Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Tag: free speech

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Westboro Baptist

This has been a week for decisions with which I am completely torn.  First, Obama’s dangerous DOMA decision and now, the Supreme Court upholds that Westboro’s hate speech is protected speech.

Let me start by saying that I love our military and I love this country.  In fact, my greatest regret is – as a lesbian – I was not allowed to serve my country.  I wanted to join the Air Force after high school, but I just couldn’t sign the form after I saw the “I’m not a homosexual” part.  Our military men and women should always be honored and when they make the ultimate sacrifice, they should be allowed to be buried with the utmost dignity.

The members of the Westboro cult (I just can’t call them a church on this day, it is an insult to the wonderful churches everywhere)  are sorry excuses for Americans.  To protest at any funeral is atrocious and despicable, but to protest at the funeral of a soldier is the lowest of low.  There is a part of me that wishes the Supreme Court didn’t stand for Free Speech, but that is my own hate-filled opinion.

We have to always join together to protect our freedoms, even when someone or some group are abusing the privilege.  If we don’t, then we run the risk of all of us losing our rights.  If the Supreme Court rules against Westboro then who might be next?  Could something I write on my blog be considered “hate” and someone could shut me down?

Now, here’s my evil thought of the day…

When Fred Phelps – that beacon of evil, hate and unChristian behavior – finally goes to the bottom pit of Hell where he belongs, let’s all go to Kansas and protest at his funeral.  Let’s give them a taste of their own medicine.  Going one bad step farther, we should show up at their weddings or any other cult events they hold and shout loudly and boldly that God and His son loves each and every one of us.  And, that evil begets evil and that we all pray for the day when our Lord and Savior comes down and judges each and every one of us, so that those of us who are true Christians can spend all of eternity in Heaven and those of us who hold hate in our hearts (and, I find myself in this latter group) will burn in the fires of Hell.

If I get to sit next to Phelps and his tiny minded, evil minions – it just might be worth it.

In the words of Tiny Tim, God bless us every one.

Net Neutrality Challenged

According to a story on Politico, Verizon is going to court to challenge the FCC’s ruling on Net Neutrality.  They want “to stop the agency from requiring Internet companies to treat all Web traffic equally.”

Of course these companies want to limit who can limit who accesses their networks – they will make more money if they charge website owners for the ability to receive traffic from their websites.  It is an added revenue stream.  I understand the drive for profit.  However; it is something the government should prevent.

Stopping the traffic and controlling the traffic flow on the Internet Superhighway is counter-productive and bad for America.  Think of it this way…Let’s say you decide to drive from Kenosha down to Mundelein, IL.  You get on the toll road and you pay your toll for the privileged of using the road.  This is like you paying for your Internet access.  Now, you have to stop for gas and you see a Shell station, except you’re driving on a road controlled by Verizon and Shell hasn’t paid Verizon any extra money, therefore; Verizon isn’t going to allow you off the highway to enter the Shell station.  It doesn’t matter that Shell pays for their location (their website hosting package); it doesn’t matter that Shell pays Comcast for their own Internet access.  You are a Verizon customer and they will not let you stop at Shell, because they want Shell to pay them.

These extra charges that Verizon is suing in order to propose – and, yes, I realize that their claim is that the FCC doesn’t have the authority to “regulate broadband networks”, however; once the regulation to treat all traffic equally is lifted, watch the charging begin – will harm small businesses, as well as blogs – and, yes, even mine.

Amazingly, the Verizon lawyer said the following in a statment: “We believe this assertion of authority goes well beyond any authority provided by Congress, and creates uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers.”  I laugh at the idea that the FCC regulation creates uncertainty.  Not knowing about how a ruling on this will affect non-Internet providers will cause more uncertainty.

The problem is that they could actually win they’re court case.  Right now, our courts are placing companies on the same level as people.  It is not a far stretch to believe that they will overturn the FCC’s regulation.

Congress needs to step up to the plate and swing for a home run.  Keeping the playing field equal on the Internet is essential to our freedoms.  If you don’t believe me, take a good look at China – where people can’t access Google.  The difference is that it won’t be our government that controls us – it will be the companies.

Freedom of Speech

When I go up to Green Bay to visit my beautiful grandsons there are some words I have to leave behind. Naturally, all words that are classified curse words are gone. Little ears have big mouths that repeat everything adults say. They, also, pay a lot more attention to me when I speak. I slipped a few months ago and said, “Son of a bitch” in front of Alex. Without missing a beat, he said, “Don’t you mean son of a biscuit, Nana?” (I say son of a biscuit quite a bit, I guess.)

There are other words I need to leave behind: Hate – hate is a naughty word according to Danny. You’re not allowed to say hate about anything, even that dumb AT&T commercial. Oops, there goes another one – no, not AT&T – dumb. Dumb is a naughty word so says Alex.  Nothing and no one is dumb. Not even those people who are (You know who you are). I must say these impositions on my free speech have made me more aware of what I say and how I say it. Instead of saying I hate that book, I need to say that I dislike it. It softens the tone. Instead of insulting someone with an insult by calling them dumb, I need to say something creative, like “You’re not the sharpest tool in the shed, are you?”

There are some who would say that I have the right to say what I want, when I want to say it and damn all of the consequences. But, I think that all changed just over two weeks ago in Tucson, at least for those of us who think for ourselves. Even though the shooter didn’t see any of the targets or crosshairs produced by both sides of the aisle (supposedly he didn’t, according to friends who had stopped seeing him months ago), the shooting brought attention and set our violent political discourse front and center. A quote from President Obama on the “Chicago Way” about bringing a gun to a knife fight (quoted from the movie The Untouchables) when taken out of context is sinister sounding. Cross hairs over Congresswoman Giffords’ AZ location seems erie and ill-advised.

Some people have taken to swinging the Constitution and the First Amendment around like somehow it is a blanket of protection.  “But, I have a right to say that.”  “Don’t criticize them, they have a right to say that.”   And, my favorite, “I would defend your right to speak.”  (No, no you wouldn’t.)

Moving to a nicer tone in our politics, coming together to meet in the middle is not a sign of weakness.  It isn’t some bad political correctness gone bad.  Neither side is completely wrong and neither side holds the ball when it comes to being right.

We are literally so caught up with listening to the pundits and the talking heads that we have forgotten what makes our country great – compromise, tolerance, acceptance of those who are different.  And, I’m guilty myself.  I hate dislike Sarah Palin’s politics and the way she turns everything around so that she is a great victim in all of everything, but I will do my best to not say anything that would be un-politically correct about her.

I’m not giving up my freedom of speech, I’m being more responsible with it.

When I was younger and my father was smarter, he once said something to me:  “Kid, swearing just shows your ignorance.  If you can’t root around your head for a better word, then you’re not smart enough to have the conversation.”

Come join me in a conversation.

Congresswomen Giffords, Sarah Palin and Free Speech

Before I begin my little rant, I’d like a moment of silence for the six people who died on Saturday due to a “mentally unstable” (in the word’s of Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik) man1.  This is truly an unspeakable tragedy and horror.  My thoughts and prayers go out to Congresswoman’s Gifford’s and the other victims’ families.

And, now for my political ranting:

In my email, I found a breaking news message from Politico that stated the following:

An aide to Sarah Palin said images of crosshairs were never meant to evoke violence, in the Palin camp’s first extended comment on yesterday’s attack. “We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights,” Rebecca Mansour told the talk radio host Tammy Bruce in an interview transcribed by the Alaska Dispatch.

Gun sights? What’s that all about?

I started looking up Sarah Palin and Congresswoman Gifford and I found a blog denouncing liberal bloggers2, abeit in a nice way,  for blaming Palin’s Political PAC for “targeting” 20 Representatives.  Interesting – someone who is defending a picture of cross hairs – with one directly above Giffords’ district.  As you can see from the above quote, Palin’s team had no intention of the cross hairs to be considered gun sights.  Well, they look like gun sights to me.  What else can they be considers?  Thumbs up signs?  Palin’s team has taken down the picture, but I found it here.

I’m glad Palin’s team is trying to back down from this, but quite truthfully, Palin’s retorhic has always included a violent message.  Anyone remember her tweet, “Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” Pls see my Facebook page.”

The truth is that she isn’t alone.  A lot of people yell, scream, write things that if someone actually followed through – like what happened on Saturday – would bring them to their knees with guilt.

I realize that everyone has freedom of speech.  I support freedom of speech, but I think saying things like RELOAD is really just asking for some nut to take you literally.  Sure, I’ll buy she didn’t mean it, but I believe that it is time for people in Sarah Palin’s position to start thinking about what they say.  There are a lot of people who take words very literally and out of context and then end up shooting innocent people.

Net Neutrality and the Right Wing

I just received a message from Media Matters regarding the Right Wing and Net Neutrality.  Apparently, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh suffer from Obama Derangement Syndrome.  They both have a serious case of it, because they are convinced that Net Neutrality is a BAD thing and that is simply not true.

The big communications companies don’t want Net Neutrality.  They want to charge me more in order to have their customers come visit my blog and they want to charge consumers more for reading my blog.  And, my blog is just a sample.  Beck and Limbaugh will be heard because they have big contracts and a lot of money backing them.  People like me will not be heard, because I can’t afford to pay Comcast, AT&T and Verizon more money to obtain readers.  I’m not that dedicated as a blogger to charge for content and I happen to believe that free speech means it should be FREE.

This is one of those few issues where the Christian Coalition and the ACLU actually AGREE.  They both know that if someone decides to put up roadblocks to sites, democracy will be in trouble.

Maybe, you don’t agree with one blog I’ve ever posted.  Maybe, you hate my guts, as I know at least two people out there do.  Maybe, you think I should die a horrible and terrifying death — and, maybe, you’re right.  Maybe, I’m the awful person YOU think I am, but the First Amendment guarantees me the right to free speech.  I pay for the hosting of this website.  I pay for my Internet access.  I shouldn’t have to pay YOUR Internet provider to have my blog come up in search engines or have people visit.

YOU shouldn’t have to pay to have YOUR blog read, either.

That is what Net Neutrality defends against.

Don’t listen to Glenn and Rush on this issue — Contact the FCC and let them know YOU support Net Neutrality.  Read up on it on your own. 

You can start here:  http://free.convio.net/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&id=437

God Bless America!

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