Archive for ‘Speech’

04/19/2013

Remember, gentle reader, that if you’re going to lose, lose big. And then be a total dick about it.

by wfgodbold

I got the bulk of my gloating in by quoting Conan the Barbarian, but I couldn’t let Bloomberg’s and Giffords’s post-gun-control-failure statements just sit there.

Bloomberg, the micro-managing tyrant of NYC, said:

Today’s vote is a damning indictment of the stranglehold that special interests have on Washington. . . . More than 40 U.S. senators would rather turn their backs on the 90 percent of Americans who support comprehensive background checks than buck the increasingly extremist wing of the gun lobby. [emphasis added]

Gabrielle Giffords, who was tragically shot in the head by a lunatic and then granted supreme moral authority by the hard-core anti-gun crowd, said much the same thing:

I watch TV and read the papers like everyone else. We know what we’re going to hear: vague platitudes like “tough vote” and “complicated issue.” I was elected six times to represent southern Arizona, in the State Legislature and then in Congress. I know what a complicated issue is; I know what it feels like to take a tough vote. This was neither. These senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association, which in the last election cycle spent around $25 million on contributions, lobbying and outside spending. [emphasis added]*

President Obama, of course, was not one to leave the special-interest-bashing to others, as the New York Times noted:

Standing in the Rose Garden next to former Representative Gabrielle Giffords and other victims of gun violence, Mr. Obama flashed anger as he said that the gun rights lobby had “willfully lied” about the legislation, and that Republicans and Democrats had “caved to the pressure.”

Bloomberg, of course, founded and bankrolls Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a notorious anti-gun organization filled with criminal mayors. Giffords similarly started her own super-PAC to push for strict gun control.

I’m not saying that Bloomberg and Giffords aren’t free to spend their money (or in the case of Giffords, donor money) to lobby for policy changes they support. Free speech and the right to petition legislators and the government for the redress of grievances are at the heart of our political system.

That said, it’s disingenuous at best, and damnably hypocritical at worst, to bemoan the grip that other special interests have on Washington merely because they defeated your special interests.

Gun control isn’t about guns. It’s about control. Control of you, gentle reader. I’ll leave you with an excerpt from Rudyard Kipling’s The Gods of the Copybook Headings:

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

*For a complete list of the various fallacies Giffords employs in her blatant attempt at emotional blackmail, check out James Taranto’s response at the Wall Street Journal.

01/22/2013

If you don’t know what something means, look it up before shooting your mouth off

by wfgodbold

Yesterday, inspired by the inauguration and Roman History, I tweeted:

This morning, I awoke to a response to that tweet in DestroyTwitter that had sadly been deleted before I could get a screenshot on the actual Twitter page:

memento moriNow, I am fully aware that threatening the POTUS is a crime. It is a serious crime, and rightly so.

However, I did not threaten anyone; I suggested that the pomp of the inauguration might be best offset by having a non-politician, regular person follow the president around and remind him that he too, is mortal, and that this shall pass.

01/12/2013

Quote of the Indeterminate Time Interval – Wikipedia

by wfgodbold

Apropos of David Gregory’s violation of Washington, D.C.’s  strict liability standard capacity magazine ban, and the D.C. attorney general’s decision to forego prosecution:

Historically, selective enforcement is recognized as a sign of tyranny, and an abuse of power, because it violates rule of law, allowing men to apply justice only when they choose. Aside from this being inherently unjust, it almost inevitably must lead to favoritism and extortion, with those empowered to choose being able to help their friends, take bribes, and threaten those from they desire favors.

Of course, if you’re not David Gregory, and don’t have David Gregory’s connections, the D.C. attorney general is not nearly so understanding.

Tens–likely hundreds–of millions of such magazines are lawfully possessed in the United States by law-abiding gun owners. More than 1 million PMAGs are backordered from Magpul. Brownells sold through three-and-a-half years worth of magazines in three days.

Magazines like the one Gregory displayed on Meet the Press, and Magpul’s PMAG, are not complicated; they are made up of a box and a spring. Given the sheer number of standard capacity magazines in the United States, and the infrequency of mass shootings (they are not becoming more common, and your chances of being killed in a mass shooting are about the same as your chances of being struck by lightning), these magazines, as well as the AR-15 rifle (and all semi-automatic weapons) are in common use for lawful purposes.

If in common use is to mean anything at all, it must cover the AR-15–America’s most popular rifle–and standard capacity magazines.

 

12/18/2012

Those proposing bans on semiautomatic firearms* want to take us back to the ’80s

by wfgodbold

The 1880s.

Those of you who are good at math will note that that is closer to the 1791 ratification of the Second Amendment than to today (~90 years vs. ~130 years). Certainly far closer to the framing than TV, or the internet, but about on par with radio.

Proposing that somehow the arms protected by the Second Amendment are only those in existence at its framing and ratification is the first step down a dangerous road. If that logic applies to the Second Amendment, there’s no reason it couldn’t apply to any of the others.

Twitter? Facebook? The entire internet? TV? Movies? Video games?

Not protected under the First Amendment because at its framing and ratification you had to own a printing press and print pamphlets or stand on a soapbox and shout at passers-by to be heard.

Email? Cars? Your computer? Cloud storage?

All searchable without a warrant, probable cause, or even reasonableness, because the framers did not have any of that technology.

If you don’t like the Second Amendment, you’re welcome to try to repeal it, but consider: Would repealing the First Amendment mean that we no longer have the freedom of speech, or the press, or religion? Rights are not conferred by the government–they are, in the words of the Framers, unalienable.

Self-defense is a human right, and the best, effective means of self-defense is a firearm. A firearm puts the weak, the infirm, and the small on equal footing with their attacker.

To abrogate that right in the face of media-driven hysteria would be wrong, particularly when that hysteria is based on several false assumptions: (1) Mass shootings are not becoming more common, (2) An assault weapons ban would not have stopped the CT shooter, (3) Anything that would have prevented the CT shooting would have serious constitutional problems, and (4) America has already had a conversation about guns, and the gun control side lost.

I understand the drive to do something, but gun control proponents are focused more on doing anything, whether it would work or not, and whether it would be constitutional or not.

*Including, among others, the NY Post, which somehow fails to note (probably because of the pearl-clutching) that the AR-15 was invented in the late 1950s. The NYT notes that the AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America (and yet disingenuously posts a picture of a rifle that would be illegal under CT law, instead of one that was legal, like the shooter actually used). In Heller, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects arms in “common use.” (554 U.S. at 627) The most popular rifle in America surely falls under this “common use” umbrella.

10/14/2012

And now, from Popehat…

by wfgodbold

A year’s worth of blasphemy stories from various countries.

This ties in with what had me incensed the other day:

Saudi Arabia wants an international internet censorship body.

Now, I’m a reasonable man (generally). If I were to try to give this proposal the respect it deserves, I’d say something like, “They’re out of their damn minds if they think they can control the internet. If any Saudi-sponsored blue-helmeted goon wants me to quit blaspheming, then they can take my retorts about Mohammed’s predilection towards prepubescent girls from my cold, dead hands.”

Which statement, of course, I would normally be too polite to actually say.

Normally.

But I tend to get my hackles up when people go around suggesting we implement price controls in the marketplace of ideas.

09/26/2012

Tabula rasa*

by wfgodbold

First, XCOM: Enemy Unknown news:

It hits Oct. 9, which was probably old news to you if you cared.

The PC “demo” is up on Steam. It’s actually the tutorial, and is on rails for the first mission and part of the second.

You do get to experience enough of the game for it to give off that X-COM vibe, though, and I’ll definitely cash in gift certificates and various reward points to get it at launch.

Firaxis gave Game Trailers a new gameplay video, this time of a downed UFO mission. Unlike the other videos they’ve shown, this one is not in an urban environment.

Monolith Soft released the opening movie to Project X-Zone, their Super Robot Wars-esque mashup of SEGA, Capcom, and Namco characters. I would be all over this game if (1) I had a 3DS, and (2) Nintendo hadn’t made the 3DS region free. The licensing problems a game like this would cause pretty much nixes any chance of its release in the US.

Falcom is porting Trails in the Sky to PS3. I’m sure it will look great (since the original game was on the PC and supported high monitor resolutions), but I don’t know how many people in Japan are going to be willing to pay again for a game they’ve already bought once or twice before (PC, PSP, and now PS3). The Square-Enix business model focused on rereleasing your good old games to fund your crap new games will only get you so far.

Ufotable’s animation for Tales of Xillia 2 is just as good as everything else I’ve seen them animate. This preview video also has portions of Ayumi Hamasaki’s theme for the game.

Using his own logic, I could have the UN Secretary General shut up for “[humiliating] my values and beliefs” (i.e., free speech). The answer to bad speech is more speech. The idea that people or groups do not have any agency and are forced to dance to the whim of the speaker is reprehensible.

In the same vein, Posner** is a big fan of the heckler’s veto.

*No, not that SF MMO Lord British tried to make. It’s close enough to “tab clearing” for government work.

**No, not that Posner (though it is his son).

09/12/2012

The NYT: Accurate, but Misleading

by wfgodbold

The top story on the New York Times’s site this morning (though not in the print version) is on the murder of the US Ambassador to Libya by rioters. The lede on the NYT site states:

Christopher Stevens, the ambassador, was killed along with three others in an attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya. It was the first death of an American envoy abroad in more than two decades. [emphasis added]

On the second page, we finally learn this:

According to the State Department, five American ambassadors had been killed by terrorists before the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. The most recent was Adolph Dubs, killed after being kidnapped in Afghanistan in 1979. The others were John Gordon Mein, in Guatemala in 1968, Cleo A. Noel, Jr., in Sudan in 1973, Rodger P. Davies, in Cyprus in 1974 and Francis E. Meloy, Jr., in Lebanon in 1976. [emphasis added]

Wikipedia says that Dubs was killed on Feb. 14, 1979. That’s more than thirty-three years ago.

While thirty-three years is indeed more than two decades, it is incredibly misleading. A cynical man might notice that by saying “more than two decades,” the NYT implies that it was less than three decades (a range that would put the last ambassador killing in either Reagan’s or Bush I’s terms, instead of in Carter’s).

But I’m sure a respectable, prestigious paper like the Times wouldn’t shade or slant the truth for a mere partisan political advantage…

08/05/2012

In no particular order:

by wfgodbold

Growlanser IV is out for the PSP in the US (if you’ve a PS3, you can download it there and transfer it to the PS Vita without issue; if you’re PS3-less, you’ll have to wait until it’s up in the PS Vita PSN store). It’s pretty good so far; the sprites are nice, and the gameplay is classic Growlanser (JRPG-like with a heavy dose of strategy).

As far as the Chick-fil-a brouhaha goes, I didn’t eat there on Wednesday. Not because I disagree with their position (which I do (disagree, I mean)), and not out of support for the attempt to crack down on speech Boston/Chicago politicians disagree with, but because the local CFA had cops out directing traffic, a drive-thru line that looked to be at least 50 cars long, and an in-store line that stretched around the building at least once. Their chicken is good, and I support their rights to hold positions I don’t agree with and be free from government harassment because of that speech, but it’s not stand-in-line-for-more-than-an-hour good. Linoge disagreed, and went on – in his characteristic way – to say in ~400 words what a normal man would say in 50 (I would have posted on this on the 1st, but when I got home, Linoge had already said basically everything I was going to. Even if he did say it in 4x the space).

Want to eat sushi at the Olympics? Hope you don’t like soy sauce, cause mini packets are banned on account of not sponsoring the Olympics (beware; Sankaku Complex is about as unsafe for work as it gets). Between that and the lack of business the Olympics was supposed to bring in, I don’t know why anyone would voluntarily pay for the games. Other than as an opportunity to fleece the taxpayer and enrich politicians and their cronies, I mean.

The latest live-action Rurouni Kenshin trailer is out, and it’s got English subtitles. My only complaint is that they translate Kenshin’s reference to his reverse-bladed-sword as merely “sword;” in Japanese, it’s literally written 逆刃刀; the first character means “backwards,” the second “blade,” and the third “sword.” Instead of being sharpened along the front edge and dull along the back, Kenshin’s is dull along the front and sharp along the back (reverse-bladed). It’s kind of a big part of the character, and just calling it a sword doesn’t really cut it (heh).

In my less copious than normal free time (when not playing Growlanser (and sometimes while playing Growlanser), I’ve been rewatching The Good Guys on Netflix streaming. It takes me back to a more innocent time, when I hadn’t had a class on pre-trial criminal procedure, and was ignorant of how much of a free hand the courts have given police. I’ve mentioned it before; every episode is essentially an 80s/90s style buddy cop movie (in 45 min.).

I’m also working my way through Simon R. Green‘s books. Again. Sure, they’re pulp, but they’re entertaining. And isn’t that what really matters?

The law review has handed down the first cite check for this year; it’s due a week from Wednesday. Between that and the Legal Editing & Scholarship class I’m taking before fall classes start up, I’m being kept off the streets pretty efficiently.

07/16/2012

How’s this for a “text-only format” link to your site, London2012?

by wfgodbold

Via Popehat, I learned of the terms of use for this summer’s Olympic Games official website, and this ridiculous section*:

a. Links to the Site. You may create your own link to the Site, provided that your link is in a text-only format. You may not use any link to the Site as a method of creating an unauthorised association between an organisation, business, goods or services and London 2012, and agree that no such link shall portray us or any other official London 2012 organisations (or our or their activities, products or services) in a false, misleading, derogatory or otherwise objectionable manner. The use of our logo or any other Olympic or London 2012 Mark(s) as a link to the Site is not permitted. View our guidelines on Use of the Games’ Marks.

Ken rightfully mocks them, pointing out that he intended his link to their site to portray them in a “derogatory and objectionable manner.”

I was more interested in the first part of the section, that deigns to give me permission to link to the site, “provided my link is in a text-only format.”

So, here goes:

…………………./´¯/) 
………………..,/¯../ 
………………./…./ 
…………./´¯/’…’/´¯¯`·¸ 
………./’/…/…./……./¨¯\ 
……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’) 
………\……………..’…../ 
……….”…\………. _.·´ 
…………\…………..( 
…………..\………….\…

Ah, text. Is there anything it can’t do?

*See #5 on the site’s Terms of Use.

04/27/2012

Jim McGovern came up with a genius plan to eviscerate Citizens United…

by wfgodbold

By amending the Constitution such that (H/T Eugene Volokh):

Section 1. We the people who ordain and establish this Constitution intend the rights protected by this Constitution to be the rights of natural persons.

Section 2. People, person, or persons as used in this Constitution does not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state, and such corporate entities are subject to such regulations as the people, through their elected state and federal representatives, deem reasonable and are otherwise consistent with the powers of Congress and the States under this Constitution.

Section 3. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit the people’s rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, and such other rights of the people, which rights are inalienable.

Prof. Volokh focuses on the impact this will have on freedom of the press; since most media organizations are corporations, and Section 2 expressly excludes corporations from any constitutional protections of any kind (including freedom of the press), this will make it more difficult to raise capital.

That’s all well and good, but as I read Sections 1 and 2, it occurred to me that Jim “NRA F-rated” McGovern had inadvertently delivered the coup de grace to the “collective rights” argument for infringing on the Second Amendment (which, after Heller and McDonald, was already practically dead (you know, aside from certain reactionary holdouts)).

After all, if “people” refers to natural persons, how could it possibly mean the right to keep and bear arms in the service of a militia? Or as part of an army?

Sure, those aren’t corporations, but the Second Amendment refers to the right of the people to keep and bear arms. And if this new amendment explicitly states that the rights protected by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons (and an army or a militia is no more a natural person than a corporation is), I don’t see how you could consistently argue that in this one case, the right isn’t an individual right.

Well done, Jim McGovern.

In your misguided quest to infringe on free speech, you inadvertently euthanized the antiquated view that the right to keep and bear arms is not an individual right.

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