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Tea Party Pushes Limits Of Free Speech

From the “experts” at CNN:

Experts: Angry rhetoric protected, but can be disturbing

By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
April 16, 2010

(CNN) — Letting disgruntled citizens vent is important to national security, experts say, but some messages emanating from angry Americans in recent weeks have pressed the boundaries of free speech.

Politicians have reported slurs as well as threatening letters and phone calls.

It really should be needless to say, Congressmen have gotten threats since there has been a Congress.

Congressmen have reported vandalism to their offices. One said he was spit on. Another said his brother’s gas line was cut after a Tea Party member posted his address online.

Of these, the only one that we have seen documented was a series of threats to Patty Murray from a man who specifically said he was not a Tea Party member, as we were the first (and only) to note.

Many of the rest of the ‘stories,’ especially the racial slurs and spitting, seem to have been concocted out of thin air and promulgated by an only too happy to oblige media.

Tea Party leaders denounce the threats and deny involvement, pointing to fringe elements — not Tea Party members, per se, but groups with degrees of overlapping ideologies.

But the angry rhetoric is not isolated to fringe groups. Both mainstream liberal and conservative camps have joined the chorus, and while some of the language sounds threatening, most of it is protected

Peruse fringe Web sites, though, and you’ll hear a darker, conspiratorial tone: President Obama isn’t American; the U.S. and/or Israel perpetrated 9/11; the government is constructing concentration camps; or foreign troops will populate U.S. soil when an amorphous New World Order takes over.

These are supposed to be conspiracy theories from “recent weeks”? Once again, CNN is simply lying. None of these are new.

And none of this nonsense is taken seriously by the kinds of people who have been demonstrating in the name of the Tea Party.

This isn’t even good guilt by association. This is not even good McCarthy-ism. This is Charlie McCarthy-ism.

A recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center says Patriot groups — which the center defines as "militias and other extremist organizations that see the federal government as their enemy" — are on the rise, and it loosely lumps in Tea Party organizations with the hate groups.

Which, as we have demonstrated time and time again is another out and out lie. And it comes from a crank named Mark Potok, who also proudly writes for such operations as the Huffington Post.

"The ‘tea parties’ and similar groups that have sprung up in recent months cannot fairly be considered extremist groups, but they are shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism," it said

And by “it” they mean Mark Potok, who is the ‘one man band’ behind the laughably named ‘Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project.’

The man is nothing but a professional propagandist. Naturally, he is darling of our watchdog media.

It’s a familiar scene on the political landscape: Christians, Muslims, unions, gun owners, environmentalists, seniors, conservatives and liberals help compose the gamut of voices clamoring to be heard in Washington. Experts say it’s best to let everyone have their say

Dr. Jerrold Post, a George Washington University political psychology professor who spent 21 years with the CIA, said that in nations where free speech is snuffed, such as Yemen and Pakistan, domestic terrorism is more prevalent…

Post said he is concerned, however, about messages coming from the conservative base. Last month, GOP chief Michael Steele called for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to be put on "the firing line," and House Minority Leader John Boehner said that a congressman "might be a dead man" because of his health care vote.

"I find some of this rhetoric recently — ‘reload’ — quite scary," Post said of a Twitter post by Sarah Palin directing followers to her Facebook page, which had crosshairs on the districts of 20 congressmen who voted for the controversial health care bill. "Some people are going to hear that as, ‘Take up your arms.’"

Luckily, Democrats never speak metaphorically. Not Mr. Grayson. Not Mr. Weiner. Not Mr. Franken. Not even Mr. Reid or Ms. Pelosi.

"The righteous rage then becomes not just a rationalization for threatening rhetoric, but it has the potential of moving people to action," he said.

So sayeth a “political psychology professor.”

Meanwhile, until “recent weeks” any threatening rhetoric from the left – even movies and T-shirts and graffiti campaigns about killing President Bush — was just considered ‘good clean fun.’

Therein lies the paradox for a country like the United States, where free speech is guaranteed. It’s healthy to allow groups to vent, experts say, but not to the point that they incite violence.

In other words, the authorities had better step in and stop those rich, white geriatrics who supposedly make up the Tea Party — before they go on a killing spree.

The FBI says letters sent to 30 governors, cryptically demanding they step down or be removed, don’t appear to pose threats. And of all the threats against congressmen, authorities have arrested only three men, whom they charged with threatening Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, and Pelosi.

Funny how that Republican got slipped in there, isn’t it?

Post speculated that today’s anger stems from a feeling of "groundlessness." The face of politics is changing, whether it’s a black president, female secretary of state or gay, Jewish liberal as one of the most visible figures in Congress. Priorities are changing, too, as gay marriage, immigration, health care and drug legalization are among the most heated debates of late.

Some may perceive that their values are under assault or "feel bypassed by an inability to cope with a rapidly changing world," Post said.

You see, it’s all because those rich white geriatric “bitter clingers” can’t keep up with the times. The new age of Obama.

They should just die and get out of the way of progress.

In times of societal distress — be it a struggling economy or profound ideological disparities — knowing your enemy is comforting, especially when you can blame "them" rather than "us," he said.

America has blamed Reds, Islamists, illegal immigrants and the "axis of evil." The left has blamed the right.

Never mind that the ‘Reds, Islamists, illegal immigrants and the "axis of evil." – were or indeed still are all quite blameworthy.

But notice that it isn’t until this penultimate paragraph of this CNN article that the left is mentioned at all. Even though the history of angry political protest in this country has been the exclusive domain of the left until “recent weeks.”

The right has blamed the left. Today, the Tea Party’s "them" is a perceived "soft center in Washington who doesn’t understand," Post said, and it helps to have "an external target to blame."

"It makes sense of the senseless in his life," Post said. "There is a deep-seated need in human psychology for enemies. We define ourselves by what they are not. We end where they begin."

Man, that is deep. And so professorial.

Now we understand why the Tea Party has had to invent all of its imaginary enemies.

By the way, here’s a little more background on Mr. Post, via the FEC’s political contribution search engine:

Contributions to Political Committees


01/11/2000     250.00     20035431459

Total Contributions:    250.00

And if you do a search on Mr. Post, you find that he is a veritable ‘Mark Potok’ when it comes to being an expert about threats from the right.

Perhaps the professor should have to declare his contributions in these articles to the FEC, as donations in kind to the Democrat Party.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, April 16th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

21 Responses to “Tea Party Pushes Limits Of Free Speech”

  1. artboyusa says:

    What “boundaries of free speech”? Speech is either free or it isn’t. Everybody loves free speech in the abstract sense until someone says something they don’t like and all of sudden we have these “boundaries” and we express “concern”. Bullpockey. Anyone can say whatever they want anytime they want to and if someone else doesn’t like it they’re free to ignore it or explain why what’s been said is wrong. But the Left don’t want to defend their position, they only want to shut down the debate…get ready to hear lots more about how we need to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine.

  2. mr_bill says:

    The Tea Party huh, the only actual violence I have seen is two republican activists leaving the SRLC dinner this week. They were beaten for wearing Sarah Palin buttons. One of Gov. Jindal’s fundraisers had her leg broken and her boyfriend received a concussion and a broken jaw while they were beaten by 5 thugs (no doubt ACORN, SEIU, or both) as they exited the dinner. The NOPD took 4 days to release a statement and the incident has not been reported in a single major news outlet, no doubt because it doesn’t fit the narrative as illustrated above. But hey these thugs were just beating up on some white republicans, so it isn’t really crime crime, as Whoopi might say.

    Ms. Bautch, the female who had her leg broken, said she heard one of the attackers say “let’s get ’em, they Have Palin pins on!” If that’s not a politically motivated attack, I don’t know what is. But I’m sure the folks who protest ideas and speak out about using the power of their votes and clean up their trash when they leave are the ones to worry about. More Ministry of Truth crap. I’m sick and tired of it.

    Mrs_bill was just at the post office and sent me a text saying that she couldn’t believe how long the passport line is, she wondered what they knew that she didn’t. Its like Germany circa 1939. Papers please?




  3. Petronius says:

    ” . . . blamed Reds, Islamists, illegal immigrants . . . .”

    Personally I am simply batty on these subjects, especially Muslim immigration, so perhaps the days of dear old Petronius are numbered.

    Perhaps, after my hearing before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, they may transport me to a mental hospital . . . for my own good, of course. Yes, they shall document my file, all the classic symptoms of senile dementia. A quiet room would be nice. Yes, a quiet room where I cannot disturb the other inmates with my illusions and my foolish talk. I hope there is a garden. Perhaps someday––if I am good and keep my mouth shut––I may be allowed to plant an olive tree.

  4. GetBackJack says:

    “Tea Party Pushes Limits Of Free Speech”

    … as opposed to what? Union thugs, bomb throwing Progressives, violent street gangs beating Republicans?

    It’s getting to where I can’t trust CNN’s judgement on most things.


  5. NoNeoCommies says:

    Oh how the left projects and projects.
    They point their crooked little fingers at us and run down the list of all the things they are guilty of.
    The left has no fear of attacking those they truly believe to be civilized.

    They do, however, fear acting out in the midst of a Tea Party Rally.
    Maybe they think that the odds of 1000 to 1 are not in their favor.
    Maybe they fear the cameras as they would not get close to the crowd with a mask or bandana on their faces.
    They only attack when they have superior numbers (as they did in Louisiana) and can run into the night to avoid facing the law.

  6. proreason says:

    It’s easy to get the straight scoop from the hollow-cheeked msm.

    Whatever they say….the opposite is true.

  7. bill says:

    And how would they rate blowing up the pentagon by Obama-commie’s friend Ayers with the tea party protests.

    It must drive these people nuts.

  8. canary says:

    “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet,” he cried, “as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?” Henry raised his hands, crossed at the wrists, as though he were bound. “Forbid it, Almighty God!”

    “I know not what course others may take,” he calmly professed then he paused. Slowly, deliberately, and in a firm voice, Henry concluded to the hushed audience, “But as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”

    Patrick Henry

    In 5th grade my son did biography and was to give quote why the person he chose believed we should fight the British. So, he quoted this, and she marked it wrong and wrote questions “where did this come from?”

    • skclewis says:

      Kudos to your son!! Says a lot for the quality of our education establishment. Where do they find these teachers anyway? My brother is a 2nd grade teacher and is always in trouble with his peers because he doesn’t buy into the party line.

  9. crate says:

    Bounderies of “free speech?” I see Southern Poverty Law Center is also in this article.. This bunch HATES free speech.. the only thing they like that is “free”is something that belonged to a hard worker and they can take it from them……

  10. beautyofreason says:

    “some messages emanating from angry Americans…have pressed the boundaries of free speech”

    Are you surprised?

    The left pines for a European welfare state, and perhaps it’s only a matter of time until the American left advocates European “hate speech” laws that target people who do not espouse politically correct, multicultural views. I’m sure if the left has their way conservatism won’t be unfairly targeted as hate speech. Sure.

    “Beyond free speech” is simply the liberal term for “I want to shut you up by force.”

  11. Mithrandir says:

    Remember when Obama told his brown-shirts to “Get in the face” of your neighbors?

    Well, they can dish it out, but they sure can’t take it can they?


  12. AmericanIPA says:

    I don’t think most of us “rightwing nutjobs” (definition from CNN for non-Obamabots) have a problem with the federal government, as this piece posits. It’s just THIS federal government that we have a problem with. The reckless spending, disrespectful attitudes, and a disdain for American tradition, founding principles, and exceptionalism among other things. People that love their country and see it slipping away from them tend to get a little agitated.

    I don’t think you need to be some fringe loner who hates everyone to feel some level of animosity toward irresponsible people who lie, steal, and misrepresent their decision making. And all of this they claim to do for us. The majority of American citizens seem to want their representatives to do just that: represent them. Rather than act as if they know what’s best for us and pass bills that put us on the hook for something we don’t want, we want them to listen and act accordingly.

    So when they don’t listen, it angers some. Some of us get upset when we are being talked to and treated like children by men and women who are supposed to be doing what we tell them to do. They are supposed to be responsible with our money, reverent and respectful of their offices and the people who elected them to the office, willing to submit to questions from those concerned citizens and answer them honestly. But so very few of our representatives nowadays can do these things.

    My question is: if you’re not at least a little angry, what the hell is wrong with you?

    • proreason says:

      Good Post AmIPA.

      I’ll bet that few people in the Tea Party movement, few people who attend this website, and few people in the country had much concern at all during any previous administration, with the possible exception of Clinton.

      But now we are aware of the incredible destructive power of Jimmy Carter, the total amorality of the Clintons and the obvious-to-anybody-who-cares-to-look marxism of Obamy.

      Many people are now saying that November is the tipping point.

      Either we go down the path of government dependency which will result in a two-class society with 95% of the people as serfs supporting the aristocratic bureaucracy…..or we decide to return to the values that made America the greatest place to live that has ever existed.

      The battle lines are clear. It isn’t about Health Care, it isn’t about Socialism, it isn’t about the deficit, it isn’t about compassion, it isn’t about global warming. Those are the skirmishes.

      The battle is about freedom.

      Either you want it.

      Or you are willing to sell it for a handful of silver.

    • JohnMG says:

      …..”My question is: if you’re not at least a little angry, what the hell is wrong with you?……”

      I know that was rhetorical, IPA, so here’s the answer; If you’re not at least a little angry, then you’re not paying attention!

  13. skclewis says:

    Here’s a quote from Charles A. Beard. Though considered a radical in his day for his proposal that the founding fathers wrote the Constitution based on economic values rather than ideology, his words still ring true more so today.

    “You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.”

  14. joeblough says:

    This crap is so transparently phony that it’s almost surprising that even CNN would put it out.

  15. joeblough says:

    One of the more striking aspects of all this sort of nonsense speculation about what the party crowd is about, is the absolute insistence on ignoring what people say about themselves, their thoughts and intentions.

    The detractors here proceed from the assumption — without offering even a gesture of justification — that the tea party participants either do not know or will not say what is motivating them. And therefore they have to be deciphered like a sort of human Rosetta Stone.

    They should really, were they to be honest (laughable I know), introduce their remarks by saying — given that these people are either ignorant of their own motives or lying … so on and so forth.

    It all does serve one useful purpose though. It gives us a new, and realistic definition of the phrase “hate group”, to wit, a group of people who the left hates.

    Remember, if you want to know what the left is up to, look at what they accuse you of.

  16. sheehanjihad says:

    For the past 8 years, the left has pounded into everyone within earshot that “dissent is patriotic”, and falling behind the “freedom of speech” mantra to defend their vile crap. I put up with it then because I believed in the Constitution…..and I’ll be damned if my dissent and freedom of speech is going to be silenced by these goons because the shoe is on the other foot. Take it, you shitbirds, you taught us all well how to get out and show disapproval of government….now it’s our turn, and you can drink a warm can of STFU!

  17. The Redneck says:

    Funny enough, I wrote a little about this just a couple days ago. And if I can be forgiven a shameless plug…..


  18. A_Nonny_Mouse says:

    Absolutely correct, you Democrats! Those violent Tea Partiers need to watch their language or they’ll incite the rabble to something terrible! Why, I remember during the campaign, when one of those violent SOB’s said “if they bring a knife to the fight, we’ll bring a gun!” Remember that?

    Ooops. It was candidate Obama who said that. (Philadelphia, Friday Jun 13 2008.)


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