Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Two dangerous assaults on the First Amendment

Amendment I
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.

First, hat tip to Karena for finding this article in "The Lone Star Iconoclast". Sgt. First Class Donald Buswell is under investigation for stating his mind, and calling for an independent investigation into 9/11. He said, in a response to an email, I say Occums razor is the best way to deduce this ‘day of infamy’; if you weigh all options, do some simple studying you will see 911 was clearly not executed by some arabs in caves with cell phones and 3 day old newspapers! I mean how are Arabs benefiting from pulling off 911? They have more war, more death and dismal conditions, so, how did 911 benefit them? Answer: It didn’t. So, who benefited from 9-11? The answer is sad, but simple; The Military Industial [sic] Complex...

...We must demand a new independent investigation into 911 and look at all options of that day, and all plausabilities [sic], even the most incredulous theories must be examined.

This gentleman, this decorated Army career man with 19 years in the military and a Purple Heart earned because of injuries sustained in a rocket attack in Iraq, returned to his office the next day to find the locks changed, his security clearances revoked, and that he was now under investigation.

Then, Betmo links to Fla. school board seeks to remove books. The books, "Vamos a Cuba" ("A Visit to Cuba"), are children's books about life in Cuba. But a parent complained, saying the books didn't accurately depict life in Communist Cuba under Castro, and so the school district decided to remove them.

The ACLU in Florida sued to keep the books on the shelves, and U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold ruled in July in favor of the ACLU, granting a preliminary injunction and writing that efforts to remove the books "goes to the heart of the First Amendment issue."

But the Miami-Dade County School District voted Tuesday to 5-2 to appeal Judge Gold's ruling. They'd rather ban books than consider alternate ideas.

How are these two separate items linked?

Amendment I
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.

Without the First Amendment, we are a totalitarian country.


pekka said...

"Funny" thing with democracy is that it's not a static entety but it's changing, alongside our slow advancement, and hopefully for the better.

Unfortunately, there are those in every democratic nation who are doing their utmost to erode these principles for their personal gains. This is where we regular Janes and Joes come in to make sure that we excercise powers that democracy grants us and make sure that these evil people will not succeed.

Bigger the lie, more believable it is. This Administration has taken this unfortunate human short coming to a historical high level, comparing "well" with some of the dictatorial regimes in the 20th Century Europe. Unlike those people under these regimes, you have democratic ability to kick them out. Please, use it!

glenda said...

Isn't is a sad day when we celebrate the fact that someone actually has used and been able to use their 1st amendament rights? It should be a given.

karena said...

Pekka and
Well said. It is a sad day when we celebrate someone using their first amendment rights, that should be a given.

Diva, thanks for posting these stories.

Yoga Korunta said...

Diva Jood, we live in a totalitarian country.

Tina said...

Sweet Jeebus... before we know it, we won't even be able to celebrate using our rights, but instead will have to celebrate Dear Leader allowing us to blink or breathe.

DivaJood said...

Pekka, well said. And you need to start your own blog!

Glenda, you are absolutely right - it should be a given. This is NOT the direction our country's founders envisioned.

Karena, thanks for your initial post!

Yoga, it is becoming so.

Tina, if this continues, I doubt if Shrub will allow us even that!

Frederick said...

I'd heard of both of these stories, I think I heard one on NPR on saw the other on the net. Two very touchy areas of Constitutional Law. I agree with your assement of these being attacks on Freedom of Speech, but I also know how slanted the law is in respect to a schools right to present material and the rights us soldiers have under UCMJ (greatly diminished). I fear both these cases will not turn out in a way we would consider fair.

sumo said...

I hate to be the Debby Downer here...but I think it will get worse before it gets better. And you probably think that it couldn't get any worse. For a man to speak his mind and this sort of thing happens to him...we are on the slippery side of the slope and we haven't gotten to sweet spot yet.

DivaJood said...

Fred, I wasn't aware of the school districts' rights in this area; so their vote to appeal the Federal Judge's ruling will take this to the Supreme Court. This is going to get interesting. As for Sgt. Buswell, all he did was express an opinion! Via email. For this, he's being investigated? These two incidents, and Lt. Watada's case, portend a very bad future.

Sumo, I hate to consider what the sweet spot is going to do to us!

pissed off patricia said...

I don't know how much farther it will go. The part that scares me is that it's gone this far and not enough people seem to care. The fact that we are even discussing this makes me want to cry. What the hell happened to America, land of the brave?

Rex Kramer, Danger Seeker said...

Jood, I seem to recall another military man who had some America-hating ideas a few years ago. He, too "earned" some Purple Hearts of dubious merit...until some of his Boat mates Swiftly exposed his treason for what it was.

Besides, don't you know that the 1st Amendment was repealed on page 11,008 of the Patriot Act (heavily-redacted edition)?

Rory Shock said...

viva amendment uno!!!!

DivaJood said...

POP, I have a feeling that "land of the brave" was an advertising ploy to get people to see John Wayne movies.

Rex, oh, my god, of COURSE. The Patriot Act. How could I forget? (Sound of hand slapping my forehead)

Rory, apparently the 1st amendment was repealed. See Rex Kramer's comment...

Jack said...

Taking books off of library shelves sets a bad example for freedom of speech, however, all school libraries draw lines. While that school took the book away because of a complaint, many schools simply would avoid ordering controversial books.

However, taking books off the shelves in response to criticism sets a bad precedent. People need to know that there are bound to be books in libraries that they find objectionable and their complaints do not merit a recall.

- BlueWaveNJ

DivaJood said...

Jack, exactly. And I agree, school libraries have a right to determine which books to order. But once they start removing books because one parent complains, we are on a slippery slope indeed.