Neo-Con Free Speech

effigy Steve and Virginia Pearcy, a couple in Sacremento, placed a large doll of a US soldier on their house and wrote:

"Bush Lied, I died."

Over a quarter of World Net Daily readers believe that the couple should be arrested for treason because this "aids and abets the enemy."

What's your take on the U.S. soldier hanged in effigy?

  • The couple can do this, but they should be aware of the consequences of their statement 36.13% (1805)

  • This is treason – aiding and abetting the enemy – so arrest the couple 26.68% (1333)

  • The protest is clearly in bad taste, but the couple has a right to do this on their property 16.55% (827)

  • The couple that posted this should be hanged in effigy 8.69% (434)

  • Though I'm for this military action, I agree the couple should have the right to protest like this 2.84% (142)

  • This is how free speech is supposed to work 2.68% (134)

  • Other 1.68% (84)

  • I agree with the couple's anti-war sentiments and their protest 1.62% (81)

  • I'm against the war, but this protest dishonors American troops 1.58% (79)

  • The protest doesn't go far enough against Bush's policies 1.54% (77)


The stats speak for themselves. Amazing. Sigh.

Oh well, I don't live there any longer, just as well. 

Posted by WhyNot
2/16/2005 10:59:00 pm  
I think it's their right to do what they did.

On the other hand, if I was the parent of a fallen soldier, and saw an effigy of a soldier hung above the flag in the window, I just might get the urge to burn that house down. 

Posted by Buckwheat
2/16/2005 11:29:00 pm  
"if I was the parent of a fallen soldier "...

My impression is that those ppl *ARE* the parents of a fallen soldier.... as in... their own son.

They seem to be more concerned and upset about their son's death and less itchy about burning someone else's house down.

I guess different ppl react to the ultimate pain of a lost one in different ways. Some ppl put a plea of a crying heart ripped apart. Other chose to go murder more ppl to make them feel better. 

Posted by WhyNot
2/17/2005 12:14:00 am  
Well that's WorldNetDaily for you. It's a bit like saying "all Federalist Bush appointees think this is treason." Of course they do. 

Posted by Sarah
2/17/2005 12:38:00 am  
I'm not saying I would, as a matter of fact, I agree with the sentiments they express, just not how they chose to express them. It inspires gut reactions, rather than thought, and I consider that counter-productive.

A bit like the anti-abortion commercials and ads showing fetuses. They polarize instead of trying to draw people to a common understanding.

I guess it's just my view that talking, rather than shouting, has is far more effective in convincing people of your view...although it is much harder and takes much longer. 

Posted by Buckwheat
2/17/2005 12:49:00 am  
Fortunately, we've gotten away from the term "seditious libel." I don't really care what a quarter of WorldNetDaily readers think... just the same way I don't really care what a percentage of Rush Limbaugh listeners think.

The protest is in poor taste - worse if they are the parents of a fallen soldier - but they are, of course, free to make such statements on their property if they choose to.

There are limits, naturally. You could probably get in trouble if you were to demonstrate support for pornography by hanging a giant pair of breasts on your garage door. 

Posted by brogonzo
2/17/2005 02:02:00 am  
It inspires gut reactions, rather than thought, and I consider that counter-productive ”...

I see your point, although I think sometimes shock value has its place too. When you consider there are still a significant number of ppl in the States who keep saying that the US went invade Iraq because of massive WMDs threat and for being responsible for 9/11, then one starts to wonder how effective *talking* is.

Oh, and some of those ppl still maintain their views, in spite of the now official "no WMDs" verdict which only took near 2 years to come to the conclusion 6 billion other ppl already knew from day one.

So, in effect, while brutally confronting, this is actually the plain and simple truth:

Bush lied, thousands died as a result.

The very fact it engenders so much hostility, not to mention hatred, clearly shows there is no *talking* to these ppl. How do you *talk* to someone who keeps saying something is green when it's red? The best you can hope for is to stick the red piece of material in front of their eyes. 

Posted by WhyNot
2/17/2005 04:16:00 am  
The protest is in poor taste - worse if they are the parents of a fallen soldier ”...

I think quite differently. If anything is in poor taste is to be send to die based on the repeated lies of a country's leadership. THAT is the real obscenity.

I see similar examples of this stuff here, lately about ex-military personel who are dying of cancer thanks to our above ground nuclear tests in the Pacific some decades ago, and where the only protection offered was to put one's hand over one's eyes at explosion time. People don't only have dead military personel effigies hanging off their garages, they have them hanging off the local townhall and march down the streets with ferociously graphical placards.

And come to think of it, while terribly wrong, it wasn't deliberate lies but sheer ignorance which led to these tragedies.

Anyway, I yet have to hear one person daring to say the families of these ppl are wrong by making huge public shows of their anger.  

Posted by WhyNot
2/17/2005 04:35:00 am  
To be honest, I think it's kind of in poor taste NOT to have images like this during a time of war. It is a reality that people are dying, and that should be in our faces. Instead, photographs of the coffins are not to be taken.

Images wake people up to the reality, whether they want to acknowledge it or not. Perhaps citizens would not feel they have to resort to protests of this nature if the reality of the war wasn't being kept underwraps. Certainly, the form of this protest is harsh. But the reality of the situation is harsher yet. Soliders and civilians are dying. 

Posted by Jenni
2/17/2005 05:51:00 am  
You know, when everyone that doesn't agree with the president and his lapdogs is called anti-american and accused of treason, we've all got bigger problems that we thought.

And of course the parents of those kids dying in Iraq would think this is horrendous. When your child has been sent off to war, and odds are won't come back alive, the only thing you've got left to hope for is that he/she died for a good cause. So when "straight to the point" messages like this attempt to tell people that their children's deaths were meaningless, of course they'd freak. 

Posted by anna.
2/17/2005 09:46:00 am  
"Fortunately, we've gotten away from the term "seditious libel." "

Ha! I was told only a few weeks ago that I was dangerously close to it as an American citizen. I dare them to come and get me. I will gladly denounce my American citizenship if it comes to this.

Effigies have been in use as weapons of protest for generations. They are used around the world. We have a television show here in France that does puppet characterizations of Chirac and any other thing or person they desire. They are not meant to be nice.

It's a shame that Americans are reaching the point they cannot protest without fearing their homes may be burned down etc. 

Posted by Dianne
2/17/2005 04:13:00 pm  
From your comments, you'd think that the U.S. was in some kind of gestapo press-lockdown. That just isn't the case. SNL, the Daily Show, and countless other mass-media programs lampoon and make fun of George Bush and the American government daily. I'd say the subject provides most of the material for satire and criticism. I don't think Jon Stewart is worried about his house being burned down.

Anyone who accused you of seditious libel is just an ignorant buffoon who doesn't know anything about First Amendment protections. 

Posted by brogonzo
2/17/2005 04:28:00 pm  
"you'd think that the U.S. was in some kind of gestapo press-lockdown. "...

Well, from my personal experience living there for years as well as in such diverse places as several European countries, Australia and Africa, I'd say, you're right on the money.

Oh, and I mean "living" as in "living", not just visiting.

The gestapo lockdown doesn't even need to be ordered by any amendment, it's neatly implemented by the grass-root level citizens. Well, I'm exaggerating here, ok. Only round about half of them. 

Posted by WhyNot
2/17/2005 05:25:00 pm  
But, WhyNot, there are so many examples to the contrary. People can and do say whatever they want here. I guess I'm just not seeing this "lockdown." 

Posted by brogonzo
2/17/2005 11:49:00 pm  
"People can and do say whatever they want here ".

My experience is that the *official* freedom of speech is acceptable (i.e. what one is legally entitled to say) - although it's a long way from what I've experienced in Europe or even Australia.

But the real problem is not the official freedom, it's the pratical one. Something in the culture by which one quickly learns to know what is cool to say and what will earn you baseball bat (and worse) explanations. 

Posted by WhyNot
2/18/2005 01:54:00 am  
I'm sorry you had bad experiences here. I suppose the issue often does boil down to culture -- or lack thereof. Here in Kentucky, I've encounted such monumental ignorance that it defies description. Some people are actually proud of being hillbilly idiots.

So I don't think it's a free speech issue. It an issue of having too many ignorant fucks in the country. 

Posted by brogonzo
2/18/2005 02:01:00 am  
"I'm sorry you had bad experiences here "...

Thanks for the kind words, Brogonzo.

I hope you realize now that any criticism I have of the US are not *racistly* based (s'cuse my French again). There IS  a large proportion of the population who is a bunch of fantastic ppl. Yes, even ppl like you with whom I may disagree on so many issues :-). Unfortunately, there is also a significant proportion of *fucks*, as you put it yourself so rightly.

Not that *fucks* don't exist everywhere, but it is clear that the ones in the US are significant in numbers and activism - in comparison with Europe.

It's a shame. America is such a great melting pot. Why is there room for such a vocal and active violence sentiment? Is it because the US is still a relatively young country, and one based on conquering a hostile land?

I don't know.

But what is sure is that freedom of speech in practice is no obvious matter. Sure, if you're male, white, tall and strong, and have that "don't fuck with me" look, then you can say anything you like. But is that REAL freedom of speech? Not in MY books. If one is near certain of getting death threats for uttering the *wrong* opinions, I fail to see the freedom - however *officially* ok it may be. Not everyone is a hero willing to risk their neck sticking to their opinions when confronted with *health hazards*.

I'm not. If someone puts a flick knive up my throat and tells me to say out loud "Bush is the greatest thing since slice bread", count me on yelling it as loud as possible. Yes, surrending monkey and proud of it.

Don't get me wrong, Brogonzo, I think the States is (are?) a great place. Apart from being married to a native of your country, I have more US friends than French ones. If I didn't care about the US, I wouldn't bother criticising its shortcomings. :-) 

Posted by WhyNot
2/18/2005 03:02:00 am  
"I don't think Jon Stewart is worried about his house being burned down. "

I agree, but the Jon Stewarts have protections the common man doesn't have. There were indeed people that said they felt like burning the Pearcy's home down and much more. You say things many times Brogonzo that make me believe you know little about the dark side of the states. I read US news everyday and see many instances of human rights abuse and hatred. It happens everywhere and denying it doesn't help or bring change.

"I guess I'm just not seeing this "lockdown." "

You used this term Brogonzo. I never said there was a total lockdown. But, it won't surprise me to hear of it happening in the future. I firmly believe US citizens will see a radical change in their right of free expression in the future. We are already seeing it in bits around the states. If you haven't seen it then you haven't been keeping up especially during the last election.
The threat made to me may have been from an ignorant person but this ignorant person no doubt felt I should be jailed for the things I said. She called me a traitor to my country and feels me and all those like me should be treated as such. She has quite a following. They're not ignorant. They are filled with hate and bigotry and we know from history what these types of people are capable of, at least I do.


Posted by Dianne
2/18/2005 10:40:00 am  
Yes, there is a general temdency towards the limitations of freedom of speech in the U.S.

Anyone who argues otherwise should pay attention to the demise of CNN's president, the refusal of PBS to back their affiliates on the issue of "profane speech" in a documentary", or many other similar actions taken by the media to conform with the current "politically correct" climate.

BUT...I, as an individual, can still state my views without fear of an omniscient government to my co-workers, my friends, and anyone else who will take the minute or two to listen. THIS is free speech. NO one, as yet, has tried to deny any American that right. Corporate bullying, and political bullying, has always been present in America..."politically correct" speech was, until the last year or two, been the province of liberals, yet the conservatives got their message across.

The real question to me is how "liberals" can get the moderate majority to listen again to their issues. Fear has deafened them...perhaps a nod to those fears is required.

Example: North Korea.
Scares the hell out of me.
What is the answer to that from a "liberal" "antiwar" view, in a verifiable sense? What is the answer that would make the average American feel secure about it? Taking into account they seem impervious to economic leverage, of course.

IF you can answer that question, the liberals have one up on G.W., because he DOESN'T have an answer, and I can tell you that 90% of Americans want an answer to that one before nukes fall on Nebraska. 

Posted by Buckwheat
2/19/2005 03:39:00 am  
"Example: North Korea.
Scares the hell out of me.
What is the answer to that from a "liberal" "antiwar" view, in a verifiable sense?

Questions Buckwheat...

How much did you think about North Korea before Bush's 'axis of evil' campaign?
None of those countries in the same area..China, Japan etc. felt threatened by North Korea at least not enough to make an issue of it. Why not?
Does North Korea have reason to view the US as a threat?

My liberal, anti-war view would be for the US to apologize to North Korea for President's 'foot and mouth' disease. From there perhaps we can make a new beginning rather than a tragic ending which will surely be the case if Bush and Condi continue to taunt Kim Jong.  

Posted by Dianne
2/19/2005 08:17:00 am  
Hey BuckWheat,

I always look forward to your comments. Nice, balanced view, level-headed and thoughtful. A breath of fresh air amidst our sometimes perhaps overly far left-wing statments. But an understandable reaction in view of regular anonymous fascist crowd taking their daily dump on this blog.

Now..... BW....you know what this mean, right, LOL? Yes, I'm preparing to dispute (but only slightly, don't panic) some of your arguments. But you're the man to take it and reply with good stuff in return.

By the way, BW, I'm not jestering in the least. I do believe that if you were reprentative of the US population, the American society wouldn't have a problem nor worry in the world (well, not REAL BAD ones, anyway).

I'll leave the Nth Korea topic out, for now otherwise this will turn into a novel, and concentrate on the freedom of speech one.

You rightly mention:

“I, as an individual, can still state my views without fear of an omniscient government to my co-workers, my friends, and anyone else who will take the minute or two to listen. THIS is free speech. NO one, as yet, has tried to deny any American that right.”.

True, I have no doubt what you state is correct and true, for you have never shown me any reason to think your take is anything but what you've personally experienced.

However, please consider these randomly put-together thoughts:

- when, as an Australian citizen, I decided to change scenery and applied for a one year tourist visa to the US, I had to go three times to 3rd degree interrogations by the US consulate in Sydney, and sign a long form *swearing* I had NEVER belonged to a socialist or communist organization in my life. Is that intellectual freedom? This, btw, was some 8 years ago, i.e. long before Bush turned up.

- The above is just one of the shortcomings of *official* intellectual freedom in the US. But as I tried to explain to Brogonzo, and even while these *official freedoms* are more and more severely eroded on as you point out yourself, they are not what I regard as the main worry .

- The main worry is the grass root level thinking. For instance, on the same subject: what do you think the chances are of a person with a permit to work in the US to get a job if they *confessed* to be a commmunist party member? Or even socialist? Or even atheist?

- You say that *personally*. you feel total freedom to express your opinions. Three things here:

1. your opinions are very reasonable, middle of the road, non-threatening (to the establisment). Nothing wrong with it, as I mentioned earlier, but is it little wonder that you don't get daily death threats over them? What if you decided that you'd like to say out loud that Ward Churchill is right on the money? Or that you think Marxism-Leninism is the way to go? Or published a prayer like that guy on his blog who wished for God to kill Bush to save humanity? Do you think you'd be free of FBI visits this guy got with a promise to a Guantanamo long sojourn if he didn't make a public apology on his blog?

2. The internet is THE place to say anything one wants to. Nothing extraordinary to feel free to say what one wants. Even in places where *official* freedom of speech is non-existent, we get to hear from rebels from Iran, Somalia and China. Try saying the equivalent in the street marching down with a placard instead.

3. I don't know where you live in the States. I know there are places where Bush wouldn't even dare showing his face without an entire batallion of marines. And conversely - meaning places where anyone who dares speak against the establishment will earn you the baseball bat treatment. Perhaps where you live is NOT one of them. But believe me they abound. I've live them.

Hmmm.... I hope I didn't put you off. I do love good arguments with ppl who are smart, honest and of good will :-) 

Posted by WhyNot
2/19/2005 08:31:00 am  



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