Tag Archives: free speech

Banned Books Week 2022

I know I’m running late with this, but it’s Banned Books Week, the annual commemoration of free speech and free press.  As always, some people feel they have the authority to determine what the rest of us can see and read.  They start with the schools and libraries under the familiar guise of protecting the children, but the ultimate goal is to restrict literature and education.

All writers and bloggers should always stand up to any kind of censorship.  Remember, no one – absolutely no one – has the right to select what you can and cannot read!

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Best Quotes of the Week – July 16, 2022

“When you go to places like a crisis pregnancy center, they advocate for women to have the babies and put them up for adoption instead. So more Black babies, especially Black boys, will end up in foster. So more black children will likely be living their lives in the foster care system, which is setting them up for generational trauma and systemic challenges.”

Qiana Arnold, Dallas-based Afiya Center, on the disproportionate effect of Roe’s fall will have on poor communities

“In no uncertain terms, we are reinforcing that we expect providers to continue offering these services, and that federal law preempts state abortion bans when needed for emergency care.  Under the law, no matter where you live, women have the right to emergency care — including abortion care.”

Xavier Becerra, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, announcing an Executive Order to protect reproductive health care access

“Keep protesting. Keep making your point. It’s critically important.”

President Joe Biden, stating that he’s considering declaring abortion a public health care emergency

“Look, when public officials go into public life, we should expect two things. One, you should always be free from violence, harassment, and intimidation. And two, you’re never going to be free from criticism or peaceful protests, people exercising their First Amendment rights. That’s what happened in this case.”

Pete Buttigieg, Transportation Secretary, responding to FOX News’ Mike Emanuel about a Tweet Buttigieg’s husband had sent about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh

Chasten Buttigieg had commented about Kavanaugh’s abrupt departure from a restaurant recently to avoid protestors.

“[T]here seems to be a deficit in your understanding of reproductive health. In fact, I want the record to reflect that according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, treatment for ectopic pregnancy requires ending a non-viable pregnancy.”

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, to Erin Morrow Hawley, wife of Rep. Josh Hawley, over the issue of ectopic pregnancies

Erin Morrow Hawley is senior counsel for the right-wing Alliance Defending Freedom.  Pressley asked Hawley to provide a percentage of ectopic pregnancies that can be carried to term.  Hawley correctly responded with “zero”, but insisted that saving the life of the parent in instances where the ectopic pregnancy ruptures is not “abortion.”

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Political Cartoon of the Week – June 25, 2022

Khalil Bendib

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Political Cartoon of the Week – June 18, 2022

Patrick Chappatte

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Best Quotes of the Week – June 4, 2022

“This bullshit you get from this guy about mental health and evil.  The only evil that exists is when the leader of this state has a problem and is a problem of epic proportions.”

Texas State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, criticizing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for citing mental illness as a key factor in mass shootings, but thwarting funding for mental health care

“How many children have to die before you start to care?”

Jamiee Roeschke, in a statement to the National Rifle Association

Jaimee and her sister survived a shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California, in 2019, in which two students died after a gunman opened fire on the school’s quad.

“No online platform, website, or newspaper should be directed by government officials to carry certain speech. This has been a key tenet of our democracy for more than 200 years and the Supreme Court has upheld that.”

Matt Schruers, President of Computer & Communications Industry Association, after the U.S. Supreme Court issued an emergency ruling temporarily blocking the State of Texas House Bill 20 from being enforced

A lower court will resolve a preliminary First Amendment challenge to the statute, also known as Texas’ “social media law”.

“No online platform, website, or newspaper should be directed by government officials to carry certain speech. This has been a key tenet of our democracy for more than 200 years and the Supreme Court has upheld that.”

Matt Schruers, President of Computer & Communications Industry Association, after the U.S. Supreme Court issued an emergency ruling temporarily blocking Texas’ HB 20 from being enforced

A lower court will resolve a preliminary First Amendment challenge to the statute, also known as Texas’ “social media law”.

Schruers added, “We are encouraged that this attack on First Amendment rights has been halted until a court can fully evaluate the repercussions of Texas’s ill-conceived statute.  This ruling means that private American companies will have an opportunity to be heard in court before they are forced to disseminate vile, abusive or extremist content under this Texas law. We appreciate the Supreme Court ensuring First Amendment protections, including the right not to be compelled to speak, will be upheld during the legal challenge to Texas’s social media law.”

Schruers added, “We are encouraged that this attack on First Amendment rights has been halted until a court can fully evaluate the repercussions of Texas’s ill-conceived statute.  This ruling means that private American companies will have an opportunity to be heard in court before they are forced to disseminate vile, abusive or extremist content under this Texas law. We appreciate the Supreme Court ensuring First Amendment protections, including the right not to be compelled to speak, will be upheld during the legal challenge to Texas’s social media law.”

“This is not an academic conversation. This is a very real conversation where people’s lives could be destroyed by these criminal prosecutions.  In Texas, you’re an adult at 17. We are looking at the prospect of a 17-year-old girl who has an unplanned pregnancy and is seeking an abortion [being] subjected to first-degree felony charges — up to 99 years in jail — and that’s just absolutely unacceptable.”

Austin City Councilman José Vela, on how the city will attempt to shield its residents from prosecution under a Texas law that will criminalize abortion, if Roe vs. Wade is overturned

Vela is proposing a resolution that would direct the city’s police department to make criminal enforcement, arrest and investigation of abortions its lowest priority and restrict city funds and city staff from being used to investigate, catalogue or report suspected abortions.

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Best Quotes of the Week – April 30, 2022

“When billionaires talk about freedom, watch your wallets.  Behind Elon Musk’s blather about free markets, free speech, and free choice is his goal to be free from accountability.”

Robert Reich, regarding Elon Musk’s recent takeover of Twitter

Reich went on to say: “The “free market” increasingly reflects the demands of big money. Unfriendly takeovers, such as Musk threatens to mount at Twitter, weren’t part of the “free market” until the late 1970s and early 1980s. Before then, laws and regulations constrained them. Then came corporate raiders like Carl Icahn and Michael Milken. Their MO was to find corporations whose assets were worth more than their stock value, borrow against them, acquire enough shares to force them to cut costs (such as laying off workers, abandoning their communities, busting unions, and taking on crushing debt), and cash in. But the raiders’ antics often imposed huge social costs. They pushed America from stakeholder capitalism (where workers and communities had a say in what corporations did) to shareholder capitalism (where the sole corporate goal is to maximize shareholder value). Inequality skyrocketed, insecurity soared, vast swaths of America were abandoned, and millions of good jobs vanished.”

“In the end, if Jimmy and Susie are curious about any of the above, they can do what everyone else does – get a room at the Motel Six and grab the Gideons.”

Chaz Stevens, a Florida resident who has asked the state to remove the Christian Bible from schools and public libraries because its content is inappropriate for children

He took issue with the many Biblical references to rape, bestiality, cannibalism and infanticide and proceeded to question whether the Bible is age-appropriate, pointing to its “casual” references to murder, adultery, sexual immorality, and fornication.  “Do we really want to teach our youth about drunken orgies?”

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Tweet of the Week – January 29, 2022

Rep. Jim Banks

You know what, Banks, YES I HAVE!

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Imprisoned for Writing: Pham Doan Trang

Independent journalist and human rights defender Pham Doan Trang was sentenced to nine years by The People’s Court of Hanoi on December, 14 2021. She was arrested in Ho Chi Minh City on October 7, 2020, and charged under Article 88 of the 1999 Criminal Code which criminalizes “making, storing, distributing or disseminating information, documents and items against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.”

Trang is the author of several books that address women’s rights, LGBT issues, environmental concerns and land rights.  In 2019, Reporters Without Borders awarded her a Press Freedom Prize in recognition of her impact.  Her work on the Liberal Publishing House helped it receive the prestigious Prix Voltaire award in 2020 for its continued coverage in spite of risks and dangers of reprisals.

Trang was held in isolation from the time of her arrest until October 19, 2021, when she was finally allowed to meet with one of her lawyers after having been denied access to her family and legal representation for over a year.

Foreseeing her own arrest, she gave instructions ahead of time for fellow activists to take advantage of her imprisonment to negotiate for more freedom in Viet Nam, and to “advocate for the others first, then me.”

In The Vietnamese, a journalists’ magazine Trang founded, her “final statement” from her trial has appeared today reads, in part:

“In a democratic society, if a citizen writes something or responds to interview questions from foreign journalists regarding matters the government doesn’t want to hear, what would be the civilized response? The most civilized response would be for the government to do nothing because a civilized person knows how to respect the opinions and interests of others.

“In a less fortunate situation, if a government has authoritarian tendencies and finds what the citizen says unacceptable, then it could simply write books or articles to rebut that citizen, or even boldly reach out to the foreign press to arrange an interview in which a government representative expresses his/her viewpoint or responds to the citizen in-kind.

“But the Socialist Republic of Vietnam does none of this. Instead, it chooses to respond in a more vile, foolish, and heinous manner, imprisoning its citizens simply because they write works or respond to interviews with foreign journalists.”

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Political Cartoon of the Week – June 12, 2021

Ruben Bolling

Sen. Joe Manchin

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Best Announcement of the Week – June 5, 2021

Last month, Facebook’s Oversight Board upheld a two-year suspension of former President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following his praise for people engaged in violence at the Capitol on January 6.

“We are suspending his accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7 this year,” Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs for Facebook, said in a blog post.

The announcement read, in part:

“We are today announcing new enforcement protocols to be applied in exceptional cases such as this, and we are confirming the time-bound penalty consistent with those protocols which we are applying to Mr. Trump’s accounts. Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols. We are suspending his accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7 this year.”

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