What Is Not Tolerated Here

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Blogging

In a post regarding the NY Times editor, Bill Keller, this comment was made:

This is what we call high treason, Mr. Keller. And don’t complain to us about “continuing to give the story publicity� by calling you out on it. If you and your buddies hadn’t published it all over the country in the first place, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, traitorous worm. Don’t try to fault us for calling you out, we aren’t the ones who distributed it throughout the nation. It wouldn’t be cruel enough to kill or imprison you, we should just hand you over to the terrorrists and let them have their way with you. If you somehow make it out alive, I’m sure you’ll sing a different tune then the one you do currently from your rich, fancy, unassailable office.

The reason I point this out so publicly is because the commenter is no fly-by-nighter. He goes by the handle Brian in MA, and he’s been posting comments on here for quite some time now. However, this comment went way, way, way too far. And so, Brian in MA is banned. This was a difficult decision, but one I feel had to be made to maintain the integrity of this blog.

Do note, that if you think Mr. Keller is a traitor, I have no qualms with that. But calling for this kind of treatment for Keller is sickening, wrong and I will absolutely not stand for it.

Remember, commenting here is not a right, it’s a privilege. And let this serve as a reminder of exactly what kind of comment will get those privileges revoked.

I appreciate your understanding.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 28th, 2006 and is filed under Blogging. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

37 Responses to “What Is Not Tolerated Here”

  1. amba Says:

    Good, Justin.

  2. Dennis Sanders Says:

    Good for you, Justin.

  3. DosPeros Says:

    A Eulogy to Brian in MA:

    “A living thing seeks above all to discharge its strength – life itself is will to power…” “The Great Tolerant” is now marinating in this glorious Nietzschian truth, as all censors do, with your banishment. And what was your cardinal sin…words. Yes, words, words that “The Great Tolerant” will not Tolerate.

    Racist words, no
    Sexist words, no
    Words that instigate violence, no
    Merely words reflecting a rather creative poetic justice, a hypothetical, a wit — TOO MUCH! Brian, you offended the decorum and the sensibilities of “The Great Tolerant”.

    Despite the “difficult decision” to kill your voice, it doesn’t surprise me? Brian MA, you were loud and rancorous, you enjoyed vigorous debate & rhetoric & prose, much like myself. You were often politically & philosophically wrong in my opinion, but sometimes you were VERY right. You were obviously a person who thought about his country and took the time & interest to know the issues.

    Well, Brian, you will be missed, by me at least. The “integrity” of a web blog such as Donklephant, in my opinion, is its openness to debate, uncensored, lively, a market place of ideas, words, expressions, and by its very nature should have the roughness that comes with free expression. Your banishment does nothing to you Brian, unfortunately is does effect the integrity of a blog that I love — in a very negative way. Truly free thought is not wanted here, it is loathed and feared.

    So long my friend. I’m sure you won’t be the last and each of little commentators have now been reminded of the precarious and weak position of our privelege here at the Donklephant.

    By the way, I think it shameful and cowardice not to give you ONE last comment TO DEFEND YOURSELF before your bannishment, but alas, you would be completely UNCONTROLABLE by “The Great Tolerant” and so it will not be offered.

    Get up the good fight, Brian.

  4. Trickish Knave Says:

    I don’t think Brian in MA is going to lose much sleep over it; like many bloggers this is just one of many on on the daily read list. While his comments appear to heated I think it is just a passionate vent. I think you are overreacting about the ban but it is your site to do with what you will.

  5. Monica Says:

    I share the same sentiment as Trickish Knave’s post. I’m sorry to see someone get banned, but it’s your site and I respect that.

  6. Justin Gardner Says:

    By the way, I think it shameful and cowardice not to give you ONE last comment TO DEFEND YOURSELF before your bannishment, but alas, you would be completely UNCONTROLABLE by “The Great Tolerant� and so it will not be offered.

    There’s no defense against calling for the death of a newspaper editor on this blog. Call me what you will DP, but his comment was completely inappropriate and I simply won’t stand for it. And by the way, just to clarify, I’m not “The Great Tolerant”. This blog is built upon the idea that partisan rancor is not welcome here. Have you missed this point about Donklephant or are you purposefully ignoring it so you can write some blustery response to this?

    As for your comments about “truly free thought is not wanted here”, seriously, give the histrionics a rest, ok? I’ve warned you before when you were toeing the line and insulting people. What happened? You apologized. And you know very well that your comments didn’t come anywhere close to what Brian said.

    But hey, if I have such questionable moral fiber and this blog has been so sullied because of this incident, then there’s nothing stopping you from not commenting. The choice is yours.

  7. DosPeros Says:

    There’s no defense against calling for the death of a newspaper editor on this blog.

    First of all, Justin – Brian’s argument/suggestion was fundamentally stupid, because why would the terrorist kill, maim, torture, exc. someone that according to him (Brian) has done them such a great favor and will probably continue to work as an excellent intel source for the terrorists. Bin Ladin and other terrorists have no reason to hate the NY Times and they would be stupid to start murdering the editors. In fact, if we “handed them over” to the terrorists, most likely they would get a tour of poverty-ridden areas of the Muslim world and a discourse on evil American oil men and a safe return to their PC’s to write the story.

    Instead of pointing this out, you ban him for a stupid comment, instead of intelligently answering him. Proportionality, Justin, should be a hallmark of those proclaiming themselves “moderates.” It doesn’t seem to me that Brian’s comments warranted a total ban. Unless, your banning him was the result of cumulative “offensive” words — but that is certainly not what your post about the matter suggests.

    Have you missed this point about Donklephant or are you purposefully ignoring it so you can write some blustery response to this?

    I’m writing because I think you’re smarter and better than to start banning people, particularly long-time commenters that have something to say. You’ve also created a great forum & you haven’t done it by banning people. It, in my opinion, diminishes you and your creation, But, as the others have said, its your blog…so have fun.

  8. Professor Says:

    While I agree that his posting was heated and a bit over the top I do not see where he calls on anyone to kill the editor. He mentioned ” instead of killing or imprisoning” which is the punishment for treason.

    –Lance

  9. Justin Gardner Says:

    People, if you can’t read the violence in Brian’s comment, I’m not going to be able to convince you. Amba and Dennis saw it. You should be able to as well.

    And yes, Brian’s commentary will be missed, but he crossed a line and that’s that. I’m almost positive I warned him before, but I didn’t check. Frankly, after reading this, I didn’t even bother.

    One last note, to those who are defending Brian by arguing that turning Keller over to the terrorists would result in them just hanging out because the NY Times has been such a help to the terrorists, give me a break. You’re letting your partisanship get in the way of reason, so quit making intellectually dishonest arguments and join the discussion for real.

  10. Meredith Says:

    Yes, but you notice that he said killing and imprisonment would not be cruel enough. What would be cruel enough would be to turn him over to the terrorists and let them have there way with him . . . and if he makes it out alive . . . .

    There are several types of speech which are not protected by the First Amendment. It is arguable that Brian’s comments were meant to incite violence, or at the very least could be classified as hate speech. Perhaps he was just being “colorful,” but his comments, to me, resembled the type of hate speech used by the KKK in reference to African Americans, the type of hate speech used by Fred Phelps and family in reference to homosexuals, and the type of hate speech used by extreme pro-lifers who advocate violence towards abortion providers.

    The one thing that I like about this blog, is that you don’t come here to be subjected to the completely uncensored nonsense that can come from commenters who constantly use foul language and name-call. I’m all for free speech, but this blog is about intelligent debate which fosters education and hopefully, more meetings of the minds between people of all political persuasions. In order for lines of dialogue to stay out of the gutter, Justin has mandated a certain code of civility – which generally provides plenty of latitude for people to express themselves without resorting to highly offensive comments.

    I think it’s obvious what Brian was advocating, at the very least implying, and I applaud Justin for taking the action he did. Ever since I watched the videos of reporters being tortured at the hands of terrorists I am completely sickened by the suggestion that Keller should meet with the same fate.

  11. gerryf Says:

    Putting aside the fact that the rules are different when we speak of government making no law to restrict free speech and what a private individual/enterprise may do, am I the only one who thinks it is ironic that Brian in MA was banned for railing against a newspaper exercising its first amendment right, and that railing gets him banned?

    As Justin notes, that posting at Donkephant is a privilege, not a right, so he can do as he wished…it’s his sandbox, and we just play here.

    As a long time reader, but only recently a poster, I truthfully don’t much care for Brian in MA’s style or content. I disagree that he is thoughtful, or enjoyed vigorous debate. Vigorous debate means more than spitting vitriolic partisan dogma that is either thoughtful or thought provoking beyond a base level.

    That said, I’m fairly certain that it was one of Brian in MA’s more absurd posts that got me to post for the first time. I’m sure others might have been compelled to post due to him as well. Which, I guess, brings me to my point–I think that you can make a case that Brian in MA’s post was over the top, hateful, moronic, instigating violence, etc–but basically, it was mostly just Brian in MA being Brian in MA, which means that it is pretty hard to take it as anything more than the usual partisan claptrap.

    I sincerely doubt I will ever gain any insight or knowledge from one of his posts, but he does make a contribution here–call it the unthinking, knee-jerk reactionary right point of view.

    Some people like that. Some people use it as a compass for their own thoughts. Whatever.

    I lack the kind of eloquence necessary to come up with something stirring along the lines of: “I don’t agree with him, but I will defend his right to say it.�

    Personally, I don’t have to like it, I’m not sure I want to defend it or his right to say such nonsenseâ€â€?and I also don’t have to read it. All that aside, it seems overly harsh to ban him for it.

  12. Brian in MA Says:

    Don’t know if this’ll make it through since I’m theoretically banned, but I figure a clarification is in order.

    In the first instance, as the editor of a newspaper caught up in defending what are treasonous actions, Bill Keller is a public figure. If there are those out there who can actively call for Bush’s death(and there are plenty), Keller is equally up for criticism.

    Second, it appears that the wit of poetic justice has been lost here. I am not seriously calling for his killing or imprisonment (which would in fact be warranted under Article III for Treason anyway), and I certainly think that imprisonment is pointless to those who “fight for a cause”. Perhaps what I could have stated more eloquently is that spending some time with those he aids through his actions might change his perspective. I was attempting to use “cruel” in the ironic sense. It would be much “more cruel” for him to face the reality of who and what he aids and abets through his actions then it would be to end his life or imprison him without him understanding the nature of his crime. He thinks he’s doing this in “the public good”, protected by “freedom of the press”, and it would make him a martyr in his own mind if he were killed and imprisoned for his great stand against the Bush Administration and their supposed master plan of eroding everyone’s rights.

    Overwhelingly Unoffensive Tact isn’t my deal, nor is it Moore’s or Coulters. My deal is to explain things in a no-nonsense way of how I actually feel. I often end up writing scenarios of what would best convey the reality to those whose actions and statements are reality challenged. Should I for whatever reason be unbanned, I will excercise more tact in my postings and not let my imagination carry me away.

    Will I apologize for what I wrote? No. I accept responsibility for it and will clarify it to the best of my ability. I don’t go around posting things I don’t believe in. I truly feel that some time in the real world that most of us live in would serve as a reality check to Keller.

  13. Justin Gardner Says:

    I lack the kind of eloquence necessary to come up with something stirring along the lines of: “I don’t agree with him, but I will defend his right to say it.�

    Oh, I’ll defend his right to say such things too. But there’s a big difference between allowing it to go on inside one’s house (i.e. Donklephant) and allowing it to go on in general. I’m fine with the latter, but not with the former.

    Let’s just take Ann Coulter for an example. Hard line partisan, right? Well, she’d be welcome here to comment, but does anybody think she’d last? It wouldn’t be long before she made one of her famously “hilarious” cracks, like the one about Murtha’s fellow soldiers “fragging” him, and she’d be banned. These types of comments are beyond the pale and they have no place here. I’ve made this all very clear before, and have even posted about it. If Brian didn’t know that, well, tough luck.

    I realize at first glance this may seem harsh, but you need to just trust me that this blog will start to devolve if I ignore stuff like this. I want to foster an open, welcome environment and attract the kind of commenters who respect each other’s right to not be shouted down by invective and ad hominems. That means I have to do things that seem harsh sometimes. I’ll bear that burden gladly.

    Thanks for the comments.

  14. gerryf Says:

    “Oh, I’ll defend his right to say such things too. But there’s a big difference between allowing it to go on inside one’s house (i.e. Donklephant) and allowing it to go on in general. I’m fine with the latter, but not with the former.”
    –JG

    I think I noted that. Ultimately then, the point we should take from this is not that opinions are banned but that it is incumbent on houseguests not to pee on the carpeting. ;)

  15. Justin Gardner Says:

    Yes, no peeing on the carpet. :-D

  16. Don Says:

    Completely aside that the ‘revelation’ was of something that wasn’t a closely guarded secret to begin with, never even mind that (as with the NSA wiretaps story) any terrorist group stupid enough not to think his funds could be tracked (after the 9/11 money trail had been) has less credibility than the ‘Miami 7′, there are two points here:

    - the same problem with this is the same as with everything else the Bush Administration does: no oversight. As I understand the founding concept of the US, it’s that no one can be trusted with too much power; thus the concept of ‘checks & balances.’ Regrettably, that goes out the window with this administration. “This is all legal (by our interpretation) and we’ll take care of you. Trust Us!”

    - the Rovian attacks on the ‘liberal’ NYT while the ‘conservative’ WSJ is rarely mentioned (not to mention WaPo and LAT). Yes, the NYT lead the coverage, but the others the others were already working on it and followed. As with Risen & Lichtblau’s NSA reporting, the damage here isn’t to efforts on the war on terror, it’s to the credibility of the Bush administration, and the return fire, direct and by proxy, is at the NYT.

    Attacks on the NYT that aren’t mentioning WaPo, LAT, and WSJ are coming from hypocrites.

    Attacks that are, be careful… those people are the only ones telling you what your government is doing.

  17. Trickish Knave Says:

    “You’re letting your partisanship get in the way of reason, so quit making intellectually dishonest arguments and join the discussion for real.

    Partisanship? Sorry, you’ll have to find another way to work political motivations into this drama. Most people can hit the control-alt-delete buttons on their sensitivity CPU and can recognize the difference between ‘partisan rancor’ and an unfiltered comment.

    Some people might read Brian’s comments and become sickened by an overimaginative role play while others will read them and think, “Damn, that guy’s pissed.”

    Whenever I see things like this happen I can’t help but to flash to Colmes flailing over a comment from one of his guests- a comment that only has significance in that would fail a member of a hyper-sensitivity training seminar.

  18. Trickish Knave Says:

    Shit, didn’t turn off the italics.

  19. Meredith Says:

    Trickish says: “Sorry, you’ll have to find another way to work political motivations into this drama. Most people can hit the control-alt-delete buttons on their sensitivity CPU and can recognize the difference between ‘partisan rancor’ and an unfiltered comment.”

    Find another way to work political motivations into this drama? I think they’re already in. I’m confused as to what you mean by that comment. As far as sensitivity and hyper-sensitivity, I guess you’re arguing that we should all toughen up and stop being babies when someone says something we don’t like. Well, to me, being a baby would be getting really upset about it, dwelling on it and maybe crying about it. Being tough means stepping up to say “this is unacceptable, and I am not going to tolerate it.” Otherwise, maybe our whole country should just stop being so hyper-sensitive about all this terrorist stuff.

    We’re not talking about a case of someone not using the correct PC term of the week.

  20. Justin Gardner Says:

    Whenever I see things like this happen I can’t help but to flash to Colmes flailing over a comment from one of his guests- a comment that only has significance in that would fail a member of a hyper-sensitivity training seminar.

    Are you perhaps referring to things that Coulter says? Like the Murtha comment? Please explain an example of this hyper-sensitivity.

    And if it that’s hyper-sensitivity, isn’t what Brian said supreme hypersensitivity?

    Also, explain to me why it’s hyper-sensitive to strongly question somebody when they say something like that?

    To me, hyper-sensitivity is something completely different. And I think you’re really cheapening what it means.

  21. Pathwerker Says:

    Were any of us(or the terrorists) unaware of this program before the Times published their story? Please expain why charges of treason are warranted.Seriously, if there is a valid argument, I would like to hear it.

  22. Justin Gardner Says:

    Seriously, if there is a valid argument, I would like to hear it.

    There is no valid argument. It’s merely people getting angry at the perception of giving up information that could aid the terrorists.

    As one commenter pointed out, if terrorists didn’t realize we were monitoring their financial transactions, they either haven’t been paying attention, stupid or a heavy combination of both.

  23. ford4x4 Says:

    …It’s merely people getting angry at the perception of giving up information that could aid the terrorists.

    As one commenter pointed out, if terrorists didn’t realize we were monitoring their financial transactions, they either haven’t been paying attention, stupid or a heavy combination of both.

    Even though you can’t possibly know what was gained from this, you feel it’s safe to assume it was a complete waste of time? Of course the “higher ups” in Al-Qaeda knew about the tracking, but I’m sure there were plenty of people that weren’t aware and were funneling money in this way. If we weren’t gathering useful intelligence from it,
    we wouldn’t have continued to do it.

    On the subject of this post…
    I read this blog every day. One of the main reasons I read is that I can
    see some good debate in the comments, with both sides represented.
    I’ve seen several debates between Justin in Brian_in_MA. For some reason, I think that if this had been Brian’s first post, Justin would not have taken the action. Just my opinion.

  24. Trickish Knave Says:

    I guess you’re arguing that we should all toughen up and stop being babies when someone says something we don’t like.

    Now you’re getting it. The Soccer Mom mentality doesn’t have to apply to everything. Ever hear of ‘water off a duck’s back”? Perhaps it is my military service that allows me to dismiss rude and insensitive comments for what they are and not go off like a sensitivity training coach. You want tolerance but only if it doesn’t offend you.

    I’m offended that you’re offended.

    It is a shame that you don’t understand the difference between partisan rancor and heated discussion. Why is it that people like you try to make everything politically motivated? Brian made a harsh statement and because he is conservative then his statement must be politically motivated?

    “Jeez, those kids really piss me off drag racing up my freakin street. I hope they slide into a telephone pole and go into a coma for 5 or 6 years.”

    “Why must you always turn things into a political rant?! That talk is unacceptable. I’m so distraught… you’ll have to excuse me while I watch my recorded shows of Oprah.”

    Please, spare us your Lilipution categorizations.

  25. Mikkel Says:

    As a metacomment to whether he should be banned or not, I am absolutely sick of the common accusation of “treason” that has been going on the last few years. There is a very good reason why treason is the only law referenced in the Constitution and that’s because it was used by England as a political tool to execute the opposition. It will always be a favorite tool of despots and an enemy of Democracy. Our founders — who let’s face it, had the issue around their necks — recognized that the charge could destroy all dissent if left unchecked and should only be used in the most egregious cases imaginable. This is why a very small handful of people have ever been convicted of it in the United States (and as far as I could tell from wikipedia there have been no executions carried out in its name). Not even the Rosenbergs or the Americans charged with working with Al Qaeda directly were charged with treason. To me, seriously advancing someone is a traitor is libel in nearly all cases and I would ban anyone that just threw the accusation around if they didn’t recuse it. So please, even if you think someone is breaking the law and endangering the country, at least urge them to be charged with specific crimes. To accuse someone of treason is an affront to the millions of people that can (and have) been killed on a tyrant’s whim.

  26. Meredith Says:

    Trickish,
    “I’m offended that you’re offended.” – God, you’re sensitive!

    “It is a shame that you don’t understand the difference between partisan rancor and heated discussion.” – Sometimes there’s a difference and sometimes there’s not. In the case of Brian’s comment, I don’t really care what it was.

    “You want tolerance but only if it doesn’t offend you.” – The point of tolerance is not to offend people, isn’t it? Don’t confuse tolerance with the right to free speech.

    “Brian made a harsh statement and because he is conservative then his statement must be politically motivated?” – His statement was inappropriate, and I would call anyone out on such a statement, whether they were conservative, liberal, independent, whatever.

    Who are those other quotes from? What is your point? Why are you defending Brian anyway? What is the soccer mom mentality?

    I, personally, do not get offended by much. In fact, I’m usually the one who makes offensive statements. However, suggesting violence (and possibly extreme violence) befall someone is too far over the line for me. I suspect most people would agree. I guess I’m just a big baby. I’m not offended by that.

  27. Justin Gardner Says:

    I am absolutely sick of the common accusation of “treason� that has been going on the last few years.

    Agreed. The moment Coulter used it as a book title a few years back, it started to lose all meaning. Now it’s some blanket word that people on the right like to use when they don’t approve of somebody’s actions. Completely ridiculous stuff, and I hate how they’ve so cheapened it. But then again, they’ve cheapened quite a few things in the last 6 years…

  28. DosPeros Says:

    I agree that the accusation of “treason” has lost its sting, its stigma, its legal seriousness — but not really its definition. I would suggest this is the result of Vietnam and not Ann Coulter.

  29. probligo Says:

    From here you can get one Americans lead on what should be done – take away the freedom of the press, selectively.

    Rationale – that “freedom of speech was given to individuals, not the press”.

    Be afraid, America.

  30. DosPeros Says:

    Glenn Reynolds is absolutely correct, Problgio, when he writes:

    The founders gave freedom of the press to the people, they didn’t give freedom to the press. Keller positions himself as some sort of Constitutional High Priest, when in fact the “freedom of the press” the Framers described was also called “freedom in the use of the press.” It’s the freedom to publish, a freedom that belongs to everyone in equal portions, not a special privilege for the media industry.

    The editors of Donklephant, myself & you should be happy to know that the NYT has no greater freedom to publish what it wants than us. Any belief to the contrary needs to come with some supporting historic and legal basis.

  31. probligo Says:

    And nowhere, to my knowledge, have I ever suggested that the press DID have “any greater right”.

    So that, for a start, is a non-secquitur in discussing the NYT.

    You might like to examine the SCOTUS decisions on “treason” and then consider why the Administration has not directly challenged NYT’s right to publish.

    You might like to consider why it is that the earliest accusation (that I was able to trace) of NYT’s “treason” came from John Snow. If you can find something earlier than his statement please let me know. Why is it that FoxNews, and its various op-eders, spent the next 24 hours hammering the message to the faithful.

    And you might like to tell us why, now that the Right-Hounds of the Blogskervilles have been released, the White House is doing nothing more about the NYT. Is it because they know the Blogskervilles are doing the work for them?

    It really does put the intelligence of the Right-Hounds in question, though, when you consider that the whole raruraru is based upon the premise that terrorists needed to be told, could not work out for themselves, that there would be risks associated with the use of the international finance systems.

    That is nothing more than an intellectual arrogance.

  32. DosPeros Says:

    And nowhere, to my knowledge, have I ever suggested that the press DID have “any greater right�.

    So that, for a start, is a non-secquitur in discussing the NYT.

    Maybe you haven’t posited this particular position, but this is the essence of the argument I’ve heard from every hyperventilating left-winger trying desperately to defuse the treacherous actions of their comrades. “The press is special, how dare you even suggest they could do wrong by publishing vitually anything?!”

    But thanks for qualifying your position for me. You are obviously a reasonable and rational person, who understands that the press “industry” does not have extra-constitutional rights to defy the Espionage Act, either during a time of peace or when the Nation is at War and peoples lives are at stake. It is good to know that you don’t consider a cabal of leftist, American-hating elitist privy to special-legal status at the cost of all other citizens during a time of War.

    You might like to examine the SCOTUS decisions on “treason� and then consider why the Administration has not directly challenged NYT’s right to publish.

    Speak your mind Probligo, what cases would like me to examine, least anyone think you’re…being disingenuous? You seem mighty certain of the legality of NYT’s actions, so please educate me. I can point to federal statute,

    §798. Disclosure of Classified Information.

    (a) Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States or for the benefit of any foreign government to the detriment of the United States any classified information�

    (1) concerning the nature, preparation, or use of any code, cipher, or cryptographic system of the United States or any foreign government; or
    (2) concerning the design, construction, use, maintenance, or repair of any device, apparatus, or appliance used or prepared or planned for use by the United States or any foreign government for cryptographic or communication intelligence purposes; or
    (3) concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government; or
    (4) obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of any foreign government, knowing the same to have been obtained by such processes�

    Shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

    (b) As used in this subsection (a) of this section�
    The term “classified information� means information which, at the time of a violation of this section, is, for reasons of national security, specifically designated by a United States Government Agency for limited or restricted dissemination or distribution

    SO PLEASE PROGLIGO, LETS HEAR YOUR LEGAL ARGUMENT. JG makes excerabated platitudes about us dumb-bastards calling the NYT traitors (I won’t listen to you and neither should anyone else & you should just be thankful your not banned…blah, blah, blah), but NO ONE seems to want to defend NYT straight out. Vageries about the 1st Amendment aren’t going to cut it. It is well settled law that freedom of speech is not absolute and nor should it be if you don’t want to get trampled to death when someone yells fire in a crowded theatre. Please explain to me why the NYT has NOT violated federal law.

    Here’s my favorite argument, “Well, the terrorist knew we were monitoring them anyways, so no harm, no foul.” But then, in the same hypocritical, idiotic breathe, “Americans have a right to know what there government is doing.” Well, thanks for valuing the intelligence of the terrorist over the intelligence of the American people. Nice.

    But yeah, Probligo, here’s a suggestion: Follow Justin’s lead, because all you have to defend NYT is science fiction literature (1984) and vague, unsupported constitutional platitudes.

    I’m a civil libertarian & a pragmatist. The people supporting the NYT are doing the cause of their own liberty violence and they don’t even know it. Pathetic. The 1st Amendment is there to preserve a market place of ideas, not a market place of strategic intelligence during wartime.

    That is nothing more than common sense.

  33. Trickish Knave Says:

    Who are those other quotes from? What is your point? Why are you defending Brian anyway? What is the soccer mom mentality?

    /shake head
    /Pity ON

  34. John Shelton Says:

    It would be about three years ago, now, that I enjoyed frequent visits to a political forum called “Liberal Forum” (.org). Debate was fun and thought provoking, and there were moderators to try and keep it clean.

    Much like this place, it seems to me.

    Only something happened one day on that website that gave me pause, and I had to step back and review my conclusions about my country and my countrymen.

    It was in the latter-early days of the conflict in Iraq; the initial conventional war had been won for about a year, and the guerrilla war had begun in ernest.

    There was a string on this website devoted to the topic of anti-war protesters protesting outside of cemetaries, particularly during the burial of dead American servicemen and women.

    A young man decided to post something like the following: “They deserved it. They deserved to die. They had no business being there in the first place, so good riddance.”

    Being a former Marine myself, I was so horrified and so maddened and so galled by the blackness of this statement that I promptly responded with something that went like this: “If I ever meet you, I will give you a black eye.”

    They kicked me off the site. Were they right in doing so? I think so, now, years later and looking back… yes, they were right.

    But the young man who said that black thing, the unspeakable, was not disciplined, nor even reprimanded for saying this thing, these words which have the fullest capability to hurt just as much as any black eye ever could.

    And Americans seem to have completely lost sight of this fact, the fact that words can hurt.

    The editor of NYT used words to hurt. I see him, however, as having reason, and I see his words as not having any specific victim. He used words to try and found a greater good, and for that, I give him a chance to prove his worth. He doesn’t have my support, yet, but neither do the hordes of politicians and masses of media descending on him like some pack of lying ravenous wolves.

    The young man who instigated this string, however, also used words to hurt, and his hurt had a specific target. His words were hate, directed toward a single individual just because he disagreed with the politics of the thing. That is wrong. There is no ifs, ands, or buts about it, and I support his leaving whole-heartedly.

    I hope that Americans someday return to the idea/roots that made us who we are. We knew, once, the power of words. We knew, also, the power (and the lack of power!!) of a physical fight. We knew that it is fully possible to have a fist-fight and come out of it as brothers (lord knows, I beat the heck out of my brothers growing up, and they me). A punch of the fist can mean nothing, or it can mean everything, depending on the feeling evident behind it. And the feeling behind it is evidenced by words.

    Sincerely:

    John B. Shelton

  35. Justin Gardner Says:

    but NO ONE seems to want to defend NYT straight out.

    Dos, come on…

    I guess I’ll have to defend them “straight out” then. What the NY Times reported was right. Hands down. Legally it was completely within the press’ rights, and, as a lot of evidence suggests, it wasn’t a secret. What exactly is your legal argument again Dos?

    By the way, thanks for the thoughtful comment John. Much appreciated.

  36. Meredith Says:

    Trickish says:

    “/shake head
    /Pity ON”

    OK, whatever that means. And this coming from the “pineapple comment” guy. Thanks for addressing any one of my points. Also, complete sentences never hurt anyone.

    It should be painfully obvious (watch as I beat this dead horse over and over and over and over again) that some of us don’t like people suggesting that other people be tortured (like Brian in MA did) or raped (like you did). There is NO POINT to comments like that, except to be “edgy,” grotesquely exaggerative and rude. Go post that crap on another blog, where you can all just call people names, make references to violent acts and be creatively shocking!!!!

  37. Tully Says:

    >>>Legally it was completely within the press’ rights

    Uh uh. The press has NO constitutional rights not enjoyed by the citizenry at large. Go back upstream and re-read Section 798. NYT has no more “right” to violate that law than I do. They have the complete freedom of the press to print what they want–but they also have the civil and criminal liability that comes with such “speech” violating national security laws. The press is not above the law.

    The government may defer to the press and not prosecute for many reasons, many explicitly political, but the legal principles are clear-cut. The 1st Amendment “freedom of the press” is an individual right of the people, and does NOT create some additional royalty class with greater rights than those enjoyed by the people at large, as many in the press would like to believe. You and I have all those same rights, and if you or I published classified signal intel info we could go to jail. NYT is not immune to that for any legal reason.

    DosPeros asked for a legal argument against, and all you offer is false declarations of legality that contain that presumption of the press being a protected class with greater rights than the rest of us. That’s just not true.

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