Off Their Front Porch: Protesters Have No Free-Speech Rights On Supreme Court Plaza
The Constitution doesn't apply in the area just outside the main court that interprets the Constitution. A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the elevated marble plaza surrounding the Supreme Court

This is truly wrong. The place where the laws are made, you have no protection of the law. The judges have more rights here than you do.

chinacatnoddemix asked:

(in relation to Caitlyn Jenner story) How would you personally counter someone's argument that a person has the right to spread/say/hold transphobic views since "it's a free country"?

“You’re right, the government isn’t allowed to persecute you for your bigoted beliefs.  Just like it (and you) can’t stop me from calling you out for your transphobia.”

Virginia Shooting, Victim Blaming & Societal Scapegoating

Anchor Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were shot and killed on live television this morning by ex-coworker, Vester Lee Flanagan II, more popularly known by his anchor name, Bryce Williams. Williams recorded the shooting himself on a go-pro and uploaded it online, though he was promptly suspended from Twitter and Facebook thereafter. To my knowledge, this is the most up-to-date screenshot of his account before it was no longer viewable.

Remember when the Charlie Hebdo shooting happened, and everyone was saying “they didn’t deserve to die but-”? Remember when Pamela Geller held a Mohammed drawing contest, and everyone was saying “the gunmen weren’t right but-”? People condemned Charlie Hebdo and Geller for daring to offend. For daring to be politically incorrect. For daring refusing to accept terms and conditions to their free speech. The fact of the matter is that nowhere in the world, especially the developed world, especially America of all places- should an opinion be a death sentence; no matter how backwards, controversial or unsavory. Let’s forget the growing emptiness of accusations of “racism,” as SJWs continue to trivialize and exploit the word seemingly without shame or boundaries, and assume that what Bryce Williams called racism actually was racism. His victims could have made jokes about fried chicken or Trayvon Martin and it still wouldn’t have been an excuse or justification for his actions.

Everyone likes to pretend that while they’re condemning the actions of the victims, they aren’t condoning or rationalizing the tragedy that took place. Then what exactly are you doing? When you say “RIP the victims, though they may have been racist,” how can you doubt that you are a part of the problem? 

When black people are killed by white people, no one wants to hear about anything the victim may have done that could have contributed to their untimely death. No one protesting or hashtagging #BlackLivesMatter thinks that a criminal record or uncooperative behavior or even pointing a gun at a cop means justifies their deaths. Obviously, law enforcement is to be held to a higher standard. But why the doublethink? 

Remember the Charleston shooting, and how people insisted that the Confederate flag was at least partially responsible for that catastrophe? Think what you will, but my guess is that Bryce Williams found much more solace in the hyper polarized racial rhetoric that has become so prevalent in our country than Dylan Roof ever found in a flag. 

My point is that people have choices. When they choose hate, they, and they alone should be held accountable. Instead of scapegoating society or intellectualizing and analyzing every heinous act committed to a point of willful delusion, we should be able to come together regardless of race, religion or political persuasion, and recognize evil for what it is.

U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning could face indefinite solitary confinement for having an expired tube of toothpaste, an issue of Vanity Fair in which transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner describes living openly as a woman, the U.S. Senate report on torture and other “prohibited property” in her military prison cell.

“Manning is being threatened with torture,” First Amendment attorney Carey Shenkman told Democracy Now! “There is an international consensus that indefinite solitary confinement is torture.”

Tune in to the discussion at

Watch on

Landmark case in Toronto underway - man faces 6 months in jail over criminal harassment charges for debating against feminists on Twitter regarding call-out culture

Christie Blatchford: Ruling in Twitter harassment trial could have enormous fallout for free speech


What’s believed to be the first case in Canada of alleged criminal harassment-via-Twitter is just a judge’s decision away from being over.

After hearing closing submissions Tuesday from Chris Murphy, who represents 54-year-old Greg Elliott, Ontario Court Judge Brent Knazan is expected to rule on Oct. 6.

In the balance rides enormous potential fallout for free speech online.

Elliott is charged with criminally harassing two Toronto female political activists, Steph Guthrie and Heather Reilly, in 2012.

Allegations involving a third woman were dropped.

The graphic artist and father of four lost his job shortly after his arrest, which was well-publicized online, and if convicted, could go to jail for six months.

These are astonishing repercussions given that it’s not alleged he ever threatened either woman (or any other, according to the testimony of the Toronto Police officer, Detective Jeff Bangild, who was in charge) or that he ever sexually harassed them.

Indeed, Elliott’s chief sin appears to have been that he dared to disagree with the two young feminists and political activists.

He and Guthrie, for instance, initially fell out over his refusal to endorse her plan to “sic the Internet” upon a young man in Northern Ontario who had invented a violent video game, where users could punch an image of a feminist video blogger named Anita Sarkeesian until the screen turned red.

Guthrie Tweeted at the time that she wanted the inventor’s “hatred on the Internet to impact his real-life experience” and Tweeted to prospective employers to warn them off the young man and even sent the local newspaper in his town a link to the story about the game.

Elliott disagreed with the tactic and Tweeted he thought the shaming “was every bit as vicious as the face-punch game”.

Until then, the two were collegial online, with Elliott offering to produce a free poster for Guthrie’s witopoli (Women in Toronto Politics) group.

As serious as the ramifications of a conviction could be for Elliott, so could they be dire for free speech online, Murphy suggested in his final arguments.

He said the idea that all it takes to end up charged with criminal harassment is vigorous participation in online debate with those who will not brook dissent “will have a chilling effect on people’s ability to communicate, and not just on Twitter”.

In fact, Murphy said that contrary to what Guthrie and Reilly testified to at trial, they weren’t afraid of his client — as suggested by both their spirited demeanour in the witness box and their deliberate online campaign to call Elliott out as a troll.

Rather, Murphy said, they hated Elliott and were determined to silence him — not just by “blocking” his Tweets to them, but by demanding he cease even referring to them even in making comment about heated political issues.

To all this, Guthrie pointed out once in cross-examination that feelings of fear, like all feelings, “develop over time”, and snapped that she was sorry she wasn’t “a perfect victim” who behaved like a conventional victim.

The criminal harassment charge is rooted in the alleged victim’s perception of the offending conduct.

The statute says if that conduct caused the alleged victims “reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety”, that’s good enough.

Yet Guthrie and Reilly didn’t behave as though they were remotely frightened or intimidated: They convened a meeting of friends to discuss how Elliott should be publicly shamed; they bombarded their followers with furious tweets and retweets about him (including a grotesque suggestion from someone pretending she was a 13-year-old that he was a pedophile); they could and did dish it out.

“They were not vulnerable,” Murphy said once. “They are very accomplished, politically savvy women. If they can’t handle being mentioned in the tail end of a political discussion (on Twitter), then they’re in the wrong business.”

And, he said, of the meeting both women attended in August of 2012, to discuss how Elliott would be called out, “That was a conspiracy to commit a criminal offence … they were conspiring to go out and publicly shame Mr. Elliott.”

Murphy said the case was akin to “a high school spat, except it’s adults on the Internet”, and said it is astonishing that the court should be acting as referee in an online political debate.“If anybody was being criminally harassed in this case,” Murphy told the judge, “it was my client, it was Mr. Elliott.”

That Reilly, who was anonymous on Twitter and who directed her own volley of hateful tweets at Elliott, should come “to this court and the police and say she’s being criminally harassed is an abuse of the system.”

Prosecutor Marnie Goldenberg made only the briefest remarks, and refused to provide Postmedia with a copy of her written arguments, saying it wasn’t her practice.

Holy shit these totalitarian mother fuckers

For more than a year Mohammad Ghannam was tortured and mistreated in jail in Syria. His crime? Working as a journalist.

Despite the brutality of his story, Mohammad Ghannam has a smile on his face when he remembers his time in detention in Syria. “It’s the only way I can tell those stories,” he explains.

The 36-year-old Palestinian has permanent wounds and scars from the times he was repeatedly beaten in jail.

“Now when I talk about it, I just feel nothing. But when I am alone I have these moments when my spirit goes down,” he says.

Though he has left behind his home country and the inhumanity of life in prison, the memory of his torturer haunts him.

Continue reading at Journalism is not a Crime.

Photo by Lynsey Addario.

“You violated my free speech” is what I always hear when people talk about their right to their opinion. “Free Speech” however (in the US) isn’t what you think it is.

The first amendment clearly says…

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

See the first-word “Congress”? That’s what that means. The Government cannot punish you based on the right. 

So, if you ever find yourself ready to say “you violated my right to free speech”… unless it’s the government doing that to you, good luck with your argument.

BTW, this is in response to a man by the name of Charles C. Johnson, who is now banned from Twitter (by Twitter) after threaten the life of Black activist Deray McKesson

50 Reasons Everyone Is Now An ‘Offensive’ Feminist

Last week, Sophie Thomas, an eighth-grader at a the Clermont Northeastern Middle School in Batavia, Ohio, realized that her school photo had been altered to take out the word “FEMINIST” on her T-shirt. According to a local news report, the principal Kendra Young, thought the shirt might be “offensive” and “cause controversy.” Sophie and her friends organized quickly and asked people to share their support using the hashtags #KeepFeminismInSchools and #IDeserveFreedomOfExpression.

All a girl has to do to be potentially controversial and offensive these days is exist, because we are all walking, talking poster children for feminism’s successes.

  1. You can now read and write.
  2. You might go to a fancy-schmancy school or to one with boys and men, at desegregated institutions.
  3. You can get a job, outside of the home.
  4. You can get a job, gasp, even if you are single.
  5. You can get a job, gasp, even if you are married.
  6. You can get a job, gasp, even if you are pregnant, although you may still not keep it.
  7. You can get a job for money, albeit still not equally, particularly if you are a woman of color.
  8. You might go into medicine, the law, bartending, the military or even space.
  9. You live in a world in which widespread child labor is now illegal, not everywhere, but in some places.
  10. You can work while you have an infant, although trying to feed that infant might get you fired.
  11. You can report discriminatory sexual harassment in the workplace if you experience it.
  12. You can rely on certain labor laws to protect you from exploitation, a term still too narrowly defined.
  13. You can open and use a bank account in your own name.
  14. You can own property in your own name.
  15. You can take out your own credit card, although chances are you still pay more to get one than the men you know.
  16. You are able to serve on a jury.
  17. If you have a husband, he is no longer legally allowed to rape you (in most countries.) In the United States the last law outlawing marital rape was passed in 1993 and some legislators apparently don’t realize that.
  18. It is possible for you to get birth control and not risk pregnancy, and relatedly very high possibility of death until recently, every time you have sex.
  19. You can, in some U.S. states and countries, get a safe and legal abortion when you need one.
  20. You have a better chance in some states of getting safe and affordable care after a miscarriage, although your pharmacist might still deny you the medicine you’ve been prescribed because of his or her beliefs about your moral authority and your ability to make ethical decisions about your own existence.
  21. You can plan your life according to your desires, needs and ambitions in ways women before you could not.
  22. You can ride a bike and probably drive a car.
  23. You can participate in sports and run in marathons, even in the Olympics.
  24. You can go to bars, but still might be blamed for doing so if you’re assaulted in one.
  25. You can legally parachute or skydive, except, no joke, unless it’s Sunday and you live in Florida and are single. Who knew.
  26. You can wear what you want, including pants, in most places, except part of Utah andSan Francisco. Leggings in school that might turn on a boy or man who “can’t control himself,” nah.
  27. You can write books, make movies, write code, play music, protest injustice and engage in the public sphere in unprecedented ways.
  28. There are public restrooms that you can use, although not always legally or easily everywhere. And, chances are, there will be a line if it’s a “Ladies Room.”
  29. You can be a woman priest, albeit an “officially” excommunicated one.
  30. In some states you can legally marry someone of the same sex.
  31. You can vote. Something that didn’t happen for all women at the same time, but variedby socio-economic class, race, and ethnicity.
  32. You are, in many but not all places, less likely to suffer from sexual double standards and cults of purity that fuel inequality.
  33. You can bring charges of rape against perpetrators, not as a way to seek property redress for your father or husband, but because your rights have been violated. Even, FINALLY, if you are a single woman in California. However, the fallacy of “he said/she said” continues to govern our lives when it comes to rape, and rapists can still sue for custody of children conceived in rape in more than half of states.
  34. If your spouse assaults you, you can call a shelter, something that still happens more than 65,000 times a day.
  35. You can use the words “sexual assault,” “sexual harassment,” and “domestic violence,” and people will understand what you are talking about.
  36. If you want and need a divorce you can get one.
  37. If you divorce and have children, you can get parental custody, something not true less than 150 years ago.
  38. You can learn, in some schools but not all, that the abolition of slavery and the legal liberation of women had the same roots and were led by feminist abolitionists of all races and genders.
  39. You probably believe your equal rights are protected by law, even though, as Chief Justice Antonin Scalia likes to point out, the Constitution does not say they are. The Equal Rights Amendment was never passed.
  40. You can go to college with a better awareness of what schools’ institutional tolerance for rape looks like, and know that they are being forced to confront the problem.
  41. You can run for political office, if you retain your confidence after the age of 9–the peak year for girls’ political ambition in America.
  42. You can hope for better societal acknowledgement of the value of your care labor and, hopefully, structural appreciation for the invaluable labor you provide so that others can do their work.
  43. You can enjoy personal, intimate relationships with greater stability and better, more mutually enjoyable sex.
  44. You can use the Internet because of stuff like algorithms and spanning tree protocol.
  45. If you are lucky, the world might be coming to terms with environmental degradation and its global human costs.
  46. You can drive in cars that now take into account the fact that you don’t have the “average male body” so that seat belts now will save you instead of kill you.
  47. You can read headlines such as “Females Ignored in Basic Medical Research.”
  48. You can provide for your children and define your family without compromising your emotional well-being or physical security.
  49. You can assume that, at least legally if not entirely culturally, in some parts of the world you are considered fully human.
  50. You can wear a T-shirt that says “FEMINIST” on it and people all over the world will defend your right to say not only what you think, but that what you think is that women should have equal rights to define culture.

As a bonus, I’ll add you can Google Ye Olde Conservative and find that he has used the expression “ privileged cisgendered heterosexual males” without putting it in quotation marks.

Everything on this list was considered, and still is in many places, an offense.  Our entire lives are shaped and have been improved by feminist goals that someone, somewhere, including schools, considered dangerous and “indecent.” This includes the lives of boys and men whose existences are fuller, richer and less circumscribed by toxic, hegemonic masculinity.

“Feminism,” as Dale Spender famously said, “has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions…for safety on the streets…for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law.”

But, these are early days. The facts are, a) these are vitally important, but first steps, in the long-term; b) for most women in the world this list is not remotely a reality and c) many of the ways in which these successes have manifested themselves have exacerbated gender inequality, either on the basis of race, sexuality or, globally, as the result of colonialism and its corporate legacies. 

What’s really troubling people is that we’re just getting started.