Our Unethical Justice Department’s Attack on Reason

Reason

While we’re on the topic of progressive/Democratic fascism, did you hear the one about the Justice Department?

I continue to wonder when cognitive dissonance will kick in and genuine humanist liberals who have been willing to support this President and his arrogant, bumbling administration through one botch and fiasco after another finally realize that trampling on basic rights in defiance of the Constitution isn’t OK, even when done in the name of an African-American President. Time is running out, and so far, except from some notable exceptions, all I see is shrugs and smiles. “Well, they are terrorists.” “Well, they are racist cops.” “Well, it’s teabaggers.” “Well, it’s just a Faux News reporter” “Well, it’s for a good cause.” “Well, the ends justify the means.”

Will this latest example of the fascist inclinations of the hard left be a tipping point? I doubt it. The expected shrug will be “Well, they’re just asshole blog commenters.”

Let me just say this to my many progressive friends: You’re disgracing yourself, and betraying all the good values you think you stand for.

Obama’s Department of Justice has issued grand jury subpoena to force Reason.com to release the identity of commenters who made what the Justice Department claims are threats on the life of a Federal judge. Reason is a libertarian, and as far as I can tell, non-partisan, publication as well as an excellent one, but as you might expect from any source that cares about individual rights, it is very critical of the Obama administration. Not that this had anything to do with it being targeted by the Justice Department—why are you so cynical?

The topic in which these comments occurred is of no interest to me here; you can read about it in the links. The main point to ponder is that this is a frightening abuse of power, government bullying, blatant incompetence and an effort to chill free speech, especially since the Supreme Court last week ruled that a “true threat,” and thus outside the protection of the First Amendment, couldn’t possibly be like the comments in question.  Which of these comments, criticizing a federal judge’s decision against a drug dealer (a lot of Reason’s commenters love their illegal drugs) would you say is a “true threat”?

AgammamonI5.31.15 @ lO:47AMltt
Its judges like these that should be taken out back and shot.

AlanI5.31.15 @ 12:09PMltt
It’s judges like these that will be taken out back and shot.
FTFY.

croakerI6.1.15 @ 11:06AMltt
Why waste ammunition? Wood chippers get the message across clearly. Especially if you
feed them in feet first.

Cloudbusterl6.l.15 @ 2:40PMIIt
Why do it out back? Shoot them out front, on the steps of the courthouse.

Rhywunl5.3l.15 @ 11:35AMIIt
I hope there is a special place in hell reserved for that horrible woman.

AlanI5.31.15 @ 12:11PMIIt
There is.

Product PlacementI5.31.15 @ 1:22PMIIt
I’d prefer a hellish place on Earth be reserved for her as well.

croakerl6.l.15 @ 11:09AMIIt
Fuck that. I don’t want to oay for that cunt’s food, housing, and medical. Send her through
the wood chipper.

The answer, of course, is none, or perhaps, “None, you idiot.” Does the subpoena mean that the lawyers in the Justice Department aren’t up to speed on the law? Does it mean that they are so stupid that they think these are threatening anyone? Does it mean that the lawyers never visit  the internet and are unfamiliar with the tone of discourse that can be found on any badly moderated blog—or even this one, when I was giving a free speech absolutist performance artist license to perform lat year—any day, any hour? Does it mean that nobody in the hallowed halls of Justice is culturally literate and has seen “Fargo”?

Is the Pope Catholic? Does the TSA miss 95% of the weapons it screens for?

This is embarrassing, but the last seven years have been embarrassing. This particular example of incompetence, however, is also frightening, because it shows how cavalierly this President, this government, this ideology and this political party —sorry, the Obama Justice Department cannot, as ethical Justice Departments should be able to do, claim that it is “non-partisan”—is willing to use government power to crush dissent and political speech. That stuff on Reason was hate speech, don’t you know.

The second I learned about the attack on Reason (and the attack on reason), a day late (sorry), I immediately went to Popehat to read what Ken White had written. I didn’t know he had written anything, except that I did: this is his specialty, passion and wheelhouse. I was not disappointed: he has delivered a masterful evisceration of the Justice Department’s actions.

You need to read his entire post, here. I will leave you with his grand finale, which states my views exactly:

Why Does This Matter To You?

If, like most of us, you’re a lawyer with lawyer-friends and “a swarm of asshole lawbloggers”…willing to stand at your back to defend your right to use silly hyperbole in criticizing government officials, it probably doesn’t matter at all.

Or maybe you’re nice people. You use the internet to check email, which allows you to serve customers in a better fashion. You never comment on matters of public concern. Your email signature reads:

HAVE A BLESSED DAY!

But some of you aren’t. You may have opinions, even strong opinions, but you’re lower forms of life, maggots, pukes, nothing but grabasstic pieces of amphibian shit. You aren’t lawyers, ready and prepared to defend yourself from the Very Special Hell that is a federal investigation of statements like:

“I hope there is a special place in hell reserved for that horrible woman.”

Dumb creatures that you are, you might even write something in the heat of the moment, while commenting on a charged political issue on Facebook, or Twitter, or Reason, without phrasing it properly:

“Metaphorically speaking, I hope there is a special place in hell reserved for that horrible public official on whom I am entitled to comment, purely as hyperbole, on a matter of public concern under my First Amendment rights to free speech and to petition the Government for redress of grievances. Cf: The Screwtape Letters, an allegorical series of essays in which C. S. Lewis used Hell as a literary device for comment upon matters of spiritual and political concern.”

See how far that gets YOU, dumb brute, when you’re summoned by a wet-behind-the-ears mutton-headed Assistant United States Attorney to answer to the Grand Jury for the Southern District of New York after your Facebook comment to the effect that Eli Manning should defenestrated through a plate glass window because the Giants are a piece of shit team that will never win another Super Bowl as long as that piece of shit Eli Manning, who should be defenestrated through a plate glass window, is quarterback….

Or how much it will cost you to hire a lawyer to defend yourself against an obviously meritless investigation, for speaking your mind in a manner that no one, except a wet-behind-the-ears mutton-headed Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who should be defenestrated through a plate glass window for wasting taxpayer dollars on a frivolous investigation of mere internet braggadocio and hyperbole, would read as anything other than mere internet braggadocio and hyperbole. about the wrong people. People like Eli Manning, or a federal judge who issued an incredibly harsh sentence in a very political case?

Or, even if there’s no grand jury subpoena to you, what will it cost you when two FBI agents in black sunglasses, with all the warmth and good humor of an unmarked grave, show up at your place of work and tell the receptionist they need to talk to you, in a private room, “just to clear some things up”?

I understand that Reason, on advice of counsel, may not be able to comment on these questions. I invite other journalists left and right to do so, because it can, and will, happen to you. All it takes is one presidential election.

When will progressives of honesty, civic responsibility and courage find the integrity to admit that the one presidential election was the last one?

[ Here are some other links: , Balloon Juice, The Last Refuge, Techdirt, Hot Air, Power Line, The Daily Caller, Washington Post ]

 

28 thoughts on “Our Unethical Justice Department’s Attack on Reason

  1. I love the way White writes. “defenestrated” a lovely word to describe someone being thrown out a window. The question is: When the NSA reads it, will they even understand what it means?

  2. If cognitive dissonance was going to kick in, it would have by now. That said, the categories you listed above are chillingly like the “first they came for” list. The Democratic Party has successfully bet its future on relying on certain “protected classes” and fearmongering that if anyone else is in power, that protection will disappear. Between people of color who fear they’ll be sent back to the ghetto, women who fear they will be forced into back-alley abortions, gays who fear they’ll be thrown off bridges, those here under shady and sometimes out and out illegal circumstances who fear they’ll be sent back, and all those who fear that they’ll be tarred with the broad brush of hate if they say otherwise, it’s a pretty durable base. Those who don’t belong to that base: white men, people of faith, police, firearms owners, are just out of luck. Their 400 years of oppressing is over and now they are going to learn what it feels like: we’re going to shut them out of public office, bar them from professional advancement, in some cases shut them out of their chosen professions entirely for either a fixed or indeterminate period of time, and, once we can, maybe even mutilate or out and out eliminate them. The world will be more peaceful and equal without them.

    • Do we really want to make women and people of color enemies of freedom? Do we really want hate to be the only way to be free? It woukld be tragic if hate was the only way to defend our freedom.

      • “We” don’t make them enemies, they make themselves enemies if they discard it and decide their own aggrandizement is more important than the Bill of Rights. Don’t go trying to tag me with the brush of being a hater for speaking the truth as I see it.

        • It would be tragic if the only way to defend the freedom of American people is to exterminate people of color.

          We nearly had this crisis seventy years ago. We were very close such that the only way to stop the Holocaust was to turn all of Germany into molten slag. indeed, it would have been worth it to turn Germany into molten slag to stop the Holocaust. Fortunately for all, we never had to go that far.

          Do we want it to go this far?

          • No one’s talking about exterminating anyone. Fight back, yes. Defend our own, yes. Stop being afraid to call a woman or a person of color out on hiding behind their color or their gender, on bullying, or just plain being a jackass.

          • What the heck are you talking about?

            First, we never had the capability during WWII to ‘turn all of Germany into molten slag’. The war in Europe was over before we had the A-bomb, and 2 (or possibly 3) bombs would hardly have sufficed to turn all Germany into molten slag.

            Second, we didn’t stop the Holocaust, just in case you weren’t aware.

            Third, a second genocide hardly seems to me like an ethical response to prevent or avenge the original genocide.

  3. Here the Justice Department is unable or unwilling to distinguish between a true threat and hate speech. If the USA had hate speech laws then any show of mild dislike would be taken as hate speech resulting in similar injustices as is the case in Britain.

    • I’m confident that one could find similar sentiments and worse on left-wing websites about the 5th Circuit judges interfering with Obama’s executive order. Is the DOJ going after those people? That’s a rhetorical question of course.

  4. I wouldn’t hold your breath, assuming that that’s not a rhetorical question. Progressivism is, by and large, a sort of cult, or maybe a better analogy is a gang. Disaffected youths are attracted to gangs because it gives them a sense of belonging and identity, and becomes a desperately needed parental surrogate. Same thing going on with the left. To scrutinize any of the group’s hierarchy is to attack their very individual identity. You can see that in the irrational venomous anger you’re met with when you criticize members of their political arm. Their reactions range from acting like scoffing adolecents to acting like cornered animals. There are ideologues on both sides, but it would be dishonest to say that it’s a phenomenon that occurs with both sides equally.

      • Well, because they are. Lots of ways to prove it, but I think voting for Obama twice, and defending Hillary Clinton are two undeniable symptoms (See Jack’s original post).

        • I have a sister with liberalism. It’s a terrible affliction, but there is a way out. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

  5. I’m a liberal, maybe a progressive, but I agree with you. But I just don’t understand citizens who feel the need to be public with such loathsome speech and attitudes. I hope that writing this stuff down is the catharsis that they apparently need. Civility. A seemingly lost piece of the human psyche.

    • You would not believe—or perhaps you would—the crap I have to get rid of every day here, and how much time it takes. But any blog will become a cesspool if you don’t clean up the comments. I agree with you completely.

    • Was there ever a time when “common people” didn’t make cathartic comments like this about their overbearing rulers, when talking among themselves?

      The internet makes those conversations available to everyone, but I don’t think it’s anything new that the conversations are happening. It’s also not anything new that the overbearing rulers can send guys in black suits to your door for having those conversations…but it’s not very American.

  6. Did I mention the time a threesome of Dick Blumenthal’s Waffen SS showed up at my door the night before he was due to do a walk-through of our school? I’d made a disparaging remark about him, none of which was misinterpreted as conveying a threat, but the fact that it revealed that I wasn’t a fan was enough to warrant a visit.

  7. Who are these genuine humanist liberals and progressives of honesty, civic responsibility and courage of whom you speak? Aren’t they to be grouped with virgins, unicorns and other mythical creatures?

  8. So the other side of the story is what happens to the commenters. There is a process used on these people. Once their identity is known, they can be referred to political allies. Private reputation management companies and political groups monitor these folks. If they continue to say things that the political parties or powerful individuals don’t like, then they can be put into a program. Essentially, it’s a domestic psychological warfare campaign. They warn these folks, and if they don’t shut up, then they start following them around. The do weird street theater and let them know that their being watched. If they still don’t shut up then they use electronic harassment equipment on them, and they’ll do a character assassination to smear them. They’ll start a noise campaign inside their house to keep them sleep deprived, and pay people to harass them at work. There is an entire group of people who are subject to this treatment. They call themselves “targeted individuals,” and their claims are based in fact. This treatment is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment and it has a chilling effect on the First Amendment. It’s up to people who are willing to fight for freedom to research this stuff and corroborate the evidence. It’s true, and there are many crimes attached to the process.

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