Journalism Dean: “There are limits to free speech”


**Posted by Phineas


It’s a measure of how craven and corrupt our political culture has become that even the Dean of a journalism school in a nation founded on free speech and freedom of the press should say “there are limits, however:”

Charlie Hebdo has gone too far.

In its first publication following the Jan. 7 attack on its Paris office, in which two Muslim gunmen massacred 12 people, the once little-known French satirical news weekly crossed the line that separates free speech from toxic talk.

Charlie Hebdo’s latest depiction of the prophet Mohammed — a repeat of the very action that is thought to have sparked the murderous attack on its office — predictably has given rise to widespread violence in nations with large Muslim populations. Its irreverence of Mohammed once moved the French tabloid to portray him naked in a pornographic pose. In another caricature, it showed Mohammed being beheaded by a member of the Islamic State.

While free speech is one of democracy’s most important pillars, it has its limits.

So says DeWayne Wickham, Dean of the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Wayne State University. In a very limited sense, he’s right: I cannot go yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater (1), for example (2). Nor can I incite to violence by, for example, standing before a crowd and telling them to go now and beat up a certain person or persons.

But that’s it. All other political speech is within bounds, regardless of whom it offends. You cannot have a free society unless the it includes the right to freely criticize those in authority — and not just criticize, but to satirize and mock, too. If I as a Catholic want to question Original Sin and the need for Divine Grace, or that Jesus was not Divine until adopted by God, then the Church might well denounce me as a heretic and excommunicate me, but the law cannot punish me for my beliefs, nor should I fear physical violence. If I want to be truly outrageous and place the Crucifix in a beaker of urine, I would be a jackass, but I still should not have to fear either legal sanction nor physical violence.

And the same is true of any religion. If I want to question Muhammad’s status as a prophet, or even if he existed at all; if I want to argue that his earliest biography shows he was a bandit, a warlord, and a torturer; and if I want to criticize Sharia, Islam’s divine law, for calling for the execution of homosexuals, that is my right as a free man — even if I want to draw questionably funny satirical cartoons.

This is the right of any human being and well-within the “limits” of free speech.

Let’s be honest. It’s not a regard for the proper limits of free speech that motivates Mr. Wickham. If he or one of his students offended some Amish who then complained, I’m willing to bet he’d be on his soapbox screaming about “free speech” and “freedom of the press.”

And that leads us to the truth. Amish might shun you. Catholics won’t invite you to Bingo Night. A Buddhist would probably just decide you’re an annoying illusion and don’t really exist.

But all too many Muslims would be quite willing to kill you for insulting their Muhammad. Just ask the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, or Theo van Gogh.

The limit to Dean Wickham’s freedom of speech is his fear of punishment, and thus he is not free at all.

via Michael Walsh

PS: It’s great to see ST back in business. :)

(1) Popehat argues there are serious flaws with that particular justification for censorship.
(2) When it’s not true, that is.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Efficient as ever, Hillary Clinton attacks 1st and 2nd amendments in one sentence


**Posted by Phineas


Hey, why only gut one amendment in the Bill of Rights when you can trash two at the same time? It’s a progressive win-win!

During a televised town hall, Hillary Clinton was asked about guns, and said that the viewpoint held by gun-rights advocates “terrorizes” the majority of Americans.

The town hall, broadcast live on CNN on Tuesday, closely resembled a commercial for Clinton’s new memoir, “Hard Choices.”


“We cannot let a minority of people – and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people – hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people,” said Clinton.

Get that? Not only are you allowed to own firearms only at the sufferance of the State, but you are not even allowed to hold a point of view that differs from the majority opinion, presumably as long as that majority happens to agree with the progressive statist position.

And “terrorizes?” Really, Hillary? I’m not allowed to hold the opinion that the natural right to self-defense allows me and all other Americans to arm ourselves and that the Bill of Rights recognizes that unalienable right against government power, because said opinion might make your neighbors in Chappaqua get the vapors? How weird. In all my reading about the American Founding and our constitutional settlement, I never ran across the part that talked about how we have free speech as long as it isn’t scary. I don’t recall Voltaire saying “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it, as long as it does not offend the majority.”

Hey, Hillary? What about other minorities? Blacks in the 1950s and 1960s were of the opinion that they held the same natural and civil rights as other Americans and loudly demonstrated to demand those rights be honored. That surely scared the majority Whites at the time, so should Blacks have not been allowed to hold those opinions? I’m curious for your thoughts on the matter.

File this away for 2016, folks, should Lady Macbeth decide to run: it is the opinion of a leading candidate for President of the United States, who swears an oath to uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution —including the Bill of Rights— that you are only allowed to express your own opinions as long as most people are comfortable with them.

Comforting, isn’t it?

h/t Bryan Preston

PS: Hillary is no outlier for her party: just the other day, President Obama was praising Australia’s draconian gun confiscation law. The simple truth is that the Left approves of the Constitution only when it is convenient to them.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

SCOTUS: SBA List can sue Ohio over “False Statement Law”



Via The Politico:

The Supreme Court on Monday sided with an anti-abortion group, opening the door for a broad challenge against the government’s right to police falsehoods in political advertising.

A unanimous Supreme Court agreed that Susan B. Anthony List had standing to sue over an Ohio false statements law, reversing two lower court decisions that the group could not bring a lawsuit because it had not suffered any injury.

“Denying prompt judicial review would impose a substantial hardship on petitioners, forcing them to choose between refraining from core political speech on the one hand, or engaging in that speech and risking costly Commission proceedings and criminal prosecution on the other,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the decision.

The case arose in Ohio in 2010, when SBA List sought to run a billboard against Ohio Democrat Steve Driehaus, who was then a member of Congress. The billboard accusing Driehaus of voting for taxpayer-funds abortion by supporting the Affordable Care Act.

Driehaus complained to Ohio election regulators, alleging the billboard would have violated the Ohio False Statement Law.

That law makes it illegal to “post, publish, circulate, distribute, or otherwise disseminate a false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard for whether it was false or not, if the statement is designed to promote the election, nomination, or defeat of the candidate.”

Seems to  me that this law is unquestionably blatantly unconstitutional – something apparently even the left AND right agree on in this case, but then again the courts have been known to make what seem like clear cut cases of what’s Constitutional or not out to be the most complicated of matters.

You can read the Supreme Court’s full opinion here.

The Democrats’ anti-constitutional constitutional amendment. Updated


**Posted by Phineas

Senator Harry Reid

Hates free speech

Upset by court rulings that, in effect, declare that “free speech” really means free speech, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced a constitutional amendment granting Congress sweeping powers to regulate campaign expenditures, both monetary and “in kind.” This amendment has the full support of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV):

“The shadowy Koch brothers are attempting… a hostile takeover of American democracy,” Reid charged Thursday. “No one should be able to pump unlimited funds into a political campaign.”

Reid urged his fellow lawmakers to support a proposed constitutional amendment, written by Democratic Sen. Tom Udall and co-sponsored by 40 of the Senate’s 55 Democrats, that would give Congress the right to regulate all political contributions and all spending of any kind in all federal elections. (It would also give states the power to do the same in state elections.) The Supreme Court has held such far-reaching restrictions to be unconstitutional, which is why Reid wants to take the extreme step of changing the nation’s founding document.

“Amending our Constitution is not something we take lightly,” Reid said. “But the flood of special interest money into our American democracy is one of the greatest threats our system of government has ever faced.”

You know, I fully expect Reid to soon start ranting about strawberries. But, back to the Left’s latest assault on free speech, here’s the key excerpt from the proposed amendment:

Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to federal elections, including setting limits on (1) the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, federal office, and (2) the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.

Byron York is right, of course: this amendment has no chance of passing the Senate and House, where two-thirds votes are needed, nor has it any chance of being approved by three-fourths of the state legislatures. It’s another attempt to find an issue that will get their base voters excited for the coming election and distract from the rolling Obamacare disaster by invoking two great liberal demons — the Koch brothers (1) and the Citizens United decision.

What is disturbing, however, is Reid and the Democrats’ willingness to put themselves on record as willing to curb our fundamental freedoms, free speech being a natural, unalienable right, in pursuit of short-term electoral goals. It’s emblematic of progressivism, which sees the Constitution as obsolete, and of the Democrats’ predilection for putting their narrow electoral interests ahead of the nation’s well-being — for instance, undercutting American forces even before they enter battle in order to oppose a Republican president. It’s not new, however; we’ve seen plenty of examples in recent years of anti-democratic Democrats, such as former Governor Perdue of North Carolina suggesting that congressional elections be delayed, something not even done during the Civil War, largely because her party was set to do poorly.

It’s not that this amendment would be unconstitutional –by the nature of the process, ratification would make it part of the Constitution and therefore “constitutional”– but its very nature is profoundly and disturbingly anti-constitutional, striking at the concepts of natural rights that are foundational to the Republic. Political speech must be free to have any meaning at all, and that includes expressing your political opinions by donating money and time or other property to further a cause or support a candidate. That the Democrats would think of attacking this fundamental freedom in order to excite their base speaks of a deep rot within their party (2), something that should concern us all.

PS: Take a look at this list of the biggest donors since 1989, and note a couple of things: first, 11 of the top 16 at least lean Democratic. You don’t find one that leans Republican until number 17. And the evil Koch brothers, whom Harry Reid denounces daily like Cato demanding the destruction of Carthage, only place 59th on the list. That alone reveals the vile cynicism of his bleatings: the Majority Leader of the United States Senate by name demagoguing against two American citizens, regardless of the truth. Second, the proposed amendment would require statutes passed by Congress to be implemented. Take a good look again at that donor list: unions and other groups have donated tens of millions to the Democrats, with unions also providing invaluable in-kind donations in the form of campaign volunteers. Does anyone think the Democrats, given half a chance, wouldn’t write implementing legislation that somehow allowed these groups to keep right on helping Democrats? If so, raise your hand; I have a bridge to sell you.

(1) A pair of libertarian billionaires who are apparently plotting to take over the government with the horrifying goal of leaving us alone. Where do I sign up?
(2) Not that I wholly excuse Republicans. John McCain’s sponsorship of the hateful McCain-Feingold bill revealed him as a constitutional lightweight.

UPDATE: National Review’s Charles Cooke wrote about this a few days and had the following to say:

The move is the final act of a contrived and hamfisted morality play, whose purpose is to cast the Democratic party and its allies as champions of the people and the Kochs as a proxy for all that ails America. Lofty as its broader goal may seek to be, the whole endeavor nevertheless carries with it the ugly smack of the Bill of Attainder — of a change to the nation’s constitutional settlement that serves largely to punish two people that the man with the gavel disdains. Rambling in the general direction of a BuzzFeed reporter earlier this week, Reid inadvertently revealed something about his motivations. His reelection to the Senate in 1998, he griped, “was awful”: “I won it, but just barely. I felt it was corrupting, all this corporate money.” Translation: I almost lost my seat once, so I need the supreme law to protect me. Corruption, schmorruption. This is about power.

Do read the whole thing.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Chilling: Reid would back Constitutional amendment limiting free speech

Senator Harry Reid

His photo doesn’t appear next to the word ”fascist” in the dictionary, but it should.

He’s not just losing it. He has LOST it. Via BuzzFeed:

WASHINGTON — Frustrated by the “sewer” of modern American political campaigns, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Wednesday said that he would bring a constitutional amendment to the floor granting Congress the ability to set strict new limits on campaign contributions, warning he will force multiple votes if necessary to pass the measure.

“When I came to Congress, when you got money you had to list who you got it from, what their occupation was, address, and phone numbers if you had it. Then I saw things change. In 1998, [former Sen.] John Ensign and I ran against one another and we spent about $10 million in Nevada,” Reid told BuzzFeed during an interview in his Capitol office.


Things had changed for the good, he said, by 2004. “I felt so clean and pure with McCain-Feingold, which had come into being, it was wonderful. We were back where we should have been,” he said.

Then the Supreme Court handed down the Citizens United ruling, Reid said, opening the flood gates to hundreds of millions of largely unregulated money to SuperPACs. “It was as if I had jumped into the sewer … it’s awful what has happened.”

Although a number of Democrats, most notably New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall, have talked about passing a constitutional amendment to re-impose campaign finance restrictions, Reid had not been one of them — until now.


“It’s been tried before, we should continue to push this and it should become our issue. That really puts the Koch brothers up against it. We believe and I believe that there should be spending limits. We’re going to push a constitutional amendment so we can limit spending because what is going on today is awful,” Reid vowed, indicating that he’ll bring Udall’s measure to the Senate floor soon.

“We’re going to arrange a vote on it. We’re going to do it until we pass it because that’s the salvation of our country.”

Here’s a little tip: It’s not going to pass.  Absolutely positively will not. Has no chance. Reid is showboating here, hoping that not even his supporters grasp the full depth of what he is advocating – basically a Constitutional amendment that would limit the free speech of American citizens simply because they oppose the Democratic party’s agenda.

Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey breaks it down:

This is a scream of impotence, in more ways than one. First, SJ-19 has no more chance of passing out of Congress than does a bill amending the Constitution to forbid abortion. It takes two-thirds of both chambers of Congress (Article V) to send an amendment to state legislatures, and Reid won’t get to 60 in the Senate. The House won’t address it at all. Furthermore, it’s doubtful that even a majority of state legislatures would take it up; more of them are Republican than Democrat, and they’ve seen the malicious prosecution that results when putting this much power in the hands of partisans in the executive branch. Wisconsin just provided an excellent example of that.

So this is just cheap political theater in an attempt to demonize two particular donors who just happen to oppose Reid’s agenda. Democrats are about to climb onto that bandwagon that proclaims that Americans can’t be trusted to discern political arguments and that the governing class should decide who gets to participate in politics. If that’s the only strategy Reid has left for the midterms, well … Democrats are in bigger trouble than we realized.

But just imagine if he had the votes in both chambers to do this.   Think about it.  And then imagine if the roles were reversed and this was a Republican engaged in this level of grandstanding, and how the media would howl with outrage that Republicans were taking their attempts at “silencing the opposition” to a “whole new frightening level.”

Honestly, I’ve always figured Reid to be a complete snake – but this shameless attempt at basically burning the First Amendment to the Constitution takes it to a whole new disturbing level, and should chill everyone to the bone … including even the people who vote for him time and time again to represent them in Washington, DC.  But I won’t hold my breath, because that would require a consideration of citizens other than themselves, as well as a recollection of the principles upon which this country was founded – and a majority of Nevadans have repeatedly demonstrated every time they vote to keep fascists like Reid in office how little they care about the devastating consequences of their vote, not just on their state, but the country as well.

(Hat tip: Memeorandum)

Victor Davis Hanson on the new Inquisition and freedom of speech


**Posted by Phineas

"The new liberal tolerance"

“The new liberal tolerance”

And even freedom of thought.

Writing at National Review Online, Dr. Hanson reviews recent incidents of people being hounded for their political opinions or scientific skepticism –among others, Brendan Eich at Mozilla; Dr. Richard Tol for not towing the party line on global warming; antisemitism at a major university that only draws a slap on the wrist;  and let’s add Brandeis University’s disgusting insult to Ayaan Hirsi Ali– and then argues that the president has enabled or encouraged this behavior both actively and passively. (And I do believe Hanson is right.)

After all that, VDH offers this about how civil liberties will die in America:

All of that them/us rhetoric has given a top-down green light to radical thought police to harass anyone who is open-minded about man-caused global warming, or believes that gay marriage needs more debate, or that supporting Israel is a legitimate cause, or that breaking federal immigration law is still a crime and therefore “illegal.”

Our civil liberties will not be lost to crude fascists in jackboots. More likely, the death of free speech will be the work of the new medieval Torquemadas who claim they destroyed freedom of expression for the sake of “equality” and “fairness” and “saving the planet.”

And either the irony is lost on them, or they don’t give a damn.

UPDATE: And just like that, another example — the progessive, tolerant, open-minded mob has gone after Dropbox for adding Condoleezza Rice to their board of directors. Can we call them “racists,” yet?  (h/t Stephen Kruiser)

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Free speech in Britain not dead; just gut-shot


**Posted by Phineas

I’m telling you, George Orwell was a prophet:

Neil Phillips said he was fingerprinted, DNA-swabbed and had his computers seized.

The 44-year-old was held after posting: “My PC takes so long to shut down I’ve decided to call it Nelson Mandela.”

Another read: “Free Mandela – switch the power off.”

But police swooped after a councillor complained over the gags about the former South African leader, who passed away on Thursday, aged 95.

Mr Phillips who insisted he meant no harm, said: “It was an awful experience. I was fingerprinted, they took DNA and my computer.

“It was a couple of jokes, Bernard Manning type,” he added. “There was no hatred. What happened to freedom of speech? I think they over-reacted massively.”

Mr Phillips, who runs Crumbs sandwich shop in Rugeley, Staffs, was arrested after complaints by [local councilor] Tim Jones about the one-liners, aired when the anti-apartheid hero was critically ill.

Mr. Phillips “crime,” aside from telling some mildly tasteless jokes, is that he broke the 1986 Public Order Act (1), which, among other things, makes it an offense to say things that others might find insulting and distressing. And because a local pol was “offended,” Phillips was hauled in and treated like an enemy of the state.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t we get our traditions of free speech from that very same island, where now an off-color joke means an official knock at the door?

Via Charles Cooke, who has this to say about the state of liberty in his former country:

In other words, Section 5 [of the POA] allows anybody to have anybody else investigated for speaking. And they have. The arrests have run the gamut: from Muslims criticizing atheists to atheists critcizing Muslims; from a young man who told a police officer that his horse was “gay” to protesters criticizing Scientology; from a Christian arguing against homosexuality on the street to a man arrested and charged with offending a chaplain. I’ll give them this: The British are at least thorough with their suppression. 

Cooke points out that, after public outrage, the law has been amended to ban prosecutions for insulting people, but only if no particular victim can be identified. A real blow for liberty, that. It’s also a good example of why we should zealously guard our own 1st Amendment; we all know pols and academics here who’d love to have a similar law in the name of “respecting each other’s feelings.”

Britain’s Glorious Revolution resulted in the English Bill of Rights, forerunner to our own. Maybe it’s time they had another.

(1) Passed under Margaret Thatcher? Really?

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#IRS watching conservative groups as recently as two weeks ago?


**Posted by Phineas

"Rogue agents, IRS Cincinnati field office"

“Rogue agents, IRS Cincinnati field office”

You’d think, after admitting wrongdoing back in May and being thoroughly pilloried by the public since then, the IRS would have had the good sense to stop singling out groups based on political beliefs. You would also be wrong:

Republicans investigating the IRS targeting scandal said Wednesday that the agency continued to conduct secret surveillance on tea party groups even after approving them for tax-exempt status.

Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel said he shut down the monitoring program after he found out about it, and said he has halted all audits of tax-exempt organizations based on political activity as he tries to get a handle on the embattled agency.


In May, the IRS acknowledged subjecting conservative groups to intrusive scrutiny and delaying applications for far too long before approving them. Some applications are still awaiting approval after three years.

The newly revealed surveillance, however, applied to applications that had been approved, but where the IRS apparently wanted to determine whether the groups strayed too far into political activity to keep their tax-exempt status.

Mr. Werfel quibbled with calling the continued “surveillance” and said he didn’t see any evidence that groups on the list for scrutiny was improperly influenced by any IRS employees.

But he said the program was troubling enough that he shut it down two weeks ago.

This deserves one of those “Hitler in the bunker” Downfall videos of its own. I mean, what was going on, here? Did Boris Badenov, one of those hypothetical rogue agents in Cincinnati, twirl his Evil Mustache(tm) and laugh maniacally while receiving orders from Fearless Leader to carry on with Phase Two?

Whether this latest harrassment was born of arrogance or cluelessness —or both— it is yet another example of why the IRS needs to be seriously reduced in size and power, if not eliminated altogether, and why our tax code should be radically simplified and flattened so that one’s entire tax filing fits on a single postcard. The permanent bureaucracy as a class is fundamentally hostile to that large swath of Americans who prefer smaller, less intrusive government, which makes it the natural ally of those political factions that see the State as the solution to all problems and the ultimate arbiter of fairness.

And a mindbogglingly complicated tax code is a weapon in their hands to harry those they disapprove of, as we’ve seen time and again these last few months. The pols don’t even need to give explicit instructions to their allies in he bureaucracy; as ST reported, a “wink and a nod” is enough. The simpatico is that strong.

We don’t need to trim the federal government. We need to take a chainsaw to it.

Be sure to read the rest for the latest on Natasha …er…  Lois Lerner. Sadly, she’s not hypothetical.

via Bryan Preston

RELATED: Ed Morrissey noticed a very, very interesting coincidence in dates. As I’ve been saying for years, Obama is at his core hostile to freedom of speech, and now he has the IRS abetting him.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

The IRS scandal over the targeting of Tea Party groups is still alive and well


The USA Today files a report on what they found after their analysis of a list they obtained from the IRS – a list of which 80% of those identified were affiliated with the Tea Party or other conservative groups (via Memeorandum):

WASHINGTON — Newly uncovered IRS documents show the agency flagged political groups based on the content of their literature, raising concerns specifically about “anti-Obama rhetoric,” inflammatory language and “emotional” statements made by non-profits seeking tax-exempt status.

The internal 2011 documents, obtained by USA TODAY, list 162 groups by name, with comments by Internal Revenue Service lawyers in Washington raising issues about their political, lobbying and advocacy activities. In 21 cases, those activities were characterized as “propaganda.”

The list provides the most specific public accounting to date of which groups were targeted for extra scrutiny and why. The IRS has not publicly identified the groups, repeatedly citing a provision of the tax code prohibiting it from releasing tax return information.

More than 80% of the organizations on the 2011 “political advocacy case” list were conservative, but the effort to police political activity also ensnared at least 11 liberal groups as of November 2011, including Progressives United, Progress Texas and Delawareans for Social and Economic Justice.

And here’s where USA Today veers off into the “but it happened to all types of groups – including liberal groups” claptrap in order to seemingly justify the obvious, now well-known widespread targeting of conservative groups by the IRS that were/are anti-President Obama:

It wasn’t just anti-Obama rhetoric the IRS was looking out for. Progress Texas was identified by the IRS as engaging in lobbying, propaganda and political activities. IRS lawyers in Washington noted “anti-Rick Perry” rhetoric, referring to the Republican Texas governor, then a presidential candidate.

Progress Texas received a tax exemption as a social welfare group in June, 2012.

Campaign-finance watchdogs say the IRS scrutiny came out of a justified effort to police “dark money” in politics. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations and unions — and even non-profit groups — could engage in independent political advertising, social welfare groups became a vehicle for funneling undisclosed cash into the election system.

That’s the position of Progressives United, a group founded by former senator Russ Feingold, D-Wis., that itself appeared on the 2011 IRS target list.

“The fact that our group received some scrutiny does not change at all our opinion that scrutiny like this from the IRS, it’s their job. The law applies to us as it would any conservative group,” said Progressives United’s Josh Orton. “I feel like there’s this group of campaign finance nihilists who want to expand this into an argument that there should be no scrutiny at all. They want a wild west of election law, because they want to continue using secret corporate money to influence elections.”

And I feel like there are groups of dum dums on the left who would justify anything this administration and its people in senior positions of power at government agencies do short of hurting puppies and/or cutting down trees. Useful idiots and all that.

Related to all of this, the Washington Times writes  that “IRS employees were “acutely” aware in 2010 that President Obama wanted to crack down on conservative organizations and were egged into targeting tea party groups by press reports mocking the emerging movement …”:

IRS employees were “acutely” aware in 2010 that President Obama wanted to crack down on conservative organizations and were egged into targeting tea party groups by press reports mocking the emerging movement, according to an interim report being circulated Tuesday by House investigators.

The report, by staffers for Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, quoted two Internal Revenue Service officials saying the tea party applications were singled out in the targeting program that has the agency under investigation because “they were likely to attract media attention.”

In the report, the investigators do not find evidence that IRS employees received orders from politicians to target the tea party, and agency officials deny overt bias or political motives.

But the report says the IRS was at least taking cues from political leaders and designed special policies to review tea party applications, including dispatching some of them to Washington to be vetted by headquarters.

“As prominent politicians publicly urged the IRS to take action on tax-exempt groups engaged in legal campaign intervention activities, the IRS treated tea party applications differently,” the staff report concludes. “Applications filed by tea party groups were identified and grouped due to media attention surrounding the existence of the tea party in general.”

That finding contradicts Democrats on Capitol Hill, who argue that some liberal groups also were given special scrutiny, thus showing there was neither a witch hunt for conservatives nor political pressure from the White House.

Move along here, nothing to see …


The ‘punishment arm ‘of the Obama administration?

Facebook flunks English, suspends user for writing “chigger.”


**Posted by Phineas


The illiteracy, it burns:

It started yesterday, when SF author Michael Z Williamson was blocked by Facebook for 12 hours for using the word “chigger” in a post.  When his twelve hours were up — following massive derision against Facebook by all his friends — his block expired. He was promptly blocked again.

Read the rest of Charlie Martin’s post. Williamson finally got his account unblocked, but Facebook also couldn’t understand “niggardly,” and so banned another miscreant; Facebook tried the “we’re overwhelmed with reported posts and sometimes make mistakes” excuse, but that doesn’t explain why they continue to allow a page that calls for a man’s murder and others that repeatedly use an extremely offensive word for Blacks. (Not to mention various pages advocating violent jihad against the West.)

Facebook is a private company and has every right to monitor what’s written on its site, but one would think they should want to a) hire people with the vocabulary of at least a 7th-grader; b) try to be consistent; or c) just give up and let everyone vent. (At least option C is helpful for monitoring idiot jihadis.)

Flashback: It’s not the first time the use of the word “niggardly” has exposed the ignorant.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)