Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Should we prosecute sedition? Stupid is as Stupid Does

I recently ran across an opinion piece over at Townhall.com. The basic premise of the piece is that anyone who speaks ill of the government or George W. Bush should be prosecuted as a traitor. This little nugget was posted by the people who claim on their website that they are having: An interactive, open and honest debate of the issues within the conservative community will help us all in the fight against those who would sacrifice the individual and freedom for political gain and big government. Townhall.com

I guess sacrificing the individual and freedom is necessary for those who speak ill of the leader. We used to call these type of people Nazi’s. Anyway, have fun, I’ve added my thoughts in italics to the story, so that it’s Fair and Balanced.

Should we prosecute sedition? Or, Stupid is as Stupid Does

By Ben Shapiro with Edits by The Punisher

Feb 15, 2006

Last Sunday, former Vice President Al Gore spoke before the Jiddah Economic Forum. He told the mostly Saudi audience that the United States had committed "terrible atrocities" against Arabs after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He stated that Arabs had been "indiscriminately rounded up" and detained in "unforgivable conditions." He criticized America's new immigration policy, which more carefully scrutinizes Saudi visas, explaining, "The thoughtless way in which visas are now handled, that is a mistake." Finally, he concluded, "There have been terrible abuses, and it's wrong. … I want you to know that it does not represent the desires or wishes or feelings of the majority of the citizens of my country."

These are outrageous statements. And the silence from the left is deafening. The Democratic National Committee told me that they had not released a statement regarding Gore's speech and had no plans to do so. The New York Times editorial board, the official outlet of the American left, wrote nary a word about the speech.

Why would Big Ben feel that these are outrageous statements? They are true statements. Arab-Americans were rounded up after 9/11 and held without access to attorneys for months. Most Arab Americans were interviewed by the FBI after 9/11. Ben apparently thinks (like most right wing Nazi’s) that if you are an Arab in America it’s O.k. to suspect you of terrorism without evidence. I’m sure he would be the first in line to protest if we rounded up former U.S. soldiers after the D.C. sniper attacks or the Oklahoma City Bombing. Remember that these two domestic terrorism acts were carried out by former members of the U.S. Military, yet no one suggests we should subject former members of the military to heightened scrutiny.

Notice how Ben doesn’t actually discuss Gore’s comments or spend any time proving that they are false. He does what the right likes to do when they can’t win a reasoned argument. He attacks the messenger. For example, if I didn’t attack Ben’s comments directly, but said that he was a spoiled brat who probably sucked his thumb until he was 13, I would be engaging in the same type of “argument” that he does. But I will confine myself to reasoned argument. Here’s a little more of what the baby has to say:

It is now considered bad form to criticize those who commit seditious acts against the United States. Challenging the patriotism of a traitor draws more ire than engaging in treasonable activities. Calling out those who undermine our nation creates more of a backlash than actually undermining our nation.

Let us consider, however, the probable consequences of Gore's mea culpa on behalf of the "majority" of his countrymen. No doubt his words will fuel the massive tide of propaganda spewing forth from Muslim dictatorships around the globe. No doubt his words will be used to bolster the credibility of horrific disinformation like the Turkish-made, Gary-Busey-and-Billy Zane-starring monstrosity "Valley of the Wolves: Iraq," which accuses American troops of war atrocities and depicts a Jewish-American doctor (Busey) slicing organs out of Arab victims and shipping the body parts off to New York, London and Israel. No doubt Gore's speech will precipitate additional violence against Americans in Iraq and around the globe.

Again, notice the disconnect. Gore’s speech has a galvanizing effect on the Muslim world, but Bush calling the Iraq war a “Crusade” won’t stir any opposition. Bush actually invading a country without UN approval and killing 50,000 Muslims in Iraq won’t stir violence against Americans, but Al Gore’s speech will. Bush operating a Soviet Style Gulag where Muslims are held without trial for half a decade, won’t stir violence against Americans, but Al Gore’s speech will. Bush Invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 won’t stir violence against Americans, but Al Gore’s speech will. I’d say no doubt Bush’s actions will precipitate additional violence against Americans for DECADES, yet somehow Al Gore is responsible. Ben you really are a stupid fuck.

And Gore is not alone. Much of the language of the "loyal opposition" has been anything but loyal. In September 2002, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) called President Bush a liar on Saddam Hussein's turf, then added that Hussein's regime was worthy of American trust. On "Face the Nation" back in December, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) stated that American troops were "going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the -- of, of, of historical customs, religious customs …" Howard Dean, the head of the DNC, averred in December that the "idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong."

Here Ben’s tries to list statements from people who are undermining the United States, by making (again truthful comments) about U.S. Government Activities. He conveniently leaves out the fact the President Bush said on August 30, 2004 that “You can’t win the War on Terror.” I guess we should prosecute the President for Sedition.

At some point, opposition must be considered disloyal. At some point, the American people must say "enough." At some point, Republicans in Congress must stop delicately tiptoeing with regard to sedition and must pass legislation to prosecute such sedition.

I guess that Ben, being too young to remember, doesn’t realize that Republicans have not always controlled congress, and I guess he would be equally enthusiastic about a Democrat Controlled Congress defining what speech is considered disloyal. I can see it now, we’ll start by rounding up everyone at Fox News and shutting down Townhall.com and the Federalist Society. That’s America for you baby, to the Victor goes the spoils.

"Freedom of speech!" the American Civil Liberties Union will protest. Before we buy into the slogan, we must remember our history. President Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and allowed governmental officials to arrest Rep. Clement Vallandigham after Vallandigham called the Civil War "cruel" and "wicked," shut down hundreds of opposition newspapers, and had members of the Maryland legislature placed in prison to prevent Maryland's secession. The Union won the Civil War.

Freedom of Speech is just a slogan? Clearly Big Ben has not yet made it to Con Law II at Harvard. And if he has, he really should not have passed the class. Freedom of Speech is a core foundation of Democracy. The right to Criticize your Government is one of the Highest forms of Protected Speech under our Constitution. Every example of War Powers that a President has used to stifle free speech has been declared unconstitutional AFTER the fact. The president has engaged in unlawful behavior during wartime as justification for restricting free speech. The other crucial difference in each of the cases listed by Benny is that the United States in WWI and WWII had declared War. The present circumstances the President says that the War is indefinite, and that in fact we have not declared any war. The present War is more like the Cold War, which we WON (if you want to engage in a scorecard approach to history) and we didn’t have to have a Sedition Act to win it.

Under the Espionage Act of 1917, opponents of World War I were routinely prosecuted, and the Supreme Court routinely upheld their convictions. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes rightly wrote, "When a nation is at war, many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right." The Allies won World War I.

During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of hundreds of thousands of Japanese-Americans, as well as allowing the prosecution and/or deportation of those who opposed the war. The Allies won World War II.

Ben again shows an appallingly poor method of legal reasoning. The Case that allowed the Internment of American Citizens whose parents happened to be Japanese, is universally recognized as one of the Supreme Courts worst. Korematsu. It was also overturned and is no longer good law.

During the Vietnam War, the Supreme Court repeatedly upheld the free speech rights of war opponents, whether those opponents distributed leaflets depicting the rape of the Statue of Liberty or wore jackets emblazoned with the slogan "F--- the Draft." America lost the Vietnam War.

Again, Ben blames protesters for losing a war in which the U.S. government fought for more than 10 years. The government had 10 years to win, and could not do it. The protesters didn’t lose the war, the government lost the war.

This is not to argue that every measure taken by the government to prosecute opponents of American wars is just or right or Constitutional. Some restrictions, however, are just and right and Constitutional -- and necessary. No war can be won when members of a disloyal opposition are given free reign to undermine it.

The last few paragraphs of this pathetic rant are equally disturbing. Clearly, they are written by someone with a very limited intellect, and a very little education, but I’ll refrain from attacking him personally.

If you truly believe that the Vietnam War was lost because people protested, you are a fool. The Vietnam War was lost because we did not have the support of the people we were fighting to protect. If the people on the ground don’t support your war, you will lose. It happened to the British during the Revolutionary War, the U.S. during the Vietnam War, the Soviets during their occupation of Afghanistan (when Osama was on our side), and it will happen in Iraq. We’ve lost their hearts and minds. You just don’t have the ability to see it yet.

Sadly, although Republicans control the Presidency, the House, the Senate, and a majority of the Suprme Court, this is not enough for them to win a war. Now they are again looking to play the blame game. Pathetically, they will blame the left again, for their failures.

Thanks for taking this little punk to the woodshed, Punisher!
from To the People

I agree. And the first person who should be prosecuted is him. Anyone who calls for trampling on the Bill of Rights and giving bureaucrats more power at the expense of citizens is a traitor who should go to jail. Do you see how easy it is, Ben? Give the government the power to throw people in jail for things they say??? Be careful of what you wish for, asshole.
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