Alternative Civil Liberty Umpires

The American Civil Liberties Union was once a stalwart, scrappy, absolutist defender of free speech and due process. It took serious heat for its defense* of American Nazi’s right to free expression in 1977.
*There are many accounts of this. You will find some here, here, and here.

That indomitable devotion to the First Amendment prompted me to become a card carrying ACLU member. But I haven’t been a member since ~1985 because the ACLU drifted away from this purity of principle. It continued downhill for many years, but after the 2016 election the corruption rapidly became complete and absolute.

The rotten yolk of this organization may still be called a “union,” but it now diametrically opposes the other three words in its name. Enthralled by the money gushing out of the Diversity/Inclusion/Equity cabal, ensnared by rote identitarianism, and blinded by Trump Derangement Syndrome – the ACLU turned its back on the Constitution.

RIP. Here are comments from two high profile liberal lawyers. Like me, former ACLU supporters:

Alan Dershowitz:

The ACLU has defended Nazis, the KKK, pornographers and purveyors of hate speech. I was privileged to serve on the national board of the ACLU during its golden age.

Then everything changed. The board decided to “diversify.” This meant that a certain number of women, African Americans, Latinos and gays had to be represented—which, in turn, meant the representatives of these groups were expected to prioritize the parochial interests of the groups they represented over the more general interests of all Americans pertaining to free speech and due process.

Unsurprisingly, the organization stopped prioritizing free speech and due process. Instead, it began to prioritize a woman’s right to choose, gay marriage, racial issues and “progressive politics.” This trend began well before the election of President Donald Trump, but it came to a head when he took office. The ACLU turned into a money-making machine by prioritizing the anti-Trump attitudes of its new members over its traditional role as a nonpartisan defender of free speech and due process.

The ACLU is now rolling in money, but it is intellectually bankrupt in its defense of free speech and due process—especially when these core liberties conflict with its money-making progressive agenda. This is particularly true with respect to the attacks on free speech and due process on university campuses, which are rampant and largely ignored by the current ACLU.

Jonathan Turley:

For years, many of us who have long supporteded the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have grown alarmed by its abandonment of core principles in the support of civil liberties in favor of support what seems a more political agenda…

Free speech protection was once the touchstone of the ACLU which was fearless in its unpopular advocacy. It is now an area of open retreat for the organization as the leadership seeks to appease irate donors. Despite the right to carry being a constitutional right, the ACLU has indicated that it will not vigorously support the right to lawfully carry weapons at protests. That is no more evident than in the truly shocking filing of the ACLU to oppose due process rights for students at our colleges and universities, particularly in the imposition of a higher and more consistent evidentiary standard…

The group seems increasingly committed to appeasing liberal donors and supporters in avoiding such fights. Now it has actually taken up the cause of reducing due process — a position that disgraces its long and proud legacy… It is now actively trading off civil liberties to achieve beneficial social ends.

We need new civil rights umpires.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, and the New Civil Liberties Alliance are worth supporting in the vacuum ACLU betrayal has left.

New Civil Liberties Alliance

NCLA views the administrative state as an especially serious threat to constitutional freedoms. No other development in contemporary American law denies more rights to more Americans. Although Americans still enjoy the shell of their Republic, there has developed within it a very different sort of government—a type, in fact, that the Constitution was designed to prevent. This unconstitutional administrative state within our U.S. government is the focus of NCLA’s concern. NCLA urges Americans to recognize the administrative threat and join our civil liberties movement against it.

Here is a look at litigation NCLA supported: State of Missouri ex rel. Schmitt, et al. v. Biden, et al.

Public statements, emails, and recent publicly released documents establish that the President of the United States and other senior officials in the Biden Administration violated the First Amendment by directing social-media companies to censor viewpoints that conflict with the government’s messaging on Covid-19.

NCLA joined the lawsuit, State of Missouri ex rel. Schmitt, et al. v. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., et al., representing renowned epidemiologists and co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, Drs. Jayanta Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, as well as Dr. Aaron Kheriaty and Jill Hines. Social media platforms, acting at the federal government’s behest, repeatedly censored NCLA’s clients for articulating views on those platforms in opposition to government-approved views on Covid-19 restrictions.

This insidious censorship was the direct result of the federal government’s ongoing campaign to silence those who voice perspectives that deviate from those of the Biden Administration. Government officials’ public threats to punish social media companies that did not do their bidding demonstrate this linkage, as do emails from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to social media companies that only recently were made public.

The Administrative State is nowhere better established than in our Universities, and FIRE started out as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education before recognizing a broader mission. The examples below indicate that FIRE is dedicated to defending the First Amendment. The content of speech is not the issue. Whose Ox is gored is irrelevant. The speakers opinions are sacrosanct, even… especially… if they are unpopular.

Punished for not using a student’s preferred pronouns, theater professor sues

A lawsuit filed last week by theater professor Richard Bugg against administrators at Southern Utah University alleges that key school officials violated his First Amendment rights when they punished him for refusing to use a student’s preferred pronouns.

Bugg is represented by FIRE Faculty Legal Defense Fund network attorney Jerome H. Mooney, with FLDF’s financial support. FLDF offers “first responder” legal assistance to protect the academic freedom and free expression rights of faculty at public colleges and universities, and where appropriate supports litigation when on-campus efforts meet resistance.

Bugg’s lawsuit alleges that when a student in his 2021 fall semester acting class requested Bugg use they/them pronouns when referring to that student, Bugg instead offered to use that student’s given or preferred proper name. Although Bugg attempted not to use female pronouns to refer to the student, he mistakenly did so two to three times, by his own admission. Despite Bugg’s proposed accommodation, the student filed a Title IX complaint against him alleging Bugg would not refer to the student using gender-neutral pronouns.

After a hearing, SUU determined Bugg violated university policy by engaging in “conduct that constitutes ‘discrimination’ and ‘harassment’ based on gender identity.” As punishment, SUU has required Bugg to take a class about the use of gender-neutral pronouns in the English language, and that Bugg use students’ preferred pronouns. SUU also cautioned that if Bugg’s continued refusal to use preferred pronouns causes students to avoid registering for his classes, SUU will open additional sections, and will reduce Bugg’s pay to offset the cost of the additional sections. It also threatened Bugg with possible termination.

FIRE urges Twitter, Carnegie Mellon not to censor professor who wished Queen Elizabeth ‘excruciating’ death

Queen Elizabeth’s death yesterday spurred a global outpouring of grief from many of her fans, alongside discussion and debate about the complicated history of England’s monarchy. Much of this debate took place on Twitter, which, for better or worse, serves as a modern public square for commentary about current events.

But critics succeeded in at least partially silencing one such commentator: Carnegie Mellon University professor Uju Anya, who wrote on her personal account hours before the Queen’s death was announced: “I heard the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be excruciating…”

CMU must publicly refuse to investigate or punish the professor
Regardless of public controversy, Anya’s tweets remain protected under First Amendment standards. Private institutions like CMU are not bound by the First Amendment to promise free expression, but, laudably, the university has chosen to do so, committing that it “values the freedoms of speech, thought, expression and assembly — in themselves and as part of our core educational and intellectual mission.” CMU goes so far as to say the “university must be a place where all ideas may be expressed freely and where no alternative is withheld from consideration.”

Now that CMU has promised faculty free expression, it cannot backtrack from “all ideas may be expressed,” to all except this one because people are mad. CMU has not backtracked, but it also has not foreclosed the threat of punishing Anya in its public statement. That’s why FIRE is asking CMU to publicly commit not to investigate or punish Anya for expressing her opinion. As we told CMU:

While some may find the timing or substance of speech about the deceased to be offensive, freedom of expression does not observe a mourning period. It applies whether speech about the recently departed takes the form of a venerating eulogy, scorn, or something in between.

If you are so inclined you can join me in supporting NCLA here, and the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression here.

We do need institutions to take up the banner the ACLU has ground into the mud.

Preponderantly polite. Dangerously non-violent.

UPDATE: 12:15PM, Feb5
GoFundMe has shut down the Freedom Convoy account and threatened to give the money to charity. They indicated contributors would have to apply for refunds. They’ve backed down and will be issuing refunds automatically.

Meanwhile:
Verified Information on Where to Safely Donate to the Freedom Truckers Convoy

It’s approaching a million dollars as I write.

A night with the untouchables
Written by a civil servant in Ottawa who lives where the protest is happening. Worth the read.

Back to our regularly scheduled program…

You may be aware that thousands of truck drivers in Canada formed a convoy 45 miles long and drove 2,000 miles to protest Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s CCP virus pronunciamentos. Overpasses along their trek thronged with cheering supporters.

The convoy arrived in Canada’s capital last weekend, and Ottawans’ lives have since been disrupted by clogged streets (lanes are open for emergency vehicles), liberal use of air horns (stopping at six PM), and protestors marching around the Parliament buildings chanting “Freedom!” And occasionally taking time out to shovel snow in public spaces, or build a mobile soup kitchen to feed Ottawa’s homeless.

The truckers, and a growing majority of Canadians, think Canada’s CCP virus rules should follow the science. That is, the rolling imposition of limited martial law should cease.

They think the Trudeau hegemony has again misinterpreted Canada’s mission statement: “Peace, order, and good government”. The truckers are leading the debate, “Resolved: Canada does not have the good government required for peace and order.”

“Peace, order, and good government” is not so presumptuous a demand as “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” nor as prone to excess as “Liberté, egalité, fraternité.” The Freedom Convoy protest, befitting Canada’s image, is preponderantly polite. In no way comparable to the “stop-the-steal” riot on January 6th/20 in Washington, nor to the gilet jaune street fighting September 12/20 in Paris.

Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly says (Jan 31):

No injuries, no deaths, no riots in the last four days in the nation’s capital, even though we have a global cause, national protest.

By February 2nd there had been 3 arrests in an estimated 10,000 protestors.

The contrast with our Jan/6 riot and the Antifa/BLM planned insurrections is inconvenient for the laptop class and the Trudeau government. They need vicious oppressors. So Ottawa’s Globe and Mail, a government subsidized enterprise, finds a way to vilify the truckers:
Calling the Ottawa protests ‘peaceful’ plays down non-violent dangers, critics say

“Police haven’t reported any physical violence at the ongoing Ottawa rally against vaccine mandates and other government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions, but critics warn that conflating the absence of bloodshed with “peaceful” protest downplays the dangers of the weekend demonstrations.”

Among the dangers the Bytown anointed have cited was one guy carrying the Stars and Bars. There’s video of him being shamed and driven away by the truckers. That’s a literal false flag.

Someone painted a swastika on a Canadian flag, leading to charges the truckers are Nazi sympathizers. The strikingly more obvious interpretation is that the painter was calling Trudeau a fascist wannabe.

A woman was seen, arms in air, shouting “Freedom!” while standing on the base of the National War Memorial. This action has been described as “desecration.”

It is a beautiful and evocative statue, deserving reverence and protection:
Credit Robert at SDA

So far it has not been targeted for destruction by BLM or Antifa. But the subjects are imperialist white male warriors, so it’s only a matter of time. You do have to wonder whether the men depicted would feel disrespected sharing a plinth with someone shouting “Freedom!’ in the context of CCP virus tyranny.

They were soon to be exposed to the Spanish Flu pandemic. I imagine their reaction to mandates and lockdowns would be less compliant than Justin would prefer.

Someone hung a Maple Leaf flag upside down on the statue of Terry Fox. The left was apoplectic. This statue has been dressed up many times in the past without comment from the petty totalitarianate.

A CBC newsbimbo suggested that Russia was secretly organizing the protests.

Somehow these deplorable truck driving cretins must be driven from polite society, castigated, cancelled, shamed. Canada’s precedents for using nebulous complaints from far-left activists to punish speech are well known. Mark Steyn made some of them famous.

One of CNN’s iconic contributions to Newspeak was displaying the phrase ‘mostly peaceful’ over live images of burning buildings. Having described protests involving murder, looting, arson, and vandalism as ‘mostly peaceful’, what do you do when a you need a condemnatory description of protests that involve no class A felonies? Well, war is peace and freedom is slavery. Just follow your 1984, or the Globe and Mail stylebook.

‘Dangerous non-violence’ is justification for making Thoughtcrime up as you go along. Ideas are too dangerous to trust them to free citizens.

It’s disappointing, really. These truckers went to a lot of trouble to gently stir up some shit. Even with the distinct lack of felonies… couldn’t we at least call it ‘barely raucous?’

No. No agency must be granted to these unacceptables. The Prime Minister is channeling Hillary Clinton:

“The small fringe minority of people who are on their way to Ottawa, or who are holding unacceptable views that they’re expressing, do not represent the views of Canadians…”

-Justin Trudeau

According to this Angus-Reid poll, Pansy McBlackface is claiming 54% of Canadians hold unacceptable views. Even Hillary only called half of Trump’s supporters deplorable, not more than half the whole population.

Not to be outdone, the leader of Trudeau’s partners, the New Democrats (think Bernie, AOC and Omar), played the race card:

“Conservative MPs have endorsed a convoy led by those that claim the superiority of the white bloodline and equate Islam to a disease.”

-Jagmeet Singh

Wow. Maybe he gets his world view from Whoopi Goldberg.

Finally, displaying the cluelessness for which he is justly famous, Ontario’s Premier:

“It’s time to let the people in Ottawa get back to their lives,” Premier Doug Ford says on fifth day of convoy demonstrations.”

-Doug Ford

Doug, you portly pontoon, it’s time to look up the word “irony.” THAT MESSAGE is WHOLLY OWNED by the protestors. YOU CAN”T POLITICALLY APPROPRIATE “Letting people get back to their lives.” The Freedom Convoy hasn’t even had their 2 weeks to flatten the curve.

Further reading on freedom of conscience in Canada:
Lessons from Canada
The Chief Canadian Human Rights Commission investigator testifies in 2008, “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.”
Touquemada™
Until freedom “of thought, belief, opinion and expression” is seen in Canada to actually be a fundamental right it will simply be a matter of how much freedom of speech Parliament thinks is good for you.
The View from Dromore – Free Speech in Canada?
A Canadian citizen comments in 2008.
The first 100 days: Major battle over free speech, internet regulation looms when Parliament returns
Section 13 is coming back.
Canadian Father Jailed For Talking About Court-Ordered Transgendering Of His Teenage Daughter
He must use the ‘correct’ pronouns.

Record Maintenance

There’s no reason for this post except my surprise that lawfare guru, enemy of free speech, drug kingpin, murder suspect, and convicted terrorist bomber Brett Kimberlin is still skulking around outside of a prison and clogging up our already sclerotic legal system.

He gave us a preview of Antifa in 1978. But even more arrogant and less principled.

TOC noted this sleazebag 3 times in 2012. It’s nice to see psychopathic fools getting what they deserve. Over and over. We can celebrate his defeats.

Brett Kimberlin (Speedway Bomber) Loses Attempt to Vacate Long-Past Convictions, Including First Amendment Challenge to Impersonating-Federal-Official Conviction

I think today he’d skate on the “federal officer impersonation.” The FBI is now arguably worse.

Crime visionaries

“Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

-Ayn Rand. Atlas Shrugged

FBI’S ‘DOMESTIC TERRORISM’ CASES HAVE ‘MORE THAN DOUBLED’ SINCE THEY WILDLY EXPANDED THE DEFINITION OF ‘DOMESTIC TERROR THREATS’

Redefining the law is too passive, though. The FBI was a major player in the Russiagate conspiracy, the Carter Page persecution, and the Michael Flynn entrapment; and more or less ran the Whitmer kidnapping plot.

Western Civ: cheap veneer or cruel joke?

New Zealand COVIDocracy.

Police Bust Gang Members With Car Trunk “Full Of KFC” Takeout Breaching ‘Strict Lockdown’

Yes, “KFC” means the fried chicken. Chick-fil-A is mustering its legal team.

OK, the perps also had $70K in cash and an unspecified number of “empty ounce bags.” But maybe those little bags were for delivering counterfeit Arby Sauce?

The most egregious/hilarious bit is the cops bragging pictures of KFC takeout bags. “Look what we did!” Well, we are looking… wankers.

Street value of the KFC contraband could not be determined because of the “undisclosed quantity of fries.”

There’s a Firesign Theater bit where they mention the police estimate of the street value of some seized ground round, but I can’t find it.

This will have to do:

And dont-cha just love those ‘Hot Buttered Groat Clusters,’ and two tubs of slaw!!

I guess the good news here is that the fascists can’t beat the Colonel.

Joe Kool

President Biden’s FDA is preparing to ban menthol cigarettes.

According to NBC, 85% of black smokers use menthol cigarettes. The public health nannies are going to make sure that blacks can’t make that mistake any longer. Or, they’ll have to do it illegally.

It’s for their own good: Properly Conducted Black Lives Enforcement Matters. And it’s not like over-regulation of cigarettes can bring people into unfortunate interaction with police.

Nobody is going to figure out some home based method of flavoring cigarettes, and selling untaxed cigarettes is already against the law. Eric Garner is a perfect example. You may recall, he died when a cop used a choke hold while arresting him for selling single cigarettes, depriving the State of New York of badly need tax revenue.

Garner said “I can’t breathe,” long before George Floyd, probably as a result of selling menthol cigarettes.

Doing what they do

The electrons had barely come to rest before my prediction yesterday was fulfilled: Biden Says Rioters Who Stormed Capitol Were Domestic Terrorists

Mr. Biden has said he plans to make a priority of passing a law against domestic terrorism, and he has been urged to create a White House post overseeing the fight against ideologically inspired violent extremists and increasing funding to combat them.

We already have such laws of course, probably more than we need given TSA, but we refused to apply them all last summer. People were fired at the New York Times when they unaccountably published an Op-Ed by Tom Cotton pointing it out.

We went all summer acquiescing to extended occupation of US territory by declared insurrectionists who – across the country – committed massive property destruction, murder, extensive arson, and pervasive looting of government. And, opportunistically, against private citizens and businesses having no connection to the grievances. We were told it was a “A summer of love” and “People will do what they do.”

This Wednesday we had a bit of property destruction and a little looting directed at government in a single city. And maybe an unjustified police shooting. After which everyone went home. But it was the wrong property, the wrong lootees, and an unarmed white female. This time it’s different.

I hit the “publish” button yesterday mere hours before Joe Biden’s knee-jerk “DO Something” reaction was to threaten revival of uber-progressive racist Woodrow Wilson’s Sedition Act of 1918:

The Sedition Act of 1918 curtailed the free speech rights of U.S. citizens during time of war.

Passed on May 16, 1918, as an amendment to Title I of the Espionage Act of 1917, the act provided for further and expanded limitations on speech. Ultimately, its passage came to be viewed as an instance of government overstepping the bounds of First Amendment freedoms.

President Woodrow Wilson, in conjunction with congressional leaders and the influential newspapers of the era, urged passage of the Sedition Act in the midst of U.S. involvement in World War I…

…The provisions of the act prohibited certain types of speech as it related to the war or the military [and what wouldn’t?]. Under the act, it was illegal to incite disloyalty within the military; use in speech or written form any language that was disloyal to the government, the Constitution, the military, or the flag; advocate strikes on labor production; promote principles that were in violation of the act; or support countries at war with the United States.

In regard to speech, proto-President Biden has already benefitted from the interventions of Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Apple, Instagram, Snapchat, and a growing list of corporate adjuncts of the “Democratic” Party whose inconsistent judgment is substituted for the 1st Amendment.

They’re telling us President Trump incited insurrection with his pre-‘Stop the Steal’ rally. Well, Ann Althouse has done a wonderful thing by fact checking this claim, providing examples from the address. This is short and a must read: The 7 most violence-inciting statements in Donald Trump’s speech to the crowd on January 6th. Sadly, it’s a Google blog, and I’d rather not send them the traffic. But Althouse nails it, so I’ll view it as subversive to Google.

The state of social media alternatives to Twitter, as an example, is not encouraging. Parler is in the news because its app has already been kicked off Google’s store and has been threatened by Apple with delisting unless they (Parler) start repressing speech according to the Progressive narrative. On that news I opened a Parler account.

I have had a Pro account at Gab since 2016 to support them monetarily. It is difficult to donate to Gab, since no payment processor (Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, etc.) will allow it. Gab is the wild, wild west. They’ve achieved pariah status. You have to send a check or Bitcoin.

If Parler doesn’t accept a de facto form of Twitter moderation rules – and their terms of service could easily be bent that way without change – the same fate may await them, and I can’t see a way to donate to Parler. I’ve asked them about it.

If they stand up for their principles, they’re going to need it. They’ve been trying to thread the needle between Twitter and Gab. So long as any small group can effortlessly impose their sense of being offended, that needle is imaginary.

Gab has already suffered a concerted effort to destroy it. It hangs on, but monetization has been made so difficult that I wonder about how long that will last. I don’t login to Gab much at all, and I don’t read the stuff on Gab I don’t like, and there’s lots of it. Possibly this will be true as I check Parler, too. The fact that Gab can offend me, and Parler may possibly offend me, is exactly the point.

Supporting such platforms is a speech action (whether the Dems get Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission overturned or not) individuals can take to reduce the stranglehold of Big Tech on free speech.

Publishers are rolling over to cancel publication of books to which the Cancelists object. GoFundMe and Kickstarter, as examples, are erasing funding campaigns at the hint of pressure from the SJW/Antifa/BLM/
Progressive axis. People are losing their jobs over having peacefully assembled. Alinsky’s advice:

“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.”

… has been highly refined.

I already miss 2020.

Those in possession of absolute power can not only prophesy and make their prophecies come true, but they can also lie and make their lies come true.
-Eric Hoffer