NY State Senators Say We've Got Too Much Free Speech; Introduce Bill To Fix That

from the i-find-this-offensive dept

We’ve been pointing out a variety of attempts to push back on the First Amendment lately. One fertile ground for such attacks are local politicians carrying the “cyberbullying” banner, in various attempts to magically outlaw being a “jerk” online, usually by making it illegal to offend someone online. Of course, making someone’s action illegal based on how someone else feels about it is all kinds of crazy. It also would seem to violate the very principles of the First Amendment, which bar Congress (and local governments) from passing any laws that take away one’s right to free speech.

In the past, lawmakers pushing these laws have tended to simply ignore the First Amendment issue, and focus on screaming “protect the children!” as loudly as possible (never mind the fact that kids seem much less concerned about “bullying” than all these adults seem to think). However, it appears that some state Senators in NY are trying a new line of attack: going directly after the First Amendment and suggesting that current interpretations are way too broad, and it’s not really meant to protect any sort of free speech right. In fact, it sounds as though they’re trying to redefine the right to free speech into a privilege that can be taken away. Seriously:

Proponents of a more refined First Amendment argue that this freedom should be treated not as a right but as a privilege ? a special entitlement granted by the state on a conditional basis that can be revoked if it is ever abused or maltreated.

Yes, that totally flips the First Amendment on its head. It is not a “more refined First Amendment.” It’s the anti-First Amendment. It suggests, by its very nature, that the government possesses the right to grant the “privilege” of free speech to citizens… and thus the right to revoke it. That’s an astonishingly dangerous path, and one that should not be taken seriously. Of course, given their right to speak freely, state senators Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, David Carlucci and David Valesky have every right to put forth that argument — but similarly, it allows others to point out their rather scary beliefs.

If you’d like to see the full report (pdf), I warn you that it is almost entirely written IN ALL CAPS (for no clear reason, there are a few chunks that revert to normal capitalization — including a big chunk in the middle, that starts mid-section). I have no idea why so much of the paper is in ALL CAPS, but I’m kind of offended by it. Can we please remove their “privilege” to put out such things until they’ve learned to not maltreat capital letters?

The paper attempts to list out various examples of types of cyberstalking and cyberbullying — some of which seem pretty ridiculous:

LEAVING IMPROPER MESSAGES ON ONLINE MESSAGE BOARDS OR SENDING HURTFUL AND DAMAGING MESSAGES TO OTHERS;

“Improper”? Seem a little broad to you? Does that mean the next person who comments here about something off-topic is a cyberbully?

?FLAMING? (HURTFUL, CRUEL, AND OFTENTIMES INTIMIDATING MESSAGES INTENDED TO INFLAME, INSIGHT, OR ENRAGE);

Whoo boy. An awful lot of you in the comments better watch out…

?HAPPY SLAPPING? (RECORDING PHYSICAL ASSAULTS ON MOBILE PHONES OR DIGITAL CAMERAS, THEN DISTRIBUTING THEM TO OTHERS);

Holy crap. 2005 wants its silly “crazy children” meme back. Yes, there were a few instances of this extremely brief “fad” that came and went in like a month half a decade ago. Then the next internet meme came along.

“TROLLING? (DELIBERATELY AND DECEITFULLY POSTING INFORMATION TO ENTICE GENUINELY HELPFUL PEOPLE TO RESPOND (OFTEN EMOTIONALLY), OFTEN DONE TO PROVOKE OTHERS);

Ooh, once again. Commenters beware.

EXCLUSION (INTENTIONALLY AND CRUELLY EXCLUDING SOMEONE FROM AN ONLINE GROUP).

Seriously? If we don’t let you into the club, it’s now a form of cyberbullying? It makes you wonder what happened to these particular Senators when they were kids.

The paper also attacks “anonymity,” again ignoring how anonymity can often be extremely helpful to kids who wish to discuss things and ask questions without revealing who they are.

As for where they’re going with this? Well, you guessed it: they’re planning to introduce new laws to deal with cyberbullying (even though NY already has such a law). The plan is to extend two existing areas of law: “stalking in the third degree” will now include cyberbullying, and “manslaughter in the second degree” will be expanded to “include the emerging problem of bullycide.”

This is basically a “Lori Drew” law. And it’s ridiculous. If I say something to someone and they then go commit suicide, should I be guilty of manslaughter? Do the folks behind this not realize that this doesn’t help prevent suicides, but it encourages them in giving people who are upset by something someone said extra incentive to kill themselves to “get back” at the person who was mean to them.

The cyberstalking part is no less ridiculous. It’s ridiculously broad. It does not require that the person accused of cyberstalking initiate the activity, it does not require intent to harm or frighten, and a single message can be a cause of action. Think about that for a second. Someone could send you a message, you could do a single reply with no ill will or bad intent… and be guilty of the crime of cyberstalking. Damn. Do the folks writing this bill not realize how widely this will be abused?

Hopefully no one is so offended in reading such a dangerous proposal that they go out and commit suicide. At least be comforted in knowing that it won’t allow for the authors to be accused of manslaughter until after the bill passes.

Filed Under: , , , , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “NY State Senators Say We've Got Too Much Free Speech; Introduce Bill To Fix That”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
179 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

It’s like how lawmakers always focus on curtailing crime whenever they want to pass new (stricter gun and other) laws, despite the fact that crime rates have been decreasing in the last few years or so. Yet the public fear of crime has been increasing. The media is partly to blame, they condition us to fear something that’s not a big concern (someone made a documentary about this … I can’t seem to find it though).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I can’t seem to find the documentary, but here is a link that talks about it

“Between 1990 and 2009, the national violent-crime rate was halved, while property crime dropped to 60 percent of its previous rate, according to the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data. But almost every year since 1989, most Americans have told pollsters they believe crime is getting worse.”

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2011/02/head_case.html

Claymoor (profile) says:

Re: First-grade rules

This is the method used in dealing with elementary school kids: Instead of disciplining unruly and/or disruptive kids, they implement overly-strict rules that punish everyone preemptively.

It’s easier than having to identify and punish the actual offenders.

As for the media’s role, the public shares the blame on that score. What we now call TV news — where most people get their ‘news’ — was once set apart from entertainment and could pursue actual reportage. Now it is lumped into the same cost center and must meet ratings targets or people lose jobs.

So, local news’ long-time mantra of “if it bleeds, it leads” is joined to “give the people what they want” and these tandem mindsets feed the public perception of an ever-more dangerous world even as crime rates fall.

Rabbitt says:

Re: Response to: Mike Shore on Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 9:42am

I feel compelled to add to Mike’s comment that I’m offended by poor grammar, misspelling, and the general decline in our public education system. Democracy, which we departed from some years ago, depends on a well- informed, well-educated populace. Capitalism has become our form of government. It’s time to remind politicians that they are supposed to work for US; not the other way around. Maybe we need to send them ALL home and do away with Politics as a profession.

fitzy111 says:

Re: Re: Response to: Mike Shore on Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 9:42am

sadly it’s not capitalism – it’s crony protectionism- when you have the larger corporations setting regulations in government (using lobbyists) and the small businesses being driven out of business, that’s not free market capitalism- and yeah, they are supposed to work for the people, have you ever actually tried calling your local senator or congressman? they are all owned- with the exception of Ron Paul- the only guy for personal liberty.
~RON PAUL 2012!

Nathan F (profile) says:

I have no doubt that if it did somehow make it into law that the courts would slap it down so hard the late night comedians will be making jokes about it for years.

If by some chance it DOES in fact make it through and is not challenged and declared unconstitutional, I will then push to have the 2nd and 19th Amendments declared a Privilege that can be denied.

mfitzy111 says:

Re: Re:

Nathan

NY already does declare the 2nd amendment a privilege- if your from out of state (no way your allowed to carry a firearm for personal protection), if your from inside the state as a resident you can ask and often be denied a permit (permission slip from the government) to own a handgun. yes. you need permission to purchase a handgun before your allowed to buy a handgun in NY. and if your 5 year permission slip expires the police will come and demand your handgun from you.
it’s reality of living in a place that doesn’t respect individual freedoms. so this limiting the 1st amendment isn’t really a stretch.

Jack says:

Re: Response to: Nathan F on Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 9:45am

Your potential change of the second amendment to be a privilege will hit the proverbial wall. Until someone can guarantee my safety from violent action it will be my responsibility to protect myself. The police mopping up my blood after being bludgeoned to death really doesn’t work for me. And I would like to state that I don’t care how any other country handles the same situation they are also not responsible for my safety. The government is not mother, The government is noy my daddy.

Anonymous Coward says:

More refined bill of rights

Are we also going to get a more refined 2nd Amendment that legalizes all guns but outlaws gunpowder? And a more refined 3rd Amendment that still disallows quartering soldiers in a time of peace, but since we’re always in half a dozen wars there never is a time of peace. The more refined 4th Amendment says they can search anything they want as long as it’s within 1000 miles of a border. The more refined 5th Amendment defines due process as a process you have to bay a due for. The more refined 6th Amendment says you get a speedy and public trial unless you’re a terrorist, which you are. The more refined 7th Amendment says don’t worry about those civil trials anymore, because we’ve made everything criminal and you’re going to prison. The more refined 8th Amendment says the death penalty is neither cruel nor unusual because we do it a lot and so far not a single person who’s been subjected to it has complained. Plus people cheered it. The more refined 9th Amendment says sure you might have other rights, but what proof do you have? The more refined 10th Amendment says, well, not the people. I mean, the States maybe, but not the people. What were we thinking?

Trails (profile) says:

Re: Sick of Left vs. Right BS

Please, nothing to do with socialism.

This is pure and simple attempting to claw back rights under the guise of protecting people. This is not right or left. It’s just controlling gov’t.

Politics is not uni-dimensional. Here’s a solid analogue:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mstOk3u2KY&feature=related

Daddy Warbucks says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Sick of Left vs. Right BS

Yea, when Lenin was first setting things up, he was all about Free Speech. Mao was a Free Speech advocate as well. History shows “The tamping down of Free Speech” is the starting point of governmental economic capture.

The economics of the “Public/Private Investment” promotions I hear daily are the beginning of Socialist policies following in the foot steps of Fannie/Freddie, and boy, that turned out well?

HothMonster says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Sick of Left vs. Right BS

“Yea, when Lenin was first setting things up, he was all about Free Speech. Mao was a Free Speech advocate as well. History shows “The tamping down of Free Speech” is the starting point of governmental economic capture.”

dictators who used the principles of socialism to trick people into supporting the birth of their dictatorship do not represent the ideals of socialism. The fact that once their power was established they quickly threw out all the pillars of socialism that would not help them maintain rigid control should be your first clue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Sick of Left vs. Right BS

The fact that dictators have repeatedly embraced socialism to gain power and then quickly rejected the pillars of socialism that would not help them maintain rigit control should be your first clue as to the inherent weakness in socialism: Somebody has to be in charge of the system and have the power to take from those that have more in order to be able to divide it equally among everyone. That position of power is a point of tremendous leverage, which is ideal for dictators looking to take power for themselves.

Daddy Warbucks says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Sick of Left vs. Right BS

All you mindless Socialists need to update Wikipedia with your knowledge, being the know-it-alls you claim to be. I bet they won’t let your version of “knowledge” stand on any of their pages describing Socialism.

As a political movement, socialism includes a diverse array of political philosophies, ranging from Socialist Reformism, Evolutionary Socialism to Revolutionary Socialism.

Losers?

Mike42 (profile) says:

Re: Sick of Socialists

Ah, yes. And the right is sooo much better, as long as you are part of the “Christian Nation.”

“If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we’ve got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.” ~ Stephen Colbert

Please troll elsewhere.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Sick of Socialists

It’s obvious the Dems are doing this, just like in the Chicago Dems.
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110929/10325216136/guy-arrested-threatened-with-15-years-recording-traffic-stop-illinois.shtml

Ironically, the 1st Amendment prevents govt from creating religious laws, so your argument is personal, not about the fundamental attempts to usurp our rights.

GenEarly says:

Re: Re: Sick of Socialists

Well said Comrade, get rid of those pesky Christians but ignore those pesky Mooslims. I for one can’t wait to see the fall out between Socialists and Mooslims once their coalition to reduce America is no longer needed. Socialist Slaughter with no Christians or Patriots left to defend them. Let the games begin!

RD says:

Re: Sick of Socialists

“Socialist Dems want us to under their thumb with Socialized Risk/Debt and now want to tell us when, where and how we can speak. Sickening.”

Wow, seriously? You think this is strictly a Dem-partisan issue? What rock have you been hiding under? Did you miss the ENTIRE Bush II administration? Rumsfeld? Cheney? Patriot Act? Hello? Anyone with a brain in there somewhere? Bueller?

Pwdrskir (profile) says:

Re: Re: Sick of Socialists

I didn’t trust or like Bush and I don’t trust or like Obama.

Whenever anyone tries to change SS, Medicare, Medicaid & Immigration, the Dems step in and vilify the person. Union backed Obama and Dems have not even Tried to change immigration, where is their bill? GOP had the balls to at least TRY by putting a bill out there, but Union Socialistic controlled Dems won’t even try.

Bush also tried to Privatize SS, like Chile’s system that’s been copied in 30 countries including Australia and Sweden, but the Dems, Media and GOP hammered him for trying. The Socialized Risk/Debt of Medicare, SS and Fannie Mae (Public/Private Partnership) are going to devour the US from the inside out, but the Dems won’t let anyone touch these programs.

Obama has changed nothing that Bush put into place, if anything he has pushed for More Control.
Once Again, The Justice Department Fails To Tell Congress About Its Wiretapping Activities, As Required By Law
Senator Schumer Wants To Censor Google & Apple; Displays Ignorance Of Law
Justice Department Says It Should Be Able To Require People To Decrypt Their Computers
DOJ Uses Congressional Hearings About Protecting Mobile Privacy To Suggest Mobile Users Deserve Less Privacy
Administration Bangs The Drum In Support Of Needless Protectionism On World IP Day
Homeland Security Won’t Even Admit Whether Or Not It Seized Mooo.com, Taking Down 84,000 Innocent Sites

HothMonster says:

Re: Re: Re: Sick of Socialists

and the repubs wont let us tax the top 4%. both parties, at their core, are fucking retarded and doing nothing but damaging the country with self-serving rhetoric and action.

complain about the bad actions when your argument is so loaded with partisan bias and generalized hatred it makes it hard for people to see that the point really does matter and not get all bent out of shape about “left is better is goes on first and makes the country clean!,” “NO right is better it makes the country shiny and smooth!”

http://www.patchworknation.org/content/does-increasing-taxes-on-the-wealthy-hurt-%E2%80%9Cjob-creators%E2%80%9D

GenEarly says:

Re: Re: Sick of Socialists

Bush Derangement Syndrome. No discussion of the Obamanation or Socialists can proceed with out Bush being dragged into it.

YES, Bushies are NWO Progressives, who implement Big Government domination of individual rights.

Now deal with the present time problem: Freedom as protected by the Constitution (and your blood)or Total Government Control of your personal life.

garm (profile) says:

Mindboggled

Wow, this boggles my mind. I realy can’t understand where these people are coming from. How can someone be so stupid as to think that merely making something illegal (with absurdly wide implications) will make it go away.

The only way to beat the problem of bullying is education (in the sense of teaching children to be caring and understanding to their fellow man/woman) and creating an enviroment that fosters such behaviour.

But I don’t think they will ever think of doing that, because it is hard and takes a lot of effort. Merely making something illegal is easy and then they can stick their fingers in their ears and say that they have dealt with the problem.

The thing that scares me most is that I can’t decide if all these stories paints a picture of someone maliciously and with intent trying to remove all our rights, or if they sincerely don’t understand what they are doing.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Mindboggled

I watched the first part of Ken Burns’ Prohibition last night. This portion talked about getting the 16th amendment passed. I presume the second will talk about the failure of the amendment. A good example of law failing.

We can liken the law not working concept to drugs, weapons smuggling, illegal immigration (world wide), murder, etc.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Would a better law be to undo all laws meant to prevent hurt feelings, and wrapping the planet in nerf.

Then pass a law requiring parents to be just that, parents.

If your kid and another kid are fighting online, maybe call the other kids parent and try to get to the bottom of it.
Don’t assume your precious snowflake has done NOTHING that might have lead to the issue, listen to both sides and work something out.
If you can’t work something out, here is a huge idea… delete your kids facebook. They often find it less fun making fun of you if they can’t get you to respond.
If it has moved into the realm of being physical, then you get the authority involved, be it the school or then the police.

But this requires a parent to actually do their job as a parent, spend more then 30 seconds to see if your kid is having problems, do not assume the TV, School, or the Government is going to give your kids the tools to fix the problem.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Peoples needs protections

OMG the world is soooo dangerous. Congress hereby declares that all parents must buy, support, re size, and upgrade protective cocoons for all of their children, and their neighbors children in case they don’t. These protective cocoons shall protect the child from the ravages of injury by playing too hard, emotional scaring via hearing anything not devised by Mother Goose (after careful editing, there is a lot of baaaad stuff in there), the Internet, and the bogey man.

Adults shall buy, support, re size (after weight gain) and upgrade protective cocoons for themselves to protect against communists, dangerous spectator sporting events (any sport where there is more than one minor cut per decade for the players, not the fans), Internet trolls, and speeding automobiles.

The cocoons shall be designed by first year political science majors (better if they have an interest in pre-law as a second major, or marketing) and built by cheapest bid in materials and production under government contract. All rights, patents, copyrights, and trademarks etc. shall be donated to the top 10 corporate giants in perpetuity with an annual increase in annual license fees that is equal to or greater than 2.59286 (a number made up by randomly striking the keyboard) times the peak monthly rate of inflation from the previous 12 months. The increase factor may change with appropriate donations to the ruling majority party.

Insurance companies are given the right to establish required health/life/car/home/flood/other acts of god/mortgage/identity theft/unemployment/other financial protections/negligence/etc. policies that indemnify the insurance company from any harm (or payout), so that while the insurance payments must continue for the life of the individual from birth to plus 70 years after death, there may never be a payable claim against the policy. Due to the simplicity of this system, insurance companies find a 90% efficiency improvement (no more claims or sales agents or lawyers, or actuaries, just collection agents who tell the police whom to arrest), lowering costs so that they may be one of the top ten corporations.

Travel shall be restricted to visiting Grandmother on designated holidays (to include every patriotic opportunity and one each holiday for each registered religion) via the most inconvenient, yet safest mode. The bunching up of travel will give Homeland Security the opportunity to be lax, except during the travel peaks, where MRI’s and Interior Cavity searches will be required for all passengers before you enter your car, which is then sealed until you reach the transport hub, and again before you board your mass transit. This opportunity lets Homeland know when the terrorist will attack, and regrets any delays because 300 million people are a lot to check all at one time.

Playgrounds shall be constructed entirely from Nerf material and shall not exceed the knee height of the mean child that uses that playgrounds knee height. Knee heights shall be measured monthly, and appropriate adjustments to the playground made on a timely basis (48 hours after the issuance of the new median) with tolerances in the tenths of a millimeter. Noise canceling equipment shall be installed at all playgrounds as the noise level may be harmful to other children.

I am sure I missed something that might harm the children people. So, in order for this law to be comprehensive, statistics shall be kept of all cuts, scrapes, boo boo’s, nose bleeds, hangnails, and visits to the emergency room by anyone. New threats shall be identified by the Organization Regaling the Guarantee of Essential Security (ORGRES’?). Newly identified threats shall be encoded into law within a reasonable time from such identification (reasonable being one week to write the law, and one week to pass the house, one week to pass the senate, and one week for the president to sign it (or within a month) upon pain of loss of all corporate contributions.

Jid says:

Re: Re:

You silly, silly person; by continually referring to them as “your kid” you show your Neanderthal-ism. “The children” means “our children”! Their not yours anymore, so you cannot be trusted in guiding them. Now, normally that cry of “it’s about the children” is just a facade for “it’s really about the money” — but this attempt would be about making it easier to restrict what you’re permitted to say — also to the policy makers advantage

Anonymous Coward says:

Trolling?

“Deliberately and deceitfully posting information to entice genuinely helpful people to respond (often emotionally), often done to provoke others.”

How can they distinguish trolling from a sincere question, since a truly masterful troll will ask in a way indistinguishable from a truly sincere question?

(This is a sincere question.)

HothMonster says:

Re: Trolling?

the same way service providers are suppose to be able to spot infringement in the millions of submissions they handle despite the content owners not being able to tell infringing from none infringing, magic

Personally I have shifted all the money in my IRA to the magic wand industry, i think they have quite a boom ahead of them

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Poe%27s_Law

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

I noticed there’s a distinct lack of the usual trolls in this post. I feel that they’re offending us with their EXCLUSION (INTENTIONALLY AND CRUELLY EXCLUDING SOMEONE FROM AN ONLINE GROUP) by not posting their normal annoying comments right now. So I think we need to turn them over to their authorities so that they can be punished accordingly.

I guess we need to subpoena Mike or something to get their IPs. How does that work? Where’s the subpoena key…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

noticed there’s a distinct lack of the usual trolls in this post. I feel that they’re offending us with their EXCLUSION (INTENTIONALLY AND CRUELLY EXCLUDING SOMEONE FROM AN ONLINE GROUP) by not posting their normal annoying comments right now. So I think we need to turn them over to their authorities so that they can be punished accordingly.

I guess we need to subpoena Mike or something to get their IPs. How does that work? Where’s the subpoena key…

Sorry to disappoint you shitbag. I am certainly one who is consistently labelled “troll” for beating you apologists over the head with reason. I am pro-first amendment and like pointing out that writers, publishers, filmmakers etc have been jailed and beaten for exercising their first amendment rights for generations. On the other hand, you freeloaders commitment to the first amendment is as much about free content as free speech. In any event, the NY Senate is out of their fucking minds and it’s apparent to everyone.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Obviously, you were masturbating the whole time you were posting that silly anti-piracy diatribe of yours while one of the members of RIAA was spanking you in your gimp suit. Now I’m going to have to invoke this new law, and hereby accuse you of ?HAPPY SLAPPING?.

Think of the children! Or, in your case, don’t, since you’re probably a pedo.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Obviously, you were masturbating the whole time you were posting that silly anti-piracy diatribe of yours while one of the members of RIAA was spanking you in your gimp suit. Now I’m going to have to invoke this new law, and hereby accuse you of ?HAPPY SLAPPING?.

Sounds like you’ve been illegally downloading too much porn you sick fuck.

Think of the children! Or, in your case, don’t, since you’re probably a pedo.

It’s likely when you are jailed for illegally downloading, that you will rank somewhat below a child molester in the prison hierarchy and will reap the benefits accordingly. With Smith, Swartz and others on the way and with more ICE crackdowns coming, at least you’ll have company.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Now now, the only way that would happen is if you were trading sexual favors with a certain group of senators, making sure that HAPPY SLAPPERS such as you get preferential treatment at the cyberbully prison. I’m sure after you’ve greased their respective palms, or something else that needed greasing, they’ll let you be some serial rapist’s proteg?. By the way, my hamster just comitted suicide by chewing on the computer wires as you were posting, no doubt poisoned by your ?FLAMING? (HURTFUL, CRUEL, AND OFTENTIMES INTIMIDATING MESSAGES INTENDED TO INFLAME, INSIGHT, OR ENRAGE). That means you just commited manslaughter (or rodentslaughter in this case, I assume would mean when a rat such as you inadvertently kills another of its kind).

Lovely (profile) says:

Elected?

These are elected officials? Senators no less, sworn to defend The Constitution? Aiming for The First Amendment? A “privilege” !? Yeah, eff off.

What time does the movie start? Can I bring my own popcorn? Are there going to be fireworks first?

I think, given today’s communications capabilities, that we start to entertain (demand?) we be allowed to vote on everything.. Fuck Congress.. they’re doing a shit job. And there’s no way in hell a bunch of full health coverage having, high wage earners are representing the majority of Americans.

This whole online free speech assault.. I don’t like it, not one bit I don’t. Fuck industry. They can eat a dick.

Digger says:

Re: Time to arrest those Senators for Treason

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.

Sorry – “Congress shall make no law”

Anonymous Coward says:

Proponents of a more refined First Amendment argue that this freedom should be treated not as a right but as a privilege ? a special entitlement granted by the state on a conditional basis that can be revoked if it is ever abused or maltreated.

The paragraph preceeding the above and the subsequent paragraphs should have also been provided since they would show that the above quotation is taken out of context.

The preceeding paragraph speaks to the classical and overwhelmingly prevailing view of the First Amendment, i.e., that it is a right secured to the people by the constitution, and not a privilege dispensed by either the federal or state governments.

The paragraph you selected is stated to reflect the philosophy of John Stuart Mill, a philosophy that is outside of longstanding First Amendment jurisprudence.

The subsequent paragraph(s) then speaks to general principles of US law, and does correctly note that the First Amendment is not an absolute.

This would have provided context, which at this point in time is missing from the post.

GreyGeek (profile) says:

Re: ... the First Amendment is not an absolute

“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech,…”

“no” combined with “abridging” seem absolute to me. When they take the oath of office the elected Representatives must swear by the current oath of office, enacted in 1884:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God. ”

“support and defend” does NOT mean modify to align with current Socialist ideologies. To suggest that the Right of free speech is a “privilege” that can be handed out at the whims of some elitist “thinkers” is to be a domestic enemy to the Constitution, one who has mental reservations or is being evasive. Those politicians should be recalled from office and tried for treason.

Overcast (profile) says:

Well, STFU dumb-asses and then that’s a good start. Any reduction in free speech should start in Congress.

How do these tools get elected anyway? I mean – WHY would even a corporation pay to get some of these clueless morons elected?

And how’s that for free speech?

Go ahead and try to take away free speech ass-hats, it doesn’t mean I have to pay one bit of attention to what you say. I’m free, and that’s that. I am entitled to free speech by the constitution of this country and your piddly-little laws will not change that.

Montezuma (profile) says:

Turning the First Amendment into a “privilege”? Oh, you mean how the various states, and the US Government has turned our Second Amendment right into a “privilege”. You see, this is what we firearm owners warned you about. Just deal with it.

I am sure that most here never had our back, so why should we have any of your backs? Oh, and this gets worse. Eventually, more of our rights will be taken away, or severely reduced. So, I just want you to remember this. I know that it hurts losing your rights, but many of us have been dealing with that for years.

You see, once the various governments started raping the Second Amendment, it left nothing for people to fight for their other rights with. That isn’t to mean that we have to engage in an armed rebellion; it just means that there is nothing left for government to fear.

Checks and balances: It use to work.

Montezuma (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

You obviously do not know what the Second Amendment states. As a matter of fact, I would tend to believe you could not tell me anything, of substance, about the US Constitution, without looking it up on Wikipedia, or through Google.

The Second Amendment covers the right to “…keep and bear arms…”, not just the right to purchase a shotgun from Walmart.

garm (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Free speech is instrumental in critizing and giving feedback to the government. Without free speech we lose the ability to stand up for ourselves.

The second amendment is nothing but an old relic that makes it possible for people that shouldn’t have firearms to get hold of them. There is a marked correlation between the availability of firearms and the number of gun related deaths. In fact the only countries that have more gun related deaths than the US is South Africa, Colombia, Thailand and Guatemala. And two of those are in a constant state of war!

TaCktiX says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually, research shows that where gun laws are least draconian there is a corresponding drop in violent crime, particularly gun-related. It’s in “lockdown locations” that illegal guns are being used against people unable to defend themselves since they can’t legally purchase weapons.

To be fair, I’m having difficulty digging up a link right this moment, but generally where the 2nd Amendment is least limited is where violent crime tends to be lower.

Anonymous Coward says:

Legal trickery

As crap as these proposed changes are, they are written so broad as to be useless on their own. You won’t see someone beating down doors looking for internet bullies.

What you will see, though, is when someone is dragged into court for some other reason, and somewhere in the course of their action they touched a computer, then these charges get trotted out as a form of prosecutorial piling on, in the hopes that the accused will cop to a lesser (but still trumped-up) charge.

Graf (profile) says:

What group do you want to join?

“EXCLUSION (INTENTIONALLY AND CRUELLY EXCLUDING SOMEONE FROM AN ONLINE GROUP).”

Now I am pretty sure that there are a few forums inside the senate that hold some nice juicy gossip. If they are intentionally stopping me from joining these groups (by not letting me join or even not letting me know how to join), then they are breaking there own rules – flog the lot of ’em I say

pjcamp (profile) says:

rights or privileges?

Both the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution express the same point of view:

Declaration: “. . . that to preserve these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their powers from the just consent of the governed. . .”

Preamble: “We, the people . . . ordain and establish this Constitution for the government . . .”

In both cases, the view is that rights are inherent in our condition as human beings, and that power flow from the people to the government as a device for protecting these rights. There is no notion whatsoever of rights as something bestowed on the people by the government. Rather, it is power that is bestowed on the government by the people and may be taken away at any time.

R says:

Danger

You know what the saddest part is? It’s that if this law passes, people still won’t realize the USA have become a tyranny.

Raped when flying.
Protesting only allowed where you can’t be seen.
Locked up for years without getting a trial.
Government/CIA introduce secret evidence not even the judge can see at your trial.
Cops get a slap on the wrist every day for physically abusing people.
Copyright infringement is a crime.
Torture authorized.
Killing people without a trial is legal.
The Constitution can be ignored by the government at will.
Criminal wars.

There are problems everywhere, but in many places problems aren’t that bad. The USA are a tyranny and Americans would do well to stand up against this ASAP. The longer they wait, the harder the fight will be.

james says:

oh deah

Perhaps just make it illegal to have an opinion,unless its ok’d by the media. ??
I support the peaceful protests but what will bring reality to a head will be when everyone gets to colloborate on a new document that will hopefully lead to a sensible and common sence way forward. It’s important not to “hate the rich” “hate politicians” or hate any group. I do hope some common good happens from all of this

Anonymous Coward says:

Rick Seidel

Rick Seidel is a prominent example. The high school basically kissed the Asian Students ass and were willing to exclude other students for him an example of which is the high school fire. Rick Seidel killed himself after an incident of cyber bullying on facebook so I believe they were connected. An adventist minister felt that it was his priestly duty to ostracize someone on facebook. The Asian guy though doesn’t have published papers or a PHD as far as I know I mean I can see a connection.

To My Teacher Dr. Rick Seidel
The first day of General Biology (GB) second semester. We all crowded into the Hickman 114 amphitheatre, anxious not only because the hard work was starting all over again but also because we had a new teacher. As he stood in front of our class, the overstuffed classroom tried to predict how this GB would compare with last semester. But before we had time to decide, the lecture notes and syllabus had been passed out. That day we set a record?we covered the syllabus and an entire 40+ page chapter in our book in the fifty minute class period. Our new teacher meant business. When we arrived back at the classroom the next day, I was surprised to see that our class fit more comfortably into the room. My teacher didn?t give me long to think about it though; I forgot everything else as we dove into another chapter of our book.
He loved teaching, my teacher.
Amidst the no-nonsense lectures, our teacher found ways to make us smile. He found a way to use the words ?fauna? and ?flora? in respect to the mammalian body at least twice every class period. His lectures were also punctuated with fun facts about everyday aspects of life, like how some places here in TN take the dead Christmas trees and tie them to the docks to provide homes for the little fish in the rivers or lakes. And in between the unique words and fun facts, no one ever questioned how much our teacher understood about any of our material. This might be his first time teaching GB, but he was more than prepared. Because my teacher was so revered, his praise was coveted. When we had our first lab of the semester, I desperately wanted to do well. The tricky fetal pig dissection made me think back to the one frog I had dissected in my sophomore year of high school. Carefully, my two lab partners and I cut through the skin and muscle, exposing the organs beneath. As our teacher walked around the room, he paused at each lab bench and evaluated each group?s work. When it was my team?s turn, he smiled at us. ?Good work,? he said. The long lab suddenly had become worth it; we had done well. Elated, my group cleaned up the lab.
He held his students? deepest respect, my teacher.
Our teacher centered our class on proving and knowing God. He started every class period with a word of prayer, and as we went through the chapters, our teacher pointed out the complexity of the systems within mammals? bodies. There was no contest between Creation and evolution in his class. And during many of our lectures, my teacher would tell us simple stories about the family he loved dearly. He loved to spend time with them out in nature. Our teacher was confident in God, and he considered himself blessed.
He had a personal relationship with our Creator, my teacher.
And it is with the heaviest heart that I start to comprehend that my teacher Dr. Rick Seidel passed away this weekend. His death has left all of his students shocked; he was just in class on Wednesday. We had a teacher sub for our class on Friday because they said he wasn?t feeling well, and so we reviewed for our upcoming test without him. Now he is gone, and I can?t begin to understand why.
Dr. Rick Seidel will be greatly missed in Southern Adventist University?s Biology department, especially by his students. But in my pain, I find hope knowing that my teacher will one day be united with his first General Biology class. And on that day, he can finish teaching our lecture on neurons in the brain with more clarity than he ever had here on this earth. I know that I, like his family, friends, colleges, and students, am counting down the days until Jesus comes to heal this world of this unexpected pain and heartache and reunites us all in His kingdom with no more pain and no more sorrow.
Please keep his family and friends, his colleagues and students, and Southern Adventist University in your prayers.

Anonymous Coward says:

EXCLUSION (INTENTIONALLY AND CRUELLY EXCLUDING SOMEONE FROM AN ONLINE GROUP).

Hmm… exclusion is a form a bullying? Wow. I guess we’ve all been bullied by the Skull and Bones society… the Free Masons… how many other ‘Secret Societies of the Social Elite’ that so many politicians belong to that we can call on this one, huh? Glass houses, people…. Glass houses!

(By the way, I’m Anonymous because I don’t want to “belong”… Buck the system!)

Anonymous Coward says:

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

“TaCktiX, Oct 4th, 2011 @ 11:22pm

Actually, research shows that where gun laws are least draconian there is a corresponding drop in violent crime, particularly gun-related. It’s in “lockdown locations” that illegal guns are being used against people unable to defend themselves since they can’t legally purchase weapons.

To be fair, I’m having difficulty digging up a link right this moment, but generally where the 2nd Amendment is least limited is where violent crime tends to be lower.”

The reason you can’t find a link is because what you’re claiming is bullsh*t.

Anonymous Coward says:

What?

So wait…if someone trolls, that is cyberbullying. But trolling causes people to “respond emotionally”. If they say something “emotionally” or if they get “trolled”, and they then cyber bullying too?

This whole thing reeks of bullshit. How a democratic senator could come up with this is beyond me. Our government is officially fucked.

Aurora says:

I think they need a dictionary!

“HURTFUL, CRUEL, AND OFTENTIMES INTIMIDATING MESSAGES INTENDED TO INFLAME, INSIGHT, OR ENRAGE”

Re-read that and let it sink in…. “Insight”, first of all, is not a verb, and it means something entirely different than the word I think they wanted – “Incite”.

I guess this comment counts as flaming under the above definition, being insightful and all!

DrJerry says:

Freedom of Speech

I feel this whole article really offends me, therefore it should not be allowed. It really upsets me to hear people talk about cyberbullying, happy slapping, message boards, flaming, trolling, exclusion and all the other stuff these Senators are espousing. I feel offended and would like for them to stop immediately so they don’t hurt my feelings. Hey Senators GET OVER IT!!!!!!

Mixed emotions says:

Freedom of Speech

Some people feel they have the right to be hurtful to others secretly behind a Internet connection. I don’t. I believe everyone should be able to speak freely but not when the intent is deliberately malicious in nature. The definition of what is being proposed is too broad. Free speech is a right but at the same time it shouldnt be abused.

Anonymous Coward says:

WTF !!

Are we in Europe or Canada ? Who decides what is “offensive”. If these idiots get their way we will not be able to make any comments nor disagree with one another. Exactly what the founders of this country are against and why there is a 1st Amendment. We all will have to think about legal consequences and be afraid to be ourselves. What a shame. Totalitarianism at its finest !

Anonymous Coward says:

“Some people feel they have the right to be hurtful to others secretly behind a Internet connection. I don’t. I believe everyone should be able to speak freely but not when the intent is deliberately malicious in nature. The definition of what is being proposed is too broad. Free speech is a right but at the same time it shouldnt be abused.”

Rights and Freedoms are like a Jenga tower. Take one out, and the rest follow.

Grup says:

bullying laws

Please!! I think parents would be better suited to the task of protecting their children by teaching them what I taught my kids, “You do not have a Right to not be offended. If someone offends you, walk away.” and “Life isn’t fair. Get used to it. Whoever told you that life was fair lied to you and I know it wasn’t me.” Parents are teaching their children to be psychological wussies!!
There are plenty of laws for real crimes, like assault, battery, harassment and anti-stalker laws to deal with real problems. That should be enough.

RGamboe (profile) says:

Too Much Free Speech?

Those NY Senators who want to curtail free speech are tyrants.

George W. Bush said that terrorists “hate our freedoms.” By that definition, these same senators are terrorists!
The people of NY need to vote these communists out of office.

America has become a nation of crybabies. Americans need to grow up, stop focusing so much on their feelings, start standing up for their Constitutional RIGHTS (such as free speech), and stand against those who would deprive them of those rights.

“Government is at best a necessary evil, and at worst an intolerable one.” — Thomas Jefferson

“Give me liberty or give me death!” — Patrick Henry

“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” — Lord Acton

T Bagg says:

NWO #1! All Bow Down to Lucifer!

I dont know anybody who hasn’t ever said something offensive to somebody. Even Jesus offended many of the Pharisees, so much so that they had him crucified. Let’s see, Ghandi offended England. Muslims are always offended, same with the Jews. Congressmen get offended with each other all the time. Like when Bohner interrupted the President,… so he can’t talk anymore (probably a good thing anyway). I get offended practically everytime I am lied to watching the news or listening to my government. Uhhh….I think we’re going to have a problem here. I have no filter, so I’m totally screwed.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop ยป

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...