olbermann Watch Polling Service
    OlbermannWatch
    OlbyWatch Link Roundup
    TVNewser "Journalism"

    July 2013
    September 2012
    August 2012
    April 2012
    March 2012
    February 2012
    January 2012
    December 2011
    November 2011
    October 2011
    September 2011
    August 2011
    July 2011
    June 2011
    May 2011
    April 2011
    March 2011
    February 2011
    January 2011
    December 2010
    November 2010
    October 2010
    September 2010
    August 2010
    July 2010
    June 2010
    May 2010
    April 2010
    March 2010
    February 2010
    January 2010
    December 2009
    November 2009
    October 2009
    September 2009
    August 2009
    July 2009
    June 2009
    May 2009
    April 2009
    March 2009
    February 2009
    January 2009
    December 2008
    November 2008
    October 2008
    September 2008
    August 2008
    July 2008
    June 2008
    May 2008
    April 2008
    March 2008
    February 2008
    January 2008
    December 2007
    November 2007
    October 2007
    September 2007
    August 2007
    July 2007
    June 2007
    May 2007
    April 2007
    March 2007
    February 2007
    January 2007
    December 2006
    November 2006
    October 2006
    September 2006
    August 2006
    July 2006
    June 2006
    May 2006
    April 2006
    March 2006
    February 2006
    January 2006
    December 2005
    November 2005
    October 2005
    September 2005
    August 2005
    June 2005
    May 2005
    April 2005
    March 2005
    February 2005
    January 2005
    December 2004
    November 2004

    Google

    Olbermann Watch Masthead

    Managing Editor

    Robert Cox
    olby at olbywatch dot com

    Contributors

    Mark Koldys
    Johnny Dollar's Place

    Brandon Coates
    OlbyWatch

    Chris Matthews' Leg
    Chris Matthews' Leg

    Howard Mortman
    Extreme Mortman

    Trajan 75
    Think Progress Watch

    Konservo
    Konservo

    Doug Krile
    The Krile Files

    Teddy Schatz
    OlbyWatch

    David Lunde
    Lundesigns

    Alex Yuriev
    Zubrcom

    Red Meat
    OlbyWatch



    Technorati Links to OlbyWatchLinks to OlbermannWatch.com

    Technorati Links to OlbyWatch Blog posts tagged with "Olbermann"

    Combined Feed
    (OlbyWatch + KO Mini-blog)

    Who Links To Me


    Mailing List RSS Feed
    Google Groups
    Subscribe to Olbermann Watch Mailing List
    Email:
    Visit this group



    XML
    Add to Google
    Add to My Yahoo!
    Subscribe with Bloglines
    Subscribe in NewsGator Online

    Add to My AOL
    Subscribe with Pluck RSS reader
    R|Mail
    Simpify!
    Add to Technorati Favorites!

    Subscribe in myEarthlink
    Feed Button Help


    Olbermann Watch, "persecuting" Keith since 2004


    September 17, 2006
    Cox Op-Ed in Fort-Worth Star-Telegram: "The Best Test of Truth"

    The Fort-Worth Star Telegram, a daily newspaper in Texas, is publishing a series of Op-Eds (a dozen, I think) to celebrate Constitution Day. They chose people from different walks of life and one of them was me in my role as President of the Media Bloggers Association. The assignment was to pick a document or piece of literature that ought to be translated into other languages and distributed in countries that have a "skewed" (their word) view of the United States of America. I chose Oliver Wendell Holmes' dissent in Abrams v. United States. The paper liked it so much that they seleceted it as the "kick off" piece; the series began running today.

    You can read the piece here:The best test of truth


    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (67) | | View blog reactions
    user-pic

    67 Comments

    Interestingly, the current "Muslim outrage" over the Pope's speech at the University of Regensburg is primarily an adress to the ideas that informed Holmes' dissent. You would be forgiven for believing that the Pope's speech was "Why Islam Sucks" given the media accounts but, in fact, it was entitled:

    "Three Stages in the Program of De-Hellenization"
    http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=70993

    I've read it once and to truly grasp what he is talking about I'd want to read it more carefully but this seems to be the pull quote from the address:

    "theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialogue of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith.

    Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today. In the Western world it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet the world's profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions."

    When you read the full text you will see that the Pope was doing the exact opposite of what the media is now reporting - the claims of Muslims attempting to fan anti-Western sentiment or get themselves on TV or both.

    As its core, it contains a warning to the "West" that our notions of rationality and scientific thought, compatible with Christianity, are not necessarily compatiable with other religions which do not share the Hellenistic (Greek) heritage of Christianity. In other words, Christians need to undertand Christianity is a product of religious faith expressed in the Old Testmement and through the life of Jesus combined with Greek teleology and it necessarily contains with in it prejudices which are fundamentally opposed to some of the world's great religions which are faith-based only and do not contain within them "Western" idea of rationality and scientific thought.

    This speech is highly complex and technical. The notion that the entire matter can be boiled down to one line, pulled completedly out of context, and then protrayed as an "attack on Islam" is Olbermannesque.

    The pope is nothing but another man. He is entitled to his opinion but that is all it is. All religion is phony be it catholism or Muslim, LDR or any of that nonsense. It is all a cult. Religion is indeed the opiate of tha masses.

    As opposed to whatever opiate it is that you are smoking.

    So is liberalism.

    Liberalism is the ignorance of the masses preached by lunatic snake oil salesmen like Olbermann.
    O'leiley you sound that that coffessed pot and acid head Bill Maher. What's your religion? the reform church of socialist sheep?

    The refusal of liberals to recognize the role of religion in Americans' lives helped cost the Dems the last election. That, and the fact that the Democrats can't protect our country from terrorists because the bleeding-heart far-left liberal wing is preoccupied by sympathizing with Islamofascist murderers.

    I will post cartoons defaming the virgin Mary and be unrepentent, but will apologize for posting a cartoon of Muhammed with a bomb in his turbin.

    I am liberal hear me roar.

    After they cut off my son's head, I realized that if I could have just talked with Jihadi's so that I could understand their all of this would have been avoided. I am not angry with the Jihadi's; I wish we could sit down and talk.

    I am such an enormous sissy that Richard Simmons appears tough in comparison.

    Ummm. Did anyone read my Op-Ed?

    After they cut off my son's head, I realized that if I could have just talked with the Jihadi's so that I could understand their plight, all of this would have been avoided. I am not angry with the Jihadi's; I wish we could sit down and talk.

    I am such an enormous sissy that Richard Simmons appears tough in comparison.

    I nominate "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" be translated for all the world to read. I am sure the muslim world would relate to Dr. Gonzo, helikes to play with knives too; albeit he does this while on enourmous amounts of opiates (segue).

    Bob:
    Interesting piece and for the most part on the mark. Let me throw out some rough (very) thoughts.

    I've got some problems, if you will, with the Holmesian notion of the "idea market". At least as he saw it. And I know this is ancillary to your major point.

    How would you respond to the argument that Holme's embrace of the marketplace of ideas flows from the same poisoned well that multiculturalism comes from? After all, Holmes embrace of the idea bazaar, if you will, came from his extreme elitisim, his moral relativism and his Social Darwinism. It mattered not to him what the people practiced - what type of economic system or social order that was established.

    I'm not sure that I would want Holmes' view of mankind - of ordinary people - being disseminated around the world as well as dissenting opinion in Abrams. After all, one could argue that it is Holmes' type of thinking or worldview that has helped (in part) lead us into our inability to confront radical Islam.

    Truth does not have any metaphysical quality to it. In the marketplace of ideas, Truth will not always be purchased over Non-Truth. And the market metaphor argues that all ideas must be treated equally - allowed equal access to the consumer. Because, as Holmes would argue, who's to say that one Truth is superior to another Truth? The Truth of the Islamists is equal to the Truth of liberal democracy.

    Holmes answer to the problem of free thought and expression is the least bad that we can come up with. But it's got its own weaknesses.

    Sorry for the rambling; didn't have any time to assemble the thoughts more logically.

    SMG

    Steve,

    I don't know much about Holmes; I just based the piece on the opinion itself so I can comment on some of what you wrote. I would note that Holmes recognizes the limitations on speech but, in general, errs on the side of more speech not less. You might call that the "lesser of two evils" but I feel it expresses an optimism that if you allow everyone to make their case for their point of view you will end up with the best ideas winning out.

    I was attracted to the opinion because of the optimism implicit in Holmes' words. The optimism exists because it recognzies the pitfalls - that bad ideas might win out for some period of time (you might make that case for Hitler in that he was popularly elected). You have to be a bit "foolish" to believe that good will triumph over evil, that good speech will triumph over bad -but that "foolishness" is a unique American value and one that I would like to see better understood around the world (and adopted elsewhere).

    Robert:
    "Holmes recognizes the limitations on speech but, in general, errs on the side of more speech not less"

    Right, that's the only choice we (humans, not just Americans) have, that is more speech; and your selection of Holme's dissent is a good one.

    All the other alternatives are far more dangerous. No dictatorship, no matter how benevolent, has a monopoly on the "truth". There can not be any closed questions except, as the saying goes, that there are no closed questions.

    But in order for this process to work properly, it requires an educated populace that has the skills or abilities to choose wisely, to select the good ideas from the mix of bad ones. I'm doubtful whether this approach can work in backward or less developed countries. In those conditions, the people are more apt to choose bad ideas over good ones. Even in advanced societies - your example of Germany in the 1930s for example - we have seen bad - indeed horrible ideas - embraced.

    If the two propositions "Non believers must convert or be killed" and "Non believers must not be forced to conver or else be killed" were to be presented to much of the Islamic world, which would win out?

    I guess my point is that while more speech is the best alternative, that we must recognize the limitations of even using that approach. The bad ideas will sometimes win out over good ones and that because we allow bad ideas to compete with good ones does not absolve us of denouncing those ill ones (i.e., the multicultural trap).

    Congrats on the piece.

    SMG

    I'm wondering when infringement on the right to free expression came to mean freedom from being criticised and impugned for said speech.

    Oops... I meant I'm wondering when infringement of free expression came to mean being criticised or impugned for what was expressed.

    thanks. Keep in mind the assignment was to pick a document that would help people in another country to better understand America not force them to adopt some value from the piece.

    "I meant I'm wondering when infringement of free expression came to mean being criticised or impugned for what was expressed."

    Yes, good question.

    What are the origins of that idea? That criticizing criticism is somehow suppression of speech. Really?

    Let's see, is criticism of my criticism of your criticism also a type of suppression?

    Mr. Olbermann, you there? Any thoughts, sir?

    SMG


    Nice OP-ED. Oliver Wendell Holmes and John Locke? Pretty liberal there. While reading the piecie I just kept thinking of Voltaire and "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

    If that idea could get across to people some nations might not be as fucked up as they are.

    Wow, Robert, this is one thing I can actually agree with you on. Pretty good article, has some minor flaws but I think protecting free speech and our rights is the most important thing we can do to show the world a true democracy.

    You do understand why Bush supporters like Steve would not agree? They think spreading these ideas through violance, cutting away at our civil liberties in the name of safety, using torture, pissing on the Koran infront of Muslim detanees and limiting the ability of people like Keith Olbermann (leaving out O'Reilly ofcourse since he's on their side) to say what he wants to say without a unfair backlash against him is the way our country should be ran.

    I'm glad you have more sense than that.

    Cecelia spelled it "criticised". What a shock that an Olbermann lover is from outside the U.S.

    divi fili,

    Have you ever considered taking some acting classes?

    You probably feel that they'd stifle your raw talent, but I don't see an Oscar in your future without them.

    Skeptical,

    Uh oh. You agree with me? Now i AM worried! :-)

    I am not sure how you get from interrogation of known terrorists to "free speech" because Holmes is not saying that there is NO limit to free speech (read the whole thing). My take is that he says there is a high bar for the government to meet. I feel safe in saying that he top al Qaeda people in Gitmo have met the standard. I expect that Holmes would argue that urinating on a Koran or a Bible would be protected speech but not for someone doing that in the context of a prisoner interrogation because free speech does not extend to a military officer in that role (and that it is not permitted under U.S. military law).

    Here is where we part ways, you wrote

    "limiting the ability of people like Keith Olbermann to say what he wants to say without a unfair backlash against him is the way our country should be ran"

    First, Holmes is talking about the government.

    Second, Olbermann Watch does not advocated censoring Keith Olbermann.

    Third, the right to "free speech" has absolutely nothing to do with the right to "no unfair backlash". This seems to be where a lot of OlbyLoons go wrong. We hear about people like the Dixie Chicks or Linda Ronstadt or Tom Cruise or Mel Gibson who are criticized for what they say and suffer some financial consequences as a result of what they say. They are not IMPRISONED for what the say!!! They are free to say what they want and other people are free to say what they want about what they say. And one way people can "speak" is through their wallets. If you object to what the Dixie Chicks or Mel Gibson say you can choose to boycott their concerts or movies, respectively.

    Just like these people, Keith has no right to no "unfair backlash against him". As Harry Truman once said, "if you can't stand the heat..."

    If KO does not like be criticized for what he says then he either needs to grow a thicker skin or keep quiet. His right to speak does not entail some obligation on others to listen; my not listening does not abridge his right to speak. That said, I seriously doubt that Keith minds criticism as it fuels controversy and generates buzz for this show. He is well aware of this site and has made a point of plugging it on several occassions. From what I have heard although he might not like some of what he reads, he believes its a good sign for him and his show that this site exsists.

    Sceptical:
    "You do understand why Bush supporters like Steve would not agree"

    Horrors, you're trying to silence my views!! How dare you suppress my ideas!!

    Really, your response is a great example of the kneejerk ignorance of the liberals in this country when it comes to ideas that you somehow think defends or supports Bush. If somehow it might in some small way defend that "idiot monster Bush", then no matter what the argument says, you're against it.

    Here's a clue: Bush has nothing to do with this debate.

    Nowhere in my two posts did I advocate suppression of speech or express disagreement with Bob's argument that Holmes' dissent in Abrams was a good example for us to promote abroad of American values.

    I was talking about two related or ancillary ideas: (1) Holmes' moral relativism, which was the source of his views in Abrams; and (2) that while we must allow all views to have access to the "marketplace of ideas" that that does not mean that the good ideas will always win out over the bad ones.

    There is no metaphysical quality to good ideas over bad ones. That sometimes - Nazi Germany being the most obvious example - bad ideas win out.

    Just a suggestion: get rid of the kneejerk reactionary Bush hatred and think independently for yourself. Examine ideas for the merit of their substance and not whether somehow it may help Bush.

    SMG

    What that article says is that you can not advocate democracy with a barrel of your gun, which is exactly what the neocons tried to do with Iraq. He is saying that when you do that you will lose, no matter what.

    Steve, one thing I do agree with you on is that you can not expect uneducated people to make the right decision when voting. We see this in our country when 65% of likely republican voters still believe Saddam was personally involved in 9/11 (after being told by their own congress and own president this is not the case) and we saw this in Lebanon and Iraq when they elected radical leaders that do not support democracy.

    Here is where Bush does play into this debate. He is saying that kidnapping foreign muslims, torturing them, and holding them on no charges and no trial or hearing is perfectly ok in our country. This is how you want to spread the love of democracy and our values to the muslim world? This is what the original topic is about, how do we repair our "skewed" image around places that hate us with a passion. When you do things to make people hate you they will not be rational about any actions they take towards you. The policies of our government has caused nothing but hate around the world, and instead of trying to repair that we are taking more actions to damage our once good image even more.

    Bush means nothing to me, he will be out of the office in 2 years. The problem I have is that people like you will not admit he, and his lap dogs in congress, have completely fucked up this world in the 6 years that they has been in aboslute power. Until you realize that and start undoing what they have done making posts about how we should show the rest of the world how awesome our values are is a bunch of arrongant bullshit that will only make this world worse.

    Sceptical:
    As Bob has pointed out, his article was in response to the question of what is the best or most effective way of helping the rest of the world understand America and how we practice self-government and free expression.

    Second, history is filled with examples of force being used to help create democracy.

    Third, more than 60% of self-identified Democrats believe that is likely that the government (read = Bush) was involved in or was aware of the 9/11 attacks.

    Neither side can claim the high ground on clear thinking on issues. Right?

    Finally, the intense and absurd hatred of Bush is stunting the ability of the Democrats to come up with alternative policies to deal with problems facing the country. Until you guys recognize that the terrorists are a greater threat than the neocons, you're not going to govern this country again.

    November's elections will show that again, my friend.

    SMG

    I'll bring this comment over here Robert. It is in the interest of tidyness, so I hope it won't be removed for having been duplicated;

    >>>>
    Kudos on your piece in the Texas paper. I couldn't agree with you and Holmes more forcefully that the right to free speech and association cannot be constitutionally curtailed in the face of vague and immaterial threats. Our rights are something for which we should all be willing to risk a bit, and we should never encourage the notion that safety is categorically more important than freedom.
    >>>>

    And I'll expand in light of the discussion here. There are two interesting points that have been raised; I am in sympathy with the first and not with the second.

    "I meant I'm wondering when infringement of free expression came to mean being criticised or impugned for what was expressed."

    "Here's a clue: Bush has nothing to do with this debate."

    Cecelia the female makes a great rhetorical point, fleshed out by Robert, that all real liberals will absolutely agree with. But there is a point at which criticism or imputation can cross the line into a supression of free speech. That point is the place at which this reaction introduces reasonable fear of actual harm. If you yell at me everytime I go to give a speech about humane treatment of prisoners, you have not abrogated my rights, but if you yell at me AND bring along a henchman with a gun, you very well may have.

    Here is where Mr. Bush and the executive enter in. As the commander in chief, and now an entity with the power to define who is and is not an enemy combatant by decree, Bush is essentially always "bringing a gun" with him. He is the prime locus for the defense of all civil rights, including free speech, as well (in wartime) as the prime locus of the decision on where those rights end and who is not fit to enjoy some or all of them.

    When he or officials of his administration criticize particular fruits of free speech, for instance, the assertion on the part of some that they believe the United States has engaged in secret torture, they need to take more care than your average commentator. They need to maintain a bright-line distinction between doing so as private men and doing so as prime agents of a goverment that does in fact have the power to inflict real harms on the basis of unacceptable speech. If they fail to do this, a reasonable argument can be made that they are supressing free speech through fear. This is why President Bush does indeed have some place in this discussion.

    I won't go so far as to say that this executive has crossed any line in some absolute and irreversible way, although they have certainly been negligent in the way they talk about press reports on Iraq lending "aid and comfort to the enemy" (which is legalistic treason speak). I would say they seem to completely disregard their responsibility to continually make the distinction I am talking about very clear, and I do wonder whether that is at least a bit intentional. At best, one has to say that a president who says, however inadvertantly, that it is "impermissable" to think or say particular things, without some kind of disclaimer that he doesn't mean this literally or in his official, is tone deaf when it comes to civil rights.

    I admit this can be a somewhat difficult line to walk, but I think Bush walks it for the most part like a raging drunk.

    (that long post at 1:04 was me as well, by they way.)

    "Third, more than 60% of self-identified Democrats believe that is likely that the government (read = Bush) was involved in or was aware of the 9/11 attacks."

    Source?

    "As Bob has pointed out, his article was in response to the question of what is the best or most effective way of helping the rest of the world understand America and how we practice self-government and free expression."

    Yes, good point. I wan't going to address that, but I suppose we could say that a foreigner might question why we had to offer a DISSENT in a case where we jailed someone on speech charges as evidence of "how we practice..."

    "...kidnapping foreign muslims, torturing them, and holding them on no charges and no trial or hearing is perfectly ok in our country."

    This makes me laugh. The use of the word "kidnapping" to refer to the capture of enemy combatants is just one way lefties attempt to marinalize the threat and create sympathy towards our enemies.

    Anon 1:04 PM, it would be helpful to follow the discussion if you were to use your name or pick a name and stick with it. We have too many anon posters to keep all this straight.

    Regardless, you wrote "there is a point at which criticism or imputation can cross the line into a supression of free speech. "

    As the rest of your comment flows from this statement I need to stop you right there and say that this is incorrect - both in terms of Holmes' dissent and in terms of the current state of First Amendment law where there is very high bar on limitation of free speech.

    That you FEEL threatened because someone is armed (presumeably you mean legally because if not then you have introduced an entirely new issue) does not meet that bar.

    That you might "impute" that some criticism is somehow "threatening" likewise does not meet that bar.

    In fact, you are free to advocate for violent action against the government. For example, it is perfectly legal to say "the Bush government should be overthrown by violent means".

    Since yor initial statement is incorrect, your analogy does not hold and the rest of your argument falls apart. Sorry, but you need to try again. If you take another at this, please consider that you are moving in the direction of saying that free speech is not free for certain government officials. That seems like an odd way to advance the cause of free speech - by denying it to the people we elect to run the country.

    "but I suppose we could say that a foreigner might question why we had to offer a DISSENT in a case "

    But as Bob pointed out, Holmes dissent is now the law of the land.

    I guess a better example, off the top of my rightwing neocon fascist Bush sycophantic head, would have been Chaplinsky?

    Bob, any thoughts on Chaplinsky over Holmes' dissent in Abrams?

    SMG

    Bob:
    Scratch that. Chaplinsky is not a better example now that I re-visited it.

    SMG

    I hope that this is a right wing lie about the Democrats supporting the notion that Bush created 9/11. If you don't mind I am skeptical by nature so I would like to see a source.

    You say force was used in history to create democracy, I certainly don't doubt that. But care to post examples of such incidents that are fairly recent (please don't go back to the 1770 a point to the American revolution). This way we will be able to clearly see the difference in that case and in the case of Iraq. Iraqis did not want to be "liberated" nor did they want anything to do with the united states. Because of this we were asking for failure the minute we went in there.

    The problem with you saying terrorists is a bigger danger than neocons is that you have to ask yourself, which came first, the chicken or the egg? It was the direct policies of the neocons now in power in the 1980s that created Osama Bin Laden and then it was the Bush administration that gave the Taliban in the summer of 2001 40 million dollars for them to say growing opium was bad. This made the Bush administration the largest supporter of the taliban up to that time. We have made similar fuck ups over our history of trying to make the world out to be how we wanted it to be.

    That is all history, yes. I am not asking anyone to dwell on that, I am asking you to learn your lessons from that history. If you are not willing to do that and change your ways and the government you support you become a burden on society.

    And if you somehow think that I believe democracts have all the answers you don't know me. I blame the democrats for getting us into this mess too. Sure, it was the neocons that orchestrated the invasion of Iraq, but being weak politically the democrats went along with it; some still not willing to say it was a mistake. But if you believe that this country should keep going on the path that it is going on and not change you are lying to yourself.

    And robert:

    http://www.phpbb.com

    For the sake of my sanity please install this here.

    Re Democratic voters views on 9/11:

    One source (below) says that a majority (50-56%) of Democrats believe that Bush or the government (I'm using the two interchangeably) concealed the true cause of the attacks.

    Link:
    http://www.voltairenet.org/article139571.html

    A number of other questions were asked that are interesting.

    E.g. 57% of Democrats believe that a new investigation of 9/11 is needed because there are unanswered questions.

    The poll was done by Zogby.

    SMG

    Anonymous,

    First of all, what's with the Cecelia the female thing? I could just as easy be male and you'd never know it, so if you have issues with women as debaters, get over it. Cecelia happens to by name and I'm not changing it so you won't feel badly over having your butt kicked by a woman.

    Now as to your argument that it's somehow more ominous and censorial for a presidential administration, which does have the military behind it, to use the rhetoric that Bush and Rumsfeld have used, let me remind that neither party pointed the finger at any specific person or group. Quite the contrary...war critics virtually threw themselves in front of the camera in order to identify themselves as being the targets of the Administration's words.

    There is a long history of making such defenses during times of war. In WWII there were veritable bill boards as well as theatrical shorts warning the public to not to engage in negative speech about the war effort or to give out information that might be useful to the enemy, lest they give comfort to them.

    Although, our troops are on a battlefield, Bush and Rumsfeld have said nothing approaching the rhetoric of the past, but have instead launched into a defense of their policy and why they have done what they've done. I don't know how anyone can launch an argument that war is necessary without making a contrast between your position and that of your opponents. If Rumsfeld and Bush believe their own position, then they must logically conclude that their opponents do not understand all the implications of their position (confused)... and/or are behaving as appeasers (morally confused). Again, they did not point a finger at any single person or any single group.

    To argue that the Administration should limit a defense of their actions to solely restating their original position, because it is not impossible that they could break the law and sic the FBI on protestors or send a posse of MPs to arrest them is a specious point. Arguments cannot be based on the predicate that something is not impossible. It's not impossible that they could do these things anyway, even if they said everything their opponents would have them to say.

    As for putting opponents lives in jeopardy because of death threats from the public, well that can be the case for anyone who has an audience. Why not extend that to the negative remarks pundits make about war proponents and opponents?

    Recently, Olbermann made the case that Bush was attempting to tell someone what they couldn't think after Bush used the very common phrase "You can't think.... such and such..."-- meaning you can't logically think such and such. This is disingenuous as hell and to use Olbermann's phrase "beyond shameful".

    Sorry, but I don't see any real merit to your argument. As with war opponent's response to any criticism toward Murtha, Sheehan, or Kerry, it's just one more attempt to control the boundaries of the debate and to shield yourselves from the sort of criticism you don't hesitate to wield towards opponents.

    The source you posted is quite different from what you said originally. They are not saying Bush bombed the WTC, they are not saying Bush was involved. They are saying that the 9/11 commission left out important information about the attacks for partisan reasons. This is something I agree with and I am the first person to call bullshit when any liberal I know claims Bush was directly involved. Keep in mind, the GOP congress spent 600 million investigating Clinton's BJ, yet they only spent 12 million investigating arguably the most tragic attack on our soil. When something like that happens crazy conspiracy theories unfold, unfortunately a lot of those come from people on my side of the political spectrum but they are hardly the majority as your tried to claim and would go away if the Bush administration supported a real, independent, and well financed investigation into the attacks.

    I read your editorial Mr. Cox and I liked it !
    A couple of points.
    1- There is a rising sentimant being pushed by the liberals and their mouthpieces in the establishment media and from the Hollyweird set. Many times we are told that America is no longer espectd around the world. My first thought is who really cares? Should America be a leader or just a follower?
    Maybe America's popularity is diminishing due to nutjobs like the Dixie chicks, Calypso Belefonte, Jesse Jackon and that little punk Sean Penn going around spewing their hatred of the Bush Administration. Mayeb abytime that we do anything "wrong" or there is a perception of wrondoing the usual left wingnuts go on a tirade. But when the islamic terrorists do their thing stony silence from the left. When was the last time you herad a lefty condemning Islamic terrorists for not followin The Genevea convention.
    The left in this country is so mad at Bush being elected to two terms that I believe wholeheartedly that they want to see America lose the war in iraq and the war on terrorism and I don't care what the leftists say they are the same thing. I have no doubts that the leftists want to see Bush fail so bad that they are willing to compromise national security and put America at risk to get back into politcal power.
    On Blogs and the influence of the blogosphere I think that once again the left is coming unhinged. they are furious that blogs on the right exist to challenge the "mainstream media" and their leftist views.
    I remember watching the news for years before there was a blogosphere. For years there was no checks and balances on the news that was spoon fed to us. Now folks like Dan Rather have to be held accountable for the liberal crap they throw at the American public. Olbermann are you listening? And olbermann is a good example of the new leftist censorship and attempted return to the glory days of liberal monopolies on delivery of information. Of course in a free world blogs are open to all views and there is true democratization of information and that includes everything in the spectrum of opinions and information. The "mainstream media" never lets you forget that they are the heroes (in their minds) that keep checks and balances on power but until the blogosphere came into being who exactly watched the media? Until just recently these blatanly bias "news reporters" agenda went unchecked and unchallenged. Imagine if you could for a minute having some glaringly partisan hack like Olbermann with no site like olbermannwatch.com to challenge him and just let him spew forth with his lunacy and hate filled tirades. Imagine somebody as crazy and as disdainful of criticsm and debate as olbermann with no way to counter his nuttiness with reality. No way to tell him" hey Kiethy,nice suit dude but you are WRONG and blatantly biased" and the "guests" you have on your comedy show only agree with you. You never have any dissent or debate.
    In short Mr Cox I would just like to say thank you for your website olbermannwatch.com and for giving a little anonymous guy like me the opportunity to take on and challenge some pompous blowhard leftist and self described "journalist" like the olbermann.

    Hey, I didn't notice you wrote that article. Nice job, didn't know we were talking with Mr. Celebrity over here. I don't know why someone that has so many connections as you do would bother with a web site like this but I'm glad you're here, until now I didn't know there were any rational conservatives left on this planet.

    Yes, riverdog, who cares what the rest of the world thinks, fuck em.

    Can you please put the bud light down, put on a shirt, and go outside your trailer to smell the fresh air and take a look at what is going on around you?

    We don't own this world, far from it. There are a lot of countries out there that hate rednecks like you that have a bunch of nukes in their arsonal. Many of these countries Bush considers our allies. But according to idiots like you that is not the problem, its those freedom hating, terrorist appeasing, pot smoking liberals. They want to go out and start wars with everyone, they want to go out and torture innocent people, they want to piss all over America's democracy. Oh wait... hmmmm

    Skeptical,

    And if these hippies aren't starting wars and invading countries, they're arming the locals so that they can fight common enemies like the Soviets in Afghanistan... and if some the locals turn out to be bad guys too, who join ranks with other bad guys...well, it's the hippies' faults for not having depended upon diplomacy in the first place... except when they were engaging in talks and giving finacial aid in order to build relationships and steer policy....

    One of the things hippies are acutely familiar with is the reality of ankle-biters with 20/20 hindsight.

    Skeptical:
    You caught my error where I said "aware" instead of "conceal". And it was an error on my part.

    I originally said: "60% [50-56%] of self-identified Democrats believe that is likely that the government (read = Bush) was involved in or was aware of the 9/11 attacks."

    The poll actually says that a majority (50-56%) of Democrats believe that Bush "concealed the true cause of the attacks."

    One could ask, then, why would he conceal the true cause if he wasn't somehow involved? Who covers up something if they weren't involved in. But that's just speculation on my part.

    However, a recent Scripps Howard poll
    (http://newspolls.org/story.php?story_id=55) reports that 36% of respondents believe that the government either participated in the attacks or took no action in order to stop them because they wanted to go to war in the Middle East.

    Since the poll took roughly 1/3 each from Democrats, Republicans and independents, my guess is that a high percentage of Democrats (40-45% or more) were among that 36%.

    In any event, a disturbingly high percentage of people who identify themselves as Democrats believe that Bush was somehow involved in either the attacks themselves or in concealing the true perpetrators of those attacks.

    Not good.

    SMG



    Robert,
    I enjoyed your column. However, I was surprised you used a liberal and used burning American flags and Hustler as examples of free speech.

    Robert,
    I enjoyed your column. However, I was surprised you used a liberal and used burning American flags and Hustler as examples of free speech.


    Well, you know...Bob is not your typical conservative.

    He only goes to his snake-handling church meetings and book burning activities once or twice a month.

    SMG,
    I can't speak for other Democrats but I believe the Saudi's role in 9/11 was covered up.

    Colbert:
    "I can't speak for other Democrats but I believe the Saudi's role in 9/11 was covered up. "

    Covered up by whom? The 9/11 Commission? And the White House?

    That's a lot of folks to keep quiet, it seems to me. This includes not just the Commission members but all of the staff too? And White House officials, staff, family members. All of them have been quiet for 5 years?

    And by Saudi's do you mean the government? Private individuals? Elements in the government?

    Anyway, don't you think Bin Laden in particular would love to get that information out? That Saudi Arabia helped perpetrate the attacks. Since he hates the Royal Family as much as he hates the US, my guess is that he would have disseminated that information in order to ruin US/Saudi relations.

    It's possible; but I can't see how it would have been kept under wraps. Too many people have to keep it secret.

    SMG

    RCox,
    Great article!

    To Lefties,
    Robert is more of a Liberatarian than a conservative. In fact Libertarians are the real Liberals. Today's Liberals are Leftists Islamic loving Socialists!

    RCox,
    Great article!

    To Lefties,
    Robert is more of a Liberatarian than a conservative. In fact Libertarians are the real Liberals. Today's Liberals are Leftists Islamic loving Socialists!

    First, THIS "Can you please put the bud light down, put on a shirt, and go outside your trailer to smell the fresh air and take a look at what is going on around you?" is pretty funny. Sorry dog, but I laughed out loud.

    Skep wrote "I hope that this is a right wing lie about the Democrats supporting the notion that Bush created 9/11. If you don't mind I am skeptical by nature so I would like to see a source."

    I think Steve is right, I saw a lot of blogs linking this...
    Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll - August 2, 2006

    http://newspolls.org/story.php?story_id=55

    The numbers are out there if you care to dig but it says
    "More than a third of the American public suspects that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East, according to a new Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll."
    The poll found that a majority of young adults give at least some credence to a 9/11 conspiracy compared to less than a fourth of people 65 or older. Members of racial and ethnic minorities, people with only a high school education and Democrats were especially likely to suspect federal involvement in 9/11.

    Given the numbers and that last line it would not surprise me if that 50-60% figure were accurate. Let me know if you get the raw data in that Dem Demo.


    why would THIS (http://www.phpbb.com) be better?


    Lastly, on Saudi Arabia.

    If you know the roots of al Qaeda you will learn about a low grade civil war based in Yemem (where the bin Laden family is from, originally) that included attacks in Saudi Arabia going back to the late 80's/early 90s. I learned alot about this at the time because one of my favorite professors at Chicago was Marvin Zonis who has been an official in the U.S. State department (http://www.marvinzonis.com/). He was one of the last guys in Iran and an expert on the Middle East. He taught me alot about the complexities of Mideast politics and often stressed the dangers of this civil war and the groups fighting it who had, as their primary objective, the overthrow of the Saudi ruling family. I could make a pretty good case that what we call the war on terror is actually a Saudi civil war where America, because of its support of the ruling family, was made a party to the conflict. I could go on for a while here but the net-net is that of the primary complaints lodged by bin Laden, we have actually taken steps to respond to them (a Palestinian state, U.S. troops out of the land of Mecca and Medina, and democracy in Saudi Arabia). We pulled out of the Kingdom, we have pressured the Saudis to have low level elections as a baby step towards democracy and we have pushed to get a solution in Palestine. When you under that aspect of things you then get to understanding why various forces have sought to disrupt steps towards a Palestinian state (it takes away a major grievance that the terrorists use to recruit members and get financial support). But there are about "a hundred" other factors involved and it all makes your head spin so let me leave there. Point being that NO the Saudis (meaning the part of the Saudi ruling family we support) were not behind 9/11 and YES the Saudis (the rest) were behind 9/11. As most folks know, the experts believe that bin Laden made it a point to choose Saudis for the 9/11 mission for the express purpose of creating tension between the Saudi royal family and the U.S. government. Knowing a bit of the history, that makes a lot of sense to me.

    Oh, one more thing...

    Colbert,

    you wrote "Robert, I enjoyed your column. However, I was surprised you used a liberal and used burning American flags and Hustler as examples of free speech."

    I guess that makes me a "liberal" when it comes to free speech? I want to be free to call you an OlbyLoon and want you to be free to call me a wingnut. I believe in my views and am perfectly willing to advance my case on any topic, any time, any where.

    Being that I am so smart and yet so charming, I always win. So, I have nothing to fear from an open "competition" in the ideas market.

    Robert and SMG,
    I was talking about a Congressional report with sections discussing the Saudis redacted. Some sources claimed it talked about a money trail between Saudis and al Qaeda. There have been various other reports and a fairly new book out looking into certain members of the Saudi royal family. I realize they have a huge family and don't all agree. Robert, could you explain a little about how the schools teaching Wahhabism are allowed to run? Do the Saudi leaders like it or are they afraid to be overthrown if they stop it?

    Steve, it is disturbing that so many people believe Bush knew the attacks were going to happen and even worse that so many believe he had something to do with it. I will also admit that most of those are probably on the left.

    Before I go on let me just clarfiy I believe this is total bullshit and I have said this many times before outside of this web site.

    However, you have to understand that because the Bush administration has continually blocked any investigations into this matter people get all sorts of crazy ideas.

    You said:

    >>One could ask, then, why would he conceal the true cause if he wasn't somehow involved? Who covers up something if they weren't involved in. But that's just speculation on my part.

    Its not that he is guilty of doing these attacks, its that I believe he is guilty of ignoring the terrorism issue and making huge mistakes in the lead up to 9/11. This is also speculation on my part, but because of Bush's actions in not wanting to investigate this you can only come to 2 conclusions, the more rational one that I just posted or one where he was somehow involved. There is a great independent investigation on why, physically, the towers came down (I can't recall the official name right now and dont have time to look it up) but they are supposed to be finished with it in 2007. I am hoping that will put some of the conspiracies to rest, I just wish a private organization didn't have to do the job our government was supposed to do years ago. And then I hope that we have a real, independent, investigation of the mistakes both Clinton and Bush made in the lead up to the attacks, the 9/11 commission I believe failed in doing that.

    Red Wolf,

    While I do agree with statement that Robert is a more of libertarian than a conservative, he does seem to err on the side of conservatives and this administration rather than be skeptical of their motives, particularly on this site. In this respect, I would think of him more as a Neil Boortz-style libertarian than a Nick Gillespie-style libertarian.

    Also, Robert does not do the daily commentary here. Johnny Dollar does. Johnny Dollar is NOT a libertarian.

    Red Wolf,

    While I do agree with statement that Robert is more of libertarian than a conservative, he does seem to err on the side of conservatives and this administration rather than be skeptical of their motives, particularly on this site. In this respect, I would think of him more as a Neil Boortz-style libertarian than a Nick Gillespie-style libertarian.

    Also, Robert does not do the daily commentary here. Johnny Dollar does. Johnny Dollar is NOT a libertarian.

    Cecelia the girl,

    You failed to address the point I made, prefering to remake my statement in light of what you think "liberals" do or say. For instance:

    "As for putting opponents lives in jeopardy because of death threats from the public..."

    source?

    "To argue that the Administration should limit a defense of their actions to solely restating their original position..."

    source?

    "Recently, Olbermann made the case that Bush was attempting to tell someone what they couldn't think..."

    You sourced that one, but it wasn't me.

    So who are you arguing with? Are you guys even aware you do this?

    Anyway, I think I made very clear that I was not suggesting legal wrong against the administration. I said that when they make those kinds of statements, they should take care to offer a disclaimer. When they say that such and such kind of talk or reporting gives aid and comfort to the enemy, they are using very particular language that is meant for the government to legally define treason. Now even that I have no real problem with, as long as one takes care to make it clear that this is a personal opinion that has nothing to do with some kind of finding in an official capacity. All you need to do is say "In my personal opinion..." It's a nuance thing.

    I'm surprised defenders of free speech would have a problem with this very mild point. I don't think the right to free speech was meant to protect the president, who already has a kind of freedom and power of communication that goes so far beyond an individual that it is in and entirely different class. Freedom of speech, press, and assembly was meant as a check on government power.

    I agree, and said ahead of time, that this can be a difficult line to walk. I just think that Bush seems to have some trouble with it. That is my only point.

    You do seem to have one "butt-kicking" point, imo. That is that the administration has not singled out individuals but left the criticism vague, "our opponents..." and that sort of thing. That is an excellent point and off the top of my head I think they have mostly kept it at that form, which is much better nuance-wise. I'd have to check though. Your worst point, it seems to me, is that in the past administrations may have deliberately intimidated free speech, and so that means it somehow would be o.k. now. They put asians in concentration camps too. What's your point?

    Robert,

    You addressed my point by denying it's grounds, because you are arguing for a very formal understanding of freedom of speech. That's fine. Absolutely consistent and I have nothing to say to it other than we disagree on how freedom of speech should be interpreted. I interpret it, I believe, in the light of it's designed purpose, which is primarily as a check on government power. That's not it's ONLY function, but to me it is the prime one. That is why I take the issue of (even 100% legal) intimidation seriously and do not take as seriously the freedom of speech of government officials arguing for their official policies.

    This is where you drift back a bit towards conservatism from liberalism on this issue. It is an entirely respectable, consistent and not unreasonable position, but in my opinion it misses just a bit of the purpose of free speech.

    "When was the last time you herad a lefty condemning Islamic terrorists for not followin The Genevea convention."

    Well, I generally wouldn't respond to Riverdog, because I think it incites him. But he has unfortunately made what passes for a right-wing point these days, and I think many righties more reasonable than him do have this genuine confusion.

    The reason I do not waste my breath condemning Islamic terrorists for not "followin' The Genevea convention" is the same reason I do not waste breath condemning mad dogs for not following them. It's the same reason I don't bother to condemn them for foaming at the mouth and biting people. They are sick animals. This should be obvious. I support keeping the mad dogs away by any means we can, killing them when we can, and locking the gate so they can't get at us. I do not try to reason with them or bother to try and whip up indignation or a desire for revenge against them, or create some kind of moral relevance between us and them. To do so only brings us a bit closer to their level.

    Erie Bob wrote

    "When they say that such and such kind of talk or reporting gives aid and comfort to the enemy, they are using very particular language that is meant for the government to legally define treason."

    The only problem with this argument is that Bush administration officials have never used that "very particular language" - aid and comfort to the enemy - so where does that leave the rest of your "argument". I would say about where it began - nowhere.

    "I don't think the right to free speech was meant to protect the president"

    This would be a novel interpretation of the First Amendment. It sounds like pre-emptive reverse-fascism where you tell the President "what you MIGHT say MAY be interpreted as possibly making someone FEEL like they are being threatened so we are going to take away YOUR right to free speech so they don't imagine that you might be eventually cause the government to take away theirs. But somehow this seems logical to you, right?

    "we disagree on how freedom of speech should be interpreted. I interpret it, I believe, in the light of it's designed purpose, which is primarily as a check on government power. "

    So you are a strict constructionist then? Funny, I never pegged you as a judicial conservative. And that leaves me as the liberal in this dialog. Since the First Amendment was added to the Constitution we have had, I think, several rulings from the Supreme Court on First Amendment issues which have given us a very expansive view of the First Amendment much of which has had little to do with the "designed purpose" being a "check on government". Regardless, you are on safe ground when you talk about "intimidation" but it has to be ACTUAL intimidation not IMAGINED or PERCEIVED intimidation. Your guy carrying a weapon watching me give a speech is one thing, pointing it at me and pretending to pull the trigger while mouth the words "one more peep out of you and 'bang'" is another. The Court has set a very high bar for all of this and you would ACTUALLY be denying the free speech of the guy with the gun to POTENTIALLY be protecting the free speech of another person. If the Court agreed with you then anyone could claim they feel threatened and thus abridge someone else's rights. In other words, in your desire to prevent someone you believe to be a fascist from silencing the free speech of others you would silence that person's free speech. Sorry, but it does not work that way; the Court is with me on this.


    I find it interesting that on this site, over the past week, I've been called a fascist, liberal, neo-con, conservative, and libertarian.

    I think what may be confusing people is that I think through issues myself after taking in information from disparate sources and come to my own conclusions. And since I do not feel any need to arrive at any particular conclusions out of any partisan or ideological loyalty, when I express an opinion on a topic it is because I have thought about that topic a good deal, have what I feel to be a very good reasons for holding that opinion and prepared to explain my point of view to anyone who asks. It also makes me very effective and deconstructing someone else's arguments; I have often already given a good deal of thought to their side of the argument as well and know why I rejected it in the first place.

    It is for this reason that I can hold opinions that do not fit into neat categories. I can be a "libertarian on free speech issues and believe that unless there is some direct, imminent threat to another person or our government through which speech is protected that people ought to be able to say whatever they want. I can be an "evangelical christian" on the abortion issue and believe that it is wrong 100% of the time no matter what the circumstances. I can be a "neo-con" on foreign policy issues and believe that invading Iraq was exactly the right thing to do. I can be a liberal on "gay marriage" and "gay rights" because I think people should be free to make their own lifestyle choices. I can be a "pro-business Republican" and believe that Walmart does great work because they offer consumers more choice at lower prices and they are under no obligation to consider the "greater good" of the communities in which they operate stores. I can be a "red neck" and believe that Affirmative Action is wrong despite the fact that my children are a direct beneficiary of affirmative action programs. I can be a "Buchnananite" when it comes to illegal immigration because I want a wall on our southern border.

    Pick a political topic and you may be surprised at my answer.

    That said, we spend a lot of time on this site on what are essentially national security issues - Iraq, terrorism, the various detainee issues, etc. And on THOSE issues I am 100% in support of Bush.

    I don't think Bush was right on many hot button issues like Terry Schiavo, flag burning amendments, certain spending policies and others. I am not a Republican but I want them to stay in power this fall because the thought of the Dems in power is scary to me. I hope that Bush will get to replace one of the "liberal" Supreme Court justices so that we are one step closer to overturning Roe v. Wade and can toss the entire issue where it belongs - in the state legislatures.

    Confused?

    Erie-hermaphrodite:

    The whole basis of your argument is that someone might be stifled by the President and company because they bring the force of govt to the equation. You've argued that possibility as fact, not as a nonfact that might be imagined by some paranoiac. Bush IS INDEED 'always "bringing a gun" with him', as you have put it.

    I responded that this is an argument based upon the premise that because something is not impossible it is therefore logical or rational to fear it. It is not and ...semi...rational...people are not afraid. Olbermann is not, all the protesters running to the cameras in order to suggest they are being stifled are not. The other real life example I gave as to how irrational and illogical this stuff can get are the "special conrived comments" The Oracle issued last night.

    It's endless idiocy...predicated upon the argument that if soemthing is not impossible therefore it is rational to fear it.

    So caveats much be issued, arguments must be put into parameters meted out by critics....and Bush's and Rumfeld's speech that is utterly innocuous comapared to what past administrations have said during war time (and that is the comparision I'm making. Not the one you suggested...sheesh!)and the truth no opponent is really afraid and the only speech that's effectively squelched is the Administration's.

    But that's the point in the first place.

    Bob writes:

    "Confused?"

    Hardly. I'd venture that most readers here aren't either. This hardly makes you unique. It's the way most people operate.

    It's only the extreme ideologues that operate in stereotypes and who get all drop-jawed when someone doesn't follow that image.

    Cecelia the unicorn,

    "...and the only speech that's effectively squelched is the Administration's."

    How does this "squelching" happen? I thought we all agreed that while there is a right to free speech, there is no right to be free from condemnation for that speech. You started this argument with this very point. I have said three times now that I am not talking about a legal wrong, just bad taste and tone-deafness to the effects of extreme power.

    "The other real life example I gave as to how irrational and illogical this stuff can get are the "special conrived comments" The Oracle issued last night."

    I don't understand this sentence as I never watch Olbermann and don't read dollar. I can't really understand why you people do. It is not instructive. As for the "paranoia" line, suffice to say in human history, being jailed or punished for political speech is the norm, not the exception. Rights are very fragile, even if we are very used to them in this country, and the law of the land changes constantly. I agree that many who object to the administration on this issue are not really directly afraid. But by the time people really are legitimately afraid, it is likely too late, I think they would argue, and not without some merit.

    You have to meet these threats before they materialize, someone might say. I agree it's a bit too knee-jerk for my taste.

    That's MRS Cecelia the Unicorn, to you.

    You've stated that because of the inherent power of govt, govt officials should be aware of the tenor of their criticism of the words, mindset, and motivations of their opponents lest they instill the fear of govt backed reprisal in these critics.

    You've stated that you're particularly sensitive to any remark by govt officials that might (unintentionally) intimidate their crtics because of the inherent power of these officials.

    You have stated that though the issue is of public importance, and particular importance to you, you have not been listening to the charges of Keith Olbermann, who is at the forefront of the current argument that the Administration is intentionally trying to supress its opponents via fear tactics.

    Since you aren't following the actual accusations that are the basis of the claim that the administration is trying to suppress free speech...and since you aren't able to grasp what my argument that it is impossible to keep irrational people from jumping to irrational conclusions without issuing the sort of caveats that are a form of self-censorship...and since you haven't directly addressed what Rumsfeld or Bush actually said that has caused the fracas (other than some vauge claim that that they were using words that sounded like accusations of treason).... and since you state that all you are saying is that powerful officals must not be tone death to the possibility of intimidating others...

    Well, fine. We'll run that profundity up the flagpole, salute it, and hopefully be done with it.


    Robert Cox wrote:

    "Pick a political topic and you may be surprised at my answer."

    Okay. The legalization of prostitution. Go!


    Mrs. Cecelia the Unicorn,

    "That's MRS Cecelia the Unicorn, to you."

    Damn. Well, you can't blame a guy for trying. I hope Mr. Cecelia the Unicorn appreciates you.

    "You've stated that because of the inherent power of govt, govt officials should be aware of the tenor of their criticism of the words, mindset, and motivations of their opponents lest they instill the fear of govt backed reprisal in these critics."

    YES. YES. A thousand times YES. You've gotten it. That is my point. My whole entire pont. That is it. Bless you. They should offer a disclaimer anytime they say anything that amounts to "what you are saying is helping the enemy." And all they would need to say is "in my personal opinion." If you think that is harmfull "self-censorship," you are more tender than the cockled horns of a snail.

    "...stated that you're particularly sensitive to any remark...stated that though the issue is of public importance, and particular importance to you..."

    Damn it. No. Why did you have to ruin this? Again, I know you are unaware that you do this, but "particular importance to you"... source? I don't know how someone so reasonable can do this. I think it is the siren song of this site, which encourages you to lump lefties together and paste a Michael Moore mask on them before responding.

    "....Keith Olbermann, who is at the forefront of the current argument that the Administration is intentionally trying to supress its opponents via fear tactics."

    Uh, I think you overestimate a poorly rated TV show by just a smidgeon...KO is at the forefront of stuggling to get ratings and make money. But of course it is always helpful to find some bastardized vulgarization of a principle to argue against rather than the principle itself. This is the essentially the motto of this site.

    Again, the point that it is irrational to fear being imprisoned for oppositional political speech is gainsaid by probably 99% of human history and even by the very case we are discussing, so I am tossing that in the trash, with all due respect. I have agreed that these particular folks probably aren't really afraid, they are performing a kind of preemptive strike, because as I said, if it were really time to be reasonably afraid, it would be simply too late. Agreed? These things do move in increments. I'm glad there are people who overreact on these issues because it keeps the line from moving.

    Who's more correct?

    1. People who overreact to government officials stating that they are helping the enemy,
    or
    2. People who overreact to people overreactng to government officials stating that they are helping the enemy, by claiming that they are "squelching" the free speech of the government?

    I'll take 2, how about you? I take the very idea of the free speech of the government to be patently absurd. It smells kind of like the "what about the rights of the majority?" rhetoric that precedes every populist tyranny.

    Robert,

    The only problem with this argument is that Bush administration officials have never used that "very particular language" - aid and comfort to the enemy - so where does that leave the rest of your "argument".

    Good rejoinder. I drifted into legalism and was properly smacked down. I will assume you are correct that they have not used the exact language of the sedition act. I can't hunt down all the quotes now. It leaves the rest of my argument dead to it's letter.

    I don't think it changes much about it's spirit. I know Cheney has repeatedly said some formulation of "arming our enemies," which is perhaps even a bit stronger evocation of treason than just "aiding" them.

    "So you are a strict constructionist then?"

    Not really. But I'm not not a strict constructionist either. Read your own glowingly narcisistic appraisal of how the superior human mind works and then wonder if there might not be other marvelously unique creatures like yourself.

    If I were to try and create a formal classification for my constitutional leanings, maybe I would call it a hierachalism. In a conflict of rights, I give precedence to the one that is closer to the strict intention or purpose of the right in the constitution. Thus to me it is more important to protect speech that criticizes the policies of government than to protect speech that supports those policies. The latter does not need as much protection, is not as theoretically valuable, and is not what the framers had in mind. Of course you have the giant overarching "pursuit of happiness" loophole...

    "Confused?"

    No. Cecelia put it rather aptly. The only way you start to think this is terribly unique is when you fixate on steroetypes, which you have to admit is pretty much what you do seem to do up and down the street. You have a fascinating naivete about you Robert. Whether it is a put-on or not, it is one of the things I like best about you so far. That and the energy. Keep it up.

    I missed quotation marks on the first lines of that last post.