Illinois Mayor Claims Anonymous Bloggers No Different Than 9/11 Terrorists; Says Anonymity Is A First Amendment Challenge

from the the-federalist-papers,-anyone? dept

Perhaps if you’re an elected official in the US, you should be required to take a basic history lesson. Michael Scott points us to the story of how the mayor of Mokena, Illinois (where?) has apparently become so fed up with anonymous people online that he’s declared that “bloggers” were just like the 9/11 terrorists who flew planes into buildings. In clarifying, but not backing down, he claimed that he’s really talking about anonymous bloggers and commenters, not “bloggers” as a whole. Later, in discussing it further, he claimed that “this is the greatest First Amendment crisis in this country’s history.” I’d say that the mayor of Mokena is a bit prone to hyperbole.

Phil Kadner, from The Southtown Star newspaper, who has been covering the mayor’s comments, has a great response at the end of his writeup (the last link above):

I told him about the early days of newspapers in this country, when Founding Fathers such as Jefferson and Hamilton actually paid people to write scandalous articles under false names about their political enemies. Somehow the country survived and democracy thrived.

Ultimately, you have to have faith in the wisdom of the average person. That’s what the First Amendment really is all about.

Let everyone have their say, and the public decides who to believe. It was a radical idea then and still is today.

And so, the mayor of Mokena gets a history lesson on the First Amendment from the press that the First Amendment enables. There’s something nice about that, though, you would have hoped the history lesson would have come sooner.

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Comments on “Illinois Mayor Claims Anonymous Bloggers No Different Than 9/11 Terrorists; Says Anonymity Is A First Amendment Challenge”

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Dark Helmet (profile) says:


“Mokena, Illinois (where?)”

Nowhere, that’s where. Seriously, Mokena isn’t worth writing about. Ever. It’s farm country. They don’t have 15k people within their limits. And it’s basically Indiana. They’re most famous resident in their history is Terry Boers of the Boers and Bernstein sports radio show on The Score (which is awesome).,_Illinois

Free Capitalist (profile) says:

Re: C'mon...

Seriously, Mokena isn’t worth writing about. Ever. It’s farm country.

I realize we’re talking about a mayor in a “podunk” town in the middle of nowhere, not unlike Chicago, but with fewer people. However the unfortunate fact remains that every mayor has instant access to the town Councils and to their city (or county) District Attorneys. The problem with ignoring small town stupidity (favoring large town stupidity) is that a dangerous precedent (in ordinance or court decision) can just as easily, perhaps even more readily be made in a rural area as it can in a cluster fuck of a big city.

Call them sheltered or ignorant if you must, but you can be sure big city mayors are not above taking “a good idea” from their “farm country” counterparts.

Having lived in many environments, my experience gives me the opinion that there are at least as many idiots per capita in urban areas as there are anywhere else. Like everyone else, they just stand out more in the country.

Big Mook (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Here you go, asshat:

As the North Tower collapsed on September 11, 2001, heavy debris hit 7 World Trade Center, causing damage to the south face of the building. The bottom portion of the building’s south face was damaged by debris, including damage to the southwest corner from the 8th to 18th floors, a large vertical gash on the center-bottom extending at least ten floors, and other damage as high as the 18th floor. The building was equipped with a sprinkler system, but had many single-point vulnerabilities for failure: the sprinkler system required manual initiation of the electrical fire pumps, rather than being a fully automatic system; the floor-level controls had a single connection to the sprinkler water riser; and the sprinkler system required some power for the fire pump to deliver water. Also, water pressure was low, with little or no water to feed sprinklers.

After the North Tower collapsed, some firefighters entered 7 World Trade Center to search the building. They attempted to extinguish small pockets of fire, but low water pressure hindered their efforts. Fires burned into the afternoon on the 11th and 12th floors of 7 World Trade Center, the flames visible on the east side of the building. During the afternoon, fire was also seen on floors 6–10, 13–14, 19–22, and 29–30. In particular, the fires on floors 7 through 9 and 11 through 13 continued to burn out of control during the afternoon. At approximately 2:00 p.m., firefighters noticed a bulge in the southwest corner of 7 World Trade Center between the 10th and 13th floors, a sign that the building was unstable and might collapse. During the afternoon, firefighters also heard creaking sounds coming from the building. Around 3:30 pm FDNY Chief Daniel Nigro decided to halt rescue operations, surface removal, and searches along the surface of the debris near 7 World Trade Center and evacuate the area due to concerns for the safety of personnel. At 5:20:33 p.m. EDT on September 11, 2001, 7 World Trade Center started to collapse, with the crumble of the east mechanical penthouse, while at 5:21:10 p.m. EDT the entire building collapsed completely. There were no casualties associated with the collapse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I remember the day a nearby building burned uncontrolled for hours and collapsed due to visible flaws in the building with no sign of damage whatsoever (BTW, ALL of the WTC buildings suffered damage so great that they had to be demolished, 7 just collapsed due to fires weakening the unusual construction of the building). Stop with the conspiracy theories

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: i also remember

BAGHDAD — Two American soldiers were killed and six were wounded Friday by a Twitter post north of Baghdad, wrapping up a week of renewed insurgent attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq.

An Iraqi major in the Interior Ministry’s emergency force, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because he isn’t authorized to make statements, was part of the American-Iraqi patrol, which was searching for smartphones in a neighborhood where a quarrel had escalated to the use of Blackberries. He said he was stepping out of his patrol car when the tweet occurred.

“All I remember is a chirping sound from my iPhone and being thrown into the air,” the major said from his hospital bed in Jalula, where he was being treated for anonymous comment wounds. “I saw American soldiers lying on the ground. Some were dead. We were terrified about what to do. I was watching Americans run left and right, taking cover.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Many of the commenters on techert aren’t anonymous and their comments are still very critical of politicians and corporations. Heck, many of the pro-corporate and regulatory capture along with many of the comments that support further governmental invasions of privacy and restrictions of rights are anonymous as well. I honestly don’t think that making the Internet non – anonymous will change much, these politicians et al will still be criticized and they will still be mocked and made fun of for bad behavior. If anything it will reduce the comments defending the behavior of those being mocked and critciized in fear of being mocked and criticized for defending them. The only way to fix being mocked and criticized is to stop bad behavior.

Of course, the govt will probably find a way to give corporate lobbyists, special interest groups, and certain govt employees who promote a certain viewpoint transparency exceptions where they get to keep anonymous while everyone disagreeing with the govt and big corporations stay transparent.

interval (profile) says:

There's a;ways a way

…to remain anonymous on the net. You just have to be a little net-savvy. Same goes for encrypted communication. Just because a medieval-aged government decides sharia law trumps personal liberties and decrees that RIM needs to provide a back door to your encrypted blackberry communication doesn’t mean you can’t encrypt it yourself. Screw them.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

Don't be too hard on the guy

We really cannot be too hard on this small town mayor. He is only doing what he has been trained to do. If he wants to change something quickly without discussion and little to no resistance, he’s been taught that all he has to do is use terrorism, patriotism, support the troops, national security, protecting Americans, or any other phrase that scares the the sheep into line.

Those that would give up freedom for security, deserve neither. -BF



you dont think very much do you?
YOU don’t get people will say nad speak htere minds more when they dont have to report there:
telephone number
Color of the underwear they are wearing
FREEDOM is what its aobut to speka ones mind in an opinion sense.

THE USA gov’t has always been about control
ergo vietnam
ergo UNpatriot act etc.

I would add that since 2000 where the number of violent gun deaths was around 16000 in the usa it has now reached a number up around 32000 PER YEAR

that is a half a million or more people dead form the attitudes of the american ideal.

DO you think without anonymous we would be speaking of this or i would?
Would they let me? Would there be repercussions to what i speak of?

Michael (profile) says:

Are we being too hard on this guy?

The poor guy lives his whole life in some tiny little town next to a pig farm. He has never seen a plane or a skyscraper. Everyone in the town is from the same racial makeup (because they are all marrying their brothers and sisters). The only bombings he has seen are when his brother dropped the dynamite in the boat while fishing and the time the Elvis impersonator was accidentally dispatched to the church mixer. They do not have high-speed internet (or computers, for that matter) and by town ordinance his pick-up truck has always been green so he was ahead of the times when he traded that bull for it in 1963.

To him, these things may really seem the same.

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