Take a knee protests are not anti-veteran

If you think these protests are against veterans, you’re either (a) willfully misinformed or (b) aware that they’re not but are claiming they are so you can dismiss them.

Neither option is admirable.

Denver Broncos versus the Buffalo Bills

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Against Protests? Why do you hate America so?

Football players are taking a knee today to protest the way Trump calls one of their own a “son of a bitch” for protesting.

And I’m very sad that some of my friends apparently think these protests are unAmerican. “Love it or leave it!” they scream.

Protesting is one of the things that we can do in America. It’s so American, it’s guaranteed to us in the very first Amendment.9e1fc035aa6110f48ac4e380d92a7adf

Disagreeing with the point of the protest — that’s fine. That’s your right under that same 1st Amendment. But saying they shouldn’t protest at all (or they should protest somewhere else, where we can’t see it and where it has no affect)? Why do you hate America so?

Look, I disagreed completely with the Charlottesville protesters, but I never said they should not have the right to do so.

These protests make people mad. But protests are supposed to make you upset and uncomfortable. They’re meaningless otherwise.

The whole point of a protest is to make people uncomfortable and to make them think. People complained when blacks sat at the white lunch counters, too or when Americans dressed as Indians and threw tea in the harbor.

Also, I can’t help but notice that these very same people didn’t say a word about nazis protesting in Charlottesville. “Very fine people,” according to Trump.

Disagree with what they are protesting, sure — but to say they shouldn’t? That’s unAmerican.

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You can support the nazis’ rights without supporting nazis

A Facebook pal angrily defriended me this past weekend because I said it was possible to defend the rights of nazis while still being against them.

We have to protect speech we hate. Speech we all agree with doesn’t need protection. the 1st Amendment is meaningless if we decide speech limitations based on the content of that speech.alt evil

Now let me clarify: I am talking about speech, not action. Clearly, you do not have the right to speech that causes a “clear and present danger” for instance. (This is the old Supreme Court example about yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater and causing a stampede and a riot.)

This is why I have absolutely no problem with laws restricting guns at rallies. While it is true that some states allow open carry, you don’t have that right under the Constitution (which is why many states don’t allow open carry). You don’t have the right to take a gun anywhere you please any more than you have the right to speak wherever you please. I see no problem with a state saying that anyone who brings a weapon to a rally can be arrested. That’s not speech.

Yes, of course, their speech is hateful, but do you trust our government to make that distinction — to decide what speech is considered hateful and what isn’t? Especially this current administration? If they had their way, they’d make speech against Trump illegal.

Once the government decides “This speech is prohibited but this speech is not” they are opening a door that will be used against our speech next.

I am not taking the side of these nazis. Anyone who reads this blog should be well aware of that. I am taking the patriotic side of Freedom of Speech.

Mind you, this freedom doesn’t mean these nazis should not face counter-protests, should be listened to, should be given any respect whatsoever. I am completely in favor of these people being outed, losing their jobs, and being harassed for their hate. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from the consequences of that speech.

Can the President pardon himself?

No.

That was easy!

I mean, come on — you don’t have to be a Constitutional scholar to figure that one out. A President who has the power to pardon himself is a king, a dictator, a tyrant. A President could murder his enemies and then pardon himself afterwards if that were the case.trump evil

The Constitution mentions the pardon power in Article II, Section 2. The president “shall have the Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for offenses against the United States.”

“Offenses against the United States” means for federal criminals, not state ones. So if, say, the state of New York brings charges against Trump, it doesn’t appear that he would have the power to pardon himself of those charges.

But even so, it’s a long-standing tradition in both English and American law that a person cannot judge themselves. A judge who commits a crime in his or her jurisdiction must have another judge appointed to rule over that trial. Clearly, a pardon is a type of judging and therefore a person cannot pardon themselves.

Usually no one gets pardoned until after they have been convicted and have served some time — the President may pardon them so they can have a clean record.  However, Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon before Nixon had been convicted or even charged (even though those charges were clearly coming). This set a bad precedent, was highly criticized by many legal scholars, and surely played a part in Ford’s failure to win re-election. Since Nixon accepted the pardon, it also means that he agreed he was guilty, doesn’t it?

But there’s more to Section 2 as well — “except in Cases of Impeachment.” So a President cannot pardon anyone who has been Impeached (which would include himself). Impeachment, of course, is separate from criminal proceedings. Bill Clinton was impeached even though he had not committed any crime.

So can a President pardon himself? While the Constitution does not explicitly say, all precedent and logic state that he cannot.

Can I mention in passing how absolutely ridiculous this past year has been? If I had pitched this as a fantasy novel to follow Bloodsuckers, my agent would have said it was too outrageous and unbelievable. And now this lunatic President is talking about pardoning himself?

The Supreme Court, Hate Speech, and the Washington Redskins

The United States Supreme Court just ruled that the government cannot stop someone from getting a trademark on a name that the government considers “hate speech.”

This is an important win for freedom of speech. As I’ve said here many times, the 1st Amendment is meaningless if it only protects speech we all agree with. As the Court held:

[The idea that the government may restrict] speech expressing ideas that offend. . .strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.”

The case involved an Asian-American rock band called “The Slants.” They wanted to trademark their name, but the government said no, you can’t, because it’s hate speech.

This case basically puts an end to the lawsuits against the sports teams with insulting names, such as the Washington Redskins.

Should the Redskins change their name? Absolutely. Should they be forced to do so by the government, making the determination as to what speech is acceptable for us to use? Absolutely not.

Speech we all agree with doesn’t need a 1st Amendment.

The Slants

The Slants

 

Kathy Griffin, Hypocrites, and the First Amendment

Comedian Kathy Griffin recently posted a picture of herself holding a severed bloody Trump head.

In comparison to all the crap conservatives posted about Obama — including actual death threats — it was mild, but still provocative. screen_shot_2017-05-30_at_1.47.48_pm_-_h_2017

Of course, that was the point, wasn’t it? Provocative? Isn’t that what comedians sometimes are like?

Immediately, GOP members without any sense of irony screamed about how inappropriate it was. “But the children may see it!” they yelled. Griffin lost some jobs, was criticized all over the internet, and many said she should be arrested for this.

Because, you know, if there’s one thing conservatives love, it’s America. They just hate what it stands for — you know, like that damned First Amendment, which is meaningless if it only protects speech we all agree with.

Then — and here is where you roll your eyes — GOP members who complained that the photo would harm children are now running that photo in campaign ads on prime time TV.

Why, it’s almost as if they really don’t care about the children at all and are merely blatant hypocrites!

Thin-skinned babies want to punish flag burners

Freedom of Speech is meaningless if it only protects speech we all like.

Trump, soon to be known as “the Tweeting President,” has declared that people should be jailed for burning the American flagflagburning.jpg

People who claim to be patriots (but who don’t quite grasp the concept) are cheering him on, pointing out that burning the flag is an insult to America and the veterans who have fought for what the flag stands for.

Well, duh. Of course burning a flag is insulting. So is standing on a corner with a sign saying “God Hates Fags.” They know it’s insulting when they do it. That’s why they do it.

But America has thicker skin than Trump, who spends more time thinking about how much he can’t stand Saturday Night Live than he does going to necessary intelligence briefings.* America knows that we can take the insults, because we’re better than that.

And we know that if we start banning speech we don’t like, then it may be our speech they come after next. The Founding Fathers knew that when they wrote the 1st Amendment. The Supreme Court knows that, as they have ruled many times. You have to protect speech we hate. Speech we all agree with doesn’t need protecting.

So if you really believe in freedom, if you really are a patriot, then mean it. Stand for what the Constitution guarantees. Don’t make exceptions.

Don’t be a thin-skinned baby who can’t take an insult — you know, like the immature child that a minority of us chose to lead us.

*I am not making that up