Arizona Passes Internet Censorship Bill

America…the land of the free…home of the brave…

It isn’t so free and home of the brave anymore, is it?

Steve Watson
April 2, 2012

The state legislature of Arizona has passed a bill  that vastly broadens telephone harassment laws and applies them to the Internet  and other means of electronic communication.

The law, which is being pushed under the guise of  an anti-bullying campaign, would mean that anything communicated or published  online that was deemed to be “offensive” by the state, including editorials,  illustrations, and even satire could be criminally punished.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund breaks down Arizona  House Bill 2549:

“The bill is sweepingly broad, and would make it a  crime to communicate via electronic means speech that is intended to ‘annoy,’  ‘offend,’ ‘harass’ or ‘terrify,’ as well as certain sexual speech. Because the  bill is not limited to one-to-one communications, H.B. 2549 would apply to the  Internet as a whole, thus criminalizing all manner of writing, cartoons, and  other protected material the state finds offensive or annoying.”

First Amendment activist group Media Coalition has  written to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer,  urging her not to sign the legislation into law.

The letter notes that the terms used in the bill  are not defined in the statute or by reference, and thereby the law could be  broadly applied to almost any statement.

“H.B. 2549 would make it a crime to use any  electronic or digital device to communicate using obscene, lewd or profane  language or to suggest a lewd or lascivious act if done with intent to ‘annoy,’  ‘offend,’ ‘harass’ or ‘terrify,’” the letter notes. … ‘Lewd’ and ‘profane’ are  not defined in the statute or by reference. ‘Lewd’ is generally understood to  mean lusty or sexual in nature and ‘profane’ is generally defined as  disrespectful or irreverent about religion or religious practices.”

“H.B. 2549 is not limited to a one to one  conversation between two specific people. The communication does not need to be  repetitive or even unwanted. There is no requirement that the recipient or  subject of the speech actually feel offended, annoyed or scared. Nor does the  legislation make clear that the communication must be intended to offend or  annoy the reader, the subject or even any specific person.” the letter  continues.

In this respect the law could even technically be  applied to someone posting a status update on Facebook.

“Speech protected by the First Amendment is often  intended to offend, annoy or scare but could be prosecuted under this law.”The  Media Coalition letter continues.

“A Danish newspaper posted pictures of Muhammad  that were intended to be offensive to make a point about religious tolerance. If  a Muslim in Arizona considers the images profane and is offended, the paper  could be prosecuted. Some Arizona residents may consider Rush Limbaugh’s recent  comments about a Georgetown law student lewd. He could be prosecuted if he  intended his comments to be offensive. Similarly, much general content available  in the media uses racy or profane language and is intended to offend, annoy or  even terrify.”

“Bill Maher’s stand up routines and Jon Stewart’s  nightly comedy program, Ann Coulter’s books criticizing liberals and Christopher  Hitchens’ expressions of his disdain for religion, Stephen King’s novels or the  Halloween films all could be subject to this legislation. Even common taunting  about sports between rival fans done online is frequently meant to offend or  annoy, and is often done using salty and profane language.”

This type of legislation is far from unprecedented. Last year, former president Bill Clinton proposed a law to censor internet speech. “It would be a legitimate thing to do,” Clinton said in an interview that aired on CNBC. Clinton suggested the government should set-up an agency that monitors all media speech for supposed factual errors.

“That is, it would be like, I don’t know, National Public Radio or BBC or something like that, except it would have to be really independent and they would not express opinions, and their mandate would be narrowly confined to identifying relevant factual errors” he said. “And also, they would also have to have citations so that they could be checked in case they made a mistake. Somebody needs to be doing it, and maybe it’s a worthy expenditure of taxpayer money.”

Cass Sunstein, head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, has also proposed banning speech on the internet that  the government disagrees with. Sunstein proposed the creation of an internet “Fairness Doctrine” similar to the one that was used for years to limit and eliminate free speech on the radio.

This legislation represents yet another move to  police and control freedom of expression via the internet. Once again it grants  the state and the government the direct right to determine what is and is not  “offensive” on a whim. It then allows for the prosecution of individuals and  organisations based on such summations – an extremely dangerous precedent to  set.


Today’s Definition of Idiocy Goes To…Dennis Miller – “Sharron Angle is a ‘nice dame'”

Dennis Miller Shirt 006
Image by Liquid29 via Flickr

I am introducing a new…I don’t know what you would call it…but it’s here – Today’s Definition of Idiocy Goes To….  And today just happens to be Dennis Miller.  I am hoping beyond hope that Ann Coulter says or does something stupid to win her spot on here, and the way things are looking for her battles with voter fraud investigation, she may wind up on here sooner than she thinks.

So let’s get started.

Some people are made for comedy.  Some are made for writing, acting, sports, broadcasting, whatever.  And it seems that Dennis Miller has tried just about everything.  All with the exception of trying to be a professional athelete.  He knows about as much about politics as I do about astrology.

But one thing he does know is that he hates Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

On the O’Reilly Factor (10-06-10) during the Miller Time segment, Dennis Miller said the countries going down the toilet (cannot disagree), Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are idiots (G. Dubya was pretty dumb), and that Sharron Angle would make a great Senator.  Why would Sharron Angle make a good Senator?  She’s a nice person and she – as Miller says – “is a nice dame”.

Now the only thing we were able to take away from this atrocious monstrocity was that Miller “can mix paint in his mouth”.  Good to know.

This isn’t so much about politics as it is about substance.  And as we all know, whenever Miller speaks, nothing of substance escapes his lips.  Not even with his long-winded answers and ‘thrown together long words’.

Another Sarah Palin Reversal – This Time on Barack ‘Hussein’ Obama

Sarah Palin Rally Protesters-26
Image by NoHoDamon via Flickr

Sarah Palin has become  comfy in her status as a ‘talking head’ and “political analyst.”  In as much, she has proven that she cannot quite stay on topic.  Thusly, like her Fox News counterparts, she finds the time to politicize something.  With Greta Van Susteren she once again used the word (she created) “lamestream media” and “Barack Hussein Obama”.

“Funny… that we are learning more about Christine O’Donnell and her college years, her teenage years, and her financial dealings than anybody even bothered to ask about Barack Hussein Obama as a candidate and now as our president,” Palin said.

This is a direct reversal of her campaign in 2008.  When a Florida sheriff used the President’s middle name the Palin campaign released the following:

“We do not condone this inappropriate rhetoric which distracts from the real questions of judgment, character, and experience that voters will base their decisions on this November,” the spokesperson said then.

Wasn’t it Shakespeare who said “what’s in a name?”

This is entirely reminiscent of Ann Coulter saying that President Obama wants to be known by his middle name.  But she ‘doesn’t know’.

…and where she refers to the President as “B. Hussein Obama”.

…and again…

Ann Coulter: Environmentalists hate humans

Ann Coulter is “fair and balanced”, sweet as an apple pie – no, wait a minute – that would be the Ann Coulter of a parrallel universe. Never mind.

I guess like the attack on Muslim cabbie, this too would be turned into a political stunt. James Jay Lee was a dimented and twisted man, there’s no doubt about that. But the problem we face here is lumping all people into one category because of one individual. I am still waiting for the gun legislation fanatics to use this as some sort of back-drop to banning guns.

Can we not look at this as a man of a particular political ideology, rather, as a man who committed a crime. Innocent lives could have been lost.

But this did not stop the neoconservative crazed Ann Coulter from asserting that violent political crimes are the work of liberal environmentalists, a statement to which she did not qoute any sources. That was point number one. Point number two was that the tree huggers “end goal” is the “elimination of humans.”

Fox News will not point out that Lee ranted about “immigration pollution” and the “anchor baby filth that follows.”

The liberal media has weighed in on the political spectrum of this event forcing both to debate who is right.

Maybe the earth is over populated, I don’t know. Every human leaves in their wake pollution, but I cannot believe for one second that a world governing body can pass rules or laws and expect everything to run smooth as silk. I believe that the G-20’s summit to bring the world into a world pollution accountability system will do nothing more than make those of the world power elite more wealthy.

But as I have said, Lee should be treated in the public mind as a criminal. A person who took things too far.

The Art of Fear

Michelle Malkin (right)
Image via Wikipedia

I will say this with honest sincerety: I do not fear Muslims.  Call me crazy, call me whatever you want, but I don’t.  Muslims are not our enemy; al-Qaeda is our enemy. 

You can go the Sean Hannity route and proclaim that Muslims want to suspend our Constitution in favor of Sharia Law, but in reality, who has the greatest ability to suspend our Constitution – the Muslims or our very own government.  Certainly unde G. W. Bush the Constitution was put into the ring to duke it out with the literate challenged President, and the Constitution lost.

But as Ann Coulter says, “he kept us safe.”

Now, by now you’ve heard of the cabbie in New York (a Muslim) who had his throat, shoulder, and lip sliced open, right?  Now while this incident cannot be blamed on Fixed News, Michelle Malkin went on Fox and Friends to blame it on none other – the liberal media.

“It happens habitually time and again… there are people in the left with a kneejerk impulse to indict the right.”

The debate between right and left, wrong and right, is beside the point.  This Muslim has been in the United States for at least twenty years!  A cab driver for at least fifteen!  And this is the price he pays for his First Amendment right to practice his religion?  A knife to the throat?

Is this the sort of America we want?  The kind of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, to come to the resolve of murdering those who are different all in the name of one word – Fear!

Or are we to revert back to the days of McCarthyism?  Days where the loyalty of many to the United States were questioned.  Where Americans were brought to Congressioanl investigations based on the worst of evidence later to be overturned.  However, the impact of their subsequent suspicion of being communist forever damaged their careers.

“A half century later, when the only people who call themselves Communists are harmless cranks, it is difficult to grasp the importance of McCarthy’s crusade. But there’s a reason ‘Communist’ now sounds about as threatening as ‘monarchist’ — and it’s not because of intrepid New York Times editorials denouncing McCarthy and praising Harvard educated Soviet spies. McCarthy made it a disgrace to be a Communist. Domestic Communism could never recover.” — Ann Coulter

If he were a terrorist, don’t you think he would have cooked up some plan a long time ago?  Bashing between liberal and conservative is a side note to what is really going on here.  You know what, it don’t even belong in the same ballpark.  What this is about is America resorting to violence over fear.  Fear that is spread by the likes of moonbat crazy Michelle Malkin and her ilk.

Its been reported on several times and supposedly Fox Nation will be changing how it moderates comments, here are some for example:

In response to a Muslim university:

-“hopefully another Virginia Tech.”
-“Encourage them to have continuous suicide practice!!!”

Illegal immigration:

 “(Sheriff Joe Arpaio is) soft on these people overall… They get free medical care in the jails. Regardless how much it costs to FEED them, it’s too much. A rope and a tree is really all that’s needed here in Arizona.”

Fox Nation reported on the amusement park that pulled a game that had too close a resemblance of President Obama.  Islamophobe and practicing fearmongerer Sean Hannity openly questioned on his show “why America is percieved as anti-Muslim?”  I wonder why, Sean. 

Doubtless Fixed News will not report on the numerous gangs in America who are not Muslim.  They won’t report on the KKK/Nazi militias who want to murder those of other color in the name of “racial cleansing”, and they do all of this as a “service to God.”  They also won’t report on the white supremecist who was convicted for wanting to murder more that 100 African-Americans and to assassinate, then Senator, Barack Obama.

All of this falls right through their fearmonger filter.

Ann Coulter to headline Gay Conservative Party!

d anne coulter bomb
Image by dmixo6 via Flickr

I saw this and I thought, oh, this is too good to be true!  M’Ann Coulter at a gay rally?  Well, stranger things have happened.  Which begs me to ask the question: Does Ann Coulter really believe in all of the eggregious hateful speech she spews, or is she just a liberal parading in conservative clothing?

By and large, I think that it proves that M’Ann Coulter cares more for her pocket book than her ideals and principals that she espouses.  Likewise can be said of the homocons that invited her.  If you’re gay, be gay.  But M’Ann Coulter is the last person on earth that you would want to come to your rally.  In case you still don’t believe it, look at this.

Before you spit out your pernod and grapefruit juice, I can explain. No, Fox fave and conservative diva Coulter is not sporting ruby slippers. She’s not hanging out with Munchkins (as far as I know!). But she is getting mighty close to that rainbow because she’s the featured speaker at the “GOProud” (gay conservatives) first annual “Homocon” – “a party to celebrate gay conservatives.” Christopher Barron, Chairman of the Board of “GoProud,” describes her as a “Right wing Judy Garland.” Yes, it’s a complex world when Ann Coulter, whose repertoire includes some homophobic comments, gets invited to a gay event; but as any self respecting professional knows, if you can’t do it for love, do it for the money, honey! (Elton John knows that it’s all about the “Benjamins!”) “GoProud” Director, Jimmy LaSalvia, said that “this is about having fun.” Although he admits that he doesn’t agree with everything she says, he asserts “we can all party together.” (Hopefully copious amounts of alcohol will be served!) But that’s not the end of the story. It seems that the hardcore, homophobic religious right guys are having a bit of a hissy fit about La Coulter’s appearance. For more delicious dish, and I don’t mean my world renowned Julia Child bœuf bourguignon, freshen up your potent potable and follow me down the yellow brick road.

Joseph Farah, of World Net Daily, dropped Coulter as a keynote speaker at his “Taking Back America” Conference because Coulter is “validating” an “infiltration of the conservative movement and dividing it from within with twisted and dangerous ideas way out of the mainstream of American public opinion.” He states that “it would not make sense for us to have Ann speak to a conference about ‘taking America back’ when she clearly does not recognize that the ideals to be espoused there simply do not include the radical and very ‘unconservative’ agenda represented by GOProud,” BTW, Farah and several other “wingers” withdrew from this year’s CPAC because “GoProud” sponsored it. Farah also says, regarding his conference, that “there is simply no room for compromisers or for people who accept money from those determined to destroy the moral fabric required for self-governance and liberty.” So she’s like “oh no you didn’t” and has accused Farah of being a “publicity whore” who “could give less than two shits about the conservative movement as demonstrated by his promotion of the birther nonsense.” She states that “They hired me to give a speech. So I’m giving a speech. I do it all the time.” Regarding lost speaking fees, Coulter says “she isn’t losing any money over Farah’s decision to drop her from his conference because he couldn’t afford to pay her anyway.” (Oh, snap!) But Coulter will still have her column on WND and both she and Farah will get some juicy publicity; so it really could be about just “having fun!”

Update: Radical Christian Right Winger Bryan Fisher says Ann Coulter is a conservative prostitute – the “Ashley Dupre of the conservative movement.” Oh, no he didn’t!!! Fasten your seatbelts cuz we could be in for a rough ride!

Oh, and about that “right wing Judy Garland” thing. You really shouldn’t be sullying the memory of a woman with phenominal talent with a no talent hate monger like Coulter. Pulleeze!

Privacy and Civil Liberties Board sits empty

If you were to ask such neoconservative pundits like Ann Coulter what the Bush administration did wrong, she would say nothing.  “He kept us safe,” she has said in the past.

In fact, thanks to corporate media like Fox News President Obama has caught more flack for the Christmas Day attack attempt than what Bush did during 9/11.  Forget the warnings, the war games, and the lie that Iraq and Afghanistan were “products” of 9/11.  You will never hear of Fox News reporting on any of these.

You will also never hear of the thousands of  illegal wiretaps the FBI gained access to.  The 22 million in-house emails lost by the Bush administration.  You will also never hear of the Civil Liberties board meant to watch the executive branch and report to Congress, and how it now sits vacant.

In a world where we are eager beavers to spread “freedom” and “democracy” to other nations, America is all too eager to forfeit hers.  Kind of sad really.

(Thanks to the

Suppose Congress created a board to protect the privacy of Americans and no one showed up. That’s the bizarre reality of the five-member Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, all of whose five seats have been vacant since 2008. Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice) is pressing the Obama administration to fill the vacancies. In doing so, the president should choose individuals of sufficient experience and stature to act as watchdogs over the intelligence community and the Justice Department.

The board was originally established by Congress in 2004 and was raised to the status of an independent agency within the executive branch in 2007. Its mandate is to advise the administration when anti-terrorism policies threaten to trample civil liberties, and it has access to both public and classified information. It’s meant to complement, not replace, congressional oversight and investigations by the inspectors general of the Justice Department and the CIA. It also makes an annual report to Congress — or would, if it were reconstituted with new appointments.

Although it was the George W. Bush administration that inaugurated the illegal wiretapping of Americans suspected of being in contact with foreign terrorists, invasions of privacy are a constant danger in any intelligence program empowered to collect and scrutinize the personal and electronic records of U.S. citizens. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is designed to help protect against abuses in advance so that we don’t have to conduct inquests after the fact.

Appropriately, anti-terrorism measures constantly are being refined to address new challenges. In a letter to Obama, Harman and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, cite policy changes proposed after the attempted destruction of an airliner on Christmas, including expanded watch lists and increased use of body-scanning technology at airports.

It would be naïve to think that the board always will prevail in its recommendations to Congress or the administration. Nor is it the only brake on ill-considered or legally dubious anti-terrorism initiatives. In addition to various inspectors general, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel is supposed to advise the administration and federal agencies of the legal limits on counter-intelligence operations and other tactics in the war on terrorism.

Stung by criticism of its inaction, the administration insists that it is considering candidates for the three Democratic seats on the board and expects congressional Republicans to recommend nominees for the other two seats soon. Better late than never, but the empty seats at the table more than a year into the Obama administration are an embarrassment.