A thought or two on free speech, here and in Russia

Pussy Riot Russia

The attorney general is now saying the constitution does not apply to terrorists – they have no rights and can be killed any time and anyway the governemnt chooses.  So who determines which people are terrorist?  Don’t tell me, let me guess – the people who are going to be doing the killing. Actually, that is not much of a change to our previous terrorist policy;, call a person a terrorist and you can send him to a prison in Cuba, or to be interrogated in some other country, deny him a lawyer or even a trial.  He is after all a threat to our security, our way of life – and guilty until proven innocent – which of course cannot happen with a trial can it?  What a country!  Senator John McCain, who just four years ago wanted to be president, now thinks we should bomb Syria.  How did we get so far off course; does our constitution grant any law enforcement agency or government official the power to suspend the constitution?  Does  the constitution allow us to just bomb another country without a declaration of war? Is the senator calling for war?  Aren’t we a governed by laws and not men?

I disagree with Rush Limbaugh and what he stands for and the way he sometimes demonizes anyone who disagrees with his position – but should we shoot him or throw him in a dungeon?  No one is suggesting that, instead consumers are telling advertisers they will not buy their products or services if the support his bully platform.  That may or may not change the what Limbaugh says, or even if he has a platform. But that will be the final test, do more people support or oppose his statements, as judged by the way the spend their money – not perfect, but better than the alternative.  Free speech needs to be just that free, even if it is stupid or offensive.

There is a punk rock group of very angry women in Russia protesting against the government and Putin, they tear their clothes off, swear, sign profane lyrics and invade churches,  No one suggests killing them, but they might go to jail as hooligans – the Russian domestic version of terrorists – hooligans have fewer rights.  The girls are in jail and currently on a hunger strike – they are very brave and outspoken on the subject of democracy; but Vladimir is seriously controlling and he holds the trump card – the power.  Is that the kind of democracy we want – conditional rights, conditioned on acting according to the party in power’s value system.  By those standards Rush would not have to worry about advertisers, because the party in power could plop him in jail as a terrorist, hooligan or just a trouble maker.

2 Responses to “A thought or two on free speech, here and in Russia”

  1. 1 William Hanigan March 5, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Maybe they should teach all politicians chess. I remember your ex Defense Secretary questioning the intervention in Libya with the query “what’s the end game ?” Perhaps we are seeing it in Homs now. Unintended consequence ?

  2. 2 Ken Adams March 6, 2012 at 7:56 am

    That is a really good question always – what is the end game? I posed the question differently in another blog and “then what?” A question meant to be asked over and over. It is a question I don’t think the Bush administration asked about either Iraq or Afghanistan – but one I hope the Obama administration asks frequently, especially about Iran.

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