State Dept Launches 'Free the Press' Campaign Same Day DOJ Asks Supreme Court To Jail Reporter

from the just-not-the-press-we-hate dept

The US State Department announced the launch of its third annual "Free the Press" campaign today, which will purportedly highlight "journalists or media outlets that are censored, attacked, threatened, or otherwise oppressed because of their reporting." A noble mission for sure. But maybe they should kick off the campaign by criticizing their own Justice Department, which, on the very same day, has asked the Supreme Court to help them force Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times reporter James Risen into jail.

Politico's Josh Gerstein reports that the Justice Department filed a legal brief today urging the Supreme Court to reject Risen's petition to hear his reporter's privilege case, in which the Fourth Circuit ruled earlier this year that James Risen (and all journalists) can be forced to testify against their sources without any regard to the confidentiality required by their profession. This flies in the face of common law precedent all over the country, as well as the clear district court reasoning in Risen's case in 2012. (The government's Supreme Court brief can be read here.)

Associated Press reporter Matthew Lee commendably grilled the State Department spokesman about the contradiction of its press freedom campaign and the James Risen case at today's briefing on the State Department initiative, repeatedly asking if the government considers press freedom issues in the United States the same way it does aboard. The full transcript is below.

As Gerstein noted, "The Justice Department brief is unflinchingly hostile to the idea of the Supreme Court creating or finding protections for journalists," and if the Justice Department succeeds "it could place President Barack Obama in the awkward position of presiding over the jailing of a journalist in an administration the president has vowed to make the most transparent in history."

The government does mention it is working with Congress to craft a reporter's shield bill, which should give you some indication that the proposed bill is at best a watered-down, toothless version of what many courts have offered journalists for decades, and that would be no help to James Risen—the exact type of reporter that we should be attempting to protect the most. It's important to remember that in Risen's case, the government has previously analogized reporter's privilege to a criminal receiving drugs from someone and refusing to testify about it.

We'll have more on both the shield law and the Risen case soon, but it's clear that the US government still refuses to walk the walk when providing journalists the protections it says it believes in.

Oh, and while we're on the subject, maybe the State Department can use its "Free the Press" campaign to put pressure on one of its staunchest allies, the United Kingdom, which is using terrorism laws to suppress acts of journalism—something the State Department has condemned many times in the past.

Here's the full interaction between the AP's Matthew Lee and the State Department spokesperson Jennifer Psaki on James Risen and US press freedom at today's press briefing:

JENNIFER PSAKI: One more announcement for all of you: With World Press Freedom Day around the world on May 3rd, the department will launch its third annual Free the Press campaign later this afternoon in New York at the U.S. U.N. mission. Beginning on Monday and all of next week, we will highlight emblematic cases of imperiled reporters and media outlets that have been targeted, oppressed, imprisoned or otherwise harassed because of their professional work. The first two cases will be announced by Assistant Secretary -- Assistant Secretary Tom Malinowski later at the -- at U.S. U.N. And we invite you of course to follow Tom at Twitter, who has -- on Twitter who, as you all know, was just confirmed several weeks, @Malinowski and to keep up with human rights issues on DRL's website.

With that --

Q: Sure. Just on that, reporters who are, what, harassed? I'm sorry --

MS. PSAKI: Targeted, oppressed, imprisoned or otherwise harassed.

Q: Otherwise harassed. Does that include those who may have been targeted, harassed, imprisoned and otherwise whatever by the United States government?

MS. PSAKI: I'm --

Q: No?

MS. PSAKI: I think you're familiar with our Free the Press campaign, Matt, but --

Q: Fair enough. So it does not include those who might have been harassed by --

MS. PSAKI: We highlight, as we often do, where we see issues with media freedom around the world.

Q: Right, I understand. But you would say that you don't -- the U.S. does not believe that it has a problem with press freedom, or if it does, that it's not nearly as severe as the problems in other countries.

MS. PSAKI: We do not. I think we can look at many of the problems --

On media press freedom?

Oh. Go ahead. And then we'll go to you, (Paul ?).

Did you have another question on media press freedom, or --

...

Q: If I could just go back to the overall, in general, the administration does not regard attempting to prosecute American journalists as an infringement of press freedom?

MS. PSAKI: I'm not sure which case you're -- what you're referring to.

Q: Well, there's several cases that are out there right now. The one that comes -- springs to mind is the James Risen case, where the Justice Department is attempting to prosecute. I just want to be clear. I'm not trying to --

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, I --

Q: I just want to know if you regard that as an infringement on press freedom or not. And I suspect that you do not, but I want to make sure that that's the case.

MS. PSAKI: As you know, and I'll, of course, refer to the Department of Justice, but the leaking of classified information is in a separate category. What we're talking about here, as you all know and unfortunately we have talk about on a regular basis here, is the targeting of journalists, the arrests, the imprisonment for simply exercising their ability to tell the story.

Q: Right. I understand that. And we're all, I'm sure, myself and all my colleagues, we're very appreciative of that.

But the reporters in question here have not leaked the information; they simply published it. So is it correct, then, that you don't believe -- you don't regard that as an infringement of press freedom?

MS. PSAKI: We don't. I don't have anything more to say on that case.

Q: OK.

MS. PSAKI: Do we have a new topic?

Reposted from Freedom of the Press Foundation


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 7:47pm

    Hypocrisy...

    ...thy name is the United States of America.

     

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  2.  
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    Mr Big Content, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 7:48pm

    Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    Our freedoms are safe, not like in these foreign places. You know why? Because of the Second Amendment. The Government knows, if it ever tried to trample on any of our IMPORTANT rights, our guns would be out and trained on them like a ton of bricks.

    So don't sweat the small stuff. We can sleep safe at night, with that ultimate guarantor of our rights close at hand, under that pillow.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 8:00pm

    Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    That's why the we're conditioning our children to be afraid of guns or anything that looks like guns or anything that could be mistaken as a gun or gun-like propaganda.
    Zero tolerance. The end of the 2nd Amendment. (just give it a few decades)

     

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  4.  
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    joe k, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 8:13pm

    the emperor's new press freedom day

    MS. PSAKI: Targeted, oppressed, imprisoned or otherwise harassed.

    ...
    MS. PSAKI: Do we have a new topic?


    wikileaks?

     

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  5.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 25th, 2014 @ 8:34pm

    A loophole large enough to drive a bus through

    MS. PSAKI: As you know, and I'll, of course, refer to the Department of Justice, but the leaking of classified information is in a separate category.

    So if you're the leader/president/ruler of another country, and the US State Department is on your case for 'Targeting, oppressing, imprisoning or otherwise harassing' journalists, simply claim that the journalist published, or was in possession of, 'classified' information, and their entire argument goes up in smoke.

    Congrats USG, once again your blatant, disgusting hypocrisy has completely eliminated any moral high ground you might otherwise have had, and any chance you might have been taken seriously enough to actually accomplish anything good.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 8:43pm

    Re: A loophole large enough to drive a bus through

    Especially when the classified material might be as significant as someone trying to avoid butthurt and not 'protect' anything important at all.

     

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  7.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 25th, 2014 @ 8:49pm

    Re: Re: A loophole large enough to drive a bus through

    Otherwise known as 'A good 80-90% of classified material in existence today'.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 9:00pm

    Oh we wouldn't want to bring in how the US government targeted a newspaper complete with all it's communications trying to identify the leaker would we? This is something the citizens of this nation are used to being seen only in a 3rd world police state.

    A legal wiretap only singles out a person, not a complete corporation. Yet again the government has bent the laws into a complete breaking point to get what they want. They can't be reigned in soon enough for my tastes.

    The country I grew up in doesn't resemble the country I now see before my eyes.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: A loophole large enough to drive a bus through

    I'm pretty sure that a good chunk of that 80-90% are classified on the basis of "Why not classify it?"

    The fear of butthurt thing comes in more when it's time to redact documents that are being declassified.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 9:52pm

    Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    All of this is happening, and you still say 2nd amendment is protecting you?

     

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  11.  
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    David, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 11:38pm

    You have to admit

    that this is indeed the most transparently hypocritical government in the history of the United States.

     

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  12.  
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    David, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 11:53pm

    Re:

    The country I grew up in doesn't resemble the country I now see before my eyes.

    Rewind just a few more generations, and you'll find Henry Ford engaging in heavy rhetoric damning the World Conspiracy of treacherous people with a Middle Eastern background stranded without a homeland of their own.

    Antisemitism became unpopular because the Germans were overdoing it (it's not like it wasn't a fad in all of Europe as well as the U.S. before people managed to agree on the bad guys). But it's the U.S. which is the frontrunner now, complete with internment camps, rationalized torture, extrajudicial assassinations and systematic killings, denial of basic human rights, travel restrictions without judicial oversight, suspension of due process and so on and so on.

    How long before muslims will be required to wear the equivalent of a yellow star?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 12:48am

    Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    Good lord. Somebody hasn't been paying attention. But even if you had been, and wanted to exercise your 2nd amendment 'protection', go ahead. Please. I really do want to see how well that goes for you.

    Spoiler: My suspicion is that tanks, planes, and combat trained, armed and armoured soldiers is more than a match for any sized force of civilian 'militia', no matter how badass you think you are.

     

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  14.  
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    Julian (profile), Apr 26th, 2014 @ 1:09am

    Ich bin ein journalister

    For we are all journalists now.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 1:33am

    i seem to remember reading somewhere that this is the very sort of thing that was happening in Germany years ago. soon after, the World was at war, trying to stop the spread of Fascism. when that idea of spying on everyone and neighbors ratting out neighbors, was defeated, the World swore to not allow it again! why then is the USA going down the very same path as Germany did? the government, via it's security agencies, is very fast heading in that same direction that if fought against 70+ years ago. why, in God's name, is it doing this?? who are the people behind this? can no one see what is going on? can no one at least try put a stop to it? when the government is doing the sort of things that this one is, using the forces that are supposed to be for protecting the citizens and the country to actually do the exact opposite by spying on them continuously and wanting to know exactly who is where, doing what, with who etc etc, there is a serious problem!!

     

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  16.  
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    David, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 2:13am

    Re:

    the government, via it's security agencies, is very fast heading in that same direction that if fought against 70+ years ago. why, in God's name, is it doing this??

    Because it can.

    Fascism is putting the interests of government and state before the interests of its citizens. That's all there is to it.

    Any unchecked government will gravitate towards fascism. If the people cannot be bothered restraining the government, self-restraint becomes sort of pointless after a while.

    American taxpayers were too cheap to pay for basic democratic structures and expenses and instead let the "free market" sort it out. As a result, it has a government and laws and interest groups based on corruption, coercion, blackmail, and extortion.

    Basically the U.S. citizens have rooted for being governed by organized crime syndicates. Politicians are openly bribed by interest groups that are paying to have the law perverted into a money printing machine.

    Consequently, only rich people can afford a jury trial. There is a larger correlation between poverty and jail time than between crime and jail time, and there is a lot of poverty. You'll likely serve longer jail times for offenses against monetary interests like copyright violations than you would for rape.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 3:57am

    Re: Re: A loophole large enough to drive a bus through

    Really I suspect that much of it is concealing their own screw ups and outright evil so that it only comes out once everyone involved is dead of old age. That way they don't have to worry about that pesky "accountability" thing.

     

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  18.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), Apr 26th, 2014 @ 4:17am

    Re: Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    Vietnam pretty well proved that suspicion wrong.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 4:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    Along with Iraq, and the first second AND third Afghanistan forays.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 5:17am

    Licensing of the Press Act 1662

    Sounds like they want to turn the clock back 350 years, to the Licensing of the Press Act in 1662.

    WE are THEY.

    We ARE the press.

    The press is not a separate entity.

    There is no drivers license or certification or registration to be THE PRESS.

    If hearsay is tossed out in court, there isn't even any LEGAL basis for THE PRESS.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 6:24am

    Re: A loophole large enough to drive a bus through

    Yup. Don't like what someone has to say publicly about it? Simply slap a classified label on it and now you are suddenly justified in censoring it and punishing the person for saying it.

     

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  22.  
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    Namel3ss (profile), Apr 26th, 2014 @ 6:38am

    Re: Hypocrisy...

    Trouble is, the US govt has not yet learned that especially after the Snowden leaks, they can not get away with hypocrisy as a foreign policy any more. Their credibility is completely shot at this point.

     

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  23.  
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    Bergman (profile), Apr 26th, 2014 @ 6:58am

    Re: Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    Spoiler spoiler: I suspect that if it did come down to a large number of civilians with rifles against tanks, planes and nukes over half the US military would take their tanks, planes and nukes to join the civilians. Soldiers in general and especially officers tend to take their oaths VERY seriously.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 7:38am

    Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    ... safely hiding behind the women and children

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 8:21am

    Re:

    Before, it wasn't us. That had to be stopped. Now it's us, so it's fine because it's us.

     

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  26.  
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    Coyne Tibbets (profile), Apr 26th, 2014 @ 2:08pm

    Will the Court revoke the First Amendment "free press" clause?

    This upcoming decision is where the true future of freedom of the press will decided, here in the United States, forever.

    The government today uses "national security privilege" as a shield for all its activities and beyond. Even a public Supreme Court decision has been declared subject to national security: It's not hard to imagine a reporter being subpoenaed for publishing ("leaking") that decision.

    In effect, if there is no press privilege, then whistle-blowing is banned. Of course this is what the executive branch wants: Our government "of the free" wishes to operate completely in darkness, without the "interference" of public participation. We have to assume that only propagandist-written government press releases will survive the end of reporting privilege. Any other revelation from a "whistle-blower" will be a declared "a treasonous violation of national security;" the the reporter will be forced to reveal the source, who will then be punished for the "treason."

    Without some protection of privilege, free press reporting on government cannot exist. Since this is the whole purpose of the First Amendment clause on free press, in effect the revocation of privilege will be a revocation of that clause of the First Amendment.

     

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  27.  
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    Smoofy McDoodle, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Re:

    You've got to be kidding, right? People who criticized Islam will be wearing stars before Muslims ever do.

     

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  28.  
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    Denan Strong, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    With due respect, are you serious or being sarcastic? Your comment can be read either way.

    I strongly support the human right to keep and bear arms protected by our Constitution, but I strongly disagree with your premise that our 'freedoms are safe'.

    Our freedoms are not only not safe, they are being eroded right before our eyes by increasing power and resulting increasing corruption in government.

    To a corrupt government, 2A is just annoying, inconvenient words on paper that represent a problem they must resolve through legislation.. gun control legislation.

    At the end of the day, our weapons will only help us if we are willing to use them in defense of liberty - which obviously must not be ruled out nor rushed into.

    Given the decadent, degraded state of our culture, I question how many people would really stand up and fight their own government over freedom and liberty - too many people are seemingly content with the government managing their lives and livelihoods.

     

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  29.  
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    Mr Not Content, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    "if it ever tried to trample on any of our IMPORTANT rights, our guns would be out and trained on them like a ton of bricks."

    I think you're right. Ever tried to train a ton of bricks?

     

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  30.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 3:11pm

    Re: conditioning our children to be afraid of guns

    Who is doing this conditioning, exactly?

     

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  31.  
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    Swen Swenson, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    Yeah, we've really got the Taliban on the run, don't we? No way they can stand up to the technological might of our military.

     

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  32.  
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    Some people around here, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 4:39pm

    But...we still need gubment! We need our Uncle Sam to build our roads and tell us how to live our lives! We gotta have gubment!

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 4:51pm

    Re: Hypocrisy...

    That's a funny way of spelling Democrats.

     

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  34.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 26th, 2014 @ 5:49pm

    Re: Re: Hypocrisy...

    Yes of course, because everyone knows only one of the parties is filled with hypocrites, rather than both being equally bad in their own special ways... /s

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 11:06pm

    Re: Re: conditioning our children to be afraid of guns

    Ah, you again, Mr. D'Oliveiro. Still waging your personal crusade against the tyranny of inanimate objects, I see. Those darned inanimate objects, clearly the root cause of all that is evil in this world.

    To answer your question, the US government.

    Now, please tell me why you appear to prefer to hold inanimate objects responsible for the choices that people make, rather than those people themselves?

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 11:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    Weren't they backed by the Russians?

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 11:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    Indeed they do, which probably has at least something to do with the fact that police recently evacuated unarmed US soldiers, at gunpoint, from a military base in Texas. I find it very odd that civilian police did that, rather than military police, as well as how they did it. The hush-hush surrounding that little detail certainly doesn't bode well, either.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 11:19pm

    Welcome to 1984.

    It has been posited that one possible reason for the unconstitutional mass surveillance of innocent citizens is to determine exactly how many of US firearm owners, numbering approximately 100 million, actually would stand up and fight their own government for freedom and liberty. Last I heard, the count was around 8 million thus far.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 11:27pm

    Re: Re:

    "How long before muslims will be required to wear the equivalent of a yellow star?"

    I'd say that happened about 12.5 years ago.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 11:37pm

    Re:

    "why, in God's name, is it doing this?? who are the people behind this?"

    Very good questions, indeed. I would add, who benefits? ;)

     

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  41.  
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    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, Apr 27th, 2014 @ 2:25am

    Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    Hard to believe how many were taken in by a comment that is completely at odds with the plain facts in the article...

    The fact remains, your “right to bear arms” is a red herring, nothing more. The US Government is quite capable of eroding all your liberties, simply by making a feint at the Second Amendment: immediately the gun nuts rush to the defence of their right to wave their substitute willies about, and while they are thus distracted, it is childishly easy to pass yet another restrictive law encroaching on freedom of speech, or freedom against unreasonable search-and-seizure, or some such right that civilized people in the rest of the world consider inalienable. One of your excuses for having guns is to defend yourself against an oppressive Government; yet your Government oppresses you more and more every day, and you scarcely seem to notice.

     

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  42.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), Apr 27th, 2014 @ 5:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    The North Vietnamese Army was provided some equipment and intelligence by the Soviet Union, and some logistical support from China. The Viet Cong, on the other hand, fought with whatever small arms, booby traps, and improvised explosives they could get their hands on.

     

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  43.  
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    ahyup, Apr 27th, 2014 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    I'd like to see you guys form a real militia to take on feds. See how far you get. 2nd amendment (and the rest of the constitution) is just words on paper since 9-11. Guns are just about making money.

     

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  44.  
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    alternatives(), Apr 27th, 2014 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    Odds are it would work as well as the rights of the Cherokee were protected by the Courts and paper VS what happened to the Cherokee people.

    Remember, the gent who issued the orders is on the $20 bill.

     

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  45.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Apr 27th, 2014 @ 9:16am

    Re: Those darned inanimate objects

    But those guns can't fire themselves, can they? They need people to (mis)use them. But you can't pass laws against people, because people are supposed to have inalienable rights. So you must pass laws against the inanimate objects. QED.

     

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  46.  
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    trollificus (profile), Apr 27th, 2014 @ 12:25pm

    Re:

    Ah, people will be down with militarized police forces, SWAT teams serving every single subpoena for every single thing, and military force used against fellow citizens IF IT'S THE RIGHT FELLOW CITIZENS.

    ICP has been declared a 'gang'. Excessive, or rather, "extreme force as dictated by the violent nature of the perpetrators and consistent with the safety of law enforcement personnel" force is allowed, even recommended.

    Just target the Tea Party, Christians, libertarian groups and all those other bad people (all funded by well-known Nazis the Koch Brothers) and large segments of the commentariat, the professoriat and the fucking-liberal-doucheiat will be completely down with justifying any level of violence, in the interest of bringing about the "hegemony of the good guys". Hell yeah.

    Eventually we'll get to see if our troops will fire on their own families and friends to defend 'the government', after said government's interests become synonymous with the interests of the 1%

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2014 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    They also had terrain which is pretty favorable to guerrillas.

     

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  48.  
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    AC, Apr 27th, 2014 @ 4:08pm

    It's going to get better

    Just wait for the Due Process Permits you won't be able to obtain. Those should be fun.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous, Apr 27th, 2014 @ 4:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    The constitution HAS ALWAYS BEEN just words on paper. And all the constitution ever gave us is government.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous, Apr 27th, 2014 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    It's like the people who claim the military is "fighting for our freedom". If that's true, then how do they explain the fact that we keep losing more and more freedom all the time?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2014 @ 5:09pm

    Re: Re: Those darned inanimate objects

    Idiot. Laws shouldn't be passed against people, objects, or thoughts, only against actions.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2014 @ 5:49pm

    Re: Re:

    First they came for the Tea Partiers, and I was not a Tea Partier...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
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    JP Jones (profile), Apr 27th, 2014 @ 8:33pm

    Re: Re: Those darned inanimate objects

    So you must pass laws against the inanimate objects. QED.

    Your argument is that since people misuse guns we need to make guns illegal. Therefore we need to find enough people who agree with you to pass a law making guns illegal. This is democracy, where to solve problems we take a majority vote and implement a law to fix it.

    There's just one issue with this method. At no point does anyone actually establish whether or not the proposed law actually solves or even impacts the original problem! It's like saying that most (real) piracy happens on boats, therefore if we ban boats we'll eliminate piracy.

    Criminal laws can only do two things. The first is prevent law-abiding citizens from acting in a certain way. The second is punish criminals for breaking the law. It cannot prevent criminals from breaking the law.

    The issue isn't law-abiding citizens with guns. It's criminals with guns. Therefore a law banning guns doesn't affect the issue. It doesn't even make much sense...should we ban knives because stabbings happen with knives? What about banning cars because drunk drivers kill people with cars? They aren't killing others with alcohol...it's the car that kills people!

    There should be a litmus test to determine whether or not a law addresses an issue prior to vote. If you can't show any evidence that a particular law will solve a particular problem in any way, the law should not be allowed to be voted on until it does. Stupid laws would still get passed with bad logic, and good laws may not pass the test, but overall it would be a great step towards improving democracy.

    Also, your use of Q.E.D. following a blatant fallancy made me physically ill. Bravo.

     

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  54.  
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    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, Apr 27th, 2014 @ 10:14pm

    Re: At no point does anyone actually establish...

    Actually, it has been established. Multiple times, and in multiple places. To the point where your Federal Government has now made it a crime for its funds to be used on further research into the subject.

    The truth is uncomfortable to the gun advocates. And you see what I mean about your gun preoccupation playing into the hands of your Government? The very Government you claim your guns are to protect against.

     

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  55.  
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    Just Another Anonymous Troll, Apr 28th, 2014 @ 7:30am

    No hypocrisy here

    There is no hypocrisy here. You are forgetting the second motto of the Party; "Freedom is Slavery"

     

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  56.  
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    JP Jones (profile), Apr 28th, 2014 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re: At no point does anyone actually establish...

    [citation needed]

    Also, blatantly false. There is no consensus on gun control's effectiveness in the scientific community. It is definitely not a crime to use government funding to research it. Funding has been blocked, however, primarily by the NRA lobbyists, NOT the Federal Government.

    And no, I don't see how my "gun preoccupation" plays into the hands of my government. This makes absolutely no sense.

    Let's assume your first paragraph was based on fact and not make-believe. You're saying that gun control has been established by the scientific community as effective in preventing gun violence in your first paragraph. In your second paragraph you say this "fact" plays into the hands of my government. How? Why? Having less guns or even gun violence lets me fight better against the government? Huh?

    Seriously, though, I'd love to see your sources.

     

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  57.  
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    nasch (profile), Apr 28th, 2014 @ 10:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    ndeed they do, which probably has at least something to do with the fact that police recently evacuated unarmed US soldiers, at gunpoint, from a military base in Texas.

    Got a link to the story?

     

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  58.  
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    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, Apr 28th, 2014 @ 1:03pm

    Re: There is no consensus on gun control's effectiveness in the scientific community

    There is plenty of such consensus, e.g.

    * “Researcher finds evidence that relaxing gun laws ups murder rate” (Georgia might do well to note this.)
    * “Guns at home more likely to be used stupidly than in self-defense

    Think about why the US has the highest rate of gun crime in the developed world. In spite of this, a place like New York has managed to lose much of the notoriety for violent crime it had just a few decades ago, and stricter gun controls played a big part in that.

    The UK put major restrictions on guns after Dunblane, and its rate of gun crime has gone down as a result.

    In the 18 years prior to 1996, Australia had 13 incidences of mass killings, defined as killings of 5 or more people in a single episode. Since 1996, the incidence of such killings has been ... zero. Why? Because gun laws were majorly tightened in 1996.

    Like I said above, your obsession with the Second Amendment suits your Government to a T. It can happily pass laws eroding all your other rights—the ones that civilized people elsewhere in the world consider essential—just by distracting you with feints against your “right to bear arms”.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous, Apr 28th, 2014 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Re: There is no consensus on gun control's effectiveness in the scientific community

    China has extremely strict gun laws too, and you don't hear about any gun crimes there. The same for North Korea. Maybe you'd like to live under someplace like that?

     

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  60.  
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    JP Jones (profile), Apr 29th, 2014 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: There is no consensus on gun control's effectiveness in the scientific community

    Yes, two articles from Ars Technica, one on changing background checks in a single state and the other a review of a article from the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine from an anti-gun researcher, is "consensus." I can find plenty of opinion articles that say the opposite, including links to studies which have shown that gun control laws increase rates of violent crime. If you want to cite Missouri as the reason why gun control laws "work" I can just as easily cite Washington D.C. from 1976-2008 as the reason why they don't.

    Think about why the US has the highest rate of gun crime in the developed world.

    I guess this depends on your definition of "developed." The U.S. has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world, but we're around number 28 for rate of gun violence per population.

    The UK put major restrictions on guns after Dunblane, and its rate of gun crime has gone down as a result.

    In the 18 years prior to 1996, Australia had 13 incidences of mass killings, defined as killings of 5 or more people in a single episode. Since 1996, the incidence of such killings has been ... zero. Why? Because gun laws were majorly tightened in 1996.


    And Russia has the arguably more strict guns laws than all these countries and has a higher gun-related murder value than the U.S....despite having less than half the U.S. population. See? I can throw out random exmaples that only look at a tiny cross-section of the variables too!

    Gun violence is a problem, sure. It just isn't the problem, and stricter gun control laws aren't the solution. If only real life worked like that, where every problem was isolated and had a direct solution. Too bad that only works in fantasy.

    Sorry if I don't like making policy based on fantasy.

     

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  61.  
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    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, Apr 30th, 2014 @ 3:48pm

    Re: And Russia has the arguably more strict guns laws than all these countries

    No, it has more guns floating around than both Australi and the UK put together. So you’re just confirming my point.

    By the way, your term “anti-gun researcher” was a label applied to Hemenway by the NRA, not by the researcher’s peers. Would you trust the NRA to be impartial on the issue? Sounds like they are simply uncomfortable with a researcher building a reputation for getting at facts that they simply don’t like.

     

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  62.  
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    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, Apr 30th, 2014 @ 3:51pm

    Re: China has extremely strict gun laws too

    And so does Japan. Which is a country noted for very low levels of violent crime.

    You see, the difference between science and religion* is that science looks at all the evidence—it doesn’t pick and choose, while religion only pays attention to things that suit its purpose, and tries to ignore the rest.

    *Gun advocacy is very much a religion.

     

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  63.  
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    Pragmatic, May 1st, 2014 @ 5:28am

    Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    We can sleep safe at night, with that ultimate guarantor of our rights close at hand, under that pillow.

    It's done nothing to stop the bulk collection of our data, has it

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, May 1st, 2014 @ 5:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    What, like the ones doing all the spying on us?

    Once the word "terrorist" has been applied, civilians with rifles against tanks and guns, etc., are fair game. We've already been told that liberals and greens are terrorists. If one brown face is found among the crowd, the Islamic scare will be brought front and center and you yourself may find yourself applauding the "good guys" as they mow them down.

    The Second Amendment as interpreted by some of us is a trap designed to lull us into a false sense of security; they've convinced themselves that if it ever gets bad enough they and their boomsticks can sort it out (good luck with that).

    Well we've got no privacy protections left, the FISA court says it's legal to collect all our data. Where are the gun nuts and their weapons to defend our rights? What about their rights?

    *Crickets*

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, May 1st, 2014 @ 5:43am

    Re: Welcome to 1984.

    So where are they? I can't hear them marching over the sound of those pesky crickets.

    Our "freedom and liberty" needed to be defended ten years ago.

    Damn it, as I've repeatedly said, when it comes down to it, nobody is willing to put their money where their mouths are and they pretend the 2nd Amendment will save them. The 4th is being ignored, people, as are the others.

    The best, most effective, and least harmful way to fight this is at the ballot box. Vote the bums out and stop pretending that any act of violence will make anything better. It won't.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, May 1st, 2014 @ 5:46am

    Re: Re: Press Freedoms Are Safe Here In The USA

    Ah, the IMPORTANT rights. That's why the alleged 8 million are nowhere to be seen. The right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure isn't important. Okay, fine. Freedom of speech and expression? Hell, no. Doesn't matter a damn. Right.

    Which rights ARE important?

     

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  67.  
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    Pragmatic, May 1st, 2014 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re: Re:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
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    JP Jones (profile), May 2nd, 2014 @ 6:14pm

    Re: Re: And Russia has the arguably more strict guns laws than all these countries

    No, it has more guns floating around than both Australi and the UK put together. So you’re just confirming my point.

    Russia has an estimated 12,750,000 guns, legal and illegal, in circulation. The UK has about 4,060,000, and Australia has about 3,050,000, for a total of 7,110,000.

    Let's check population circa 2011. Russia has a population of around 141,930,000. The UK has a population of 62,641,000 and Australia 22,620,600, for a total of 85,261,600.

    Now divide the population by number of guns. For Russia that's about 11 guns per person. For the UK and Australia that's about 12 guns per person.

    So yes, Russia has more total guns, with a much higher population...but less guns per person, with a significantly higher homicide rate (~841 for UK plus Australia, ~13,826 for Russia).

    "Guns" are not a religion. Guns are a tool. An object. Like any object they can be used for good, for evil, correctly, or incorrectly.

    You can throw out statistics all you want. It makes no difference because guns are objects.

    You want to ban a dangerous object? Ban cars. Cars cause an incomparably higher number of deaths per year and are used in conjunction with a ridiculously higher number of crimes. Drunk driving, accidental death by vehicle, illegal activities facilitated by cars...you can't even compare the two for overall impact.

    We aren't rushing to ban cars, though, because they aren't inherently bad. They have good uses too, mainly transportation, but also saving lives during emergencies.

    Once we get into discussion about the "morality" of inanimate objects we've already left the realm of science, so throwing out stats is meaningless. Guns aren't good. They aren't bad. They just are. We need our policy focused on what is, and what we can actually affect, rather than trying to bend reality with paper.

     

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  69.  
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    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, May 2nd, 2014 @ 7:16pm

    Re: Ban cars

    Ah, the old "cars are dangerous too" fallacy so beloved of gun advocates.

    Can a gun take your kids to school? Help you carry home your shopping? Ferry a sick family member to the doctor? Attract a prospective date?

    No, and no, and no, and no. A gun does one thing, and one thing only: it blows holes in things. A car has many constructive purposes, while a gun can only be destructive. What kinds of problems can be solved by blowing holes in them? What kind of mentality even considers that as a legitimate way of solving problems?

     

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  70.  
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    JP Jones (profile), May 4th, 2014 @ 1:28am

    Re: Re: Ban cars

    A gun can be used to hunt, you know, for food. It can be used in self defense. It can also be used for fun.

    Guns have a purpose, and are primarily used for legal reasons in the U.S. The U.S. has about a gun for ever single person in the country (obviously some have more than others). We aren't all murdering each other with them. Obviously they have some other purpose.

    Your original argument was that more guns cause more gun violence, and that gun control laws significantly reduce gun violence. Yet the data does not support your claim. You also repeatedly take extreme positions against guns, then accuse others of "religious" pro-gun positions.

    You argue that I'm using a fallacy, yet have repeatedly used "Texas sharpshooter" data (picking only countries that support your position, ignoring ones that don't), created strawman arguments (arguing that I'm "pro-gun" when I've never stated any such thing, also misrepresenting my statement about cars out of context and indeed repeating my own arguments about the benefit of cars as if I hadn't taken that into consideration), taken black-and-white positions (you either accept the "scientific data" about gun control you presented or you are taking a "religious", i.e. faith-based, view, when other possibilities exist; also, that guns only have one purpose: destruction). Your last post is pretty much one giant loaded question. That's at least four logical fallacies with just a cursory look.

    Please, tell me what fallacy I've used. A comparison between two things is not automatically a fallacy. I'll use my next comparison as an example of this; if all comparisons (or analogies) were fallacies then most U.S. and UK law would be based on fallacy. Most of common law is designed around comparison of related cases, i.e. precedent.

    It's telling how you consistently accuse others of exactly the type of thinking you're using to minimize their argument. But I'm not arguing against gun control because I'm pro-gun, or because I don't care about gun violence. It's because I don't believe gun control works and I've already explained the reasons why I don't believe it works. I've also explained why your very specific examples don't explain how gun control works logically or statistically.

    When you're ready to argue based on facts, as you implied in your earlier posts, I'd love to hear them. Good luck!

     

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  71.  
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    nasch (profile), May 4th, 2014 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Ban cars

    A gun can be used to hunt, you know, for food. It can be used in self defense. It can also be used for fun.

    Guns have a purpose, and are primarily used for legal reasons in the U.S. The U.S. has about a gun for ever single person in the country (obviously some have more than others). We aren't all murdering each other with them. Obviously they have some other purpose.


    To be fair, he didn't say their only purpose was murder, he said it was to blow holes in things. I can't think of anything else a gun is designed to do. :-)

     

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  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: Ban cars

    Please. Hammers kill more people in the US than guns. Ban the hammers, too. As for impartiality in the debate, I don't think anyone is impartial. Everyone on both sides has an agenda.

     

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  73.  
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    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, May 20th, 2014 @ 11:33pm

    Re: Hammers kill more people in the US than guns

    The difference is, hammers are useful for putting things together, not blowing them apart.

    It’s the difference between constructive and destructive, remember?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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