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Online Call To Shoot President Ruled Free Speech

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the just-a-few-words-in-a-certain-order dept.

Censorship 395

Hugh Pickens writes "USA Today reports that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the conviction of a man who threatened to shoot President Obama, saying his Internet message board comments amounted to free speech and ruled that prosecutors 'failed to present sufficient evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt' that the man 'had the subjective intent to threaten a presidential candidate.' Walter Bagdasarian was found guilty two years ago of making threats against the presidential candidate in comments he posted on a Yahoo.com financial website after 1 am on Oct. 22, 2008, as Obama's impending victory in the race for the White House was becoming apparent. Bagdasarian told investigators he was drunk at the time. The observation that Obama 'will have a 50 cal in the head soon' and a call to 'shoot the [racist slur]' weren't violations of the law under which Bagdasarian was convicted because the statute doesn't criminalize 'predictions or exhortations to others to injure or kill the president,' said the majority opinion, written by Judge Stephen Reinhardt."

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395 comments

Obligatory (4, Funny)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#36861998)

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862028)

lol I laughed so hard my stomach hurts, that rocked dude

But, question - is that guy still alive? Has he been seen since that video went live? ;-)

I can't stand this President (or most of Congress for that matter) but killing them? Hell that's just dumb. Vote 'em out of office, problem solved (and it's a lot easier, and less messy). For what it's worth, I strongly agree with the reversal because what this man SAID is of no consequence - it's what he DID, which was *nothing*. Actions matter. You may have got the idea from somebody else, but it's YOU that decides whether or not to go through with something.

But yeah man, nice YouTube link, +1 awesome for you :)

Re:Obligatory (4, Funny)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862058)

It's very extremely illegal, but it doesn't appear to be working. Perhaps someone should copyright the phrase?

Re:Obligatory (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862100)

It's very extremely illegal, but it doesn't appear to be working. Perhaps someone should copyright the phrase?

No this is Slashdot. Perhaps someone should patent the phrase. Hate to say it but "fixed that for ya".

Talkin About What You Know Not Of == Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862184)

It's very extremely illegal, but it doesn't appear to be working. Perhaps someone should copyright the phrase?

No this is Slashdot. Perhaps someone should patent the phrase. Hate to say it but "fixed that for ya".

You can't patent a phrase, dipshit. Copyright was correct.

Re:Talkin About What You Know Not Of == Stupid (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862304)

Oh, wrong again. The phrase has already been used and appears to be in the public domain. The correct answer is Trademark, with which you can appropriate anything and sue anyone who tries to put it on a T-Shirt.

Posting while drunk!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862008)

Posting while drunk?!? It's just as bad as texting while drunk!

I think just the shame of having to admit that he DP's (drunk posted) is punishment enough. As this poor bastard walks, drive, bikes, etc.... people and little children will point saying "There goes that guy who posted drunk! Hahahahahahahahhahaaha!"

The shame!

One small step for man (3, Interesting)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862014)

All I can say is "You did the right thing, judge(s)!".

If the US lauds itself as the freest (did I spell that right?) country of the world, as its founding fathers imagined, then it should be all right to say " Obama 'will have a 50 cal in the head soon'". In my books, such a line only amounts to a threat if there's a reasonable possibility of its execution.

Re:One small step for man (0)

flyneye (84093) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862024)

Shoot him, no.
Shame him into moving to China where he would be more comfortable, a more likely scenario...and he can take Hillary with him.

Re:One small step for man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862034)

China is more capitalist then Obama - they wouldn't want him.

Send him to Cuba instead.

Re:One small step for man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862038)

You mad, bro? Let's nuke the man from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

Re:One small step for man (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862050)

More comfortable in China? You mean that place where the economy has been booming ever since they got us by the balls because the last guy that sat in the White House thought they were a credit card?

That China?

Re:One small step for man (3, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862108)

Yeah you have to wonder where they get their ideas. Most Americans think that here in Central America we live in huts and grass skirts in the jungle. I can imagine that they believe China to be on par with the Soviet Union in 1930. They don't realize that the Chinese middle class will soon be far larger than the entire population of the United States. That the number of extremely wealthy Chinese will exceed the population of some of the larger states. That the country with the largest English-speaking population in the world will soon be China.

Re:One small step for man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862136)

I don't think "English-speaking" means what you think it means.

Re:One small step for man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862208)

I don't understand if you are joking or something, but if 20% of chinese people learn english, then there are more english-speaking people in china than there are in USA.

Re:One small step for man (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862322)

You and the GGP forget the lightly populated country of India when claiming China will have the largest English-speaking population - if China with 10 million current English speakers will pass the US with 251 million then surely India with the head start of 125 million will pass the US first and stay ahead of China for the foreseeable future.

Re:One small step for man (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862236)

Most Americans think that here in Central America we live in huts and grass skirts in the jungle.

That's part of the narrative portrayed by the government/media complex. "Oh, no, don't go there, it's unsafe and uncomfortable!" "Don't go to Costa Rica for your medical care, stay here where the FDA can make sure you're safe and we have real doctors." Etc.

That said, I don't fall for it, but I don't have a really great mental image of what many countries I haven't visited look like. I'd love to see a "Meet _____________ " kind of show on TV or YouTube that gives a nice virtual tour of the real life of each country, not just the tourist destinations or the slums. We have both of those things in the US too.

Re:One small step for man (3, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862496)

Not quite what you're looking for, but better than nothing - go to google maps, and use streetview to do a virtual drive down the streets and paths of various places.

Zoom out and drag the "streetview figure" to wherever that's blue.

You could do a tour of various famous bridges, or landmarks (like the Cristo Redentor, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil). Or Akihabara Japan.

Not the same as being there, but it's cheap way to get an overview ;). You might even learn some things that the geography books don't tell you...

Re:One small step for man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862084)

If the US lauds itself as the freest (did I spell that right?) country of the world,

You mean the US deludes itself. This becomes apparent if you ever live somewhere else.

Charles Manson (3, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862098)

He didn't kill anybody, but he's in prison for life because people believe he gave the command.

When someone says a sentence like that how do we know it isn't a command coming from a militia leader? Remember Hal Turner?

Re:Charles Manson (1, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862152)

That's what the judges said - if you want a conviction, present evidence there was a reasonable expectation that it was a command, and would be carried out as such.

Re:Charles Manson (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862166)

I don't, but if it was a command, and Obama does get shot, then the investigators can look up this guy again, and question him in light of the new facts to determine whether it was a command. That's the way it should work.
Maybe he'll get a background check now as well, to covertly see if there were any illegal connections, but that should be it.

Re:Charles Manson (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862352)

And I'd say that both of those cases just show how fucked this country can be, as both were pretty obviously seriously mentally ill. Manson thought God told him he would be a future leader after a race war and Turner believed every conspiracy theory ever written and thought China was secretly gonna be given the USA and was being used by the FBI as a mole against the white power movement which just fed into his delusions.

Sadly too often in this country we take those that are seriously mentally ill and put them in prison instead of getting them help. I saw a show on Rikers Island once and they even had one guy in there that thought he was KGB and the woman he attacked was a CIA agent secretly poisoning his food and planning to execute him! Seriously how completely batshit does one have to be before the court recognizes they are nuts?

I'm just glad the judges in this case came to their senses and saw what some drunk says on some forum at 3AM doesn't equal a stash of weapons or an actual plan.

Re:Charles Manson (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862426)

To suddenly put people into mental health programs because they need them runs counter to the policies we've had for years. Uusally, the best policy idea government's been able to "think" up has been to put people into institutions, then close the institutions and let them fend for independent benefit approval processes on their own, which they can't do, and therefore decreases the monies spent by government. Then, they can shoot that KGB person (e.g. act out their psychosis), and get back into an institution freely. But they're on another ledger sheet as a criminal, not a mental health patient. Keeps things tidy that way.

To directly answer your question, however, because there is an insanity defense, lots of people will go to great lengths to try and fudge that defense in the hopes of not going to prison or becoming a felon for future purposes. So the system is highly manipulated with prosecution and defense each calling in "experts" to add testimony. Batshit-crazy is in the eye of the beholder, sadly, and is not subject to the same regimens used in other places. I have friends that are unmedicated bipolars; they're walking time bombs. I suspect there are millions more out there, just in the USA.

Re:Charles Manson (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862530)

Whether somebody is criminally insane or just "evil" doesn't make a huge difference in what happens to them though. It just determines whether they're locked up in an asylum or a prison (and taking antipsychotics either way). Even if a crazy violent person isn't culpable, society has to protect itself from them.

Re:Charles Manson (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862592)

I think the criteria should be whether a reasonable person would believe that that guy had the power and ability to actually do it.

So even a specific threat like "I'm going to kill you with my rifle, two weeks from now" might not count for much if it comes from a quadriplegic.

Whereas a nonspecific threat by a US President like "We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al-Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority." has to be taken quite seriously especially if it is followed by certain actions. He does have a lot more power...

A little chihuahua barking behind a gate can bark all he wants. No big deal. But I'd definitely be concerned about a rottweiler or pitbull that's loose and unleashed, it doesn't even have to bark - just baring its teeth would scare me...

Re:One small step for man (4, Insightful)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862146)

I agree that that the '50 cal' prediction should not be illegal, although it was badly worded and left the guy open to prosecution. But the "call to 'shoot the [racist slur]'" was clearly unacceptable and should have been illegal. In the UK this would be incitement to violence and incitement of racial hatred.

This is the problem with constitutionally guaranteed free speech - not only that this kind of speech is deemed okay, but the fact that the guy didn't feel the need to stop and think before (metaphorically) opening his mouth.

Re:One small step for man (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862242)

This is the problem with constitutionally guaranteed free speech - not only that this kind of speech is deemed okay, but the fact that the guy didn't feel the need to stop and think before (metaphorically) opening his mouth.

It's deemed legal, meaning it's not the state's role to add a consequence to it. Often, that's all this means.

That isn't the same thing as "okay". I am sorry if you really believe that legal and okay are the exact same thing. There are higher modes of moral/ethical reasoning [wikipedia.org] than that.

Though it has been deemed legal, there definitely are consequences. This man is now famous for wishing violence and making racist statements. Though we often glorify violence, "racist" is one of the worst stains on your reputation available these days. It is a great way to make sure that decent people don't want to have anything to do with you. Since he did not actually victimize anyone, this is sufficient.

People will judge him accordingly and he will have to live with that for some time to come. It's not something easily forgotten. This is what free speech is all about. You say what you like and then accept the way it will change how you are perceived and treated. A law regulating speech is not only a wrong-headed desire to control disguised in "save the children" type packaging, it's also unnecessary. It appeals only to those who recognize no authority and no consequence other than that enforced by government.

Re:One small step for man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862330)

>"racist" is one of the worst stains on your reputation available these days.

Not exactly. One of the more recent and thriving, Fox News sponsored political movements is chocked full of them. You'd almost think they wore it as a badge of honor.

Re:One small step for man (1)

causality (777677) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862402)

>"racist" is one of the worst stains on your reputation available these days. Not exactly. One of the more recent and thriving, Fox News sponsored political movements is chocked full of them. You'd almost think they wore it as a badge of honor.

I know it's easy to just make blanket statements (I seriously don't like Murdoch either) but could you try substantiating this please?

Re:One small step for man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862274)

Are you kidding? Your statement is completely backwards. At least how we think of it in the US.

~Anything~ you want to say is legal. You can say anything you want. That is our freedom that is constitutionally protected.

What is illegal though is criminal threatening. It's a crime to knowingly put fear into another person by threatening them. This is judged mainly on the fact that you use details in your threat that are unnecessary to the threat itself showing forethought and preparation.

So I'm allowed to say "I'm going to shoot the n-----." Because that statement is very general and is most likely to be made up on the spot with no real ~intent~. No matter how crappy it is to use racial slurs.

I can not say "I'm going to shoot obama in the head with my .50 cal rifle." This statement shows intent. It shows that the speaker has thought out exactly how they will kill the victim and is saying it in such a way to cause fear.

Re:One small step for man (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862662)

It's a crime to knowingly put fear into another person by threatening them.

So you can say whatever you please... except when what you say frightens someone? I couldn't care less about someone's intentions if all they did was speak.

Re:One small step for man (2, Insightful)

dbet (1607261) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862318)

I don't know. It's illegal for me to hit you, but if I said "someone ought to hit that asshole" it's not illegal.

Take it further. If I said those words, and someone (not me) hit you, would I be in trouble? Unlikely.

malcolm x could have been prosecuted (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862324)

under such a "racial hatred" law. which is why it is better to have freedom of speech, than to have a bunch of laws about 'inciting racial hatred' and so forth and so on. throwing X in jail over his speech would have been absolutely pointless and counterproductive.

we have a first amendment because the tradition in monarchies was to outlaw any "slandering of the king". . . i.e. the state was the master, and the 'servants' (people) were not allowed to 'talk back' to the master. in the new nation, this idea was reversed, and so the ideas about defamation was also reversed. (see Chaffee, Freedom of Speech in War Times, circa 1919)

governments can use these anti-free-speech laws to shut down political dissent, and that is generally what they do, rather than trying to use the laws to benefit society in some vague manner. when people "stop and think" before speaking, is this pause because they are worried about harming someone? or is it because they are worried that the government will persecute them for criticizing it? thats the problem with no-free-speech. you can't get honest criticism of the government.

the law against threatening to kill the president are a different ballgame. we have so many assassinated presidents that we have to take it seriously. and there is no legitimate criticism of a relatively democratically elected government, that requires someone to threaten the life of the president (or anyone really).

Re:One small step for man (4, Insightful)

rotorbudd (1242864) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862340)

This is precisely the type of speech that the
Constitution protects.
It's not a matter of whether you think that the statement is rude, crude, or socially unacceptable.
In my opinion freedom of speech is the most basic right written into the Bill of Rights

Take a look at Hitchens trying to explain it. ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3Hg-Y7MugU [youtube.com]

Re:One small step for man (3, Interesting)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862476)

My point is that this is precisely the kind of speech that your constitution shouldn't protect. That document was written in an age of slavery, and I'm sure that the fact that racist speech was protected wasn't seen as a problem at the time. Not that I think that racist speech should be a criminal offence on its own, but it should be an aggravating factor when inciting violence.

Nor is it necessary to protect free speech in a constitution when you have a society that values it, and is democratic. Americans seem to be prone to seeing things in black and white, but it's not the case that a lack of de-jure free speech protection is widespread censorship and silencing of dissent. And as I pointed out in my original post, it leads to the unfortunate scenario where people don't seem to give due consideration to what they're actually saying, before they say it.

Re:One small step for man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862436)

I agree with your assessment of the situation. It's that "call to action" that I would imagine could be deemed inciting to violence, which is not protected speech.

Re:One small step for man (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862654)

This is the problem with constitutionally guaranteed free speech

Define "problem." I'm perfectly fine with inciting violence and racial hatred. The only time I want something to be stopped is when something actually happens.

what about Manning, Kim, Sterling, Leibowitz, (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862222)

Drake, etc, and all the other 'leakers' and whistleblowers who have been prosecuted for giving information to the media?

Re:what about Manning, Kim, Sterling, Leibowitz, (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862264)

Free speech does not mean you can freely divulge secrets you are obligated (by oath or contract) to protect. Those would fall under the heading "Breach of Contract".

they werent prosecuted for 'breach of contract' (2)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862364)

they were prosecuted for Espionage.

and Drake in particular felt his Oath to protect and defend the constitution (he was in the Air Force) was more important than any agreement between him and the NSA to not give out information.

besides, the information he gave out was not classified.

Re:One small step for man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862234)

I agree.

To say you want to kill the president shouldn't get you jailed or even fined, but it MIGHT mean you'll get a massive investigation stuck up your butt to determine whether you have connections to people who also have the same sentiments, whether you have the capabilities to have it happen, and whether or not you were serious about it.

Now, if someone says it and thinks having the secret service/fbi/cia knocking on their door to ask some questions is wrong...well, I think that's a bit worrisome. All that means is that people could plot to kill the president as long as they come off as loudmouthed idiots or say it in a jesting manner.

"Oh, Ha ha ha, you could totally kill the president with gun type A from X distance away during day Z when he's at event B."
"Lol u idiot, you would need gun B to hit from X distance."
"ha ha ha o rly"
"ya rly"

Not EXACTLY what you think when imaging planning an assassination, but that's what the investigations would have to determine. Jailing, no. Investigations, ok.

But uh...also, if someone tries to rabble rouse OTHER people to do it, that's a huge no. If you can reasonably assume that someone is trying to get someone to go around killing/hurting/maiming people, then that kind of thing should be illegal. (damn you palin, you barely got away with your crosshairs crap)

Yeah, yeah, founding fathers planned and started a rebellion, but it was still illegal at that time. They just got away with it because they won. If someone with a vision is able to rabble rouse and revolt against the powers that be and win, then they won't go to jail. But if they LOSE, they better not complain about jailtime.

Re:One small step for man (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862332)

So, its OK to exhort people to shoot the president, but not to shoot you?

What happens if Obama stops being president next year, and his security detail gets smaller? The statute of limitations is still in force...

Re:One small step for man (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862408)

So, its OK to exhort people to shoot the president, but not to shoot you?

I never said anything to that effect.

What happens if Obama stops being president next year, and his security detail gets smaller? The statute of limitations is still in force...

So what? It's still just as illegal to shoot him when he's president as it is when he's not. Do you have a point to make here?

Re:One small step for man (1)

Sinthet (2081954) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862380)

The problem is, what if he owned a 50 cal. rifle? Does that constitute a threat, even if he had no actual intention of shooting him? I'm leaning towards that being enough to investigate, but then again, you'd have to be pretty stupid to actually want to go through with something like this and post about it on yahoo.

Re:One small step for man (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862500)

How about "Fire" in a cinema? For me "Free speech" is about voicing your opinion and yes it will be a fine line between saying "will have" and "should have".

The INTEND is the big difference.

And if the president was Republican? (2, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862054)

Fox News would be going on 24/7 about liberal violence. But when it's directed at a black Democrat, then both sides need to tone it down.

The Murdoch scandal is the tip of the iceburg (0, Flamebait)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862080)

It's a situation where the Tea Party has been trying for the last 50 or more years to overthrow the government under various names like the American Liberty League, or the John Birch Society. They now are forming militias controlled by industrialists like the Koch Bro's which was a similar tactic to the one they used in the attempted coup of FDR [google.com] during the infamous business plot. [wikipedia.org]

And of course that resulted in COINTELPRO. [icdc.com]

 

actually it resulted in HUAC and the red scare (2)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862334)

the House Un-American Activities Committee was originally started by self-styled liberals to root out 'fascists' from the american political scene after the business plot.

that kind of backfired, because after WWII, the HUAC was still around, but it started going after Communists and Liberals, with a vengeance. Some times if you read old conservative writings, you will find them bitter and angry about the 'unfairness' of HUAC in the 30s, i can only too easily imagine some 'payback' going on in the 50s.

when you start warping and bending the laws in order to attack political opponents, you should not be surprised when it comes back to haunt you.

Re:And if the president was Republican? (0)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862104)

What are you talking about? I have yet to hear Fox New do something like MSNBC did. You know where they showed a shot of a guy at a protest against Obama carrying a gun and the news anchor talked about "whites coming out to protest Obama carrying guns". Latter it was discovered that the guy being shown carrying a gun at that protest was black, but MSNBC showed a shot of him that did not show his skin color.

Re:And if the president was Republican? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862180)

You do realize this guy was sued, convicted and had to pay for legal defense in the superior court, right ? And the case was brought by a public servant, right ?

The guy was sued on the taxpayer's dime ... I wonder how many people threatening McCain or other republicans got sued on taxpayer's money ... And note that all the guys threatening McCain somehow failed to get sued ... so you're pretty much making exactly the opposite point you're attempting to make.

Threaten to kill republicans, no problem. Vaguely threaten a democrat, get sued, get forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars despite doing no wrong.

But don't worry, democrats will CLAIM victimhood status. It only makes them pathetic, of course, but it's also a lie. Not that dishonesty is a stranger in politics, but it is once again published that a democrat NON-politician is as dishonest as a politician.

Besides, one only needs to look at history to see which party uses violence to achieve it's ends, and which does not. And if that's not a sufficiently damning indiction of the democrats, look up WHY Martin Luther king was a republican. Hint : it has something to do with which party was pro-slavery, pro-apartheid and which was not.

Re:And if the president was Republican? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862230)

You do realize this guy was sued, convicted and had to pay for legal defense in the superior court, right ? And the case was brought by a public servant, right ?

The guy was sued on the taxpayer's dime ... I wonder how many people threatening McCain or other republicans got sued on taxpayer's money ... And note that all the guys threatening McCain somehow failed to get sued ... so you're pretty much making exactly the opposite point you're attempting to make.

Threaten to kill republicans, no problem. Vaguely threaten a democrat, get sued, get forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars despite doing no wrong.

But don't worry, democrats will CLAIM victimhood status. It only makes them pathetic, of course, but it's also a lie. Not that dishonesty is a stranger in politics, but it is once again published that a democrat NON-politician is as dishonest as a politician.

Besides, one only needs to look at history to see which party uses violence to achieve it's ends, and which does not. And if that's not a sufficiently damning indiction of the democrats, look up WHY Martin Luther king was a republican. Hint : it has something to do with which party was pro-slavery, pro-apartheid and which was not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vikram_Buddhi [wikipedia.org]

How long before civil war breaks out in America? (2, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862056)

Everything seems to empower the Tea Party. Every court ruling, every law passed, even after the US government defaults this would also benefit the Tea Party.

When are we going to accept that the Tea Party is a domestic terrorist group that fantasizes about having another civil war?
Their policies are straight from the old south. The for profit prisons, which mean prisons are now the new plantations where corporations can have the cheapest possible labor force. These corporations also write our laws. Check out ALEC exposed [alecexposed.org] to see the whole plan.

After the US defaults the Tea Party is planning to blame Obama. Now they have the legal justification to threaten Obama's life in their attempts to overthrow him. It seems like a disaster waiting to happen with the looming default, and coming economic crisis as the trigger point.

Re:How long before civil war breaks out in America (0)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862094)

I've heard about that. They created a video guide to it is well but it's been a while so I'll have to find it. OK, here it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oavMtUWDBTM [youtube.com]

Re:How long before civil war breaks out in America (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862188)

I've heard about that. They created a video guide to it is well but it's been a while so I'll have to find it. OK, here it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oavMtUWDBTM [youtube.com]

It's not how long before it breaks out, but who will start it. These crooked politicians will do anything to stay in power, except, cater to the voters wishes.
That's why I believe all politicians should have term limits, (which they refuse to set). The first term will be based on the promises made, the second term is for fulfilling those promises, the third term starts at twenty years and increases or decreases depending on how well the the crooks kept their promises. The last term is a prison term that breaks the cycle of politics, business payoff, politics, repeat.

OK, where in the fuck did you come from? (-1, Troll)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862176)

First off, the explosive growth in the prison industry for many states is because of the unions who backed the three strikes laws in most states, the state most famous for this is California. So we already have someone making a buttload of money off of prisons who are essentially no different than being a for profit.

What should we have called the groups who were mouth foaming gibbering gits when Bush was in office. Based on their protests they make the Tea Party look tame. Hell, even Hollywood joined in by celebrating a Bush assassination movie.

All I can figure is that some people are so blinded by hatred that they fail to see everything they accuse others of has been done before by one side or the other, though in my forty odd years I haven't seen anything to measure up to the Bush years for unhinged people.

Ask yourself, where are those war protesters now? Where are they? So obviously they weren't protesting the war and the resulting deaths, they just were upset it wasn't their guy ordering the deaths.

Tea Party is a threat, its a threat to politics as usual. Its a threat to these assholes in Washington who think spending our children's inheritance is their right. You should be celebrating any group which upsets the norm instead of being lead around like a cow in the fields by your Democratic/Republican masters. Do you moo?

Re:How long before civil war breaks out in America (5, Insightful)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862200)

I wouldn't say that. What the Tea Party is: a successful re-branding of the Republican Party. There is no "Tea Party." It's the Republican Party.We've allowed the Republican party to effectively change its name after being poisoned by the Bush years, without asking any questions of any kind about its democratic legitimacy (such as whether or not it is actually grassroots and not a magnificent example of astroturfing). It allows Fox News to continue to create the illusion that the Republican Party is a sufficient vehicle to channel the democratic impulses of the right-wing working class, and to keep people with actual libertarian or conservative impulses inside the Republican tent. In fact, the Republican Party is just as corporate as ever, and has no intent on working to shore up its relationship with the working-class in actual policy measures.

Re:How long before civil war breaks out in America (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862302)

Right, the Tea Party members in Congress do not have enough power to actually decide agendas. They can have influence as a block, but in the end they're going to pass a debt ceiling increase, for instance.

I don't agree with them on many issues (personal liberty ones, mostly) but at least their policies would be preferable to the establishment [R,D] corporatism.

Then again, even if they're successful, all they can really do is postpone the collapse. Maybe it's just better to get it over with.

Politicians need to practice saying, "I'm very sorry to have to tell you this, but you were lied to by the previous governments. The arithmetic simply doesn't work. I'm also sorry your government school education didn't prepare you better to understand this yourselves."

Re:How long before civil war breaks out in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862366)

What politics has done in the past 15 years or so is get help from the Madison Ave. Men who know how to sell to the American Consumer, and now have election years to look forward to...

Re:How long before civil war breaks out in America (3, Insightful)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862504)

This is completely wrong. The Republican Party is terrified of the Tea Party, which has repudiated Republicans such as John Boehner and Lindsey Graham. In fact, the Tea Party has threatened Republicans who have tried to make a deal with President Obama over raising the debt limit [cbsnews.com]. Furthermore, the extreme positions of the Tea Party has undermined Republican efforts to reach out to the mainstream and independent voters. TP Michelle Bauchmann claiming that slavery was good for black families is not what the Republican Party needs at this juncture. There is probably nothing more the Republicans want at this point than to be separated from the Tea Party.

Re:How long before civil war breaks out in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862584)

The re-branding of the Republican Party was forced upon the political establishment via the "Joe the plumber" types. The blue-blooded Republicans are deathly afraid the Tea Party will split the vote come next election. There's a very real good chance they could split the vote and thus hand the Democrats victory.

Simply put, the Tea Party is a bona fide grassroots campaign like it or not.

Re:How long before civil war breaks out in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862424)

Don't you mean "somebody should create a terroristic political party, and that party should incite another civil war"? Cuz with the above ruling, it would probably be OK to say that. Just sayin'.

Re:How long before civil war breaks out in America (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862452)

Their policies are straight from the old south. The for profit prisons, which mean prisons are now the new plantations where corporations can have the cheapest possible labor force. These corporations also write our laws. Check out ALEC exposed to see the whole plan.

Which may explain why they are so eager to criminalize homosexual behavior. Gays are, on average, much better educated than the general population and as a result tend to make more money than the average American. This is exactly the kind of skill set that is missing in the general prison population. The tea partiers probably figure that if they can outlaw homosexuality(imagine that, a group that simultaneously decries any sort of government intervention whilst arguing for laws that allow the government to control what 2 consenting adults are allowed to do) they can arrest a large number of gays and significantly expand the portfolio of products their prisons are capable of producing.

Re:How long before civil war breaks out in America (3, Insightful)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862636)

even after the US government defaults this would also benefit the Tea Party.

Actually, it wouldn't. The problem with the Tea Party is that they're all morons. It's a party of angry, stupid, middle-age white people who don't know anything about running a country. Defaulting on our national debt would be a disaster that hurts the poor and middle class the most, and hence will hurt the Tea Party the most. They just don't realize it.

Walter Bagdasarian will have a 50 cal in the head (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862060)

Walter Bagdasarian will have a 50 cal in the head soon.

Shoot the Armenian fucker.

What?

Jus' sayin'!

Re:Walter Bagdasarian will have a 50 cal in the he (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862202)

Course that ian fucker both had the balls to not be Anonymous when he talked shit about Obama he even used a real racist slur. Even if you don't know one for the armos, it takes all of two seconds to google a couple for a post... even if all you can find are a couple of lame ones (I bet there are some good ones in farsi...)

Crappy headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862096)

It was a "call to shoot [the] president" it was a call to shoot a presidential candidate.

LOL (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862102)

He might have won. But his life is SO screwed now... The pigs don't like to lose.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862286)

I guessing his life was pretty dismal anyway. Being an angry, racist, internet tough guy making hollow threats on a Yahoo message board is a sure sign of LIFEFAIL.

Oh cool (-1, Troll)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862124)

Then I want the right to allow me to scream FIRE in a theater. I think that the two are VERY similar, so the same logical argument can be made for my right as well. In both cases, it incites a negative situation.

Re:Oh cool (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862190)

Contrary to popular belief, it is not always illegal to scream "FIRE" in a theater.

Consider the following:

  • You may be playing a previously recorded screaming of FIRE
  • The theater may be nearly empty, thus your shouts are not 'inciting a riot'.
  • The 3D screen may actually have wholeheartedly convinced you to believe the theater is on fire.
  • A fire could, more accurately, be on the theater.

Re:Oh cool (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862258)

Then I want the right to allow me to scream FIRE in a theater.

And I hope that you will be able to without suffering repercussions from the government or its workers.

In both cases, it incites a negative situation.

That depends on how you define "negative."

Re:Oh cool (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862320)

And I think that should be allowed as well. Just because some idiot yells "fire" in a crowded theater, doesn't mean one should be alarmed. I've always been uncomfortable with the "fire in a crowded theater" exception for free speech. Free speech should be just that, the ability to say whatever you want. Repercussions of your actions will determine the correct course of action. If you cause a panic, which results in injury, then find an appropriate punishment, leave the speech out of it. Negligence, inciting a riot, disturbing the peace, etc. there are plenty of laws that deal with the "fire in a crowded theater" problem.

Joking in airports and airplanes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862154)

Hmm... So can we now make bad jokes or flippant remarks about bombs in airports and on airplanes now without getting arrested under federal criminal charges now? I haven't been able to find out the outcome for this guy mentioned below yet, but if he's still in jail maybe he can get his conviction overturned on appeal:

On a recent flight to New York, Draco Slaughter [usatoday.com], 75, was arrested on terrorism-related charges. His crime? He made a bad joke to a flight attendant. Slaughter did not exactly slay his audience. The joke not only resulted in a federal criminal charge but could result in seven years incarceration — the ultimate bomb of a joke

Now is the time to go back to sleep... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862204)

Now, Now, NOW, NOW, NOOWWW!!!! Shit, I hope I got that out of my system now.

Good call (4, Interesting)

Inf0phreak (627499) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862160)

Of course he's still going to be on every single government watch list for the rest of his life. And if he ever does anything you can bet they will throw the book at him.

What a lame racist (4, Interesting)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862162)

Who actually says "Shoot the racist slur"? What a lame racist. A real racist would have called him a nigger. Nigger. Its ok to write it, its just a word. It is especially ok to write it, when quoting someone else who said it.

I mean do we really need to edit what a racist said to make it more genetic and palatable? I mean seriously.... of all the things to PC up....
I am sure he isn't embarrassed to be known as the guy who called Obama a nigger.. if thats even what he said...since he obviously wasn't quoted correctly.

Re:What a lame racist (1, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862206)

The obvious explanation is the reporter is passively supporting the guy's beliefs, by covering up his more inflammatory comments. In other words an agreement in principle, but disagreement in practice. /. videogame analogy: If you want to show grannie GTA3, you show her the start where you ride a bicycle thru the streets and alleys; its cool and peaceful, mostly. Don't show grannie the "hot coffee" mod, just casually mention there's also some "adult content" besides the bicycle thing.

Re:What a lame racist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862238)

Who actually says "Shoot the racist slur"? What a lame racist. A real racist would have called him a racist slur. Racist slur. Its ok to write it, its just a word. It is especially ok to write it, when quoting someone else who said it.

I don't get it. What's your point?

Re:What a lame racist (-1, Troll)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862260)

No actually the N word is pretty much universally accepted to not be acceptable to write/say.

Re:What a lame racist (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862362)

Nigger nigger nigger nigger.

Re:What a lame racist (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862434)

Really, I've heard it all over music, someone should tell "rappers" it's not acceptable since they use it in every other song.

Re:What a lame racist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862606)

As much as I dislike rap, I'll give them this : They've changed the meaning of the "N" word from a racial slur, to a power word meaning "someone capable of fucking you up". Still doesn't change the fact that rap isn't music, and I dislike having it forced on me at an intersection.

Re:What a lame racist (2)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862446)

That is only the case if you aren't black, many black people say that word of themselves. I've seen this in action several times.

Personally I think it's all silly, as it's based on some scientists who decided their was a need to categorize and sort the people of the world into differing groups. However their is no actual scientific cause for any of the names they created. Of course at the time most of the world was 'racist'. People from Africa, or China were considered backwards and not 'worthy' of being called human... So these people came up with a way to make them less 'human' by subverting the concept of race in ways we never would for animals.

the 'N word' is you say is just a word, a word we made up to put certain people down as less than human (though the modern 'N Word' and the historical one are not quite the same). What we need is less concern over a word and more concern about why we think a word can be so bad.

Re:What a lame racist (1)

meburke (736645) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862494)

LOL..but you have a point: A lot of people will overlook the fact that the reporter is "interpreting" the facts, or "judging the facts" instead of "reporting the facts"as they really occurred. By loading the report, the reporter tries to influence the readers into accepting a negative viewpoint without thinking. (It works both ways: How many complaints have we heard from the Right that the "liberal news media" slants their content? ..and the same complaints in earlier posts about Fox News?)

Well, none of the Ten Commandments says, "Thou shalt not Lie." However, (disclaimer: I was raised Catholic) this is a clear case of "bearing false witness."

But now that I think about it; the presumption that the reporter is deliberately slanting the news, without evidence to support it, is also a case of "bearing false witness."

"Ooooh.. Logic is so HARD! Why don't we all just vote Democrat and rest our brains?"

Re:What a lame racist (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862560)

"Ooooh.. Logic is so HARD! Why don't we all just vote Democrat and rest our brains?"

And apparently being able to tell a noun from an adjective is too hard as well. Especially when the intent is to use the noun, not as an identifier, but as an epithet.

Sep church and state? (0)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862168)

amounted to free speech

Sure about that?

because the statute doesn't criminalize 'predictions or exhortations to others to injure ... the president

I thought the reasoning behind that statue was not a purely arbitrary free speech line in the sand, but to not mess with religious nuts who must always be placated in this country? Pretty much the definition of a religion is a group that claims the non-members are at least going to hell, if not worse, hence you should be thrilled you were dragged into the cult. Well you know what they say about hell, the clientele is a lot of fun but the climate is unpleasantly toasty, kind of like Vegas. Anyway their intention is it is supposed to be a punishment. Therefore all/almost all fire and brimstone religions would be criminalized unless either the prez happened to be a member, or their god told them to give the prez a free pass.

Even a pacifistic Buddhist interpretation, would be the prez seems inevitably toward reincarnation as a dung beetle at best; most would consider being a dung beetle as an "injurious" condition for the prez.

Usually american govt style is to make everyone a criminal; makes them easier to control. Its interesting to see the contrast with the other style, of always sucking up to hateful religious extremists.

yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862174)

yep, vern, sumboddy's gwon keel you i reckon.

you'sa prolly gwon die real horbul-like and real soon yep.

hey sumboddy stab that goldurn loser in the face wouldja.

yep. freedom.

Re:yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862298)

AHM GWON KEEL YEW AMOS!

Of Course (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862256)

I am really surprised he is the only one, I think everyone thought that he had a good chance of getting shot and really I would not have thought too hard about posting about it, but then I would not have called him any racial slurs or expressed anything but regret at that occurring.

Incitement (1)

glorybe (946151) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862310)

Usually for incitement is a consideration it involves causing others to act in an immediate frenzy. The idea being that if a call to immediate action is made then rational people can become excited without a chance to reflect upon their actions and mayhem may follow. The idea that some fellow, far away, babbling about some weird desire to shoot a president or black people constitutes a real threat to a rational observer is nonsense. We simply see an idiot, lost in his beer, being an idiot.

How beautifully absurd (4, Insightful)

PacoSuarez (530275) | more than 2 years ago | (#36862356)

> The observation that Obama 'will have a 50 cal in the head soon' and a call to 'shoot the [racist slur]' weren't violations of the law [...]
That sentence alone implies that in the U.S. death threats are protected free speech, but you can't use the word "nigger". I love it.

Free speech does not protect threats. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862370)

You can't threaten anyone, let alone the president. What kind of crack are these judges on?

And so /. continues ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862486)

its steady pace toward the bottom. It's no longer even pretending to be "news for nerds."

The only thing I find offensive is, [racist slur] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36862558)

Nigger, its only a word people.

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