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.
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
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?