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Rationalizing restrictions on free speech

Can you imagine an article like this appearing when Bush was president?  No, back then it was considered “patriotic” for the press to disclose classified information,  even when the information was incorrect or false, so the idea of the press reflecting on the Bush administration’s “struggles” with issues of free expression was unthinkable.  But when Obama wants to stomp on press freedoms for any reason, the press decides to be “reflective” and “philosophical” about the issue.  Craven rationalizations for restricting press freedoms under Obama are to be expected.  I particularly like this reader’s comment which I saw when I originally read the article:  “You are surprised Obama is stepping on the 1st Amendment? He tried to stomp on the 2nd Amendment for over a year now! The only Amendment this Administration seems to think is important is the 5th Amendment so they can hide behind it.”

And don’t think for a moment that it’s just the Obama administration.  No, it’s pretty widespread throughout the Democrat party.  Consider Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) thoughts about whether or not free speech ought to apply to bloggers:

Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Senator Dick Durbin whether Barack Obama’s promise to have Eric Holder look into cases of abuse that he personally approved represents a conflict of interest, but Durbin dodges that question and talks instead about the shield law proposed repeatedly over the last few years as the appropriate Congressional response to the scandal.  However, Durbin asks what exactly “freedom of the press” means in 2013, and wonders aloud whether it would include bloggers, Twitter users, and the rest of the Internet media [Video at the link].
Of course this sort of thing has a long history on college campuses, where different species of activists–the core of the Democrats’ left wing constituency–always want to restrict free speech.  Not surprisingly, Facebook is also being pressured to restrict freedom of speech among its users.
Facebook on Tuesday acknowledged that its systems to identify and remove hate speech had not worked effectively, as it faced pressure from feminist groups that want the site to ban pages that glorify violence against women.
The activists, who sent more than 5,000 e-mails to Facebook’s advertisers and elicited more than 60,000 posts on Twitter, also prompted Nissan and more than a dozen smaller companies to say that they would withdraw advertising from the site.
In a blog post, Facebook said its “systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate.” The company said it would review how it dealt with such content, update training for its employees, increase accountability — including requiring that users use their real identities when creating content — and establish more direct lines of communication with women’s groups and other entities.
Never fear, though, misandry and hatred of conservatives will still remain in fashion.

Thoughts on the Boy Scouts & gays

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:27 pm - May 23, 2013.
Filed under: Freedom,Gay America,Random Thoughts

Those who have read my posts and considered my basic political philosophy can probably figure out my views on whether or not the Boy Scouts should admit openly gay youths — and scoutmasters.

As a private organization, they have the right to determine the qualifications for membership and leadership.  The state should stay out of it.  That said, I believe they should allow gay people to participate.

Now, to be sure, given the scandals in the Catholic Church (where most of the victims have been teenage boys), I can understand why they might be wary of having gay (male) scoutmasters.  But, there are ways to screen their leaders to make sure they don’t bring on men who would abuse boys. Most (but alas not all) gay men would never even consider taking advantage of teenagers, particularly those in their charge.

That said, I just don’t get why they would bar lesbians from being scoutmasters.  Lesbians tend not to be interested in boys and would not definitely molest them.  Thus, I was struck earlier today when HotAir linked this New York Times story, featuring a picture of a mother ousted as a “scout leader because she is a lesbian.”

The leadership of the Boy Scouts should make the decision on allowing openly gay members and scoutmasters.  And I would like to see them change their policy.

NB:   (more…)

Rhode Island recognizes gay marriages the right way

After several tries, the Ocean State will start recognizing same-sex marriages on August 1.   Both houses of the legislature voted in favor of such recognition and the elected governor signed the bill into law.

And this legislation, like that in New Hampshire, addresses the concerns of those who contend such recognition would force churches (and other religious institutions) to perform weddings at odd with their faith’s doctrine.  According to the Associated Press’s David Klepper:

The bill that passed the House stated that religious institutions may set their own rules regarding who is eligible to marry within the faith and specifies that no religious leader is obligated to officiate at any marriage ceremony. The Senate added language to ensure that groups like the Knights of Columbus aren’t legally obligated to provide facilities for same-sex weddings.

With such provisions, the Ocean State not only recognizes same-sex marriages, but also protects religious freedom.


FROM THE COMMENTS:  Jayne contends that “union of 2 males or 2 females is, biologically, historically and culturally so vastly different from the union between a male and female that to define it with the same term renders the definition meaningless.”

I would agree that same-sex unions are different from different-sex ones merely because of the differences between men and women, but is she right, are they “vastly different”? (Emphasis added.)

Tales of the Obama Economy: Do-it-yourself and make-your-own

Lately I’ve noticed more and more posts from people on Facebook about how to do a, b, or c yourself or to make your own x, y, or z.  It could be that my personal social network overlaps more with the “crunchy” demographic which shops at the local food co-op and Whole Foods, but it could be a larger social trend.  I think it is a little of both, but I’m curious to see if other GayPatriot readers have noticed the same thing.

In the past three years or so, I’ve started learning to make many more kinds of things for myself than I had in the past.  Most of the stuff I make for myself has been foods that I used to buy at the store, and the transition originally occurred because I wanted to have a healthier diet.    I was a tolerable cook before, but I depended on lots of store-bought staples.  But the more I’ve learned to do for myself, the more I’ve wanted to learn how to do, as well.  I’d say that while I was originally motivated by a concern for health, as time has gone on, I’ve also been motivated by the increased sense of independence in learning how to make things I used to buy, by the ability to control my own ingredients, and by the opportunity to be able to make better quality foods than I would have bought in the past and still have a cost savings.

Although I started with food, I’ve also made some of my own household cleaning products, and I’ve considered making my own personal care items, as well.   I have a friend who makes and sells her own deodorant and is thinking of making other products, as well. But there’s no need to stop there.  When television stations switched from analog to digital broadcasting, I built my own digital TV antenna using coat hangers and a 1×4 using plans I had found online.

One of my favorite websites to browse in the last few years has been which contains hundreds of build-your-own plans for furniture.  The site, which is maintained by a self-described “homemaker” in Alaska, was originally called “Knock Off Wood” because it started with home-built knock-offs of items found at stores and in catalogs.  I’ve not attempted building any furniture yet, but I would like to try doing so at some point in time.

I haven’t taken the time to research this topic yet in depth, but it’s my belief that part of what we’re seeing with this trend is a reaction to the Obama economy.  As people worry more about their finances, frugality and independence become more important–at least for a certain segment of the population.  During the Great Depression, these kinds of household arts were quite common, partly out of necessity and frugality, but also partly because the population wasn’t quite as urbanized.   Store-bought items were  both a rarity and a luxury.  I don’t see it as a coincidence that make-your-own and do-it-yourself projects are proliferating these days, much as they did during the Depression years.

What do other people think?  Have you noticed this trend, as well?  Have you made such changes personally?  Are there items that you used to buy at the store that you’ve started making for yourself?

Happy Birthday, Ronald Reagan!

On the Gipper’s 102nd, we share with you one of his greatest speeches, delivered in October 1964 in support of Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign.

And note how Reagan focuses not so much on the candidate he backs, but the ideas he espouses.

It was that commitment to the American ideal of freedom which would define the Republican’s political career and help account for his success — and his greatness.

Dr. King’s Dream: “deeply rooted in the American dream”

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:54 am - January 21, 2013.
Filed under: Freedom,Great Americans,Great Men,Holidays

In making the case for civil rights for black Americans in the 1960s, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. often cited not just the founding (and other defining) documents of our country, but also its patriotic hymns.

In his “I Have a Dream” speech spoken almost fifty years ago on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he referenced the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution as well as the Emancipation Proclamation.  He recited verses from “My country ‘Tis of Thee.”  He did not fault the American ideal, instead wanted to make that ideal real for all citizens of this great republic.

In that great address, he spoke the word, “free” or “freedom” twenty-five times.  He knew the word defined as aspect of the American ideal.  And he was ever the optimist:

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.  It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. (more…)

Miami Brunch Sun.,. Jan. 20th; Steak Dinner Mon. Jan., 28

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:21 pm - January 16, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Freedom,Travel

Just a reminder about our brunch in Miami this coming Sunday, January 20th.

And a Monday night steak dinner on the 28th in honor of the LA City Council’s declaration of Meatless Mondays.

Drop me a note to RSVP and for details.

The GayPatriot Report with guest Adam Baldwin


Tonight, my special guest on The GayPatriot Report will be television and film actor Adam Baldwin.  He comes from a different family tree than the “other Baldwins” — so no relation to Alec.

You may remember Adam’s roles in NBC’s “Chuck” and the “Firefly” series and movie.

Tonight, I’ll be talking guns and freedom with Adam as I know this is a big passion for him.

The GayPatriot Report airs LIVE at 9PM Eastern on The 405 Radio Network.   There will be a podcast available shortly after the show is finished.

We would be happy for callers!  The toll-free number is 877-297-8022.

-Bruce (@GayPatriot)

Government Spending Cuts Help the Economy

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 6:12 pm - January 4, 2013.
Filed under: Conservative Ideas,Economy,Freedom,Real Reform

A few weeks ago, a piece on Bloomberg looked at the question of whether government spending cuts hurt the economy. (Hat tip: Hot Air) First, the authors remind us that a large public debt saps economic growth:

In a paper released this year, economists Carmen M. Reinhart, Vincent R. Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff said that periods of debt overhang — when accumulated gross [ed: public] debt exceeds 90 percent of a country’s total economic activity for five or more consecutive years — reduce annual economic growth by more than one percentage point for decades.

Over 20 years, the authors write, there can be a “massive cumulative output loss” that reduces gains by 25 percent or more. The U.S. went over the 90 percent threshold after the 2008 financial crisis…

To grow robustly, the U.S. must reduce that debt overhang. But that would mean genuine spending cuts: large enough to give us a budget surplus. And that would cause a recession, right? Maybe not:

In the 1990s, Canada, for instance, reduced debt-to-GDP ratios through an aggressive combination of actual, year-over- year spending cuts and higher taxes. The result wasn’t malaise but a burst in activity.

The same happened in the U.S. right after World War II. In 1944 and 1945, annual government spending (in 2005 dollars) averaged about $1 trillion and represented more than 40 percent of GDP. By 1947, it had plummeted to $345 billion in 2005 dollars and 14 percent of GDP. Even facing the demobilization of millions of soldiers, the economy soared and unemployment fell despite almost universal fears that the opposite would happen.

Such outcomes are not flukes. Research by economists Alberto F. Alesina and Silvia Ardagna underscored that fiscal adjustments achieved through spending cuts rather than tax increases are less likely to cause recessions, and, if they do, the slowdowns are mild and short-lived.

…[especially] when spending reductions are accompanied by policies such as the liberalization of trade and labor markets…

Read the whole thing; they cite more examples of countries who achieved growth through government-cutting measures, like Sweden, or the UK in the 1990s. There are still more examples, which they didn’t cite: the UK in the 1980s (where Thatcher’s spending cuts enabled an economic boom), the U.S. in the early 1920s (where Harding’s spending cuts did likewise), and more. (more…)

GOProud Statement on the Aftermath of the Sandy Hook Shootings

From GOProud today:

(Washington, D.C.) – “Words fail to describe the horror of the massacre at Sandy Hook. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the victims of this incomprehensible attack.

“As policy makers begin to look at how we can prevent further tragedies like this, we felt that it was important for us to weigh in as an organization. GOProud is an organization of constitutional conservatives – gay and straight alike. We believe that our Constitution is a sacred document and that the rights it grants should be protected and defended.

“In the weeks and months ahead, policy makers in Washington and in state capitols around the country will look to find ways to prevent another Sandy Hook from happening – these will be important and necessary debates. We hope that as they debate issues like preventing gun deaths, the impact of violent video games, and the role of our mental health system in this country that they will also remember our 1st Amendment right to free speech, our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, and our 5th Amendment right to due process.

“We urge lawmakers to heed the words of Benjamin Franklin, who cautioned: Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

-Bruce (@GayPatriot)

Pocket-size capitalism

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:06 am - November 16, 2012.
Filed under: Entrepreneurs,Freedom

Saw this on Facebook and had to share it. I trust this will particularly please our reader ILoveCapitalism:

Another libertarian for Mitt Romney
(Switching from supporting Gary Johnson to backing GOP nominee)

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:12 pm - October 15, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Freedom,Tea Party

I knew Chris Barron would come to his senses.  He now joins Wayne Allan Root, the 2008 Libertarian Party Vice Presidential nominee, in backing MItt Romney for President:

There is a time for idealism and a time for realism, and for me, the time for realism is now. I endorsed former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson back in December of 2011, when he was still seeking the Republican nomination for President. I continued to support him even after he left the Republican Party and became the Libertarian Party’s nominee for President.  Indeed, I am a DC elector for Gary Johnson.  On Tuesday November 6th, however, I will not be casting my vote for Gary Johnson – instead I will be casting it for Mitt Romney.

I still believe strongly that Gary Johnson would make the best President of the three candidates running, however, it is time to recognize he will not be President. The next President will either be Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, and without hesitation I can say that Mitt Romney will be a vastly better President than Barack Obama.

He’s exactly right here.  Gary Johnson may have a better economic plan than does Mitt Romney, but the next president will be one of two men.  Chris echoes Root who said in September:

The only two candidates who can win are Mitt and Obama. Among those two the choice is clear. Mitt is a capitalist businessman, not a career politician. (more…)

Chicago politician tries to police political stands of private company

With Chicago’s murder rate surging, you’d think a city alderman would have better uses for his time than to pester a private company, yet Alderman Joe Moreno has garnered national headlines for his attempts to prevent Chick-fil-A from contributing to groups that support traditional marriage.

Even as the chicken chain’s management has “enacted workplace protections for its employees against discrimination“, Moreno wants more:

 A Chicago alderman says Chick-fil-A’s president is publicly contradicting what company executives personally assured him for months — that the fast-food chain is changing its stance on gay marriage — and he asked the company Sunday to clarify. . . .

Moreno said Chick-fil-A executives gave him a letter earlier this year saying the company’s non-profit arm, the WinShape Foundation, will not support organizations with political agendas. “We were told that these organizations included groups that politically work against the rights of gay and lesbian people,” Moreno said.

(Via HotAir headlines.)  Simply put, it is not the business of the government to police the political stands of private companies.

It is one thing for an individual not to choose to eat at the restaurant because of its management’s political stands, it’s quite another for a representative of the government to try to prevent them from taking a stand.

UPDATE:  Just caught this on Instapundit:

NEW VERB:  TO BE “CHICK-FIL-Aed”:  William McGurn astutely observes that the continuing saga of Chick-Fil-A’s skirmish with gay rights’ forces isn’t a political fight about a controversial topic, but instead part of a larger progressive agenda to silence all opposing views.   There’s one small problem that I see with the attempt to vilify CFA:  their sandwiches–oh, the essence of pickle!– are divine.

Yes, pretty much sums it up.  It is about silencing opposing views.  Does seem gay marriage advocates are quite eager to do that.  If they’re so confident in their cause, why don’t they relish the opportunity to debate it?

Non-discrimination laws limit freedom of companies to offer benefits to gay people

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:44 pm - September 23, 2012.
Filed under: Freedom,Legal Issues,Liberalism Run Amok

A federal judge for the Southern District of California is allowing a woman to proceed with her case against Avis Rent-A-Care because the company “did not give her the gay and lesbian group member price discount.”   In his ruling he cites “California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act” which “seeks to prevent any discrimination among people on the basis of listed characteristics.”  (Via Instapundit.)

The plaintiff, he wrote, “has stated a plausible claim for relief, i.e., that AVIS violated the prohibitions of the Act regarding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”  If she succeeds in her suit, private companies, like Avis, will no longer be able to offer discounts to members of gay and lesbian organizations.

If Avis wishes to offer discounts to members of gay and lesbian organizations as a means to promote their service, the company should be free to do so. And if this woman believes Avis is discriminating against her, she remains free to take her business elsewhere.  Avis is not the only rental car company.

Giving in to terrorists by going after filmmaker?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:54 pm - September 16, 2012.
Filed under: Free Speech,Freedom,Post 9-11 America

Bruce and I have similar worldviews, but very different ways of expressing them.  Yesterday, shortly after reading Glenn Reynolds’s post saying Obama should resign for dispatching law enforcement to arrest* the man who made a crude film attacking the Muslim prophet Mohammed, I shared the link with some conservative Facebook friends, asking if they agreed with Glenn’s conclusion.

At the time, I wasn’t ready to post on the topic, wanted to sort out my thoughts a bit before I did.  A few moments after I posed my question on Facebook, I checked the blog and found that Bruce has already run with the story; he, however, did not include as question mark as I had.  My co-blogger agrees with Glenn; Barack Obama should resign.

Now, given that Mr. Obama’s resignation would mean the inauguration of Joe Biden as President of the United States, I tend to be wary of resignation as an option, preferring instead defeat at the ballot box.  And the Democrat’s actions this past week (not to mention what we’ve learned in the past two weeks) show him to be a most ineffective chief executive, leading from behind, as it were, particularly in regards to this crude and offensive film.

The White House dispatched the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to call a crackpot preacher with a tiny congregation and ask him to end his mean-spirited diatribes.  The Obama team asked YouTube to remove the film.  And now, they’ve gone and gotten the filmmaker arrested.  He may have misrepresented the Muslim prophet in a mean-spirited manner, but the First Amendment protects his right to say offensive things.

The First Amendment also protects the rights of others to criticize the film for its flaws and defend the faith he faults.  That is how critics should respond.

And that is how the President of the United States should have responded to those, including Egypt’s President, who demanded the United States prosecute the filmmaker and/or censor the film.

Eugene Volokh thinks “suppression” of such films “would likely lead to more riots and more deaths, not less. Here’s why”:

Behavior that gets rewarded, gets repeated.  (more…)

When advocacy of tolerance becomes tyrannical

Many of you have read before about the New Mexico case where a lesbian couple filed a discrimination claim against a Christian photographer who refused to photograph their commitment ceremony.

When the two women filed their claim, the New Mexico Human Rights Commission found against the photographer and ordered the company “to pay $6,600 in attorney fees.”  Said photographer, Elaine Huguenin, reported George Will in his column on Friday . . .

. . . says that she is being denied her right to the “free exercise” of religion guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment and a similar provision in the New Mexico Constitution. Furthermore, New Mexico’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act defines “free exercise” as “an act or a refusal to act that is substantially motivated by religious belief” and forbids government from abridging that right except to “further a compelling government interest.”

As New Mexico’s Supreme Court prepares to sort this out, Will offers how the cases . . .

. . . demonstrates how advocates of tolerance become tyrannical. First, a disputed behavior, such as sexual activities between people of the same sex, is declared so personal and intimate that government should have no jurisdiction over it. Then, having won recognition of what Louis Brandeis, a pioneer of the privacy right, called “the right to be let alone,” some who have benefited from this achievement assert a right not to let other people alone. It is the right to coerce anyone who disapproves of the now-protected behavior into acting as though they approve of it, or at least into not acting on their disapproval. (more…)

We Interrupt Our Petty Lives for this Announcement:

Ever since I first heard of Yousef Nadarkhani, the Iranian Christian pastor held captive in that horrible subnormal nation by its rulers for the crime of apostasy, I’ve had as my homepage at work the American Center for Law and Justice website which had been counting the days of his incarceration.

That count has ended.

While I was out of town this weekend with my partner and away from the news, Pastor Nadarkhani was released by the court that had originally sentenced him to death. The charge of apostasy has been reduced to that of evangelizing, and his punishment to time served.

There is so much to say that if I did would look like gift-horse material. For now, let’s all just say a prayer of thanksgiving that he has been delivered from these savages and is currently back in the embrace of his family.

Let’s also further pray that now that he’s out of jail he will find safety. All to often in places like Iran, prisoners of conscience are released from official bondage only to be torn apart by the mobs that populate such backward countries.

If you’d like to know more about Pastor Nadarkhani and his trials, check out the link to the ACLJ above.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HHQ)

Searching for “free enterprise” on White House website

President Obama, writes the Cato Institute’s David Boaz:

doesn’t talk about free enterprise as an American value, not even when speaking of freedom to students in ChinaSearch for “free enterprise” on the White House website, and the first hit is to his famous “You didn’t build that” speech in Roanoke—which doesn’t include the word “enterprise,” or the word “free.”

Read the whole thing.

Ryan’s Reaganesque Remarks Echo Nation’s Founding Principles

Last year, from a seat on bloggers’ row in the (metaphorical) rafters the Excel Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, I watched the Republican vice presidential nominee deliver a speech that wowed us all.  “If this were baseball,” I wrote from those rafters, “the ball would be up here.  Or further.  She’s hitting this out of the park.”

You could feel the energy in the hall.  You could feel it as people left the auditorium, seemingly floating, not walking, back to our cars and busses.

“Leaving the hall” last night, reports the Washington Examiner’s Byron York, Republicans seem to have had similar feelings, offering “reviews of [this year vice presidential nominee Paul] Ryan’s speech that ranged from ‘fantastic’ to ‘awe-inspiring.’  If any were underwhelmed, they didn’t show it.”  Even non-Repubilcans liked it.   One 2008 Obama voter blogged that “Ryan did a brilliant job. It was much more than a fine speech and an excellent delivery. He embodied that speech. We saw a brilliant candidate.

Jim Geraghty called the speech “Reaganesque“.  Ryan skeptic Paul Mirengoff dubbed it “optimal“, his blogging colleague John Hinderaker called it “fantastic.”  The fetching Wisconsin Republican criticized, as Jennifer Rubin observed, “‘more in sadness than in anger’ with great expression of empathy for fellow citizens.

Glenn Reynolds listed his favorite lines, including the one about “fading Obama poster”.  Maybe everyone is buzzing about that one, but two other passages which struck me, the first, Ryan ribbing his running mate for his choice in music.  Can you imagine Joe Biden making fun of Barack Obama’s tastes in music (or anything else for that matter)?*

Perhaps, I should cite his conclusion where he harkened back to our nation’s “founding principles”, but it was this passage where he articulated one of those principles that really resonated with me:

In a clean break from the Obama years, and frankly from the years before this president, we will keep federal spending at 20 percent of GDP, or less. That is enough. The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth, or hard limits on the size of government, and we choose to limit government.

In the Declaration of Independence, Mr. Jefferson listed the British government’s “long train of abuses and usurpations” against the American people.  The Constitution placed strict limits on what the new federal government could do. (more…)

David Lampo on the GOP & “gay rights”

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:58 pm - August 23, 2012.
Filed under: Freedom,Gay America,Gay Conservatives (Homocons)

Reader MV passed along this interview David Lampo gave on Republicans and gay rights:

Having received a review copy of David’s book, A Fundamental Freedom: Why Republicans, Conservatives, and Libertarians Should Support Gay Rights, earlier in the summer, I read it and had mixed feelings. Perhaps, I should take the time to write a more formal review.

Lampo does a good job of debunking notions of anti-gay attitudes in the Tea Party, but at times, repeats the gay left narrative about Republican intolerance.

That said, if you have a moment, give the video a watch.